Automatic termination of Ypsilanti board and commission members

    Apparently there’s a movement afoot on Ypsi City Council to change the way volunteers serving on boards and commissions are rotated off at the ends of their terms. It seems like a relatively small thing to me, but, as my in-box is full of notes from people who want to talk about it, I figure I must be missing something. First, by way of background, here’s an email from Ypsilanti’s Mayor, Paul Schreiber.

    Dear Members of Ypsilanti Boards and Commissions:

    I write to inform you of a proposed city council resolution that will institute automatic termination for Ypsilanti board and commission members whose terms have expired.

    Resolution 2010-191, sponsored by Ypsilanti city council members Pete Murdock, Brian Robb, and Lois Richardson, will be considered by Ypsilanti city council on Tuesday, September 7. It is attached and can also be found on page 84 of the city council packet. The proposed Term of Office section states:

    TERM OF OFFICE: That all appointees to City Boards and Commissions shall serve for a fixed term. A term may be extended once for no more than 60 days by a two-thirds vote of Council.

    Currently, board and commission members whose terms have expired serve into the next term until they are reappointed or replaced or until they resign. The proposed Term of Office wording will eliminate automatic term extension.

    To avoid automatic termination, I intend to re-nominate current board and commission members before their terms expire. But the nominations must be approved by a majority of city council members. Failure to approve the nominations will result in automatic terminations that will increase board vacancies and may curtail or even stymie projects and activities.

    If you have comments on this proposed change in policy, please contact me, Ypsilanti city council members Pete Murdock, Brian Robb, and Lois Richardson, or any other Ypsilanti city council members. I also encourage comments at the September 7 city council meeting during Audience Participation. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

    And, here’s a letter from DDA member, and Corner Brewery owner, Rene Greff:

    Dear Mayor and Council,

    I am writing to urge you to reject the proposed changes to the term of office procedures for board and commission appointees on your upcoming agenda (resolution 2010-91 on page 84 of the city council packet.) I have to admit that I am discouraged and disappointed by what appears to be continued gamesmanship on the part of a few members of council in an effort to dismantle a fair and democratic process for filling vacancies that has served the city well and will continue to do so if used in good faith. Though in all fairness, perhaps the sponsors of this resolution simply didn’t consider all of its possible ramifications.

    I cannot know if the goal of this proposal is to allow council to passively remove board and commission volunteers without having to step up to the plate and vote them off – but that will be the result. If council is unhappy with the performance of any appointee they have every right (and obligation) not to renew them for another term. But it should be done in an open and honest way –not by filibustering a vote on their renewal for 60 days to let their term lapse. Let’s leave that kind of ugly passive-aggressive politics in Washington. We don’t need it here in Ypsilanti where we work and serve side by side with our friends, neighbors, and elected officials.

    If the council is concerned about volunteers overstaying their appointments, you could easily solve this problem with a requirement that before a term ends, the mayor must announce his/her candidate for the seat and the council must vote on the nomination. That would ensure a smooth and timely transition that would help boards and commissions and keep everything running on schedule.

    I believe that open and honest government encourages a more engaged and supportive constituency and hope that you will reject this resolution which, regardless of its original intent, certainly looks to the public like cynical political gamesmanship.

    Thank you for your time and for your service.

    Rene Greff

    If you’d asked me to sit down and make a list of the 20 most pressing issues facing Ypsilanti, I doubt very seriously that “volunteers overstaying their terms on boards and commissions” would be on it. Having served on both a board and a commission for the City, I can tell you, it’s a miracle that anyone’s willing to serve out one term, let alone stay for a second. But, like I said, maybe I’m missing something. Maybe we have tons of qualified people in Ypsi who are dying for opportunities to give up their nights and weekends, sitting around tables, away from their families, debating the minutia of zoning codes and the like, and I’m just not aware of it. And, maybe, in the whole scheme of things, it’s a bigger deal than attracting employers to the City, and making progress with the Water Street development, but this just looks to me like another case of misplaced priorities. Feel free to leave a comment and try to convince me otherwise, but quarreling over whether or not someone serving on the Planning Commission, who is already doing so with the approval of City Council, can stay on for a few more thankless months, seems to miss the point that we’re hurtling toward insolvency, without any real plan as to how to set things right.

    update: The full text of the proposal can be found here.

    update: City Council member Mike Bodary offers the following explanation for the resolution in the comments section:

    The upcoming proposal, is intended to repair a deficiency in council procedures with respect to commission appointees.

    When mayoral appointees are voted onto commissions it is for a fixed term. At the close of that term it is intended that the mayor will announce the proposed reappointment of the current member for another term, or a suitable replacement. Council has found that there are a large number of critical positions to commissions that are or could be expiring without reappointment being offered to council by the mayor. This leaves the “expired” member serving indefinitely. The proposal under consideration would eliminate this problem by actually expiring the term of a member when it was intended to expire. The mayor will then be required to bring an appointment to council for consideration. Such appointment will be voted on at the next meeting, allowing for much more open public input or time for additional interested parties to step forward. This proposal will eliminate the problem of having a position vacancy remain open, as this hampers the performance of the commission and impedes the city’s progress.

    Council is also finding that during a commissioner’s term some have moved out of the city, making their vested interest in Ypsilanti’s needs less clear. Ypsilanti issues need to be decided by our own citizens and vested business people, not outsiders. The present system allows the reappointment process to languish without remedy. The proposal is a common-sense solution to this problem, and it should be noted that this is the procedure used in many other communities.

    p.s. The part of the resolution quoted by Mayor Schreiber is not the entire proposal and the other items should also be examined to get the whole picture.

    update: Mayor Paul Schreiber responds with the following:

    My argument against term expirations is this: If the mayor and city council can’t agree on appointments, then the board or commission has to deal with vacancies. Automatic term extension keeps contributing members on committees until city council can come to an agreement.

    In the case of Ypsilanti Housing Commission that council member Bodary is referring to, Carmelita Mullins is serving into the next term because city council tabled her nomination earlier this year. I still intend to nominate her because she has experience with low-income families as a Washtenaw County mediator and counselor at the Dispute Resolution Center, has served on the YHC board for about 15 years and understands HUD rules and regulations for low-income housing, and even though she lives in Ypsilanti Township now, she is active in the community through Brown Chapel A.M.E. and lived in the city for 25 years.
    Another YHC term is up in October. With automatic terminations, the YHC could be down to three seated members for a five member board. Isn’t it better to let the YHC function normally with a full board while city council irons out its differences?

    Resolution 2010-191 does have some good points. It asks for a courtesy notice of at least two weeks in advance before a nomination. In the future I intend to follow this practice regardless because it promotes good communication and thoughtful discussion. A two-week courtesy notice to the full city council for resolution 2010-191 would also have been beneficial. I hope to receive courtesy notices for future resolutions sponsored by city council members so that city staff and the public have time to provide thoughtful comment.

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      98 Comments

      1. Termination
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 5:15 am | Permalink

        Impotent little men looking to feel good about themselves. They lose the mayoral race, so they try to find ways to tie the hands of the man we did elect. It’s vindictive, spiteful, and exactly what I’d expect from these guys. If only they’d put this effort into their secret Water Street committee, we might have some kind of solution.

      2. lorie thom
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 6:30 am | Permalink

        Great, more callous game-playing with commissions and boards (that would be the citizen participation portion or our city government) by the Murdock gang – Perhaps they missed the message in the primary vote.

        Does this help our city keep moving forward? No. Does this help their constituents? No. Does this help to keep our boards and commissions fully functioning? No.

        All this does is make (short term thinking) it easier for the current gang of 4 to dismantle our citizen participation as part of a callous old political hack game.

        One might think that a win by the mayor with such a large margin (including the endorsement of Murdock’s own ward) might have an impact…I guess not.

        How looses? We do. Pete, you and your gang SUCK!

      3. lorie thom
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        How s/b Who…sorry.

        WTF? I mean really. We have budget crisis coming in two years. As a city we have to come up significant changes in the way we do business and PROVIDE SERVICES to our our residents with a major budget crisis in two years. WHAT are these guys doing? Proposing that we automatically end the terms of commission volunteers when they expire, wow – now that is a strategy we can take to the bank and pay our police officer with now isn’t it?

      4. Mark H.
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Ah, what’s so radical about this proposal? The proposal seems to be that people who are appointed to boards and commissions will serve….for the period of their appointment. Not much longer than that, at least not automatically. Reappointments permittted, right, but necessary rather than automatic? Seems like this proposal is a pretty common, modest sense step toward accountability. The mayor’s stated intention of reappointing people in a more timely way also seems like a sensible response. Perhaps then, the resolution has already had a constructive affect. Members of Ypsilanti’s permanent government circle should be more accountable and all this seems like a step in the right direction, despite the hyperbole with which this rather modest municipal action is being greeted by some.

        And, hey, Lorie, you’re right that the mayor did win renomination and is thus assured of reelection. (Congratulations to Paul and his supporters!) Still, I am sure that the mayor has not forgotten, even if some of his supporters would prefer to, that his position is that of a mayor on a city council — and the council majority is required to enact ordinances. The mayor has one vote on council. There are six other votes too. Is someone who’s elected to council supposed to give up their ideas of good governance because those ideas may not be shared by the mayor. Something like that may prevail in Chicago, but never has here.

        Civic discourse in town will improve when supporters of the mayor cease to shout, in cyberspace and real space alike, in public and in private, things like you “SUCK” at all who don’t march in step with the Mayor. I doubt Paul, a gentleman, appreciates such shrill name-calling as a substitute for real debate. It’s not useful, Lorie, for you to express your policy disagreements with Pete Murdock, and other distinguished members of the elected Council, by saying they “SUCK.” Surely, the city doesn’t benefit from such tirades. Such behavior does, unfortunately, help harm the reputation of the Mayor’s supporters.

        But I don’t mean to indict all of the mayor’s supporters for the immature reasoning and argumentation of some of that crowd. But that name-calling behavior does hurt the mayor and it hurts the city, so please grow up.

      5. Sylvia
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Well written Mark H. Thank you expressing my thoughts.

      6. dragon
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        Lorie, I can tell that you just love to be happily terrified of a minor council proposal, however, you must do a staggering bit of laundry.

      7. lorie thom
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Mark H – oh, I get that – just saddened that this what Murdock and crew have come up with. Still fighting past battles and still engaging in cynical games instead of getting to work on something substantive about what is really going on.

        Anything from our famous waterstreet committee? Anything on future budgeting? State efforts? County efforts?

        Bullshit – and yes, Mark H…Murdock and crew still SUCK!

      8. Mark H.
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Lorie: your foul mouthed, name-calling habits do NOT advance your credibility, and saddle the mayor with self-destructive allies. Shame on you for that behavior, and shame on all elements of the city’s permanent government that indulge such knee jerk habits.

        Likewise, your attempt to switch the topic of conversation – from a proposal before the Council on ending automatic extensions of expired terms of appointment, to the entirely separate issue of budgetary problems in the future — is another example of really poor reasoning on your side. City budget problems are real; that hardly invalidates all attempts to address other civic concerns. Switching the topic does not
        provide a single logical reason for voting against the actual proposal before Council. Indeed, the attempt to avoid the debate suggests there are no good reasons not to support the proposal.

        And tell us this, Lorie: Do you really think it’s good practice for appointments to be automatically extended once they’ve expired? Where besides Ypsi city boards is such the norm? Terms of office and of appointment are supposed to mean something, aren’t they? The credibility of the civic bodies on which dedicated volunteers serve largely depend on the transparency of their membership: and there’s no transparency if terms aren’t for fixed periods of time. All ploys and arguments, like yours, Lorie, for extending the permanent government’s semi-public hold on official positions in town, do the city harm. Even if the mayor’s supporters think it essential for their own interests.

        But arguing with someone who writes things like “Bullshit – and yes, Mark H…Murdock and crew still SUCK!” is like arguing with wall: a waste of time. Civility is the first requirement of civic debate, and you’ve disqualified yourself, Lorie. “Suck” is such a immature way of criticizing something — it’s totally cliche and devoid of content. Why do the mayor’s people accept and practice such a low bar of public debate? Perhaps because it’s the level at which they can expect to win.

        Pete Murdock is a distinguished public servant, and an elected representative of my ward. So is Brian Robb. Why are these two elected, capable leaders are targeted with so much name-calling and so little reasoned disagreement? Demagoguery.

        And a good Labor Day to all! As they used to say in the 19th century, “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

      9. Mike Bodary
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        The upcoming proposal, (resolution 2010-191 on http://cityofypsilanti.com/bd_city-council/Council%20Meeting%20Packets/2010%20Packets/09-07-10_council_packet) is intended to repair a deficiency in council procedures with respect to commission appointees.

        When mayoral appointees are voted onto commissions it is for a fixed term. At the close of that term it is intended that the mayor will announce the proposed reappointment of the current member for another term, or a suitable replacement. Council has found that there are a large number of critical positions to commissions that are or could be expiring without reappointment being offered to council by the mayor. This leaves the “expired” member serving indefinitely. The proposal under consideration would eliminate this problem by actually expiring the term of a member when it was intended to expire. The mayor will then be required to bring an appointment to council for consideration. Such appointment will be voted on at the next meeting, allowing for much more open public input or time for additional interested parties to step forward. This proposal will eliminate the problem of having a position vacancy remain open, as this hampers the performance of the commission and impedes the city’s progress.

        Council is also finding that during a commissioner’s term some have moved out of the city, making their vested interest in Ypsilanti’s needs less clear. Ypsilanti issues need to be decided by our own citizens and vested business people, not outsiders. The present system allows the reappointment process to languish without remedy. The proposal is a common-sense solution to this problem, and it should be noted that this is the procedure used in many other communities.

        p.s. The part of the resolution quoted by Mayor Schreiber is not the entire proposal and the other items should also be examined to get the whole picture.

      10. Hey
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Mark H,

        You would have more credibility in my book had you come out against Steve Pierce and the other Murdock supporters who were much more offensive. You never, however, came forward to suggest that their acts reflected poorly on Pete.

        http://markmaynard.com/?p=9712

      11. Bill French
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Councilmember Murdock, it would be helpful if you explained to our community why you believe this proposed change to the term and office procedures for board and commission appointees is important at this time.
        What has changed that would require you to support this distraction from our pressing issues like keeping the city solvent?

        As Mark has said, “it’s a mircle that anyone’s willing to serve out one term, let alone stay for a second”. If this is the case, and i believe it is; why are you supporting a resolution which once again places our communtiy volunteers in what appears to be some kind of political football game or under-the-radar political strategy? Didn’t the community volunteers just go through something similar a few months ago?

        At the very time when we need calm, thoughtful, and deliberate discussions from our council about the future course and survival of our city, it appears to me and i suspect many other citizens that the council is wasting too much time and energy on politics.

        Rome is burning, for heaven sakes grab a bucket of water and put down the political instruments.

        Bill French

      12. Andy
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        It’s about time someone pointed the finger at Steve Pierce. This one has Pierce written all over it.

      13. Mark H.
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Council Member Bodary — Thank you for your reasoned, careful explanation the purposes of this proposal. It very much seems to be a necessary, hardly radical, improvement in city government. I had no idea that the mayor was allowing appointees to continue to serve beyond their terms, without timely reappointments or new appointments. In the 18th century, practices similar to this were one way by which the British crown maintained its influence among its dependents…but I’m sure the similarity isn’t part of any local effort to gling to power. Power in Ypsi is like nothing compared to the British crown’s of 3 centuries ago!

        Dear Hey: I’m not a public official, so why need I be required to publicly criticize the campaign zealotry of another private citizen? Especially since the candidate, Pete Murdock, publicly criticized the overly zealous (and politically self-defeating) behavior you complain about now? Yet you have no credibilty, as you make no statement about the actual issue before council now, and instead seek merely to…switch topics! Evading the issue wins no award for civic debate, Hey.

        In all my comments today, I am talking about an actual issue of governance here in Ypsilanti, as are others. In contrast, the defenders of the status quo — Lorie Tom and Hey — want to switch topics. They lack any solid arguments for the status quo, so prefer dragging up mud and irrelevancies.

        One of the things I admire about council members Murdock, Robb, Richardson, and Bodary is that they focus on the issue at hand and seek to resolve problems. For this, they and our city don’t deserve mud throwing. Not even when there is a principled reason for disagreeing with them.

        And thank you, Council Member Bodary, for noting that the Mayor had not fully quoted the relevant proposal. I’d not realized that before, but now that I’ve read the whole proposal, i find its merits all the more convincing. Hard to see how anybody could make a case for allowing mayoral appointees to serve beyond the term of their appointments (something that could be regarded as abuse of executive power) without some new actions by the mayor and council. So far, I’ve not seen any such argument against the merits of the proposal! Lots of side arguments and irrelevant claims, and a lot of defensiveness too. Rather unproductive, at least for the immediate issue, yet revealing of the preferred style of governing of the permanent govt. in Ypsilanti.

        If any current appointees feel that this reform is aimed at them, they should not be so defensive. The reform is clearly aimed at cleaning up some sloppy current (and past?) practices.

        Mayor Schreiber is a very nice guy. But I am always puzzled by why his most vigorous advocates engage in mudslinging and so often hide behind made up names. And I do think Pete, another very nice guy, would have been a better mayor. But as we all know, Paul won the primary — and as Paul’s supporters claimed before the primary, if Pete lost that race, he’d stay on Council and thus continue to help the City. Let’s let Pete do just that without this unseemly name-calling and imputing of evil motives. On the current issue, the thing is crazy: Such a modest reform, remedying a rather notable problem, producing such extreme rhetoric and lopsided arguments. Even the mayor makes no coherent argument for the status quo.

      14. Mark H.
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Excuse my bad typing, please. By “gling” I meant “cling”. And I didn’t see the couple of comments prior to my last until I posted my own.

      15. Paul Schreiber
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Mark H.

        I agree with you that the personal name-calling should stop.

        My argument against term expirations is this: If the mayor and city council can’t agree on appointments, then the board or commission has to deal with vacancies. Automatic term extension keeps contributing members on committees until city council can come to an agreement.

        In the case of Ypsilanti Housing Commission that council member Bodary is referring to, Carmelita Mullins is serving into the next term because city council tabled her nomination earlier this year. I still intend to nominate her because she has experience with low-income families as a Washtenaw County mediator and counselor at the Dispute Resolution Center, has served on the YHC board for about 15 years and understands HUD rules and regulations for low-income housing, and even though she lives in Ypsilanti Township now, she is active in the community through Brown Chapel A.M.E. and lived in the city for 25 years.

        Another YHC term is up in October. With automatic terminations, the YHC could be down to three seated members for a five member board. Isn’t it better to let the YHC function normally with a full board while city council irons out its differences?

        Resolution 2010-191 does have some good points. It asks for a courtesy notice of at least two weeks in advance before a nomination. In the future I intend to follow this practice regardless because it promotes good communication and thoughtful discussion. A two-week courtesy notice to the full city council for resolution 2010-191 would also have been beneficial. I hope to receive courtesy notices for future resolutions sponsored by city council members so that city staff and the public have time to provide thoughtful comment.

        Paul Schreiber
        734-277-5446

      16. Dirtgrain
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        “Council Member Bodary — Thank you for your reasoned, careful explanation the purposes of this proposal.”

        Shame on you for posting smarmy obsequiousness to forward your political agenda. Do you know you audience?

      17. Mark H.
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Dirtgrain — with all due respect, I must say that I’ve never been accused of being obsequious before, and my comments were sincere, not obsequious. I note that you say nothing about the issue of this tread, but instead engage in attacking someone for an imaginary and irrelevant fault. And what is my “political agenda”? Please advise, all knowing Dirtgrain!

        And Mayor Paul – Thanks for your comment, and for agreeing that the name calling should stop. I hope your supporters heed your word on that, for both the terminated appointments issue and other issues facing council.

        And your point about vacancies occurring when the mayor and the council don’t agree is reasoned; it may not be persuasive, but it’s reasoned. But on the merits of the issue, isn’t it obviously true that if appointments require council’s consent, and if that consent isn’t granted, that there needs to be a new appointment rather than an expansion of the Mayor’s administrative authority? If one person on one body is lacking the confidence of the Council or if a majority on that body, or even most of the appointees on all city boards, then isn’t it politically healthy for an agreement to be reached, between council and the mayor, on how to fill the positions on the relevant board or boards? Merely extending the power of the mayor seems to be a formula for exacerbating the lack of confidence, rather than requiring remedies and resolutions.

        I know nothing of course about any particular vacant position on any city board or commission, and am not discussing particular persons or positions. Rather i am trying to understand the constitutional, as it were, arrangements. in a city council-manager system of municipal govt., I know of no parallel situation, Paul, in which the mayor would have the kind of extended appointment power which, apparently, you have had and apparently want to have.

        But speaking as a student of constitutional government and political history, my advice would be this: Reach agreement with the council majority. And get ALL of your supporters to be civil in their advocacy of your agenda and their criticisms of other city leaders.

      18. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        “Resolution 2010-191 does have some good points. It asks for a courtesy notice of at least two weeks in advance before a nomination. In the future I intend to follow this practice regardless because it promotes good communication and thoughtful discussion. A two-week courtesy notice to the full city council for resolution 2010-191 would also have been beneficial. I hope to receive courtesy notices for future resolutions sponsored by city council members so that city staff and the public have time to provide thoughtful comment.”

        I would like to challenge Pete, Brian, Mike, and Lois, to adhere to this practice in all proposals to council from here on in. Regardless of your thoughts on resolutions this group of council people have brought forward, one thing most have in common is that they are shoe-horned into council’s agenda at the last possible minute, curtailing any chance for public debate and discussion on the issues. How can the “Murdock Block” claim to be acting in the city’s best interest if they continually put up obstacles to public discovery on the issues. In recent memory we have: the bus vote, the previous move to block board nominations, the medical marijuana moratorium, and now this. Regardless of intention, the practice of adding a resolution to council’s agenda in the day, or even hours, before a vote brings the Murdock Block’s motives under suspicion.

        They have pointed it out in this proposal; it is common courtesy to inform the full council of an intent to call for a vote. I challenge the Murdock block to respond to this issue here and now on this thread, to put this idea into practice when offering any resolution to council, and to take a step further and pass a resolution requiring two weeks notice for any resolution to be put to a vote before council. In their quest for transparency in city government, it seems to me this would be the next logical step.

        And, lest I be accused of changing the subject, I do think this proposal has some merit. However, Paul makes a valid point; council has not been able to come to agreement on many nominations, in some cases tabling them for months, even trying to pass a resolution tabling all nominations until after the primaries. ( Which made no sense, given that council terms expire in January, not after the August primary) We need these boards to be up and running, trying to solve the problems we face here in Ypsilanti. Unless there can be more compromise in the nomination process, the current system seems to be the only way to keep things up an running while council argues their way through the nomination process. Even if the mayor brings forward a new nominee after council rejects the first, the process could easily take more than the 60 days allotted by this resolution, given council’s meeting schedule and the time it takes for the mayor to find qualified and willing candidates. And I just have a hard time buying into the idea that the current (and long standing) system is a Henry VII-like power grab by the mayor, as opposed to a solution to keep our city government functioning if the face of council’s disagreements.

      19. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        I misspoke in the second paragraph. Instead of “most proposals” it should have read “many proposals”, and, though I’m not entirely sure, I think I may have attributed the medical marijuana proposal to the wrong people….

      20. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Oh, and in the last paragraph, that should have been “Henry VIII-like”. My proofreading is experiencing severe lag time issues today.

      21. Mandy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        so when can we expect Andy Ypsilanti and Lori Thom to start sitting on some boards?

      22. Mark H.
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Normally, in American political institutions, when the power of an executive (in this case, the mayor) to seat nominees is constrained by the power of a legislative body (in this case, the council) to concur with or deny those appointments, then the executive is required, as a practical matter, to reach agreements with the legislative body in order to secure confirmations. This has been true for centuries. Deals are made. It’s called “checks and balances.” Not an original idea, particularly; James Madison, among my favorites of late presidents, wrote about this much, and elements of it are in his handiwork, the US Constitution. Significantly, each state govt. and all municipal govts. in the US that I know of have their versions of checks and balances too.

        So, like it or dislike it – praise it or yell about it — the Council has the power to agree with or block mayoral appointments. The council also has, it seems, the power by a majority vote, to curb the mayor’s current (and extremely odd!) practice of unilaterally extending appointments beyond the term of appointment. In this situation, some may seem evil doers on one side or another, but I see it as a normal tug in the checks and balances of the American democratic system. The council majority, or what seems to be a majority, seems to want to pull in the mayor’s power to extend appointments beyond the terms of appointments. Granted, it’s not much of a power, on a national scale, but it is clearly a case of the mayor and his supporters seeking to maintain a rather unusual executive power.

        And here’s the rub: The mayor’s political interests can’t be served by forcing a showdown on this with council. He lacks the votes (judging by the list of cosponsors and Council Member Bodary’s comments here). Barring a reversal of positions by members of Council, the majority is for this reform. It’s a reform that would put Ypsi more in the mainstream in terms of understanding what “term of appointment” means.

        So, the opponents of this reform engage in name calling and slurring people’s motives, and changing the topic. Plainly, Council members have the right to bring motions to council. The council then has the right to act or not act on those items.
        Mayor Paul concedes now that his own appointments should be made with 2 weeks notice to council — which I guess they’ve not previously. Andy Y. asks that ALL council business be put on a 2 week hold (a filibuster, they call it in the US Senate — but Andy Y. would make it even worse: an automatic 2 week delay on ALL issues brought to the Council!

        Instead, let’s try majority rule. Let the debate be about the issue under debate, and if the majority of Council is willing to act on an issue, and sees virtue in acting rather than delaying, then let them take the votes they see as desirable.

        Often people criticize Government for being too “slow”. Lots of such criticism is made here in Ypsilanti — so let’s not switch the subject from one reform to the creation of an automatic filibuster here in Ypsilanti. Let the mayor and his fellow members of Council work things out, according to the normal ways of doing business.

        I’d hate to think of how delayed everything would be in my realm of work – public higher education – if nobody could bring forward a single bit of business for action without an arbitrary 2 week clock having first been counted down to zero. And we in higher education are expert on requiring elaborate, careful input processses. But then, all members of Council are there as a result of the most important input process of all: elections. Let’s let our elected officials govern the city.

      23. Billy LaLonde
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        “With great power comes great responsibility” – Uncle Ben

        Spiderman would be disappointed in all of you local politico gameplayers. Why not work on some issues more pressing to the city, instead of your own posturing, local, bullshit, legacy, power grab.

        We need a hero…or some heroes. Someone start sewing some tights…

      24. James Madison
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        As the #1 fan of Mark Maynard.com among those dead ex-presidents who reside in Hell and retain the ability to read, let me be perfectly clear on this: I concur with Professor Mark H’s account of the value of checks and balances. Words of wisdom, his. Executives need a viable political relationship with legislative majorities, if they are going to be effective leaders, and this seems lacking in Washington and in Ypsilanti right now. In Washington, that’s partly due to the filibuster’s power…..

        However, my colleague here in Hell, Richard M. Nixon, is far more sympathetic to the arguments of Andy Y. and Lorie and the Mayor, in favor of extending the executive power of the mayor to make unilateral appointments. Indeed, Richard points out that matters can be much more efficiently handled when the executive need not bother to reach agreements on appointments, or much of anything, with the legislative. Richard sees no value in a legislative body that isn’t a rubber stamp, and applauds all who wish to apply that conclusion. (Henry VIII is here, too, Andy, but he’s usually too incoherent to talk politics. He had the French pox, you know, and it destroyed his mind and death does not restore it.)

        Perhaps all readers of this blog of Mr. Mark Maynard recall how Mr. Nixon’s presidency ended in a blaze of failure and disgrace, all due, mainly, to Richard’s unwillingness to limit his executive power grab, to respect the congressional will, and his disregard of the rule of law.

        I am sure your Mayor isn’t much like Richard Nixon, and will end up in a nicer place than Hell. But Richard is fun to play poker with, and there are no nice guys here at all. None. Take this advice: your nice mayor should listen to the advice, formal and informal, of all the nice guys and ladies on your very nicely democratically elected city council. Nothing more important than your city’s future rests on this. And your nice mayor should really curb his not very nice name-calling supporters. Democratic government has some standards.

      25. Brackinald Achery
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Just ignore him. Jackass is permanent.

      26. James Madison
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Ah, BA, I feared we readers of this thread would not be given the always amusing spectacle of your own name calling and lack of reasoning. Persons like you were the basis of Alexander Hamilton’s disdain of democratic government, as you display none of the reasoning capacity (as opposed to name calling) on which democracy must rest. Fortunately, it appears that most Ypsilantians have more regard for reason as a civic virtue than you or the other name-callers and rumor mongerers, and the name calling on this thread has decreased since violators of civic respect and civil discourse were called on their poor behavior earlier in the day. But you, of course, Mr. BA, have no pride and will also engage in name calling.

        Mr. Nixon, however, suggests that you, Mr. BA, whomever you may be, should be appointed as Chairman of the city’s commission on civil discourse. He adds that if no such commission exists, it should be created, so that Mr. BA will use it to distract the citizens from all matters of importance, allowing the Executive unfetterd power to do as he pleases.

      27. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Um, Mark H, just how am I proposing a filibuster or delay here? What I propose is that council be required to give advance warning, to council and to citizens, that they intend to offer a resolution for a vote, as opposed to putting it on the agenda at the last minute. Again, given the transparency platform of the Murdock Block, this would seem to make perfect sense. Now you seem to think it is important for the mayor to give such advance notice to council before asking for a vote on nominations; you don’t seem to consider that a this action a filibuster or delay; why should the case be any different for the Murdock Block? If your concern is truly the proper and transparent application of city government policy and the chance for a proper public debate, shouldn’t you be supporting a proposal that would put an end to surprise resolutions that prevent public discussion and involvement on a given issue? And, for that matter, if you want to talk delays and filibusters, we should probably be discussing the Murdock Block’s handling of mayoral appointments: tabling nominations and attempting to delay votes until after an arbitrary date smacks of a filibuster to me.

        Mark H, you also seem to be suggesting that the mayor somehow created the practice of automatically renewing the terms of board members, when in fact, this is a part of the city charter that council recently unanimously renewed. This practice is nothing new and far from perfect, and is also certainly not Paul’s invention. In fact, during his term as mayor, Pete would have had exactly the same power under the city charter. I wonder too, if Pete had won the primary and the power to nominate board members, if the Murdock Block would have seen this as a problem and offered such a resolution. Given the track record of the Murdock Block on board nominations, this does indeed to at least appear to be another attempt to turn the nomination process to the direction of their choosing without voting. After all, if the concern was simply the appointment of board members, wouldn’t it make more sense to get on with the process of vetting and voting on nominations, instead of trying (again) to change the process with a last minute resolution?

        The process of which we were talking is not actually automatic renewal. It is instead and automatic extension, which allows city government to continue to function normally at lower levels if there is an impasse at the highest levels. The best solution would be a more functional nominating and voting process; perhaps a measure requiring nominations and debates to begin a few months before the expiration of a given term and a final decision a month before the experation of a term. While this may create a “lame duck” board member it would almost certainly keep the nomination process fluid and prevent vacancy. Perhaps the 60 day extension should be automatic if council has been presented with a nominee and fails to reach an agreement or take a vote.

        One thing to me is clear; in order for this resolution to be acceptable, there must be repercussions for those on both sides of the debate, instead of ones aimed only at the mayor and board members or appointees. Council can not be allowed to simply refuse to vote on a nomination until the term expires and a vacancy is created. This is much like the term limit argument; the city charter provides a mechanism for council to shape the membership of commissions: they must vote. It is council’s responsibility, as mandated in the city charter, to vote a nominee up or down, and they must be held to this responsibility. If they vote to deny a appointment and it proves an unpopular decision, then they must live with that choice and its repercussions. To simply allow council to ignore a nomination until it goes away is unconscionable, and would be just a much of a failure of the democratic process as it is being suggested the current system is.

      28. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Oh, and James, I really wish you would put forth your points in a way that I could take seriously, instead of putting on such a farce about dead politicians in hell. I feel like you might have something valuable to say, it’s just hard to pick out. The crack to BA about not using his real name was kind of funny though, considering the nature of the source. And Mandy, what exactly is your comment supposed to mean? Should no one here should be commenting if they haven’t been nominated to sit on a commission, or are you just trying to take a pot shot? I don’t get it.

      29. EOS
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        The dead president adds nothing but bombast to any discussion. It’s a sure sign that the thread is in trouble when the split personality makes his appearance. Especially when his alter ego compliments his previous comments. They have a diagnosis for your symptoms in the DSM-IV.

      30. kjc
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Reasoning isn’t everything. Gut instinct tells you who’s an asshole.

      31. Brackinald Achery
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        LoL!

        Gotcha, Higgles.

      32. Posted September 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Andy Y -

        in fact, [automatic continuance of commission appointments until a new appointment is made] is a part of the city charter that council recently unanimously renewed

        Can you tell me where this is in the Charter?

      33. Stephen
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        I forget who said it, but I think someone did…… This isn’t really worth discussing as Team Pierce has all the votes they need, and it will happen. Our mayor is now in the minority, and will likely be able to stop very little that Steve and company put into motion.

      34. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Murph;

        While I am no legal expert, I think this is covered in the charter under the administrative section:

        2.05. Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filling of vacancies.
        (4) Term of Office cannot be Shortened or Extended. Except by procedures provided in this Charter, the terms of the elected officials of the City shall not be shortened. The term of any elective City officer may not be extended beyond the period for which the officer was elected except that, after the term has expired, the officer shall continue to hold office until a successor is elected and has qualified.

        Again, this is certainly not a legal opinion, but this section of the charter is vauge. While this section (4) mentions only elective city officers, other parts of Part 2 refer to both elected and appointed office. By my reading of the charter, this would be the default rule in this situation.

      35. Mark H.
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Andy Y. – I did not mean to suggest that Paul initiated this habit of the mayor continuing in office appointees whose terms had expired. I don’t know when it started, and I don’t think I blamed Paul for it. It does seem that our current Mayor has sought to retain and defend this power, even if he did not create it. The habit can, I think, be regarded as a instance of the classic dispute between executive and legislative in American politics. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough in my wordy posts.

        Sorry too that you misread my polite but sincere agreeing with the Mayor on the merits of his own idea that he henceforth would give Council a 2 week notice of appointments: on this, all I know is what the mayor’s written here, and his plan sounds fine to me. But it’s not on my own list of issues. And it’s something he’s voluntarily offering to do, which makes it very different than the idea of requiring, somehow, council to adopt a 2 week hold on all its actions.

        What I call the Ypsi filibuster is something much like the infamous filibuster in the US Senate, where a filibuster is a ploy, using existing senate rules, by which a minority of members slow down the proceedings of the body and thwart the will of the majority of members. So, the idea of a 2 week hold on all, or most, or many (I can’t tell really what the proposed rule would apply to, Andy) actions of city council is like a filibuster: it is a proposal to create a delaying tactic, to be used by a minority of votes on council, against the majority votes on council. The result would be a slowing down of city business and a thwarting of the popular democratic will, as expressed through the elected representatives of the city.

        And in my view (and in the view of the dead president James, by the way), democratic government works best when the actual majorities in legislative bodies are able to enact laws, rules, policies, etc., with open, public votes, without being thwarted by the will of the minority members or by needlessly formal rules, like the two week delay/hold/filibuster that some of the mayoral faction now purpose. Leading members of the mayor’s faction want more time, on all issues, during which council cannot act: This would, they seem to think, give the mayor more power, by freezing council action for 2 weeks. Not surprisingly, it seems that this idea of a 2 week hold on council actions is not popular with most members of council, who seem to think they were elected by the people of their wards, in order to do worthwhile things, rather than to delay on doing worthwhile things.

        Hope these comments are clarifying, Andy. And I’m sorry the voice of the dead James Madison isn’t as amusing or understandable to you as he is to others. No offense intended, by me or the late president. He sends his regrets for being obtuse. Some of his long dead contemporaries also thought he was obtuse.

        But who could deny that there is an historical basis for the executive/legislative balance of powers design of American govt. institutions, and that often disputes have emerged from and within that structure, and that the balance of power tips one way, then another, over time? Historically, a great many of these disputes have stemmed from the power of appointment, and from efforts to expand or restrict that power. These struggles locally right now between what appears to be a minority mayoral faction on council, and what appears to be a majority non-mayoral faction on council, can be understood as flowing from that political history of our country, from the inherited political structures we have, and from the recent electoral history of our community. Or, alternately, it could be imagined as a conflict between totally evil forces, grouped around Pete (who all “SUCK” in Lorie’s worldview) versus totally pure-minded forces surrounding the mayor and the former mayor. Personality has something to do with it, I’m sure. More imporrtantly, look at recent electoral consequences: The voters of this town have put rather opposing groups in the mayor’s seat and in what appears to be the council majority. This, naturally, creates a need for political leadership; instead, demonizing is offered up. That demonizing is silly and destructive — the extreme vendettas against the so-called “Murdock bloc” help nothing, nor does all the name calling.

        Maybe Mr. Madison hasn’t helped much either. I don’t know. Even though he’s in Hell, I think his intentions are good; and I know he’s not the maker of this conflict on the council. And he’s no more silly and far less destructive than the shrill vendettas launched by members of the mayor’s faction against Pete Murdock, an honorable public servant.

        Oh, and what’s this talk of last minute business being done by Council and therefore being unworthy of public support? Ah, isn’t the idea of making terms of appointments actually mean what they ostensibly mean being debated this week, before Council meets? “Last minute” means at “the last minute,” not days before the last minute. Obstructionist criticism that’s about slowing down the majority on council isn’t good govt. practice, and it won’t result in anybody being persuaded to join the mayoral faction. However, obstructionism might well do something akin to what all the vendettas and name calling has done: belittled our city and harmed the deliberative process.

        Like Murph, I’d be most curious to have a citation to the part of the Charter that allegedly gives the mayor the power to continue expired appointments past their expire by date.

        Sorry if I seem pedantic and snarky today; James and I get that way when trying to explain the process of democratic governance and the requirements of civic debate.
        Peace be with all. An injury to one is an injury to all.

      36. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Since I certainly could be wrong here, can anyone provide a historical prospective? Under previous mayors and councils, how was this situation handled? Were posts left vacant if the mayor and council did not approve an appointment in time, or were serving members allowed to fill the post? Or did we historically choose to vote a nomination up or down and get on with the process?

        I don’t think this proposal is all bad, but it’s one sided, and doesn’t cover the issue sufficiantly. Where is the section compelling council to act on nominations? If we’re going to “fix” this, let’s cover both sides.

      37. James Madison
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Dear Mr Andy Ypsilanti,

        I admire your wilingness to make a public case for something you believe in, and for sticking to your mayor. Public officials need public supporters, to be sure. But really, the passage you quote from the city charter is quite clearly applicable only to the terms of office of ELECTED officials, not appointees of the mayor to various boards and commissions. I say this, of course, based both on the plain wording of the passage you cite and upon my accomplishments as the greatest constitutional authority in the land. However, other passages in the charter may explicitly give the mayor of Ypsilanti the power to unilaterally extend the term of service for mayoral appointees, past the term of office to which they were previously appointed. If you can find such a passage, and if reasonable people can all agree that it does in fact give the mayor such a unilateral power, I will be surprised. Much surprised, in fact, as charters of government in this land generally follow the form of what we did in the US Constitution, and you are claiming that the mayor of this fine Ypsilanti has a power that, to my knowledge, no other charter of government, written to balance the legislative and executive powers, has ever done. Ypsilanti is distinct; if it’s proven to be distinct in this particular way, then I will gladly and happily buy you several pints of ale, through the courtesy of the notorious Mark H. , who frequents the Corner and other fine pubs. (As a dead president, I cannot escape Hell long enough to have a refreshing drink.)

        Please note I am not saying that it’s a violation of the charter for the mayor to so extend his appointments, past their expirations or for council to permit such unilateral extensions. I am saying it would be most unusual to find such an abdication of legislative power in the very charter of a unit of government; it would reflect very bad charter writing. Charters also don’t say that mayors can ride their horses to the public meeting, but of course they can and do. It would be a ordinary use of a council’s power to limit the unilateral extensions of appointed terms of office. The checks and balances concept of democratic government assumes that there will be change over time, so such an act of council would not be drastic or unexpected.

      38. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        I assumed (and we all know what happens when we assume) that the practice of allowing sitting board members was sanctioned by the city charter. I guess I was wrong, though I’m still not entirely convinced the section I quoted above doesn’t apply (after all, aren’t boards and commissions covered as part of the administrative section?), and would love some insight into how and when the practice of allowing sitting board members to fill seats until a new member is appointed began. Also, if you look to the state constitution for guidance, Art. V Sect. 6 states that any appointments not disapproved with-in 60 days are considered confirmed. But again, I am not a constitutional scholar, and I welcome more insight into how this practice came to be accepted.

        Still, the method prescribed to fill vacant seats on boards commissions is for the mayor to nominate candidates, and for council to vote them up or down. The proposal by the Murdock Bloc does not address council’s failure to vote on candidates in a timely manner or provide a way to fill a vacant position on a board or commission if council and the mayor fail to reach an agreement. In my opinion, because of these omissions, this measure in fact creates obstacles to the efficient function of boards and commissions, and by extension, our city government. A better proposal would compel council to act on appointments in a timely manner, and lay out remedies to temporarily fill vacancies in the case council can not agree or fails to act, much like the President’s the power to make recess appointments.

        As an aside, I don’t mean to create a negative connotation by using the term Murdock Bloc. It’s just the easiest way I came up with to refer to a group of council that tends to vote together and to align themselves with Pete. I didn’t think it was much different than a term like

        I also don’t think it is a radical idea to set a time frame to for creating council’s agenda. Of course there would have to be exception for for emergency measures; such exceptions could easily be laid out in a resolution on setting agendas. There could even be a provision for resolutions to be fast-tracked; resolutions added with-in X-amount of time of presentation must first pass a simple majority vote to be officially placed on the agenda. If a majority agrees, debate can proceed; if not, the resolution is moved to the agenda of the following meeting, and may not be again delayed except through a traditional motion to table. This would be similar to the process for approving city ordinances, requiring two public readings and hearings. Wouldn’t this allow time for discussion and input and for majority rule, as well as provide transparency in government? Maybe that’s wrong headed. Maybe it just a pipe dream.

        And clearly, I don’t pay enough attention to who posts under what name to support what point. I do, however, find it rather amusing (ironic, even?) that we are talking about maintaining civil discourse in political debate and the use of multiple screen names in the same discussion.

      39. James Madison
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 5:52 am | Permalink

        Dear Mr Andy Ypsilanti,

        Dead presidents who reside in Hell and post on the blogs of living persons are not, Mr Andy Ypsilanti, required by our master (Satan), to meet any specific standard of civility. Those who hope not to come reside here too should, however, be civil, respectful, and socially engaged in productive, thoughtful ways.

        Still, despite my habitat lacking civility rules, I profoundly regret any words of mine that seemed personally rather than politically critical, and I do wish all the nice persons engaged in civic discussion in your city, which must be named after you, Mr. Andy Ypsilanti (so you must be a great citizen, a man of the people, to be so honored during your lifetime!), every success at remedying the city’s every flaw. That task is made harder by all the name calling and by a refusal of so many to grant the sincerity of one’s opponents’ stated intentions.

        Never forget that checks and balances, and struggles over appointments, are inherent in your way of government.

      40. Glen S.
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        @ Mike Bodary

        Only a month ago, your Ward 2 constituents voted for Mayor Schreiber over his challenger, Pete Murdock, by a nearly 3-1 margin — so it seems they don’t really have a problem with the way Schreiber has been handling board and commission appointments.

        So, my question is — why do you?

        And, furthermore, with all the major issues facing Ypsilanti, why is this such a high priority at this particular moment?

        Prior to the election, Murdock played (and lost) a game of chicken with the Mayor over appointments, because he was confident he was going to win the primary, and wanted to “hold” all of the nominations until he became mayor. But — surprise — Murdock lost the Democratic primary, and so he is desperate to find another way to interfere in the process — and once again, he is willing to use hard-working citizen volunteers as pawns in his political games.

        It is time to face up to he fact that the primary election is now over, and there is now little to be gained by continuing to follow Murdock in his misguided adventures.

        The time has come for you (and Council members Robb and Richardson) to stop playing politics and start listening to your constituents — who are depending on you to focus on the the issues that matter most, including effectively managing the budget, attracting new business, growing our tax base, and finding developers for Water Street, etc.

      41. Susan
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        @ Mike Bodary

        Only a month ago, your Ward 2 constituents voted for Mayor Schreiber over his challenger, Pete Murdock, by a nearly 3-1 margin — so it seems they don’t really have a problem with the way Schreiber has been handling board and commission appointments.

        So, my question is — why do you?

        Wasn’t Bodary elected by a majority of voters? Why do you have a problem with him then Glen? If the majority of voters picked him, then everything he does is great.

        That’s pretty fucking stupid, even for you Glen.

      42. Spooky Electric
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6qsoP75y4Q&ob=av3e

      43. Carmelita Mullins
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        I thank you, Mayor Paul Schreiber, for your supportive comments in favor of my re-appointment to the Ypsilanti Housing Commission Board, to which I, unselfishly, and with the best interests of the residents at heart, have committed nearly 17 years of voluntary service.

        I respect the fact that you have identified me as a real person with a real name, playing significant roles in the City of Ypsilanti and the Greater Ypsilanti-Washtenaw Community. As a resident of the City of Ypsilanti for 26 years, prior to moving to Ypsilanti Township in 1996 (a “hop, skip, and a jump” away), I raised two daughters on the southside who attended Ypsilanti schools and graduated from Ypsilanti High School with honors. I continue to maintain ties with the City of Ypsilanti, through family and friends, my Brown Chapel AME Church Family, and through community/board affiliations such as the NAACP, Huron Valley Association of Black Social Workers, Planned Parenthood, the Washtenaw ACLU, the Parent Education Program Committee of the Washtenaw County Family Court, and the Nathan Lydell Hall Scholarship Committee, in addition to servicing the families in the Ypsilanti community in my pre-retirement role as Evaluator/Mediator for the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court (31 1/2 years), and in my post -retirement role as Family Mediation Services Coordinator for the Dispute Resolution Center (6 1/2 years). It is also significant to note that in honor of my contributions to the Ypsilanti Community, I was honored by receiving a Proclamation from the City of Ypsilanti, citing march 17, 201 as “Carmelita Day.”

        Mr. Mayor, it has been a pleasure for me to serve the City of Ypsilanti as a member of the Ypsilanti Housing Commission Board, and I will continue to serve at your pleasure, to the best of my ability, if God, in His Infinite Wisdom, allows the minds and the hearts of the decision makers, who are opposed, to be changed.

      44. Mark H.
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Glen S — you assert that Pete Murdock was confident of winning the primary for mayor. How do you know this? Too often I hear or read of members of the mayoral faction speaking as if they had direct access to their critics’ private thoughts.

        I spoke a few times to Pete in the months prior to primary. Each time he expressed hope that he had an even chance of winning; he recognized the strength of the mayor’s core supporters on a primary election day (when very few registered voters turn out, esp. in off-year elections). Pete seemed not the least bit certain to me that he’d win. Of course, nearly all candidates for office publicly profess confidence in winning; perhaps Pete said something like this too.

        This much is true: in an electoral democratic system with shared power over appointments, it’s NORMAL for office holders who don’t see eye to eye to disagree on how nominations should be handled. I recall Bush loyalists saying that the Senate had a constitutional duty to vote for his Court nominations. I disagreed with that. Now I hear members of the mayoral faction saying the council majority is somehow playing political games by, ah, using their power on council to, ah, decline to approve nominations.

        Office holders have every right to use all the legitimate powers of their office. Council and the mayor are doing that. It’s normal. What’s not normal is that extreme motivations are being attributed to some, and the mayoral faction seems to think that the mayor has no need to seek consensus on the council. Strange indeed.

      45. Andy
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Mark H-

        “Now I hear members of the mayoral faction saying the council majority is somehow playing political games by, ah, using their power on council to, ah, decline to approve nominations.”

        The problem for me is the Murdock block on council isn’t declining or approving nominations. Rather giving the nominees an up or down vote the council has continued to table nominations to the point some board and commission members have had or come close to having their terms expire without a vote.

        This demonstrates a lack of respect for the volunteers who give a lot of their time and energy to serve our community. The mayor’s nominees deserve to have an up or down vote. If our council is too disfunctional to accomplish this task, the remaining volunteers on our boards and commissions will have to do more with less support.

        The people who serve our community are essential to Ypsilanti’s success. I believe there should be a plan to bring in and mentor the next generation of community leaders. Serving on boards and commisions can be a great way to do this, though the actions of the Murduck block does nothing but discourage others from becoming involved and serving our city.

      46. Mark H.
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        I’ve not talked about these mayoral nominations and their status or how they should be handled with any elected officials…..
        …but for what it’s worth, it is a normal, even frequent, act of legislatures to NOT act on nominations of various types. Right now, for instance the Michigan state senate is ignoring the Governor’s nominations for two members of the EMU Board of Regents. Almost certainly, they’re sitting on other nominations. So what? This is part of the tug of power between executive and legislative. The sharing of power for seating, or not, appointees to govt. positions is supposed to promote dialog and deal making between the relevant decision makers.

        You may, Mr. Ypsilanti, regard this as being disrespectful. It’s not pretty, nor is it an exact science; but it is part of representative government.

        My guess is that if the mayoral faction stopped complaining to the heavens about the council’s majority using its entirely legitimate powers to decline or refuse to do what the mayor wishes, and if the mayor would also get down to the brass tacts of dealmaking and governing, and if the mayoral faction would be less concerned about the permanent government crowd in Ypsi and their badly hurt feelings — if all this was done, my guess is that the normal poliltical process would proceed and nominations of new people in some cases, the same nominees in other cases, would be confirmed by council. But all this is just my guessing.

        Bottom line: Paul’s friends should get off their high horses and get real about politics and not be so defensive about the fact that the council majority and the mayor disagree about a lot of things. These disagreements don’t mean one side is corrupt or petty and the other isn’t. Deal with the political reality — Paul’s candidates for council lost time and again. Quit wasting the public’s time by crying over those defeats. Deal with the reality. Acknowledge the legitimacy of the council majority and deal with them as civic leaders.

      47. dp in ypsi
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        i need to quit my job so i can keep up with developments and the banter on this fine page.

        bless you all.

      48. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted September 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        Mark H., I only use one screen name. You are talking to another Andy. But, yea, I would rather the council majority vote nominations up or down and get on with the process. This isn’t Lansing or Washington, and council has bigger fish to fry. If they don’t like the mayor’s apointments, they should vote them down and ask for another.

      49. Paul Schreiber
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 4:53 am | Permalink

        Last night Ypsilanti city council voted unanimously to delay consideration of the procedure for appointments to Ypsilanti city boards and commissions until September 21. The delay gives city attorney John Barr time to research the matter.

        Also, the reappointment of Carmelita Mullins to the Ypsilanti Housing Commission was untabled. Her reappointment was rejected 4 to 2 with Murdock, Robb, Bodary, and Richardson voting to reject and Schreiber and Nickels voting to accept. Although I strongly disagree with the outcome, I commend city council for considering the reappointment directly.

        I still believe that automatic term extensions will reduce vacancies on boards and commissions. It is not a mayoral power grab because city council can consider removal or reappointment on a case-by-case basis as was done last night. As a result of board appointments that were unanimously approved last night and the rejection of Ms. Mullins’ reappointment, all seated board and commission members have been confirmed by city council.

        Paul Schreiber
        734-277-5446
        mayor@cityofypsilanti.com

      50. lorie thom
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Wow, a little bit of time away and looks at this? lol

        I was at the council meeting last night and I commend the Council for its willingness to wait on this issue for proper review. It was clear by Mr. Barr’s statements, he could provide a great deal more information to council given time to develop it.

        It is also clear that council wants time to review the background, resumes and applications for commission seats – a whole meeting cycle. This to me is a good idea. It was incredibly ironic that council wants this from the mayor while at the same time refusing the same to the city attorney, city manager and mayor for SOOO many proposals passed by the gang of 4 in this past year. Last minute addition to the agenda, a lack of proper review, and wowwweee we’re in court with a developer who apparently had enough credibility with the court to get his way. Zowwweee we get to vote twice on a tax millage for transportation.

        Is there any way that council would set a policy for themselves to do exactly what they want the mayor to do? To submit proposals a meeting in advance of the intended passage with the idea that it get a proper legal and public review?

        one final note from the meeting: really folks, it is incredibly rude not to look at the people who are addressing you. Ms. Richardson, Mr. Murdock, Mr. Bodary, Mr. Robb: when you are about to strip, as planned, the commission seat of a 17 year veteran who has been a successful(Parkview, Paradise Manor) and responsible commission member, the least you can do is look at her when she’s addressing you. Coming back later to commend her long service after being so rude capped the irony for the evening.

      51. Sylvia
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        Lorie, Nothing makes you happy. Why don’t you just go slug it out with Murdock or Robb because you can’t stand them as people. I, for one, am sick of your negative attitude towards elected officials. Whole wards voted these people in and when you constantly attack them, you are attacking an entire ward of the city. It seems you are only happy with the Mayor .
        You seem very petty and vindictive but maybe that is just your nature.

      52. Sylvia
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        Oh yea, another thing Lori, how do you consider Parkview and Paradise Manor successful? Have you ever been there? I think council made the right move when rejecting Mullins. Good job city council.

      53. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Lorie’s rhetoric only gets uglier by the day…civil discourse is beyond her.

      54. Alt
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        I’m with Lorie on this. Civil discourse went out the window with Pierce, Murdock and Robb.

      55. Randall
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Sylvia – I live in Robb’s ward and she did not attack me since I didn’t vote for him and I agree with her. I wasn’t at the meeting, but I am guessing he was browsing the web while being addressed. Maybe even updating that very informative blog of his.

      56. Dan
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        I attended last night’s council meeting. Murdoch and Robb spent the entire evening playing chess. Ridiculous!

      57. Keith
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but this sounds like another instance where Pete went off half-cocked, without really understanding what he was doing, like when he thought that he could get the Keep Ypsi Rolling thing on the primary ballot. Maybe if he took some time to do his homework first, he wouldn’t waste everybody’s time.

      58. Sylvia
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Randall-Enough people voted for Robb that he has won 2 terms. We have Robb for the next 4 years so it makes sense that we treat our elected representives with respect instead of contempt.

      59. Keith
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        You mean the way Steve Pierce shows the Mayor respect, with his stupid cartoons portraying him as a bald baby?

      60. Tim S
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        I watched the community access broadcast of the meeting at the new Elbow Room. Murdock was giving some kind of cooking demonstration. He made a shortbread cookie he called loronah doones.

        Why are our elected leaders are giving cooking demonstrations during a meeting? Has the world gone mad?

      61. Randall
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        I’ll respect them when they respect those whom they represent.

      62. Jones
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        I have been to council meetings where council members (primarily Robb) do not appear to be attending to the concerns being expressed by the citizen they represent. It comes across as disrepectful when those on council seem so disinterested in listening to citizens. I’m surpirzed that there are still those who are willing to serve this city. I certainly wouldn’t. I think the least council members can do is appear attentive when others are speaking.

      63. dragon
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Do we really know if any of these douche-bags are citizens? I demand to see the birth certificates of all members of council and the Mayor.

      64. Lorie Thom
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        @Sylvia,

        Parkview with 12m in federal rehab coming is a huge success. Paradise Manor, with its unfortunate name, being rebuilt is a success. This is hard fought for stuff. Lots of credit to go around but the commission’s consistent efforts are a big part of this.

        If we were to get in a time machine and go back to when Murdock was mayor we would have a very different situation, one of neglect, isolation and crime on a scale we wouldn’t recognize today. Lots of lip service was given without action. Public housing then was much much worse than it is now – the papers are filled with the reports. Real reform didn’t start to happen until Mayor Farmer changed things up. So people like Ms. Mullins (17 years of experience on this commission, social work background, expert in conflict resolution, expert on section 8), they started with shovels digging out of a long, dark and deep hole. Its almost impossible to keep up and the city hasn’t proven to be a reliable ally in the struggle. They have been digging for a long time with HUD, a long time with the county, and a long time with our city.

        Again, I don’t hate these guys as people, I am not out here making cracks about body odor or anything like that. I believe they’re behavior as elected officials has been bad, wrong headed and, with Ms. Mullins, so disrespectful that their attempt at saying thank you seemed to drip with sarcasm that I don’t think was intended.

        So will council give the mayor and city officials and citizens the same respect they are asking for from the Mayor on commission appointments? One meeting notice on all proposals unless its some sort of extreme emergency?

        Mr. Barr said last night that he could provide much more information given a little more time. If he’d had the chance for the same review on previous occasions would we be voting twice on a millage for transportation? Would we have lost and wasted our money in court on a bone headed overreaching attempt to control a property owner/developer?

        From what I’ve seen at council, the more time Mr. Barr has to review and consult with others, the better.

      65. b
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        I called the mayor in 07 with a complaint about a police officer. He repeatedly said there was nothing he could do. He then hung up on me and would not answer the phone when I called back.

      66. MurdockianRobster
        Posted September 8, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Murdock and Robb make me sick

      67. notoneofthecoolkids
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        66 comments! 66? I waited a few days to post on this topic…wanted to see how all you local know it all’s fought this one out. I just don’t get it…this is what I see: some council members want something in writing about term limits for committees and that pisses off people because they think it is some kind of power grab? Is that it?
        what bullshit -

      68. Alice
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        You have to know Pete to really appreciate it. In the months prior to the primary, he refused to vote on the Mayor’s appointees, thinking that he’d soon me Mayor, and able to appoint his own people. The Mayor of Ypsilanti, as you may know, has very little power. Aside from being the public face of the city, he’s really no more than a member of City Council. The only thing that sets him apart is that he gets to run meetings and appoint people to boards. This move by Pete is petty and vindictive, but that’s nothing new. He also bumped the Mayor from the Water Street committee thanks to a little political gamesmanship. This is what people do when they don’t have ideas.

      69. Glen S.
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        @ notoneofthecoolkids

        This issue is considerably more complicated:

        In a time of shrinking City staff and budgets, Charter-mandated Boards and Commissions play an increasingly important role in helping to keep the wheels of government turning here in Ypsilanti — and we are very lucky to be able to find experienced citizen-volunteers who are willing to provide their time and talents (without pay) to serve the community in this way.

        Interesting, then, that the “Murdock Block” on Council has recently displayed such a troubling lack of respect for the work of these Boards and Commissions — and for the approximately 70 volunteers who serve on them.

        Over the past year, they (Murdock, Robb, Bodary and Richardson) have refused to even consider (or even let come to a vote) a series of Planning Commission recommendations for Water Street rezoning; Introduced and passed an unnecessary and over-reaching resolution that places ridiculous hurdles on the work of Board and Commission subcommittees; Spent considerable time (over several Council sessions) trying to block the re-appointment of the Planning Commission chair; Delayed appointments/re-appointments of a half-dozen nominees for various bodies including the DDA; and, most recently — voted to “fire” a well-respected community leader who is (was) a 15-year veteran of the Ypsilanti Housing Commission.

        Taken together, these actions make me question whether the Murdock Block simply doesn’t value the role of of citizen involvement in local decision-making — or, instead, their real agenda is to attempt rid the Boards and Commissions of well-qualified members who have, at times, disagreed with members of their political faction (i.e. Rod Johnson, Carmelita Mullins), in favor of less qualified — but more loyal — members.

        In either case, I think this trend toward making such appointments much more contentious (and political) will only end up discouraging new people from considering volunteering on Boards and Commissions — at exactly the time we need it most.

      70. Sylvia
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        The fight on this blog would not be happening if the Mayor had consensus of any type on the council. Instead of forming allies on council so he can communicate his desires and ideas, he urges his supporters to fight it out on the blogs. This behavior encourages dredging up of old issues and fights, (some almost 20 years old) Nothing positive will happen in the city if this doesn’t stop.
        Mayor Paul, why can’t you form a consensus on council if your ideas are sound? Is everyone wrong but you?
        Thank the Lord for the democratic process.

      71. John Gawlas
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Can you spot the “permanent government circle” members in this partial list of board/commission appointments (made on Oct 2008)? It must be those HDC or DTDDA ones I’m guessing.

        David Alber, Property Maintenance Board,expires 09/06/2012
        Glen Sard, Human Relations Commission, expires 01/31/2011
        Mark Maynard, SmartZone LDFA, expires 06/30/2010
        Amanda Edmonds, Recreation Commission, expires 06/20/2011
        Michael Condon, Historic District Commission, expires 01/31/2012
        Jane Schmiedeke, Historic District Commission, expires 01/31/2012
        Brenda Rigdon, Historic District Commission, expires 01/31/2012
        Hank Prebys, Historic District Commission, expires 01/31/2012
        Brian McClemens, Planning Commission, expires 05/01/2012
        Gary Clark, Planning Commission, expires 05/01/2012
        Brett Lenart, Planning Commission, expires 05/01/2012
        Shamar Herron, Planning Commission, expires 05/01/2009
        David Wheeler, DTDDA, expires 07/01/2011
        Sandra French, DTDDA, expires 07/01/2012
        Carolyn McKeever, DTDDA, expires 07/01/2010
        Zachary Rye, DTDDA, expires 07/01/2012
        Sally Lusk, Huron Watershed Council, expires 07/01/2012
        Tom Roach, Huron Watershed Council, expires 07/01/2012
        Anne Brown, Recreation Commission, expires 07/01/2012
        Godfrey Udoji, Zoning Board of Appeals, expires 05/01/2012
        Sean Stidd, Zoning Board of Appeals, expires 05/01/2011

      72. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Alice, Glenn and company, we have heard it all before and guess what, ward 3 elected Pete & Brian. Paul won because we could still keep Pete, it was Paul’s strategy and it worked. Apparently the “one mind set” of the previous mayor isn’t what the fine people of Ypsilanti want. We all saw how that worked before. I guess you could now cry… “sore winners”

      73. Edward
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        How’s Water Street coming along?

        Get your fucking priorities straight.

        Let’s see the Mayor, or anyone on City Council propose something constructive.

        You people are insane.

      74. Sylvia
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Edward, well said.

      75. Glen S.
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        @ Edward

        “How’s Water Street coming along ?”

        You make an excellent point.

        As I mentioned in my previous post, over a year ago the Planning Commission made a series of recommendations for changes to the Water Zoning that they (the Commission) felt would help clarify what kinds of development the community would prefer on the site and, therefore, provide clearer guidance for potential developers. So far, however, the Council majority has refused to consider these recommendations or let them come to a vote.

        While we may never know the exact reason, it is worth noting that the Chair of the Planning Commission (Rod Johnson) ran against Pete Murdock in the 2008 Democratic primary, and has, at times, been critical of Murdock and his allies. Likewise, the “Murdock Block” tabled Johnson’s re-appointment to the Planning Commission for several months this summer, and Murdock ultimately voted against his re-appointment — even though many of Johnson’s past and present peers on the Planning Commission (and many community members) turned out to voice their support for his re-appointment.

        So, Edward, while I totally agree with your contention that there are many more important issues (like Water Street) the City needs to deal with instead of squabbling about Board and Commission appointments — I have to ask, which “side” is letting petty politics get in the way of what’s best for the community?

      76. Little Voice
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Sylvia,

        “We have Robb for the next 4 years so it makes sense that we treat our elected representives [sic] with respect instead of contempt.”

        If you know Mr. Robb, could you also suggest he treats folks in his district with respect rather than contempt? A start would be to stop railroading the local neighborhood association (where he’s a chair and Murdock’s wife is now member) with his agendas. For God’s sake, it’s supposed to be a simple neighborhood association and its been turned into a political monster. What he’s done to HESNA is the first thing that’s made me want to move.

        It’d also be nice if he didn’t treat folks who asked an honest question like morons. I also wish he’d comment here or at least on his own blog more. I used think he was straight out of Horatio Alger but now he seems more like something from the Godfather. I only ask since you pointed out he’ll be around for another four years.

        Thanks. Enough from stupid me!

      77. Mark H.
        Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        Glen — you assume here, without making a case for your assumption, that the planning commission’s ideas for how they’d rezone Water Street might somehow attract developers. Yet developers know property can be zoned to their needs, if a deal is made; and any particular new zoning, enacted without a developer on the scene, is likely to exclude as many possible developers as it might include. So your logic is faulty. Council has every reason to avoid taking up a weak plan and is wise to instead let it lie dormant.

        Further, Glen, you assume the worst of those you disagree with: you say that the Murdock bloc rejects the well qualified appointees of the mayor, and favors some (unnamed) less qualified persons. What evidence is this assumption based on? Do You seriously think Pete, Brian, Lois, Michael all consciously want less qualified people on these boards? That is their motive? When the logic behind your rhetoric is examined, your credibility is stretched beyond the breaking point, Glen.

        Usually, in politics conspiratorial explanations are less plausible than easier to find explanations. I’d explain the council majority’s declining to act on the mayor’s reappointment of the planning commission chair by the council majority’s apparent lack of confidence in the work of the commission.

        Or maybe the majority of council is controlled by an evil conspiracy to destroy the city they live in. Why believe such nonsense theories as this? Why not accept that these elected officials see the world differently — they disagree! — and then ask, why can’t they forge compromises, like political leaders do so often elsewhere.

        Historical question: What mayor in US history has ever appointed to office a man who ran and lost political races against not 1 but 2 members of a small City Council Members i but only after saying bitterly negative things about his opponents during those races? Wouldn’t reasonable people conclude that that if such a mayor had campaigned door to door for this appointee, that for the mayor to try to reappoint his political ally to a board could be “playing politics”?

        Politics is a double edged sword, Glen, and it cuts your way as deeply as the other way. Pretend otherwise, and you make yourself look foolish.

        And John G. — I may have been the first one on this blog to apply the term “permanent government” to the party of the mayor. I meant no offense by it. Nor did I mean it to apply the fine group of citizen-volunteers you provide (though that list would convey more if you also disclosed when those people first were appointed). By permanent government, I meant to make reference to the bitterly disappointed behavior and rhetoric of the circles of people around the city manager and the former mayor, and the current mayor, who are unused to being questioned by people who can outvote them on council . That is to say…the permanent governmet is the group of peope who are most unhappy with the city voters’ recent electoral choices, which have elected a council majority that asks questions and votes differently than the mayoral faction (which ran the city from 1995 or so until the last couple of years).

        Yes, it must be annoying that democractic elections make so much trouble for the mayoral faction. No hold on office is permanent, even if you think it is. Some voters and some elected reps go so far as to think that….terms of appointment should be for fixed terms of appointment! Such radicals. Must be agents of evil and out to destroy Ypsi.

        Why can’t the mayor work with council? The person he wants to continue chairing the zoning

      78. EOS
        Posted September 11, 2010 at 6:11 am | Permalink

        Mark H.,
        That’s quite an informative post with good insight. I hope you finish your thoughts.

        John G.,
        It would be very helpful if there were a complete listing of the composition of all the boards in the city. Even your partial list has 7 names that I recognize to have been continuously appointed to various boards for more than 20 years.

        Edward and Sylvia,
        Have you considered the likely possibility that changing the members of the Planning Commission IS dealing with the Water Street fiasco?

      79. Mark H.
        Posted September 11, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        EOS,
        Nice to be in agreement with you! And sorry to all for my overlong post that I neglected to proof read before posting. – Mark H.

      80. kjc
        Posted September 11, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        “Yes, it must be annoying that democractic elections make so much trouble for the mayoral faction. No hold on office is permanent, even if you think it is. Some voters and some elected reps go so far as to think that….terms of appointment should be for fixed terms of appointment! Such radicals. Must be agents of evil and out to destroy Ypsi.”

        Mark H., you’re right. Your rhetoric is so much more helpful.

      81. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted September 11, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Little Voice…once again, Robb hasn’t done anything to the neighborhood association…all board members were voted on by the membership, more sore loser talk. If anything it has been revitalized, no political monsters here. Simply saying it does not make it so.

      82. susan
        Posted September 11, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        I once saw Murdock eat an entire puppy once during a council meeting. He looked very evil, but his sandwich smelled delicious!

      83. Larry Seven Larry
        Posted September 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Everything will be fixed once Steve Pierce is coronated.

      84. Sylvia
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Larry Seven Larry-why does anyone who wants to bash Murdock always drag in Pierce? Pierce ran for office and lost over 4 years ago against Mayor Paul. Get over it. People have a fundamental right to run for office.
        Pierce does not sit on council nor he is he on a board or commission.

      85. Reality Check
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Maybe he said that because Pierce funds the campaigns of Murdock and Robb, and in the case of Murdock went so far as to distribute deceptive flyers about mayor Schrieber, against whom he was running. It’s also my guess that Pierce foots the bill for the office in the Dejavu Annex, which he, Murdock and Robb occupy.

      86. Sylvia
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Reality Check-I understand Murdock told Pierce NOT TO DISTRBUTE any flyers for him. If Pierce did distribute flyers, he has a fundamentsl right to do so as a citizen of the good ole U.S.A. Pierce is a big boy, he can take the heat for his own actions. Your GUESS is that he foots the bill for some rental space downtown for Murdock and Robb? I understand that the bills are paid and the Radio Station is run by Robb and a business person downtown named Kevin Hill. But, even if it were true, what business is that of yours or anyone elses? Pierce still have a right to do what the hell he wants with his own money.

      87. dragon
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Here the general average of intelligence, of knowledge, of competence, of integrity, of self-respect, of honor is so low that any man who knows his trade, does not fear ghosts, has read fifty good books, and practices the common decencies stands out as brilliantly as a wart on a bald head, and is thrown willy-nilly into meager and exclusive aristocracy. And here, more than anywhere else that I know of or have heard of, the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly—the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages, and throat-slittings, of theological buffooneries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies, imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extavagences—is so inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only the man who was born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to laugh himself to sleep every night, and to awake every morning with all the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-school superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows.

        h.l. mencken

      88. Agreeing with Sylvia
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        What Steve and his wife choose to spend their money on is their own damned business.

      89. Adisa Alela
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        If you believe that Pete didn’t know about Steve’s libelous election handbills, you are out of your mind. As for Steve’s wife, I do not know to what extent she participates in his activities, either financially or otherwise. You’d have to ask her.

      90. Sylvia
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I guess I am out of my mind but word has it from VERY reliable sources that Steve did go to Pete with the negative handbill but Pete nixed it only to find out he was handing it out anyway. None of this matters, the election is over, the Mayor won, Pete is on council and now they must all get down to the business of running the city . This negativity from the Mayors supporters does nothing to help, it only hurts.

      91. Posted September 12, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        I love your post, dragon.

        I don’t get local political fights. Seems easier to just start a band or a blog or a business and name it after yourself, if you want to feel special. Might even accidentally be more beneficial for humanity.

      92. susan
        Posted September 12, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        My understanding is the space occupied by Robb and crew is paid for by Spark East

      93. Pete Murdock
        Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        @Little Voice – Since you brought my wife into your comments, let me correct you on some of your facts or innuendoes. My wife, Grace Sweeney, (and I) have been members of HESNA and its predecessor since its formation in the 1970’s. At various times she has been elected – repeat elected – to the Board of HESNA. She serves on the HESNA Board today with seven other of our neighbors who have been elected by the membership.

        Since this Board was elected there have been various events including

        • a presentation by the Clean Energy Coalition on Energy Efficiency
        • a presentation by the City Engineer and DPW soliciting input on the repaving of Cross Street between River and Prospect
        • Organizing the annual Pride Day Cleanup at Prospect Park
        • A Meet Your Neighbors potluck dinner
        • A Luna Lake Hoedown work day and picnic with entertainment to continue the efforts to improve and maintain Luna Lake Area
        • A more formal effort with other Neighborhood Associations to create Friends of Prospect Park through the City’s Adopt-A-Park Program that led to the group being awarded a Keep Michigan Beautiful Award

        “political monster”? I think not

        Just a simple neighborhood organization – and your participation would be welcome

      94. Pete Murdock
        Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        @ Reality Check – You really need one. My mayor’s campaign raised more than $10,000 from +/- 150 donors. Yes, Steve Pierce was one of them. He donated $20. I don’t think that classifies as bankrolling my campaign.

        I do not have any office that you describe or otherwise, nor am I in a business relationship with anyone not that any of that should be disqualifying.

        And since you brought up the topic of campaign contributions….

        The Mayor’s nominees to Boards and Commissions and their households contributed more than $2,000 to the Mayor’s campaign this election

        Just sayin’

      95. Sylvia
        Posted September 13, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Pete-nice post but you could of left off the last paragraph. We all need to let it go and start working together. Our other option is to keep dredging up the past and trying to right old wrongs and never get anything done. The Mayors supporters fling enough negative energy around so you don’t need to add to it.

      96. Dirtgrain
        Posted September 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Pete, are you a member of team Pierce?

      97. Bob
        Posted September 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Let’s all agree now that Steve Pierce is the root of all evil in Ypsilanti, including those problems whose fundamental causes were embedded in the Ypsilanti landscape prior to his arrival. Let’s also agree that anyone who has associated with Steve in any way has been tainted intellectually and is under his complete control, forever.

        Once we have agreed to this we can go back to our peaceful existence, because we all know that before he arrived the community of Ypsilanti was damn near perfect.

        Now I will recommit myself to climb back on the wagon, go to regular meetings, and stop visiting local blogs. At least for now…

      98. Tataya
        Posted October 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Was this issue ever resolved by Council?

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