Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ypsilanti in denial


The topics of transportation, subsidy cuts, recreation department cuts, and festival costs are the focus of discussion regarding city financial problems. The need to fill the vacant store fronts on Michigan Avenue, the Ford plant closing, and trying to attract new businesses are also issues.


Alice Burg, City Planner, 1992-98, warned that Water Street would bankrupt the city. She was fired for her opinion. The city borrowed $16 million, bought property, evicted tax payers, and ran out of money and developers to do the construction. The interest on the loan is about a million dollars a year or $80,000 per month. This project has been going on for seven years. The re-elected council and mayor praise the city manager who lost the money, and give him a big raise and guarantee his retirement. They pay the old developer three-quarters of a million dollars not to sue. They pay $3 million to refinance and put off the loan payments. No one talks about the millions in interest or the $16 million wasted. They talk about attracting new businesses after they evict a twenty year company from Depot Town. They talk about savings after increasing all city pensions, including the city manager's.

(RE: A license to steal)

This is a story about making your cronies rich. The city took over The Thompson Building in Depot Town to repair a broken window. The court order gave the exclusive right to make repairs to the city. The city attorney wrote a contract with the mayor's friends to:
  1. do whatever they wanted
  2. charge as much as they wanted
  3. add 25% profit to all expenses including taxes, utilities, and legal fees
  4. provide that the owner can't go on the premises so he is unable to check on what the bills are for
  5. get a deed if not paid promptly

The city building inspector refused to inspect the property before the city took over. The fire marshall let the $300,000 sprinkler system freeze and become worthless. The inspector refused to enforce code, letting damage to the roof go unrepaired. The city fought in court the owner's request to be allowed to repair the roof to protect his property. The city allowed billings of $300,000 to be made -- none of which were for any repairs. These charges were for tearing out offices and apartments and for putting holes in the roof. The city then allowed for a deed to those who destroyed the building and ran a viable business out of the city. The 22 year old EMU student placed in charge pays $60 an hour for a sweeper, $250 per hour to talk to his parents for advice, plus 25% profit on top of it all. Where else but in Ypsilanti can you make $150,000 a year as a sweeper? Even better, with no supervision, they may not be sweeping at all. The city puts the building department supervisor across the street on a stake out trying to catch the owner checking on his property. The police are kept busy trying to investigate allegations that the owner was seen near the property. You can't get a response for a break-in, but 3 police cars are sent after a property owner accused of being on his own property. Don't take my word for it -- seven years on Water Street, five years on the Thompson Building. Look at what your governement does -- because what it does, it does very well. It fills the pockets of their cronies. It loses tax payer money. It lies to the public saying everything is fine, that the mayor (who lost $16 million) is doing a great job, that city council (who lost $16 million) should be re-elected, because with an income tax, they can lose that money too.

Ypsilanti in denial.

When you ask a question and the politicians sidestep the issue, they're communicating that you are too dumb to know the difference. Sure they may mean well, but since when does being nice, having a record of community service, a beautiful lawn, and helping out at the soup kitchen give these city officials the right to bankrupt the city? Do people tell you that they'll get good advice, but have a history of firing those who have already given good advice (and ignoring those they can't fire) sound sincere? Whatever happened to "Actions speak louder than words?" These people think the voters are stupid enough to put them back in office. Prove them wrong!!

Say NO to No Bid Contracts!
Say NO to Embezzlers!
Say NO to Secret Deals!
Say NO to Cover Ups!



At 9:46 AM, Blogger Director of Operations said...

Hello Mr. Kircher, and welcome to the local blogosphere. Be forewarned that the air gets a little thin up here, sometimes.

I notice that you avoid naming any candidates specifically, and respect your choice to do so, but I am a little curious as to your thoughts on our three choices in the recent mayoral primary race, and how that whole business played out.

I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that you would discount Richardson as having been a 'part of the problem', but I wondered if you had any feelings regarding the other two candidates.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Director of Operations said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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