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Feb 18

Here’s To Sullage

Comments (0) 10:30 PM posted by admin |

In case you missed it, the City is now posting Council Information Letters on the web. CIL’s are communications from the City Manager to Council. They contain general information as well as responses to requests made by Council. My loyal readers know I’ve been posting these on the web since being elected, but it’s fantastic the City is joining in the crusade.

In the most recent CIL, there was an issue pertaining to a request I made:

**Solar Project for City Hall: During the February 5, 2008 Council meeting, Council suggested that staff encourage the Historic District Commission (HDC) to approve the solar panels proposed for City Hall. You will recall that the HDC said they would not act on the solar panel application until they received a report from a structural engineer regarding the impact of the panelÂ’s installation. Additionally, the funds to pay for the engineer are being raised through donations and contributors may be reluctant to donate without knowing the outcome of the HDC application. I have asked Mr. Barr for an opinion regarding the appropriateness of this suggestion and his response is attached.

Apparently there was some confusion.

What I asked is that the HDC rule on the issue one way or the other. It’s not unusual for the Planning Commission to give conditional approval of projects. The HDC needs to do the same thing. The project is either worth doing or it’s not. An engineering report by a structural engineer will not impact the merits of the project. It will only explain whether or not the physics of the project are viable.

Despite being the only City Council member to own a house in the Historic District, my critics try and paint me as being anti-preservation. This dates back to my dissenting vote to give the Starkweather House to my good friend Ron Rupert. I felt it was not within the scope of goverment to “flip” houses (as stated by the City Attorney). More to the point, from the moment we first discussed this proposal, it was obvious to me who was getting the house. I didn’t want to be part of something so unethical.

Anyway, here we are again. I want to take this moment to profess my love for the Historic District. I live where I live because my house in the Historic District. I went to school on the east coast. My college town was populated with eighteenth century taverns. My mother grew up in an 1860s-era log cabin; my father in a classic American foursquare. I’m down with preservation. I’m in.

A Solar City Hall has become a lightening rod for criticism. At one of my more recent evening dalliances, I was approached by a person who was generally pissed off that I wanted solar panels on City Hall. When I tried to assure her that with a structural engineer’s report, I would be able to make her a friend of solar power, she shot back, “I’ll never be a friend of solar!”

Everyone talks about going green. People ask me all the time, “why can’t the City just declare itself green and get on with it?”

It’s simple really. There’s no mechanism for going green. Maybe it’s just like the Wireless Ypsi project. I just have to do it.

Starting this summer, I’m going to put a greywater system in my house.

In the meantime, donate money to the Ypsilanti People’s Solar Initiative to install solar panels on City Hall. Better yet, run down to City Hall and write a check. Tell them, Susana Almanza sent you.

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