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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Friday, December 27, 2013

An open letter to High School Juniors in Birmingham, The City of Bloomfield Hills, Beverly Hills, and Bingham Farms.

Dear eligible student thinking of applying for the student representative position on the Baldwin Library Board.
First off, I should tell you it wasn't the sort of we did in my day. Of course I am not exactly sure what we did in my day.  It was in Ohio and in those days The Ohio State University took everyone who graduated from an Ohio High School. They didn't say they’d keep you but as my father  said  at least it  “got you in the door” which as he explained many times was  “half the battle”. Later I learned he was right on both counts. He also liked to stress the fact that  in the real world nobody knows you.  You have to show them something. Like what? Like Moxie the old man said.
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Moxie is a New England soft drink which  had quite a vogue in the roaring twenties.   It was a favorite of  then President Calvin Coolidge (a former Mayor of Boston)  and later endorsed by Red Sox  slugger Ted Williams.

In today’s world applying to be the Baldwin Library Student Representative takes Moxie. 

So does writing the President of the United States. In college one of our classmates did just that. He wrote  that the anti war protesters of our era weren't indicative of all students. President Nixon interested in a photo op invited him to the White House. The kid went at his own expense and got local Columbus Ohio media coverage. That did not make him popular with his fellow students but today he  is the Governor of the State of Ohio. 

If you have any interest in city government, or politics this great opportunity and one that will get you in the door, give you chance to show your stuff, and serve you well in the future. The Baldwin Library benefits four communities and the importance of that can't be overstated.

How many applicants will the Baldwin Library receive  ? This may be on the low end,  but offhand, I would guess less than number of area  High School Juniors who will write the President of the United  States this year. In the  past contract community students  and Birmingham students have both fared well in the selection process.




Baldwin Public Library Board seeks student representative. Deadline for application is January 13th.




BIRMINGHAM, MI (December 5, 2013) – The Board of the Baldwin Public Library invites interested high school juniors who reside in the City of Birmingham, Village of Beverly Hills, Village of Bingham Farms, or the City of Bloomfield Hills to apply for the position of Student Representative to the Baldwin Public Library Board. This is an excellent opportunity for students to develop leadership skills and instill an ethic of community service, as well as encourage citizen participation in local government. In addition, the Board benefits greatly from having a new perspective on Library planning and services.

This opportunity requires a commitment to serve a one-year term on the Baldwin Public Library Board. The term of service runs from February 17, 2014 to February 16, 2015. This position requires that the Student Representative attend the monthly meetings of the Library Board and review the monthly agenda, minutes and reports prior to the meeting. Visit www.baldwinlib.org/library-board to review past meetings and minutes.

To find application details, visit www.baldwinlib.org/studentrep. The completed application, essay, and two letters of recommendation are due by January 13, 2014 to Josh Rouan at the Baldwin Library, 300 West Merrill, Birmingham, MI 48009 or via email to josh.rouan@baldwinlib.org

“This opportunity is an excellent way for high school students to develop leadership skills and to understand how local government and libraries operates. It also gives a chance for students to prepare themselves for future careers in politics or libraries,” said Sheila Brice, Library Board Vice President.

The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street and can be reached at 248-647-1700 or through the Library’s website at www.baldwinlib.org.  


Contact: Kathryn Bergeron, Baldwin Public Library
Phone: 248-554-4682




Four women and the year that was.2013 in the City of Bloomfield Hills. Part one.


Welcome  to the annual  "year in review" articles that newspapers and magazines run to fill the void between Christmas and the new year. Quite often this involves a top ten list, a biggest disappointment list  (usually in sports),  or notations with arrows indicating whether celebrities, politicians, or athletes are moving up or down.

Our city is a small city. Ten top stories would be pushing it so we settled on four. Curiously each of the four stories center on  four different women  who played starring roles in the accomplishments,  high drama, intrigue, revelation and sound and fury that was The City of Bloomfield Hills  in 2013. occurred in a chronological order that more or less coincided with the seasons of the year. We have no "up" or "down" arrows to place but three of the stories, current ending, is bitter sweet. The other is promising  at least for now.

The four stories we have chosen are in chronological order....


  • Intrigue: Celebrate Bloomfield Hills. Mary Juras. January 2013
  • Accomplishment: Opening the City Archives. Amy Burton. April.
  • High Drama :Saving the City's Public Safety Dispatch. Sarah McClure. July.
  • Disclosure: Addressing  slanted Questions on the 2012 Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Pat Hardy. October.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mishaps,Mayors,Mastodons and Winter Comes Early in the City of Bloomfield Hills. But starting today the the days get longer !




We are pleased to report that Mayor Pat Hardy is home and on the mend from a  nasty  fall. That occurred  while taking the dog from a vet appointment during the Thanksgiving Holidays. She  explained that she was using a retractable leash when her dog saw a German Sheppard. The latter   didn't look particularly thrilled at the prospect of paths crossing.  The Mayor  pulled on the leash but to no avail.  Then the retractable leash snapped knocking her down.  A fractured hip and a week long convalescence at  Woodward Hills resulted. It is hoped  and the Mayor expects that she will  be able to attend and chair the  January  14th City Commission Meeting.

Last  Tuesday Former Mayor Kellet  (2009-2010)  visited a zoning board meeting and brought a little history with him. That is not first time that he has done that. In 2012 at the January Planning commission he reminded  the planning commissioners  and those attending that the very day, January 10th. was  anniversary of the publication of Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

At the zoning meeting,  in reference to property  in the vicinity of  Charring Cross and Warrington Roads, Mayor Kellet indicated area of wetlands on a topographic map, and said a swamp was drained in the early 1930's as part of a WPA project.  That  resulted in the discovery of  young Mastodon  bones. The bones were then sent to Cranbrook for re-assembly  Kellet ventured that the remains of  Mother and Daddy Mastodon might  be found beneath larger wetland areas to the north.  

The Mastodon is the official fossil of the state of Michigan.

More from the Bloomfield Historical Society which says  there are 17 known Mastodon sites in Oakland County.....

Kellet is a member of the Bloomfield Historical Society and has prepared  area history slide shows which he presents on many occasions.

Winter may be here but the days will soon be getting longer. Today, December 21st, is the day of the winter solstice. By mid to late January, afternoon  dog walkers and joggers should notice the difference. No more pitch dark at 4:45 pm. At least not until next year.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

eBooks at the Baldwin Public Library



eBooks at the Baldwin Public Library

 Planning on getting your loved one a tablet or eReader for Christmas? Don’t forget to include directions to use the Library’s eBooks collection. The Library offers more than 3700 eBook titles for your Kindle, iPad, or Android device. 

So far in 2013, the Baldwin Public Library has had more than 13,000 eBook checkouts. Gillian Flynn was our most popular author having written our most checked-out book, Gone Girl, and our third most checked out book, Dark Places. Other popular books this year were Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich, and The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, revealed to be a pen name of J.K. Rowling. Other, currently popular books include Inferno by Dan Brown, The Burgess Boys by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, and Never Go Back by Lee Child. 

The Library currently offers 13 titles from the top 16 New York Times hardcover fiction bestsellers including Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich, King & Maxwell by David Baldacci, and Sycamore Row by John Grisham.

In addition to the instructions available at www.baldwinlib.org/ebooks, the Library will be holding a variety of drop-in sessions and classes to help patrons use Library eBooks on their new devices. eBook Download Help Sessions occur every Saturday at 10:00 a.m with no appointment or registration required. Upcoming classes include “eBooks and Your Kindle” on Monday, January 20 at 7:00 p.m. and “eBooks and Your iPad” on Tuesday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m. Interested individuals can register for these classes at www.baldwinlib.org/calendar or by calling 248-554-4650.

“eBooks are an important part of the Library’s offerings,” said Josh Rouan, Electronic Resources Librarian. “We enjoy helping our patrons get set-up to use our eBooks and showing them just how easy it can be to use the Library’s collection without leaving home. 

To learn more about the Library’s eBook collection, visit www.baldwinlib.org/ebooks.  


The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street and can be reached at 248-647-1700 or through the Library’s website at www.baldwinlib.org.  

Mat Damon, Jodie Foster, Robert Di Niro, Johnny Depp, Lone Ranger, Denzel Washington, and Mark Wahilberg DVDs, Highlight 12/17/1 3 Baldwin New Titles.


[Cover]

Elysium (DVD): In the year 2154 two groups of people remain; the extremely wealthy who reside on an immaculate man-made space station named Elysium, and the rest, who occupy an overpopulated, destroyed Earth. Max decides to embark on a mission that could bring equality to the opposed worlds. Check Availability
The Family  (DVD)A mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite Agent Stansfield's best efforts to keep them in line, Fred Blake and his family can't help resorting to old habits by handling their problems the 'family' way. Chaos ensues as their former Mafia cronies try to track them down, and scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings. . Check Availability

[Cover]The Lone Ranger (DVD): A thrilling adventure infused with action and humor, in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice - taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption. 

[Cover]  
2 Guns (DVD): DEA agent Bobby Trench and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman are working undercover for a narcotics business. After a distorted attempt to infiltrate the drug cartel, they soon learn the secret of their dubious affiliation. Check Availability

Prisoners (DVD): Keller Dover is facing every parent's worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki arrests its driver but a lack of evidence forces his release. As the police pursue multiple leads, Dover knows his child's life is at stake and decides he must take matters into his own hands. How far will he go to protect his family?




Wednesday, December 11, 2013

City Commission Meeting of 12/10/13. Will the real Mayor of the City of Bloomfield Hills Please Stand Up ? Maybe in 2014 ?


 So far... two City Commissions meetings  and our newly elected (or appointed) Mayor Pat Hardy has yet to whack the gavel or ascend the bully pulpit. 


Roosevelt Who used the White House as the Bully Pulpit


A rare  excused absence for Hardy prevented either  from happening at last night's meeting. Former Mayor and now  Commissioner Sarah McClure did most of the talking, and  more or less held court  at the November meeting as well.
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 "That's because I knew most of the stuff on the budget." Commissioner McClure explained later. Actually  Mayor-elect  Pat Hardy was also at all the budget meetings. In fact she and McClure, had better attendance records at the important annual budget meetings than their male counterparts. Maybe McClure was speaking for the benefit of the boys. 

Maybe new Mayor Pat Hardy was silent because of the solemnity of her elevation.Two and a half years had gone by since it was last her turn  to be Mayor. May 10th 2011 to November 12th 2013  or 917 days be exact. Almost as long as President  Kennedy had in the White House (Jan  20th 1961 to November 22,1963 or 1036 days).

In May of 2011, the world and this publication were young. Spring was in the air and lying was yet to become the new truth.  In those days The Mayor of the City was determined by a  rotation among the City Commissioners.  The Mayor that year  as every prior year was to be the commissioner who served the longest without being Mayor or who was had been  Mayor in the most distant past. 2011 was Pat Hardy's Turn. She had first been elected to City Commission  in 2003. Her first turn at being Mayor occurred in 2007, the City's 75th Anniversary Year. Hardy presided over balanced commission of four exceptional commissioners all of whom either were or would become Mayor. History tells us 2007 very good year for the City of Bloomfield Hills. 

Four years later,  after the City Election of May 2011, Pat Hardy's turn to be Mayor came again.


She would  not however become  Mayor. 

History Tells us that 2008 and 2009 were divisive bad years for the City. The economy went in the tank. The balanced commission of  Hardy's last turn at Mayor split into two factions. Hardy  joined one of them  to form a  3-2 majority which ruled  absolutely until the City elections of 2010 when a new 4  to 1 majority  took office and took the City in a different direction. Hardy the last vestige of the old, mourned it's passing, and often was the sole dissenting vote on the new commission. History.tells us 2010 was good year of the City which ended shortly after a rainy election day in May 2011.
Seven Days in May (1964) Poster

In the mid 1960's the expression Seven  Days in May, the title of a popular book and then a movie entered the American vocabulary. It concerned a possible military take over of the elected government of the United States. A decade later when President Nixon was seeking to replace special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox with one less diligent and more to President's liking, the phrase "Saturday Night Massacre " (based on the number of people the President had to fire that weekend to get his will) came in vogue. One "massacre"  survivor remarked that it wasn't exactly Seven Days In May, but it sure was three days in October.

  Prior to this year, the City Election and the election or appointment of a new Mayor were always separated by seven days in May. Somewhere in those  seven May days of 2011 a decision was made that despite it being her turn 
Hardy would not be Mayor. 

Various conspiracy theories abound but based in the number of City Commissioners (5) it is fairly easy to arrive at a smoking gun (another term from Watergate). 
Commissioner Hardy was informed of the decision but not obviously party to it.
Another commissioner resigned supposedly over how the matter was being handled. A third was out of town and would not be present at the City Commission meeting in which the public would be informed of the change of events.
That left two commissioners  to do the explaining. The reader can decide which of the two would  be the more trigger happy.

The explanation was  that  the City Commission had decided to revert to what  City Charter ordained.That was that the Mayor should be elected by commission as opposed to being appointed by virtue of a position in a pre-arranged rotating arangement. Inherent in that decision is the idea that the words "appoint" and "elect" are not synonymous. 

When  all words mean the same as all other words the year George Orwell, warned us about will indeed have arrived

An argument offered by many who  favored  the rotation was that the Mayor of the City of Bloomfield Hills is a "weak" mayor meaning he or she is not elected directly by the people. Thus the Mayor's function was deemed merely ceremonial and an honor 

In our City run by five elected commissioners that is not the case. Our Mayor, sets the agenda, wields the gavel, and has virtually unlimited access to the Bully Pulpit.  

The Mayor also determines the role, participation, and power afforded tax paying residents  and the City Staff. While the City Managers is in charge of the day to day functioning  and mechanics of the City, it is the City Commission, which determine policy at  public meetings. If  elected commissioners sit silent at those occassions  and the Mayor relies on opinion from the City staff, power shifts from the people to that of City employees. 
The Mayor also determines the role of the City Manager. In his years of serving the city, City Manager Jay Cravens, depending on the Mayor, has been either a valued friend, in the dog house, a heaped upon employee, or  a trusted adviser bordering on oracle.

In the two years that followed her rejection as Mayor Pat Hardy had  with no bitterness or rancor worked hard as a City Commissioner. Those that rejected her then came to like her and  said  they never objected to her personally or her abilities as indicated by her turn as Mayor in 2007. Rather it was her sense of allegiance to the years 2008-2009 that puzzled. 
 Her elevation to Mayor comes as no surprise. It is important for the City to know how that was arrived at however. Was it by election or by appointment ? For the position of Mayor Hardy was the only person nominated. For the position of Mayor Pro Tem  Michael Dul was the only candidate nominated. Both nominees received a unanimous vote.

Why is this important ? Because City Commission either exists a representatives of the people in a participatory  democracy or it exists as an exclusive old boy-old girl club who's main concern is self perpetuation. 
City Residents who pay the taxes have a right to know which form of government is in session. A mayor rotation removes the electorate from the process entirely. An election of a Mayor by representatives the people elect puts the residents in the picture. 

Of course there is always the possibility of of only one candidate being nominated and thus receiving a 
unanimous vote.  If  however in the waning days of 2013, one can  write down the names of the  Mayor and May Pro tem for our City for every year till the end of the decade, it is not the interests of the people who are being served. 

That fact may not concern everyone however. Now that times are not so contentious  and no boogie person appears on the  horizon maybe the rotation amongst a gang of five isn't so bad after all. Especially if one can see a advantage for oneself.

The  unanimous selection of Hardy and Dul, (qualifications notwithstanding) fits the old rotation pattern. Hardy has not been Mayor since 2007. Dul has never been Mayor. McClure was the last  Mayor. Sherr and Coakley are the most recent new comers and go to the end of the line. If the rotation system were to be followed, assuming  the current crowd is always re-elected with no retirements the following rotation would occur. Election years are marked in yellow.

Year
Mayor
Mayor  Pro tem
2014
Hardy
Dul
2015
Dul
Sherr
2016
Sherr
Coakley
2017
Coakley
McClure
2018
McClure
Hardy
2019
Hardy
Dul

At the December 12th meeting, Mayor Pro Tem  Michael Dul chaired the meeting, kept it light, and moving along.
Commissioner McClure was the most, vocal.  Commissioners Coakley and Sherr asked intelligent qualifying questions of agenda items. The later seemed to be recovering from a respiratory illness perhaps brought on by kissing too many germy babies. The illness kept him from attending the November 12th meeting in which officers were elected. That  may have  contributed to the unanimous vote totals. Sherr seems to like the role of devil's advocate.In conversation with this reporter  he did favor the rotation of offices among the commissioners but did listen to the views expressed here.

The City Commission meeting  of May 12th 2011 was televised. Unlike other cities those videos are not available to residents via archiving on the City's often under achieving web site. They can found by laboriously scrolling  through  BCTV/vimeo archives. The 2011 meeting was an interesting turning point  in our City's history and worth the effort. The selection  process of the Mayor is the first topic discussed and is about 45 minutes long.

If you are interested in this publication's reporting of that meeting you can find it  through our archives on the bottom left and side of this page or by clicking on the link below.
http://cityofbloomfieldhills.blogspot.com/2011/06/mayor-elected-most-unusual.html

If you are too young to remember, or so old you've forgotten Seven Days in May or the Saturday Night Massacre of Watergate the following  You Tube clips  will help you discover the  zeitgeist of 1964 and 1973.A commentator  in the first clip wearing a black striped shirt and bow tie is none other than Arthur M.Schlesinger a Pulitzer prize winner and biographer of the Kennedy's.











Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Author Gregory Mone at the Baldwin Public Library for the Battle of the Books Monday Dec 9th at 7pm.





 The Battle of the Books, a friendly reading competition among the 4th and 5th graders in the Birmingham Public Schools, has kicked off for another successful year. This year’s Battle of the Books visiting author is Gregory Mone. Mone will be talking with students from Birmingham Public Schools. His main public appearance will take place at the Baldwin Public Library on Monday, December 9 at 7 p.m.

Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on the Titanic is Mone’s title for this year’s Battle of the Books. Based on extensive research, this is the story of Patrick Waters and the real and fictional people he meets on that fateful voyage. Gregory Mone is a novelist, magazine writer, science journalist, and editor for Popular Science.

“I think we have a great selection of Battle Books this year. Dangerous Waters has been very popular and we are thrilled to have the author, Gregory Mone, come to speak with us,” said Connie Ilmer, Head of Public Services.

The Battle of the Books is a collaboration between Baldwin Public Library and Birmingham Public Schools. Copies of the Battle of the Books titles are available at the Library, and Gregory Mone’s appearances are generously sponsored by the Friends of the Baldwin Public Library.

Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street and can be reached at 248-647-1700 or through the Library’s website at www.baldwinlib.org.  

Tom Clancy, Bourne, Edward VII Biography and Wolverine highlight Baldwin New Titles 12/3/13

[Cover]
The Bourne Retribution by Eric Lustbader:  When Director Yadin learns of a mysterious connection between Ouyang Jidan, a senior member of China's Politburo, and a recently deceased Mexican drug lord, he asks Jason Bourne to investigate. Check Availability

Command Authority by Tom Clancy:  There's a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan. 
Check Availability

The Heir Apparent by Jane Ridley:  Chronicles the eventful life of Queen Victoria's firstborn son, the quintessential black sheep of Buckingham Palace, who matured into as wise and effective a monarch as Britain has ever seen. Check availability

The Prince of Risk by Christopher Reich:  Bobby Astor is a fearless New York hedge-fund gunslinger on the verge of making his biggest killing ever. But everything changes when his father, the venerable chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, is murdered along with the head of the Federal Reserve in a brazen, inexplicable attack on the South Lawn of the White House. In the moments before his death, Astor's father sends Bobby a mystifying text message . . . a single word that Bobby soon realizes offers the only clue to the identity of his father's killer and the terrifying motivation behind the attack.
As Bobby unravels the mystery behind his father's death, he crosses paths with his ex-wife, no-nonsense Special Agent Alex Forza of the FBI, who is hot on the trail of a band of elite international terrorists intent on infiltrating New York City. All the while, Bobby must fight to hold together his increasingly risky business deal. At stake is not only the survival of his company and a colossal fortune . . . but also a sophisticated foreign conspiracy that threatens the entire financial system of the United States.

Check Availability


[Cover]
The Wolverine (DVD): Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons. Check Availability


Baldwin New Titles 11/26/2013


Hostage by Kay HooperHaven operative Luther Brinkman has been sent into the wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee to locate escaped felon Cole Jacoby, a mentally unstable bank robber. Supposedly, Jacoby hid more than ten million dollars from his last heist before he was captured--and rather mysteriously escaped federal custody. And once Brinkman finds Jacoby, the agent is left severely wounded, with no way to convey his location to Haven. Callie Davis, an agent with the FBI's Special Crimes Unit, has been in the area for some time, due to the foresight of her boss and unit chief, Noah Bishop. But when she finds the wounded Brinkman, her rescue mission turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse. What neither Luther nor Callie know is that their quarry is far more than an escaped bank robber. And that in hunting him, they will find themselves being hunted by him, and will discover him to be the worst monster either of them has ever known.  Check Availability

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani:  When a secret about her business partner and lover is revealed during her family's celebration of The Feast of the Seven Fishes, Valentine Roncalli must make life-altering choices as she fights for everything she wants while sustaining her family's business and enjoying life to the fullest. Check Availability



Getaway (DVD): Brent Magna is a burned-out race car driver who is thrust into a do-or-die mission behind the wheel when his wife is kidnapped. With Brent's only ally being a young hacker, his one hope of saving his wife is to follow the orders of the mysterious voice who's watching his every move through cameras mounted on the car Brent's driving. Check Availability
l
Red 2 (DVD): Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses rejoins his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.Check Availability


R.I.P.D. (DVD): Two cops are dispatched by the Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D.) to protect and serve the living from increasingly destructive spirits hiding among the unsuspecting Earth. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork to restore the cosmic balance-or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way. Check Availability