This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

August 7th Primary Candidates Need You !

This is the original. Uncle Sam came later and so did a version for the Czar of Russia. It is probably one of the most famous and copied posters in the world. It debuted almost a century ago. The gentleman pictured is Britain's Lord Kitchener who was asked to raise an all volunteer Army for the Empire in the first world war. It was hoped that such an army would forestall  the need for conscription.

Today and through August 7th every candidate in every election needs you and not just for your vote. In fact your vote may not even be a factor until election day. You are needed to volunteer. Address envelopes, knock on doors, hand out leaflets  and so forth and so on. If you are lucky you will be paid in pizza and pop  (or similar refreshments ) eventually. There is no money, no inaugural ball invitation, appointment to a cabinet or any position to be expected. You probably won't even get an ordinary Christmas Card  let alone a prestigious one from the candidate. No offense but Christmas cards have a way of snowballing and the candidates we are taking about aren't all that prestigious.

So why do it ?  They people you pitch in and help are community leaders. Many are involved and participate in local government. That brings us to what is in it for you factor.That may sound crass but it isn't  because there are many benefits for you that need to be articulated.

But first a digression  to put things in perspective ....

A story is told about a soldier seriously wounded in combat and more or less left for dead in a field hospital. A pretty nurse approaches and tells the wounded soldier that he will have to do something or  make a sign."The Doctors think you are dead," the young nurse explains. With all the strength he can muster the soldier manages to knock over an IV stand and the Doctors come running. The soldier has a long convalescence and he keeps asking about the nurse at the field hospital who he believes saved his life. Finally he is told there are no female nurses at the field hospital and there have never been. It is too close to the front lines.

Most likely your Government thinks you are
dead as well. Only the regular receipt of your taxes payments convinces them that there is no need for  further action at this time. Attending meetings is one way to show them you are alive. Volunteering in an election even better.  Ogden Nash wrote, "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker." The same also applies to the relationship between meetings and elections.

Once it is established that you are among the living your usefulness  increases 100%. They need you. You need them. Opinions are very important and form a  basic unit of exchange. The Candidates learns from you. You learn from the candidate. Equally important is name recognition. Your efforts to get the candidate name out gets you recognized. So don't be surprised if while you are addressing envelopes the candidate asks you about your opinion on a variety of issues from poster design, to  
how many people will vote.

Remember you  are not being asked  to volunteer for the French Foreign Legion, the salt mines, or a  slave labor battalion.

The candidates will accommodate your schedule and  be grateful for whatever you can do. If you call them six months or two years later and say "you probably don't remember but I came in twice and addressed envelopes for you for about a hour, " you will be surprised  to discover that you have  not been forgotten. You maybe remembered as "the lady with the hat" but you exist in memory.

So pick your candidate and campaign. Do so immediately. After The 7th of August there will be less candidates and a lot less need for your services. Judges and Sherrifs have very little to with most people. A state representative on the other hand represents a lot of people and the 40th District (Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, the City of Bloomfield Hills and Eastern West Bloomfield ) has four candidates spending tens of thousands of dollars to get the word out.

 If you live in City of Bloomfield Hills or a City like Birmingham with a similar governments and have an interest in participating in that government some day, the McCready Campaign would be a natural. McCready is a former Bloomfield Hills Mayor and long time City Commissioner.

If you want to work in state wide campaign candidate David Wolkinson  has campaigned for the Guv.

Robert Lawrence and Dave Potts will also put you to work but the Birmingham School Board and the County Commission  don't translate as possibilities for everyone. Still you will be learning and  having fun. Should you visit the prospective candidates web sites do not click on the volunteer box and fill out a form. It is too late for that. Call and find out where and how to help now. Don't let anyone dissuade you. The Candidates needed you yesterday. Who knows maybe you can write an article about your experiences or at least have some funny stories to tell.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sierra Club celebrates "new" meeting place in Bloomfield Hills. Announces Fall General Meeting Topics and Dates

Last  Winter the Sierra Club of Southeast Michigan moved  the location of their General meetings to the Birmingham Unitarian Church. which oddly enough happens to be in the City of Bloomfield Hills.The City is 80 is years old this fall and among other reasons it became a city to avoid incorporation into the City of  Birmingham. The Southeastern tip of the City (Woodward and Lone Pine where the church is located ) is the only part of the City still in the Birmingham School District.

How successful was the move ? Sierra Club members of  Southeast  Michigan Phil Crookshank and Joanne Cantoni  did a top ten list of reasons to celebrated the move and had a hard stopping at ten so they added an eleventh.

Don't let the words "general membership meeting " fool you. You do not have to be a member to attend. There is no admission charge and there is plenty of free parking. "Membership" means a way of attracting new members and thus the topical topic presented at each meeting . Meetings are held on more or less  a monthly basis on Thursday evenings.Light refreshments are served at 6:30. The Meeting starts at seven.

Below is the fall schedule. To make it bigger click on it with your mouse. For more information call 248-561-5019.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Do movies and TV provide clues to Living in the City of Bloomfield Hills and the Art of Being Neighborly ?

Andy Grifffith the star of a show by that same name recently passed away at age 86. In the program he is best known for, he Played Sheriff  Taylor of Mayberry North Carolina. The show ran ran from 1960 to 1968 and since then in syndication virtually no stop. It has been reported that some some episodes are on file at the Smithsonian.The one below titled Stranger in Town is good candidate for such honors. A stranger comes to town and .an outbreak of mass hysteria is avoided when cool,calm, and collected Sheriff Andy gets the facts and delivers them in a dramatic speech in the denouement scene.  It was one of the few times Griffith in the heat of passion and exasperation actually speaks Southern. Episodes in later years  feature a more refined  sage and sheriff.. Maybe that happened after the interstate went in.

This episode available in it's twenty five minute entirely on You Tube. Most of the early Andy shows from fifty years ago have gone into public domain but the may not stay there. Public Domain means that copyrights have not been renewed. That can always change if  somebody wants to take them out and pay for the rights. That could  happen with Andy via   commemorative  box sets  for the holidays. The You Tube version above also features the final gag which often gets cut for commercials on over the air or cable re-runs.

Ya'll been watchin summer reruns of Hart of Dixie ? Can't help but like a show about comeuppance, community,and purgatory  that  features show titles like Pariahs and Parades or Gumbo and Gumption. We'll give ya little sample. But First an administrative detail however. For those unfamiliar with the CW  or what is being shown on Television these days, the clip below is rated PG13. Parental Guidance suggested.  There is, in keeping with the Southern literary tradition of writers like Tennessee Williams author of  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Street Car Named Desire a mildly  steamy scene with fully clothed participants. There is also  a couple of  incidents of barn yard language in which what you sit on is referred to as a small beast of burden or a conjunction.

Catch that little bit of Charles Dickens  towards the end ? Did you see it coming  ? Sweet Potato Pie and hush my mouth, I  did not. Maybe that's why I like the show. I am easy to fool. I did however catch the substitution of "Hart" the lady's last name for "Heart" which if I am not mistaken is play on words.
Funny that they toss out a bombshell in the preview rather than  saving it for the  season one finale  Either the writers are short on ideas or have more than we know of. Oh the suspense!

I would also be amiss if I didn't tell you that I see in the show some of the folk that occasionally appear on these pages. Check out the Mayor(of Bluebell) who verbally and adroitly wears many hats.

Sad but true, this report is late and we are four weeks into the re-run cycle. However if you want just drop in that would be fine. Not a lot has changed and you already know who everybody is. The re-runs are also scheduled  to run outwhen it is about time for season two to begin Clever.

So much for a stranger in a strange land. Now for something completely different from the 1965 gem A Thousand Clowns, a movie nominated for Best Pictureand drawn from the play by the same name by Herb Gardner.

The protagonist Murray Burns knows everything about Manhattan and the other  four Burroughs. He is also a man of definite ideas. In fact he  shouts community improvement tips to all residents in ear shot. Why exactly is the first question the movie asks. Murray's problem  if there  is one is getting  in sync with the rest of the world. The tune in the movie's  beautifully choreographed opening (once you get through the snare drums and cymbals) is The Battle Cry of Freedom a 1862  song used on both sides of the Civil War. It is also Murray's anthem. Regrettably we run out of film just as the movie gets going. We are told the film is available on Amazon and it does turn up on Turner Classic Television. It is also performed  quite frequently in community theatres.

So what about it City of Bloomfield Hills ? We are known as not particularly outgoing or neighborly but is that a fair 
assessment ? If it is any comfort the Isle of Manhattan gets the same rap. Do TV shows or Movies provide answers ? How about Magazines.How about one called Living in Bloomfield Hills ? Naturally there is more. Stay tuned....

Monday, July 23, 2012

2012 Olympics begin Friday and call to mind The Patron Saint of the Incredible, Bob Beamon.

It was  the fall of a year  in which the words "pretty incredible " often came to mind.The  Detroit Tigers overcame a 3-1 game deficit to win the 1968 World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 3. Elimination  games five and seven were played  in St. Louis. Pretty Incredible. 

The Governer of the State of Michigan that fall was George Romney. He was a seeking the Republican nomination for President. In a televised  interview  on the Detroit based  Lou Gordon Show  Romney  used the word "brainwashing" in a lucid, and perceptive explanation of our nation's  involvement in the war in Vietnam. The rest as they say is history. Pretty Incredible.

The Republican Candidate for President, that fall and eventual election winner, was Richard Nixon. He had somehow managed to resurrect himself  from a disastrous 1962 "farewell" press conference after his defeat in that year's California Gubernatorial Race. Pretty incredible.
And on October 18th 1968, in Mexico City, the prohibitive favorite to win gold in the Long Jump, 
Bob Beamon wound up  shattering the the world record by almost two feet. How incredible is that ? Consider that from 1935 to 1968 the world's record in the long jump advanced a mere eight  inches. Beamon's leap is still,  44 years later an Olympic record. As a World record  Beamon's jump survived 23 years until bested by American Michael Powell in the 1991 Tokyo World Championships. Athletes are competitive people and Beamon's Jump captured on film has been reviewed by the brightest and best of them ad infinitum
Mike Morrison author of  an  Info Please piece titled "A Beaming Beacon. Unknown Athlete Sets Track Record ". tells us that  "After exactly 19 loping strides, he hit the board perfectly, stretched out with his legs and flew through the air like no one ever had. And finally, he hit the sand in the pit below—29 feet, 2½ inches later! "

Other accounts say Beamon was at least somewhat well known and a medal (possibly Gold) was expected. What happened however was so unexpected as to be mind boggling. Some analysts in an effort to expain  even venture into what Beamon did the night before. The accounts range from a self admission to having a Tequila to steamier  encounters alleged by some British sports writers.The best analysis this writer ever happened upon (source sadly forgotten) said that no matter how or how long you looked at the film, on October18th 1968, Bob Beamon did everything right.

In life there are parallels.  Beamon almost failed to qualify for the Olympic Finals. He fouled on his first two qualifying attempts. Teammate, and  World Record holder Ralph Boston told to him to relax, take a foot off his jump and  just qualify for the finals.

In the 1936 Berlin Olympics Jesse Owens  after fouling twice received the same advise from a German competitor and eventual Silver medalist Luz Long.

And now to the  the moral of our story. Never would Beamon jump as far again. Never would Mike Powell who now holds the world's record jump as far or win an Olympic Gold Medal. Both  record breaking performances were a once in a life time experience. Which prompts the questions, with  all the talents the Almighty has given us, does each of us have the capability to put it all together at least once in a lifetime ?

This writer thinks so. My Bob Beamon moment came, oddly enough twenty years to the day after his. For days previous I had been in a quandary or a snit about a  "get together for coffee with a girl" thing  my friends had pushed me into. Prior experience had told me that such things usually didn't work out but I agreed to go through the motions. The problem was forgetting the Chicago Blackhawks would be in town when  I had agreed to a Tuesday evening. I could call and reschedule or I could just go and get it over with. Maybe it would get over in time for me to make the game.

At the time, except for the significance of the date, I knew all about Bob Beamon's amazing jump. In fact I had even been alive when it actually occurred  but details escaped me until I heard a Russian hockey player  talking about it in a post game show. Impressed I looked it up and was even more impressed. So much so I embellished the story slightly and worked into my nine to five patter which involved getting businesses to buy my service.

So when my friends asked what I was looking for in say a potential spouse, I would start with the Track and Field competition in the 1968 Olympics and not get very far before everyone decided that I was totally hopeless.

On October 18th 1988, the Blackhawks not withstanding, I did meet  a gal who with a laugh could shatter  world's records. We were married the following Summer. How exactly I managed the feat I really don't know.For once in my life  maybe I did everything right. I guess my wife did too. That's what makes it fun.

Naturally with any absolutely incredible, borderline unbelievable triumphs, there are detractors. My better half I and I could just be birds of the feather who by divine providence or dumb luck happened to cross paths.

To which I would say  au contraire mein herr. The mechanics of the situation were far different than most would imagine. If I had called to reschedule our cup of coffee, she, not knowing the importance of the Blackhawks, woulds have started backing off.  Stating  an  awareness that we were both being pushed into  "this" she'd decide If I had other things to do so did she. At which point I might have asked "like what ?'' and been told "Wallpaper."  

Of course I would have never known what she meant by that word or the importance people in the City of Bloomfield Hills attach to it.

Blackhawks looming and  wallpaper were just one of a series of hurdles we sailed over in a time faster than we ever dreamed. Rather than bore you the details I will simply say, Thank you Bob Beamon for showing us the way !

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Detroit Free Press Endorses City Commissioner and former Mayor Michael McCready for State Representative 40th District.

In  a  detailed and informative piece  in Sunday's Detroit News and  Free Press, the newspaper reported on  every primary race for the State House of Representatives  in the metro area and endorsed it's preferred  candidate in each election. The article is also available on line by county. The Oakland County portion can be accessed by Clicking Here
The  area of interest to most of our readers is  the 40th District which includes the City of Birmingham, The City of Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, and the eastern half of West Bloomfield (specifically everything east of Farmington Road and all of Precinct 15).

The Free Press wrote "This is an impressive and well-qualified field, especially considering that three of the four have elective experience.'' ( Editor's Note:That would be  Robert Lawrence, (Birmingham School Board), Michael McCready (Bloomfield Hills City Commission) and David Potts (County Commission)  "Given the current challenges to municipalities, Michael McCready's  council experience seems especially significant and an asset to both the district and in Lansing."

McCready forces have always have always maintained that the Commisioner's   experience in Municipal Government which includes four  years as City Commissioner, one year as Mayor, and his current position as Mayor Pro tem would be a benefit to residents in Birmingham, The City of Bloomfield Hills, and the Townships of Bloomfield Hills and West Bloomfield. 

McCready's municipal experience could also benefit  a state legislature in a still struggling economy,  where nationally  the unthinkable has become thinkable. Stockton , population 200,000+, and San Bernadino,  population 300,000+,  California  have filed for bankruptcy protection .

 McCready's role in a municpal environment also includes that of a business owner in Birmingham Michigan

Baldwin New Titles 7/17/2012

Close Your Eyes by Iris Johansen: Using carefully honed sensory skills gleaned from a childhood spent blind to solve cases, music therapist Kendra Michael is tapped by a former FBI agent, who is investigating the work of a serial killer who may be responsible for the disappearance of Kendra's ex.
Check Availability.

Creole Belle by James Lee Burke: Dave is in a recovery unit in New Orleans, where a Creole girl named Tee Jolie Melton visits him and leaves him an iPod with the country blues song "Creole Belle" on it. Then she disappears. Dave becomes obsessed with the song and the memory of Tee Jolie and goes in search of her sister, who later turns up inside a block of ice floating in the Gulf. Meanwhile, there has been an oil well blowout on the Gulf, threatening the cherished environs of the bayous. Series hero Dave Robicheaux leads the charge against the destruction of both the land and the people he has sworn to protect.  

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva:  When a body is found beneath Michelangelo's dome, Gabriel Allon is summoned to secretly investigate the death that has been ruled a suicide - a case that brings about an unthinkable act of sabotage. Check Availability

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (DVD): A London fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik's vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.

Casa de Mi Padre (DVD): Armando Alvarez has lived and worked on his father's ranch in Mexico his entire life. As the ranch faces financial strains, Armando's younger brother Raul shows up and pledges to settle all his father's debts. It seems that Raul's success as an international businessman means the ranch's troubles are over, but when Armando falls for Sonia, and Raul's business dealings turn out to be less than legit, the Alvarez family finds themselves in a full-out war with Mexico's most feared drug lord.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Retired Supervisor of Bloomfield Township, David Payne endorses City Commissioner Michael McCready for State Rep 40th District.

Bloomfield Hills City Commissioner Michael McCready is running for the 40th District seat in the Michigan State House of Representatives.This year the residents of the 40th District for the State House of Representatives are fortunate to have a very qualified group of candidates to choose from. I am writing to endorse Mike McCready, who I believe is the best candidate to serve the people of our district.
As the former Supervisor of Bloomfield Township, I had the privilege of working with Mike as Commissioner for the City of Bloomfield Hills on many issues of importance between our communities. I have always been impressed with his dedication to his constituents and his ability to use his vast business success to the betterment of local governance. He is a keen listener who is able to bridge differences of opinion and find workable common sense solutions. The skills he has exhibited in business and local government are exactly what are needed at the State level to restore the economic stability of Michigan.
As a successful businessman, Mike has had to balance budgets and make tough decisions along the way. As our State Representative, I am confident he will make certain our great State never reverts to the financial chaos of the past, and assure state government lives within their means.
For far too long, the youth of our state have had to leave Michigan following their education to find meaningful career opportunities. Using his business experience, Mike is committed to working with Governor Snyder to create a stable Michigan economy that creates jobs for our children for generations to come.
It is time we elected a proven leader who is committed to stopping the partisan bickering that prohibits progress, and instead focus on delivering results. I encourage you to elect Mike McCready as our State Representative on August 7, 2012.

Dave Payne
Retired Supervisor of Bloomfield Township

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

City introduces New Web Site.

It is new, modern and trendy ! It offers instant connections to Facebook,  Twitter, and You Tube. Many of the  the old favorites are back  you just have to look for them. Can't say we are crazy about the winery purple grape face but that can be changed we presume. Maybe it has got something to do with combined High School's new colors.Play with it! Tips and techniques to follow! Supposedly the new web site is smart enough to wake you from an afternoon nap in time make the City Commission Meeting. With time to spare of course.

Failure to Identify Consequences and misleading numbers taint current McClure May to November Proposed Election Switch

The May to November election date  remained dormant from July 2010 to 2011. In October of that year City Commission considered hiring a professional survey company to survey the City. There were two purposes in mind. One expressed by Mayor Zambricki was to establish a bench mark of where the city was at. The second expressed by Commissioner Sarah McClure was to see how residents felt about the controversial issues like a Single trash  hauler for the City or a May to November election date switch. The objective defined by Mayor Zambricki was accomplished and the good news was that the residents seemed very satisfied with life in the city of Bloomfield Hills.In the  Spring of this  year Commissioner McClure was was reelected to commission  by a respectable majority which lead to a her election as Mayor.

The controversies mentioned by McClure did not fair as well. Single Trash hauler service was dropped somewhere along the line but the May to November Election date change did make the survey. Residents however did not have any in put into what topics or questions appeared on the survey. Those were handled by Commissioner McClure,City Manager Jay Cravens, and the survey company.  A survey is not intended to explain complicated options and the 2012 Citizen satisfaction survey offered only the  following question.

It is what is called a push pull question. If offers two positives (convenience and money savings) and no negatives in order to get your support. It does not tell you that  the only switch  available was not to a November election but to November Odd Years Only option  which would mean the residents would lose their annual right to accept or reject commissioners. That is the only regular voting right residents have. Instead citizens would  vote every other year  effectively cutting their voting power in half. In addition commissioners  with an odd year only elections would probably serve four year terms thereby doubling their power. A gang of three like minded commissioners could under this arrangement dominate the City for almost half a decade.

None of this has ever been explained or discussed by Mayor McClure or explained to  the people in any sort of forum. At the last meeting  Mayor McClure  claimed that 88% of survey respondents. favored a change to a "November"  Election.   That number when scrutinized breaks down to less than a 25% of all registered voters.. The Survey was mailed to 3,525 registered voters of which 1042 or 31%  were returned. 67% or 698 people said they strongly approved probably without knowing all the consequences. Because that  is substantially less than 25% of all registered voters, Mayor McClure added  in the those that "somewhat support" an election date change. That boosts the percent who "somewhat support  or strongly  
support  date change to 88% which  would account for 917 voters or substantially less than 33% of all registered voters. It  is never made clear to the survey respondents that they are trading May, not for November but November Odd Years only. As indicated there is a tremendous difference between November and November Odd Years Only. It is believed that the commissioners who approved the survey question were aware  or the difference.
Tonight we will here what they  think. So far the commisioners  haven't  seemed to think anything at all. .
In addition what the people think seems to be of no interest to them. Rather than rushing  into a course of action with perhaps irrevocable consequences shouldn't we analyze all the options. There is no hurry. Our City is in compliance with state law There will no be elections until May or if that is nixed November of 2013. What are the arguments for pro and con for May or November Odd Years Only or two year or four year terms. All we have from our Mayor and City Commission is the number 88% which in reality translate as less than a third of all registered voters. Since no one else will  help you identify  the consequences or May or November vote and the Mayors weird Math before tonight's meeting we will.

A Short History of the May November Election Date Debate

  Agenda Item  6. The Commission will consider moving the annual city election to an odd year election cycle
The City Election wasn't always held in May. In fact for the first 72 years of it's History it was held in April. In 2004 in order to be compliant with Michigan Public Act 298 (sometimes called the elections consolidation act) which mandated elections at  four dates thorough out the year, one of them being May) the date of the City Election was moved from April to May. This was done by resolution and changed in the charter which would have implications later on. The Mayor at the time was Michael  Zambricki.

In 2007 the City voted to move the Election to November provided annual election date was possible. The Mayor at the time was Dale Dawkins.

In January 2008 the City revoked the Election Date Change after learning that the November Annual Election date was not available to Cities. The Mayor at the time was Pat Hardy.

The time of the meeting was late April 2010.The Mayor at the time was David. Kellet. In the audience at that meeting was Private Citizen  Sarah McClure attending her last meeting as a  Private Citizen. At the meeting Citizen McClure spoke on two issues. PUD agreements and Garage Sales. Public comment on the topics the commission  discusses was eliminated in the Administration of Michael Zambricki 2011-12 and  has not been revived  by current Mayor McClure.It flourished however in the administrations of David Kellet
2009-10 and Micheal McCready 2010-11.

The date of the meeting was June 2010.The Mayor was Michael McCready. Of the note the audience in attendance  for the first two meetings McCready's administration was so large that a ballroom at the Kingsley Inn was rented to accommodate the residents who wished to attend.

City Commission to Approve Goals and Objectives for 2012-2013.

Click to Make Larger
Agenda Item 4. The Commission will consider the adoption of 2012 – 2013 City goals. Do you know what these goals are ?  They are the goals and objectives City Commission  set for themselves. Are  they the goals and objectives you want for your City ? Have you had a chance to provide input into those goals ?At the first City Commission Meeting of the new year  two commissioners suggested getting public input. They have not been heard from since (on the subject  of public participation).

Click to make larger

City Commission Agenda for Tonight's Meeting

Agenda Packet for Tonight's City Commission Meeting Part I
Agenda Packet for Tonight's City Commission Meeting Part II
Agenda Items
3. Recognition of Citizens in the audience.
4. The Commission will consider the adoption of 2012 – 2013 City goals.
5. The Commission will consider a resolution to honor Bloomfield Township Clerk, Jan Roncelli.
6. The Commission will consider moving the annual city election to an odd year election cycle.
7. The Commission will consider a memo from the City Clerk on electronic agenda packets.
8. The Commission will consider a memo from the City Clerk on the City Charter updates.
9. The Commission will consider appointing members to serve on  Construction Board of Appeals.
10. The Commission will consider an ordinance regarding regulation of fireworks sales.
11. The Commission will consider appointing the election workers to serve at  August 7, 2012 Primary Election.
12. The Commission will consider a resolution to set the fee schedule for the 
permitting process under the Woodlands Ordinance. 
13. The Commission will discuss the Woodland & Tree Protection Ordinance “One Sheet” summary.
14. The Commission will discuss an update on the Public Safety Open House
15. The Commission will hear City Manager comments.
16. The Commission will hear an update on individual lead responsibilities.
17. The Commission will consider other business .
Color Coded Agenda Items.
Red is for  a link to another document. White on Red  is for earth shattering importance. Blue  is for items of note of a lesser magnitude. Black is for the more mundane.

Monday, July 9, 2012

City Clerks of note who make life easier for all of us by providing the assistance and information necessary for communities to run smoothly.

 Hats off to Amy Burton City Clerk of the City of Bloomfield Hills, Jan Roncelli City Clerk of Bloomfield Township, and Catherine Shaughnessy  City Clerk of the Township of West Bloomfield  and Jennifer West.
Jan Roncelli will be honored at Tuesday's City Commission Meeting for being chosen 2012 Township Clerk of the Year. This writer has never had the pleasure of speaking with her or requesting information or documentation from the Township,but her reputation is legendary. Whenever I have questions about elections I am often referred to Ms. Roncelli but usually find that Amy Burton has the answer as well.

In that regard we would also like to thank and recognize  The City Clerk's office in Birmingham. There we speak to whoever answers the phone, and try to disguise our voice because we don't want to make it painfully obvious that we are only calling because we can't get a hold of Amy Burton who is usually doing twenty nine things at once.

Which brings us to The Charter Township of West Bloomfield  which is larger in population than any of the other communities mentioned by a substantial margin. The City Civic Center is larger than some shopping malls and  there is library big enough to have a branch. The City Clerk  is Catherine Shaughnessy  gives anyone who visits the City Clerk's page on the  City's web site a "key" to the City. It's not a real key of course but it works just as well.  What  is provided is detailed voting locations and precinct maps for the upcoming. election. And lets face it most of know zip about about West Bloomfield other than it is there and somewhere around Orchard  Lake Road. 
You drive by it and often through it but nothing registers. Pay attention to the City's excellent precinct maps and you will being speaking like a native. Maybe even better. The other day the wife asked about "that boat store we visited," and asked if it was in Farmington. I said no it was on Orchard Lake Road. She said she knew that but that was in Farmington wasn't it ?I said no. It was in West Bloomfield. on Orchard Lake Road. Going west past Middlebelt and  past La Rosa Market. On your left. The cross street  is Figa and you are in  West Bloomfield Precinct 3. Precinct 3 is one of only two West Bloomfield  Precincts that are on Pine Lake. The other is Precinct 16 which is has the distinction  of being on both sides of the lake. True to form the wife took all that info and decided she "remembers now...The boat store is in Sylvan Lake, right ?"

City Clerks a re great for providing all the information you need on a variety of subjects even if  that knowledge will never register with one's spouse. Especially in an election year. This year West Bloomfield City Clerk Shaughnessy is running for re-election. Our City Clerk Amy Burton does not run for office. Amy explained why this is so but I forgot. I do know that rather recently Amy Burton was elected  President of the City Clerks of Oakland County Association which is quite and honor considering the size of Communities like Southfield, Troy, and West Bloomfield, and how tiny the City of Bloomfield really is.Once when I visited Mr. Bullard's County Clerk office  I  said I would tell  our  City Clerk how helpful they were. I think my exact words wondered if all City or County Clerks  all went to  nice school or something. They said  they thought the same of  our City Clerk  or more exactly  "Amy's a sweetie."  I don't know if  that trumps other honors  but it is probably right up there. Especially when you consider that all  the City Clerks seem to know each other.

Last but not least City Amy Burton received an addition honor to be shared with her staff. It seems Ms. Burton went on vacation for an entire seven days. A fact that if widely known, could have caused panic through out the city.  I found out when I e-mailed "thanks" for some info I requested and a got robo email back that said Amy Burton was out of the office and WOULD NOT BE BACK  UNTIL..Naturally I was sweating it. Very important meetings are approaching and this publication which is slow to begin with has to get the word out. When the documentation had not appeared on line by Friday COB we figured maybe Monday when Amy returned. Then the Agenda Packet big enough to require two packets actually appeared on the City web site Saturday Morning very close to the usual Friday electronic disbursement. Hats off to Jennifer West, Amy's assistant who somehow flew a double sized Agenda Packet through the teeth of the storm for an on time delivery while managing to keep up with all the other  documentation we  request  on a regular basis.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mayor and City Attorney discuss implementing changes to City Elections which residents rejected two years ago.

The above film clip shows  Mayor McClure and City Attorney Bill Hampton speaking at the City Commission meeting of June 12th 2012. A third voice that of City Manager Jay Cravens can be heard on occasion as well. For those with older computers or those lacking a sound card  we have provided a transcript as well. Our transcript which is based on  discount house camera counter audio is not perfect but suffices if you crank the volume.

Mayor McClure begins the conversation in section of the meeting concerning the City Commission's Goals and Objectives.The topic a recent question  in the city survey which asked residents

The City currently has elections for the City commission held annually in May. As a convenience to voters and to reduce cost a proposal to move the City election to May has been discussed. Would you support such a measure ?

What is being asked is much involved than a date change. The move would be irrevocable and require elections to be held in odd years only which would require four year terms of office for City Commissioners. If adopted the Spring election in our City would be a thing of the past. The next election would be November 2013 and commissioners elected then would serve until 2017. The next City Election after that would be 2015 in which commissioners elected would serve until 2019.

 City Commission  has  been less than forthright in providing the consequences that date change would require.

Mayor McClure sites 88% of survey respondents as being in favor of such a date change. She arrives at that number  by adding those who strong approve what is presented as a simple date change (67%) with those who have reservations enough  to describe their opinion as "somewhat support.(21%). That 88% is further compromised by the fact that only a third of the of the surveys sent were ever returned and so the 88% cited is less than a quarter of the city's residents.

The key factor now however is not whether a May or November election date is  more preferable. It is how and by whom the matter will be decided. By ballot by a vote of the city's 3800 residents or as a resolution by the City's five commissioners. Since a change in frequency of voting will impact the balance of power in the city both residents and commissioners will benfit or suffer depending on how and by whom the matter is resolved.
Mayor Sarah McClure:There were 88% response in our to move our election to November. Either strongly or (somewhat in favor) were 88% , So I think we have an obligation to discuss this further. .. and this remind me does this have to be done by ballot or  by resolution.

City Attorney Bill Hampton: In fact if you recall I prepared  the proposal for you to adopt two years ago and the night it was up for adoption a bunch of people spoke out against it, Four or five people in the audience and it got defeated.(Minutes of the 2010 meeting City Attorney Hampton is referring to appear below.)

Mayor McClure: Yeah.
City Attorney Hampton: It would not take me long to put something  back in front of you.
City Manager Jay Cravens: And it could be done by resolution.
City Attorney Hampton: By resolution.
Mayor McClure: Right.
City Attorney Hampton: And what we did before , we took people because we wanted to keep the staggered terms and we did it in such a way that people who’s terms were going to expire in May..  for example Oh I’ll have to dust it off and refresh ,my memory but for extending terms of people’s office  that expired may were going to be extending them to the following November in order to get it in the sequential
Mayor McClure: Right Well why don’t we....
City Manager Cravens: Two year terms. You can’t have a staggered .So if you want to continue to stagger it would have to be a four year terms.
Mayor McClure: Which our residents seem more.. Less comfortable (with)
City Attorney: That’s what we had before commission a couple of years ago (in 2010 Proposal) We went to a  November Election and a four year terms so we could stagger 3 in one election and two in another.
Mayor McClure: Well why don’t rather than discussing this issue tonight..., that is something we need to discuss so if we put this in our goals and objectives and we will put it on one out  next  Agenda to discuss more formally where we want to go on that. That makes sense to everybody ?

Monday, July 2, 2012

For a Parade, Fireworks and Family Fun On the Fourth of July Clawson is the Place to Be

Believe it or not the City of Clawson 4th of July Parade is one month older than the City of Bloomfield Hills. The Parade is of such stature that it has it own blog. For a complete list of all Clawson 4th of July activities CLICK HERE.

Michigan Fireworks

Currently listing 490 Fireworks displays 

in Michigan for 2012

Find Fireworks Displays for Memorial Day, 4th of July, New Year's Eve, Carnivals, Snow Festivals & Sporting Events

Per usual we stumbled across this  rather remarkable blog  Michigan Fireworks Display quite by accident. You won't find a better Firework Display Resource. You can search by County, City or date and even use it  to check for last minute cancellations. Just click on the above Michigan Firework Display link above in red. They do for Michigan  fireworks. carnivals, snow festivals, and sporting events what we attempt to do for the City of Bloomfield Hills. For that reason we have also included a link to them on our main page under "Michigan Events. By using it you can find  family fun events through out the state and through out the year. That is the good news. The bad news is the Milford's Sparks in the Dark Fireworks Festival was June 30th. However Birmingham's blast will be July 3rd.
The above listing is one of many at Michigan Fireworks Display 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nationally Recognized Local Authors of Young Adult Fiction at Baldwin Library, July 24.

 Come to the Baldwin Public Library on Tuesday, July 24 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. to meet nationally recognized local women authors! Enjoy hearing them discuss their most recent works – all realistic fiction for Teens and Young Adults. Authors will do a pre-signing at 1:30 and again later in the afternoon. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the wonderful women who are on the cutting edge of young adult realistic fiction.

Cover art for SIGN LANGUAGEAmy Ackley  Sign Language
Abby struggles with her relationship with her mother as she matures from a naïve 12-year-old to a young woman able to discover new-found relationships

Tracy Bilen – What She Left Behind
Just released in May to excellent reviews, the heroine, Sarah, faces an increasing feeling of isolation in what YOYA calls “a truly remarkable story of resilience.”


Beth Neff – Getting Somewhere

Three young women meet at an experimental program on a juvenile detention center farm. They face some hard issues as they struggle to develop insight into themselves.

Lara Zielin – Acclaimed author of The Implosion of Aggie Winchester and Donut Days, Zielen will debut her new novel, The Waiting Sky at this special pre-release date event.
Minnesota 17-year-old Jane McAllister has devoted years to helping her out-of-control, alcoholic mother, so joining her brother in chasing tornadoes for a summer gives her a fresh perspective, new options and her first real romance.

Co-sponsored by the Baldwin Public Library and BookBeat Book Store. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
For more information contact Baldwin Public Library at 248-554-4650 or Book Beat Book Store at 248-968-1190. The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street.