Please write to and ask them to cover the Eller race

A few days ago, in the wake of the Jaycees’ candidate meet and greet event, wrote a story about Ypsilanti’s City Council race. In the article, they had the following to say about Mike Eller.

Mike Eller, 45, a lifelong Ypsilanti resident, is the owner of local business Populist Cleaning Company. Eller has never held public office but said his business background might give him an edge.

“We need to make Ypsilanti as business-friendly as possible,” Eller said. “I’m invested in the community and I’ve got some skin in the game. Ypsilanti makes it difficult to do business here. We have to find more ways to create revenue.”

Eller said the city needs more money coming in but increasing taxes is not the way. Eller also served as a volunteer for the Stop City Income Tax group. Keeping taxes as low as possible makes the community more attractive for homeowners, he said.

“It’s a proven fact that people who are considering where they’re going to live that the two things they look at is whether or not it’s a safe area and can they afford to live there. If they cant afford to live here or do business, we lose those opportunities.”

Eller said the current council is “out of touch” with the sentiments of residents.

“Clearly council and the residents aren’t seeing eye to eye on certain financial issues,” Eller said referencing to the city income tax and Water Street millage. Maintaining the core services should be first and everything (else) second.”

As you’ll notice, there’s no mention of Eller’s past as the head of the America First Party of Michigan, a radical right wing offshoot of the John Birch Society. And, other than a letter to the editor in July, from one of Eller’s enthusiastic supporters, which referred to him as a refreshingly friendly, no-nonsense businessman, that’s all that’s been written about him by our local paper of record this summer. I know that has other news to cover, but, journalistically speaking, I think it’s irresponsible of them to aid Eller in his attempt to hide his past as the head of a radical, far right organization, and cast himself as a Democrat, through the publication of such pieces. I think they owe it to the community to point out, for instance, that he’s said in the past that we should let our homosexual population die of AIDS, and that the women’s liberation movement is “the most destructive movement in the history of the country.”

This history, I think, is particularly relevant, as Eller has yet to renounce these statements. While he’s admitted to the fact that he was the head of the America First Party of Michigan, he has not said that he regrets having made these statements. He only says that the organization in question is “now-defunct.” And this, by the way, is debatable, as it appears as though he’s just taken all of his previous content from the America First Party of Michigan and put it online under a new name – The Democratic Populist Caucus. And, furthermore, it would appear that someone just recently launched an America First Party blog. There’s only one post on the site so far, and it’s an attack against Eller’s primary rival, Pete Murdock. So, for to perpetuate the myth that he’s a Democrat is, at best, lazy journalism.

So, I’m writing to’s News Director right now, asking that she please do the responsible thing, and correct their earlier coverage of the Eller campaign. Here is my letter. Assuming you like it, I’d like to ask that you forward it to Paula Gardner as well, after adding your own thoughts, etc.

Her email address is:


I’ve been watching your coverage of Ypsilanti’s third ward race closely, waiting for you to address the fact that Mike Eller, in spite of what might be printed on his yard signs, is not a Democrat. Sadly, it’s now three days before our Democratic primary, and the only pieces you’ve printed thus far have helped to obscure the fact that, far from being a Democrat, Eller, as the former head of the American First Party of Michigan, ascribes to a radical right wing philosophy that is extremely homophobic, sexist and racist. Among other things, he has called FDR and MLK “traitors” to our country, and said that both Social Security and the civil rights legislation that forms the foundation of our country, should be repealed. He is not, in other words, a Democrat in any accepted sense of the word. Furthermore, he has been given ample opportunity to disavow these beliefs and has not done so. Quite the opposite, he has created a new organization, called the Democratic Populist Caucus, which borrows heavily from the former America First Party of Michigan. I am not asking that take a position in this race. I am simply asking that you devote the resources necessary to correct your previously published pieces, which unquestioningly accepted the notion that he is simply a successful local businessman and Democrat. Ypsilanti voters deserve to know the truth.

If you have any questions concerning Mike’s history, you will find the 2008 platform of the America First Party of Michigan, which he authored, here:

I look forward to your response.

Mark Maynard

A reader of this site just copied me on her letter to Paula. As it’s better than mine, I thought that I’d share it here as well.


I’m sure you’re hearing this from several others, but I wanted to join in to ask you to please make some public mention of the fact that Mike Eller has not only been against the anti-discrimination legislation in Ypsi, any recycling programs, public transit, etc. He also has supported racist, sexist, homophobic and otherwise generally hateful stances.

He comes from a John Birch Society supporting family/past. He equates environmentalists with communists (“green is the new red” bumper sticker on his personal vehicle) and does not support our public schools (all of his children home schooled).

People of Ypsilanti do not know this about Eller and he benefits from that ignorance.

We need some local news coverage with regard to this information. Anything you could do to help would be greatly appreciated.

I’d go a step further. Not only would it be greatly appreciated, but I think it’s to be expected from our local paper of record… especially one that touts its “proud tradition of local journalism.” Coverage of items like this may not sell ad space, like articles about U-M football, but these are the kinds of stories that our local papers have to tell.

Oh, and here’s another good letter to Gardner that I was just copied on.

Dear Ms. Gardner,

I am writing, as I’m sure others have, to urge Ann to illuminate its readership about the true nature of Mike Eller’s campaign for Ypsilanti City Council. Though he has been running as a “Democrat,” this is a gross misrepresentation of his political platform, which includes the elimination of all forms of equity legislation as well as federal, state and local regulation of environmental and consumer protections, the elimination of all federal funds supporting public education, the support of radical anti-immigrant legislation (promoting self-deportation policies of the sort currently popular in the Southern states and Arizona), and the exclusion of the lgbt community from military service.

This is not a Democratic platform, and for to ignore this fact and allow Mr. Eller to misrepresent himself in this way to Ypsilanti’s electorate, represents a profound failure on your newspaper’s part to uphold the inherent values and responsibilities of the “fourth estate”. Please correct this oversight by paying adequate attention in your reporting to the false claims issued by the Eller for City Council campaign.

Now, please join us in writing to Paula, asking her to publish something prior to the election that would set the record straight, and give our friends and neighbors the information they need to make informed decisions.

update: I’ve heard from several people today that Paula Gardner sent the following note to folks who had written to her this weekend, at my urging, requesting that set the record straight on Mike Eller.

“Thanks for writing about this race. I’m sending this note to all of the people who responded to Mark’s call to email me, either pro or con. I did get a chance to talk to him by phone this morning, and I explained that we’ve been telling people concerned about any local race that we’ve maintained our policy of not introducing new coverage in the immediate days before the vote. This stance is not particular to this race; we’re making that call in other races, too. cannot take a partisan position in any contest (and did not make endorsements for the primary), but we’re hearing passionate debate from many people expressing different viewpoints in certain races – and this is tops among them.

While we won’t be covering the specific political background of any candidate in a new story, the Ypsilanti City Council election story is part of our election roundup that’s on our homepage. It’ll stay there until after the polls close. Anyone who wishes to comment on the race (again, pro or con) can add to it – and be reasonably certain that voters in the city will see it.”

I wasn’t going to mention it here, but, as Paula sent an email out to folks, noting that we’d talked, I thought that I should say something… I knew when I asked you all to write to her that it was highly unlikely that would publish anything setting the record straight on Eller. I’d heard in the past that they had a policy against running stories on political races in the days before an election. I thought, however, that, if enough of us spoke out, we might persuade her to make an exception, as there was so clearly a failing on their part in this instance. Paula acknowledged that their coverage, “didn’t reach back far enough in the candidate’s backgrounds, and present their ranges of political experience to readers.” And I acknowledged that I shared some of the blame, as I’d waited until the last minute to bring this to her attention. (In retrospect, I should have written to her the day the article came out about the Jaycees’ event, which didn’t acknowledge Eller’s history.) I also told her that I was empathetic, as know she has a great deal to cover, and few resources at her disposal. In the end, I’d say it was a positive call, in that she acknowledged that the organization needed to spend more time covering Ypsilanti, and we made plans to speak again. Still, though, concerning tomorrow’s election, the outcome was unsatisfactory. And, for what it’s worth, I do think, if Eller wins, quite a bit of the blame belongs to the local press… Also, just one quick clarification. Paula says in her note that, “cannot take a partisan position,” as though I was asking for them to do that. I wasn’t. I was not asking for them to endorse Pete Murdock. I was merely asking that they share the relevant facts concerning this race with their readers. I understand that objectivity is important, and wouldn’t ask them to jeopardize that. With that said, though, I do think it’s newsworthy that one of the Democratic candidates has a history of fighting against things like public education, mass transit, recycling, civil rights, alternative energy, and any number of other core Democratic beliefs.

update: FYI… eventually addressed Eller’s past, but it wasn’t until after the election had taken place. Here’s a clip from the article:

…Some Ward 3 residents raised concerns in the days before the election about Eller, who ran as a Democrat but has published ties to the far-right America First Party. Eller said he no longer has any ties to the party.

Eller said there’s no way to be sure if the concerns brought up before the election factored into the results. Eller said he posted a position statement regarding the concerns on his Facebook page Saturday morning.

“Maybe? I don’t know,” Eller said. “But I don’t think anyone would want to be judged on any other basis aside from what they ran on.”…

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  1. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    On the America First Party blog, isn’t it something how we are supposed to believe a rant against Pete Murdock when the “author” of the rant doesn’t even have the backbone to give their real name, or for that matter, any name.

  2. Erika
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    It’s also something how that author (Steve Pierce) is the same one who authored the anti-Eller materials on that site when he supported Pete Murdock in the past. He couldn’t just take down the site when he switched alliances, he had to write something nasty and leave it there. It’s kind of like when Steve Pierce grabbed the Save Ypsilanti Yes domain names (several possible versions) and didn’t just stop at preventing SYY from using them, but also created a fake website, designed to look like it was written by SYY until you read it and realized it was directing you to SCIT’s website. Dirty tricks.

  3. Oliva
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Mark, for your stupendous leadership and excellent contributions to what will be, must be, has gotta become, a better world. I’ve written my letter to We don’t have much time, but maybe enough! Thanks again.

  4. Mike Shecket
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    My Murdock and Richardson signs were vandalized while I was away for the weekend. Meanwhile, a Vote Pierce flyer was stuck in the crack of my door. Granted, there’s sometimes drunk kids on my street, but I wouldn’t put anything past these people.

  5. Dennis
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Mark, with all due respect, fuck you and you grandstanding.

    I don’t need people to write letters to a blog. I need people to care about issues that are important to me and other people in this town.

    I work at the University of Michigan hospital. I don’t have a car. I depend on the bus to take me work every day and bring me home every night. Murdoch supports the bus and Eller campaigned against the bus. I could care less if Eller hates the FAA or seatbelts. I care that Eller is against buses and without buses I can’t make a living.

    Put that on your front page and start talking about the issues before we end up with a tea party government in this town.

  6. Posted August 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    As you and I seem to be on the same side, I have no fucking idea what your point is, Dennis. Are you suggesting that my time would better be served talking about bus service, instead of trying to persuade the powers that be at to pay attention to this race? Do you have any idea how much larger their readership is than mine? Do you realize that an article on would do more to keep Eller out of office, thereby protecting bus service, than anything I could possibly write here? With all due respect, if you don’t like how I’m handling it, start your own blog. I don’t work for you. I’m an independent citizen, and I’m doing what I think is in the best interest of my community. And, again with all due respect, fuck you for saying that I’m grandstanding. I don’t want to write about this shit. Believe me, I’d much rather be doing something else with my time than worrying about Mike Eller lying his way into office. If you want to write nasty letters, I’d suggest that you address them to the “legitimate” news sources in our community that have allowed this to happen.

  7. Posted August 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about the vandalism of your signs, Mike…. but I was happy to see that you dealt with it creatively.

    [You can see Mike’s reassembled yard signs for Murdock and Richardson here.]

  8. ypsijav
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I don’t chime in very much, but I just want to back up Mark and say FUCK YOU Dennis. is just what some grumpy dude does with his extra time and energy. Isn’t a little odd that this site offers about 10 times the journalist integrity and of what’s left of the only fucking newspaper in the area? You’re writing on a blog complaining that it’s stupid to demand any level of informational coverage from the actual newspaper that decided to spend their money to pay a marketing firm to tell them to rebrand as a blog and fire all their journalists? Is cutting AATA service even potentially on the table at ypsi city council?

  9. Good Neighbor
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m almost tempted to vote for Eller for the cunning of this statement of his on protecting our state and public parks by selling them:

    To this end, all monies generated by the State, from the sale of public lands, or generated from the use of public lands, will be placed in trust, for the maintenance of said lands.

    So, if Riverside Park is sold to a developer, the money the developer pays to the city for buying the park, won’t go to the city. It will be “placed in a trust” for the developer to use to maintain it.

    If Mike Eller ever decides to sell his house, I’ll make the first offer on the following contract:

    To this end, all monies generated by Mike Eller, from the sale of his home, will be not be given to Mike Eller, but will be placed in trust, for the maintenance of the home by the new owners.

    Yes. We need a smart businessman who understands contracts to run our town. That he hates women, gays, infidels and minorities is, I guess, a bonus.

  10. MrMikesHardCoreSot
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Eller-Fink-Pierce = cryptofascists

  11. Mike Shecket
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    P.S. From what my neighbors say the signs seem to have been vandalized last night (AKA Saturday night), so it could well have been drunk kids.

  12. Thom Elliott
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    What is “grandstanding” in this context, that Mark has concentrated on this important and dreary issue of local politics? This Eller is a bona fide creep who is attempting to conceal his views in an effort to bamboozle the populis, for the purposes of the outermost fringe of the right wing. It is literally like a member of the Taliban concealing who he is to infiltrate our democratic system, in order to destroy it. I love how Eller refers to the actual Ypsilanti town square ( as somewhere disreputable, and neglects to mention how gays should all die of AIDS. I couldn’t care less that he is fiscally conservative, he is a nihilist with the most repellent beliefs who shouldn’t have control over people.

  13. ypsijav
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I just happened to hear WEMU’s local “news” reporting on the council race with a very similar failure to note anything about Eller except his talking points as a “successful businessman.” This story doesn’t seem to be up on their website. WEMU Office – 734-487-2229
    News Anchor/Reporter: Robert Eccles: in case anyone wants to call them out on it.

  14. Edward
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    After losing that court case to Steve Pierce several years ago, the Ann Arbor News is terrified of crossing paths with Steve Pierce. It would appear this extends to his cronies as well. My sense is that they don’t want to kick the hornets’ nest that is Ypsi politics.

  15. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Steve Pierce? How many elections has this clown lost?

  16. Peter
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Here’s the problem with writing to – it sucks. Really bad. And the comments can be so shockingly racist, misogynistic and homophobic, it might drum up support for Eller :/

  17. Joanne
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    To Good Neighbor:
    Only an idiot would save money from the sale of land to then give to the new owner of said land to use to “maintain” it. If you sell public land to a developer, the land now belongs to the developer who will build on it. Why then use public funds to maintain private/commercial property? You didn’t think through Eller’s idiotic ideas.

  18. Joanne
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Mark-Unfortunately not much can be expected of because they are no longer a proper news organization. I got an email today of the new YpsiTattler which complains about your protests over Eller. The link to the actual blog is broken so I couldn’t comment. But I would love to say that the more we know about those for whom we are voting, the better served we are. If people want to be blind and vote for Eller, unfortunately we will live with the consequences. But that shouldn’t deter you and others from pointing out the flaws in Eller’s or Romney’s or Murdock’s or anyone’s plans and views. Keep going!

  19. Knox
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I was going to write to them and quote their mission statement, which I thought would include something about the value of journalism in a community, and a dedication to sharing facts. Try as I might, though, I could not find a mission statement. is a blog. It is not a journalistic operation. That ended years ago with the decision to fire the professional reporters who worked for the Ann Arbor News and replace them with inexpensive young people untrained in the art of journalism. All of these things aid one another. The fact that we no longer have a local paper allows Eller to proceed unchallenged. This is how the Tea Party will take over America. Kill schools. Kill unions. Kill the press. Promote fear. Promote bigotry. They are dismantling America brick by brick. This is not an isolated event. This is happening across the country.

  20. anonymous
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    We’re making the assumption that it’s lazy journalism. Isn’t it possible that the owners of side with Eller? After all, they supported Bush.

  21. Mr. Y
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Joanne says, “I got an email today of the new YpsiTattler which complains about your protests over Eller.” Can someone post it this email here?

  22. Dan
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink didnt intend the original article to be investigative journalism. They didnt really dig into the backgrounds of any of the candidates. They just recited some boilerplate from each campaign.

    Thats pretty much all is good for (besides, the short lived name calling in the comment sections)

  23. dirtgrain
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the Detroit papers or TV news programs would cover the story, going for the sensationalistic angle.

  24. MarkH
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

  25. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    DailyKos, would post a sidebar.

  26. Posted August 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Can someone tell us more about the Ann Arbor News/Steve Pierce court case?

    I’m sure we’ve talked about this before, but yeah holy shit are the comments on scary. I tell myself that there are only a few people in the community who are that racist/sexist/homophobic/hateful and they just create sock puppets and talk to themselves. I don’t really believe myself when I tell myself that, btw. :(

  27. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Ann is always half a dozen of the same people that post in the comment section on articles.
    They make no sense, just bashing Deocrats and racist crap.
    They just suck really bad.
    And it isn’t worth commenting with them.

  28. John Galt
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I just checked and I am happy to report that they have not given in to your bullying. There is no article on Eller and his patriotic beliefs. There is, however, an informative article on how to make your own Chick-Fil-A sandiwch!

  29. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Just received this from…

    Thanks for writing about this race. I’m sending this note to all of the people who responded to Mark’s call to email me, either pro or con. I did get a chance to talk to him by phone this morning, and I explained that we’ve been telling people concerned about any local race that we’ve maintained our policy of not introducing new coverage in the immediate days before the vote. This stance is not particular to this race; we’re making that call in other races, too. cannot take a partisan position in any contest (and did not make endorsements for the primary), but we’re hearing passionate debate from many people expressing different viewpoints in certain races – and this is tops among them.

    While we won’t be covering the specific political background of any candidate in a new story, the Ypsilanti City Council election story is part of our election roundup that’s on our homepage. It’ll stay there until after the polls close. Anyone who wishes to comment on the race (again, pro or con) can add to it – and be reasonably certain that voters in the city will see it.

  30. Brainless
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The owners of live in New York. So, you can put aside the conspiracy theories. A crumb on their trousers would merit more of their attention than a crumb like Eller. Ed Petykiewicz endorsed Bush as he watched his empire burn. He was the last of a dying breed of general assholes in the print business. Fuck that guy.

    I think more and a wider variety of (sane) people comment on than on It’s a strange world.

  31. Edward
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Patti, about seven years ago or so, the Ann Arbor News wrote an article about how Steve Pierce was being investigated by the FBI for some kind of shady financial dealings. They were right, in that someone named Steve Pierce was under investigation, but it was a different Steve Pierce. Our Steve Pierce took them to court, saying that they’d besmirched his good name, and they had to apologize in print and give him a bunch of cash. He was right in this instance. The Ann Arbor News reporters assigned to the story should have done their homework. The thing I find humorous, though, is that I’ve heard Steve talk about frivolous lawsuits in the past. I guess, if an old woman slips and breaks a hip in a Walmart, she shouldn’t be able to sue, but if a mistake is made in an article about a businessman, he should be entitled to tens of thousands of dollars for his pain and suffering.

  32. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bob,

    Freakin wouldn’t want to get the FACTS right would they?

    What the HELL?

    What a bunch of CRAP.

  33. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    brainless, yes, thanks,

  34. Curt Waugh
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Steve Pierce sued the Ann Arbor News? I looked up his name, but apparently some other, far more evil Steve Pierce of Ann Arbor won the link wars.

  35. Edward
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Joanne, Good Neighbor knows how ridiculous Eller’s proposal is. His comment, I’m pretty sure, was left in order to draw attention to that fact.

  36. dirtgrain
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    New coverage?

  37. Posted August 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Edward, thanks!
    I’m guessing the amount he received was kept quiet?
    I will say that if another Patti Smith was being investigated by the FBI, and they intimated that it was me, I would be plenty pissed but I don’t know that a lawsuit is quite the way to go about it.

  38. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    It must be a segway thing, apparently, LOL.

  39. anonymous
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    “ It’s not our job to cover news.”

  40. ypsijav
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Wow. The response from really reinforces my belief that they should not talk about anything that happens east of US-23. It’s truly harmful for them to put out the pretense of being a journalistic source of information and blatantly refuse to do any journalism. Tom Perkins’s stuff is always really good.

    Interestingly, the tattler untweeted the comment. I quickly perused the blog (hasn’t been updated in the last year). This one is my favorite and I think is pretty revealing as to what kind of politics are behind Eller and Pierce:

  41. Stewart
    Posted August 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Go Eller go

  42. Posted August 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe the Tattler took down their Tweet about how I was only focusing on Eller because I was seeking attention for myself… Who’s behind the Tattler anyway? I have no idea.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Please write to and ask them to cover the Eller race [8/5/2012] […]

  2. […] it? [5/8/2011] The death of the American press and the corresponding rise in corruption [6/9/2011] Please Write to and Ask Them to Cover the Eller Race [8/5/2012] Heroically Pushes yet Further into the Post-Journalism Frontier [9/26/2012] […]

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