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Posted on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Group opposed to new Ypsilanti tax proposals won't participate in public debate

By Tom Perkins

The two groups lined up on either side of new taxes in Ypsilanti won't meet for a debate before the May 8 ballot question.

The group opposed to two proposed new taxes in Ypsilanti will not accept an offer from the group supporting the measures for a debate on the issue.

Save Ypsi Yes, which supports a Water Street debt retirement millage and 1 percent citywide income tax, invited Stop City Income Tax (SCIT) for a public debate scheduled for April 25.

SCIT alleges it wasn't properly contacted about the debate, while Save Ypsi Yes says that response is an attempt to avoid debating in public.

Supporters of the proposals say the new revenue will lead Ypsilanti to long-term financial stability and avoid forcing the city to make deep cuts in its services. Its opponents say the tax increases are too steep and will drive people and businesses from Ypsilanti.

Council Member Pete Murdock asked Content Director Tony Dearing to moderate the debate, and Murdock and Save Ypsi Yes chair Beth Bashert sent out multiple emails to SCIT leaders’ personal email addresses inviting them to debate.

Bashert said that included the group’s registered treasurer, Steve Pierce. When Pierce didn’t respond after five days, emails were sent to Karen Maurer, Mike Eller and Carol Clare, who are also among SCIT’s active members.

When those emails were met with silence, Bashert said Save Ypsi-Yes sent out a public invitation via Facebook.

A SCIT response letter penned by SCIT spokesman Peter Fletcher claimed Save Ypsi Yes hadn’t contacted SCIT through the proper channels. He wrote that no one called the phone number listed on its website, sent a letter to the mailing address listed on its site or sent correspondence to the email address listed on the site.

He claimed SCIT was only contacted through Facebook, which he said was inappropriate.

Bashert called that claim an attempt to distract from SCIT's refusal to publicly debate and provided the email invitations to

“They tried to throw a red herring out there by saying we didn’t follow proper email etiquette, which we did,” she said.

When contacted by to inquire whether or not SCIT was interested in partaking in the debate, Fletcher first criticized for a typo in a recent article. He said his group wasn’t interested in a debate moderated by for that reason.

Fletcher, the spokesman for SCIT, wouldn't say whether SCIT leaders would partake in the event.

Fletcher then said he didn’t like how Save Ypsi Yes had "behaved" or organized the event.

“They’ve been asked plenty of questions that they dodged and ducked,” he said. “They created a circus. Sorry, but we won't fall for that.”

Fletcher wouldn’t say whether or not SCIT planned to debate, but a different SCIT member was able to confirm no one from the group would debate.

Fletcher stated in his letter that Save Ypsi Yes is trying to keep the public uninformed and “sneak the election on the May ballot."

“With just over four weeks before the election and where one weekend is Easter, there is little time left to do anything more than to get out the vote. The time for debates has past,” Fletcher wrote.

Murdock questioned how SCIT could charge that Save Ypsi Yes is trying to withhold information while proposing a debate that will provide more information.

“Peter Fletcher says we don’t try to get information out there - okay, so let’s get more information out there (with a debate),” Murdock said.



Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

Morninggirl, The OED says the use of the word "past" in this manner is correct.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

No, it isn't. "Passed" is a verb, which is what Mr. Fletcher was looking for here. "Past" is a noun or an adjective.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 5:39 a.m.

Peter Fletcher really wrote, "The time for debates has past (sic)"? Really? Please confirm this and make my day!

greg, too

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

The 5 year plan that I see online is nothing more than relying on the two tax increases to keep the lights on. Nothing anywhere about trying to get growth in the city, nothing anywhere about luring new businesses to Ypsi, nothing about any way of making more money than just relying on the tax increase income while praying that the housing market doesn't implode more. I hope the plan is not to tax people and then hope that the housing market in the area doesn't decrease by more than 18% (Robb's number). Unfortunately, the people of Ypsi have no choice but to vote for the tax increases because they have been backed into a corner and have no other options. But to say that there is a "plan" is absurd...unless "plan" means the status quo while praying property values don't tank anymore than the city projects. And remember the last five year plan? It was off by $7mil. I am sorry to offend because I don't have a lot of faith in their calculations....


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

Seems like a debate is nothing more than people who love to hear their voice on both sides of the issue getting to partake in their favorite activity - hearing their own voice. I doubt there are many 'on the fence' about this especially regarding the city income tax. All of the necessary information is already available to the public to make their own decisions not to mention neighbors talking to neighbors. We don't need to sit in an elementary school cafeteria to hear blowhards on both sides of the issue to know the facts or in some cases, what they think the fact will be which is just more hyperbole.

greg, too

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

The major issue that has not been raised is what actually is the plan to make Ypsi viable after the city council gets the tax increase all of them so vehemently fought before. If they had passed it on '07, the coffers would look a lot different. In the end, the council will get its tax money. So, now what are they going to do to sell the land? What non tax money is going to be raised to keep the city going? What is their plan to deal with blighted property and empty factories and stores? What happens when we need another increase in taxes to bail out the schools or something else? As Murf said, I highly doubt anyone is on the fence on this. So why not start the discussion of what the city is going to do to make the city better, not just keep the lights on. And don't quote the five year plan. If I remember right, the last one was off my millions (i.e. why the tax increase needs to happen now).


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Finally a voice in the wilderness...The only thing worse than a debate is the city's dog and pony show. Listen to 45 minutes of very boring numbers we have heard ad nauseam.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

Gee when it was Peter Fletcher's birthday, he was more than willing to babble to Lucy Ann Lance. Lol.

Martin Church

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

The only debate I have is if these increases in taxes are approved is with my wife on what do we cut to pay for them. Do we cut the food bill. Stay home from enjoying the state of Michigan. risk loosing my job in Monroe which I had to get because of the lost of my job in Ypsilanti to pay for the gas. The say yes folks want me to pay more for nothing. We never should have forced these business in the water street area to close. You want to get the money send the bill to the previous mayor and city council members who were told this was a bad investment. We were warned of the dangers and now someone has to pay for their bad judgments. Now I need to think about moving out of this community.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Fletcher is at it again response because of a grammatical error (of which, admittedly there are many at A2 com and throughout today's "say it anyway you like" society). He's always fun, BUT SCIT's refusal to debate seems to me to indicate that they don't think their arguments are up to snuff, or they lack good debaters. Bad move all around!

Monica R-W

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Good job Save Ypsi Yes organizers and Ann for attempting to organize a debate for potential voters and interested public members could hear both sides of the argument. It appears that Stop Ypsi Income Tax is a shell organization at best, looking to get their hands on Downtown Ypsi Historical property for sell to the highest corporate bidder. Shame they can't manage to debate the facts on how this income tax would save Ypsilanti from a Emergency Manager. I don't live inside the city of Ypsilanti limits and have openly questioned why the Water Street Investment was made in the first place. Regardless, the situation has to be fixed. With the lack of available land development space in Ypsilanti, the smartest way to do so is with a revenue generating tax. Paying this tax, if passed, will not stop me for patronizing one city of Ypsilanti business! In fact, I might visit these local businesses more often if it saves small but might proud Ypsilanti from the greedy hands of a Emergency Manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Monica R-W

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

IF the tax Murf that is being purposed is a City Income Tax, then yes I would pay. If a business tax rate is increases with the City Income Tax rate, they would to collect revenue rightfully, and add at least a part of the tax to the cost of doing business with them. So, let's say I stop at Coffee Shop downtown by a Library and purchased a small Vanilla Latte with Whip Cream. Prior to the City Income Tax, I used to pay $3.75 that small Latte. Now, with the new tax, price of that Latte increased to $4.00. Would that, as a Township resident stop my visits to the Downtown Coffee shop, to instead purchase my coffee elsewhere? Nope, not at all. That's what I meant Murf. As for if the Township gets a new tax....its' not being debated at this time. This story is about the city of Ypsilanti, paying off a budgetary deficit allowing voters to decide a reasonable 1% city income tax hereby avoiding a Emergency Manager.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

I'm not sure why you would be paying this tax since you don't live in the city and would only get hit with the income tax if you worked in the city. I guess its easier to say you would pay it when you don't live here. I look forward to the township coming up with this topic in the future and see what you will think then.

Roger Dodger

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Just wanted to say that SCIT aren't the only people against the City Income Tax, and it is being debated fully and civilly on Mark Maynard's site here:


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

And the Save Ypsi Yes campaign aren't the only people for the debate either.

Chase Ingersoll

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

Let's debate it right here. Same people that screwed up and got you in debt are demanding that you pay more to fix the mistake and threatening your police and fire services, if you don't pay up. Sounds like an organized crime, protection racket. Or, if you prefer, sounds like Detroit. I don't know who is the most deservedly disrespected local government in Washtenaw County, Ypsi City, Sylvan Township, or the Willow Run School District. We are laughing at you City of Ypsilanti - at least those of us who live outside your city limits are. Those who aren't laughing, are thinking about moving their business and their residency. Chase Ingersoll


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

I used to live in Ypsi. I recently considered moving my business there when the old BW3 building was for sale. I did not move my business there, with my 14 employees, because of the insane millage rate. I certainly would have an even harder time making that move given a high millage rate AND an income tax. So, no, I don't think it is spouting off


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Maybe well said but more importantly untrue. As usual those who don't understand the situation are willing to come up with their own misinterpretations and spout off about them anyway. If you're going to argue about this (and I don't understand why you are if you don't live in Ypsi) then at least get your facts right.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Well said Chase. It is almost like Ypsilanti IS taking their cue from the City of Detroit, which just doubled their city corporate income tax to 2% from 1% Tuesday by an 8-1 vote.. How anyone can argue this will turn out well for either Detroit or Ypsilanti obviously doesn't run a business. Any service related business can pack up their computers and move relatively easily.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Not the same people. A majority of the council ran on "No Income Tax". They got to the council and ran the numbers. This is the best they could come up with. Pointing out mistakes is very different from fixing them.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

The Save Ypsi Yes campaign is supporting a solid well though out plan that provides financial stability into and beyond 2017. This plan accounts for making the required payments on the Water Street property while maintaining effective levels of Public Safety staffing. The city council and mayor did their homework before coming to the difficult conclusion that this plan is what is necessary to keep our city strong. The reason no other plan has been presented, and as such the reason the SCIT campaign cannot debate the ballot, is that there is no other that addresses the issues as well as this one. No one *wants* to ask the voters to pay more taxes. Luckily our city council recognizes that we *need* to.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

I don't understand how anyone can take SCIT seriously. So far all they've done is raise their voices and distract from the issue at hand. Meanwhile they blame the Save Ypsi campaign for creating a circus which is exactly what they are trying to do. Everywhere you look they're message is just noise, no substance. Even is I didn't already understand that these measures are both vital for the future of Ypsilanti, the behavior of the SCIT campaign would be enough to show me who I should be listening to.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

Heck to demonstrate this just compare their websites. As a supporter of these measures I'm comfortable sending out links to both websites. Look at them side by side. One is hyperbole and rhetoric with no foundation in fact. The other is a presentation of facts supported by citations and documentation. Have a look for yourself: compared to


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

I still haven't seen SCIT offer any plan with specific alternatives besides (illegally) stop paying the Water Street debt or fire and police pensions. A few months ago I thought maybe the income tax wasn't necessary, but a complete lack of alternatives on the table has led me to believe that we really are in such dire straits.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Why not compromise? Let those who want the tax increase pay it and everybody doesn't have to!


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

Reimburse my taxes that paid for invading Iraq and you can put them toward the Water Street debt.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Missed Civics class, huh?


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Because this is supposed to be a demorcatic society where the majority rules. If one person or group of people don't like the way things are going, then they are welcome to mount an opposition. If they really don't like they way things are going, then they can organize a revolution, much like the way it was done in 1776.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

So then debate already! I swear, "not enough time" "city is trying to sneak an election" "the pro side is all lies" "but we refuse to meet and set the record straight!" "Fletcher stated in his letter that Save Ypsi Yes is trying to keep the public uninformed and "sneak the election on the May ballot." "

Lifelong A2

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

People are entitled to have different opinions on this important issue, but shame on SCIT for refusing to even *debate* the issue. Sadly, I suspect it's because SCIT has no vision for Ypsilanti other than an emergency manager, selling City assets such as the pool and Freighthouse, and/or a debilitating bankruptcy. PS- I suggest that SCIT find a new spokesperson whose response, when asked to debate serious issues before the public, is something other than to criticize the newspaper for a typo...


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

Debate? There's something to debate here? What a joke. A bunch of self-proclaimed "sky is falling" alarmists want the citizens of Ypsi to pay higher taxes than virtually anyone else in Michigan. This, they claim, won't drive business away, won't drop property values even lower than they are, and won't make Ypsi less attractive than it already is. The debate was over before it began.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

Ann English, Ypsi taxpayers have to pay for Water Street, one way or the other. There is no avoiding it...they have to pay. The only question is will it be on their own terms, with the help of the millage and income tax, or will it be at the direction of a judge, with zero taxpayer control or input.

Ann English

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

Jay McNally of The American Dream talk show on WAAM from noon to 1:00 pm Saturdays had a recent discussion with a guest about this issue, who said that the Water Street project is a boondoggle and the pro-tax-increase side wants Ypsilanti taxpayers to pay for this boondoggle.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

Because the voters are incompetent of doing their own research and doing their own side-by-side of the facts? Also, I know for a fact that at least one member of the Say Yes group is a horrible public speaker so I'm hoping the group has already appointed that person to not speak in case there is ever a debate.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Yes, there is a lot to debate. The fact that there is a vote happening at all is enough reason to give the voters a demonstration of the two issues side by side.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

[set sarcasm = on] It will drive business away! It will lower property values more! It will make Ypsi less attractive! The sky will fall! [set sarcasm = off] Better watch out for those alarmists.

Glen S.

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

The "Yes" side supports a 5-Year Budget Plan that keeps the City's budget balanced, and maintains core public services (including Police and Fire protection) at current levels. This plan was passed unanimously by City Council, and has the support of Ypsilanti police officers and firefighters, as well as many community leaders. This plan is a SOLID plan that includes REAL information that voters can see and understand -- including a detailed budget, timeline, specific action-steps, and ways to measure whether it is working, over time. On the other hand, the"No" side supports ... ??? (Since they refuse to debate, I guess we'll never know.) For more information about the 5-Year Budget Plan that Ypsilanti voters will decide on May 8, visit:


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

Our democracy's foundation is built upon on a free exchange of ideas. This Ypsilanti tax hike issue is critical to our community. For one side to place its head and in the sand, refusing to discuss ideas isn't a healthy sign nor patriotic within a democracy. No one likes higher taxes.... can we discuss its pros and cons? I'm there is we do!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:36 a.m.

excuses excuses. based on SCIT has published as their 'plan' on FB, they don't have much to debate with. No "How" and no "how paid for " just a list of things that many of us want (and some that many of us don't want) but can't achieve without a properly funded city providing properly funded services. Circular logic seems the norm. well, that a bit of confusion about who controls the schools (hint: its not the city). I think the city has laid out an appropriate 5- year plan with details like "what money is where". I support that plan and will vote yes - we need to keep our police at current levels at the very least.