How should a community respond when an elected official admits to racism and asks for another chance?

Tuesday night, during Ypsilanti’s City Council meeting, Mayor Beth Bashert, when discussing the re-appointment of Ka’Ron Gaines as a City Human Relations Commissioner, said the following. “Since I will be crucified if I vote against any black person on any commission, I’m going to vote yes,” she said. And, with that, yet another political career here in Ypsilanti may have come to an abrupt end… A protest calling for Bashert to resign has been scheduled for Monday, June 22, in the parking lot behind Puffer Reds (113 West Michigan Avenue), at 4:00 PM.

Here, for those of you who are interested, is the video of City Council meeting. The section in question begins at 3-hour and 39-minute mark. [If you then scroll forward to 4:13, you can hear Council member Nicole Brown asking for an apology on behalf of all of the black individuals on the call, to which Bashert defensively responds, “I’ll consider your comments.”

Bashert, by way of explanation, posted the following on Facebook last night, conceding that her actions “were racist.”

Last night at City Council, I made a biased statement and voted based on that statement. Then I compounded the whole thing by digging in and getting defensive when questioned. All of those actions were racist. I am deeply ashamed and saddened that I did this. I have spent the time since that meeting feeling remorse, shame, and anger at myself.

I understand that none of the terrible feelings I am having at this time come close to the painful experiences Black and Brown people suffer due to racism.

Recently, City Council declared that Racism is a Public Health Issue which impacts everyone. As a white person, unfortunately, I am a racist person because I was raised in a racist culture and because I am an imperfect human being. I care deeply about confronting racism, yet that does not mean that I am not racist. I am trying to confront racism in myself.

I am committed to learning in public and sometimes that entails making mistakes in public. I have made a number of mistakes around race and racism while being mayor. I am grateful for the patience I have received, the teaching that others have provided, and I strive to learn something from each mistake. And I have gone on to make entirely NEW mistakes in public, inevitably.

I continue to take action to educate myself about racism. As a leader, I have helped raise the issue of race in local, state and national interviews and conversations. When the COVID Pandemic put a spotlight on race inequities and disparities in our local and national communities, I acted to protect the residents of the community I represent. As part of that work, I have shown up, donated, written proclamations, endorsed and supported candidates, marched in demonstrations, built friendships across race lines, consulted folks across race lines for solutions, encouraged projects that will help Ypsilanti’s Black community, voted to support progressive actions that target racism, and more. These actions are a sign of my good intent.

I hope that my actions have been better than my words, as I join with others in the fight to end racism. My actions have not been perfect, by far, and I continue to learn.

Last night, I was defensive and frustrated and caused harm as a result. I harmed my fellow council members, especially Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson, Nicole Brown, and Anthony Morgan. I harmed City Manager McMullan.

I deeply regret my words and I apologize. I desire to work to repair my relationships with Council members. I hope that these individuals and the community can see their way through to offering me forgiveness, as I seek to do better. But I understand that it is my task alone to tackle.

I am committed to continuing to show up, to learn to be a better ally, and join in the work to end systemic racism. I hope to earn back your respect and I’m grateful for any opportunity to benefit from your help in doing so. I thank you for your kind attention.

I’m inclined to say that, when people indicate a willingness to make amends and grow from their mistakes, they shouldn’t be met with anger. With that said, though, the more that I listen to the Mayor’s comments, the more problematic I find them. I know that some of our more conservative readers will, no doubt, respond by saying, “What’s so racist about this? She voted for Gaines, when everyone else on Council — including the black members of Council — voted against him.” And, yes, I suppose, it would have been more overtly racist had she said that she would be voting against someone because of his color. But, as we know, racism doesn’t always come at night, beneath a sheet. And, thankfully, in this instance, we don’t have to debate whether or not the comment in question was racist, as the Mayor herself concedes that it was. And, that, I suppose, is something that we should be thankful for. She didn’t try to pass it off as humor, or suggest that her colleagues heard something that just wasn’t there.

So, how are we, as a community, going to respond? Are we going to demand that our Mayor leave office, or are we going to give her the opportunity she’s asking for to help her make amends? I’d love hear what others in the community — especially people of color — have to say on the matter.

update: Effective tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM, Beth Bashert will no longer be the Mayor of Ypsilanti.

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111 Comments

  1. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    The mayor’s comment seemed to be referencing a prior situation where she was accused of something racist. What was that situation about?

  2. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I was offended by the bigotry on display, on the wall, behind Morgan. “Fuck the Police” is a bigoted statement. I would like an apology.

  3. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    “As a white person, unfortunately, I am a racist person because I was raised in a racist culture and because I am an imperfect human being.”

    What a loser. If you are the racist you just admitted to being then take responsibility for that shit. She is a victim of her culture? What a baby.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    I nominate FF, EOS, and HW for mayor as they don’t see color. MYGA!

  5. Sad
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    It’s unsettling to hear FF talk about national politics.

    But even more so when he talks about local politics.

    He could be your neighbor.

  6. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Which part do you find unsettling specifically? The part where I said the mayor should take responsibility for her admitted racism? The part where I asked Morgan to apologize for his bigoted messaging during an official zoom meeting? The part where I asked a question about the context the mayors comment?

    I have noticed many people on mm.com have a difficult time getting specific about much of anything. I wonder why that is?

  7. Sad
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I just find you unsettling.

    Specific enough?

    How’s the garden?

  8. Lynne
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I tend to think that if a person is expressing a willingness to change, they do not necessarily need to be met with anger. However, that doesn’t mean that people are not going to be angry about it! She does sound like she is heading in the right direction in that she may be starting to see how racist our culture is and how that affects her thinking. That IS what taking responsibility for one’s own racism looks like, btw.

    I guess where I am is that I am inclined towards forgiveness but if some people are still so angry about the remarks that they are going to protest and demand a resignation, I have no judgment for them because they are legitimately angry and are not required to accept anyone’s apologies if they don’t want to

    I really like Ijeoma Oluo’s quote about being anti-racist

    “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”

    https://twitter.com/ijeomaoluo/status/1150565193832943617?lang=en

  9. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Aloha, it is all about context. Basherts comments given her previous problems with black appointees demonstrates a complete tone deafness.

  10. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    3a/3b, Sad.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/just

  11. Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Acknowledging that I haven’t followed the Mayor’s administration as closely as I should have, I reached out this morning to City Council Member Annie Somerville, who had left a comment in response to my post asking whether Bashert deserved a chance to redeem herself. I asked if she could provide context for the Mayor’s comments on Tuesday, and how they might go toward establishing a pattern. She responded with the following items.

  12. Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    She also shared the following, point to a “conversation two weeks ago when she told a black woman that black leadership in Ypsilanti was ‘weak’.”

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    It’s not ok to see oneself as the victim when accused of racism by people of color. The obvious point is the mayor summarily dismissed voices of color. But also, importantly, the presumption inherent is that the mayor’s discomfort in being called out is in any way comparable to the trauma caused by intergenerational, systemic and cultural racism and oppression.

    White people and especially leaders need to Deep pause before suggesting something is unfair visa vi their treatment by people of color re issues of race or just about anything.

    I have no say in what happens to the mayor but I do know this antagonism between her and activists and communities of color is not new. And I know that can’t be healthy for creating functional governance especially in a time when critical change is politically possible. My immediate response is she just said what many white municipal politicians feel when confronted by Black citizens and reps but the others are skilled enough not to say out loud in public meeting at a time of crisis. Her glibness May have been an expression of awkwardness but it reads as cruel and snarky. It felt Trumpian. The opposite of leadership.

    Maybe it’s better that these things be said as they are otherwise embedded in the actions of political leaders and one is just left to suspect. Trevor Noah has spoken a bunch about the ‘insidiousness’ of American racism because it’s hidden from expression but clearly being acted on. He talks about the strain of Navigating that v. overt racism.

    Is an apology adequate? I think what people want from governance is productive relationships to create meaningful structural change. An apology is not going to fix the underlying causes of toxicity between the mayor and council members.

    Lastly, FF, bigotry is not the same thing as racism.

  14. Demetrius
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I watched the video. What Bashert said comes off as a lame and ill-considered attempt at humor. Knowing her history, it is highly unlikely that her intention was racist, and she has already apologized.

    Calling out people who do terrible (sexist, racist, hateful) things, and holding them accountable is healthy, and in many cases long overdue. On the other hand, seeking to ruin people’s careers and reputations as retribution for virtually *any* comment or action (no matter ho minor, or how long ago) risks becoming a cruel and senseless “game” in which today’s accuser can easily become tomorrow’s target.

    (Can any of you honestly say you’ve never said or done anything that might not hold up to scrutiny according to today’s standards?)

    The prevalence of video footage today makes it easier than ever to identify and document these instances, and social media makes it easier than ever to gin up outrage, and call for the head of each day’s new offender. Still, I fear this “Cancel Culture” atmosphere eventually causes many people to become overwhelmed and numb to such charges … and that ultimately it dilutes focus and attention away from the worst actors, and most egregious examples – which cause the greatest damage to society, and where the need to hold people accountable for their actions is most profound.

    Calling out someone who says or does something stupid, and asking them to acknowledge and apologize is one thing … but does every single instance automatically have to go from zero-to-resigned/fired/cancelled?

  15. Tanya
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    A commitment to grow and learn about what you have done that has deeply harmed people should not be done when holding power over them.

    Come ready or don’t lead.

    I’m appalled at the number of people saying these statements and actions were not racist because they know her. I think I’ll go with the voices of the people who were affected most by this and trust their request that she resign. Their voices are the only ones that matter here.

    It’s not my place to say she isn’t racist or if she can learn or if the apology was sincere. And neither is it hers or anyone else’s. The harm done to Black people in these instances is theirs alone to say is racist – and the acts determines the label to them is justified. I believe them.

    I’m concerned it’s just more gaslighting for members of the Black community to fight through on top of everything else. Which is not new at all. But that’s something we do have power over, and can stop so as not to cause even more harm.

  16. Shane Davis
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Her apologies are insincere. Her initial statement in the meeting “I will take your comments into consideration.” were her exact words to me after her dogs attacked my wife and sent her to the hospital.

    I didn’t ask her to put her dogs down.

    I didn’t ask her to pay medical bills.

    I asked her to stop walking large dogs together because they were too powerful for one person to control, which is what caused the attack in the first place.

    Beth is a salesperson. She has wearing a mask 24/7 down pat.

    She isn’t concerned about the constituents, she is concerned about her plans and maintaining her position.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Visa vi the other details Mark has posted, esp the mayors comment about the need for ‘leadership development’ for Black reps, I’ve been thinking a lot about how White politicians are stewards of the system that oppresses. So when the mayor talks about ‘leadership development.’ I hear that she wants to mold Black leaders to play according to the rules of the system. The system that is all geared towards their oppression.

    Systemic knowledge is important to creating meaningful change. And I have spoken openly about how activists will get played by supposedly liberal politicians who say the right thing but are mostly interested in preventing any change— maintaining the status quo.

    Representation of people of color and other targeted groups is the only answer. And they should represent their communities not mold to the existing standard.

    The mayors comment re ‘leadership development’ smacks of a failure to understand what inclusive representation Looks like When it’s functional— namely that the historically dominant class reaches to work with others and doesn’t demand the opposite.

  18. Demetrius
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    @ FF

    Since Council Member Morgan ultimately presides over budget and hiring decisions that directly affect Ypsilanti’s police department, I agree with you that appearing on video during official business with “Fuck the Police” behind him is both offensive and disgraceful.

    I assume that like most of us, Morgan would like to see better, and more respectful relations between the police and all Ypsilanti citizens, especially our African American neighbors. I don’t see how promoting such a statement can possibly help.

  19. EOS
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    It was harsh and appears racist when she said it. However, there is a history about appointments to boards. When she first got into office, she put her white friends on boards when there was a vacancy. It drew a lot of complaints and a lot of press. There was a practice of reappointing anyone who served on a board if they wanted to continue. And a seat held by a black person would need a black person to replace them if the person chose not to continue with the board. Having been slapped down in the past, she overcorrected and made the statement she did at the online meeting. What she doesn’t realize is that it is not enough to nominate and vote for a black person, but you also need to state that they are the most qualified.

    I also don’t think it serves the interests of the city to appoint a council member to the police relations board who sits in front of a FTP sign during a broadcast of an official public meeting.

  20. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I expect a public apology from Morgan for his openly bigoted message. Perhaps Morgan can come on MM.com and apologize? If not then I request he publicly defend his decision to display the message “fuck the police” during a council meeting. He can offer his defense or apology here if he wants. I think it would be Grrrreeat!

  21. Max
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Interesting to hear anti-police sentiment described as bigoted. By definition it seems appropriate, but contextually, it feels gross. Why do you deserve an apology, FF. Are you a cop?

  22. Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Yikes.
    I don’t know the people on council, or their background, or what they stand for.
    But Zoom meetings are terrible.
    They hit that magic moment in the meeting when people were frustrated, leaning back in their chairs, and saying “mute/unmute” before every other speaker. All semblance of decorum was slipping away.
    Folks were tired and frustrated and laughing at the folly of the entire thing.
    And then it happened.
    The Mayor let her guard down and said something unprofessional – which often happens when people are tired and frustrated and speaking with people with whom they have rapport.
    The question to me is – was she speaking honestly? Is this what she really believes?
    Or was this just a late-night, off-the-cuff, attempt at humor?
    Since she voted yes, I’m inclined to say she was telling us something she honestly believes – and that can be dangerous. And it speaks, potentially, to a pretty bad situation she’s in. One where believes her relationship with black voters in Ypsi is such that she can’t vote her conscience.
    Really, the race situation in the country has a lot of people afraid to say what they think. And the calls for her to resign are proof of why.
    I can’t say the remarks were racist or not. For that, you have to look at her record. You’d have to know her.
    They were racially insensitive.
    But they also speak to her inability to lead Ypsilanti in a functional way. She can’t vote for what’s right because of her relationship with blacks in Ypsilanti. That’s disqualifying.
    Not on racism.
    But on basic functional competence.

  23. Lisa Bashert
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Not to excuse, but to add context: the conversation in which Beth use the word “weak” was one that took place over more than two hours privately at a dinner with Sarah Schulman. Aspects of leadership, LGBTQ politics, racism and many other topics were discussed between the two of them a year and a half ago. It was overheard by someone else at the table and misheard. Facilitating and encouraging more black leadership is something that is an important goal for our city. Additionally, this is all taking place in the context of the complexities of homophobia and sexism, which also exist in city politics. Not to mention anti-Semitism in a country where Jewish people are also targets. It is a tangled web indeed. People with white privilege such as ourselves must work to uncover these biases and fight to unlearn them. We are committed to doing so, because it is the right thing to do. Full stop.

  24. EOS
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    FF asked for a public apology for disrespecting those persons on local police forces who risk their lives to protect all of us on a daily basis. FTP is never appropriate.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    “All of us”

    Respect is earned, not given.

  26. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    An unjust act of bigotry against any of us ought to feel like an unjust act of bigotry against all of us.

    Why do I have a feeling Max is someone who feels “Baffled” when someone asks him to defend his position? An apology in the Greek sense works too. Defend that shit Morgan. Or ask for forgiveness. Or try to explain it away in some other way….I do think an uncomfortable conversation is warranted. We need more uncomfortable conversations if we expect to become a less bigoted society.

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    My apologies Max. I am assuming something about you that might not be true. It does not matter even if my assumption is true so I will stop assuming it. Likewise, whether or not I am a cop does not matter so I decline to answer. We are all in this together.

  28. Max
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I’m not baffled one bit, FF. You’re describing sentiment against an organization that is and has always been bigoted, as in the common, most prevalent understanding of the word, against a race of people, as bigoted. It’s says a lot and is very pointed. It’s gaslighting. You’re twisting words until they really don’t mean anything. “An unjust act of bigotry…” Give me a break.

  29. Jean Henry
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    ‘Mayor Bashert— you called the Black representatives on council ‘weak’ and suggested they need development.

    It’s very clear that you need leadership development, more than they do.

    What does leadership development mean? These are elected representatives who were elected by their Co stirrings as they are. Knowing that it seems that by ‘leadership development’ you do not mean developing more Black citizens to run for office but developing the capacity of already elected Black leaders to mold better to the norms of the standards of the system that oppresses them. You are basically suggesting they learn to act and function more like the old leadership than their communities.

    Please take a step back and start being humble instead of performing humility publicly. There are valuable lessons here. The issues at play are bigger than you. You don’t have to lead. You don’t have to manage those coming into power. You just need to listen and not get reactive.

    ‘If you are drunk and on the edge of a cliff, sit down.’ — Rumi

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Very interesting comment from Bashert. Reading between the line it sounds like Bashert, at the dinner party, was overheard highlighting bias and bigotry amongst non-white people. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Please don’t stop defending yourself. If everyone is honest we can put a truth on display here. Then maybe our resident critical theorist will finally get a clue as to what “identity politics” really is and what it necessarily unfolds into.

  31. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Don’t listen to Jean, Lisa. Lean into this moment! Some good can come out of this.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Side note: I’m very tired of this idea among white liberals of racism being about individuals and other people. That it’s only expressed overtly. That’s the least of it and our fear of confronting the ways we ourselves protect and preserve systems of oppression is active and effectively preventing the change we ourselves want.

    Yes, my fellow white people, your thinking is steeped in racist constructs. Racism is a system at least as much as it is a set of attitudes and beliefs. You don’t have to be perfect to dismantle systemic racism.

    You just have to cede control and give up some of your power.

    Stop othering racism. It’s everywhere. If you want to defeat it you must recognize how deeply entrenched it is.

    The failures of our liberal cities to provide equity and the consistent anti-change activism of liberal white citizens around preserving the status quo (aka their advantage)In housing, education, wealth, income and health care tells us that racism is not just an issue in the GOP.

    Yes , some people are worse racists than you, white liberals. Taking a stand against open racism in opposing parties asks nothing of us. But those GOP assholes are not YOUR problem; and they sure as shit aren’t an excuse.

  33. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    You believe there are just acts of bigotry? Or do you deny that “Fuck the Police” is a bigoted statement?

  34. EOS
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    What role did the mayor play when a city manager got fired for selecting a white candidate for fire chief? Can someone from the city explain what went down and whether the response today has something to do with that? I don’t know – I wasn’t following the situation. Just trying to figure out the exaggerated response to the recent comment.

  35. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Passive-aggressive sarcastic virtue-signalling by the mayor of Ypsilanti; what a mess.

  36. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Yeah the sarcastic virtue signaling does not magically get wiped away by her genuine virtue signaling. It’s too bad you have to identify the speech act that way, HW. It is so much more neat and tidy to just say “That’s racist”. Now we need to have an uncomfortable conversation about some things.

    Oh well. Let’s have the conversation here. My guess is that an honest conversation could lead to some positive things. Probably won’t help any bodies political career though. Oh well, I am willing to have them make that sacrifice for the greater good.

    How about it guys and gals?

  37. Jean Henry
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    FF__ I denied nothing. I simply said bigotry is not racism.
    Racism is a form of bigotry but not all bigotry is racism. And racist oppression is harder to over come. Racist oppression is more regularly, comprehensively and even subconsciously applied by White people and institutions to people of other races. Education isn’t enough. Structural dismantling isn’t enough. Whole scale change is required to address it.

    You seem to think racism is just an attitude that needs adjustment instead of a system. I know I have Ade the exact same distinction between bigotry and racism to you in this space before. You persistently refuse to acknowledge the distinctions of American racial oppression. AKA white supremacy.

    Bias against the police is not in any way comparable to racism. As many activists have said, “They are not Blue Lives; they are blue shirts.” People choose to be police. People do not choose to be Black.

    Sometimes distrust aka bias is warranted. Like when one’s life is at risk. Bias is not inherently bad. It’s also discernment. Without discernment people are vulnerable to abuse and manipulation. Bigotry is unwarranted bias. I don’t see that in antagonism towards the police from Black citizens. (Though certainly not all Black citizens feel that way)

  38. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Jean,

    I was responding to Max. I am not interested in what you have to say at the moment. Sorry.

    “You seem to think racism is just an attitude that needs adjustment instead of a system. “—Jean

    No. I’m sorry. You have no memory. We have gone through this convo 10 times at least. You don’t know what I think. Even if I told you (I have) you would just forget what I told you. Your framework for dealing with racism is clearly understood by others. It’s Basic !!!!!!!!! This moment has nothing to do with you. I want the Ypsi city council and mayor to discuss this publicly. Lisa has nothing to lose—is my guess—so she might as well be honest about things.

    I want to watch the truth unfold. I have no side here. :)

    In the meantime I will be prodding for that apology (or defense) for Morgan’s bigoted message.

  39. Jean Henry
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    https://blog.usejournal.com/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-white-ally-469bb82799f2

  40. iRobert
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    How do you feel things are going so far with this movement to address systemic racism, Jean?

  41. Jean Henry
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I think we could be on the verge of the next their of meaningful civil rights reform.

    There’s a movement. And it’s about race not class. And it’s unifying the left. That movement has so far been persistent and strong enough to push congress, states and municipalities to revisit police union contracts, the immunity clause, police funding.

    Since everything within the system re-enforces itself — and I think the Mayor’s comments reflect that tendency even among the most liberal of politicians– it can easily fall apart. But right now I am seeing the perspectives of liberals locally and nationally switch towards an understanding of racism as a systemic problem not a personality trait. I believe we are at a tipping point. I certainly hope so.

    What is your impression iRobert?

  42. Jean Henry
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    *tier not ‘their

  43. iRobert
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I am hopeful that is what we are seeing as well.

  44. Bob
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    What is it with Ypsi and terrible mayor’s? Still kinda like her better than that last idiot though.

  45. Jean Henry
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    For some perspective on why this issue? why now? — this was amazingly prescient and is helpful.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2020/03/21/historyand-psychologypredict-riots-and-protests-amid-pandemic-lockdowns/#7ed0457f14a6

    I also think that it matters that we could see in real time the disparity of health outcomes for Black and Brown people is VERY distinct from poor white citizens– even those living in cities. At the same time, we all felt a bit more vulnerable and anxious which apparently lights up our sense of empathy. Go figure.

    And then that image of Floyd’s murder. The length of time. The bystanders. The hand in pocket.

    I also think the young liberal white woman who threatened to call the cops on a Black male birdwatcher for asking her to leash her dog had big impact. People were shocked she was liberal… Not me. That ‘Karen’ moment happened to a Black man who was as conforming to white liberal norms and values as conceivably possible (Birdwatching!) at the hands of a very young liberal and educated woman.

    It created a moment of reckoning.

  46. Jean Henry
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Bob– both of those mayors, however flawed, were less filled with bias than you. In spades. You externalize everything. Have you personally ever had a moment of personal reckoning politically? Could you even recognize it if it were right before you?

  47. Bob
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I love the way you honky-splain everything Jean. I recognize what an obnoxious asshole you are.

  48. Wobblie
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Aloha. Big day in Ypsi

    https://purplewalruspress.blogspot.com/2020/06/approximately-1000-protesters.html?fbclid=IwAR16GWbyEjkd0l3SbS_0OvkoZsdcslzav2aLk6YetM3RhboFi9WM1QhIKn8&m=1

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted June 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Bob– being considered an asshole by people like you is not something I worry about.

  50. verifyfirst
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Huh. Well according to the A2 News, two members of Council called for the Mayor to resign at the BLM protest yesterday.

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/06/council-members-call-on-ypsilanti-mayor-to-resign-at-black-lives-matter-protest.html

    Since a lot of governance depends on cooperation and working together, not sure how the Mayor overcomes a black majority Council that believes she is racist?

  51. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I am not asking anybody to resign. I would like to hear a defense for the message “fuck the police” at the council meeting by Morgan. It was his message. It was displayed right above his head. Why wouldn’t he defend the statement? Can someone ask him to come on here and defend it or apologize? Not defending or apologizing for that statement seems very very weak to me.

  52. John Brown
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Hey Fashy Karen, why don’t you ask to speak to his manager?

  53. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Fake John Brown thinks it is strange to ask an individual to publicly defend a message they displayed publicly while executing a duty of public office? How is my asking for a defense abnormal FJB?

  54. verifyfirst
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The common theme of my 12 years as a homeowner in the city of Ypsilanti, re: local government has been: incompetence. Thorough going, really profound, “can’t find their rear end with both hands and a map” incompetence. And it doesn’t seem to matter who the people involved are, or what the issue is or what part of city government is involved, it’s been consistent across the board.

    On the issues discussed here, I live in the Third Ward, and I would be appalled if it is true one of our Third Ward Council members had a FTP sign behind him during a council meeting. I know it’s only $500 a month pay to serve on Council, but if you don’t have anything more constructive than that to say about the city government you are helping run, you should resign.

    We’ll put your salary toward the settlement of the fire chief hiring lawsuit, or maybe the $2 million train platform to nowhere. Or are we still paying something towards the Chinese developer for Water Street fiasco, I don’t remember (the current mayor was campaign manager for the previous mayor–that poor judgement was by itself disqualifying for me).

    The current Mayor is the finance director at Dunning Toyota dealership in Ann Arbor, I think (recently promoted if I recall), and Dunning was proud to feature her new elected position in Ypsilanti in their advertising. Now Dunning has an admitted racist making financing decisions for the dealership–hoo boy. Don’t see how that is tenable.

    When the Mayor says she has to listen better to “her community”, I wonder which community she has in mind–the student community of the city (one-third); the (mostly white) urban liberal hipster/hippie community of the city (another third), or the working class black and white section of the community (also a third).(mostly black working class at this point, the white working class having been gentrified out by the white hipsters–maybe we could start an index to measure this phenomenon–“number of houses bought in Ypsilanti that are immediately painted purple”). The three communities are just about totally separate from each other, and might as well be different cities unto themselves.

  55. Bob
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Jean, the problem is you obviously don’t care what an asshole you are. Having you honky-splain racism and black lives to everyone is the very definition of delusional asshole.

  56. Sara C.
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I posted this to the Mayor’s “apology.”

    Mayor, I’ve thought long and hard about my response to your apology. I was angry and frustrated after watching clips from Tuesday’s meeting. I will be frank that I did not support your candidacy in 2018. And I was concerned by some of your microaggressions against your Black opponent. But to a certain point, I was willing to accept the will of the voters and see how you would grow into the role. We’re nearly halfway through your term. Unfortunately, some of the behaviors that gave me pause throughout your campaign and tenure on Council — open hostility toward colleagues and constituents critical of your decisions, and an apparent unwillingness to find consensus with those same critics — only seem to be getting worse as time passes. While I’ve had little time to engage directly in local politics due to a demanding work schedule, what I’ve observed from videos of previous meetings and Tuesday’s is that your behavior is very clearly creating a toxic environment in City Hall. Your racist remarks on Tuesday were evidence of an inability to put criticism aside to do the work you were elected to do and to keep a level head. Listen, public service is thankless. But if you are unable to let criticism roll off your back and find ways to engage better those who are clearly upset, I am really not sure you are fit for this role. And on top of all of that, it’s unfair to ask your constituents to give you the room to grow and unlearn racism when you should have started working on that the minute you were elected or at least when people started pointing out you were decommissioning an alarming amount of Black commissioners. It is in your best interest — and the best interest of your constituents — to resign now. Otherwise, this will continue to be a distraction from the work many of my neighbors elected you to do.

  57. Posted June 21, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    New on Facebook.

  58. Jean Henry
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Bob– I’m honky spanning to honkies. There are no voices of color here regularly. Until there are, I guess my loud mouth will have to do. I sure as shit am not going to let some of this stuff stand.

    Do you still think ‘identity politics’ is dividing the left?

  59. Jean Henry
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Re the Mayor’s preemptive apology to her neighbors about peaceful protests: Is it a warning? Is this the liberal version of the mayoral warning about ‘disruption’ with some concern trolling thrown in for good measure?

    Is it really such an awful thing to have one’s pleasant day disrupted by people advocating for equitable treatment???

    This is a pretty classic example of a faux apology that in fact points the finger of blame at the victims.

  60. Anonymous
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see what the issue is with the council member having a fuck the police sign in their office. If it is because of the swear words, that is some serious pearl-clutching nonsense. If they are in a position that can impact the police budget and hold anti-police views, so what? That’s the type of person I would want scrutinizing a police budget.

  61. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Would you be ok with Morgan putting out an “All Cops Are Bastards” message, Anonymous?

  62. EOS
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    It’s not the word, it’s the total disrespect for those who risk their lives daily to protect us all. A city council meeting is an inappropriate context for such an expression. It encourages rebellious acts that endanger lives. FTP until you are the victim and expect an immediate response and then your perspective turns 180 degrees. Where are the leaders who promote cooperation and civility rather than those calling to defund the police and expel the mayor?

  63. Lynne
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Do you think “All Cops Are Bastards” is the same message as “Fuck the Police”, FF?

  64. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 21, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Yes. You don’t? Which do you think is worse?

  65. Channel 7 Detroit
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    “Ypsilanti mayor facing backlash for racial comments during council meeting”

    https://www.wxyz.com/news/ypsilanti-mayor-facing-backlash-for-racial-comments-during-council-meeting

  66. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    How is “Fuck the Police” different from “ACAB”? Anyone?

  67. Anonymous
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Do you remember how FTP entered into mainstream pop culture? You might also object to the name of the group as well. Hint: It’s been over thirty years.

  68. Lynne
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    FF, yes I do think that ACAB is a worse statement than FTP. ACAB is a statement about the character of individual police officers. FTP is a statement about the police force as a whole.

    I am pretty sure that FF would not like NWA’s name or them since he demonstrates here frequently that he does NOT like it when women or POC get too uppity. (most recently demonstrated by his attitude towards Anthony Morgan)

  69. NWA
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5fts7bj-so

  70. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I suppose it is possible Morgan displayed “Fuck The Police” during a council meeting because he likes NWA’s beats in the song (or any variety of reasons). I am not Morgan. I assume you are not Morgan. I am asking for a defense/ explanation for Morgan displaying the message during a council meeting. Do you display the message while on the clock of your job? Do you display the message in your free time? If not: why not. If yes: Why?

    I can tell you why I think the message is a form of bigotry…

    I have been listening to rap from the beginning. I know what the phrase refers to and I can only speculate how Morgan is trying to apply the phrase within a council meeting in this time in our history.

    Seriously: What is your point in asking those questions? You comments are always so soft and beside any point. As if FF would instantly understand why Morgan would use the message “Fuck The Police” during a council meeting if only FF knew the history of the phrase. Dude… Weak…

  71. Anonymous
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    You may have listened to rap, but did you hear the message? If you did, then you wouldn’t be asking these questions unless you are feigning ignorance.

  72. Jean Henry
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    FF– There is no defense or apology needed. Why do you think you can demand one? What gives you that authority? Has any single person agreed with you? Nope.

  73. Jean Henry
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “I have been listening to rap from the beginning.”

    Whatever you have been doing with ‘rap,’ it’s for sure not listening.

  74. Jean Henry
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    ACAB is not prejudicial. Bastards can be seen as a clear reference to institutional and/or oppressive power from the WW2 faux Latin slogan “iIllegitimi non carborundum.”
    Goldwater used it.

    The idea is that they are chosen to participate in an enforcement Arn for governmental oppression of BlPOC. They may want to reform from within. They may have good intentions. They may be good people. Good people vote for Trump too. And I’m ok with calling them bastards. No one cares when people say all lawyers are bastrads. What is it about police that requires special consideration. They choose to wear blue shirts in this time. History may not judge them well collectively for it. Doesn’t;t mean they are good or bad people individually. Not the fucking point.

    “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” –William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2

    My dad, a lawyer, has a poster with that saying hanging in his office.

  75. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Cassandra,

    I don’t believe you.

    It is clear to you that “Fuck the Police” only refers to “the police” as a group and does not refer to “the police” individually????

    If we took a poll would you be super surprised to find out that many people take the phrase to mean “Fuck the police (individually)”AND “Fuck the police” as a group”?

    I am curious what Morgan’s justification is for broadcasting the message during a council meeting. Perhaps he was referring to his distaste of bands Sting sang in during the 80’s?

    The insinuation that FF does not “get it” because FF does not understand the origins is funny. I owned the album, dummy.

  76. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Anonymous is a conveniently vague dude.

    The message of rap? WtF are you talking about man? The message of white country singers? The message of 20th century painters? Just explain to me how you survive in this world being so vague and dim?

  77. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    “Why do you think you can demand one? What gives you that authority? Has any single person agreed with you? Nope.”—Jean

    I have tried to be clear that I am requesting an apology/ defense/ explanation. That is, I am requesting an “apology” in the Ancient Greek sense—a reasoned explanation for the messaging.

    Multiple people have expressed concern for Morgan’s message within this thread. Can you not read Jean?

    FF, EOS, Demetrius, VerifyFirst all said they found it at least problematic. I guarantee many others find it problematic. Why wouldn’t we have a difficult conversation about it? Why do you and others want to shut and dismiss dialogue about the “fuck the police” message Morgan displayed at the council meeting, Jean?

  78. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Jean thinks that the key to realizing that it is not prejudicial to apply the “bastard” label to a group of individuals that belong to some group is that there are also good bastards? I’m sorry. Huh?

    I can go along with your linking of bastards to legitimacy but it does nothing without an argument for or the against the legitimacy of the group and the individuals. Duh. That’s the question to be grappled with!!!Just assuming the group is illegitimate, as you are trying to do, is not thinking through anything at all, Jean.

  79. amy
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    i don’t believe we owe beth any chances. she’s a goddamn elected official and supposedly a democrat, she should know better and stop acting like a bratty child whenever people call her out on her BS

  80. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    “All police are illegitimate“ seems to be the thesis Jean is comfortable with. Okay that is fine. Can you explain how “All police are illegitimate” then? What are some legitimate groups according to Jean? Where is their legitimacy derived? Are all members of BLM legitimate? Are all members of Antifa legitimate? Explain.

  81. Lynne
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Like Mark, I feel badly for not paying closer attention. If that passive-aggressive post on the Normal Park page is any indication of how she deals with people in general, I am better able to see the anger towards her.

  82. verifyfirst
    Posted June 22, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Not sure why I’m spending pixels on this….but a few random thoughts:

    The story about the Mayor seems to be going viral. In addition to Channel 7 Detroit that someone linked to (thank you), there is:

    https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/ypsilanti-mayor-apologizes-after-saying-shed-be-crucified-for-voting-againt-black-councilmembers

    and

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/ypsilanti-mayor-said-she-would-be-crucified-for-not-supporting-a-black-commissioner-her-colleagues-on-council-called-her-racist/ar-BB15Jpe8

    and

    http://www.easternecho.com/article/2020/06/ypsilanti-mayor-beth-bashert-facing-criticism-from-community-and-leaders-after-racist-comment-at-city-council-meeting

    and

    https://nypost.com/2020/06/19/mayor-says-shed-be-crucified-for-vote-against-black-official/

    Going viral nationally would be unfortunate for the city. There is an interesting item on the A2 News today where one can compare black and white population in any Michigan city, 1970 to 2019 (not years in between). According to them, Ypsilanti lost 11,000 white residents and 200 black residents over that time, and we now stand at about 12,000 white, 5,000 black. I don’t know if those numbers are correct, but it does seem to me the time for the Mayor to have addressed her racism was long before running for any elective office in a city with a large black population. I’m also surprised not to have heard anything from the gay community about this whole issue. And I could not find the Mayor shown as an employee on the Dunning Toyota Ann Arbor website, where they picture their entire staff, individually by title.

    As far as policing, I don’t know how the Ypsilanti force compares within the US. The militarization of US policing has been a problem for a long time, as has training and culture. I always remember two contrasting images I saw somewhere–a video of three London police safely disarming–without using weapons– a large 30 year old mentally ill man swinging a samurai sword on an underground train, compared to a small 75 year old, obviously frail mentally ill black man in Oakland who was waving a penknife in an empty lot–and surrounded by nine officers in a semi-circle with guns drawn and pointing at him.

    But America is probably a more dangerous place to police, I would imagine, with hundreds of millions of guns in the hands of private citizens. Quite a mess….

  83. verifyfirst
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Wowie kazowie.

    So now the entire City Council has asked the Mayor to resign, and four Council members are not going to show up (on Zoom) for the Council meeting tonight, so there will not be a quorum.

    https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/06/22/protesters-seek-ypsilanti-mayors-resignation-after-racist-comments/3236014001/

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/06/ypsilanti-elected-officials-activists-call-on-mayor-to-resign-after-comments-about-appointing-black-commissioners.html

    Good information on the ongoing discussions on policing in Ann Arbor though, which I had missed:

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/06/ypsilanti-residents-press-police-chief-city-on-defund-the-police-use-of-force.html

    Especially good news about the hiring of a police social worker–perhaps the social worker will be able to help manage police interactions with mentally ill residents in crisis, so no one gets hurt or killed! I would also be interested to know how much the city pays out each year in legal settlements for use of force, profiling, etc.

    Maybe I should subscribe to the A2 News after all–I don’t follow Ann Arbor news, But I do like Ypsi news and Washtenaw County news…..if those two make up…..10 percent of the paper’s coverage, maybe I could pay a pro-rated amount?

  84. verifyfirst
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Re: social worker and policing, the i-pad based system below might be a more effective approach, to provide 24/7/365 coverage of the issue, which a single social worker will not be able to provide, obviously. Has the city looked into something like this?

    https://thecrimereport.org/2018/03/06/how-ipads-are-changing-one-police-forces-response-to-the-mentally-ill/

    Thanks!

  85. stupid hick
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I thought it was unfortunate City Council displayed “Fuck the Police” because a lot of people won’t understand what it refers to. It’s an obvious reference to the 30 year old NWA anthem. It’s lyrics are about pervasive unfair police brutality to black people. It expresses frustration with the system and rejection that it can be reformed. It’s an eloquent expression of dissatisfaction about long running, uninterrupted, business as usual injustice. That was 30 years ago and here we are now and what has changed? As an expression of that sentiment, “Fuck the Police” is a perfect reference, but as I said I think it’s unwise for City Council to use because Ypsilanti is a hick town full of dumb hillbilly idiots who won’t get it. Look for example at Frosted Flakes, who is indignant because he knows all about rap and even owns the album. If an intelligent, cultured, NWA fan like Frosted Flakes doesn’t get it, believe me, there is zero chance any Ypsi hick will understand. A better choice for City Council might instead have been to use the “this is fine” meme with the dog drinking coffee while his house burns around him. Oh forget it, some people are hopeless.

  86. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “That was 30 years ago and here we are now and what has changed? “—SH

    Well I take it you did not listen to the whole video. Morgan has a conversation with Ypsi’s police chief. Listen to it. Besides there is a distinction to be made between late 80’s LAPD and all other current PD’s including LAPD 2020. What do you think? We have a bit of evidence of what Morgan thinks in the council meeting video. Which makes “fuck the police” message displayed even more puzzling. Do you see how you might have everything twisted SH?

  87. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I would feel comfortable putting a lot of lines from the NWA song on a protest sign and then marching the streets for Floyd. I would not carry a protest sign that said “fuck the police” or “swarm every motherfucker in a blue uniform” on a protest sign, however. I also would not broadcast either of those messages during a council meeting as a council member.

    I can appreciate the NWA song though….

    So, at least in my case absolutely nothing hinges upon “getting the song reference”.

  88. Sad
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    She out!

  89. Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    FF, I gather then that you are more concerned about the tone rather than the content of the message.

  90. Lynne
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    When it comes to apologies, the good ones have some kind of action but also some kind of cost. The mayor made the right decision to resign.

  91. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I am primarily concerned with the bigot logic of the message.

  92. Demetrius
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    “How should a community respond when an elected official admits to racism and asks for another chance?”

    Apparently, by forcing their resignation:

    https://www.wxyz.com/news/ypsilanti-mayor-resigns-after-saying-she-would-be-crucified-for-not-appointing-black-commissioner

    O.K. … so now what

  93. Lynne
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius, no one was forced to resign. Some protestors did help her realize that it was the right thing to do but that isn’t the same as forcing. So now what? If I understand things correctly, Lois Richardson as Mayor pro tem, becomes Mayor. What I don’t know if that means there is a vacancy in Ward 1.

  94. iRobert
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    The Mayor of Ypsi has resigned.

  95. iRobert
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I didn’t see that Demetrius had posted that many hours ago.

  96. iRobert
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    The mayor must be so relieved to have avoided crucification.

    I’d like to see every melodramatic person in politics resign.

  97. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    “no one was forced to resign. Some protestors did help her realize that it was the right thing to do but that isn’t the same as forcing.“

    Cassandra, You have a tendency to be intentionally obtuse when precision matters and nuanced when you see an opportunity to bullshit.

  98. verifyfirst
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I would like to listen to the zoom meeting “Community members participate in a forum to discuss the Ypsilanti Police Department’s law enforcement strategies on Thursday, June 18.”

    I cannot find it on the City’s website. Does anyone have a link?

    Thanks.

  99. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    There was additional content attached to the council meeting zoom meeting mark offered here. It proceeded the council meeting I think. Not sure if that is what you are looking for but the police chief was in conversation with council members via Zoom in that long video. Maybe that is it?

  100. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 23, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Preceded*

  101. verifyfirst
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks. It sounds like the policing meeting was two days after the Council meeting, The policing meeting is described is this article I had stumbled upon:

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/06/ypsilanti-residents-press-police-chief-city-on-defund-the-police-use-of-force.html

  102. Demetrius
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    @ Lynne

    I understand how the process works – that Mayor pro tem Richardson will now step in as acting mayor, following Bashert’s resignation.

    When I say “What now?” what I mean is … What’s the end-game here? How will we, as a community, move forward in the medium and longer term, and how will we now come together to address many pressing issues that remain unresolved? (multi-year structural budget deficits, aging infrastructure, Water Street redevelopment, etc. …)

    Ypsilanti is in many ways a small town (only about 21,000 residents) and it is already hard enough to find qualified residents who are willing and able to put in the long hours, do the difficult work of serving on City Council, or as Mayor. Now that “some protesters”(many of whom probably don’t even live in Ypsilanti) have “helped” the Mayor to understand that she needed to resign – who in their right mind will be willing sign up for any of these roles – knowing that at any time, they might do or say something that will incite an angry mob to demand that they step aside, too?

    As I mentioned earlier, I think what Bashert said was stupid and foolish. She deserved to be called out for her remark, and she certainly owed the community an apology. However, I don’t believe it warranted her resignation … but now, as they say, “it is what it is …”

    As far as calls to de-fund the police go, all I can say is that the YPD has been “de-funded” for at least a decade now. We already have only a fraction of the number of police we had 10 or 15 years ago. I’m all in favor of more social workers and drug counselors to help deal with individual and family issues, and issues of addiction (and I’m sure many police officers would agree) – but the idea that this community doesn’t also have real crimes, that requires “real” police to prevent and solve, is nothing short of a fantasy.

    If “some protesters” end up getting their way, and the YPD actually get disbanded, I’m afraid the only thing that is likely to get de-funded are the already-thin city coffers, as tax-paying residents and business begin to flee Ypsilanti for other communities.

    Like virtually everyone else in America, I was disgusted watching George Floyd being callously murdered by a police officer – in slow motion, in broad daylight, in front of witnesses, while being recorded. Most of us are equally heartbroken seeing other recent events that resulted in innocent Black people being killed during interactions with police. I’m glad these events have sparked peaceful protests, and generated momentum toward genuine police reforms, and other measures that will help to prevent future tragedies. For perhaps the first time in America, there seems to be a broad-based consensus among many types of people, of many races, to demand more accountability, and greater justice.

    That said, I think some of the tactics (and outcomes) we’ve been seeing lately are likely to have the opposite effect – sowing discord, and further dividing people who might otherwise be natural allies … something I think will ultimately prove to be counter-productive.

  103. Anonymous
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    It was and still is my belief that Ypsilanti, with a limited financial talent base dealt itself an own goal with the Water Street debacle that will prove impossible to recover from short of bankruptcy and joining with the surrounding area. It’s only a matter of time.

  104. Demetrius
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    This seems both relevant and timely:

    NYT: (June 24, 2020) – A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege. It’s Already Being Tested.

    Blocks from where George Floyd drew his last breaths, residents have vowed to avoid the police to protect people of color. The commitment is hard to keep.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/24/us/minneapolis-george-floyd-police.html

  105. Lynne
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius, I feel you about the lack of qualified mayoral candidates but I am sure we can find another one.

    Ah well, it is an interesting question about how our community can handle this going forward. I think for me it might be making the effort to pay closer attention to local politics. I used to be much better about it.

    I don’t like the term “defund the police” because I don’t think it necessarily is accurate once you find out what people are actually asking for. A big piece for me is to involve the police less in things that could be better handled by social workers. Still, I think it is important to acknowledge that for many, the police do not help them so they may actually be calling for the entire force to be disbanded and with good reason. So I guess the answer there is how can we make the police work for them as much as they have worked for me, a white lady?

    That article in MN is interesting. I think one important thing is to acknowledge that simply giving the police less responsibility isn’t enough as the social problems they were dealing with will not go away on their own. As a society, we have a choice but the problem is also that as a society, we have allowed a very significant number of people to remove themselves from social problems like homelessness. The answer to that problem is to provide homes for people but unless you happen to live in a neighborhood where there are homeless people, you might not be willing to pay to fix the problem somewhere else.

    It is not lost on me that right now, I can move to a different place where property taxes are MUCH lower than in Ypsi. Where things like auto insurance are cheaper. Where the value of my home is likely to increase more than in Ypsi, etc. This is true of most white residents of Ypsilanti. And that is systemic racism at work. I still find Ypsilanti to be a wonderful place to live and so worth the extra costs! You are right too, that if white people perceive that they don’t have the police around to protect them from black people, they very well may move out of the city but the idea of allowing a police force to terrorize 1/3 of our city just to keep some white people from moving away feels very wrong to me.

    What tactics do you think are dividing people? The only real division I see is between racists who want to keep the status quo and anti-racists who don’t and the conflict there would be there regardless of the tactics the anti-racists use.

  106. Demetrius
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    “You are right too, that if white people perceive that they don’t have the police around to protect them from black people, they very well may move out of the city but the idea of allowing a police force to terrorize 1/3 of our city just to keep some white people from moving away feels very wrong to me. ”

    Yes – because only Black people are criminals. And only White people are concerned about crime.

    I really am amazed sometimes by some of the things I hear from people who are supposedly progressive and “woke.”

    Maybe you haven’t spent much time here lately, but I can say for sure that more than a fair amount of local crime is perpetrated by White folks. If you look around, you’ll also see that there plenty of Black homeowners and small business owners who, I presume, are just as concerned about crime as their White neighbors.

  107. Lynne
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius, oh I know that there are plenty of white criminals in Ypsi. There are plenty of white criminals in places that are all white too yet often those places do not have huge police forces. The police in all-white areas don’t seem to have issues with over-policing either. Why?

    The presence of white criminals doesn’t change the situation where many white people perceive black people as being more likely to engage in crimes or that there is a perception that the role of the police is to protect white people from black criminals. A lot if that is totally implicit too. It doesn’t change the reality that white people tend to have more options as a group about where they live and will move if they perceive that there is too much crime or that they often determine crime rates by how many black people they see in an area.

  108. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Percentage of blacks in the USA vs. percentage of whites? Number of black on white murders vs. white on black? Reconcile.

  109. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 24, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Cassandra is not capable of even seeing Demetrius’ primary criticism of her framing. He pointed out that she was framing the crime issue only in terms of white people concerned with black crime. I think the primary point of his criticism was not to just point that white people also are also criminals—duhhhhhh! The primary point of his criticism was that Black people are also concerned with the probablility of (white and black) crime following from a defund the police campaign—-duhhhhh!

    Bigot-Bot

  110. Demetrius
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    This thread started with the question: “How should a community respond when an elected official admits to racism and asks for another chance?”

    Well, we now know that one (perhaps?) unintended answer is that Ypsilanti residents are going to end up being democratically disenfranchised – with all residents losing their right to vote to select a Mayor, and in at least one Ward, the right to select a Council member, until at least late 2022.

    Using extremely convoluted reasoning, the Ypsilanti Election Commission recently decided that since it is now too late to conduct a Democratic or Republican Party primary, it should be up to the Ypsilanti City Council to select a new Mayor Pro-tem after the general election in November. That person (selected entirely by Council, without voter input) will then automatically become the Mayor until at least late 2022. Next, since that action will result in a vacant seat, the City Council then will appoint another member (again without voter input), who will also serve until late 2022.

    Again, there’s no question that what Bashert did was stupid and foolish – and she definitely owed the this community an apology. If enough residents were unhappy, there could/should have been a recall effort (followed by a democratic vote) to decide whether she should be removed from office.

    Instead – an angry mob, comprised of residents (and likely many non-residents) marched and demanded (threatened) her to resign. The result is a procedural and bureaucratic morass, the consequences of which will be much less (not more) direct participation in local democracy.

    Five comments above in this thread, I said the following: ” … I think some of the tactics (and outcomes) we’ve been seeing lately are likely to have the opposite effect – sowing discord, and further dividing people who might otherwise be natural allies … something I think will ultimately prove to be counter-productive.”

    This is pretty much exactly what I was worried about, and what I predicted then.

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/06/voters-wont-fill-remainder-of-former-ypsilanti-mayors-term-until-2022.html

  111. Demetrius
    Posted June 28, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Full disclosure: I supported and voted for Anne Brown in Ypsilanti’s last mayoral election.

    https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2018/11/who_should_be_ypsilantis_next.html

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