This Thursday it will be explained to us, the people of Ypsi, why it’s in our best interest to stop marketing our community, and just enjoy the prosperity that will invariably trickle down from Ann Arbor

I’ve said about all I can say about the forced merger of the Ypsilanti Area Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Ann Arbor Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. And I don’t want to subject you to yet another rant about how, in my opinion, we’re being strong-armed into accepting a deal that would transfer the over $1 million dollars a year that are currently being used to market Ypsilanti, to the control of a board in Ann Arbor that would likely use them not to tell the stories of small Washtenaw County towns such as ours, but to more “efficiently” launch and promote the kind of big Ann Arbor events that would fill the corporate hotels surrounding the University of Michigan. If you’re interested in what’s really going on, I’ll include some links below. For now, though, I just wanted to make you aware of a public meeting that is scheduled to be held this Thursday evening at Ypsilanti’s Riverside Arts Center. Here’s the official event notice. They’re billing it as a “community engagement” forum, which I think is a little disingenuous, seeing as they were forced into it, and as they’ve shown very little interest thus far in what the people of Ypsilanti actually think, but I’ll be going just to see how they try to spin giving up $1.17 million a year as a positive for our community.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has proposed creating a new Convention and Visitors Bureau, effectively merging the operations of the Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Commission is set to vote on the proposed plan on October 7. As part of its ongoing series of community engagement activities related to this issue, the Commission invites the public to attend a public forum with representatives from the Board of Commissioners and the area CVBs to learn about the elements of the proposed plan and offer their input on its improvement.

Municipal parking is available nearby for free after 6pm. Parking spaces at the Center will be available for people with disabilities; please contact Lisa Moutinho (moutinhl@ewashtenaw.org) if you require accommodation.

Presenters:

County Commissioners
Ronnie Peterson (Ypsilanti)
Conan Smith (Ann Arbor)

Area CVB Board Chairs
April King (YACVB)
Sean Duval (AAACVB)

Area CVB Executive Directors
Debbie Locke-Daniel (YACVB)
Mary Kerr (AAACVB)

General Agenda

5:45 Doors Open
6:15 Commissioner Discussion
6:35 CVB Representative Discussion
7:00 Audience Engagement

And here are those links that I mentioned, for those of you who haven’t been following the story.

Why we should fight to keep our identity distinct from Ann Arbor, and our own CVB

Ypsi CVB director Debbie Locke-Daniel on why this is happening now

Washtenaw County Commissioner Alicia Ping accuses Ann Arbor commissioners of having made “veiled threats” to get the merger through

Washtenaw County Commissioner Conan Smith acknowledges he and his fellow commissioners “haven’t done (their) homework,” and don’t really have a justification for why the Ypsi CVB needs to close now

There was more, but, if you read those in order, you should be pretty well up to speed and ready for whatever happens on Thursday.

And, here, lastly, is a new video that was just released this evening by the Ypsi CVB, as part of their recently launched Ypsi Real campaign. If you don’t like it, don’t worry. Once our CVBs merge, I’m sure you’ll never see anything like it again. You’ll likely just see Ypsilanti mentioned at the back of brochure about Ann Arbor in a paragraph on “hidden gems” within driving distance.

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21 Comments

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

    If everyone in YPsi just spent their money in YPsi, not Ass Arbor, et al, we wouldn’t have to try to so hard to market ourselves. Seriously, we need to THINK.

  2. Posted September 28, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    This will surely be an unpopular opinion, but it is one that everyone needs to hear and think about. After all, what is more important, money or our health and the health of our environment? It should be a no-brainer…….

    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.

  3. Posted September 28, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    P.S. MARKETING LEADS TO GENTRIFICATION. Here is what we have in store in the future if we keep it up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAOBC4skzMQ

    “Angry Mob Trashes Hipster Cereal Cafe (VIDEO)

    by The Young Turks

    Published on Sep 28, 2015
    An angry mob attacked a cafe in London over expensive cereal. Anti-Gentrification activists that go by the name “Fuck Parade” attacked the restaurant with paint, torches, and pig masks on spikes. John Iadarola (Think Tank), Jimmy Dore (The Jimmy Dore Show), Hannah Cranston (Think Tank) hosts of The Young Turks discuss.

    Was this attack on the cafe justified? Would you have marched with the Fuck Paraders? Let us know in the comments below.

    Read more here: http://jezebel.com/angry-mob-attacks-

    “Anti-gentrification activists calling themselves the “Fuck Parade,” toting torches, buckets of paint, and pig head masks on spikes, attacked a cereal cafe in London on Saturday night. The owners of the Cereal Killer Cafe said their staff and customers had to “barricade themselves” inside while the protesters wrote “scum” on their windows.

    The Fuck Paraders marched through the neighborhood of Shoreditch, a historically low-income but gentrifying part of East London. The Cereal Killer, which sells cereal for between £2.50 and £5.00 a bowl (that’s a lot), came in for special attention.”

  4. Anonymous
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    The problem of gentrification is so far down on the list of things we have to worry about in Ypsilanti that it probably wouldn’t even make the top ten. Much more important, IMHO, is the fact that we’ll likely go bankrupt very shortly. We need investment and jobs. We need parental involvement in our schools. We need activities for our kids. Gentrification is something we need to be aware of. We need to ensure that we have affordable housing, and that people aren’t pushed out, but the last thing we need right now is to discourage young, employed people from moving here and raising families.

  5. Andrew Clock
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Wow. That bit of non sequitur pretty much sums up why I stopped following @YpsiNewz on twitter after 2 weeks. I prefer my news without sides of junk science and lectures about WHAT YOU’RE ALL DOING WRONG.

    Yup. Ypsi needs a lot of things. But we can also use our own CVB to help build the better community we want to see through destination marketing. Programs like the upcoming CVB/EMU/First Friday Ypsi student business passports that attempt to bring visitors to our business from planet campus. (How long do you think it will take to explain to an Ann Arbor based CVB board why Ypsi needs a tourism program aimed at a college campus within its own border?)

    But being Ypsi, we’ll more than likely end up fucked over by our wealthy neighbors to the west while we fight over where signs are hung or what somebody named their event. You know, because the best way to help your community is not get out and do good stuff, but to bitch about how everything anyone else tries to do isn’t done right or good enough.

  6. Conspiracy
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I support the merger, BECAUSE VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM!!!

  7. Eel
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    “Here we value authentic conversation over created facade.”

    Take that, Ann Arbor.

  8. 734
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Can someone project this Ypsi Real video over Conan while he speaks?

  9. Katch
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    This is a really well done video. Congratulations to all who were involved.

  10. Posted September 29, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    The truly successful businesses/enterprises don’t need to advertise because they provide what the immediate community wants/needs. Take Eagles Market, for instance. They don’t really advertise at all and they are SLAMMED all the time because they have what people want: LIQUOR.

  11. Dan
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Isn’t there a laundry place on Michigan ave right outside of downtown?

  12. An Easy Question
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s been reported on MLive that, “the new organization would be led by current Ann Arbor CVB director Mary Kerr.” Why? Who decided that? Why isn’t it being led by Debbie Locke Daniels? I’m not asking in a rhetorical sense. I’d really like to know how it was decided that Mary Kerr would run this new entity. Can someone tell me?

  13. Posted September 29, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Dan, there used to be a laundry place there but it has been shut down for a few years. That would be a great location for one!!

  14. blueeyedpupil
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I called the county clerk today to find out approximately how many signatures are needed to recall the commissioners from districts 1-6. These are the non Ann Arbor districts. So here are the numbers
    #1 Kent Martinez Dexter and Chelsea 4532 signatures
    #2 Dan Smith Salem Twp 3812 signatures
    #3 Alicia Ping Saline Manchester 4033 signatures
    #4 Felicia Barbec Pittsfield twp 2699 signatures
    #5 Ruthann Jamnick Ypsi Twp 3242 signatures
    #6 Ronnie Peterson Ypsilanti 2699 signatures

    Seem to me that if these six commissioners choose to ignore their communities and allow Ann Arbor to take all the money from a county wide tax, they all should face recall.
    See you at the meeting

  15. charlieRomeo
    Posted September 29, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Ronnie Peterson was probably right in a metaphorical sense about turning this swindle into a racial insult. Ypsi is being told to sit in the back of the “convention and visitors business” bus by the Ann Arbor ruling class.

  16. Posted September 30, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    @Easy Question: [i]Why isn’t it being led by Debbie Locke Daniels?[/i]

    I believe that is actually an easy question: even before this discussion started, Locke-Daniel was planning to retire.

    It would definitely add insult to injury for the County to deny her her retirement and shackle her to a desk in the new organization.

  17. An Easy Question
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    It’s my understanding that DLD has changed her position on retirement.

  18. Andrew Clock
    Posted October 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    The Ypsi Real / Visit Ann Arbor! merger meeting was a joke.

    Ypsi CVB board members are saying privately that the initial exploration committee was made up of 3 Ypsi reps, 3 A2 reps, and 3 reps from the Hotel Association, the group who requested the merger in the first place. So the fix was in right from the start.

    Let’s get one thing straight; if this was about marketing conflicts, the problem could be solved with a joint committee between the two CVBs. But it is not about marketing conflicts, it is about consolidating marketing efforts for the county around Ann Arbor. If there was going to be any permanence to Ypsilanti’s office and staff, then it would be guaranteed for the life of the organization, not just for 10 years. The head of the YCVB made it pretty clear they were not happy with this merger, but they couldn’t secure the votes to stop it and their hand was forced; they wanted to do the best they could for their employees and the community in situation where the outcome was predetermined.

    None of us could write a letter to the Washtenaw County Commissioners dictating how we want our property or recreation tax money spent and have it rubber stamped by the board, but that is exactly what has happened in this case when the Hotel Association wrote a letter to the Commissioners dictating how they wanted their hotel taxes spent: on Ann Arbor marketing.

    Commissioner Smith seemed to go out of his way it ignore people with hard hitting questions, including the Ypsilanti Township Supervisor, and then abruptly ended the forum. Something tells me the RAC staff would have happily accommodated the meeting running over, but it was clear the room was against the merger, so that couldn’t be allowed.

    The one tough question that was presented was sidestepped: how will the board be chosen and why haven’t we been told the entire makeup of the board? Why has 25% of the board makeup been left out of the discussion? Well the Commissioners pinky swear that last 25% won’t wind up in the hands of Ann Arbor interests or the Hotel Association that demanded the merger. They promise!

    If public opinion counted, this forum would have happened months ago. As it is, the only public forum before the decision was in Ann Arbor, and still dozens spoke against a merger, not one in support. If there were any doubts that the Commissioners don’t care about public opinion, they were laid to rest tonight.

    The most pathetic bit was Ronnie Peterson’s grandstanding at the end. He actually claimed his email was “broken” and that is why he didn’t respond to anyone on this issue. But we could have called him! Despite his utter failure to to keep the public informed on this issue, he swears he is doing what’s best for all of us in Ypsilanti. Well, personally, I believe now more than ever removing him from office is what is best for us.

    I wasn’t permitted to speak, but at the end I did anyway out of frustration, and much to the frustration of the grandstanding commissioners. And that at least netted me an interview with WEMU. So maybe my voice will wind up being heard. But, like everyone else who has spoken out against this merger, it will be ignored in favor of the voices of Ann Arbor hotel owners.

    This is a sad day for the democratic process in Washtenaw County. The oligarchy has spoken, and they care not for what the people say.

  19. kjc
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    this was a nice touch, one Conan hadn’t mentioned previously. such a douche.

    “According to the resolution negotiated by the parties, the new WCCVB will be required to spend at least 25% of the organization’s annual accommodations tax revenues on programming in the Ypsilanti community.

    Smith’s first proposed amendment would have brought that number down to 15% and stipulated that five percent each be given to the communities of Chelsea and Saline.”

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/10/harsh_words_exchanged_as_washt.html

  20. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    How much should Ypsilanti, Saline and Chelsea get? Why? Until that is answered, given those smaller communities were depending on the Ypsilanti bureau in the prior setup, I will read Peterson’s cry of “broken trust” as a cheap political maneuver.

  21. Demetrius
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    An absolute must-read article today on Politico … regarding the University of Michigan’s attempts to attract poor and working-class students, which uses the seven-mile divide between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti as a lens to explore the challenges and opportunities.

    “In Trump country, a university confronts its skeptics – The University of Michigan, like many public flagship universities, faces a crisis of confidence in working-class communities.”

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/09/university-of-michigan-admissions-low-income-244420

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