Comments (11) 11:55 PM posted by admin |
Tuesday’s Ypsilanti City Council meeting was uneventful. It was one of those meetings where you wish you were doing something more impactful. Instead, it was mostly procedural. We raised everyone’s water rates, we passed an ordinance allowing us to sell some property we already sold a couple years ago, and within the ordinance to sell property at Water Street, the PUD process was explained for fiftieth time.
If you showed up or know anyone who showed up, you know the topic of the evening was bees, beekeeping, and apiaries.
Let me say that like 99% of the residents of Ypsilanti, I’m indifferent to bees, beekeeping, and apiaries. This was supposed to be handled with chickens, but wasn’t. Now it looks as if we’re going to handle it by itself. There was a lot of talk on the subject. More than fifteen people spoke in favor of bees, beekeeping, and apiaries and audience participation lasted until nine thirty.
The most fascinating thing to come out of the discussion was that of process.
I love chicanery. The discussion showed a giant flaw in how this City Council conducts its business. There were people representing 11 residences within the City limits that spoke in favor of bees, beekeeping, and apiaries. Keep in mind, this is out of more than five thousand parcels in the City. This represents about two-tenths of a percentage point. Later in the meeting Council gave direction to City Staff to prepare an ordinance — based on about two-tenths of a percentage point.
Hey, good for the fans of bees, beekeeping, and apiaries.
The reason this is so exciting to me is can you imagine what kind of chaos we could create if we organized properly?
Seriously now. I see no reason why I couldn’t find at least twenty-five people willing to come to a Council meeting and speak during audience participation urging Council to do something. And I don’t me anything. I mean something completely nuts. If eleven parcels can get Council to work on allowing bees, beekeeping, and apiaries, what kind of action could more than twice that get? Zone store-front churches out of the B3? Create free parking spots downtown for hybrid vehicles? Eliminate the Historic District? What would fifty people speaking on one thing be able to achieve? The elimination of adult uses as a special use? The elimination of the noise ordinance? Increasing the number of dogs allowed to fourteen per household?
The possibilities are endless.
This sounds stupid, but it’s not, and for this I blame the local media.
During audience participation three people who either live in or work at the senior high rise at 401 West Michigan Avenue pleaded with Council to help them with what they thought was predatory towing practices by David Lowell Towing. They told stories of visiting family members getting their cars towed to the tune of $270. They told stories of having vehicles lifted on the tow hook and then being offered to get their car back for $150. They even told a story about an 80+ year old woman who was lifted in the air by a tow hook as she sat in the car.
And what does the local media talk about?
Yep, bees, beekeeping, and apiaries.
Those living in the high rise are a vulnerable population. How did the City react? In a quick cover-your-ass moment, the City Attorney stated (correctly) that the management company of the high rise is responsible for hiring the predatory towing company in question. He went on to float the idea that it might be entirely possible that these people in the audience were in fact plants by a rival towing company. Thankfully, he quickly dismissed that notion, but for crissakes man?!?!
I often put things in terms of David Kircher, and towing was no exception. During a recess, I offered to the City Manager and the City Attorney that if David Kircher owned a towing company and operated this way, we would move heaven and earth to stop him because as everyone knows, he is responsible for everything bad that has ever happened to Ypsilanti or anything that will ever happen.
Okay, okay, you caught me. I didn’t say the last part — at least not out loud. Regardless, it’s still a valid point. My comments were that we are the City. Use some intimidation. Throw our weight around. Help these people out.
The City Attorney only has so many hours in a week in which to work. What gets priority? Is it bees, beekeeping, and apiaries? Or is it predatory towing?
Maybe we would use some alpacas.