|Posted on Monday, August 18, 2003 - 8:42 am: || |
Highland Park is in a financial downward spiral from which there is presently no realistic proposals for recovery.
There does not presently seem to be any prospect for intervention on a State or Federal level.
Our politicians have already run cap in hand to Lansing, only to be largely ignored.
My question is, what do candidates running for office propose to do in order to rectify this lamentable situation?
|Posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 9:05 am: || |
I want to know what plans the candidates have for the HP water department. After it's sterling performance after the blackout, it must be plainly obvious by now that the system is a jewel in the crown.
While everyone else was boiling water or had no water at all, the HP water system kept performing as if nothing was ever wrong.
Are we selling water to our neighbor cities? Are there plans to? If so, why not?
|Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 10:37 am: || |
You bring up a great point regarding selling water to neighboring cities. Have you mentioned this in one of the City Council meetings? I think the council and HP citizens are being lead down a path with the financial managers steering, but in the wrong direction. Bring your ideas to the meetings which are held every 3rd Monday at 7:00p.m. at the City Hall on California. At least your concerns can be addressed.
|Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 2:10 pm: || |
And if we don't sell it to other cities, we could bottle it and call it Highland Springs Water.
|Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 2:54 pm: || |
Just wanted to mention several details concerning the performance of some of our candidates that don't seem to be getting into the press.
Re: Jimmie Dumas, candidate for City Council. Jimmie was convicted of a felony in the mishandling of the police dept's impound unit. The conviction was more than 10 years ago so the ban on his holding public office has expired (city charter says convicted felon cannot serve in public office during the 10 years immediately following the conviction). But I think the public should know and remember his prior record.
Re: Linsey Porter, candidate for mayor.
Porter was responsible for getting a $1 million loan for the city from the police/fire pension fund. The loan was illegal since the pension fund is not allowed to lend money to an insolvent entity--and Highland Park is nothing if not insolvent. The interest rate was artificially low (2%) in exchange for a deal that would extend the cost of living adjustment on the pensions for another 8 years. The city's payments on the loan are going straight to the pensioners, not back into the fund. The results is that the $1 million loan is costing the city $3 million to repay it.
Porter was responsible for a massive increase in litigation and enormous overbudget performance in the legal dept. thru his hasty suing of the city clerk, the city council and anybody who criticized him.
Porter manipulated the library commission in order to have long time library director Viola Ndenga fired for criticizing him in his failure to account for the $132,000 removed from the library fund and put into the city's general fund. The wording of the resolution to fire Ndenga contained clearly discriminatory phrases (age and disability) against Ndenga who was 64-1/2 yrs old and wearing a brace on her leg as a result of an accident. Ndenga had a prima facie case of wrongful discharge and won a $200,000 settlement which the city is unable to pay and the settlement is incurring interest daily. Porter was advised repeatedly not to fire Ndenga without observing all the proper steps but his haste and arrogance has cost the city upwards of a quarter of million dollars on just this one incident.
In our candidate nights, we should not only ask what our candidates propose to do, but also what have they done already? Have they put their money and their time where their mouth is? Have they been out there at city-wide clean-ups? Do they have any background in municipal administration? Have any of them owned and operated a business and do they know about meeting payroll and labor relations and setting realistic budgets and fundraising?
|Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 11:54 pm: || |
Wow! A lot of posts here!
What you write strikes to the heart of the matter. HP has NO hope of getting out of debt on its own. Just look at the lost industry and the dwindling population. How are we supposed to support an infrastructure designed for a population of 50,000 plus? How are we supposed to pay lavish pensions, eating up fully two thirds of the city's income?
Even if HP had an Einstein-like mayor, there'd be little that could be done except for fighting a rear-guard action.
No, in my opinion, the burden sits squarely on the shoulders of the State of Michigan. Are they incapable of reading census figures? They've had over twenty years to determine what's happening.
To place it in perspective, NO city this size In the European Common Market would be allowed to become this dilapidated. A city this size would have had $250,000,000 poured into it's infrastructure in short order. This is what Feds and the State of Michigan should be doing too.
What can we as HP citizens have to do to get the powers that be live up to their responsibility?
I believe the following scenario is just about the only realistic way a to get us out of this mess:
As B. Johnson said, our politicians have already run cap in hand to Lansing, only to be largely ignored.
So let's get the politicians from Lansing running to us, panicking - trying to do damage control.
I call this approach "Civil Obedience".
Consider that we have three great arteries flowing through HP - Woodward, the Lodge & the I75
Imagine that suddenly one day all commuting Highland Parkers insisted of traveling these roads at the actual speed limit. The result would be instant traffic jams. Helicopters overhead, police scratching their heads, the media popping out of the woodwork.
The trick here is to not go off half cocked. We'd need to have a well oiled machine. A couple of Lawyers waiting at the police stations to protect our citizens right to obey the speed limit, spokespersons to let the media know exactly what was going on. Our state and house representatives should also be brought into the picture so they can voice our demands.
And what are our demands? Well, it could go something like this: Every day - for as long as it takes - Hp'ers will continue the act of Civil Obedience until Lansing and the Feds agree to declaring our city a disaster zone. We want $250,000,000 poured into road structure, schools, water department, police, pensions, etc. This being spread over, say, a six year period.
- And if you don't like it - fine - HP citizens will continue coming home from work, hitting the HP city boundary and moving at 45MPH.
If promises are not kept and nothing gets done? HP citizens will AGAIN go to, and come home from work, hitting the HP city boundary and moving at 45MPH.
What say you? Could we do it? Any thoughts?
|Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 8:49 pm: || |
Re: Selling water to other cities. That has been suggested years ago and attempted, but Detroit would not allow Highland Park to go through Detroit to reach the other cities. So much for that idea. Bottling and selling our water may be a viable option.
|Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 1:50 am: || |
Selling water. The case ought to be revisited. On what grounds does Detroit not allow HP water to pass through Detroit? They certainly let the HP water reach from it's Grosse Pointe inlet, through miles of Detroit to the HP water plant. If that's not precedent-setting, I don't know what is. I think Detroit may be on legally shaky ground, refusing HP right of way.
Furthermore, with the pressure to share power over the Detroit Water System emanating from the outer suburbs, Detroit would be hard pressed to refuse an even poorer town a chance to sell its water. As far as Detroit is concerned, that would make for really lousy publicity.
Also, perhaps Hamtramck would like to have water that doesn't have to be boiled? Gary Zych is a pretty savvy mayor. He might go for it.