Maybe I spoke too soon about that Burger King

    Last night, I posted something here about the likelihood that Ypsi City Council would vote to approve the sale of a half-acre of downtown real estate to a Burger King franchisee. Given the fact that we’ve been sitting on 38 acres of undeveloped land for over 8 years, I thought that it was a pretty safe bet that our City Council would move to accept the offer, if only to give the illusion of having made some kind of progress. Personally, I hated the idea, but I didn’t think that I had a shot in hell of stopping it. [If I had it my way, we'd put an immediate ban on downtown franchises.] Anyway, it looks now as though I could have been wrong. According to City Council member Brian “Mr. Transparency” Robb, there’s no way Council will move forward with the Burger King proposal. The following three quotes come from his website.

    “I don’t know of anyone on Council who is in favor of this.”

    “This isn’t even a question of whether or not Burger King fits the concept of the site. This is much more basic than that. This project doesn’t get us very much tax revenue. The purchase price won’t even pay for adequate infrastructure. There isn’t even anything remotely appealing about this.”

    “After eight years of not much happening with the project, Council asked for proposals and selected a firm to market the property. They are the ones advertising this project and soliciting ideas for development. The most interested developers like Burger King, the student housing, and the senior living is what they’ve been able to stir up. Did you think I was out there calling Burger King trying to get them to move down the street?”

    So, there you have it… There will be no Whoppers extruded on Water Street on Brian Robb’s watch.

    So, all you Whopper virgins out there better think twice before coming to Ypsi looking for a good time.

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      45 Comments

      1. Posted March 17, 2010 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        I don’t know. To quote a comment from Ham Burglar on the previous thread: “My question is, if no one is for this, why the hell did the city pay an attorney to draw up a purchase agreement and why has council been stringing the developer along and making them waste time and resources on things like a site plan?”

        Similarly, if no one on Council is in favor of this, and “[t]here isn’t even anything remotely appealing about this”, then why is the Ypsi Citizen reporting that Council will hold a special meeting to consider the offer? Is the Council’s time so worthless that they’ll meet especially to consider an offer with no chance of passing?

      2. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        and btw, to follow up on my issue from the previous thread, if these people are strung along AND the zoning for these parcels isn’t clear leaving the marketing guy out there saying “city council will work with you” as an answer we will have a rotting lemon not just a lemon because if your publicly treat Beal the way you did, and then treat the BK people this way (and blog about it). Then who would want to get tangled in this mess?

      3. Ham Burglar
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        If I’m reading ypsiciti.com, neither Murdock nor Robb are thrilled by the idea but both remain open to it? The project is being given a special meeting on April 6. That comes after Robb writes his sarcastic response to citizens worried about people reacting to things they read on the Internet?

        The city council agendas and minutes are posted on the Internet which is where the “rumors” originated. I guess council would like citizens to wait until after they vote on a project to begin discussing it?

      4. Edward
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        I think Brian said quite clearly that he would not be voting for it. I expect for him to stand by his word. He may be a douche, but I don’t think that he’s a liar on top of it. Maybe I’m naive though.

      5. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        The vote for the working session to discussion the purchase agreement was unanimous. Nobody said anything about their feelings for it. It was not going to be set up until Lois asked for it to be – then it got voted on and was passed (to have one) by everyone.

        Again, if you are going to string a developer along, this is the way to do it.

      6. Kim
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        You must be mistaken, Lorie. Brian, I’m sure, said that it was a terrible idea, and voted against further discussion.

      7. Tim
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Yeah, people that ask questions sure are stupid, aren’t they, Brian? They should just defer to their brilliant elected officials. On their behalf, I apologize to you, Brian.

      8. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Oh yes, it makes perfect sense to listen to rumor and inuendo (assumptions and lies) rather than call or email your rep. And yes lets continue to blame Robb for the water street fiasco. I am happy we at least have the right people in place, now that we are screwed. While there may be no happy outcome in this current economy, at least we have better minds dealing with the problem.

      9. notoneofthecoolkids
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Lorie, that first sentence actually made me feel like I needed to take a breath after reading it the first time. The second time I was just confused.

      10. Ham Burglar
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Wet, so published city council agendas and packets are full of rumor and innuendo? A city lawyer drawing up a purchase agreement shouldn’t raise any eyebrows?

        And yes, Robb’s last post certainly makes me want to give him a call.

      11. 734-Dad
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Robb is condescending in his post. He looks down his nose at those of us who aren’t invited into the “secret” Water Street committee. He laughs at us because we get our facts from “the internet” and implies that we’re morons, even though there is no reliable source for information. Here’s a fact he can’t contest however. He’s been on Council for years now, and nothing has happened on Water Street. When he ran, he said that he’d have fresh ideas. Where have they led. He tried to whip up support for a minor league baseball park, that he saw himself owning a piece of. That was it. That was his big idea. He also campaigned on transparency. He vowed to let us, his constituents, know about everything happening through his blog. That didn’t last either. As soon as he won, he started posting less. Now he only does it when he wants to make someone else look bad. It’s kind of like how Steve Pierce used to tape public meetings as a “public service”, but then mysteriously stopped once his gang came into power. I’m tired of the lot of them.

      12. Posted March 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Just the other day I happened to notice a Burger King commercial to which I exclaimed “Holy crap I forgot that Burger King’s still existed!”

        Cut to the next day, when I was driving around my neighborhood and suddenly realized that there’s one just moments from my house on Michigan just past Ecorse Rd & then it suddenly hit me that there’s another on Washtenaw near Golfside. I don’t know how two glowing white & blue behemoths managed to miss my radar for the last 5 years or so that I’ve lived here…

        Anyway, for a city with 2 of them already I really can’t think of any reason why a third would be a good idea for anyone involved.

      13. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        @notone…sorry – it was confusing to write. How’s this:

        They were asked to vote:

        yes: have a working session to discuss the SIGNED purchase agreement by Bravo Keelo (sp?) (think Burger King) and our city. Session to be held on April 6 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

        OR

        no: not to have a working session to discuss the SIGNED purchase agreement.

        ALL, including Robb voted YES – to have the working session.

        Serious, again, I was there.

      14. Teabags
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        It’s not that Brian doesn’t post much anymore. It’s that he’s so transparent that most of what he posts can’t be read. If you rub your screen with a led pencil you’ll be able to see it, though.

      15. Randall
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Brian’s last post was almost as douchy as the Taco Bell post in which he envisions a world without 7 Layer Burritos and run-walks to the scene to make sure it wasn’t Taco Bell, but a poor business owner that lost everything (which makes him happy).

      16. The Nacho Man
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Now if it where a Sonic…then we’d be talking! Whooooooo!

      17. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        And the current purchase agreement has a clause prohibiting any other fast food burgers, fries, or tacos (not sure the exact wording there may be more) from being added to the area. So they want a sort of exclusive on that issue (no other drive throughs – the fries are the sneaky part).

        Again if this isn’t being considered seriously, why string them along and why have a highly paid attorney work so long on it?

      18. Ham Burglar
        Posted March 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        More unreliable Internet chatter from our oldest local newspaper — the Ypsilanti Courier’s most recent headline reads:

        Ypsilanti close to deal bringing Burger King to Water Street.

        According to the Courier article, the Burger King rep said, “It’s probably a nose and a half away from being approved by city council.”

        I guess how close it really is to a deal depends on whose nose you’re using to measure it.

      19. Posted March 18, 2010 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        “People sure are stupid for not being able to read the minds of their elected officials, aren’t they?”

      20. Aaron
        Posted March 18, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        I just moved to Ypsi a little over a year ago and must say I have been really disappointed by the City Council to date. I am not impressed the least bit.

      21. Elf
        Posted March 18, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        If I’m not mistaken, we’ve still got City Council members serving who voted for Water Street.

        Speaking of Council, what ever happened with the movement to decrease their pay by 90%? It seemed like a good idea to me.

      22. John on Forest
        Posted March 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        Wetdophinmissle,

        When did we suddenly get “better minds” dealing with this problem? As far as I can tell, all we’ve got are Robb, Murdock, and Bodary (the self appointed members of the Water Street committee.) I surely hope those are not the minds to whom you are referring because I’d be hard pressed to find many lesser minds to compare them to and make them look better.

        Granted, we do have Mayor Schreiber as an example of a better mind; but, sadly he was not included on the Water Street committee.

      23. Amanda
        Posted March 21, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        Local food environments can lead to obesity

        Living in an area with more fast food outlets and convenience stores than supermarkets and grocers has been associated with obesity in a Canadian study. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health have shown that your local food environment can affect your weight.

        John Spence from the University of Alberta, Canada, worked with a team of researchers to study associations between the ‘Retail Food Environment Index’ (RFEI) and levels of obesity. He said, “The RFEI is based upon a ratio of the number of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to supermarkets and specialty food stores in a given radius around a person’s house. We’ve shown that it correlates very well with the odds that that person may be obese”.

        The availability of fast food and scarcity of outlets for natural ingredients within 800m of a person’s home was shown to be associated with weight, while the RFEI within a 1600m radius did not have the same effect. The researchers claim that this demonstrates that the proximity of the unhealthy environment is an important risk factor for obesity. According to Spence, “These findings may help explain the observation that geographic concentration of fast-food restaurants is associated with mortality and hospital admissions for acute coronary events in Canada”.

        Fast-food is cheaper and more energy-dense per measure of weight than other healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables that are purchased in a grocery store. If governments want to reduce people’s intake of these energy-efficient, but ultimately unhealthy ‘meals’, the authors recommend that they intervene to limit the creation of areas where tempting junk-food outlets are so much more prevalent than other shops. They write, “A plausible policy option for decreasing the prevalence of obesity among adults is improving the retail food environment, possibly through zoning by-laws”.

        1. Relation between local food environments and obesity among adults
        John C Spence, Nicoleta Cutumisu, Joy Edwards, Kim D Raine and Karen Smoyer-Tomic
        BMC Public Health (in press)

        During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/8169462662293754_article.pdf?random=24270
        After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/

        Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s open access policy.

        Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

        2. BMC Public Health is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of epidemiology and public health medicine. BMC Public Health (ISSN 1471-2458) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Thomson Scientific (ISI) and Google Scholar.

        3. BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral.com) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

      24. Mark H.
        Posted March 22, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        John on Forest —

        could you clarify for me what you mean by self appointed members of the City Council’s Water Street committee? Do you mean that the 3 council members you mention were appointed to the committee by a majority of the council, acting in open session? Isn’t that what was done? It was entirely above board. If the Mayor has good ideas for solving the Water St fiasco, I am sure his colleagues on council would happily hear those ideas.

        The claim that this ad hoc committee of the council is somehow responsible for the difficulty in getting a fiasco transformed into a positive for the city really stretches the boundaries of logic and evidence. I applaud the Council majority for its recognition that the Water St project is a significant enough challenge for the city that it needed some focused attention, and thus created this special committee (which lacks any power aside from brain storming, as far as I can tell). I even applaud the city manager, who if I recall correctly welcomed or encouraged the council to create this committee.

        Yet no committee of any city council is likely to be able to do what the forces of our capitalist economy havenn’t done: Transform a huge project of municipal real estate speculation into a prosperous, revenue producing real estate development.

      25. olecross
        Posted March 25, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Mark H,

        The three voted for themselves to be on the committee. All they needed was one other vote in their favor. They vote as a block, so in essence they self appointed themselves. They offered up a resolution/proposal with their names already on it and didn’t entertain discussion about potential other members, despite a challenge from the Mayor.

        Yes, the city manager recommended this subcommittee and yes it was and is a good idea. However, for the committee to be homogeneously comprised of this single voting block hardly fosters healthy idea sharing. Where is the dissenting voice on this committee to balance it?

        As far as responsibility of the committee: I at least expect them to have met a few times and developed some ideas … well if I actually had any expectation that they HAD any ideas. I expect them to examine the recommendation given to them by the planning commission regarding zoning and act on that recommendation. Even if they don’t agree with the recommended zoning, they should at least say so and offer their counter proposal back the the Planning Commission for analysis. I guess it comes down to one of two things: 1. they don’t have counter ideas (very likely, I think) or 2. they are too cowardly to come forth with the ideas they do have.

      26. John on Forest
        Posted March 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Oops, I guess I outed myself as the OEC impersonator.

      27. Elvis
        Posted March 25, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        JoF.

        Hey baby, you had me fooled.

      28. Mark H.
        Posted March 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Dear John on Forest/neighbor/OEC impersonator,

        When I impersonate anyone on Maynard’s blog, I pick a dead president few people know anything; you top us all by picking a beloved but now inactive poster on MM.com. Clever.

        Anyway, to the point at hand: I appreciate your taking the time to reply to my query to you about what you meant by “self appointed,” an idea you’d used to criticize 3 members of the city council for their leadership in trying to spur on Water Street development. But I still don’t get your objection. Isn’t it the point of democratic, or representative government, to make decisions by majority vote? So a group of council members, a majority, vote to do something — and your criticism is procedural, on the grounds that they outvoted the minority and didn’t give a special ear to the concerns of the mayor?

        They had a majority to create a committee that was a good idea to have; and that committee doesn’t have any power aside from maybe brainstorming and bringing ideas to council. And you label them “self appointed” as if there was something underhanded about this public, majority rule vote of council.

        Isn’t your objection to this majority rule of the Ypsi city council very similar to the US Senate’s minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who faults the Democratic majority for NOT taking the views of the minority into view when crafting legislation? Hate to say it, neighbor, but on principle you’re making the same kind of attack of your local opponents as Mitch does in the Senate of advocates of health care reform.

        Locally, this is the realit: Mayor Paul’s allies lost the last council elections, and lost badly. Elections are supposed to have consequences. Paul and Mitch may not like that, but hey, neither of them are shut out of the dialogue. If Mitch wants to reform health care, he can bring forth a plan — and if Paul has ideas about Water Street, nobody and nothing has prevented him from expressing those ideas.

      29. John on Forest
        Posted March 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        Mark H,

        My comment about “self appointed” was only a parenthetical aside. Frankly, you are correct that democratically they had the “right” to put themselves on the committee. But, I still stand by my contention that the committee would be a better committee if it wasn’t composed of people who’s ideas are homogeneous. A committee, whose purpose (by your own definition) is to brainstorm ideas, would achieve that function much more robustly by having a heterogeneous makeup. I am hard pressed to say anything about, or criticize any ideas formed by the Water Street committee because, to date, they haven’t generated any; so, your comparison of me to Mitch McConnell is invalid.

        Frankly, I would have hoped that the winners of the last election would have come to City Council prepared to actually get something done, rather than use their electoral victory to goad it over the supporters of their opponents in the election.

        If you will closely read my reply to you, you’ll see that my more direct criticism of the Water Street committee is that since forming, they have done nothing. They have not held a single meeting, let alone, produced any ideas. They have let languor the recommended zoning for Water Street.

        As, for my OEC impersonation I thought it would be funny (and I admit I’m probably the only one who thought it was funny) for OEC to be resurrected for a moment to bash his old friend, BA.

      30. Hot Knuckle Lover
        Posted March 26, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        BA has an old friend???!!!

        Oh, sarcasm, I get it.

      31. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        John on Forest…I actually take an even dimmer view of both the council members’ on the committee (Ward 1 being unrepresented while the project is in Ward 1) and the behavior of the members in public.

        Mssrs Murdock and Robb have now treated developers badly at least twice. If they are the majority of a single committee leading the Water Street effort, then it is clearly not attractive to consider the property from the beginning and thus its a project killer without even having a meeting.

      32. Posted March 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Why don’t we just change the name of our city to Ann Arbor East and be done with it?

      33. Mark H.
        Posted March 27, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Let’s be factual for a minute or two. The Water St. committee has meet, contrary to what JoF reports. JoF’s more significant errors are in thinking this little committee, created at the behest of the city manager, can possibly single handedly solve the problem of the Water St fiasco, and in assuming that the Mayor’s not being on the committee somehow silences him or prevents him from putting ideas forward.

        What kind of mistreatment of developers, Lorie, do you think has been practiced? Your allegation is vague, and smacks of rumor mongering.

        And are readers of this wonderful blog seriously faulting council members for being hesitant to sell to Burger King? What’s become of the anti franchise beliefs? Council may or may not make that deal (which I think the manager has been promoting); it will produce very little revenue for the city — maybe $10,000 a year in taxes. A drop in the bucket next to the debt, and no BK in itself is going to attract other buyers of the property.

        nIf council does approve this deal, the resulting restaurant will be the legacy of Ed K., the city manager for the last decade. It would be his most visible accomplishment: city services have been cut, jobs eliminated, and a massive municipal debt incurred, over a ten year period, in order to put together a 38 acre parcel of publicly owned land. And from that 38 acres, if the city invests six figures to create the water and sewage lines and other such infrastructure that Burger King needs, well then the Water St fiasco will produce a tiny trickle of cash against the huge mountain of debt. And the eastern most corner of the 38 acrews will have a new building on it. So what? Either way, the impact will be puny for the city, when compared the scale of the fiasco of Water St. Go ahead and blame it all on the eastside’s current council members, and you destroy your credibility.

        On the claim, JoF, that Pete, Brian and Michael Bodary are “homogenous” in their thinking — that’s a silly, absurd claim. They don’t vote the same on all issues (to pick just one issue that got a lot of public attention: Michael was against chickens, if I recall right, the two others were for chickens and for bees too). Perhaps what you mean, JoF, is that these 3 members of council were all elected as critics of the way the city govt. had been previously run? Just so happens that the majority of the city voters were also critical of the same record.

        So your position, JoF, remains much the same as the GOP in the US Senate: you’re not happy with the fact your side lost the elections and is in the minority, and can’t on council make an argument that convinces a majority of council.

        This is the way representative democracy is supposed to work. The winners get the opportunity to govern. Sadly, both the Democrats in Washington and the new members of council here in Ypsi have to confront extraordinary problems created by their predecessors — and in Ypsi, these problems include the rather extraordinary municipal burden of the expenses incurred by the city to launch a very large real estate development, with no private capital ever invested, on a brownfield!

      34. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 28, 2010 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        @ Mark H…I haven’t been vague at all in any way.

        Mr. Mudrock goaded Mr. Beal for most of his presentation at the council meeting including telling him that he didn’t have any credibility and none of that was necessary. His poor behavior included not listening to Mr. Beal, shuffling papers while clearly not looking at them, leaning way back in his chair, sighing, eye rolling, wispering in Mr. Robb’s ear while Mr. Beal was talking. Really it was embarrassing. I can appreciate a stand based in principle… but this looked like some bad show out of a Mayberry.

        Ditto for Mr. Robb except for the verbal confrontation while Mr. Beal was in the room. Mr. Robb waited until Mr. Beal was not in the room to take a cheap shot on another issue. He went so far as to lean over his table to yell at city staff at the table in front of him. Again, embarrassing and unneeded exceedingly poor public performance. Its on tape somewhere.

        There was improvement during the Bravokilo presentation although the whispering, shuffling of papers still happened. However, this guy was being lead to believe his offer was being considered while Mr. Robb has already blogged about how dead in the water it is. Stringing developers along without an honest discussion is also very very bad public performance.

        No rumors here. I have been clear and specific about their behavior at the table, everyone seems to be able to listen politely and handle Mr. Beal and Bravokilop respectfully except the Ward 3 folks. This is our City’s business some angry cult of personality.

        My issues is how these folks have been treated. Should the property be sold to BK? I would hate it but that doesn’t mean you string ‘em along.

        Again, this does not lead to this property being even on the consideration on by any other developers. Why would you want to do that to get treated that way, to spend money only to find the answer is “no” and had been all along. Its kills Water St. more dead than before.

        Mark H…as for the rest of what you have to say. Nice spin but baloney. Comparing the ‘other side’ to GOP is silly. There is a real debate in this town about direction and future. And the SCIT/Income tax campaign was badly handled no question in my mind about that. However, I’ve seen the campaign lit from Mr. Robb and Mr. Murdock…a comparison to claims made and real history is educational. Simplifying it to sour grapes is silly.

        BTW…Republicans rarely get elected here. Its takes historically poor performance in office for this town to elect an Republican in your face/place. I mean really the city has to have been run off the tracks. So the GOP comparisons are unhelpful and as way off base as you fussing about my rumor mongering.

      35. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 28, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        My comment about SCIT/Income tax was that the “Other side” in the Income Tax ran a very poor campaign that did not relate at all the people in this city. Is doesn’t mean that were wrong on the facts or projections, just the communication with the people.

        They hysteria on the other side was very effective.

      36. Lorie Thom
        Posted March 28, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        its too early…The hysteria from the SCIT side was very effective.

      37. John on Forest
        Posted March 28, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Mark H.

        You are completely missing my points. But, first let me talk about the things on which we agree:

        I certainly don’t advocate for putting BK on WS. Water Street is indeed at the mercy of our current economy and has been since the early 2000′s; and, as far as I can tell, no local politicians (past or present) can be blamed for the economic times in which we all find ourselves. I also agree that the Water Street committee has no chance of coming up with any ideas that will suddenly turn our prospects around on Water Street.

        Now, to your missing of my points, MH.

        I was actually corrected the other day by a friend, regarding the WS committee having met. I concede that they did meet once right after the committee was formed, and prior to it being made subject to the open meetings act. I am unaware (but not claiming they are absent) of any report or minutes of that meeting being made public. Since that time the committee has not met. Those are the facts I am currently able to ascertain. Please let me know if I’m still wrong on this point.

        As for the Mayor or any other member of Council being or not being able to participate in the WS committee, let’s look at the history of this committee. This committee was formed to be able to meet and work with developers and city staff in an atmosphere not subject to the open meetings act, i.e. less than a quorum of Council present. There were and are good reasons for having set up this committee for these purposes. Under such rules, no other member of Council would have been able to attend because a it would had caused a quorum. Now, since that time, Council has passed it’s open meetings act resolution, negating the restriction on how many of Council can attend and participate in the committee, should it ever meet. I would in fact advocate that all, or as many as possible of Council, attend and participate in any committee meeting that may be convened. SO, my criticism of the composition of the committee goes to the history of it’s formation, not to it’s present means of operation.

        I want to be clear, Mark H. While I would have preferred a different outcome at the polls in the past few elections, I am not an imbiber of tart wine (sour grapes). All of my articulations, past, present, and future, are aimed at current behaviors and decisions of those in power. Please go back and read any of my posts with this point of view in mind.

        Homogeneity vs. heterogeneity is of course on a continuum scale. Michael, Pete, and Brian are on the far side towards homogeneity, in my opinion. They may have voted differently on a couple of issues (are bees and chickens the only two examples?), but the record is clear regarding the majority of their votes: as a block. I challenge anyone to argue that the Water Street committee would not be more heterogeneous if it had a different composition made up from the current Council Members.

        However, my most salient criticism of the WS committee, regardless of it’s composition, is that it has done nothing since it’s formation. Now, I am realistic here, MH: I agree that no committee is going to be able to fix Water Street by snapping it’s fingers and saying it is so. But, the WS committee does need to do something (this is the heart of my criticism.) The WS committee needs to meet. It needs to brainstorm ideas and bring those ideas out into the light for examination, categorization (good or bad) and prioritization (of the good). The WS committee needs to bring proposals back to full Council that will move WS forward, if only incrementally until the economy improves (and by incrementally, I don’t mean piecemeal developments like BK). We can debate those proposals, just like we’ve debated BK, only if they are presented for said debate. Not only has the WS committee not met and discussed recommended zoning for WS, they have actively maneuvered in open Council to table the topic.

        I am not “blame[ing] the fiasco of Water St. on the eastside’s current council members.” The current council members have inherited a problem child that needs to be dealt with.

        Murdock and Bodary campaigned, I thought, on the notion that they could do a better job than their opponents. As far as I remember they did NOT campaign saying “my opponents have done nothing and I can do nothing better.” (But, they sure ARE doing nothing better.) They vowed to take the issues head on and make progress on them. With regard to WS, the only thing they have done, so far, is to form a committee that is doing nothing. It’s easy enough for them (or you for them) to blame their predecessors; but I find it hard to follow the logic that their predecessors are causing them to do nothing.

        Like you said, they were elected and given the opportunity to govern. I call upon them to step up and govern.

      38. Mark H.
        Posted March 28, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        JoF,

        I’m sorry, but your argument seems obscure and perhaps designed to be obscuring. I think I have followed your argument, but I’ve not been impressed by it (sounds like the same ol’ song voters in town have been rejecting), and I have focused on its weakest points. I appreciate your having conceded much of what I’ve argued here against your earlier claims.

        You first accused a few council members of being “self appointed,” then you concede they were appointed to the committee in a normal democratic process. You object to their hesitation to the BK deal, then you agree that deal may not be so good for the city. In essence, you fault them for doing what they can, and for not doing what should have been done years ago. You are silent on the true authors of the Water St fiasco (Ed, Cheryl, prior council members), as if accountability for failed policies is impossible to achieve. Citing the bad economic conditions of the state is a non explanation: No other Michigan city with under-used brownfield urban lands is now facing the fiscal crisis Ypsi is as a result of millions and millions of public funds invested in a speculative real estate redevelopment scheme. (And yes, Ypsi isn’t the only city with comparable land that could have been used for the sinkhole of public dollars Water St has been: no other Michigan city’s leaders were so stupid as ours.)

        Further, JoF, you falsely suggest that the new majority on council could somehow today devise full scale plans for Water St redevelopment plans that would be more than pie in the sky, as if a solution to the lack of private investment capital can devised by a city council. Come on. Get real. No plan for this land has ever involved anything close in private capital to the scale of public dollars thrown into this money trap, and never will. Fantasy does not substitute for actual investment, despite fantasy having been the motor for city policies for Water St for most of the last decade.

        The current Council majority has inherited the pie in the sky born fiasco of past city leaders, and if the city manager has cause to convene this special committee, i am sure he would do so.

        Murdock, Bodary, and Brian Robb are, clearly, all crtiical of past city management decisions. Mayor Paul seems not to be, but rather is an apologist for the designers of what’s become the Water St fiasco. Your faulting the current majority for constituting a WS committee that lacks representation for the creators of the fiasco is akin to faulting Obama for devising plans for the Iraq war without having Donald Rumsfield on the committee.

        So, with all due respect, neighbor, I think you have ingested a lot of sour grapes and I find no sign of you making an argument that’s not fed by a blend of sour grapes and insider information.

        That the city manager hadn’t requested a special council committee on Water St years ago, and that the current and previous mayors haven’t requested one either, is surely an indication of their limited managerial capability and non existent leadership vision; but that such a committee has been created recently hardly means that it can pull a rabbit out of a hat. Despite how much my neighbor may fault the newest members of council for delivering less than a complete solution to the Water St fiasco in two years’ time. That BK’s offer is the only viable one to emerge — and by viable, I mean an offer that includes the ability to pay, unlike the earliest developers whose grand schemes were based on the city assuming all risk — is a scathing indication of how dumb this whole project was from the get-go.

        Lastly, JoF, what specific act of “stepping up and governing” do you think the council majority has failed to perform? As for the WS committee — my impression is that it has examined and discussed all actual ideas for Water St developments submitted by actual developers; that that group is close in number to zero is hardly the fault of the current council.

        I recall Ed and Cheryl saying that by this point in time we’d have hundreds of new residents in downtown Ypsi. I praise the current majority on council for rejecting the Kool Aid of group think which somehow induced prior council majorities to leap blindly into a sinkhole of public debt and curbed public services.

      39. Posted April 4, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        From the Mayor:

        Ypsilanti city council will hold a special session on Tuesday, April 6, at 6 p.m., to discuss the sale of a portion of the Water Street property to Bravokilo, which is proposing to build a Burger King restaurant. No formal action will be taken, but city staff will seek direction from council to prepare a resolution for the April 20, 2010 meeting to accept or reject the sale. Details can be found beginning on page 3 of the April 6 city council packet.

      40. Posted April 7, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        “Bravokilo owns 115 Burger King and 48 Chili’s restaurants in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. The company owns the Burger King on Michigan Avenue, east of Ecorse Road, in Ypsilanti Township. If their offer to purchase an acre of the Water Street Project is approved by City Council, then the Ypsilanti Township location would be moved to the new location in the city.”

        http://ypsiciti.com/section/News/-article-1817.html

      41. Posted April 7, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        Also from the YpsiCiti article: “If approved, the Burger King would generate approximately 2.01 percent of the revenue needed to repay the Water Street Project’s annual bond payment. It would occupy approximately 2.63 percent of the Water Street Project’s property. These estimations do not include the money the city would have to spend on infrastructure construction, such as road and utility installation.”

      42. Kim
        Posted April 7, 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Did anyone go to last night’s meeting?

      43. Ham Burglar
        Posted April 7, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        That this project is still moving forward with support of some on council makes Robb’s dismissive assertion that he “don’t know of anyone on Council who is in favor of this” seem outlandishly lame.

      44. Ted
        Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        It should probably be noted that Council voted unanimously on Tuesday against the Burger King sale. So, you’ll have to keep keep schlepping down Michigan Ave, past the prostitutes, for your Whoppers.

      45. Mr. X
        Posted April 23, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        According to my sources, Ypsi City Council is holding out for a larger Burger King. They want a Burger King at least two stories tall, and 5 acres in size. I’ve also heard something about Robb wanting a “Burger King within a Burger King”. I’m not exactly sure what that means though.

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      1. [...] to my knowledge, is the first serious bid that we’ve received in the past two years, since we refused to sell one acre to a Burger King franchisee. While I don’t think they’re thrilled about the [...]

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