The Ann Arbor News Does Not Speak For Ypsilanti, a rant from the sickbed of Mark Maynard

I’m in bed with a cold. My eyes are burning, I’m coughing up copious mounts of phlegm, and I’m grumpy as hell. And I know from experience that, when I’m in a condition such as this, I should probably refrain from blogging. But I’ve had a few swigs of extra-strength cough syrup, and I’ve convinced myself that now would be a good time to share a recent observation with you.

The Ann Arbor News does not speak for Ypsilanti.

I’ve known this in a general sense for a long time, but it’s become painfully apparent, in a more concrete sense, these past few months, watching things unfold around the forced merger between the Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (YACVB) and its more powerful sister organization to our west, the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (AAACVB). The Ann Arbor News coverage of this particular issue, in my opinion, hasn’t just been weak, it’s been misleading, perhaps deliberately so.

A week or so ago, when Washtenaw County Commissioner Conan Smith said to me on the radio that he and his fellow commissioners hadn’t done their “homework,” and weren’t well enough informed to vote on the merger, but intended to do so anyway, I would have thought that would warrant at least a mention in the Ann Arbor News. I’ve lived in quite a few places, and, without exception, I think that’s the kind of thing that people consider newsworthy. People, generally speaking, like for their legislators to understand what it is that they’ve voting on, and why, right? But, in this instance, there wasn’t so much as a mention in our local paper of record.

And when Commissioner Alicia Ping made a public statement a week or so earlier about “veiled threats” having been made against the board of the YACVB in an attempt to coerce them into accepting a deal which would see their bureau closed and their budget shifted to Ann Arbor, why wasn’t that a headline in the Ann Arbor News? Why did Ping’s statements get buried at the bottom of a piece about the proposed merger? And why didn’t they quote Ping’s reference to “threats” having been made? Again, this seems like the kind of thing that, had it been said in reference to another issue, would have warranted a headline.

Instead, what gets press in the Ann Arbor News is the fact that our CVB had alienated a local Ypsilanti business owner by hanging a banner outside of his bar featuring a photo of another restaurant’s hamburger. Talk of “veiled threats” and admissions from Washtenaw County commissioners that they didn’t do their homework on an issue, it would seem, don’t warrant their own stories, but when one irrational business owner shimmies up a pole in a huff and rips down a banner, it’s deemed newsworthy. [This story, coincidentally, also reinforces a narrative that our CVB is well-meaning, but inept, which couldn’t be further from the truth.]

If an Ypsi-based newspaper had covered the rollout of the Ypsi Real promotional campaign, which the banner in question was a part of, they likely would have pointed to the fact that it was heavily focus-grouped, and that a lot of thought had gone into how the initial folks to be featured were selected (i.e. Sidetrack, Puffer Reds, EMU, Wiard’s Orchard, the Corner Brewery). But, instead, what we got was a story about a bar owner who, instead of just walking across the street and talking with someone at our local CVB, decided to rip a banner down and then rant on Facebook about how grievous harm had been done to his establishment. So, instead of a positive story about our scrappy, little CVB making the most of what limited budget they have in order to tell the story of our diverse, awesome and authentic community, we got a story about how our CVB mishandled a campaign, causing one local bar owner to lose his mind.

[For what it’s worth, I was eating a hamburger outside the bar in question that same evening that the banners went up, and guess what? Seeing the Sidetrack burger didn’t cause me to change my mind and go running across town. I still ordered, ate and enjoyed the burger I’d come to eat. What’s more, I didn’t get pant-shittingly angry when I discovered that there wasn’t a “Real Blogging” banner in the mix, featuring a photo of yours truly blogging in bed, surrounded by cough syrup bottles. No, as an adult, I understood that not every person doing something worthwhile in Ypsilanti would be able to have his or her own banner. And, what’s more, I understood that, even if I wasn’t pictured on a banner, this campaign might still be something that could help drive foot traffic in the City, which would help all concerned.]

More importantly, the Ann Arbor News missed the really big story here… If a truly local paper would have written a story about the Ypsi Real campaign, it would have been about what a positive step forward it was that we had banners downtown for things like Wiard’s Orchard, and banners in Depot Town for our businesses along Michigan Avenue. This wouldn’t have happened a few years ago, and it’s awesome to see some of the small-minded territorial thinking that had dominated discussions in the past give way to more collaborative efforts, even if a business owner or two felt compelled to rip down banners.

But the Ann Arbor News knows what their reader base wants, and they give it to them. Lots of Ypsi crime. And stories like this that make us look like buffoons. It not only sells papers, but it helps reinforce an image that makes it easier for Ann Arbor’s elected officials to do things like take control of our CVB’s marketing dollars “for our own good.”

It’s probably worth noting at this point in the story that the Ann Arbor News isn’t sitting on the sidelines, just reporting on the contentious CVB merger. No, they’ve chosen a side. The Ann Arbor News has gone on record saying that they support the merger. [They were also one of the few papers in the country to support Bush for a second term, by the way.] Here’s a clip from their statement.

…“Our hope in the merger is to see the drastically increasing inventory of hotel rooms in the Ann Arbor area filled with visitors who will not just dine, shop and sleep in Ann Arbor proper, but seek out the highlights and hidden gems our entire county has to offer… Ypsilanti may lack the hotels which would financially support the establishment of an independent CVB, but the entertainment and destination opportunity pack a punch for a quirky college town wedged between Motor City and Ann Arbor…

They also say that a single Ann Arbor-based CVB is just “logical.” That’s right in their headline. “CVB merger logical,” it says. [This, of course, makes everyone on the eastern side of the County, who have come out so forcefully against the merger, what? Illogical?]

And I don’t have time right now to get into the economics of how it might work to the favor of the Ann Arbor News to have a bigger Ann Arbor-based CVB with another $1.17 million a year to spend on things like luring huge sporting events and the like to the U-M stadium, which, as I understand it, is one of the things they’d like to do once the Ypsi CVB is no more. But you can be sure the folks at the Ann Arbor News know that this merger will help their bottom line.

I know this is a tiny subplot in a much bigger narrative, but at times like this I’m reminded of just how important it is to have an engaged local press working on your behalf to bring these kinds of things to light. While I like the fact that people thank me every day for following the CVB story, it really shouldn’t be up to me to do this. There should be real reporters working on this story, and asking why it’s so vitally important in the opinion of certain County commissioners, in spite of the overwhelming opposition of virtually everyone outside of Ann Arbor, that the Ypsilanti CVB be closed right now. It shouldn’t be up to one exhausted guy who writes in the evening after putting his kids to bed. I don’t know what the solution is, but we need to figure something out before it’s too late. Ypsilanti keeps getting the short end of the stick when dealing with Ann Arbor, and there’s absolutely no one in the press telling that story. (Did the Ann Arbor News cover the fact that the merged Ypsi-Arbor Chamber of Commerce, after declaring that they would keep a presence in Ypsilanti, closed the office? Did the Ann Arbor News ever challenge our local economic development group, Ann Arbor SPARK, to explain what they were doing to bring development to Water Street?)

Lastly, I should say that the people doing the reporting at the Ann Arbor News are, by and large, good, hardworking people. I consider some of them friends. And my hope is that they don’t see this as an attack on them personally. The truth, however, is that they’re writing for an audience that’s very clear about what they want, and what they want isn’t an open, honest discussion of topics that make Annarborites feel bad about themselves. I should also add that the Ann Arbor News, to their credit, has covered some of the meetings where people spoke up against the merger. Furthermore, the Ann Arbor News editorial board made it a point to say, in their letter of support for the merger, that they appreciated the work of the Ypsi CVB and hoped that the new, merged CVB could continue doing things to benefit the eastern side of the County, and not just Ann Arbor. So it’s not that they’re completely ignoring the fact that we’re fighting this fight. It’s just that they’re telling the story in a way, in my opinion, that doesn’t truly get to the heart of what’s going on here. And I think we need to accept the fact that this is always going to be the case. As we don’t represent a profit center for the Ann Arbor News, all they really care about is our entertainment and shock value.

IMG_3040 (1)

[If you should happen to have images of the above mentioned bar owner tearing down the Ypsi Real banner he found to be offensive, please send it to me. As he wanted his own Ypsi Real banner, I’d like to make him one, and I think that would be a great image to use.]

update: It was just suggested to me that I may have crossed the line when I insinuated that there may be a financial aspect to this. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t suggesting that folks at the Ann Arbor News were being paid off, or made any promises by the staff of the AAAVCB in exchange for not pursuing certain stories. All I meant was that hoteliers are advertisers on the Ann Arbor News site, and that the Ann Arbor News, as a result, is immersed in this in a way that makes objectivity difficult. This is the water that they swim in, the air that they breathe.

I wasn’t suggesting that a secret meeting had taken place during which everyone was shown how this $1.17 million would help their bottom line, if only it could be brought over from Ypsilanti. I’m sure it was nothing that overtly sinister. I do think, however, it only helps the Ann Arbor News when there are big events in Ann Arbor, like those being promised by the AACVB, that they can write about, thereby driving ad buys from hotel owners.

They’re all swimming in the same ecosystem, and no one is getting rich from campaigns focused on the independent spirit of Ypsilanti. That’s just a fact. Our $1.17 million can be leveraged to make a lot more people wealthy in Ann Arbor. And that’s why this merger is happening. And, yes, I would have liked for the Ann Arbor News to ask some hard questions about conflicts of interest, and various comments made, but I don’t think there was any will to do so.

And that’s when it kind of struck me that we shouldn’t look to them to serve the role of the independent press for us. They aren’t watchdogs… at least for us.

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89 Comments

  1. kjc
    Posted September 21, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you need a vacation. May I suggest a nice hotel.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/09/140-room_hyatt_place_hotel_app.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  2. JAV
    Posted September 21, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    what the hell is wrong with you, mark? I don’t think your brain works,

  3. Peter Larson
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    This is what keeps you up at night?

    My friend, you need therapy.

  4. Eel
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    No one looks out for the little guy. There’s no money in it. Welcome to Trumplandia.

  5. Demetrius
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    A while back, I posted this on another thread, but it seems appropriate here, as well:

    Every afternoon, I get an e-mail from the Ann Arbor edition of MLive called the “3 at 3,” that displays what they consider the three most important local stories they think I should know about.

    Yesterday they were (in this order):

    – Mac and cheese franchise coming to Michigan Stadium, Crisler Center

    – Where to eat and drink on Michigan football game day in Ann Arbor

    – Man wrestled to ground after attempting to stab Ann Arbor liquor store owner (which was mostly just a re-reporting of an existing A2 Police report).

    I really appreciate the work that Mark Maynard (and his blog) is doing to help bring some real issues to light (and I know the the folks at the A2 Chronicle tried valiantly) but our region really NEEDS some quality journalists committed to properly covering local government (and non-government) institutions, serious investigative journalism, etc.

    I know many of the kids at MLive are working really hard, for little money, but we all deserve so much better …

  6. blueeyedpupil
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I agree with you Mark. The A2 crowd loves to see ypsi fall down. I watch the comments on mlive and its really clear. It is a damn shame. The reporters at mlive im sure are doing thier best to cover ypsi, but the powers that be apparently dont support that idea. If they did more coverage would happen.

    Anyone who thinks this merger would be good for Ypsi is deluding themselves or really willing to just put it out that that Ypsi doesnt matter to them. They arent even ashamed to say it. Thats because its such a popular idea for people in A2. Screw Ypsi we got ours should be their motto. Ronnie Peterson is such a villan here. Im ready to circulate petitions as soon as we organize a recall. Who the hell is he representing, not Ypsi.

  7. G.
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Hey, if Heikk hadn’t torn down that banner they probably wouldn’t have covered the Ypsi Real story at all. I’ve been sending press releases into a black hole with them for months. All they will cover in Ypsi is crime. Oh, and incorrect information that harms our downtown (I walked into Ypsi Cycle the other day and was surprised to see them still open–Mlive incorrectly reported that they were closing permanently and never printed a retraction.)

    I would love to see someone in Ypsi step up and do something similar to Oakland County 115–a one-woman newsroom and publication. I’d donate. Hell I’d even go cover events for free. http://oaklandcounty115.com/

  8. Marissa Kurtzhals
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Great post, Mark.

    I would like to point out that MLive covered the tear-down (http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/09/banner_battle_angry_ypsilanti.html), but they did also mention the social aspect of the campaign in another article (http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/09/new_ypsi_real_campaign_launche.html).

    The REAL problem (see what I did there?) is the comparison in the number of comments. FIVE comments on the blog about the launch, and SEVENTY-SIX comments on the tear-down article. (Not to mention, the article about the launch isn’t entirely accurate. We didn’t JUST launch the brand on social media. There are many other aspects involved.)

    This makes my stomach turn. And this is why I do theatre! I love drama just as much as the next person, but I prefer mine to be on the stage. ;) ;)

    It’s a shame people enjoy bringing each other down. Can’t we all just get along? :/

  9. Krystal
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all that you do, Mark!

    Except I’m feeling bummed out now for reasons.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    The Ann Arbor News says, “Ypsilanti may lack the hotels which would financially support the establishment of an independent CVB.” But we have a CVB. I guess what they’re saying is that we don’t deserve the one we have because we don’t have as many hotel rooms as they have.

  11. Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I’m a journalist for a news website called We Love Dexter that popped up as Heritage News made it’s exit from the county. It’s locally owned and hyper focuses on news, features and sports for the Dexter area.

    I live in Normal Park and have been trying to encourage the team to branch out to Ypsi because as a journalist and community member I see a real need for news for Ypsilanti (not news for Ann Arborites who are vaguely interested in reading about Ypsi). Take a look at the site and let me know what you think – is this something we think could fly here? Local business owners, would you support a model like this? You can email me at krista@welovedexter.com if you’d like to keep your thoughts private.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I’d respect them more if the came right out and said, “It’s our money. Give it to us.” Instead they hide behind flowery language about our “hidden gems” and how much they want us to succeed. The bottom line, though, is that they want over $1 million which is currently ours. They want money that’s under our control to be under their control, and they think they’re entitled to it, regardless of what the legislation says.

  13. Eel
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Of course there should be one CVB and it should be in Ann Arbor. It’s just logical.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Mark Maynard speaks for Ypsilanti.

    The other night, I asked my son to run upstairs and grab a blanket from the attic before a party here. He had taken it up there the night before. We needed to make the bed downstairs. He said, “Mom, that’s so illogical. Why would we make the bed before guests arrive? We should make it after. It’s just common sense.”

    So yeah, almost all claims of ‘logic’ or ‘reason’ in my experience are just dismissive rationalizations for doing what you want to do.

  15. Ypsi Ann
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    We’ve been down this path with you before, Maynard.

    http://markmaynard.com/2005/04/the-spitting-cat/

  16. Martha Schmitt
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Nailed it, Mark. I was one of the people selected for the focus group involved in the re-branding process. I sat on the phone and answered questions for probably 20 minutes telling them about my experiences in Ypsilanti which go back to my childhood. They did an excellent job capturing my voice and the voice of the others involved. It’s pretty clear that Tap Room is not pro-Ypsi, it’s pro-making money for themselves. Pitting business owners against each other is the exact opposite of the CVB’s vision for this town, I’m sure.

    The fact that Tap Room is literally a block away grinds my gears further. This could have been an opportunity for a relationship between the two, but instead the business owner decided to take it to Facebook like a teenager.

    Don’t even get me started on MLive…

  17. Lynne
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I really wish we were able to have some kind of news model where reporters could earn a decent living reporting on important issues.

    I also feel that this whole Ann Arbor/Ypsi thing is very similar to the Suburbs/Detroit thing and it has a lot to do with social class and race. People in Michigan seem to like systems where the poorer people are segregated into their own communities where they can be blamed for all of the problems that come with a lowered tax base. For a lot of folks, it isn’t even conscious. They just like hearing stories about how much better they are. Just today, I saw a headline about that body found in Gallup Park that read “Body found in Ypsilanti” which cracked me up because ordinarily one would say that there was NO WAY a body found in an Ann Arbor park could be considered to have been found in Ypsi except that it was that little strip by the Dixboro Road dam. Still Ann Arbor but perhaps closer to Ypsilanti than other parts of the park and on the Ypsi side of US-23

    Also, Ypsi Cycle is still open? I thought they were closing for good. Dang. Things worked out for me as I was able to get a friend to fix my bike but well, that reporting in MLIVE is why I thought they were closed and why I didnt take my business there recently. I guess I should pay more attention when I drive/walk down Michigan Ave.

  18. Meta
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I saw that on Facebook too, Lynne. Here’s the image.

    http://imgur.com/k7UdTAn

  19. JAV
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Jean Henry’s career as a propagandist makes her a natural enemy of both logic and truth.

  20. kjc
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    we do have the new @YpsilantiNewz on Twitter, who offered this important reporting today:

    “It should be regular news how toxic the vaccines are. If you don’t want the truth, Fox has a lot of fake news.”

  21. Lynne
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    The whole thing reminds me of the time I was shot in the neck on Woodward Ave by some yahoo with a BB gun in another car. I grew up near there. I know where 8 mile Rd is and this happened on the Ferndale side of 8mile but the Ferndale PD refused to take a report. They told me that people don’t get shot in Ferndale and I should go to Detroit to make a report. I was just a teenager so I wasn’t up for challenging authority so I just went to Detroit to make the report. Still, even now, the whole thing kind of pisses me off and is an example of how communities really do try to skew crime statistics.

  22. kjc
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “Jean Henry’s career as a propagandist makes her a natural enemy of both logic and truth.”

    spoken like a true propagandist.

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    JAV That is seriously the best thing anyone has ever said about me. I’m going to adopt “enemy of both logic and truth” as a core value. Or maybe a mantra. Yesterday my son asked what our family motto should be. Thank you for providing the most fitting answer possible.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I’m also really happy to know I have a career. No one has ever suggested that before.

  25. Steve Pickard
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait for 2025 version of Mlive’s articles on Ann Arbor’s glut of hotel rooms and how so many of them ar sitting empty and unused after the great hotel building boom of 2015….

  26. Ripped from the Headlines
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “140-room Hyatt Place hotel approved for development in Ann Arbor”

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/09/140-room_hyatt_place_hotel_app.html

  27. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I posted the following in a different conversation about the CVB merger yesterday.

    The people on the eastern side of the county have spoken. With the exception of Ronnie Peterson, who now seems to be waffling, everyone seems to be in agreement that this is a bad deal for Ypsilanti and the surrounding townships. Yet the powers that be continue to push for merger. Why? Why are they pushing so hard to make this happen right now, in spite of clear opposition?

    Because they’ve made promises. In order to sell the idea of a large hotel in downtown Ann Arbor that would be able to accommodate conventions, they had to demonstrate to the existing hoteliers that they wouldn’t be hurt. They did this by offering Ypsilanti’s current allotment of the hotel tax (over $1.1 million) in free advertising. “If you don’t fight the new downtown hotel,” they said to the hoteliers, “we’ll bring that money over from Ypsilanti, and we’ll use it to create huge events in Ann Arbor that will bring in thousands of people.”

    That’s where the Sports Commission comes in. Pointing to the success of the professional soccer match at the University of Michigan stadium last year, and the NHL winter classic, the commissioners told hoteliers that they could expect more of the same once this Ypsilanti money was in hand. Once we truly tapped the potential of UM’s 100,000-plus seat venue, they told the hoteliers, every hotel in Ann Arbor would be profitable.

    It’s not a bad idea. A convention center in downtown Ann Arbor would be a good thing. It’s dishonest, however, to present this as an “opportunity” for Ypsilanti.” It’s not. Conan Smith and company don’t want this money in order to better promote the eastern side of the county. They want it to help promote big events in Ann Arbor that result in hotel room rentals. That is all that matters to them. And they’re fighting hard to make it happen, paying off or threatening everyone that stands between them and their ultimate objective.

  28. Brian
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    “Tourism board hangs banners” is not news. “Tourism board enrages business owner it is hypothetically supposed to support” is. As the commenter pointed out above, MLive did cover the not-news part in an article that got little attention.

    Ypsi’s CVB has always been living on borrowed time since it is funded by a hotel tax. Ypsi only has one hotel. What does it call itself?

    http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dtwys-ann-arbor-marriott-ypsilanti-at-eagle-crest/

    “Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti”

    The money comes from the hotels and they’ve evidently decided they prefer a unified CVB. Given the performance of the Ypsi board I can hardly blame them.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The money does not belong to the hoteliers. The money belongs to the County tax payers. Furthermore, there is nothing in the accommodations tax law that says funds collected have to go toward the promotion of events that will bring people to Ann Arbor hotels. The money, according to the law, it to be spent to spur tourism. As for there being few hotels in Ypsilanti, I take that as evidence that the county’s economic development policies aren’t helping the east side.

  30. maryd
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    It is simply not true that Ypsi has only one Hotel, because Ypsi CVB covers the countie’s B&B business and all smaller hotels in the county. And while some were enraged by the flags, many love them. With thought to placement and including all who wish to participate, that would serve better than ditching the project.

  31. Ypsi Person
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I stumbled across your blog post and had a good laugh.

    As someone who lives and works in Ypsilanti, I appreciate any and all reports of crime in the area as it has an immediate and direct impact on the decisions I make and my overall safety. Would I be fine walking from The Wurst Bar to Depot Town at 11pm on a random night? Maybe, but there have been enough instances of robberies that I’d rather not risk it.

    “And stories like this that make us look like buffoons.” Really? Do you think hipsters in Detroit complain when the Freep publishes a story about a murder? “Oh no. People are going to think Detroit has problems! It doesn’t! It’s the greatest city in all of the world!” No. They understand that not everything is black and white. Are there a lot of great things happening in Ypsilanti? Absolutely, but you can’t ignore the bad that comes with it. You’re whining about crime being reported instead of whining about the crime itself. If you don’t like hearing about crime in your precious city, then do something about it or find a new place to live. Bitching about it in your diary isn’t going to help.

    That being said, everyone in Ypsilanti already knows what else Ypsilanti has to offer, which is why I think the banners put up are kind of pointless. The businesses chosen are already well-known. It’s just a giant circle jerk. The city would (obviously, I hope) benefit more from advertising organizations, events and businesses in Ann Arbor or elsewhere. If you don’t think the local media is doing a satisfactory job representing what your city has to offer, then do something about it yourself. Promote the good, but don’t try to hide the bad. Whether they are doing it or not, that’s the CVB’s job.

    We don’t live in a perfect place. Stop pretending like you do.

  32. Marcy
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The money does not belong to the hoteliers. The money belongs to the County tax payers. Furthermore, there is nothing in the accommodations tax law that says funds collected have to go toward the promotion of events that will bring people to Ann Arbor hotels. The money, according to the law, it to be spent to spur tourism. As for there being few hotels in Ypsilanti, I take that as evidence that the county’s economic development policies aren’t helping the east side.

    EXACTLY. Hoteliers never owned that money and they should not have a say in how it is spent. Their job is to collect it from guests and turn it over to the county. If they don’t like what happens to it they didn’t have to set up shop here. The constituents are responsible for appointing a board that directs the use of those funds. It is our money to use for advertising our region.

    Not that I have any idea what happens inside that newsroom but Paula Gardner’s articles focus almost entirely on development and business inside Ann Arbor. I assume that as the boss she has the freedom to choose the topics of interest to her. I think that this explains a lot about the priorities and direction of their organization.

    http://connect.mlive.com/staff/PGARDNER/posts.html

  33. kjc
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    “We don’t live in a perfect place. Stop pretending like you do.”

    maybe you should stumble a few more times before you make snap judgments. or do a cursory critical analysis of mlive coverage over the years instead of swallowing whole your hilariously naive assumption that all news coverage is designed to protect you on your walk home from the bar. a circle jerk might be a step up for you, ya wanker.

  34. Mr. X
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Ypsi Person (if that really is your name),

    Next time, before commenting on something, you might want to read it first. If you actually read the above, you would know that no one said the Ann Arbor News shouldn’t report crime happening in our community. What people said was that they resented the fact that the Ann Arbor News posted almost exclusively negative stories about Ypsilanti. This does not mean people want them to stop reporting crime. This means that they want them to tell the other stories of our community as well, and not just the easy crime blotter stories they pick up from the YPD feed. Does that make sense?

    As for your suggestion that people are “whining about crime being reported instead of whining about the crime itself,” again I’d encourage you to read through the site archives. There have been several conversations about crime on this site and those conversations continue in the real word, where many are working not just to stop violence, but address the underlying issues of poverty and hopelessness. Just because something isn’t mentioned in every post, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

  35. Posted September 22, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Laurel Champion, General Manager of SE Michigan at Mlive (AnnArbor.com), was formerly on the board of A2Y Chamber and currently on the executive committee of Ann Arbor SPARK. Follow the money.

  36. Dan
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    “This means that they want them to tell the other stories of our community as well, and not just the easy crime blotter stories they pick up from the YPD feed. ”

    What is the other side of the story that should be reported that isn’t? They had articles about the Heritage Festival. About the plans for a 18 and up bar moving in where Pub 13 was. Stories about the Youth Party in the wake of the shooting spree. Stories about the community rallying against violence. Stories about the new brewery opening up.

    Seems to me that you just don’t know or wont admit that there are robberies almost every day in the city. Those will obviously be reported. There’s not a new business or festival every day in the city.

  37. Demetrius
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    @ Ypsi Person

    I don’t think anybody in Ypsilanti is complaining about the news coverage of the crime that takes place here. This is valuable news we all need to know about.

    I think what people ARE complaining about is the perception of ridiculously unbalanced coverage … especially a local “press” that seems to feast on every detail of every crime that takes place here, while virtually ignoring the many good things that happen everyday.

    I swear, if I see one more MLive headline that offers a “sneak peek” at the latest downtown luxury condo development; or about how Ann Arbor has been named by some bullshit blog as the the “best, smartest, wealthiest, most educated, most attractive, college town in the Midwest;” or some nonsense article about “the best places to eat and drink before/after a U-M football game,” I think I’m going to hurl.

  38. Dan
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius

    AA is about 5 times as large as ypsi and has a booming downtown and real estate development. Why shouldn’t the local paper focus more on it? And what are the “many good things” happening everyday that it is ignoring?

  39. stupid hick
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know the Eaglecrest Marriott actually calls itself Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti. That’s telling. It means to get business they have to try to latch on to tourists whose destination is Ann Arbor. Maybe Ypsilanti would be more successful if it swallowed its pride and let itself be annexed by Ann Arbor, or rebranded itself as East Ann Arbor. Rebrand the Michigan Avenue area as the Ypsilanti District of Ann Arbor. Then focus on reimagining Ypsilanti as the cool and “real” district of Ann Arbor. Seriously. Who else is with me on this? We could all have valuable Ann Arbor mailing addresses, more demand for our real estate, more money per pupil in the combined school district, and provincial squabbles about tourism promotion may very well solve itself.

  40. stupid hick
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    @Jean I hope you don’t become an enemy of truth and logic, because you could have a brilliant career as a Mark Maynard sycophant.

  41. JAV
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    The Ann Arbor News (are they even calling it that any more? they rebranded to annarbor.com to disassociate themselves with journalism back in the old days when they still were actually publishing a print newspaper and before getting folded into the mlive brand) definitely seems to have an anti-Ypsilanti bias, but I feel that this article by Tom Perkins is a very poor example of that phenomenon. I have been impressed with his reporting on Ypsilanti over the last few years, especially in comparison to the general quality of writing on that website. He has his ear to the ground and actually bothers to contact news making individuals for quotes and dig into stories, even venturing into some old-fashioned muckraking in some recent notable examples like the Brewery formerly known as Corner. The story about the Tap Room taking offense to the Sidetrack banner seems like a reasonable take on a notable news story to me, and to the extent that it reflects poorly on Ypsilanti, it is more due to the city’s insane web of rivalries and refusals to cooperate on the most basic level for the common good rather than the fictional Ypsilanti boogeymen in the fantasies of mlive’s community of lunatic bigot commenters. It seems that Mark’s grievance in this case it that Tom actually reported on actual events related to the rollout of the Ypsi Real campaign rather than publishing a press release marketing the dream of gentrifying the city.

  42. JAV
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Is the idea on the table to re-brand the Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to the Washtenaw County Convention and Business Bureau? It seems like the work that they already have been doing and would better situate the Ypsilanti-based organization to do work that preserves the distinct identities of all the communities in Washtenaw County from being swallowed up into the hellhole of conspicuous consumption that Ann Arbor continues to spiral into. The argument for merger seems to be “why the hell should Ypsilanti have its own CVB?” without any context to the work they have been actually doing.

  43. Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I like that stupid hick’s idea.

  44. Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Below is the whole conversation on twitter that KJC was referencing above with @YpsilantiNewz. Obviously KJC has bought into the media propaganda that vaccines are good for us. However, if you check the Center for Disease Control’s website, you will see that mercury, formaldehyde and parts of aborted fetuses are some of the ingredients in vaccines. They have been linked to numerous health problems. Anyone who doesn’t want this REAL news, indeed, should tune into one of the many conglomerates that is spitting blinding propaganda.

    The convo:

    -Washtenaw County ‏@WashtenawCounty Sep 19
    News: It’s Time to Vaccinate against Seasonal Flu http://bit.ly/1Lo9HRV

    -Ypsilanti News ‏@YpsilantiNewz
    @WashtenawCounty Vaccines have been linked to many severe health problems.

    -KJC ‏@kercov
    @YpsilantiNewz @WashtenawCounty oh brother. thought this was a local news site.

    -Ypsilanti News ‏@YpsilantiNewz
    @kercov @WashtenawCounty It should be regular news how toxic the vaccines are. If you don’t want the truth, Fox has a lot of fake news.

    -KJC ‏@kercov
    @YpsilantiNewz @WashtenawCounty ok thanks smartass. thanks for coming clean about who you are so i don’t read this stupid site.

    -Ypsilanti News ‏@YpsilantiNewz
    @kercov @WashtenawCounty Sure thing. :-)

  45. kjc
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    yeah so…point confirmed. Local coverage of Ypsi is a bit lacking. I’ll take my “farmer’s market from 9 to 3” without the side of aborted fetuses.

  46. JAV
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    @KJC, your comments are often inscrutable.

  47. Peter Larson
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    I think that every town in Washtenaw County should have its own CVB.

  48. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Eaglecrest Marriott is in the Township. You all need to put images of Your Motel on the banners to lure tourists.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20051109031123/http://twp.ypsilanti.mi.us:80/map/township/township-map.jpg

  49. Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Is Tom the one who wrote the article about the mad banner guy? Huh. I agree with JAV that Tom’s reporting is a bright spot along with a few others who write for Mlive.
    I also agree that the default for “Ann Arbor News” on Mlive is to promote A2 greatness and send all of our poor people to Ypsi, along with the typical criticisms assessed to poor people. In my mind, that is an editor issue, not a writer issue.
    All that said, I don’t know if this makes me a MM sycophant, but I appreciate a good rant now and then.

  50. Ypsi Person
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    This is a reply to these humorous comments:
    Mr. X: “What people said was that they resented the fact that the Ann Arbor News posted almost exclusively negative stories about Ypsilanti.”
    Demetrius: “I think what people ARE complaining about is the perception of ridiculously unbalanced coverage … especially a local “press” that seems to feast on every detail of every crime that takes place here, while virtually ignoring the many good things that happen everyday.”

    Sigh. I suppose I should have elaborated more. The only reason you’re not seeing stories that don’t involve crime is because you aren’t looking for them. You only see what you want to see.

    Do I have to do the work for you? http://lmgtfy.com/?q=mlive+ypsilanti

    The last 15 post topics:
    – Ypsilanti District Library director
    – Shots fired at Ypsilanti party (OH NO GUYS. A CRIME STORY ABOUT YPSILANTI!)
    – Depot Town Freighthouse
    – Hope Clinic’s Farm Stand 454
    – Fire (Should we demand that fires not be reported too? People might think Ypsilanti is too flammable to visit).
    – Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads
    – Man repeatedly threatened drivers with gun for taking his parking spot
    – Hawk Signal
    – Connected vehicles facility at ex-GM Willow Run plant
    – New solar energy research center
    – Man stabbed in Ypsi Township
    – CVB pulls Ypsi Real banners
    – Ypsilanti police policies
    – Hope Clinic produce stand
    – Gas station redevelopment

    The media isn’t making Ypsilanti look bad. You are. Every time you whine and complain that too much crime is being reported.

    If it seems like sometimes the crime stories outweigh anything else, it’s probably because Ypsilanti is a terrible place to live at times. (Gasp, blasphemy! But, Beezy’s! The Farmer’s Market! Ypsilanti is great!).

    But wait, there’s more. Mark publicly attacks two local business owners for voicing an opinion online. Ironically, instead of striking up a conversation with them, he jumps on his Live Journal to talk shit. THAT makes Ypsilanti look bad. There were a lot of other business owners upset over the CVB’s so called ‘campaign.’ The Mlive article fails to mention much more than the Tap Room or Heikk’s, but maybe someone at the CVB can fill you in (if the Ypsilanti branch still exists).

  51. Lynne
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Wow. I have to admit that I am a little surprised at how much I would NOT want Ypsilanti to merge with Ann Arbor. I say this even knowing that such a merger would really increase my property value. I guess there are more important things.

    I think that Ypsilanti is a great place. It does have a bad reputation though but I think it is largely due to bias against poor people and people of color. My biggest fear with an annexation is that Ypsilanti would lose some of its diversity, which is something I value. I love Ypsilanti’s quirkiness and all of the different people I interact with on a regular basis, although to be sure, there is still more of a divide between white Ypsilanti and black Ypsilanti than I would like. Michigan Ave is like our own little 8 mile rd.

  52. 734
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Ypsi Person, Mark did not name the business owner who removed the banners. You did.

  53. jcp2
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    734,

    There’s a direct link to a Facebook post from the offended party within the article.

  54. JAV
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Are y’all talking about merging City of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Township, Pittsfield Township, the City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and Superior Township all together or would the city be an island of Ann Arbor in the middle of Ypsi Twp? I think that merging the the school districts would be a great idea and good place to start since the current status is de facto racial and socioeconomic segregation (and AA school district is probably the biggest driver of property value discrepancies in the area).

  55. kjc
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    “The Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Bureaus Merger is a mistake”

    http://www.easternecho.com/article/2015/09/a2-ypsi-merger-mistake

  56. Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Irrelevant tangent, but I can’t resist:

    Dan: “Seems to me that you just don’t know or wont admit that there are robberies almost every day in the city. Those will obviously be reported. There’s not a new business or festival every day in the city.”

    FBI Crime in the United States 2013 [latest available] Table 8. Michigan Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by City: Ypsilanti -> Robbery = 34.

    Which is close to every day. Especially if we add Table 9, for college and university police: Eastern Michigan University -> Robbery = 2.

    Whether there are more robberies or festivals + new businesses in the city each year is left as an exercise to the reader.

  57. Dan
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Murph,

    Sorry, I misspoke restricting it to just “robbery.” Add in burglary (222) and larceny(408), which are also regularly reported on mlive, and you’ve averaged more than 1 per day

  58. Susan
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    MARK I AGREE WITH YOU

    LOOK AT THIS THAT WAS POSTED EALRIER http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/09/five_catalytic_converters_stol.html#incart_river

    THE MEDIA IS SPREADING THERE BLATENT LIES ABOUT YPSILANTI AGAIN.. DO WE HAVE ANY “PROOF” THAT THESE CATALATIC CONVERTERS WERE REALLY STOLEN??PERSONALLY I HAVE NEVER HAD MINE STOLEN SO I DONT BELEIVE A WORD OF IT

    WHY DONT THEY REPORT ON THE COOL CHALK DRAWINGS PEOPLE DO AROUND TIME SOMETIMES? TELL ME THAT!

  59. Mr. X
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Susan,

    Again, it wasn’t said anywhere in this post that the Ann Arbor News shouldn’t cover crime. Also, it was not said that they exaggerate crime in Ypsilanti. What was said, however, is that they do not report on a number of items that are of crucial importance to our city, such as the fact that Conan Smith said on the record that the subcommittee charged with delivering the report which would be used to support the merger of the CVBs never delivered their report. Instead, they are allocating their resources toward the picking of low hanging fruit (regurgitating police reports from Ypsilanti).

    This discussion is like one I had recently with an older neighbor about global warming. It was cold out and he said, “See, there’s not global warming.” He apparently did not understand that it is possible to have both very cold days and for there still to be a problem with average temperatures rising over time. And, much the same way, it’s possible for there to be crime in Ypsilanti, and still have an issue with the Ann Arbor News not reporting on real news that matters to people in this town. Both can be true. Four catalytic converters can be stolen AND the Ann Arbor News could still be underreporting things that matter to us. Are you understanding now?

  60. Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    It was just suggested to me that I may have crossed the line when I insinuated that there may be a financial side to this. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t suggesting that folks at the Ann Arbor News were being paid off, or made any promises by the staff of the AAAVCB. All I meant was that hoteliers are advertisers on the Ann Arbor News site, and that the Ann Arbor News, as a result, was immersed in this.

    I wasn’t suggesting that a secret meeting had taken place during which everyone was shown how this $1.17 million would help their bottom line, if only it could be brought over from Ypsilanti. I’m sure it was nothing that overtly sinister. I do think, however, it only helps the Ann Arbor News when there are big events in Ann Arbor that they can write about, thereby driving ad buys from hotel owners.

    They’re all swimming in the same ecosystem, and no one is getting rich from campaigns focused on the independent spirit of Ypsilanti. That’s just a fact. Our $1.17 million can be leveraged to make a lot more people wealthy in Ann Arbor. And that’s why it’s going. And, yes, I would have liked for the Ann Arbor News to ask some hard questions about conflicts of interest, and various comments made, but I don’t think there was any will to do so.

    And that’s when it kind of struck me that we shouldn’t look to them to serve the role of the independent press for us. They aren’t watchdogs… at least for us.

  61. Lynne
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Krista Gjestland, that We Love Dexter site is nice

  62. Posted September 24, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    If anyone would like to talk to the folks behind WeLoveDexter.com, I am the site’s Content and Community Manager. And thank you, Lynn, for the compliment. We work very hard at what we do and have been very intentional in every aspect of the operation and management of our online local media platform.

    I will say that I agree with the folks who are voicing a need for more balanced coverage in Ypsilanti. I personally believe that there is no one shining a spotlight on the Ypsilanti community’s best examples of humanity. I know for a fact, being a Superior Township resident, that there are visionary leaders who are actively working to make the entire Ypsilanti area a better place. They’re working in local government, the schools and the business community. Many of them are even private people like Mark Maynard, who is working to make Ypsilanti better in his own way by trying to be the voice and spotlight that nobody else is providing.

    This craft of journalism and the industry that has been the economic platform supporting the professional practice of that craft are in a very strange place right now. Technology is changing so rapidly that it is simply mind-boggling. Being the back-end person for our site, I’m astounded on an almost weekly basis by the minute changes that are occurring without any sort of warning whatsoever.

    Anyhow, my email address is seandalton@welovedexter.com. Thank you for reading, and thank you to Mark for your work. I’ve been reading this blog off and on for nearly a year now, and it’s always been a very engaging read, as indicated by the fact that I’ve spent time trawling the archives for more things to look at when the latest posts have been exhausted. There are few specific writers online whose media I consume in this fashion — Gary Brecher and Matt Taibbi being the other two.

    Keep it up!

  63. Mark Lee
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    That We Love Dexter site is nice.

  64. Stupid Hick
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Mostly @Lynne, but also to all of Mark’s sycophants: wouldn’t Ypsilanti, by any other name, be as sweet? If you could gain all or most of the benefits sought by an independent CVB, by simply changing Ypsilanti’s name to Ann Arbor, why not?

    Is your pride in the name “Ypsilanti” so strong that you would rather be broke than change the name? What if part of the deal were that Ann Arbor would pay off the Water Street debt and pay for a South Side police station with 6 officers? At what point would you set aside your local pride (and hate to say it, but for some sycophants, their inferiority complex vs Ann Arbor)?

    Seriously. Really. Even if Ypsi were to stay with its official “Ypsilanti” name and its own CVB, why shouldn’t it leverage the name “Ann Arbor” to market Ypsilanti? Eaglecrest Marriott is probably right that the most realistic and effective strategy to draw visitors to Ypsi is to use the name “Ann Arbor” instead.

    Lynne, if Ypsi CVB really were successful, Ypsilanti probably would become more like Ann Arbor. Would you like it then? That is, if it transformed into Ann Arbor, except kept the same old Ypsilanti name.

  65. kjc
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “if Ypsi CVB really were successful, Ypsilanti probably would become more like Ann Arbor. Would you like it then? That is, if it transformed into Ann Arbor, except kept the same old Ypsilanti name.”

    if you know you’re stupid, why do you make these dumb arguments so confidently? is it an inferiority complex? stubborn pride? idleness? i hate to say it…

  66. wobblie
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The Eagle Crest is part of EMU and as a consequence was automatically annexed into the city. Where EMU is, if it is contiguous with the city becomes part of the city. We don’t gain anything since EMU pays no local taxes. We are responsible for police and fire protection for EMU and Eagle Crest. Talking about merging with Ann Arbor is nothing but a pipe dream. The citizens of Ann Arbor would not allow their school district to merge with a much more prosperous and paler Whitmore lake. The city has been marked for demolition and the vultures are beginning to tear at the flesh. We were powerless to stop the Township from forcing an incinerator on us–opposition in the city was nearly universal. Our school district was eliminated. When the Water Street debt catches up with us in a couple of years we will loose most of the public services we currently have.

    Despite having allies throughout the county over the CVB, the city lacks the political leverage to be anything but a punching bag.

  67. Stupid Hick
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Touched a nerve, kjc? Sorry about that. I’m confident because I know how stupid hicks think and Ypsilanti is a hick town. I mean that in a kind and loving way. Now, please refute my argument that the most successful way to market Ypsilanti is to focus on its proximity to Ann Arbor.

  68. Dan
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I believe only the Eagle Crest Conference Center is part of EMU. The actual Marriott hotel is not.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Crest_Resort_(Ypsilanti,_Michigan)

  69. Stupid Hick
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Look, I think wobblie is right, but a hick can dream, can’t he? Ann Arbor can’t stop Ypsilanti from changing its name to “East Ann Arbor” or “Ann Arbor Ypsilanti” though, can it?

  70. Lynne
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    First, I think the name is important. Ypsilanti is a quirky little city and the name reflects that. I really love it when I go out of town and people can’t pronounce it. My favorite though was when I was in Hollywood and was being interviewed by a local TV station, the reporter asked me where I was from and when I said ‘Ypsilanti’ he just stopped and looked at me and said, ‘Really? You mean where Iggy Pop is from?” Yeah that’s it! :)

    I also kind of think that small local governments have some advantages, especially in terms of corruption. I know that many I know in larger cities often find things frustrating because there isn’t a lot of transparency and openness. I know that when I talked to them about that whole snow ordinance thing where everyone got tickets, even people who shoveled, those friends were envious at how our city was able to handle the situation and I really think that was largely due to the size of our city. I know that I was just going to pay the ticket and not fight it until I heard of others who also got tickets. I am not sure that kind of corruption on the part of a city employee would have been addressed in a larger city because people might not have realized that others had encountered similar issues. I like it that I know both of my city council reps and know that they are people who can be trusted to always act honestly even if I may disagree with them from time to time on certain things. It doesn’t matter though, what matters is that I trust them and the reason I trust them is that in a small town, it is easier to hold people accountable.

    There are good sides to a merger of course. I know that a merger of city and school districts with Ann Arbor would result in my house being worth more money. I know that it would be a way to help us financially. In the short term, it would be great for our poorer citizens who would then have access to even more public services and better schools (at least in reputation). I assume in this scheme the libraries would be combined too. It would allow students in Ypsi to get in on that lottery for Community High School but wouldn’t it be nicer if Ypsilanti had their own good open classroom high school environment?

    My worry is that with an Ann Arbor name, poorer people would get pushed out. That is the outcome of rising property values after all. If Ann Arbor keeps going the way it is going, it could become more like San Francisco where even the middle class is being pushed out and I am not sure I want that to happen to Ypsilanti no matter how much it could be personally financially good for me as a homeowner. Now, if part of the deal were to have *substantial* low income housing all over the new city both in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, I could get behind such a thing but let’s face it, it ain’t happening. And it isn’t likely to be the people in Ypsilanti who would oppose such a plan either. I may not like the idea but I suspect that if this were actually on the table, the benefits of it would put me in the minority.

  71. Lynne
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Re: East Ann Arbor. – I think that would make us as much of a laughing stock as East Detroit became when they changed their name to East Pointe. LOL

  72. Lynne
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I mean, my goodness stupid hick! What if people started calling it the *Ann Arbor* Dick? That would just be wrong.

  73. Elviscostello
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    EOS, Your Motel is in Ypsilanti Township. Can’t pin that on the city. Motel Manor is also in the Township.

  74. stupid hick
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, the water tower can still be called the Ypsi dick. I’m not talking about burying the name Ypsilanti, just ceding top billing on the marquee to Ann Arbor. So tourists, home buyers, and out of town entrepreneurs will be attracted. Think “Ypsilanti District” or “Ypsilanti Quarter” of Ann Arbor (or East Ann Arbor, or whatever). It would be awesome if the CVB could get Iggy Pop on ads promoting Ypsi.

  75. JAV
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I am unable to tell whether this renaming thing is some sort of joke or legitimate pure idiocy. I find both options somewhat depressing.

  76. EOS
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Elvis,
    You’re right – my mistake. So the City wants $1.2 million a year from motel/hotel taxes and you don’t have a single motel/hotel? And the money collected in Ann Arbor should be used to promote Ypsi as a vacation destination?

  77. Stupid Hick
    Posted September 26, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    JAV, is it really a dumb idea? Please refute my argument that the most successful way to market Ypsilanti is to focus on its proximity to Ann Arbor.

    EOS, you bring an elephant into the room that some would prefer not to acknowledge. I know it will probably never happen, but merging with Ann Arbor would solve the perception of unfairness.

  78. Posted September 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Every time I have walked into the Visit Ypsi office to check out the brochures, local calendars, pamphlets, etc, I always had the same thought (before the CVB merger made the news, etc): “I don’t know what is funding this office, but its really wasting money! This place is huge and fancy and there aren’t even many people working in here. There are a lot of homeless people out there. Couldn’t we use this space/money better?!?!?” Seriously!!!! Furthermore, it really seems like we are trying too hard to market ourselves. Comes across as pretentious. If businesses need that much marketing to get people to go there and keep them in business, maybe we don’t really need that business in town, you know? There are so many things we need downtown, yet more and more restaurants (that sell food sprayed with cancerous pest/herbicides) or fancy boutiques keep opening. I wish people would do a business plan before they opened a shop here so they could figure out if what they wanted to sell was something that the PEOPLE OF YPSI needed and wanted. We have a whole lot of needs down here that are NOT getting met. If one more mexican restaurant opens up, I might get ill. We live in a FOOD DESERT. The grocery stores we have downtown are INADEQUATE. Thank Goodness we have the farmer’s market, with real, healthy food grown by the closest farms to us. Do you know how many apartments around here do not have laundry facilities??? IT IS TOO FAR TO WALK TO CAMPUS LAUNDRY (that is right across the street from Shoot-It-Out apartment complexes). It is not convenient or safe to go to. Why in the world don’t we have a laundry option downtown?? I wish there was a MEIJER on Water Street! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find some common things downtown?? For those of us who are NON-MOTORIZED BY CHOICE, there are many things YOU JUST CAN’T GET within walking distance. I think we need to focus on making this a completely walkable city – a place where people don’t have to burn fossil fuels to leave and go get the things they need (or to make the money they need to live). If everyone just stayed in ypsi and spent their money in ypsi, we wouldn’t need to market ourselves and wouldn’t WANT to market ourselves, because why in the world would we want to attract more automobile fumes here from people who travelled to get here? Travelling for leisure purposes should be illegal. EAT ORGANIC FOOD AND THINK STR8, YPSI. I love you all.

  79. JAV
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    @Stupid Hick, you wrote:
    “Maybe Ypsilanti would be more successful if it swallowed its pride and let itself be annexed by Ann Arbor, or rebranded itself as East Ann Arbor. Rebrand the Michigan Avenue area as the Ypsilanti District of Ann Arbor. Then focus on reimagining Ypsilanti as the cool and “real” district of Ann Arbor. Seriously. Who else is with me on this? We could all have valuable Ann Arbor mailing addresses, more demand for our real estate, more money per pupil in the combined school district, and provincial squabbles about tourism promotion may very well solve itself.”

    The dumb part is that you are conflating three separate distinctions: the school districts, the municipalities and the mailing addresses.

    I think merging the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti school districts would be a great idea. People have cited the failed Whitmore Lake consolidation as evidence that this is a political impossibility, but I think that the citizens of Ann Arbor could be brought on board via shaming them about the extreme racial and socioeconomic segregation that currently exists between the two districts. This flies in the face of Ann Arbor’s self-image as a progressive city that values diversity. Due to the public transportation system and the fact that a significant part of Ann Arbor’s workforce is not paid enough to afford to live in the AAPS district, there is a strong economic connection between the areas. There is a major discrepancy in property values driven by the school district boundary (which is mostly along Golfside Rd on that side of the district)

    Changing the mailing address is under the jurisdiction of the US postal service as far as I know. Changing the address to Ann Arbor would likely require re-naming all of the streets that have duplicate names (Washington, Summit, Adams, Forest, etc) and would not really offer any advantages, mostly increasing confusion.

    Having the city of Ann Arbor annex the city of Ypsilanti is complicated by the fact that there are two other municipalities (Pittsfield and Ypsilanti Townships) that lie between them. The townships, (especially Ypsi Twp) are not at all interested in annexation due to the accompanying increase in city property taxes.

    This article has some nice maps showing the various boundaries. It’s five years old, but I think the only change since then is some minor adjustments of islands of Ann Arbor Township within the City of Ann Arbor (which may have not gone through yet). http://www.annarbor.com/vielmetti/links-a2gov-data-maps-1/

    I re-read your comments and don’t see any “argument that the most successful way to market Ypsilanti is to focus on its proximity to Ann Arbor” so I can’t really refute it. Ann Arbor has a strong history of interesting culture in many forms, but the trend over the last few decades in my opinion has been to squash any reminders of that history as it continues to transition to an exclusive playland for the super-rich.

  80. jcp2
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    East Ann Arbor has already been taken. It’s that area of Ann Arbor around Platt and Packard, and used to be a separate city from Ann Arbor until annexation in the 1950’s.

    http://pittsfieldhistory.org/index.php?section=history&content=east_ann_arbor

    Iggy Pop would be from East Ann Arbor, had East Ann Arbor still existed when he was younger. As it is, it’s an area akin to South Detroit.

  81. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I thought Stupid Hick’s idea was more toward Ypsilanti renaming itself in a way that closely associated itself with Ann Arbor. I also think SH was suggesting that Ypsilanti should stop trying to identify itself, like an insecure teenager, in negative contrast to Ann Arbor. A starting point mindset should be: “Ann Arbor is a pretty good place and Ypsilanti is a good place too”.

    JAV, in my opinion, attempting to shame Ann Arborites into a merger of school districts would actually make the merger less likely than it already is–entirely unlikely.

    I think Ypsilanti should keep its name but the promoters of Ypsi should stop defining themselves and their town in contrast to the distorted image they provide of Ann Arbor. Ypsi should make strides to at least appear to be a little more comfortable in its own skin. And part of its identity is the very close neighbor of a pretty good place to live.

  82. JAV
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    @jcp, you are right about the East Ann Arbor name being taken as a separate municipality from 1947-1957. It did in fact exist when Iggy was a child (he was born in 1947). The area where he grew up (the Coachville Trailer Park on Carpenter) has always been in Pittsfield Township, but was then and still is now in the Ann Arbor school district. All of the former East Ann Arbor is now within the current boundaries of the city of Ann Arbor.

  83. JAV
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    @FF, maybe shame is the wrong word, but framing the issue in a way that stresses opposition to segregated school systems could go a long way in my opinion. I pretty much agree with the rest of your comment about Ypsi defining itself in contrast to Ann Arbor, though I think the animosity is coming from both directions.

  84. kjc
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    “I think Ypsilanti should keep its name but the promoters of Ypsi should stop defining themselves and their town in contrast to the distorted image they provide of Ann Arbor. Ypsi should make strides to at least appear to be a little more comfortable in its own skin. And part of its identity is the very close neighbor of a pretty good place to live.”

    the motives are economic and cultural. despite the constant personification, ypsi is not a person with an inferiority complex. a lot of people have come here because of ann arbor’s decreasing affordability and concomitant neglect of people who want to live creatively, without income as the bottom line. that’s a material reality. all the years i lived in ann arbor i never heard anything good about ypsi. the corrective is organic to some extent, from people who move and think damn, this isn’t the shithole they said it was. but things are changing constantly so stop fixating on this idea that ypsi is a rebellious teenager. maybe you just find “the promoters of ypsi” (whoever that is) personally irritating. i.e., it’s you.

    ““Ann Arbor is a pretty good place and Ypsilanti is a good place too”.

    triteness only gets us so far. maybe “love ya but”? (in case ann arbor is also a person and its feelings are hurt.)

  85. kjc
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    i think defining yourself against something, if it’s say, inequality, is, y’know, ok.

    in fact, sorta the point.

  86. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    We personify communities all the time because it is understood as a shorthand way of expressing a tendency we believe we see within individuals of a community as well as a shorthand way of capturing the general tone of a communities organized and more formal attempts to define itself (ycvb). Again, the “gotcha tone” is odd, kjc….Ypsi is not a person? The motives are economic and cultural? Ummmmm, duh….

    I consider myself a promoter of Ypsilanti within the context of casual conversation as I liked living there and like visiting. I tend to not agree with the ways that many people attempt to promote Ypsilanti because I find it anti productive. I support people who want to build on the great things Ypsilanti has to offer in a positive way because it is a better look than, say, watching someone shoot themselves in the foot, repeatedly.

  87. Dan
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I agree on all accounts Frosted. And also I think Mark and his sycophants, as they are called now, on this blog are the biggest perpetrators of the “We’re like Ann Arbor, only more authentic and cooler” little brother attitude. There are scores of posts on this site in the classic hipster parlance like “Ann Arbor used to be cool.” Dozens of posts about how the perception of Ypsi is wrong only due to mlive’s coverage of the crime. Constant refusal to admit that the small group of people that think having a manscaping booth is considered art do not represent the vast majority of the residents of the city.

    You should be embracing Ann Arbor. It’s the only reason most of you ended up in Ypsi

  88. Posted September 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I have to ask, sorry to disrupt the thread but–what is a manscaping booth?

  89. Jcp2
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I think it involves shaving.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] Saturday Six Pack (episode three) with Former AnnArbor.com Reporter Katrease Stafford [2/3/2015] The Ann Arbor News Does Not Speak For Ypsilanti […]

  2. […] things, we talked about new slang, the current state of the Washington Street corridor, and the controversy surrounding the “Ypsi Real” banners that went up last fall, some of which featured her […]

  3. […] to find a way to bring journalism back to Ypsilanti, and fill the void that had been left by the rapidly constricting Ann Arbor News. And, about six months ago, having secured financial contributions from a handful of local […]

  4. […] Saturday Six Pack (episode three) with Former AnnArbor.com Reporter Katrease Stafford [2/3/2015] The Ann Arbor News Does Not Speak For Ypsilanti […]

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