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Tag: Traverse City
So said the headline August 14, 2013 on the front page of the Record Eagle in Traverse City.
It starts off:
The chamber's Board of Directors decided to back the district's millage proposals Tuesday morning.
I have saved that particular issue (and took the 1000 word photo) as a reminder of what happens when sleepy oversight meets an aggressive enemy, particularly in an advocacy organization. Today's chamber of commerce in particular is a far different creature than it once was. Traditionally an advocate of business and growth of a community by promoting lower cost of dealing with government, fewer regulations, and growing a customer base. The model has been altered by pro-regulatory, anti competitive and progressive high tax types who have infiltrated and merely put a face of business over their anti business operations.
The article which spawned the headline touches on the example of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, and its support last year of a $100,000,000.00 boondoggle, and even more easily this year's reduced ($47,000,000.00 total) offering. It supports putting more of a burden on its members and those who bear the increasing liability of property ownership.
taxable properties the school receives funding from has several classifications.
Estimated Taxable Value (ad valorem) $4,230,649,648.00, the Homestead Taxable Value is $2,518,975,070.00, leaving the Non-Principal Residence Exemption Taxable Value $1,711,674,578.00 or 40.5% of the taxable value is outside of homestead residential ownership.
Remember those numbers highlighted above.
And then continue on below the fold.
(3 comments, 1219 words in story) Full Story
And this time its hard to say what might happen.
In another post it was mentioned among the comments to watch for encore performances. Indeed that IS how it goes when some of your friendly neighborhood's largest governmental units don't succeed. They try, and try again.
"A proposal to raise more money for schools in Traverse City is sailing smoothly into the November election. A much larger proposal was a disaster for the school district last year. .."And in Grand Traverse County, the encore performance would be nothing without an auditorium request, again.
Or rather a "performing arts center;" the one-time descriptive for a previous $26.5 million (part of $100 million) auditorium effort. Of course the proposed competition for Interlochen's stage market at 1200 seats and real cannons to remind folks of Shakespeare's globe (before said cannons burned it to the ground) was turned down by voters who are making decisions of paying the utilities or mortgage, and hardly wish to cough up more for what (given their circumstances) they might equate to frivolity.
Certainly, $12.9 Million is hardly too much to ask for the warm fuzzies of having a state of the art (albeit smaller) palace to entertain with the 18th straight season of Les Mis. Its truly a minor act.
Break a leg I say.
Thank you for your sobering thoughts Commander.
(2 comments) Comments >>
Continuing its series on transparency in government, The Mackinac Center is hosting a community event for those who want a better understanding of how the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act work.
Date: Aug. 1, 2013
The Mackinac Center is hosting a series of community events aimed at raising awareness of common problems encountered by those who attempt to request government records and provide information to those who want a better understanding of how the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act work. Our state has valuable tools for holding public servants accountable but those tools are useless if people don't know about them or don't know how to use them.
Vic McCarty, host of "The Vic McCarty Show" on WMKT AM1270 in Traverse City, will be moderating this event.
The panelists will be:
This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is needed!
The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Traverse Area District Library - Woodmere Branch Library
By JGillman, Section News
For about 5 years the Pavlovian expectation of a cigarette followed every meal.
In about 11 months, I celebrate my 20th anniversary of being tobacco free. In the first 5 years of that, it was a fight to stay off the nicotine, and the body and mind played tricks to try and get me puffing again. Stress, the after dinner reach for a pack, drive time, all of those things I thought of as pleasurable for so long, reached up from the depths often, in order to regain its hold over me. Its hold from a time when I was its slave, and it was my benevolent master.
As long as I fed it, the habit made me relax for a time, and I was allowed to live in my skin.
Some folks have compared tobacco addiction to that of heroin, or other narcotics. Others, to its oft used partner, alcohol. Though I have never experienced the withdrawal effects of those, I believe I understand them as a result of having had been a smoker for well over a decade. The 'habit' was more than that. It was an unchangeable lifestyle; a daily thing that demanded my attention, or the consequences would be hellish.
There is a drug that is worse however.
And it won't be your body or mind reminding you how bad its going to be without it. It will be active little monsters who also get a high from it, and want you hooked for as long as it takes for THEM to live THEIR lives.
(12 comments, 793 words in story) Full Story
By JGillman, Section News
Strangely, it seems Google has algorithms that remove opposition to complete streets A21 type legislation to the end of the results.
Too bad. There is so much to say that addresses the broad based policies that complete streets encompasses. So much that brings an appropriate negative light on the issue and its implementation. Roundabouts, suicide bike lanes (like the one in the video of the last story), spending large sums of money for rural areas where only the transient bike through (tour bikers) might use, and perhaps even other reasons like private property.
Silly stuff like that.
In fact, we have one of those bike lanes in Traverse City. The bicyclist is broken away from the right shoulder, and directed into the left turn where the lane abruptly ends (no warning) forcing the automobile into the bicycle, or mating them inappropriately. Somehow, no one has yet died on the corner, though some close calls have occurred. I suppose the smarter cyclists avoid it, which would explain why I never see anyone using the bought and paid for streetscape as planned.
So imagine the excitement in finding out the Grand Vision folks up here (A21 implementation team) were sponsoring a traveling road show to each of the rural townships. The effort of course, was to have neat little picture show, and included in the packet of trustees would be a ready made resolution in support of 'Complete Streets'. Ready to serve; just add moronicide.
In my own township, I didn't see it making much sense, so I prepared a statement.
Continued below the fold
(1056 words in story) Full Story
By JGillman, Section News
Curiously, Michigan Capitol Confidential has a story about school millage advocacy.
"In an effort to drum up support for an upcoming millage, Alcona Community Schools Superintendent Shawn Thornton is quoted in a local newspaper claiming teaching and support staff have been cut almost in half."Which was of course misleading.
The first line says 'curiously' because today is the day I received the response from the SOS to my complaint of advocacy by TCAPS (Traverse City Area Public Schools) for its millage request. It included the district's denial that they were violating campaign finance 57. It claimed they didn't know that there was a violation. But interestingly, as they were denying the charge of violation, it should be noted they significantly re-worked their literature when 'caught' by the original complaint and a subsequent newspaper article highlighting the complaint.
Right up to that line without stepping over it is typical for school systems begging for more, but this was pretty clear. The Superintendent approved the mailer, but then had it changed when caught. Then had their hired guns respond to the complaint. Then another 'curious' event where the public relations manager resigns an $84k/yr job out of the blue.
I have 10 days from the date of the SOS response to add anything. The SOS response was dated Dec 21, 2012. (Envelope shows to be mailed the 27th) I suppose the violation should/could stand on its own, but will an additional argument weigh on the process any?
(2 comments) Comments >>
How many times must the community be betrayed by its school board before an appropriate response is meted out?
The governing body which resides over the largest public budget in the Northwestern part of the state continues to thumb its nose at taxpayers. A recent (probable) violation of the open meetings act, adds to a list of actions that are not only indicative of sloppy governance, but more likely sanctioned acts of deception and perfidy. A scheduling ruse used by the board to hide its 'open' retreat worked to its advantage with no public present, with no recordings made of the retreat activities, and no option of challenge by the public, plans that will likely be rubber stamped in future open meetings which the board normally schedules.
Examples of deceptive practices are not exactly limited to what I write here. This particular story however, notes a growing disdain for the concerns taxpayers might have for the appropriate management of their resources. There are concerns that remain unanswered.
A recent bond issue was a catalyst in engaging some of us in the Grand Traverse region with regard to the actions of the local board for Traverse City Area Public Schools. (TCAPS) The $100 million bond issue came on the 5 year anniversary of another like it in 2007. Part of the issue that inspired opposition of myself and others was the inclusion of a $26.5 million 'performing arts center' in the bond which many see as wasteful and unnecessary. The timing also coincides with one of the worst economically difficult times the region has seen.
The bond was defeated by nearly 60-40%, which might make some think it would have failed no matter the opposition.
The sad reality is that it would have likely been a reversal in percentages seen without organized resistance and the sunlight provided by that resistance.
more below the fold
(1801 words in story) Full Story
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