‘Tis the season for malicious political attacks

We’ve got about a week or so to go before the August 3 Michigan primary, and, as is the custom, all the anonymous, innuendo-filled bullshit is starting to fill the mailbox. I got two pieces of interest today. The first was about Rebekah Warren, Democratic candidate for the State Senate in the 18th District. According to the piece I received today, I shouldn’t vote for her because she allegedly missed 54 votes while serving as our state Representative. (It doesn’t say, but I imagine that’s over her entire career and not just over the past legislative session.) Among other things, she apparently didn’t vote to require that public restrooms be made available to pregnant women. She also didn’t vote to impose harsher financial burdens on rapists. The piece is paid for by a group calling itself The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). The organization’s website has been recently sanitized, and doesn’t provide much in the way of content, but thanks to the Wayback Machine we know that the organization has a pronounced right wing agenda. We also know, thanks to some internet sleuthing by my friend Jim, that they’re associated with the pro-school voucher Education Action Group (EAG), and funded by the DeVos family. I can only surmise that Warren is too much an advocate of the public school system for their liking, which is likely reason enough for me to vote for her, even if she does hate pregnant women who need to pee and look out for the interests of rapists. (Warren must be quite the threat if they’re coming after her now, and not waiting for the general election.)

campaign2010

The second piece I received today was a retina-burning yellow flyer about Ypsilanti mayoral candidate Pete Murdock, and, if you can believe it, his resemblance to Richard Nixon. (Talk about your timely analogies.) Here’s a quote, “We believe everything about Richard Nixon: his political history; career; strategies; tactics; etc. apply equally to Pete Murdock. In fact, they apply perfectly.” The piece claims to be the work of the Ypsilanti Populist Caucus. I’ve read it over a few times now, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them. My guess is they’re tailoring this particular attack to aging hippies among us, but, given our town’s current demographics, it seems a bit misguided. If I were in the business of rat fuckingwhich, by the way is a real term in politics – I’d be more inclined to draw comparisons to someone more timely, like Mohammed Atta, or, even worse, Mel Gibson. Seriously, I think you’d have better luck with if you went with a, “Pete Murdock, is the same height as Mohammed Atta, and he too enjoys falafel” campaign.

petenixon2

So, to end on a positive note, I’m curious as to who you’ll be voting for come August 3, not just in these races, but all of them.

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61 Comments

  1. Liz DMG
    Posted July 26, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    I got the same yellow mail from the Ypsilanti Populist Caucus. When I did an Internet search, your blog post was the only relevant response. And sending an accusatory, anonymous mailing from a P.O. Box is the quickest way to change my mind.

    Since you asked, I’m planning to vote for Schreiber. But not because of the the annoying mail. I’m planning to vote for Warren, too. And I didn’t even get any annoying mail about her.

  2. Posted July 27, 2010 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Rebekah Warren responds:

    Over the last three weeks, the district has been inundated with literature supporting my opponent that is paid for by the Great Lakes Education Project. Who are these people? You have heard some of their names before, like right-wing Republican billionaires Dick & Betsy DeVos, Dick Posthumus and Tim Walberg. This week, they sent out the first attack ad against me that very well may be followed by others. Of course if all they have to complain about handful of votes that I missed while I was on my honeymoon amongst the nearly 3,000 I’ve taken, maybe there’s nothing to worry about.

    There’s no question, however, about their motivation: they’ve spend a generation and millions of dollars fighting against the things I have built a reputation defending. They are rabidly anti-choice, while I’ve spent a career standing up for women’s reproductive rights. They funded the “no” campaign against stem-cell research. The supported the ban on gay marriages that I actively campaigned against. The DeVos’s gave half a million dollars to launch GLEP with the intended mission of undermining our public school system. They believe we should have cash vouchers for private parochial schools, expand charter schools to religious institutions and allow untrained teachers into the classroom. My endorsements from the MEA and AFT and my record of defending public education in Michigan probably drives them crazy.

    The big question here is not why they are attacking me — my support for progressive causes makes that obvious — but why are they pouring tens of thousands of dollars into supporting my opponent? If you care about our public schools, civil liberties or an economy that provides opportunity for everyone, this should give you pause.

    It’s frustrating for me to have to deal with this narrow-minded attack when our state has real issues to debate, but I’ll happily put my values and priorities — and my record of holding true to them — up against my opponent’s any day. Meanwhile, I could use your help. We didn’t plan on responding to negative ads because that’s not the way I campaign or what Washtenaw voters expect of us as candidates. To counteract this barrage from these out-state Republicans, I need your support!

    Can You Dig a Little Deeper? Sending a piece across the district can cost up to $10,000 per mailing. Please help us tell voters who GLEP really is and what they’re doing. Any donation helps: $10, $25 or even $100 (of course, the max is $1,000 if you’re as upset about this as I am!). You can contribute online or mail in a donation to our house at 234 8th Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.

    Can You Spare Two Hours Over the Next 8 Days? We can cut costs a lot by dropping lit instead of slapping postage on it. And there’s always work to be done on the doors or at the office. Volunteering to help out can mean the difference in a tight race like this!

    Tell All Your Friends! The reason negative campaigns have an impact is because they rely on innuendo, not facts, to stir people’s emotions. Don’t let your friends and neighbors fall victim to this strategy. Please, share this email with them, jump in if you hear people talking about this, and, by all means, please, get your friends out to vote next Tuesday!

    You can always find information on the campaign and my policy issues at RebekahWarren.com and stay on top of all the latest campaign news right here. I hope I can count on your support on election day.

  3. Posted July 27, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    “[S]he apparently didn’t vote to require that public restrooms be made available to pregnant women.”

    I didn’t realize that prohibiting pregnant woment from using public restrooms was a common thing. I wonder how that would be enforced…if you have to take a pregnancy test to get in to a women’s restroom, where would “they” have you take the test?

  4. Kim
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I think they meant to say “private” restrooms in the attack ad. That would have made sense.

  5. roots
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I was also puzzled (and strangely amused) by the Populist Caucus mailing. I agree that it seems like quite a stretch to compare Murdock to Nixon. The writing was pretty awful, too, which never helps one’s cause.

  6. Edward
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    From today’s AnnArbor.com

    According to MichiganVotes.org, a website run by the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Warren has missed three out of 1,209 votes in the current legislative session, while Byrnes missed 20 out of 1,029 votes.

    During their entire legislative careers, Byrnes, who joined the House in 2005, missed 24 votes while Warren, who joined the House in 2007, missed 54. Warren said 47 of the 54 votes she missed were during her honeymoon after she was first elected, and she actually ended her honeymoon a week early so she wouldn’t miss more.

    http://www.annarbor.com/news/group-questions-why-right-wing-republican-group-is-behind-ads-supporting-democrat-pam-byrnes/

  7. Edward
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    More

    Warren, D-Ann Arbor, called it “very unusual” for a conservative group to get behind a candidate in a Democratic primary in Washtenaw County.

    “We’ve seen the mail pieces. They started about a week ago,” she said. “The first two were just very positive pieces on Pam, which is not uncommon for allied organizations. What was odd about this one to us is that the Great Lakes Education Project is Dick and Betsy DeVos. They are the ones who formed it, so it’s largely their personal money and other family members’ money and conservative folks.”

    Warren said she can only conclude the DeVos family and other Republicans are opposing her because she is more liberal, pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights and supports strong public schools. She said they “hate” those things and must find more support for their causes within Byrnes.

    The differences between Warren and Byrnes started to become clearer in May when the two state representatives voted differently on a plan to revamp the teacher retirement system. Byrnes was one of a handful of Democrats who joined the House Republicans to pass the legislation, which increases teacher retirement premiums and removes any guarantee of retirement health benefits.

  8. Posted July 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I just read the “Ypsilanti Populist Caucus” piece as well, and agree that the writing was awful – making any attempt to follow the convoluted historical comparison next to impossible.

    As a 2007 SCIT (Stop the City Income Tax) campaign volunteer, I found the pretzel-like twists in logic required to try to turn Pete Murdock’s anti-income tax efforts into a “Not anti-tax, but pro-tax” tar-and-feather moment to be strangely familiar. I was struck by how similar this part seemed to the verbal gymnastics attempted by Pete’s former Ward 3 opponent Rod Johnson, a huge supporter of the defeated city income tax, to show during the ’08 election that he had apparently been against the tax before (and after) he was for it (aka the John Kerry method of flip-flopping!).

  9. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    What’s our favorite landlord up to?

  10. Old Goat
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I doubt that the YpsiPopCussers did themselves any good with their sophomoric flyer. They may have even helped Pete out. Wait a minute, if Pete is as slimy as the say, perhaps he wrote the thing himself. Naw, not Pete.
    As a 35 year resident of Ypsi, and an old Democrat who supported Pete in his first foray into the slop of Ypsi politics, I cast my vote for Pete, and do so with pride. Mr. Schreiber, a nice enough fellow, voted to waste $23,000.00 of our tax money pushing that Income Tax fiasco to the ballot. This, after hearing no less than 18 citizens in a row renounce the idea at a council meeting. The only person who spoke in favor was Cheryl Farmer, after she arrived late to the meeting. Paul is the only one left of the ‘Gang of Four’ who engineered that hopeless plan. This should say something in itself.

  11. New Kid
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    What’s the difference between Richard Nixon and Pete Murdock?

    Nixon didn’t have the balls to run for office after Watergate.

    What’s the difference between Kwame Kilpatrick and Pete Murdock?

    Kwame still has another twenty years to wait.

    What’s the difference between Ypsilanti today and thirty years ago?

    Pete Murdock was mayor thirty years ago.

    Let’s go back to the glory days of the 1980s. Ypsi’s heydays. Decay. Unemployment. Uninvestment. Violence. Bigotry. Corruption. Blight. Long live the King.

  12. lorie thom
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    @mark:

    My view of the populist is this: even I can say that it is unreasonable to compare Pete Murdock to Richard Nixon.

    @New Kid: ah, yeah – The problem with SCIT was that ever piece of their lit was factually wrong. Emotionally easy, factually wrong and Pete’s proposal to raise taxes for busing proves it.

  13. Edward
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I want to put out a flyer on parchment, written in script, comparing Pete to Boss Tweed.

  14. Posted July 28, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    @Lorie – What we said, wrote, and printed during the SCIT campaign has proved to be accurate, in large part to the leadership of Pete Murdock and Brian Robb. Mayors Farmer and Schreiber raised fears of immediate disaster if they didn’t get instant access to our paychecks and bank accounts through the income tax.

    SCIT supporters offered the consistent message that the Mayor and Council has not done all they could to rein in spending and cut costs before asking for the new tax.

    Following the 2007 defeat of the CIT, the City Manager suddenly found more than a million dollars in budget surplus that would eventually (after several now-former Council members suggested spending it) be put towards the Water St. debt.

    After electing Pete to Council in 2008, the City Council has managed to deal remarkably effectively with collapsing property values and disappearing state revenue sharing, while still maintaining key services AND putting funds aside to cover the Farmer/Schreiber Water St. debt. More than anything else, this success shows exactly how much more effective Pete has been as a de facto leader on Council, when compared to the “Where’s Paul?” ‘leadership’ of Mayor Schreiber.

    While I’m no fan of millage proposals at a time when Michigan families remain in such perilous financial circumstances, the fiscally prudent actions of Pete Murdock’s Council majority make a strong argument in favor of the “Keep Ypsi Rollin'” proposal.

  15. Bush league
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    This is what you get with one party rule. The candidates ideas are basically similar, so we have to vote on personalities. Paul is a nice guy. Pete is a little Machiavellian. They both want to Keep Ypsi Rollin and Keep Raisin Taxes. A real choice would involve a candidate that wanted to cut taxes to promote growth.

  16. Andy C
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    The Schreiber camps campaign tacks last time around were right out of the Carl Rove playbook. I was curious to see what they would do this time.

    I do agree heavily with Old Goat. There was no way the City Income Tax was ever going to pass, even if it was a good idea, and was a total waste of money to even try.

    All this doesn’t make me a Murdock supported especially if rodneyn is backing him. The only thing I’m sure of is I’m definitely voting for the buses.

    With that said, no offense to Rodney or Paul, I like them both personally and hope they still say hi to me as was pass in the neighborhood.

  17. Posted July 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    @Andy C, I’ll always say “Hi!” to you in the neighborhood. :)

    As for the city income tax scheme, I agree with you that the ballot proposal was a huge waste of money (and time). I also like Paul Schreiber personally (and wave to him as well, since he’s also a neighbor :), but his decision to support and campaign for the CIT was a big indicator to me of his lack of vision and understanding of where Ypsilanti needs to move to be successful in navigating these rough economic seas.

    Pete Murdock and I could not be further apart on most political issues outside of city tax and budget priorities. I support Pete for Mayor because he has proved to be the more effective and fiscally prudent leader on City Council, when compared to Paul’s term as Mayor.

    To my mind, fiscally prudent leadership is the most important issue of this race if Ypsilanti is going to have a future that doesn’t include receivership and an emergency financial manager. Paul simply hasn’t proven over the past 4 years that he is up to the task.

  18. Sylvia
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe I am agreeing with Rod Nanney but I do on his opinion regarding the difference in Pete and Paul on the issue of fiscal responsibility.
    Pete is the best man to guide us out of the financial trouble we have coming in our near future. Maybe Paul would like to become a councilman and let Pete be mayor , that way we could have both on council.

  19. Posted July 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    @Sylvia, you made my day! :)

  20. LKT
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    How dare Rebekah Warren not honeymoon on the floor of the state house!

  21. EOS
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    How long was the honeymoon?

  22. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I agree with rodneyn’s post above.
    I would like to add that I am not voting for Schrieber because of his lack of questioning of the truthfulness Stewart Beal. Not only about the Thompson Block, but regarding all his buildings. All city departments report to the Mayor and the City Manager, and I think that there must be something going on when a landlord gets away with as much as Mr. Beal does. The Building Department employees are just as afraid of losing their jobs as anyone else in Michigan so I assuming that they are just following orders from the Mayor and his buddy the City Manager.

    We need a mayor that will finally embrace EMU and it’s students and realize how important their apartment renting dollars are to the city. More importantly, Ypsilanti needs people would want to stay here after college. If their experience with the city was nothing but negative, including where the lived, why would any young adult want to stay here? I want the students living all over Ypsilanti, especially on the south side of Michigan Avenue so the businesses on Michigan avenue will get more traffic. But if the apartments are crappier the further away from campus, then why would any student want to live anywhere but Peninsular Place Apartments.

    Plus Pete looks like Santa Claus!

  23. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Woops I met Paul Murdock looks like Santa.

  24. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Is there an online source for the details of Murdock’s lawsuit against Ypsilanti regarding the job that he wanted for himself? If not, does anybody know the details?

  25. roots
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I am now feeling more unsure than ever about where to cast my votes–in multiple races–on Tuesday. Argh…

  26. Lorie Thom
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Hey folks – read for yourselves

    This is a link to an article about the Appeal Court dismissal of Murdock’s appeal:

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0rX8oMjCdp7NGE1NjQ0NzEtODViNC00MWJmLTgzMmEtMjRkZGIxZTFiZjU5&hl=en

    This is a copy of the original decision by Judge Sheldon:

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0rX8oMjCdp7NDI5NmE5YWMtMWVlMy00M2MxLTg2M2EtYWFkZjYwODhjNjE2&hl=en

  27. Susan
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I received the literature in the mail from the Populist Caucus. The author of this literature sure needs to do more research. For starters, who did Richard Nixon work for. It was not himself not the American people. Answer that question and you will answer why the country is in the mess financially and why we need someone like Pete Murdock to be our mayor rather than Paul Schrieber. Of the two, Paul is probably the most congenial and politically correct but, he and Cheryl Farmer and Bill Nichols led the city into the mess that is Water Street. Now, we must have someone in there that is not a “yes” man and who is able to stand on his own two feet to get us out or lead us through what we have coming to pay off the mess of Farmer, Schrieber and Nichols. Pete may not be the most well liked man but, I do know that he is willing to stand for what he thinks is right regardless of what those around him may think.

  28. Citizen Blogger
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Huh. As a centrist in this whole ordeal, I’m finding the documents on Mr. Murdock’s lawsuit to be a remarkably un-satisfying scandal. There’s not even enough there to be tittillating, let alone fuel a 20-year running condemnation.

    If I understand, Mr. Murdock had a pet project while on council to create an Environmental Department – recycling and so forth. He was so dedicated to this project that he in fact resigned from Council in order to be eligible to take a position heading the department.

    There may or may not have been an agreement between Mr. Murdock and the City Manager to hire Mr. Murdock upon his resignation, but Pete thought there was, and thought that some Councilmembers torpedoed his hiring for personal/political reasons. The judge ruled that the City Manager could not have legally made such a promise to Pete, rendering it null if it had existed, and that the City Manager and councilmembers fell under the tort immunity granted to individual municipal actors fulfilling their public jobs.

    If there was any such agreement, then I’d say shame on the City Manager at the time for making such an agreement. Pete was a little over-excited about the role as the City’s Recycling Czar, and maybe had poor judgment about the City Manager – and doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong beyond that.

    In fact, this seems to be brought up as an abuse of power issue on Pete’s part pretty frequently – but as far as I can tell, Pete GAVE UP his power (as a Council member) in order to pursue a passion. Seriously? Newcomers in town are supposed to hold that against him, decades later? Seriously?

  29. Demitrius
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Citizen Blogger, I think your kind of missing the point. When Murdock was mayor, Ypsi got bad headlines like this all the time because of political fights and backroom deals. Do we really want to go back to that?

  30. Rosie
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius:

    Murdock is on top of the details of governing. The common theme I’ve heard from citizens is: umm Paul is a nice guy but Murdock knows what needs to happen to balance the books. For my part, I’d rather have a competent knowledgeable mayor than an incompetent personable one, whatever the headlines might say.

  31. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Did Murdock’s lawsuit cost the people of Ypsilanti anything?

  32. Lorie Thom
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    yes, the city had to defend against the law suit and, because he sued the mayor and a council member that were acting in their official capacities, the city paid for their defense as well.

    What gets lost in this is that Pete says he spent over 1000 hours setting this up for himself so he could run it. No clear ethical understanding that he was using his public office for personal gain.

    Based on his behavior on council again…he still doesn’t understand it.

  33. Lorie Thom
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    @Susan:

    clear moment here – Paul was not part of Waterstreet decision.

    AND Waterstreet – while painful, is clearly only 10% of the budget problem we have as a city. Dropped revenues based on the real estate crash (as predicted) and dropping state revenue sharing is another.

    I think Paul has done a wonderful job as mayor.

  34. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks Lorie. Citizen Blogger makes it sound like Pete was a victim of the city manager back then–a ridiculous notion (if Pete really had no clue, then that alone should show that we should look elsewhere for a mayor).

    Lorie, you ought to link these in the comments section of that op-ed piece you published on AnnArbor.com. I was hoping that one of their reporters would step up and show the public who Murdock was in the past, politically, but . . .

  35. Rosie
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Is this the last minute election dirt we were expecting from Advance Ypsi? Pretty stale and lame.

  36. Sylvia
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I was truly in the middle about who to vote for. Lori Thom, you are so bitter and angry that I now know I can’t support anyone that you do because you could poison our whole city. Even if Pete loses for Mayor, he will still be on council and you could do some real damage to our city with your unjustified hatred for Pete as a person.
    My vote now goes to Pete Murdock for mayor .

  37. amused1
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that there should have been a “cooling off” period of a year or two between serving on the council and taking a position with the City. Especially a position that may have, in part, owed its existence to the ongoing efforts of the council member in question. Such a cooling off time might have cleared up the question of impropriety on all sides.

    The idea of an agreement between the council member and the city manager, real, implied or imagined, strikes me as inappropriate unless it came after all applicants had been vetted and the council member was found to be the best candidate available and willing to take the position. Can anyone speak to this issue?

    Citizen Blogger mentions that the council member “GAVE UP” his power in order to be able to take the job. To give up power as a member of the Council, a part time job with a nominal stipend, for the opportunity to take on full time City employment with better pay and benefits seems more like a trade off. But that’s just my opinion, and we all know what they say about opinions.

  38. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Murdock could, of course, explain himself on this issue. I’m waiting.

  39. dragon
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Voter: “Why does this puppet have a recycling bin on its head?”
    Lorie: “Because we’re blind to their tyranny.”
    Voter: “Then shouldn’t you be wearing the bucket?”

  40. Sylvia
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    It seems like the East side of Ypsi overwhelmingly elected Pete for City Council 2 years ago. They knew Petes past and history and still chose to elect him because of the situation the city is in. So what does that say?
    Does this mean the entire group of East Side voters are idiots like Lori Thom would let you believe? I know a lot of Eastsiders and they are pretty informed and involved plus they obviously thought enough of Pete to elect him to office.
    Get over it Lori.

  41. Demitrius
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Interesting that people are attacking Lori for being the messenger.

    Probably because nobody can refute the facts she’s presenting …

  42. Lorie Thom
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    hey look, Pete set up this department so he could run it. When he didn’t get the job he promised the city manager that he would make his life hell – claimed to be a master at it. He sued. He was told that if he HAD gotten the job that would have been ILLEGAL . He appealed and lost again. All costing the city money and time.

    I don’t hate Murdock as a person. We align closely on most of the social policies in the city and worked together on defending the City’s Human Rights Ordinance from Tom Monaghan’s offensives.

    I think Ward 3 can have whoever they want to represent them. I have never said anything about how they should vote or who should represent them.

    However, I was here in 80s when Murdock’ was mayor and Ypsilanti was a pretty bad place to be off campus. Ypsilanti was a failing city. Huge crime issues, nasty decay, group homes and 1/2 way houses seemingly on every block, blight, and terrible race relations that left the south side isolated except for only the most symbolic of measures: a softball here, a basketball game there. It got worse on his watch not better.

    He operated then the same way he does today: last minute proposals rammed through without proper review, backroom deals and lots of untintended(and costly) consequences. The city had high staff turnover. He held off-the-record Council meetings before the public meetings to make decisions and script the public performance.

    Ypsilanti needed help from EMU,the surrounding townships, the county, the state and the feds to make these things better – very little came until Ypsilanti was lead by later mayors who were more above-board, collegial in their approach.

    Ypsilanti has come a long way in recovering from its bad old days. Steady, consistent improvement for the past 20 years.

    I am not motivated by hate, its fear. I am afraid Ypsilanti could slip back to the bad ol’ 80s again. I believe strongly that Murdock would lead in that direction.

  43. Mark H.
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Paul may not have been the creator of the Water Street fiasco, but he’s not been clear headed or outspoken about what a utter failure it’s been. Indeed, in one or more of his email newsletters, he spoke of Water St as being, ultimately, down the road, an asset for the city. Now he’s muted such praise for the $20 million fiasco, but he also has naively relied on the leadership of the key authors of that fiasco – the city manager and the former mayor. And no matter how you slice it, the proposal for a city income tax was, despite the spin, a desperate attempt to fund the debt of that fiasco. And the failed attempt to tax city incomes was the mayor’s #1 initiative during his first term.

    In contrast, Pete, elected to council less than 2 years ago by the east side voters who know him best, has in those 20 or so months on Council, shown himself to be a capable leader and a consensus builder. To take just one example: He lead the way to get county wide Obama stimulus money to demolish vacant buildings on the Water Street property, without major costs to the city taxpayers.

    Pete would rather get things done than get credit for them. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the man pretty well since 2006, and I know he’s a capable and results oriented leader. Trust Pete. We eastsiders do.

    Paul? Very nice guy, with lots of very nice people supporting him. His record as mayor is…a wee bit hard to identify. He gets along well with everybody, and everybody likes him. He’s always polite. Those nice personal qualities should not be confused with leadership or accomplishments for the city.

    And Pete listens and responds to wide circles. Paul doesn’t, sadly – he didn’t even know that the city income tax proposal, that he poured his heart and his effort into, never had a snowball’s chance in hell, given the sentiment of the majority of Ypsi residences about the errors of city leaders. But in Paul’s circles, the income tax idea was popular. I mention this now not to smear Paul — who is a very nice person and a dedicated citizen too — but merely to highlight his lack of a crucial quality of municipal leadership: a ear to the grassroots, not just one local group of like-situated people.

    And this stuff about Pete suing the city decades ago? Get over it folks. He sued, he lost, the issue is closed. That’s the American way: Aren’t people entitled to bring grievances to court? My guess is that suing was a mistake for Pete, but it was not slimly. He was willing to fight for what he believed, and we need a mayor who’ll do that. Same too with his having to defend himself in ancient times against bogus voting fraud charges, which were often in the 1980s – early ’90s brought by Republican prosecutors against community activists. He won that dispute, hands down. Both are irrelevant now to the city’s future — but both are tossed out as mud now, because on the issues, the old anti-Pete establishment of Ypsilanti (they’ve run the city govt. for decades!! ) hasn’t got a case. When you don’t have a case, in American politics, go for the mud.

    Paul’s not tossing mud, but some of his supporters are — including former mayor Farmer and the Populist Caucus, who are strange but desperate bedfellows.

    Get a gripe, folks. The future of the city isn’t going to be determined by references to decades old legal court desputes, but rather by how the city handles its finances. And we currently have the most passive of Mayors, who waits for good things to come along and smiles, but doesn’t know how to build consensus or how to create opportunities.

    Vote for Paul and the status quo, or vote for Pete Murdock and reform. That’s the choice.

    But good people may differ. Those for Paul do now have the duty of making an affirmative and specific, detailed case for Paul having accomplished something as mayor. That case hasn’t been made except in vague, sweeping terms.

  44. Mark H.
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Lorie T. — you allege that decades ago “Pete set up this department so he could run it.” and that he unethically pursued getting a city job running this new recycling dept. But you have no proof, just allegation. And of course it was COUNCIl, not Pete alone, that created this department, just as many towns then were sagely creating recycling programs.

    And you seem to blame Pete for the higher crime of the 1980s, forgetting what all good liberals ought to never forget: crime is largely driven by demographics and drug epidemics, not city leaders. The 80s saw the crack epidemic and a large population of young males. Crime has been falling nationwide for decades since the 1980s, but due to factors far deeper than who’s in office. Your attempt to credit Cheryl and Paul with the decline in crime would be cute, if it didn’t have the potential to affect the election.

    I assume you really believe Ypsi’s higher crime decades ago was really somehow Pete’s fault, as I assume your statements are sincere. But still these are seriously, desperately ill informed, simplistic accounts of municipal issues, and they gotta make everyone reading this bog pause and think twice about how much personal vendettas shape your local political opinions.

    Pete’s a nice guy, Paul’s a nice guy, and Pete on council has helped to fiscally manage the city budget in a way that preserves police and fire staffing at levels Mayor Paul said wouldn’t be possible without the city income tax being passed in 2007.

    I humbly suggest that the actual issues facing the city today should be the issues we voters think about for August 3. Today it’s finances that count, not the unsubstantiated, bogus claims that decades ago Pete caused Ypsi’s crime problems. The mud thrown at Pete now is enough to make the well informed citizen laugh, and enough to make me grateful for citizens like him, and the majority of our council today, who are willing to stand up and seek to lead the city forward, despite the ancient mud throwing practices of the city’s discredited Establishment.

  45. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    @ Mark H.

    You claim that Murdock should get credit for the Water Street cleanup money; yet fail to mention that Schreiber worked for over six years to work out a deal on Parkview that is going to bring at least $6 million (and possibly as much as $12 million) in new federal funds to Ypsilanti.

    As a result of the deal Paul helped negotiate, many, if not all, of the dilapidated public housing units located at one of our City’s major gateways (Hamilton and I-94) will be completely renovated; the City will receive several years worth of back-taxes owed by HUD; the Parkview property will go back on the tax rolls, and will be professionally run by a privately-owned management company.

    In addition, Mayor Schreiber has been a driving force in Ypsilanti obtaining federal “Urban County” funding to support targeted improvements (building clean-up and renovation) in Ypsilanti, and in working with County Commissioners to develop the Washtenaw County Land Bank — which has tremendous potential to help the eastern part of the county (and Ypsilanti, in particular) deal with negative effects of a back-log of property foreclosures, etc.

    I could cite many other examples of how Schreiber’s leadership has helped move Ypsilanti forward, but my point is this: At a time when Ypsilanti is struggling — we need all the help we can get — and we certainly need leaders on Council who know how things work, and know how to get things done.

    A vote for Murdock for mayor equals a vote to get rid of one of our most effective and experienced City leaders … while a vote for Schreiber means that Ypsilanti will continue to benefit from both Schreiber’s and Murdock’s experience for at least the next two years.

  46. nammeroo
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow. With the partial exception of Lorie Thom and Dirtgrain, the local election year political debate on MarkMaynard.com this time around is remarkably civil! I am impressed. Policy choices and alternatives, a discussion of the issues, and a (mostly) reasonable representation of historical “facts.” For Ypsilanti politics, the tone/content of the commentary is so positively nice (relatively speaking) it’s scary….

  47. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Did I cross the line in this thread? If so, where?

  48. Mark H.
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Glen S., thanks for your positive account of Mayor Paul’s long involvement in public housing. Yes, he has worked hard there, going back to before he ran for office and he served on the housing commission. But the accomplishments in public housing that you attribute to him were not just his own good deeds – lots of people have been working on that front, not just Paul.

    Nor to take anything away from Paul, but I’d suggest that the arrival of President Obama in the White House, and his new HUD secretary, are as relevant to reaching the recent agreement as is Paul’s good labors over six years, in obtaining the results you praise as being Paul’s achievements.

    We got one local hot dog man running for office who has claimed to be “Obama’s hot man”. Now do we have a serious attempt to appropriate Obama’s change of funding policies into a bragging point of the Mayor of Ypsilanti?

    Speaking of Bill Rinney the free hot dog man — today I observed his truck and hot dog trailer running a red light at Prospect and Cross; he was turning on to Cross, westbound, and a father/young son pair of bicyclists crossing the street seemed started by his rapid driving and the swerve of his trailer, with the light red above him as he crossed the intersection. This is just about 4 blocks where the hot dog man crashed into motorcyclists a year or so ago. Poor Bill — today he no doubt was trying to get to a hot dog emergency and felt that traffic laws didn’t apply to him.

  49. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    He steals the souls of children and turns their bodies into hot dogs. You’ve been eating your children, Ypsilanti! I might have seen him flipping an elderly vegetarian woman off–or he might have just been flicking off a fleck of kid flesh from his brow. And where are all our prostitutes? Yep.

  50. Mark H.
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Glen S.,
    Sorry I neglected to make my main points in reply to your praise of Paul for the parkridge plans recently made. Yes, these are good plans; but as most of their benefits (the $6 or $12 million you mention) will come in the future, they are not yet tangible; and the level of uncertainty involved remains large (as is so of any agreement about $ and actions to be paid or taken in the future). Let’s not credit all of these chickens to anyone until they have all hatched….. Plus, these funds won’t come to the city directly as Parkridge is privately owned and not truly, as i recall, city owned public housing; thus the Parkridge plan addresses real issues in the city of Ypsilanti, but it’s not directly going to impact the city budget or city provided services.

    Still, Paul’s very good work on this issue is very praiseworthy; but in what way was this agreement dependent not upon Paul the good and capable, generous neighbor, but upon Paul’s position as Mayor? Most of what he brought to the process was his experience and knowledge of housing issues from before he was mayor. Was his position and power as Mayor essential to achieving the agreement? No, not really, though no doubt an aide. All I’ve heard and read on this Parkridge agreement suggests it could have been achieved without Paul having the position of Mayor . And I am sure Paul’s admirable dedication to and involvement in housing issues will last for years to come, whether he is mayor or not.

    More fundamentally, Glen – you’re silent on Paul’s failed initiative to tax city incomes and what that utterly predictably unsuccessful initiatve says about Paul’s lack of ears to the grassroots quality; and you’re silent on Paul’s role as the defender of the fiscally mismanaged city of the last 16 years. Still, your post is a nice argument in favor of a nice man, and it’s all based on issues, not mud throwing. so it’s welcome.

  51. Glen S.
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I’ve lived in Ypsilanti for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen our downtown look better. Over the past four years, new bars, restaurants, and stores have opened, and several more significant redevelopment projects are planned or already underway. Where once downtown was dark and foreboding after hours — I now see people out on the streets, and even finding a parking spot can be difficult.

    Ypsilanti also is becoming known for its growing arts and music scene, with numerous clubs and music festivals featuring lots of homegrown talent; and initiatives such as the Shadow Art Fair, Spur Studios, the Dreamland Theater and FLY Children’s Art Studio providing new and exciting opportunities — and generating great buzz for our community.

    All over town, unique, citizen-led efforts to promote urban agriculture (including chickens and bees), local food production and greater sustainability are gaining ground — as are efforts to make our community more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. We even (finally) have solar panels at City Hall.

    Despite a devastated state and national economy, Ypsilanti has been able to manage it’s City finances well, (thus far) managing to avoid cuts to essential services that might endanger our community’s health and safety. And, where City funds are lacking, generous citizens and “friends groups” are helping to pick up the slack — spearheading efforts to save and improve important community resources such as Parkridge Community Center, Rutherford Pool, the Freighthouse, etc.

    Let me be clear: I am NOT saying that Mayor Schreiber is responsible for all (or any) of these things. Clearly, most of them are the result of the enormous talent and dedication demonstrated by numerous Ypsilanti residents, business owners, and volunteers.

    However, what I AM saying is that your attempts to characterize Mayor Schreiber as a hapless leader of a “fiscally mismanaged” city are completely off the mark — and frankly, a bit offensive.

    Despite the enormous odds against us (bad economy, foreclosure crisis, dysfunction in Lansing, etc.), we, as a community, seem to be doing remarkably well, and I think Mayor Schreiber’s leadership has been instrumental in making that happen.

    Frankly, I just don’t see why some (such as Mark H.) feel such a compelling need for a change in leadership in the Mayor’s office at this time.

  52. J
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    It’s worth noting that professor Higbee was for the city income tax before he was against it.

  53. Peter
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Anybody figure who sent out the populist caucus flyer? Mike Eller?

  54. Lisa W
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    The real question is who paid the three or four thousand dollars to mail it?

  55. Demitrius
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm … It looks like the “season for malicious political attacks” isn’t quite over, yet. Seems that 2006 Mayoral wanna-be and Murdock “BFF” Steve Pierce has been slinging a little mud of his own …

    http://www.annarbor.com/news/literature-distorting-record-of-ypsilanti-mayor-paul-schreiber-circulated-to-residents/#comments

  56. Karl
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link Demitrius. It helped me to make up my mind. I like Pete OK, but his puppet master gives me the heebie jeebies.

  57. Andy C
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I saw Steve Pierce hit my house this weekend but with nothing sinister, just the same Murdock material that I received in the mail a few days before. I was also hit twice in one day with Schreiber material.

    Also received some Rebekah Warren responds to negative ads stuff for those who don’t go on the internets. That was a smart move.

    It’s sad that no Ward 1 City Counsel people have come around. I liked Juanita House last time she ran, but haven’t seen any thing from her this time. Right now I’m just thrilled to get rid of Trudy Swanson. I’ve always been happy with Lois Richardson.

    I think we have a lot of good people running locally this year and no matter how things turn out, we’ll be in pretty good shape.

  58. Edward
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Ask Lois what she thinks of gay people sometime, Andy. It might not be the hugest issue locally, at it doesn’t generally come up in front of Council, but it’s one of the reasons I didn’t vote for her when she ran for Mayor.

  59. Ypsiosaurus Wrecks
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    @ Karl

    Is Pete’s ‘puppet master” the same person as his girlfriend (Robb)?

  60. Andy C
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Edward, I do know. She’s morally opposed. Surprise! She’s religious. She also doesn’t drive around with a “marriage equals man and woman” sticker on her car either. She has a right to her beliefs, even if they’re fucked. And you’re right again, it doesn’t come up at City Council. As long as she doesn’t try to ban Elbow Deep or impose them in any other way, I’d hope we can all tolerate them.

    Lois makes an effort to represent the south side of Michigan as well as the north side. That’s a good thing.

  61. Posted August 2, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    This is no time to go back to the bad old days or to change mayors after Paul Schreiber has finally helped to change our image and made positive connections with county officials and other municipalities. Let’s stay the course with Paul and keep Murdock in his present role so we can reap the rewards they both have to offer the city in a difficult time for Ypsilanti and for all Michigan cities.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Murdock (D). Pete and his wife Grace were the organizers and driving forces behind the successful “Stop […]

  2. […] thought, when I did my last post about malicious political ads, that we were done for now, but, according to AnnArbor.com, we have a late entry. It seems as […]

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