2006/07/27

Income Tax: The Real Mayoral Issue

To tax or not to tax, that is indeed the question.

I attended the CBC Candidates Forum the other night and had the pleasure of submitting a question to the candidates. I asked, quite plainly, (and somewhat aggressively, sorry folks, it slipped out that way!!) are you going to implement the tax, and secondly, how are you going to secure funding from Lansing in the future?.

Schreiber opened the discussion by saying that he reluctantly supports the tax, that the problems the city is facing are state-wide, and that no immediate help is coming from Lansing. Schreiber made the assessment that the tax removes the city from the edge of financial insolvency, while placing Ypsilanti in the middle of the state-wide tax bracket. [Having read his figures some time back, I know that he has standardised his findings across income and property value averages- the claim is otherwise clearly fallacious]

Richardson made the point that she had suggested the tax before anyone else had come up with it, and her hope that the property tax rollback could be sufficient to offset the impact of the tax. Richardson mentioned the need for greater regional co-operation and intergovernmental agreements at very level.

Pierce is opposed to the tax, period. He believes the tax will create a barrier to business and place a greater, unnecessary burden on the community. He explained the rollback couldn’t be made large enough to offset the impact of the tax, and that over half of Ypsilanti’s residents are renters, and therefore get no benefit from a rollback at all. Pierce believes that the City needs to rethink the way it does everything from the payroll upward. Pierce’s approach to Lansing was the same, he says he will go to Lansing, not to demand a better deal, but to find out “what we can do better.” Pierce made the point that the income tax would place Ypsilanti as the highest taxed municipality in the state.

While the candidates each have different styles, it is on the issue of the Income Tax that their paths truly diverge. I believe that the Democratic Primary on August 8 will be a referendum on the tax, between Schreiber and Pierce. Those who vote for Richardson will most likely be doing so for reasons other than her stand on the income tax.

When the tax was discussed at length last year, I took a long look at who was supporting it, and who was against it, and I figured it was going to be inevitable eventually. The people who really mattered as far as setting policy and direction were resigned to it as a necessary evil.

State Legislation restricts the tax to a maximum of 1 percent and a maximum property tax rollback of 2 mils. There is also a $600 minimum exemption written into the legislation. These restrictions do not allow the tax to raise sufficient revenue to offset the problems faced by the city in the long term. The tax is at best a “band-aid” that will buy some time.

Even as a band-aid it is weak, and long-term fiscal sustainability is thoroughly dependant on better balancing of the budget.

Schreiber wants the tax in order to keep the city afloat a little longer and buy some time in the hope of a miracle from Lansing and from the greater community.

Pierce is banking on being able to make huge savings fairly quickly from negotiations that have not begun yet.

Neither solution is without risk. The Income Tax poses the single biggest threat to residential and business growth in our community for as long as it is in place. People have other attractive options for both residence and business in the area. Higher taxes are not going to make Ypsilanti any more attractive. While the level of impact on population and trade is not known, the tax is bound to have significant negative impact on both residential and business growth.

The income tax cannot be implemented responsibly without a long-term strategy for growth in the community. To date, no such strategy is forthcoming. The community needs to know how and where the City will make the necessary changes to its current practices and structure to justify the cost to the community that the tax will impose.

Such a plan has not, to my knowledge, been put forward by City officials.

For Pierce, the risk is being able to turn Ypsilanti around before it runs out of funds completely. The situation is likely to look fiscally scary in the meantime. There is not much more to say about that risk. Its going to be hard to balance the budget for a few years. We are going to have to make some cuts, and do a lot of things differently, but we are not saddling ourselves with the baggage of an income tax to inhibit growth.

My own opinon is of little condsequence. It is for the community to decide which level of trouble it wants to buy, because there are no easy solutions.

A vote for Pierce is a vote against the Income Tax. A Vote for Schreiber or Richardson is a vote to put the tax on the ballot.

Lansing could, with the stroke of a pen, make things a lot easier for built-out communities, and it would not cost them a red cent.

It is time someone started pushing that barrow, because tax or no tax, we must come up with better solutions than we currently have.

Take Care

Rod

37 comments:

Kate said...

This issue has been bandied back and forth so much during the past year that I, personally would like to see an end to it. I HATE the idea of an income tax! So, I'd almost like to see it put to a vote, because I think it would go down to definite defeat. I honestly don't think the city leaders have been able to make a strong enough case so people would vote for it.

But, whichever happens, vote or no vote, I wish the issue would stop hovering over us and be put to rest.

doyleparty said...

I attended the forum on Tuesday as well as the big debate tonight. (Over 250 people--wow! How impressive is that!)

Paul may have reluctantly supported the income tax on Tuesday (and previously), but tonight there was absolutely no question that he ENTHUSIASTICALLY supports it. It wasn't like he was so-so on it and simply wanted to bring it to a vote by the people, but I felt he was there to champion the cause. In fact, he brought it up repeatedly. Bold move, I guess.

As for Lois, tonight she sounded more certain that we must not have the income tax. She flat-out said the income tax was NOT a good idea for Ypsilanti, and that, instead, we need to aggressively seek new businesses to come to the City.

Finally, with regard to Steve, I don't believe he has ever discouraged the issue from being voted on. (And I do realize that's not precisely what you were saying.)

- Amy

Rod said...

Hi Kate,

Your point is well understood, and I agree.

The issue beyond the tax is "which way is going to take Ypsilanti forward?" and NOBODY has produced anything that addresses this. Not Ed Koryzno, not Cheryl Farmer, not Bill Nickells, not Paul Schreiber, not Lois Richardson, and not Steve Pierce.

Pierce, however, is at least thinking and planning in that direction, which should give him a head start at putting a strategy together. The rest of them are stuck on the tax and the sales pitch to make it stick.

For the short time that I have been involved in city politics, I have seen no vision from anyone in city hall. I've seen lots of meddling in negotiations that has caused city residents a lot of grief, I have seen the aftermath of shabby negotiations in Water Street.

The current administration is under seige from its own mistakes, and is now looking to tax its way out of it.

Not good enough. The tax won't do it.

And its not good enough for any candidate to campaign without a clear strategy for the future growth and prosperity of our city. "Bring in more business" is fine, but how are you going to do it? What initiatives are you undertaking to make that happen? "Greater regional co-operation" is also great, but where are the nuts and bolts? How are you going to get the township and the city talking? (they hate each other with a vengance as best I can tell... the regional "Hatfields and McCoy's") What are they going to talk about? Why should the township listen? Why should the city listen?

Come on, folks, this is where the rubber meets the road. Talk is cheap. The city needs action. It doesn't need 4 more years of hand-wringing, brow beating, and soul searching.

Take Care

Rod

trusty getto said...

Excellent commentary on the income tax. I'm against it and frankly don't really get why its proponents want to buy time at so expensive a rate.

From all the talk I hear, if this band-aid is adopted, we'll ultimately end up in receivorship anyway, only it'll cost us a boatload lot more money to get there.

Rod said...

Hi Amy,

I'm glad in a way that Paul has come out clearly as a champion of the tax. It fits with my image of him as a guy who will make a stand once he has found his stride with the issues. I don't agree with him, but I am glad he's found his stride.

I'm also glad Lois has come out more firmly as well. I replayed her comments on Tuesday about a dozen times, and still I wasn't certain where she actually stood.

My IMPRESSION of Steve is that he'd like to see the issue thrown out of consideration altogether.

If it is put to the vote and defeated, it can be put to the vote again after 2 years. Can you imagine the tales of pending doom that will come out of City Hall if it loses on the first round? Good Gods!! It has been bad enough these last 12 months, can you imagine another 2-year relentless campaign of "if you don't give us the tax we'll all die?” If you don't believe they'll do it, look at every other battle they have lost. They are relentless, and they don't know how to take "NO" for an answer graciously.

Nope, the city either wants the tax or it doesn't.

So to address your point Amy (which is both correct and very astute of you to make that point) unless Steve has another agenda that I have not considered (which is a strong possibility, I am not privy to his strategy) he would do well to declare his victory a mandate against the tax and throw it off the table for discussion for his term as Mayor.

Take Care

Rod

doyleparty said...

Rod,

You are so right about the relentlessness. And let's not forget the attitude of condescension, which Paul also exhibited at Thursday's debate. After Paul spoke, my companion leaned over to me and paraphrased, "If we just weren't so stupid, we'd want an income tax." And I've gotten the same impression from City Hall remarks many, many times since this issue arose.

I am in favor of whatever will lay this issue to rest as quickly and decisively, and with the least amount of divisiveness possible. I worry that a vote will make it bigger and nastier and more difficult to recover from, but maybe that's just me...

Rod said...

Hey Cameron,

yeah the tax increases the burden, but unless it could be put to use in a way that promotes strong economic growth, it will just forestall the inevitable.

From city hall we have no vision for how to do things better, just rhetoric on how we have to cut what we do now. The BRCCF gave Ed Koryzno the thumbs up for the way he manages the city, though the commendation held a caveat to the effect that it is well run compared to other communitites. Having seen a bit about how other communities are run, that is actually damning with faint praise.

Ed is a lot better than many city managers, and Ypsi is a lot better run than some cities. This does not mean we are doing everything right, nor does it mean we are doing our best. All it really means is that we are doing OK.

Doing OK is not going to be enough. Tax or no tax, better solutions have to be found. The BRCCF made a major point of this.

City Hall are hell-bent on selling the tax, they are not, to my understanding, exploring viable long-term solutions.

They are presenting it as a way to buy time, without providing the requisite vision for a way out of the morass. They are increasing the burden on the town, while placing an obstacle in the path of economic growth.

Dumb move in those circumstances.

Take Care

Rod

trusty getto said...

I'm with you, Rod. I think Ed is a great guy and a very good city manager. It's our elected leaders that either don't have vision, or are unable to articulate whatever it may be.

Our schools suffer precisely the same financial woes as the city for precisely the same reasons. We have cut almost $10 Million out of our budget in the last two years, which on average is approximately 10% of our budget. We've closed schools, laid people off, and been forced to do all sorts of unfortunate things.

You know why kids aren't leaving in droves? Because at the same time, we've remained true to our vision. We've enhanced the programs in key ways, we've come up with creative ways to solve many problems, we've explored regionalization, and we've brought our various stakeholders into the process (teachers, staff, admin, parents, taxpayers, business community) so that everybody knows what's happening and has a chance to be heard. And when they talk, we actually listen. When they make requests, we do our very best to accommodate. We don't assume we know better than those we serve, and we consider service to our community a privilege we're lucky to enjoy, not a hassle to be endured. We keep our minds open and closely tuned to those we serve.

The fall after closing two schools, we actually lost fewer children than we projected. It's because we were willing to balance our budget, not just make cuts.

Balancing a budget in hard times shouldn't mean sitting around frightened and depressed, with a focus solely on cuts. The term itself implies striking a balance. Perhaps if the city would bring more of its residents into the process and actually listen to what people have to say about what is important and what is not, it might learn a thing or two about how to attract residents, how to attract businesses, and how to do so without creating deterrents to moving here or opening businesses here. I realize listening to people who disagree is hard. I realize it is time consuming. But if the city can't bring the community into what it's doing, then it acts in spite of the community, not in leadership of it.

People are overwhelmingly opposed to an income tax. Instead of stepping up advocacy, the city should be putting together its "B" plan. Instead of telling us what's best for us and pushing it, there ought to be more listening going on and, dare I say it, more attention to the principles of Democracy. It's time to relax the white-knuckled grip that the city seems have on the idea of an income tax.

Kate said...

Well, in all fairness, Cam, I've heard some elected city officials who have said they would like to see the income tax put to a vote so if it is voted down they can say, to the proponents, "Listen, this is the will of the people. Let's look elsewhere." This is not ALL of the elected officials, mind you, but a few feel that way.

I'm not so sure I like what I'm hearing as alternatives, though. "Regionalization" is a wonderful concept but, let's face it, as long as other government entities refuse to partner with us, it isn't viable. Then there's the fact that, even if we could get agreement to combine our police and fire protection, it would take at least a couple of years to get things in place so we could start seeing the savings.

Aside from people from all over the state descending on Lansing with pitchforks and torches, and in sufficient numbers to make the Republican power-holders fear for their lives, I'm not sure what the solution is. Maybe a referendum to rescind Proporal A in its entirety?

It's going to take more than just Ypsilanti's woes to get Lansing to sit up and take notice. Maybe the 40 cities on the Michigan Municipal League's list of those that will go bankrupt before 2015 should throw up their hands and say, "Fine. If you think you can run this town better, you do it."

If those 40 cities would just band together, I think we might see some very uncomfortable legislators. At least, I'd hope we would.

Rod said...

Hi Kate,

My big worry with the "put it to the people" thing is the relentlessness with which the current administarion pursues what it wants without ever really listening to the people.

City politics is riddled with examples and the one thing that will cripple our city worse than the tax is a relentless campaign to put it on the ballot again in 2 years time.

But my prime objection is, if we have to do it differently anyway, why inhibit growth while we do it? The "5 year tax" can be extended by a second ballot, and you can be prety sure that once city hall has its tax, it will keep it.

Even with cooperation from Lansing, our problems are still going to exist, though an initiative from many towns will have far greater effect than the lack-lustre letter our Mayor sent recently.

We MUST organize a bigger initiative, some real research, put some real money (from businesses efffected by it) into a strong campaign to get the State to listen.

We MUST reorganize the way we do city hall.

In my opinion, we will do it better without the tax than with it.

trusty getto said...

Kate, we don't need a vote to know that an income tax won't fly. Frankly, if they want us to vote, all they have to do is put it on the ballot in November. In my view, they haven't and aren't working to do it because they are less than sincere about it.

Rod said...

Hi Cameron,

its more complex than that, if they put it on the ballot in November it would fail. (more people at the polls who are arguably less informed about the issue) If they put it on the ballot at another time, it might have a prayer, though I think it would still fail miserably. Enough regular voters hate the idea that it would only take mobilizing the renters in town to vote to stop the thing dead.

The tax is dead in the water.

The talk of the tax is enough to impact growth. How much longer are we going to keep this thing hanging over our citizens? February is the earliest possible vote on the issue. February is 6 months more discussion on the tax than we need.

Throw the idea out and lets get on with the real business at hand shall we?

Rod

Kate said...

Cam, I agree that the tax won't fly, but I also agree with Rod that the talking about it won't stop until it's voted on. Until the officials hear the voters "speak out" at the polls, they're not going to let it drop and it will be hanging over our heads all that while. Rod's right that the talk, alone, is enough to hurt our chances of gaining business within the city itself.

So, let's get the vote over with, because only then can we move on.

Rod said...

Hi Kate,

I'd be putting pressure on Tuesday's winner to throw thew idea off the table for the terms he/she serves.

The city can't muster enough support to get it through period.


Cam is right to the extent that, if they're going to the vote at all, November would be ideal. They don't want it to go in Novemebr because it will fail and so will their favored candidate.

They want to string it out until February or later so that it can fail on its own and make us miserable for a few months more.

If the Mayor wants it, and doesn't get it in the vote, you can bet it will be on the ballot again in 2009. 2 more years of misery.

If foolishness prevails and this thing does go to the vote, then one would hope that the good folk of Ypsilanti give it the flushing it deserves.

Ypsi's good citizens took higher taxes for roads and water. These are tangible benefits that are worth the expense. They would be foolish to throw good money after bad and take higher taxes to forestall the inevitable... its like taking one more credit card to sort out your debts.... never clever.

Jeff M said...

Lost in all of this blather is the fact that Schreiber has committed to trying absolutely every other path before offering up an income tax to the voters.

He’s talked about forming alliances with other cities in like situations to petition Lansing to change their revenue sharing formula; he’s talked about regional cooperation to create efficiencies; he’s talked about the hope that Visteon might stay longer than planned and give us a short term reprieve.

He’s also released a plan for ongoing citizen involvement that would allow us to examine any other reasonable alternative and to plan for the long term. So putting the income tax on the ballot is not a foregone conclusion. Neither is the shape of the tax a foregone conclusion. It might not be a full one percent if we can find other ways of generating revenues; it might not even have to be as long as five years. The point is that it’s somewhere between insane and fiscally negligent to take the income tax off the table.

You wouldn't know that from listening to Pierce supporters like Trusty Getto.

trusty getto said...

Jeff M: If you follow my comments on other blogs, then you know that I believe the income tax should remain on the table. I think we're all pretty much in agreement that voters are entitled to decide; what we disagree about is what the outcome will be.

Regardless of our varying opinions about whether it will pass, I think we probably can also agree that if it fails, and if the Mayor we elect doesn't have anything to fall back on, then we automatically end up in receivership if nobody's been working on a B plan.

And if it passes, the plan seems to be to wait for Lansing to bail us out of the problem. I don't think that's realistic.

If the city wants an income tax, all Council has to do is get it on the ballot in November (if it's not too late). Either it'll pass, or we can put the discussion about it behind us once and for all.

So the question boils down to: if this really is the solution, why aren't we voting on it in November?

Jeff M said...

Can you direct me to some of your comments, Trusty Getto?

trusty getto said...

Sure. From MarkMaynard.com a couple days ago, to the post, "so it's coming down to where they stand on the ypsi income tax:"

. . . I'm all for trying to solve the problems, and everything should be on the table, but nobody has made a convincing argument in favor of the income tax, and nobody has provided objective data about what harm it is likely to cause. . . .

That's my most recent one, and I ain't gonna run around searching for the others for you, but feel free. I don't believe I've ever said we should take it off the table (feel free to correct me if I've gotten this wrong). I have said and I do believe that people aren't likely to vote for it, and since it won't solve our problems anyhow, I'm not going vote for it.

I'm all for getting this vote over with, and with a little help from Council, perhaps we can get it on the ballot and do just that, no?

bhenderson said...

I've been reading these blogs and have a quesiton: recently my mother (who does not support Steve Pierce) received an endorsement letter in the mail from Cameron Getto for Steve Pierce.

Isn't Getto a member of the school board? And aren't school board members forbidden from endorsing candidates? this seems to me to be wrong. It seems to me like the schoolboard should at least censure this behavior. This is disturbing and just plain wrong. Is there anyone I can ask about this?

Jeff M said...

It definitely is not allowed for Board of Education members to endorse candidates. Is this true? When was this letter sent, bhenderson? Has anyone else heard about this? Has it been mentioned on other blogs?

Rod said...

Jeff M and bhenderson,

Cameron is big enough and ugly enough to speak for himself about who he has endorsed and what he has said publicly, and in what capacity he has said it. I haven't seen such a mailing, but then, I wouldn't.

As to Schreiber and "every other option before the tax", if the tax is such a bad idea, why not go to "every other option" and leave the tax to die where it lies?

The longer it hangs over the head of the city, the harder it is to move forward. The city lacks the courage to put it to a November vote, and its already too late for that anyway. The paperwork had to be in before the end of July for that.

I realize the people want a say, but to me its an expensive exercise in futility to put a proposal to the vote that cannot win.

The income tax cannot make a significant dent in the fiscal crisis in the long term.

Those who don't believe so have not read the figures, nor have they read the reports of the "experts".

All it can do is buy time. That's why the folks who promote it want it. I can't see too many people wanting to stand knee deep in snow to buy time for politicians. Just call me cynical, but they might stand knee deep in snow save themselves from a burden that neither they nor the city can afford.

I hope the good folk of Ypsi have the good sense to reject it at their first available opportunity.

The city has to find better ways to do what it does, period. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. Getting on with the job is the burden that faces Ypsi's next mayor. The more pussyfooting he or she does around the issues, the worse the situation gets.

Take Care

Rod

Jeff M said...

bhenderson has not responded yet and neither has Trusty Getto. But mailing an endorsement is clearly not allowed for education board members. It's hard for me to believe someone in that position would be dumb enough to mail anyhting like that, but with this campaign you never know.

If there is a mailing like that out there, I urge bhenderson and anyone else who got a copy to make it public. I know I'll ask around and try to find one.

trusty getto said...

No need, it's up on ypsi~dixit, where it has been discussed ad nauseum.

Here's the link:

http://www.ypsidixit.com/blog/archives/2006/08/open_mike_frida_7.html#comments

And though you may personally disagree, it is perfectly appropriate, legal, and in compliance with policy for BOE members to endorse candidates, so long as they state that they are not speaking on behalf of the BOE.

trusty getto said...

And I am not ugly . . .

;)

Rod said...

An old Australian saying "big enough and ugly enough to look after yourself" ergo capable of fighting your own battles.

No offence intended

Rod said...

And having read through the dixit thread, yeah, its a storm in a teacup as I expected.

You covered your backside, which is what smart people do.

trusty getto said...

None taken, my friend, none taken :)

Kate said...

There is nothing illegal or unethical in a school board official endorsing a political candidate -- as long as he or she firmly states he or she is NOT speaking for the entire Board of Education. There is absolutely NOTHING that forbids them to speak up as private citizens. That is what both Cameron Getto and Amy Doyle did and they both clearly stated in their letters (which I received) that they were NOT representing the Ypsilanti Board of Education.

Elected officials endorse political candidates all the time. Mayor Cheryl Farmer has endorsed Paul Schreiber. I don't see anyone making a fuss about that.

Lest you think I'm writing this because I back Steve Pierce, let me disabuse you of the notion. I'll be voting for Paul.

BUT, in all fairness, let's not attack in petty and erroneous ways those who do back Steve or, conversely, those who back Paul. Attacking the way a campaign is run is pretty small and petty (are you hearing me, Cam?) and deters from focusing on the issues that really matter. None of our mayoral candidates have total control over their supporters and what they say or do.

What matters is how each candidate approaches the issues, his or her track record for getting things done, and how he or she works with others. When this race is over, the "winners" (and I use the term loosely) will not be standing alone, but must be able to work collaboratively and cooperatively within the framework of city and state government.

To focus one's attention on side issues, such as whether or not each endorsement is done the way one would want, is a distraction that Ypsilanti can ill afford. In the end, the supporters will fall away, while the one elected moves forward to pick up his or her burden of governing. In the end, no matter how many supporters that person has, it is his or her own personal character that counts.

Rod said...

Hey Kate

You said When this race is over, the "winners" (and I use the term loosely) will not be standing alone, but must be able to work collaboratively and cooperatively within the framework of city and state government.

I've got to agree that this particular city council is likely to preside over some of the toughest decisions the city is likely to face.

The next mayor of Ypsilanti is taking on a very tough job in very hard times. All three candidates need to be commended for putting their best foot forward, and the "winners" will need a lot more from the community than just applause.

Personally, I think the next mayor needs to be hard nosed and business minded, able to negotiate, and able to yield where necessary for the greater good. The mayor will go home from city hall more than once wondering what he or she got himself/herself into. The Mayor will be presiding over many a "no win" situation, where the route that has the least damaging effect on the community is the best route to take.

That's a tough place to be.

It is a burden that the next mayor takes on with the mantle of "Mayor", and the city needs to be grateful that it has 3 candidates to choose from for what is going to be a largely thankless task.

There will be some high times as well, and some great opportunities will emerge from the difficulties, but lets not kid ourselves that any candidate will have an easy time of this coming 4 year term.

Take Care

Rod

trusty getto said...

Two things, Kate.

First, I don't think correcting and questioning the motives of those who spread misinformation is petty. On the contrary, I think it's very important. Some of those spreading misinformation are closely associated with Schreber's campaign, and the fact that he didn't correct it himself does bear on his qualities as a leader. We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

Second, Steve is willing to work with Council, and will work well with Council. If you presume they won't work with him (which I don't think is true), then you essentially buy into the position that voters should be ignored and Council should pick our next mayor. That position also suggests that Council won't do its duty, which I don't think is true. If Steve is elected, I think Council will rise to the occasion.

Back when I ran, I heard the same arguments i.e that I wouldn't work with the sup't. We now know who it was that didn't want to work with who, don't we? And look at the positive chanes that resulted.

Can you imagine what it would be like today if that argument had been persuasive to voters back then?

Kate said...

Cameron, your allegiance to Steve Pierce is commendable, but because of it you are misreading what I am saying. Or, perhaps, were I to descend to lower levels, I could think you were deliberately trying to mislead other readers.

You have vehemently gone after Schreiber endorsers for the way they made their endorsement. Jeff M is vehemently going after you for the way you have made your endorsement. By your actions, you have BOTH diminished your candidates' campaigns in my eyes.

I was NOT taking a stab at Steve Pierce by saying that the winner would have to work collaboratively and cooperatively with City Council. If you read that into my words, then perhaps you should look deep within yourself to find where that doubt is coming from.

I was merely pointing out a fact:
No matter who wins, be it Steve or Paul or Lois, it is not their supporters who are going into the convocation of local politicians to work with the problems and work on solutions. It is the candidate, alone of that group. Yes, he or she will have counselors in the background, as Rod says, but ultimately, his or her personality and character is of major importance. You know that, as you have repeatedly had to stand firm in your own elected position.

I was making a general statement that pertains to all the candidates. You chose to personalize and see it as an attack on your candidate. That was your choice, but it was not my intent. You can't draw me into that particular bit of arguing, Cam, because I won't go there.

trusty getto said...

Terribly sorry to have misinterpreted your comment, Kate. Your words, are, as always, apropos, even if I don't agree 100% with you :)

Kate said...

Well, as we have this great arrangement called "agreeing to disagree," we'll always be friends. Seriously, if we agreed all the time we'd have nothing to talk about!

Whomever wins this contest on Tuesday, the important thing is that we get behind him. Shake hands and band together for the good of Ypsilanti.

Rod said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rod said...

Kate,

I think Cameron made one point that shouldn't be ignored.

The background campaign of misinformation spewing from one source in particular in this campaign has my feet more firmly planted in Pierce's camp.

I haven't seen an innuendo campaign from the Pierce camp, I have seen legitimate (albeit trivial) questions asked, and no satisfactory responses given. I have seen lots of letters of endorsement. I have received no emails discrediting Schreiber, though if the conversations I've had are anything to go by, there is fodder for such dross if the Pierce camp saw fit to run such a campaign.

The couple of pot shots I took from left of field at Schreiber made a bit of noise but didn't mount to much, neither should they. Those shots were taken by me, not the Pierce camp.

On the contrary, I have seen the supporters of Schreiber twisting and manipulating events to discredit Pierce at any cost.

I was part of some of the conversations that have been twisted and used against Pierce. I know those interpretations of the details are fallacious.

The complaint that JeffM had about Cameron had already been hashed out with JeffM on another blog, his attempt to stir it up here is laughable considering what he already knew about the issue. Another Schreiber supporter distorting the facts and trying to create a controversy where none actually exists.

Thankfully, not all Schreiber supporters are like that. I'd have no faith in our city at all if they were, and neither would anyone else.

The complaints levelled at the Schreiber endorsements were at least legitimate complaints, even if they weren't earth shattering.

I think the difference between the two campaigns is strident, and weighs the balance heavily in favour of Pierce.

I had approached this election with the hope of remaining neutral, but I couldn't do that in the end.

US politics 101, there is no middle ground at election time.

Take Care

Rod

PS... to the curious, I posted the above comment, though my clipboard managed to double it. I'll admit I like the sound of my own voice, but even I don't want to read the same post twice.

Kate said...

Rod,

As I've said, privately, to others, I can get behind either Pierce or Schreiber, once there is a winner declared. Right now, though, I like Paul's experience dealing with larger governmental agencies at the state and federal levels.

Cam and I have talked about WHY certain people are thought to be an asset to a campaign. In Schreiber's case, since he has not previously run for public office, those who advised him early on suggested the two women who are currently his campaign co-managers, because they had successfully run a highly effective previous campaign on the Human Rights ordinance. An issue campaign, NOT, you will note, a candidate campaign. And they succeeded in what was a particularly dirty campaign.

Hindsight being 20/20, I'm not sure those early advisors would have suggested the same team, had they known about the way that team intended to go. But, the reality is that, while I believe Paul will be a good mayor, he had no candidate experience. He relied on those who did, and I feel those people let him down.

A great part of the reason those people were chosen, though, was directly because they had the voter and contact lists from the Human Rights campaign. Should they have used the YCFE letterhead while contacting people on those lists? No. Absolutely not. But, those lists were definitely why they ended up in the positions they hold.

On the other side: let's face it, Cam and Amy Doyle sent out their letters because they are known names and they are known names because they hold positions on the Ypsilanti Board of Education. Those letters broke no laws and sullied no ethics, but they wouldn't have been sent if they'd been written by Joe or Jane Schmuck. Pierce's campaign wouldn't have paid for Joe or Jane Schmuck's mailing.

Now, we wouldn't have a problem with the Schreiber campaign's endorsement if Lisa and Beth had sent out a letter saying, "Remember us? We chaired the YCFE campaign. Now, we're backing Paul Schreiber." What got Cam's knickers in a twist was the use of YCFE letterhead.

I'm not saying Cam is wrong. But, during the next four years, how often do you think anyone -- other than Cam and JeffM -- are going to worry about the letters sent from either side?

To me, this is mountains made from molehills and, frankly Rod, I'm surprised it was enough to sway you over to the Pierce camp. I must believe you were already leaning that direction.

I don't want to look at the actions of Pierce or Schreiber supporters. If the candidate tried to rein in every supporter who went off the deep end, it would be like trying to herd cats. I like hearing from, and looking at the record of, the candidates themselves.

To make the actions of the candidates' supporters, rather than the candidates themselves, the reason for voting one way or the other just doesn't make sense to me. If someone could explain why that is more important, I'd be most grateful.

Rod said...

Hi Kate,

I'm not sure that its more important, however when you have three good candidates to choose between, you have to have something to go on.

You can't really fault the actions of Pierce or Schreiber. Both are good men who will do a fine job by the City should they be elected.

The next question is, who are they surrouding themselves with. (You lay with dogs you end up with fleas.) A smear campaign, and I don't care who's running it, is a black mark against a candidate in my book.

This combined with Paul's tendency to be less attentive to detail than is ideal, is enough to say, No Thank You. Our current mayor is a mistress of innuendo, and I don't care for another 4 years of that, particularly because the good people of Ypsilanti seem indifferent enough to the facts that you can get a long way with innuendo.

I have heard many stories about the Great Cheryl Farmer, and I regret that I was not involved in Ypsilanti Politics at the time that she was at her best. The Cheryl Farmer I know today is less than great. I don't much care for the way she runs City politics and I am disinclined to accept her endorsed successor.

That fact alone was not enough to sour me at the start, but the style of the Schreiber campaign drove the nail into his coffin for me.

I have felt, for a long time, that a head for business is sadly lacking in city hall. Pierce's business sense alone wan't enough to pursuade me of his fitness, but he has also conducted a clean campaign.

As I said at the start, both men are great candidates, but the style of Schreiber's campaign tipped the balance for me.

Oh, and just in, Schreiber's latest flier hasn't indeared me to him any further. Driving a wedge between the City and the township is just dumb.

Take Care

Rod