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

Search This Blog

Saturday, March 29, 2014

NCAA "March Madness App" allows Spartan and Wolverine Basketball Fans a chance to relive the glory and cram for finals!

Lets's review. The NCAA basketball tournament began two weeks ago with high expectations for both Michigan State and Michigan.  Tomorrow a  victory for either school will earn them a regional championship trophy and send  them to the Final Four for a possible National Championship. If both schools were  to win a game in the final four Michigan State and Michigan would play each other for that championship. While, the possibility of such a meeting is remote it is  a lot less remote than it was when the tournament began. 

On Sunday at 2:02 on CBS Channel 62Michigan State plays the University of Connecticut to decide the East Regional Champion. The Game will be played in New York's Madison Garden and the winner will advance to the Final Four to play the South Regional Champion which is The University of Florida. Loser is eliminated.

On Sunday at 5:05 on CBS Channel 62, The University of Michigan will play the University of Kentucky  to determine the Midwest Regional Champion. The Game will be played in Indianapolis at the Lucas Oil Stadium and the winner will  go to the Final Four to play the West  Regional Champion which is the University of Wisconsin. Loser is eliminated

In short if Michigan or Michigan State win  their next two games they will play each other in an all BIG Ten championship game. Such a pairing of Big Ten schools in the Championship game hasn't happened  since 1976 when Michigan lost to Indiana.

If any or all of this is new or news  to you, Catch Up is as close as your computer, tablet, or even some cellular phones. It is available about as free as free can be.

 At no charge the NCAA provides a March Madness  app (short for application)  which downloads easily to  a computer or tablet. We have tried it and used it with, a  MacBook Pro, an HP portable running Windows 7, a Kindle Fire HD, and a Kindle 7" HDX. The app called March Madness can be accessed by typing "March Madness" into the search engine of a computer or by "shopping" for the free app on a tablet. Regrettably we have no first hand experience with the app on a mobile phone but instructions that come with the app  may be helpful.

The  March Madness App performs differently depending on platform it is used on and it took us a while to figure out all the possibilities. That depends on one's  viewing and life style preferences. For example on an actual computer you may view or review any of the previous played Tournament games. The games are available in their entirety and you may watch them more than once. pause, and fast forward.

On  the Kindle tablets entire games do not replay. You may however review game  in the form of a  2 minute highlight video, or by a time line hopping highlight to highlight. 

Particularly useful on tablets and  computer versions is color bar analysis  of  each teams stats before the game and and similar post game color bar which shows lead changes  during the game. Such guides will tell you when to watch, and what to watch for, thus making you an instant expert.

You may ask  how  or  why  such a service is available free of charge and the answer is three fold and interesting.

The NCAA has been at the fore front of  streaming college sports for years.  This  winter  many of its NCAA  sports championships have been streamed (put on computer for you to view) free of charge. This is keeping with the organization's goal of providing the same championship experience and exposure for all it's athletes in all events.

In 2010 the NCAA, CBS (Columbia Broadcasting) and the Turner Cable TV (TNT, TBS and True Crime TV) signed an unprecedented  multi decade package  to carry  each and every game of (68 this year)  of the NCAA Basketball Tournament to fans at little or no cost. 

 The CBS games are broadcast over the air on regular television.

The Cable viewer whose cable subscription  includes the TNT, TBS, or True Crime TV channels can watch all the games live. 

Anyone with the free  March Madness App and the aid of a computer  and/or tablet  can enjoy the the tournament via the repeats and review functions  we have described above. 

The third component in making all such viewing possible the sponsors. Many have been supporting NCAA events for years. Note them and thank them whenever possible.

With March Madness on your computer or tablet Michigan State fans have until 2:02 tomorrow to review Spartan victories over Delaware, Harvard, and Virginia as well as boning up on opponent Connecticut's wins over  St. Joseph, Villanova, and Iowa State.

Likewise Michigan fans have until 5:05 tomorrow to review Michigan's triumphs over  Wolford, Texas, and Tennessee,  and opponent Kentucky's win over Kansas State, Wichita State, and Louisville.

It is expected that March Madness the app  will be available through the Final Four. Post game interviews with coaches and players are also streamed to computer or tablet viewers.

Can you think of any other sporting event that gives you such an unprecedented opportunity as the free of charge "March Madness?" app  We think not. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich man, Poor Man, Beggar man Thief: The bouncing of a basketball as affirmation of self, occupation,marital status, and perhaps even worthy of a billion dollars..

March Madness began yesterday with 16 College Basketball games played in approximately 12 plus hours. Today there will be another 16  played  with 8 in the afternoon and eight in the evening until the Am hours. On Saturday and Sunday there will be eight more games each day as the original field of 64 becomes what is called the Sweet Sixteen. Next Thursday through Sunday  the Sweet Sixteen will become the Elite Eight and finally the Final Four to decided  April 5th-April 7th  in North Texas (Dallas).  In a nut shell that is March Madness.

As one would expect there is quite a bit of interest in these games. Especially in our area because  both University of Michigan and Michigan State are playing and predicted to do well. Both schools won yesterday and will play again in the next round on Saturday. Michigan will play Texas in a game nationally televised on the CBS television network at approximately 5:30 pm.  Michigan State will play Ivy League champion Harvard at approximately 8:30 pm Saturday evening on the TNT cable television  provider.

A new wrinkle this year which  has nothing to do with college sports is contest by a mortgage company, that promises to award  a reported one billion dollars to an individual who submits a perfect bracket. A bracket is simply a two pronged pitch fork lying on its side which like bunk beds contains the names of two contestants or in this case schools. One wins and advances or one loses and goes home as their season is over. Michigan vs Texas is a bracket. Winning all one's brackets wins the national championship

In the case of individual who correctly picks the winner of each and every game the prize could  be a billion dollars.That has tongues wagging, and writers writing. 

Yesterday a newspaper headlined , "It took one NCAA tournament game for 80 percent of people to lose their chance of a billion dollars.

That  is one way to look at an eleven seed (a ranking from 1 to 16 with the higher numbers being lower) upsetting a  number 5 seed, but is nothing new. In fact pre-occupation with presumed prognostic events pre-dates our earliest school yard memories by centuries.

For this writer that would be Kindergarten recess. The girls jumped rope  and played jacks which also involved  a bouncing ball. I also remember from grade school  a device of folded paper which fit over the hand and opened  like a flower to reveal quadrants.

"Cootie catchers," the Mrs. said without hesitation. Origami skills necessary  to make the catcher put this  in say the third grade level however.

The boys, seemingly  more interested  in the then and there played marbles and bounced bubble gum cards off the walls. The card that actually hit the wall but remained the closest to wall, won.  In a variant the cards were tossed with the one  that flew the furthest was the winner.  The winner captured the loser's card. Baseball cards were in still vogue in the third grade, but as one's horizon expanded success in cards was believed to indicative of future success.

A dozen or more  years or were required to determine what became of us or who if any we would marry.

My father who had madding sense of logic which I always found infuriating. Once he told me, "if you are young and single and hang around a place long enough you will probably wind up marrying someone who went to school there." 

That would explain how my wife went to the University of Michigan. 

The rest of it ? Who knows? But we all want to find out. The closely scrutinized bouncing basketball as tea leaves is part identification of what we once were in our supposed prime. What we are  now, and what we will become when old age says firmly that we are not what we think. 

Funny how many literary references come come from  chants of children's games  and a poem by A.A. Milne.

Thus the following from Wikipedia...

The most common modern version is:
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief.[1]
The most common American version is:
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief,
Doctor, Lawyer, (or "Merchant")
Indian Chief.[1]


A similar rhyme has been noted in William Caxton's, The Game and Playe of the Chesse (c. 1475), in which pawns are named: "Labourer, Smith, Clerk, Merchant, Physician, Taverner, Guard and Ribald."[1]
The first record of the opening four professions being grouped together is in William Congreve's Love for Love (1695), which has the lines:
A Soldier and a Sailor, a Tinker and a Taylor,
Had once a doubtful strife, sir.[1]
When James Orchard Halliwell collected the rhyme in the 1840s, it was for counting buttons with the lines: "My belief - a captain, a colonel, a cow-boy, a thief."[2] The version printed by William Wells Newell in Games and Songs of American Children in 1883 was: "Rich man, Poor man, beggar-man, thief, Doctor, lawyer (or merchant), Indian chief", and it may be from American tradition that the modern lyrics solidified.[1]

Alternative versions

A. A. Milne's Now We are Six (1927) had the following version of "Cherry stones":
Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
Or what about a cowboy, policeman, jailer, engine driver, or a pirate chief?
Or what about a ploughman or a keeper at the zoo,
Or what about a circus man who lets the people through?
Or the man who takes the pennies on the roundabouts and swings,
Or the man who plays the organ or the other man who sings?
Or what about the rabbit man with rabbits in his pockets
And what about a rocket man who's always making rockets?
Oh it's such a lot of things there are and such a lot to be
That there's always lots of cherries on my little cherry tree.[3]
The "tinker, tailor" rhyme is one part of a longer counting or divination game, often played by young girls to foretell their futures; it runs as follows:
When shall I marry?
This year, next year, sometime, never.
What will my husband be?
Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich-man, poor-man, beggar-man, thief.
What will I be?
Lady, baby, gypsy, queen.
What shall I wear?
Silk, satin, cotton, rags (or silk, satin, velvet, lace)
How shall I get it?
Given, borrowed, bought, stolen.
How shall I get to church?
Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, cart.
Where shall I live?
Big house, little house, pig-sty, barn.
During the divination, the girl will ask a question and then count out a series of actions or objects by reciting the rhyme. The rhyme is repeated until the last of the series of objects or actions is reached. The last recited term or word is that which will come true. Buttons on a dress, petals on a flower, bounces of a ball, number of jumps over a rope, etc., may be counted.
There are innumerable variations of the rhyme:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

DVDs: Best Picture nominee American Hustle, Frozen, Long Walk to Freedom (Nelson Mandela) and Mr Banks (Disney) Highlight Baldwin New Titles 3/18/2014.

American Hustle (DVD): A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle is the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld, who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Carmine Polito is the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the cons and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.

Frozen (DVD): When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna's sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a funny snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. Check Availability

Missing You by Harlan Coben: It's a profile, like all the others on the 
online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she's ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiance; Jeff, the man who shattered her heart-and who she hasn't seen in 18 years. Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable. As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved-her former fiance;, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. Check Availability
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (DVD): Based on South African President Nelson Mandela's autobiography of the same name, it chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country's once segregated society.Check Availability

Saving Mr. Banks (DVD): When P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Walt Disney's desire to bring her beloved character, Mary Poppins to the motion picture screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresario's concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past. During her stay in California, Travers' reflects back on her difficult childhood in 1906 Australia.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Thief, The Movie. Coen Brothers Latest Film. Jeffery Archer,and Daniel Steel novels highlight Baldwin New Titles 3/11/2014.

Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer: When Ross Buchanan is forced to resign as chairman of the Barrington Shipping Company, Emma Clifton wants to take his place, but Don Pedro Martinez plans to install his puppet, the egregious Major Alex Fisher, so he can destroy the Barrington family firm once and for all. The talented Jessica Clifton, Harry and Emma's adopted daughter, wins a scholarship to the Slade Academy of Art and falls in love with a fellow student, Clive Bingham, who asks her to marry him. Both families are delighted and preparations for the nuptials are well under way, when Charlotte Bingham, Jessica's future mother-in-law, has a visit from an old friend, Lady Virginia Fenwick, who drops her particular brand of poison into the wedding chalice. But then, without warning, a man no one had ever heard of takes his place on the board of Barringtons and causes an upheaval that none of them could have anticipated. Cedric Hardcastle, a bluff Yorkshire banker, quickly decides who he should support, Emma Clifton or Don Pedro Martinez, and the story takes yet another twist. Check Availability

Power Play by Danielle Steel: A high-powered CEO and mother of two, a mom who gave up a promising law career and a struggling artist and mother with an absent husband are forced to reevaluate their sacrifices and beliefs when they confront the realities of power and family.Check Availability


Stone Cold by C. J. Box: The electrifying new Joe Pickett novel from the New York Times-bestselling author. Everything about the man is a mystery: the massive ranch in the remote Black Hills of Wyoming that nobody ever visits, the women who live with him, the secret philanthropies, the private airstrip, the sudden disappearances. And especially the persistent rumors that the man's wealth comes from killing people. Joe Pickett, still officially a game warden but now mostly a troubleshooter for the governor, is assigned to find out what the truth is, but he discovers a lot more than he'd bargained for. There are two other men living up at that ranch. One is a stone-cold killer who takes an instant dislike to Joe. The other is new-but Joe knows him all too well. The first man doesn't frighten Joe. The second is another story entirely. Check Availability

The Book Thief  (DVD): Based upon the best-selling novel. The profoundly moving story of a girl who transforms the lives of those around her during World War II, Germany. Although Liesel is illiterate when she is adopted by a German couple, her adoptive father encourages her to learn to read. Ultimately, the power of words helps Liesel and Max, a Jew hiding in the family's home, escape from the events unfolding around them.
Check Availability

Inside Llewyn Davis (DVD): Follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Llewyn Davis (Oscar Issac) is at a crossroads and struggling to make is as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles- some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, Llewyn's misadventures take him from the baskethouses of Greenwich Village to an empty Chicago club- on an odyssey to audition for a music mogul- and back again. Check Availability

March City Commission Meeting: City splits Waste Removal into two agenda items. Passes new ordinances governing said 5-0. Hauler(s) to be determined in November advisory vote.

City Manager Cravens stated  that the Ballot language for the advisory vote for specific a Waste Hauler (s) will be presented at the April  8th City Commission meeting. 

He explained that after  an extensive review of bids  the City will choose a single waste hauler.That choice will be on the ballot and residents will vote either yes or no on the City's selection. A yes vote victory would make the City's choice the sole hauler for the City. A no vote triumph could maintain the multi hauler system now in place, should the City choose to follow the recommendations of the residents advisory vote.

As yet to be determined is a possible third alternative which would allow residents to opt out of the City selected hauler and hire one on their own if they so desired.  This option will be considered at the April meeting. The ability of a resident to hire a separate hauler in  a City as small as Bloomfield Hills has been questioned in the past. 

The election scheme  and new the trash hauling ordinances were passed with minor changes by a unanimous vote of  City Commissioners.There  was some discussion of an expanded public input. Commissioners  Coakley and Sherr asked and advocated bringing the public into the conversation. City Cravens said the election was to the sole sole extent of  public input. The silence of Commissioners Dull, McClure, and Mayor Hardy was tacit approval  and gave the non-voting, non-resident, City Manager the authority to make such decisions.

To some the waste hauling ordinances and the selection of Waste Hauler(s) actual waste haulers were overlapping issues. The City Manager preferred and in one case  insisted they  be discussed separately. Commissioner  Coakley persisted however in establishing  Jan 1 2015 as effective date for implementing the ordinances. The purpose of that was spare waste haulers the need for expensive purchases or vehicle modification prior to a decision being made on which company or companies would be utilized by the city.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

City Manager Cravens says Howard's Disposal the people's choice in 2007 and 2010. Does not inquire as to why. Suggests August or November Advisory vote to seek resident input.

City Clerk Burton reports Clinton Township as "our guide" for ordinance revisions but does not account for scale. Some revisions specific to particular haulers and communities.

City Clerk Burton's memo stated goal in the wste hauling study  was to "create a matrix of each licensed waste haulers various services and pricing. and share this information as a resource for our residents"

From that lofty goal however we go to the most extensive 
over hauling  of waste hauling ordinances in City history. 

How so ? Don't know; 

At the at the December 2013 City Commission meeting City Clerk Burton expressed dismay at reluctance of the waste haulers to provide requested information. 

Price is a sensitive issue. It varies depending on circumstance.Price is always negotiable and  published or prices quoted by phone are usually the top of a spectrum.  Companies are always concerned about giving out  price lest it  be used against them. Finesse is required. 

 Whether these sensitivities were considered  in pursuit of a matrix is not known. City Manager Craverns immediately followed  the matrix report  with observations of possible code violations involving recyclables. He promised a report of said at the January meeting.

That did not happen. There was no discussion of  waste hauling in January.  At the  February Commision  meeting the massive ordinance revisions arrived. Some including the City Attorney and Mayor wondered if the ordinances might be a hardship sufficient enough to prevent smaller companies from operating in the City. Of particular note was the requirement that trucks over five years of age be prevented  from operating in town.

City Clerk Burton has offered a revision of that point in her memo.
There are other questions however. The City Attorney asked the City Manager if the proposed Ordinance revisions were discussed with the waste haulers, many of whom had been serving the City for years. Prior to tonight's meeting City Manager Cravens has yet to answer that question in the affirmative.

The question this publication has which nobody else has brought  up concerns  ordinance revision 16 which states

It has been our experience that  the residents in the City of Bloomfield Hills  are not inclined to regimentation, conformity, or having their trash habits  recorded on computer disk for  submission  to  City Hall. 

One might also ask (especially if one is the City Clerk) if this is something the City office staff should be spending hours a day on.

Last not least, such a unusal documenting requirement will eliminate  some of companies some of the residents now employ.

At February meeting City Manager Cravens said both he and Ms. Burton were residents of  Rochester Hills and they liked that City's waste hauling program. So we looked at it. First of all Rochester Hills is a Community of approximately 65,000. Republic is the single waste hauler for Rochester Hills and it also serves our community as well.

In Rochester Hills, City residents, City Hall, and Republic participate in a program called Recycle Bank in  which large recyclables gallon capacity containers are bar coded on pick up. Depending on the  volume of  recyclables collected and registered with City Hall and then Recycle Bank. residents can earn points for merchandise or discount coupons. It  may be a very good program. Whether it appeal to residents our city residents when weighted against no muss, no fuss, lots of choices, and convenience is another matter.

The frightening thing is that neither City Clerk Burton or City Manager Cravens felt obligated to tell us if this is what they have in mind with the  ordinance revision. Number 16  makes no sense unless you understand Rochester Hills  or possibly similar program elsewhere. If this program is of interest to residents is it available from other haulers ? Why are we changing ordinances before we  have the all the facts ?

Then there is the matter of judgement. Apple to raisin  analogies do not convince us that City Clerk and City Manager are qualified judges in this matter.

Burton writes"I found Clinton Township in Macomb Township to have a  a somewhat similar situation to our City. Clinton Township actually has single municipal waste hauler. However  residents and businesses  can opt out of the  the single municipal hauler program and contract with an approved and licensed waste hauler".

There is just one problem. Clinton Township with a population of 95,000 and our city of 3500 are not similar. Geographically,  Clinton Township completely surrounds the City of Mount Clemens. Opting out of the City Waste hauler program  and finding another company interested  getting into Clinton Township  is easier than doing the same thing  in tiny Bloomfield Hills. Even if you got the whole City to "opt out" it's still peanuts.

Burton expains, "When City Manager Cravens and I discussed  the proposed  changes to the solid  waste and regulations we were using  the Clinton Township program which has been in operation over a decade, as our guide.

Perhaps but there are people in the City of Bloomfield Hills reading this article who had more than a quarter of a century with  better than satisfactory performance  with the waste haulers who serve City. City Manager Cravens attests to seven of those years in his memo to City Commissions.

Waste Hauler Ordinance Vote (?) an indication of how City of Bloomfield Hills is and will be governed ?

Last October, three of the City's current commissioners were running for election.

 All agreed  the City of Bloomfield Hills was wonderful place to live and if elected they as commissioners would maintain the City's character.

None were asked and none said anything about the city's waste management program.

If the question had come up the candidates  might have said that  their years  of experience in many endeavours made them uniquely qualified to handle such matters should they arise.

At tonight's  City Commission meeting those qualifications will be put to the test.

 If  there is a vote on Agenda Item 9

 It will  go a long way  in determining  how the City  is governed, by whom, and for whom.

Power does not exist in a vacuum, meaning it is indeed influenced  by outside forces. If our elected officials to not take control, others will, and that seems to be what is happening right now.

The issue, Solid Waste Collection,  is an old one whose recent return is the result an item placed on Goals and Objectives last June. Goals and Objectives is essentially a creation of Mayor McClure administration. Public input in regards to what goals and objectives the City might pursue is not sought. The goals arrived are only published in city's meeting agenda package which is rarely read by the residents. This in contrast to items the City wishes to share with residents which appear on the main body of the website or on the Facebook page.  

Goals and Objectives  follows the fiscal year which begins July 1st rather than the year of the City Commissioner ( Mayor elected for a one year term and the City Commission elected for a two year term which begin in November)

The  July-November intermingling of old and new can cause problems. By maintaining old issues it diverts the attention of the new administration from focusing moving forward;

The issue of solid waste and waste hauling is a good example.Talked about in the McClure administration it has become  the proverbial doomsday machine of science fiction. Maybe you saw it on Star Trek. A machine created eons ago by a long gone civilization wanders through space irreparably altering  all in its path because that is what it is programed to do. 

In February of this year a complete overhaul of the city's solid waste  and recycling  rules and regulations, in the form of a 16 ordinance revisions was presented to an unsuspecting City Commision. Mayor Hardy voiced the most intelligent question of the evening when she inquired , "where did these  come from ?" 

The City Attorney said they came from City Clerk Amy Burton.

In a  memo which appears in  the City's Agenda Package for tonight's and published here Ms. Burton explains her involvement in the matter. A non-resident City Clerk and salaried employee of the City her role in ordinance revisions is most unusual. The assignment of  tasks of such a consequential nature usually goes to City Commissioners the elected representatives of the people.

Tonight the commissioners will hear from City Clerk Burton and  City Manager Cravens who also wrote a memo for City Commission. Whether the privilege of being heard  will be be extended to City residents is not known. 

The recent practice of our City is to allow residents to speak only on non-agenda items. This determination by State Law,  is made at the discretion of the meeting Chairman. Our  discretion  is contrast to that of Mayor Moore in Birmingham and  Bloomfield Township Supervisor Savoie who allow public comment on each agenda item.

Thus  Commission may not have the opportunity of hearing from their constituents before a vote is taken. 

Even worse the City has not utilized means at it's disposal, and paid for the residents tax dollars to inform citizens 

Residents seeking information on City Commissioner meetings  usually find that information on the City website under Videos on Demand or Minutes on Demand. The Video for  the February meeting in which the waste hauling topic was  discussed, although being available elsewhere has yet to appear on the City Website. The actual minutes of any City Commission meeting in 2014 has also yet to appear in Minutes on Demand.

Six Months ago three City Commissioner candidates promised  to maintain the City's character. That character comes from the City Charter  which gives all authority in terms of governing the City to a five member City Commission. 

The Charter  gave  the people  the right to elect commissioners in an annual election and to authorize charter revisions. 

 The real power of Commission comes from the people who are the City of Bloomfield Hills and it's greatest asset. Without the people, City Commission is powerless and the future existence of the city questionable. The last item is not widely understood but also not hard to imagine. A city willing to ignore or otherwise squander it's assets loses its reason to exist.

In recent years the power of the people has been reduced by the City Commission  who changed annual election to an every other year frequency.
Various parties have also questioned in terms of money savings, the need to have the the citizenry approve all changes to the charter.

City Staff do not know the City of Bloomfield Hills and tend to like what they know and find elsewhere. If the three commissioners elected last fall who form a majority vote, approves ordinance revisions they did not make without any input from the city's citizens, one might be prompted to ask what master they serve.   

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 Best Picture Academy Award Winner "12 Years a Slave", "Dallas Buyers Club" Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Clive Cussler novel highlight Baldwin New Titles

[Cover]12 Years a Slave (DVD): Based on the true story of Solomon Northup. It is 1841, and Northup, an accomplished, free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps and must find the strength within to survive. Filled with powerful performances by an astonishing cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbener, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave is both an unflinching account of slavery in American history and a celebration of the indomitable power of hope. Check Availability

Dallas Buyers Club (DVD)Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof's free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Shunned and ostracized by many old friends and bereft of government-approved medicines, he decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, he joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts and established a hugely successful "buyers' club."
 Check Availability.

Bone Deep by Randy Wayne White: When a Crow Indian acquaintance of Tomlinson's asks him to help recover a relic stolen from his tribe, Doc Ford is happy to tag along--but neither Doc nor Tomlinson realize what they've let themselves in for. Their search takes them to the part of Central Florida known as Bone Valley, famous primarily for two things: a ruthless subculture of black-marketers who trade in illegal artifacts and fossils, and a multibillion-dollar phosphate industry whose strip mines compromise the very ground they walk on. Neither enterprise tolerates nosy outsiders. For each, public exposure equals big financial losses - and in a region built on a million-year accumulation of bones, there is no shortage of spots in which to hide a corpse. Or two. Check Availability

The Bootlegger by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott: It is 1920, and both Prohibition and bootlegging are in full swing. When Isaac Bell's boss and lifelong friend Joseph Van Dorn is shot and nearly killed leading the high-speed chase of a rum-running vessel, Bell swears to him that he will hunt down the lawbreakers, but he doesn't know what he is getting into. When a witness to Van Dorn's shooting is executed in a ruthlessly efficient manner invented by the Russian secret police, it becomes clear that these are no ordinary criminals. Bell is up against a team of Bolshevik assassins and saboteurs--and they are intent on overthrowing the government of the United States. Check Avialability

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler: In this uproarious collection, Chelsea Handler answers your most frequently asked traveler's questions, hot travel trips, and travel etiquette, none of which should be believed.
Check Availability