links: Political blog roundup: Library Lot, commuter rail, Ypsilanti fire fighters, Milan police investigation
My morning link round up for Jan. 20 is all politics, all the time.
In this issue, we have Vivienne Armentrout on the Ann Arbor Library Lot RFP process; A2Politico on the sad state of local politico campaign web sites; Mark Maynard on commuter rail to Ypsilanti; Ypsilanti City Council member Brian Robb looking for support for Ypsilanti fire fighters; and Milan mayor Kym Muckler dealing openly with an internal police investigation.
Downtown conference center development
Vivienne Armentrout is tracking closely the downtown development efforts on the Old YMCA site and the Library Lot. Her latest post draws a connection between the rejected plans for the former Y site and the "inside track" proposals for the Library Lot from Valiant:
All this makes it clear that there was an inside track and that the participants had hoped that the Valiant proposal would be accepted without too much fuss. Since last summer, the process has instead been becoming more and more open to discussion. It is a test now of the current council (many of whom were not involved with the inside story) as to whether the Valiant proposal will in fact be accepted despite the considerable risk it would involve to the city. (Even the Secret Plan says that most conference centers have to be subsidized.) It will probably always be a mystery how much this concept had to do with the failure of the William Street Station project. But maybe we’ll now be running on a fully public and accountable track. Putting everything about the RFP on the city website is a great start, and the RFP Advisory Committee has made meetings open to the public and even a chance for public questions at the interviews. What a nice thought for a new year.
The perpetually snarky and generally considered to be anonymous A2PoliticoÂ Weblog does a bit of exploration of the online presence of local candidates for office, and criticizes Washtenaw County Commissioner Jeff Irwin (53rd District House candidate), State Rep.Â Rebekah Warren (State Senate candidate), State Rep.Â Alma Wheeler-Smith (Democratic candidate for Governor), and Ned Staebler (53rd District House candidate) each for having announced their candidacies with much fanfare in the press but then not having followed up with online and Web-based information:
For starters, Byrnes has a web site up. Google her opponent Rebekah Warren and you get the web site she put up when she campaigned for the State House. Search for Staebler’s web site, and you get, I swear to Machiavelli, a placeholder page where his web page will be some day. His campaign launched in October 2009. He’s going around town tapping everyone for donations, and his campaign puts up a placeholder page? Ned Staebler wants to go to Lansing for two years to represent us. That he can’t get a web page up in three months augurs poorly for the notion he’ll arrive in Lansing ready to get down to business. Ned Staebler’s sitting around waiting for his nails to dry. He’s doing it at local coffee shops on Saturdays, when he meets with whomever happens to show up.
Ypsilanti City Council member Brian Robb writes on his blog East-Cross.com about Ypsilanti Fire Chief Jon Ichesco asking for community support to ask for grant money to cover shortfalls in funding for the Ypsilanti Fire Department:
On January 15, 2010 the City of Ypsilanti Fire Department applied for Assistance to Fire Fighters SAFER GRANT to help offset staffing reductions that will take our department below OSHA requirements for an aggressive fire attack. We need letters of recommendations to support our application and hope you will provide a letter of support so that we can continue to protect the citizens of Ypsilanti and students and faculty at Eastern Michigan University.
Mark Maynard posts the latest SEMCOG update on the Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter rail project, and asks "Oh, and has anyone figured out where to put the Ypsilanti platform yet?" As always, Mark attracts an interesting set of comments; "monorail! monorail! monorail!" was the substance of the most substantial.
Milan mayor Kym Muckler has a Weblog, Inside City Hall; that's unusual for local civic officials. Even more unusual is her latest post on personnel issues inside the Milan Police Department. The same rules that apply to me and you, also apply to our city employees. In My pledge to the Milan city residents, she writes:
No special treatment or consideration will be given to individuals just because of close friendships with council members. As mayor, it is my job to ensure transparency and fairness, especially when investigating a city personnel matter. Those in position of authority, our police officers, must uphold to the highest code of behavior, to ensure the respect and integrity of the uniform they wear. In the most recent personnel issue involving Sgt. Tim Casey, I requested the State Police conduct an external investigation to ensure transparency, objectivity and fairness.