Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Sheriff's showdown: Minzey sticks to the fax

2. September 2006 • Murph
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Earlier this year, the County Board of Commissioners voted to phase out the use of subsidized Sheriff’s deputies as local police. Most local units that use these patrols opted to sign a new contract with the County that will equalize the price of patrols with the cost of providing the service. With three Townships continuing to hold out against paying their fair share for Sheriff’s coverage, however, and joined by Sheriff Dan Minzey in their suit against the County, the drama keeps on building:

  • On August 8, County Commissioner Wes Prater was ousted by Karen Lovejoy Roe; he and two other defeated incumbents had voted to end the Sheriff subsidy to the Townships, and their challengers ran an openly pro-subsidy campaign, who will tip the majority on the County Board towards reinstating the subsidies.
  • Commissioner Prater has filed for a recount in his race . Mark Namatevs, who ran an anti-subsidy campaign in Ypsilanti City & Township and lost by 21 votes, has also filed for a recount.
  • Earlier this week, County Administrator Bob Guenzel announced that 40-odd Sheriff’s department deputies and staff would be laid off on September 1 if no agreement had been reached with the holdout Townships, carrying out a months-old directive from the County Board. Minzey decried this as retribution for the results of the primary.
  • On Wednesday, Monroe County’s Circuit Judge Costello (all Washtenaw County judges have recused themselves from the spat) granted Minzey an injunction against the lay-offs, pending a hearing on how the lay-offs would affect the Sheriff’s ability to conduct general business. That hearing will take place October 10 and 11.

Blogger (and County Clerk) Larry Kestenbaum offers up the lastest on his page. On Wednesday, Sheriff Minzey faxed a letter to local governments trumpeting his victory in Monroe County Court, and accusing Administrator Guenzel of further retributive action: in ending contracts with neighboring Counties to board out prisoners when the Washtenaw County Jail is overcrowded, Minzey claims, Guenzel is attempting to plunge the perennial crowding into crisis. As a result, Minzey promises, he will begin turning away prisoners from the County Jail on September 6, except for those referred for certain violent or controlled substance offenses, as required by statute. Minzey signs off with, “I will do everything in my power to keep the citizens of Washtenaw County safe.”

Administrator Guenzel responded yesterday by stating that Sheriff Minzey had personally recommended the phasing out of the prisoner boarding contracts on June 7.

Sheriff Minzey gave his opinion that boarding inmates should be phased out with the end of terms for those then presently incarcerated at other jails.

Phasing out the practice of boarding out inmates was to be part of fixing the system of incarceration here in Washtenaw County. The Sheriff has been aware of many ideas and legal options that are now standard policy for other county jail facilities with similar overcrowding problems, and yet none has been implemented by this County’s Sheriff in anticipation of ending the boarding of inmates at external facilities, as he recommended in June.

As the bickering seems only capable of escalating, seems we’re in for some exciting times.

  1. Who does this guy think he represents? The deputies? A few townships who don’t want to pay their fair share? It can’t be the residents of the cities or Pittsfield Township, all which have their own police forces and whose residents pay taxes for both their local police force and the Sheriff and his deputies. This guy sure seems to be on an ego and power trip and it doesn’t look like he lets the facts get in the way of scoring political points.

       —John Q.    Sep. 2 '06 - 09:33AM    #
  2. This mess goes back to Bob Guenzel’s obsession about expanding the jail. Even though crimes and arrests in our fair county have fallen steadily for the past decades, that hasn’t stopped Bob.

    Anyway, since two attempts to fund jail expansion have crashed and burned due to voter outrage, Bob’s latest attempt to save money on other matters in order to expand the jail involves cutting county funding for police services.

    Naturally Minzey, under pressure from Township residents to keep their police services intact, is fighting any attempt to reduce police protection by laying off deputies.

    Miney is a Democrat, was elected in 2000 by voters county-wide, was re-elected in 2004, and is up for re-election in 2008.

    Who will prevail in this cluster-f*ck? Stay tuned!

       —David Cahill    Sep. 2 '06 - 03:56PM    #
  3. Amazingly enough, this big local story is not covered in today’s AA News. So Arbor Update has scooped the traditional media again. Nice work, Murph!

       —David Cahill    Sep. 2 '06 - 04:11PM    #
  4. Hey, anything here that’s not from the News is from Larry K.

    The population of Washtenaw County, per the most recent SEMCOG estimates, is about 347,000. The vast majority of those residents either pay for local police (A2 City, Ypsi City, Pittsfield, Chelsea, Northfield, Saline, for example), have already opted out of the Sheriff’s patrols, or have agreed to pay the full cost of service. The holdouts, Salem, Superior, and Ypsi Twp, make up about 72,000 residents – a mere 1/5 of the County’s population. Minzey’s attempts to cast himself as being concerned only for the welfare of County residents ignore the fact that he’s speaking for a tiny minority.

    Honestly, what is it about Washtenaw County’s third largest municipality that makes them feel entitled to subsidized police service? If Chelsea, at less than 1/10 Ypsi Twp’s size, and cash-strapped Ypsilanti can pay their own way, why not Ypsi Twp? I predict a certain Twp resident will be hitting this thread at any moment to tell us just how non-existant crime is in the Twps – just another good reason not to dump huge amounts of money into subsidies.

       —Murph.    Sep. 2 '06 - 06:13PM    #
  5. David, do you have to portray every action as the result of a conspiracy or ulterior motive? Isn’t it just possible that Bob Guenzel believes that the residents of municipalities who pay for their own police shouldn’t have to pay for the police services in communities that refuse to do so on their own? And, let’s say you’re right – that Bob is cutting road patrol subsidies to have money for a new jail. Does that mean that we should continue the assinine subsidies? No, stop the subsidies and, if you can, stop the jail expansion as a separate matter. Your conflation of the two is nonsensical.

       —Tom Wieder    Sep. 2 '06 - 11:58PM    #
  6. Tom, you apparently haven’t been following this controversy very closely. The AA News press coverage has repeatedly stated that the reason Guenzel has come after the police subsidies is to fund an expanded jail. It’s not conflation – it’s undisputed reality.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 3 '06 - 01:14AM    #
  7. David, that’s not the point. Just because Bob puts them together doesn’t mean you and we should. To keep him from expanding the jail, as if he could do it on his own, you want to keep the stupid subsidies? The answer is to stop the subsidies and, if there is the support for it, direct the money saved to something you think is more appropriate than jail expansion. Frankly, I’d rather use the money for jail improvement/expansion than subsidizing local policing for the townships. Are you so concerned about any jail expansion that you want to keep giving the tax dollars of the residents of A2, Ypsi, etc. to the selfish, irresponsible denizens of Ypsi Twp, etc.? Please answer this: Do you or don’t you think the present funding of the road patrol makes sense, without regard to where any savings might go?

       —Tom Wieder    Sep. 3 '06 - 08:04AM    #
  8. Tom, you said I was conflating two issues, when I wasn’t. Please be more careful in the future.

    Also, neither bad faith nor conspiracy are involved here. Guenzel, the Commissioners, the sheriff, and the township people are passionately convinced that they are right. Everything has been fought out in public. The County Commissioners don’t go to the \aut\ bar. If they did, one group would try to poison the drinks of the other side. 8-)

    My big issue is that these people are all operating from a false premise: that there is a need to expand the jail.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 3 '06 - 04:29PM    #
  9. Just a couple (6) thoughts to add to the mix:

    1) The county has been offering dedicated police patrols to townships, villages and schools for some time. In addition, the county has funded general road patrol deputies to patrol the entire county. I think the first contract was in 1983 and at that time, only Ypsilanti Township had a contract for dedicated service. Other townships relied on the general patrol officers. So, back at the outset of these developments, Ypsilanti Township was the first to step up to the plate and take responsibility for some of the costs of their population growth. Over time, more and more townships grew in population and needed more dedicated deputies. These were provided by the county, through police service contracts, at a rate that covered less than half of the costs incurred by the county.

    2) Over the last 6-8 years, the county has been looking at how to more fairly spread the costs of public safety in the county. The costs of providing police services, especially when considering unbudgeted overtime, were growing. In the face of this large and growing subsidy to the sprawling townships, some Commissioners (including myself), wanted to change the contracting model to place the costs of police service with the beneficiaries of that service. In other words, a majority of Commissioners believed that the responsiblity of paying those growing costs did not fall squarely enough on the shoulders of the jurisdictions and taxpayers that directly benefit. As a result, we raised the price for dedicated patrols.

    3) Even though the County has increased the cost of dedicated patrols, our costs still outweigh our revenue for these contracts. In other words, even after our recent price increase, which has caused three townships to sue us, we will still subsidize their police services. This is why none of these local units has decided to start their own department. The County will still be subsidizing roughly 25% of the costs required to put a deputy on the road.

    4) As part of this process, the Commissioners set up a “Police Services Steering Committee” to get feedback and have open negotiations between township officials, county officials and law enforcement professionals. We used this committee to open up our books and let the “customers” of law enforcement services understand our costs and methodologies. This has been a very successful forum and it has highlighted just how expensive a professional, highly trained and well equipped force can be. Unfortunately, Ypsilanti Township has not been a very active partner in this venue, hampering the opportunities for compromise. (I have to give Supervisor Ruth Ann Jamnick alot of credit for rebuilding this bridge recently by attending these meetings).

    5) Instead of negotiating with the county, trying to learn why our costs are so high, or even starting their own department, Ypsilanti Township officials were convinced by their lawyer, Doug Winters, that a costly legal strategy was in the best interests of their residents. He could very well be right, because Ypsilanti Township alone saves roughly three million dollars a year by having other county residents subsidize these costs for them. I’m not really sure if they ever thought they would be successful on their legal claims or if they just thought that they could gum up the process long enough to make it through this fall’s election cycle and turn over a new majority on the County Board of Commissioners. I’m inclined to believe the latter for several reasons. Most importantly, every time the judge summarily disposes of their claims, they invent new ones and promise to appeal it ‘all the way.’

    6) The jail is, despite some of the comments made by Mr. Guenzel, a seperate issue than whether or not 2/3 of county residents should help pay for the police services of the other 1/3. According to Mr. Cahill, I am operating under a false premise. This premise is that when your population continues to grow and grow and when your jail is 30 years old, that eventually, you’ll need more space in the jail. I think that the jail is an entirely different topic, so I won’t go into great detail here. I will say that I would love to hear Dave Cahill’s ideas on how we can solve our chronic overcrowding problem at the county jail. It is a big and costly problem that nobody is eager to spend big dollars to fix. We’re trying to work with an array of alernative sanctions and to reduce the number of pre-trial inmates . . . unfortunately Washtenaw’s County Jail wasn’t built for a community of 350,000 people.

       —Jeff Irwin    Sep. 3 '06 - 10:12PM    #
  10. Jeff, with the raw number of crimes/arrests steadily falling, there is plainly a “system problem” if the “load” on the jail is not falling as well. The population of the county is not relevant; it is the number of people coming into the criminal justice system that matters. That number has been coming down ever since 1997 at least.

    I will note in passing that because the raw numbers are falling and the county’s population is growing, the crime rate is falling even faster. This is, of course, good news.

    Putting people in jail is a decision made by a judge. The fact that there are so many people coming into the jail is a result of lots of individual decisions made by our local judges. A few of these judges have become addicted to incarceration – especially to incarceration of people who have not been found guilty of anything.

    I could give you anecdotes. It’s too bad you can’t go incognito to a couple of district court arraignment sessions and see how many clearly non-dangerous people are put in jail prior to trial, but you as a County Commissioner are too well-known to take this route. (Full disclosure: Although I take criminal cases, I have no clients in jail at present.)

    What can be done that is not already being done now? First, the jail overcrowding act allows judges to do bond reviews of everyone in jail when there is overcrowding. This has never been done, despite the urgings of various folks.

    Second, Guenzel should take each individual judge into his office and tell the judge that s/he is just going to have to live within the limits of our existing jail capacity and stop locking up so many people prior to trial.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 3 '06 - 11:33PM    #
  11. There is so much misinformation in this discussion it’s hard to figure where to start. Residents of cities who have their own police force do not subsidize the townships. They pay for county sheriff backups to their local police forces and for the administration and infrastructure. The townships pay an additional amount, above and beyond what both they and the cities residents pay for county sheriffs, in order to contract for dedicated patrols within their jurisdiction. They have a multi-year contract at a specific amount per deputy. Bob Guenzel attempted to get all the townships to sign a new contract, before the older agreement expired, in order to raise funds for a huge, expensive jail. He asked the townships to sign a contract that didn’t even specify the costs in the latter years of the contract. Then, when all the townships didn’t sign, he jacked up the costs to those townships that were seeking the courts to enforce the existing agreement.

    Wes Prater lost big in the last election, not even close at all. What is he expecting with a recount? He betrayed the interests of those he was supposed to represent and has now been replaced. Thanks for your service Wes, now stand back and let Karen Lovejoy-Roe fix the problem your board has created. The electorate have spoken and we don’t want you representing our interests in regards to the county sheriffs.

    The mayor of Ypsilanti supported Ruth Ann Jamnick’s election as township supervisor with yard signs at her private residence within the city. It has been reported in the AA News that Ruth Ann is creating tension with the rest of the township board. I suspect Ruth Ann is building alliances throughout the county while waiting for Dingell to retire and clearly does not have the township residents as her first priority.

    The real hero of this whole affair is Sheriff Dan Minzey. Back when Bob Guenzel giant jail plans were revealed, Dan Minzey revealed a plan that would increase the number of jail beds at a cost significantly less than the giant jail. We elected him sheriff and he should be the person to determine staffing needs. I don’t recall voting for Bob nor authorizing him to gut the sheriff dept. for political reasons.

    And finally, when the current contracts for deputy patrols expires, I hope the cost-concious townships band together and form their own police department. We could have a far more responsive police department at a far lower cost than we currently do. Ann Arbor should annex the city of Ypsi before it goes into receivership and form a giant tax and spend municipality, while leaving the fiscally conservative townships alone for a change.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 4 '06 - 12:59AM    #
  12. Personally, I have no interest in seeing the jail expanded. If I had my dream scenario, the money saved from asking the Twps to pony up for service would be put towards alternatives to incarceration, pre-sentencing, post-sentencing, and post-_sentence_ – the News had an amazing-to-me statistic the other day that Washtenaw County’s recidivism rate is 76%, compared to a state-wide average of 46%. But, really, I’d be happy whatever the savings are used for.

    I find it interesting that Karen sees absolutely any lack of hostility between Ypsi City and Township, even something as little as personal support between politicians of neighboring jurisdictions, to be a sign of treachery.

       —Murph.    Sep. 4 '06 - 03:04AM    #
  13. I agree with David Cahill.

    >>Putting people in jail is a decision made by a judge. The fact that there are so many people coming into the jail is a result of lots of individual decisions made by our local judges. A few of these judges have become addicted to incarceration – especially to incarceration of people who have not been found guilty of anything.

    >>I could give you anecdotes. It’s too bad you can’t go incognito to a couple of district court arraignment sessions and see how many clearly non-dangerous people are put in jail prior to trial, but you as a County Commissioner are too well-known to take this route.

    This is what happens when the governors appoint crooks to the court and these crooks start operating with egos higher than mt. everest. Expose them and kick them out !


       —Srini    Sep. 4 '06 - 06:28AM    #
  14. Karen, if Ypsilanti Township were interested in starting its own police department, starting this week, that would indeed be wonderful. I can’t speak for the county board, but I expect they would turn over those 44 deputies to the township, and gladly underwrite start-up and transition costs. The township would then directly control its own policing, with zero interference from the county. Everyone would be thrilled, and all this struggle over contracts would be over.

    Karen, your idea for an Ypsilanti Township police force makes all kinds of sense, not some time in the far future, but right now. Please recommend this course of action to your township officials!

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 4 '06 - 07:58AM    #
  15. The actual contracts at issue are confusing me. From what I’ve read, the townships in question currently pay $33/hr for additional patrol. Karen says that, “Bob Guenzel attempted to get all the townships to sign a new contract, before the older agreement expired.” What is the existing contract? I can’t find any other reference to a current contract. If there is one, what allows the county to break it?

    There is a new four-year contract that the townships in question have refused to sign, but I can’t find details on this contract. Karen says it doesn’t indicate the actual costs to townships in the later years. Is this the main point of conflict for the townships?

    The monthly contract alternative raises the rate from $33/hr to $77/hr. Despite Karen’s (and Minzey’s) claim that the townships are paying for the service, the news reports that the new rate still does not reflect the full cost of providing that service. If that is the case, the remaining portion must be coming from funds collected from the county as a whole. Is it the townships’ position that they should not be required to pay the full cost of these additional services, or that the calculation of the full cost is incorrect, or that this is the result of inefficiency at the county level, or something else?

    Also, I find it interesting how positions on regionalization seem to have shifted on this issue. For example, I think of Murph as supporting cooperative efforts in police and emergency seriveces, but here he is taking the pay-to-play perspective. I don’t mean to single him out, or to call foul, but it does point to the complexity of regional issues.

    Finally, I wish that the new jail wasn’t tacked on to this issues. It astounds me that people would argue, not that the current contract is efficient and adequate, but that we should maintain the loss for fear that appropriate charges would be used to build a jail. David Cahill could take a step in clearing this up by answering the question posed to him in post #7. But as Grandpa used to say, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

       —Scott TenBrink    Sep. 4 '06 - 10:33AM    #
  16. The fruitlessness of stopping a jail by throwing county resources away is exemplified in an article from AANews that proves that there are numerous avenues for such income

       —Scott TenBrink    Sep. 4 '06 - 10:48AM    #
  17. Scott, it is difficult for me (or anyone else to determine if the present road patrol system makes sense. However, since the present system has so many people so upset, complete with lawsuits flying around, it would probably be a good idea to come up with a new system.

    Nearly everyone involved in this controversy has a different version of reality from everyone else. So it is hard to know where to begin on restructuring.

    I kind of like the idea of Ypsi Twp forming its own department, and the rural townships getting together to form their own department. If this happened, no one would be relying on the sheriff for road patrols.

    The other idea is one county-wide system with some kind of uniform funding. But since everyone hates everyone else, probably the best that can be achieved is a not-so-friendly divorce.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 4 '06 - 04:22PM    #
  18. David- Others have taken up the cudgel to argue for separating the road patrol and jail issues, so I’ll step aside on that for the moment. But I wanted to respond to your scolding that I improperly suggested that you were conflating the two issues and your suggestion that I be “more careful” in the future. Perhaps, you don’t know what “conflate” means, so here:

    American Heritage Dictionary – con·flate 1)To bring together; meld or fuse; 2)To combine into one whole.

    I was very careful, and accurate, in saying that you “bring together, meld, fuse or combine into one whole” the patrol and jail issues.

    With regard to your language criticisms, please be more careful in the future.

       —Tom Wieder    Sep. 4 '06 - 09:05PM    #
  19. Tom, the two issues had already been conflated by Bob Guenzel, most of the other players, and the AA News. Ergo, I was not doing the conflating.

    Please be more careful of your critiques of my reporting of the conflations of others in the future.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 4 '06 - 09:24PM    #
  20. Larry,
    Would you sign a new mortgage on your home that more than doubles the cost of your house when you already have a signed mortgage agreement? I think the township should develop its own force, but only after the current agreement concludes and only if the county sheriffs are completely disbanded and each governmental unit in the county pays the full cost of their own policing. Let the state police patrol the outlying areas. It wouldn’t be equitable if we still had to pay for county sheriffs who would spend the majority of their time in the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsi. And it doesn’t make sense to hire the high priced county deputies when the townships could start a new force with significantly reduced salaries, benefits, and administrative costs.

    I can’t speak for the township, but it’s my personal observation that the county administration doesn’t have a clue how much is the real cost of providing deputies. Bob pulls a new number out of his hat several times each year. And if they don’t know, how can the taxpayers determine the truth? And that’s the problem. Why did they agree to provide road patrols for $33/hr if the real cost is more than $77?

    Why don’t the citizens of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti city target their efforts (animosity?) towards the source of the problem – the county administration? Why don’t all the residents in the county band together and demand accountability and cost-conscious government at the county level and stop the bleeding?

    I don’t think anyone hates any community within our county. The communities have different economic philosophies and experience totally different economic realities. Ypsi township is mostly rural and the older, eastern half has a large percentage of low income households. Even the new subdivisions are lower, middle-class at best and can’t afford the level of county services that someone like a Burns Park or downtown condo resident might desire.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 4 '06 - 09:53PM    #
  21. “And if they don’t know, how can the taxpayers determine the truth? And that’s the problem. Why did they agree to provide road patrols for $33/hr if the real cost is more than $77?”

    OK, I know nothing about the price of police services, but no one could think $33/hr was going to pay for a trained officer’s salary and benefits, a car, and whatever other equipment, staff support, etc., that s/he needs to get the job done.

       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 4 '06 - 10:16PM    #
  22. Bruce,
    When you look around Ann Arbor, Ypsi, or Pittsfield township and see the sheriff patrol cars driving on these roads, do you really think they are free? No, the taxes paid to the county by all residents in the county have paid for a trained officer’s salary and benefits, a car, and whatever other equipment, staff support, etc., that s/he needs to get the job done. If Larry’s numbers are correct (44 deputies) then the township should pay for their salaries and benefits and the lease on approx. 15 vehicles (3 shifts). The administration, staff support, and equipment are fixed costs that are already paid for. If we wanted to get anal about it, the sheriff could charge hourly rates for salaries and benefits on a minute by minute basis for every deputy depending on which jurisdiction the vehicles are located in. What percentage of the total number of deputies on the road are dedicated to Ypsi township?

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 4 '06 - 10:56PM    #
  23. “The administration, staff support, and equipment are fixed costs that are already paid for.”

    Why would you think that these are ‘fixed’ or already ‘paid for’ costs?

    I have to admit that I don’t understand all of this controversy. Why not just do as Larry and Karen suggest and have everyone have their own PD and call it a day?

    I’m betting that the overall costs per officer would go way up, but it seems like this whole issue isn’t as much of “it costs too much” as much as it is a situation of “hey, who’s paying for this?” In other words, this is a question of politics rather than a question of pragmatism.

    But that’s just me. I’m not sure that I understand what the problem is here.

       —todd    Sep. 4 '06 - 11:15PM    #
  24. Karen, okay, so your real issue is that the 44 county sheriff’s deputies who patrol Ypsilanti Township are paid too much?

    In other words, whether Ypsilanti Townshio or the county is going to provide the service, you’d prefer that they get rid of those 44 experienced cops and find new and much cheaper ones?

    So why is your township in court trying to block the layoff of these overpaid officers? Based on what you said above, you should be delighted by this action.

    I’m baffled by your metaphor about a signed mortgage agreement. Ypsilanti Township and the county currently have no agreement. Claims to the contrary have been rejected by Judge Costello.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 4 '06 - 11:38PM    #
  25. Let me try and make it simple for you to understand Larry. The township wants a police force that it can afford. The county offered them deputies at a price they could afford. They contracted for an agreed upon number of deputies at a price they could afford. The AA News reported that the agreement was to extend through 2008. The county decided that the price would more than double and wanted the township to sign a new agreement earlier this summer, thereby breaking the existing agreement with very short notice. They went to court. Judge Costello ordered that the sheriff patrols continue at the agreed upon price while he decides all the details. In the meantime, Bob came up with a cost for deputies for the entire length of the new proposed contract and imposed a deadline for signing. Judge Costello warned the county not to try to impose harsher fees for those townships that haven’t already agreed to new increased costs for services. Instead, the county is now trying to get the townships to sign an agreement that would charge them even more per deputy than the other townships that signed earlier this summer. To force a policing crisis in the townships, Bob ordered Dan Minzey to lay off employees, hoping to force the townships to sign a bad deal or have no police coverage at all. Dan Minzey sued and won a stay to keep the patrols at least until the next court date in October. The township is in court trying to make the county live up to its end of the bargain. The case is still pending in Judge Costello’s court.

    I’m not against having an experienced, professional police force. The sheriff deputies are unionized and have a pre-existing salary and benefit package. If they are laid off by the county, they might seek employment with a township police department, under a salary and benefit package to be determined by the township.

    I’d prefer it very much if you stopped writing in this discussion about how I should instruct my representatives, what I should be delighted with, and what my real issue is. I write my own point of view and you should do likewise. My real issue is that I’m disappointed at how the county, Bob Guenzel in particular, is trying to screw the Townships. And I realize that the county administrator is merely following the directives of the current board.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 5 '06 - 12:46AM    #
  26. I’m still confused. How is the County trying to “screw” the townships?

    If your issue, Karen, is that you think that the costs that the County is charging to the townships is way, way, too high, then why doesn’t Ypsi Twshp just pony up for their own, presumably less expensive force?

    Further, if the only thing that is at issue is that the County is somehow trying to renege on a contract that will only last for two years, what is the point to all of this?

    Even if the Townships win this suit as it relates to an old contract, aren’t we just going to be back at square one in 18 months when this contract expires (Karen stated that the contract in question expires in 2008)?

    I’m still confused.

       —todd    Sep. 5 '06 - 01:17AM    #
  27. Todd,
    Residents of Ypsi township pay county taxes at the same rate as all other residents in the county. So when I say these fixed costs are already paid, I really mean that the township pays its fair share of the sheriff department costs and then pays an additional amount for the extra service we receive i.e. contracted deputies. Some in this discussion claim that the city has a police department and therefore doesn’t use the county sheriffs at all. I think the sheriffs are working within the city limits far more often than in the rural townships.

    The current problem is that you can’t create a police force overnight. It takes a couple of years at least. That may be why the county wants to hurry the issue and force the township to sign a long term expensive contract today.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 5 '06 - 01:25AM    #
  28. “I think the sheriffs are working within the city limits far more often than in the rural townships.”

    I doubt it. Local cops call it poaching – sheriff’s patrol or state troopers taking their action. Sheriffs often act as backup in cities, but rarely act on their own dispatch within a City limits.

    I don’t know the specifics of Ypsi and the county, but I would imagine that they are dispatched on at least two seperate channels, so a Sheriff’s deputy would only receive a call within a City when patched through dispatch to dispatch.

    One thing to consider – townships in West Michigan are de-commissioning their police forces and going back to sheriff-contracted forces, because the costs are actually lower. The insurance and fleet costs are lower for much larger, more capable forces like sheriff’s departments… starting a new, seperate police force would require large start-up costs, new insurance for the City, and/or township, etc. It’s not often worth it.

       —paul    Sep. 5 '06 - 03:48AM    #
  29. OK, this is a long post. First off, in an attempt to raise the level of debate here on Arbor Update I want to inject some facts. I would suggest those interested in seriously examining the county’s budget and expenditures please do so. Although I spend my own time looking over our budgets and audits every year, the substantive observations of others are always helpful and welcome.

    Here are a couple of useful links:
    For starters here is the amount paid into the general fund from each jurisdiction in the county.

    And Here is where you can navigate to your local unit and see further breakdowns of the categories referenced in the previous spreadsheet.

    If you click on Ann Arbor you’ll see that Ann Arbor taxpayers put 2.6 million dollars into ‘Police Services’ in 2005.

    I’m sure that this set of pages, called How Your Property Taxes Are Spent, brings up a number of interesting questions and observations.

    Scott – to address your questions about the ‘unspecified costs’ argument, that was put to rest 6 months ago. When the last contract was set to expire (January 1, 2006), the Board of Commissioners proposed new pricing schedules that increased the amount that we would charge for dedicated police services (This happened in fall of 2005). The increase was significant and we heard from the townships and villages that the costs were increasing too quickly for their budget to respond. In response to this lobbying from the townships and villages we agreed to stretch out the same increases over a four year period. This agreement seemed better for all parties, because the county, the townships and the deputies could have greater, long-term reliance on the relationship. This agreement was made later in the year and many of the township and village officials that were coming to the board were still concerned about the high costs. In an effort to assuage their concerns and add transparency to the decision-making, we set up the Police Services Steering Committee to examine the actual costs of putting deputies on the road. We wanted to open our books on salaries, fringes, training, equipment, insurance, pensions, etc, etc. We also knew this process would take some time and that the contracts for these services would expire before we could lay all of this out for everybody. As a result, the four-year contracts that the county offered and most local units signed had specified terms for the first two years and a commitment to release terms for the second two year span after the Police Services Steering Committee made their recommendations. We committed that the new pricing schedule would be announced before April of 2006 and they were. In the end, I agree that having the unspecified terms for 2008-9 was undesirable; but it seemed to me that rolling up our sleeves and working on the numbers with our local units was a worthwhile effort that might end some of the acrimony and misunderstanding. Ypsilanti Township officials were appointed to the Police Services Steering Committee, but it is my understanding that they declined to attend on the advice of their counsel (They were suing us).

    Even though most of the townships and villages signed, three did not. Initially, they protested that the terms for the later years were unspecified and therefore they could not sign the contracts in good conscience (despite a 6 month opt out provision). After 90 days passed and the new terms for 2008-9 were proposed by the Police Services Steering Committee and approved by the Board, the three non-contracting townships changed their reason for not agreeing to a deal. I should note that during this entire year of 2006, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has continued to budget funds for township-dedicated police services despite the lack of a contract. Ypsilanti Township, as well as Salem and Augusta Townships have paid the same rate for police services as entities that did sign the deal. Those are the facts and the chronology of this ugly affair over who should pay for these dedicated patrols.

    You’ll notice that most of the discussion is about Ypsilanti Township and less discussion includes the other plaintiff townships – Salem and Augusta. This is because, of the 94 deputies assigned to dedicated police patrols, 44 of them are assigned only to Ypsilanti Township. Almost half of the Sheriff’s department deputies are assigned to Ypsilanti Township. I have nothing against the township – even after they sued me personally. I just think that they are doing everything in their power to keep these subsidies intact and I can’t blame them for looking out for their own bottom line.

    In fact, my proposal – to use todd’s language – is more pragmatic. Instead of proposing that each jurisdiction should bear the full cost of deputies dedicated to police their streets, I am in favor of keeping some of the subsidy. This is because I believe that the public is better served countywide if we have a strong, well-trained and capable Sheriff’s department. If we balkanize the public safety landscape, there will be more and more spent on administration and overhead. More on admin and overhead means less focus on direct service to the public. Also, a bigger force allows us to fund programs like our detective bureau or special units like our Auto Theft Task Force or an internet crimes bureau. So, I think it is a benefit that taxpayers countywide subsidize those interested in meeting their public safety needs through the county Sheriff’s Department. The question in my mind is how much of a subsidy is required to preserve the integrity of a unified force while not unreasonably burdening taxpayers in areas with their own departments.

    In the previous contracts, running from 2004-5, the county general fund ended up paying for roughly half the price of providing dedicated police patrols. I don’t think this is a fair proportion; therefore I supported a compromise, a 25% subsidy. In addition to this level of direct subsidy, the Board concurrently agreed to increase the amount spent from the general fund on what we call ‘countywide services.’ That includes the Sheriff himself, 13 officers assigned to ‘general patrol’ (and no you won’t see them in Ann Arbor or Pittsfield Township), a detective bureau, marine safety unit, LAWNET, body recovery team, SWAT and other services I can’t pull off the top of my head. That compromise won a majority on the Board. The increase to townships is understandably a burdensome matter for the contracting communities (50%). That is the main reason that I supported a four-year deal with the costs escalating mostly in years 3 and 4 even though our original proposal was to bring these increases online in the next two year deal.

    In conclusion, the county did not renege on any contracts and the contracts in place during 2003-2004 did not extend through 2008 or 2010. Judge Costello agreed and summarily disposed of the townships’ claims on this element of their case. In response, the townships’ lawyers added more claims to their suit, stretching the legal process another couple of months. The last contracts ended on the last day of 2005 and the county has been trying to forestall layoffs by coming to some agreement with the non-contracting townships all year long. I have personally proposed various olive branches that have been met with no response, no counter-offers and really, no willingness to negotiate. We have pushed back deadlines for the townships to come to the table before we have to cut the positions that do not have a revenue stream attached to them in the next budget year. That is one of the most disappointing aspects of this whole process. We want them to contract for police services through the Sheriff’s Department. We are asking them to only pay for a portion of those costs (about 75%). They want police services, but they say that our prices are wrong. Still, all of us that have looked at the audits know that we are offering them a substantial incentive to stay with the WCSD.

    OK, I could go on forever about this. It is a very complicated relationship, but I try to be brief.

       —Jeff Irwin    Sep. 5 '06 - 04:15AM    #
  30. “Tom, the two issues had already been conflated by Bob Guenzel, most of the other players, and the AA News. Ergo, I was not doing the conflating.”

    David – You really do protest too much. Just because someone else has conflated two issues before you doesn’t mean you aren’t doing the same. It’s not as if there is some physical joining that, once done, can’t be undone or repeated. Anyone who puts two things together is conflating them. You’re own comment proves this. Under your theory stated here, if Guenzel was the first to conflate, than “the other players” and “the AA News” couldn’t have been “doing the conflating,” because the issues had “already been conflated.” You’re just the latest in the series of conflaters. Can’t you ever admit being wrong about anything?

       —Tom Wieder    Sep. 5 '06 - 06:52AM    #
  31. Jeff,

    Thanks for the info. It’s much more detailed than anything I have been able to glean through the Ann Arbor News. Do you have the budget info for the Sheriff department? Specifically, in addition to the 94 contracted deputies, how many deputies are employed by the county? (Are there only 13 officers assigned to patrol in addition to the dedicated deputies????) And, what is the % breakdown of labor costs between the cities and the townships after including the additional funds from the townships who contract deputies? I imagine that this is the information that is being discussed in the Police Services Steering Committee. If you don’t have this information readily available, how can a taxpayer get this information without a costly FOIA request? Who is on the the Police Services Steering Committee? Are they all elected officials or are there some members of the public as well? I’m sorry for the barrage of questions but you seem likely to have this info.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 5 '06 - 09:00AM    #
  32. “Some in this discussion claim that the city has a police department and therefore doesn’t use the county sheriffs at all. I think the sheriffs are working within the city limits far more often than in the rural townships.”

    I don’t think anyone claimed that the city doesn’t use the sheriff “at all”. But I’ll go ahead and say that the city almost never uses the sheriff’s department for general policing. I don’t know where you see the Sheriff’s patrols you claim are policing Ann Arbor, Ypsi or any other jurisdiction with their own police force. I feel safe in saying that you’ve never seen such a thing happening because there are no road patrols in those jurisdictions. If you happen to see the Sheriff’s deputies in those communities, it’s almost always for some special event or for backup where extra bodies are needed.

    To todd and others – there’s a very simple reason why Ypsi Township doesn’t have it’s own police force. Why pay for your own when you can have others subsidize it? It’s not that they can’t afford it. If Pittsfield can, they can. If Northfield can, they can. But why would they when they can get a significant amount of the cost covered by taxpayers in the cities and some townships that have their own police forces?

    Contrary to what Karen claims, Ypsi Township could establish its own police force quickly, if they wanted. But think of all of the costs that they would have to absorb just to get that started including items like a police department building, vehicles, equipment, etc. to say nothing of the cost of hiring a chief and all of the officers. We already know that Karen wants her lifestyle subsidized by everyone else. The last thing she wants to do is pay the actual cost of providing police services to the Township and its residents. So Ypsi Township will continue to milk the subsidy as long as they can.

       —John Q.    Sep. 5 '06 - 09:05AM    #
  33. Ummmm, except I already stated that the township should pay for the salaries, benefits, and vehicles used by the dedicated patrols. My point is that the charge for deputies should not be increased beyond their real cost in order to finance Bob’s giant jail. Oh – Sorry Tom, I just conflated too, but I guess that is the whole source of the controversy and lawsuit.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 5 '06 - 04:07PM    #
  34. Karen,

    How about also agreeing that the cities and townships that have their own police forces should not have to pay ANY of the costs associated with providing deputies to Ypsi Township or any other township that contracts for services. For example, if the Township’s contract requires the Sheriff to build a new garage for the deputies’ cars or hire a mechanic to service those cars or hire a clerk to process their paperwork, those are all costs that should be covered by Ypsi Township and not by everyone else. Otherwise, it’s just a subsidy. So far, you keep avoiding the issue.

       —John Q.    Sep. 5 '06 - 05:16PM    #
  35. “To todd and others – there’s a very simple reason why Ypsi Township doesn’t have it’s own police force. Why pay for your own when you can have others subsidize it?”

    This is what I don’t understand: Ypsi Township is suing the very body (the County) that they are trying to get money from. Isn’t this a little like calling your banker ugly and dumb just before you apply for a loan?

    Jeff, thank you very much for spelling things out for me/us. I have to admit that I find the partial ‘subsidy’ argument to help w/overhead and special police details compelling. It sounds quite pragamatic at first glance. Thanks.

       —todd    Sep. 5 '06 - 06:25PM    #
  36. I’m an Ann Arbor city resident, and I agree with John Q. The townships should pay for ALL costs associated with patrols and policing of their municipalities. We can share the cost of county courts, jails, etc. But basic policing should be paid for by the jurisdiction…not shared among everyone, even those who don’t get the service.

       —Just a homeowner    Sep. 5 '06 - 07:20PM    #
  37. Since it’s obvious that the jail and the police funding are not only conflated, but intertwined, any attempt to de-conflate them would be merely to try to unscrew the inscrutible.

    Yes, I was wrong once. I thought I had made a mistake, but I hadn’t. 8-)

    There is still no AA News coverage of the big changes Minzey has announced he is making to jail operations. Is Art Aisner asleep?

    Or is Minzey’s announcement just the latest in a series of threats and bluffs by everyone?

       —David Cahill    Sep. 5 '06 - 08:21PM    #
  38. Scott, a ways back,

    Also, I find it interesting how positions on regionalization seem to have shifted on this issue. For example, I think of Murph as supporting cooperative efforts in police and emergency seriveces, but here he is taking the pay-to-play perspective.

    Scott, I’d personally be quite happy with a fair and equitable region-wide policing system. It seems to me that this could easily be much more cost-effective than a fragmented, municipality-by-municipality system. I’m happy to have whomever wants to share in such a regional system do so. I think more should.

    Where my problem comes in is where some municipalities want to get the premium package but don’t want to pay the premium price. I single out Ypsi Township because, as Jeff notes, Ypsi Township is by far the outlier in this case, with 44 dedicated deputies. I’m fine with having everybody pay in and the basic channels, but Ypsi Twp scored a sweet deal, the Super HBO-and-ESPN9-and-everything-else fun-pak, 44 premium channels at a super low introductory price! They want to be able to watch Law & Order, on demand, 24/7, and they don’t want to pay for it. When the time came to opt out or pay full price, they chose to sue, instead. (Along with Salem and Superior, who have a handful of deputies between them.)

    Karen is right on some things: the Sheriff’s Dept. does provide backup to local departments. The Sheriff’s Department maintains special services that are used across the County, like LAWNET. (Do I think a dedicated pot-hunting team is a good thing? ...That’s beside the point.) Some amount of Countywide expenditure is appropriate, because there is a regional aspect to the Sheriff’s coverage. What I’m objecting to is the low-cost dedicated deputies that the Townships are justifying on the grounds that they’re a Countywide service.

    I’m in favor of a system where dedicated Deputies are available to any governmental unit that wants them, at a rate based on the cost to the County of provided one full-time deputy’s worth of service, including equipment, maintenance, dispatch, etc. And I’d like to commend Jeff Irwin and company for finally sitting down and doing the math to figure out what that cost is. I think the reforms in question are a crucial step on the way to creating a truly regional service system. What makes me cranky is the lawsuits standing in the way, by Townships demanding dedicated service, but calling it regionalism because the deputies might spend a few hours a year doing traffic control around Michigan Stadium.

    Just as a side note, I don’t know off hand the financial details of various local police departments, and whether or not joining up with the County would be more or less cost-effective than maintaining separate services. I do know, though, that the concerns involved are not purely monetary; many in the Ypsilanti (City) community are hesitant to join a regional policing system under the Sheriff’s Dept, even though it’s been estimated it might save some money. There are concerns that a County-wide police service wouldn’t be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the local community. Incidents of Sheriff’s deputies crushing to death a black man (in Ypsi Township), for example, lead a significant chunk of the Ypsi community to think the City’d be better off with a police department that is sensitive to local issues and locally accountable.

       —Murph    Sep. 5 '06 - 08:44PM    #
  39. Gentlemen:

    Do you NOT see that Karen Luck is really: KAREN LOVE-JOY ROE!!!!!

       —Susan Roberts    Sep. 6 '06 - 12:42AM    #
  40. Hmm…I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. There are some similarities between KL’s and KLR’s positions on some issues:

    On the other hand, if they are one and the same, KLR is a very conservative Democrat based on Karen Luck’s comments here.

    A quick search through eWashtenaw didn’t turn up a Luck in the Ypsi Township property records. Can’t imagine someone who complains about the taxes like Karen does is someone who doesn’t actually own property. So I’m guessing that Karen Luck isn’t Karen Luck but as for the KLR connection – to be determined.

       —John Q.    Sep. 6 '06 - 01:07AM    #
  41. Say it ain’t so, Karen!?

       —todd    Sep. 6 '06 - 01:22AM    #
  42. As to Karen Luck’s identity – As of my 2-yr-old copy of the statewide voter registration file, the only Karen Luck listed was in Genoa Township in Livingston County.

       —Tom Wieder    Sep. 6 '06 - 01:30AM    #
  43. No. I know Karen Lovejoy Roe, and Karen Luck is not the same person.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 6 '06 - 01:31AM    #
  44. Tom Wieder’s message slipped in. My #43 was in response to Susan Roberts’ #39.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 6 '06 - 01:34AM    #
  45. Aw, you’re supposed to let the X-Files mood to fester for a while. You didn’t even give allow enough time for the X-Files theme music to finish.

    You’d think you guys would have learned your nutjob-conspiracy-theory-internet etiquette by now…..

       —todd    Sep. 6 '06 - 02:08AM    #
  46. Tom and or Larry

    Now, how do you KNOW this for sure? Review her notes. Sounds like Karen Roe’s verbage. Karen Luck (as she say’s her name is)does not live in Ypsilanti township. This I know, in fact no such name exists.

    So, gentlemen, what ya think now? Did any one see the new Ypsilanti Township Resoultion about the Sheriffs Patrol. Saw one today in the Ypsilanti Township Civic Center as I was getting a building permit.( Confidentially given to me)


       —Susan Roberts    Sep. 6 '06 - 05:11AM    #
  47. IF Karen Luck was actually Karen Lovejoy Roe, I would be pretty surprised. Some of Karen L’s postings have been pretty off-the-wall. I know there are some nutty public officials out there but some of these comments verge into the black helicopter territory:

       —John Q.    Sep. 6 '06 - 07:07AM    #
  48. No, I’m not Karen Lovejoy Roe, and I’ve never even spoken to KLR. I’m just a low-paid working stiff who struggles to keep up with an ever increasing tax burden while holding down a job that provides less money in real dollars each year. I’m not a politician and have absolutely no influence in this community, I enjoy discussing political issues and find it difficult to do so in face to face conversations. I find reading and contributing to this blog entertaining and very informative at times. I don’t think I’m off the wall, but then again, the insane don’t think they are crazy. I do admit to holding conservative political views and while I am in the minority in this community, my views are consistant with the majority in our nation. If we met face to face, you still wouldn’t know who I am. It does scare the hell out of me that more than one person is trying to find my address through voting records. For what purpose? I mean no harm to anyone by expressing a point of view that isn’t often heard in your discussions. I try and stick to the issues and avoid the personal attacks that are prevalent here. Other than recognizing that some contributers are elected officials, I don’t personally know anyone involved in these discussions. Given the nature of recent posts I will remain Karen Luck. Let’s stick to the issues.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 6 '06 - 08:19AM    #
  49. The only reason I looked at the County tax records was to see if someone named “Karen Luck” actually owned property in the Township to see if there was anything to Susan Roberts claim. I have no interest in knowing where you live or even what your real name is if you choose not to use it. I doubt anyone else here cares either.

    “I’m just a low-paid working stiff who struggles to keep up with an ever increasing tax burden while holding down a job that provides less money in real dollars each year.”

    I see that your support for Bush and Co. is doing wonders for your personal income. Please remind us why we should be supporting “conservatives” who have exploded the national debt, driven down the median income across the county and yet still manage to convince people like yourself that it’s the “liberals” who are to blame?

       —John Q.    Sep. 6 '06 - 08:31AM    #
  50. I never said I supported Bush’s economic policies – I said I was conservative. But I do get on my knees every day and thank God that our President isn’t Clinton, Gore, or Kerry. You remind me alot of School Bus Nagin – blame Bush while local, county, and state officials have no accountability.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 6 '06 - 08:50AM    #
  51. Karen, I think you would have more credibility here if you used your real name. I heavily discount comments posted by people hiding behind pseudonyms.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 6 '06 - 04:39PM    #
  52. Karen:
    In my opinion, you do know something about KLR and this clearly is an endorsement on her behalf.
    It really does not matter. I hope this site continues as a lot of informative information is captured. My thoughts: if it sounds like KLR and it spits like KLR it is KLR.
    You wrote:
    Wes Prater lost big in the last election, not even close at all. What is he expecting with a recount? He betrayed the interests of those he was supposed to represent and has now been replaced. Thanks for your service Wes, now stand back and let Karen Lovejoy-Roe fix the problem your board has created.


       —Susan Roberts    Sep. 6 '06 - 05:28PM    #
  53. Hey David – Susan may be using her real name but has no credibility whatsoever. The fact that I know something about a long term elected official in the township does not make me that person. KLR is a liberal Democrat with strong union ties. Is that how my posts read? Let it go Susan. Let’s stick to the issues.

       —Karen Luck    Sep. 6 '06 - 06:53PM    #
  54. Using your real name in an online forum gives your words some automatic credibility and a certain gravitas. But it also carries risks, especially for those who are not accustomed to being public figures. I would rather someone contribute under a pseudonym than not at all.

    I may not agree with Karen Luck, but I say, more power to her to write under whatever name she chooses.

    Moreover, some of the folks who write under pseudonyms have earned a lot of credibility. I have no idea who “John Q” is, but I know he always has worthwhile and knowledgeable things to say.

    When someone writing under a pseudonym gets our attention, we jump to the conclusion that it must be somebody we know about. It’s like we’re all in a mystery novel with a small number of characters, and the person who stole the candlestick MUST BE IN THIS ROOM!

    Hence, Karen Luck opposes the sheriff cutbacks—so she MUST BE Karen Lovejoy Roe! John Q knows about city government and real estate—so he MUST BE John Hieftje! A similar dynamic applies at the national level: remember the once widespread idea that pseudonymous liberal blogger Atrios was Sid Blumenthal?

    But Washtenaw County has a third of a million people, and Arbor Update is wide open for anyone to participate.

    When a new voices enters the conversation, pseudonym or not, don’t rush to dismiss it as somebody’s sock puppet. Chances are, it’s someone you don’t know, bringing a new perspective to the table.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 6 '06 - 07:05PM    #
  55. You are right, Karen. Please disregard my comment about pseudonyms. It was nonsensical.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 6 '06 - 07:05PM    #
  56. OK, got the point! Continue on!

       —Susan Roberts    Sep. 7 '06 - 02:21AM    #
  57. Comments #39 thru #56: Yow!

    The onset of publicly discussed detective-work-for-no-reason on someone’s alleged background was unfortunate. It has led to an extended period of severe deconflation. One strong enough that it’s not clear any us noticed that the Sheriff, Ypsi Twp. and Guenzel had all suddenly gone missing in action from these parts. They had been good stage characters who, in the able hands of AU screenwriters posters, offered good drama and thickening plot for 38 posts. In contrast, combining 2 (or even 3) disparate AU personalities into one does not properly substitute for conflating multiple county issues, despite the superficial similarity in procedure.

    I hate taking the killjoy role, but please, let’s reconvene back at #38 and re-conflate.

    — Hale,
    who has been known to sign his checks as…

       —Pierre Trudeau    Sep. 7 '06 - 05:28AM    #
  58. Anybody watched channel 4 NBC local news at 11 PM? Looks like Mr. Minzey is taking his case to the media. Maybe it is time to wake up citizens of Washtenaw County and show how their elected representatives are not listening to the clear message that they sent during the millage vote.

    Washtenaw county wants to tax and spend on jails. Mr. Minzey needs to ask county officials where the money is going and also if the judges have any sense in Washtenaw (please look up David Cahill’s post earlier) and

    May be the citizens of washtenaw county also should look at who they are electing as prosecutor. It will help to look at the article in Detroit news Dec 10, 1999 before shelling out more money in taxes.


       —Srini    Sep. 7 '06 - 07:28AM    #
  59. “May be the citizens of washtenaw county also should look at who they are electing as prosecutor. It will help to look at the article in Detroit news Dec 10, 1999 before shelling out more money in taxes.”

    That’s not an “article”, Srini, that’s an editorial. Big difference.

       —todd    Sep. 7 '06 - 07:51AM    #
  60. If the concern is about taxes, Minzey is part of the problem, not part of the solution. He wants to keep city and township taxpayers on the hook to subsidize the operations of his department that provide the services to the three townships would want to keep riding the gravy train. As was pointed out earlier, Mr. Minzey has also failed to provide any solutions to the crowding problems at the current jail.

       —John Q.    Sep. 7 '06 - 07:55AM    #
  61. Todd, stop spinning. Whether it is an article or editorial, if that is not speaking the truth, please ask Brian Mackie to come forward and refute it or file a libel suit. If what is written in the “editorial” is the truth then it is time to accept that Mackie is a biased and has no right to be a prosecutor. Mackie is probably costing the tax payers lot of money for filling up jails. Is Mackie the reason for the phrase “prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich”?


       —Srini    Sep. 7 '06 - 03:15PM    #
  62. Uh-oh. I did not enter comment 55. Someone used my real name as their pseudonym!

    “Trust no one.”

    Anyway, the AA News finally had a short item about Minzey’s new restrictions on the use of the jail yesterday. It was dispassionate and did not quote any of the people involved.

    Looking at Minzey’s restrictions again, it seems to me that they are reasonable, and a decent way out of jail overcrowding without expanding the jail.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 7 '06 - 04:06PM    #
  63. “If what is written in the “editorial” is the truth then it is time to accept that Mackie is a biased and has no right to be a prosecutor. ”

    The editorial was written in 1999. That means that you have 6 years worth of prosecutions that will either support or refute those charges. Why should the burden be on todd to refute those claims? Why don’t YOU take the time to get the stats, compare them to other counties to see if they are out-of-line and then state the facts so that WE can see whether there is any merit to your claims or not.

       —John Q.    Sep. 7 '06 - 05:05PM    #
  64. Yelling at me doesn’t magically turn a 7 year old editorial into an article, Srini.

    I don’t have a dog in this hunt, Srini, but I can tell you that your site’s comparison of Wash. County justice system to Communist Russia’s isn’t going to earn you any credibility points.

       —todd    Sep. 7 '06 - 06:42PM    #
  65. Todd, I don’t have to support or refute anything. The article or “editorial” states whatever Mackie said in a speech. So, it is for Mackie to support or refute the statements he made.

    My site’s comparison of wash. cty justice system is exactly what David Cahill is stating. So, David does not have any credibility here. (And for your information on my site, I am stating what a very well known international law professor stated about washtenaw couny justice system).

    I am quoting again David Cahill’s statements in an earlier post here – ”>>Putting people in jail is a decision made by a judge. The fact that there are so many people coming into the jail is a result of lots of individual decisions made by our local judges. A few of these judges have become addicted to incarceration – especially to incarceration of people who have not been found guilty of anything.

    >>I could give you anecdotes. It’s too bad you can’t go incognito to a couple of district court arraignment sessions and see how many clearly non-dangerous people are put in jail prior to trial, but you as a County Commissioner are too well-known to take this route”.

    What do you think David means by saying judges have become addicted to incarceration and that they put people in jail who have not been found guilty of anything? Would Communist Russia be one such place where you can find similar things ?


       —Srini    Sep. 8 '06 - 06:02AM    #
  66. ????

    I didn’t ask you to support anything, Srini. All I wrote was a correction. I didn’t even get halfway through the editorial.

    Dave C. may indeed be correct about all that stuff. I haven’t the foggiest idea what the criminal justice system is like in Wash. County.

    Your ‘international law professor’ is engaging is some pretty lame hyperbole, however.

    Just to toss out an example, who would you rather have to deal with as an alleged law breaker: Wash. County Judges, or the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin?

    I mean, come on already. This professor needs to take some time away from the law books and bone up on a lil’ history before coming up with that lame-o metaphor. I’m sure the system could use some fixin’ (can you name a justice system that doesn’t?). Leave Stalin, gulags, and Siberia out of it, though.

    Removing that quote was just a suggestion, Srini. The rest of your site gives some rational points and ideas. That quote tells people “this group is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”, and is likely to scare potential supporters away.

    Just an opinion. Take it or leave it.

       —todd    Sep. 8 '06 - 07:06AM    #