Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council: Inauguration

19. January 2009 • Juliew
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City Council: Tuesday, January 20 at 7:00 pm. (one day later due to Martin Luther King holiday)
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Graffiti ordinance updates
  • Tappen/E.U/Hill three-site plans
  • Capital Improvements Plan
  • Farmer’s Market Master Plan construction design project budget



  1. The graffiti ordinance went through. No fines, just a notification, 7-9 days to clean it up, and if the property owner doesn’t clean, then the city will clean and charge the property owner.

    Maybe that should be the model for sidewalk cleanup .


       —Chuck Warpehoski    Jan. 21 '09 - 04:02PM    #
  2. That’s how its done in most communities I am familiar with. It would be unfair to label the victim a misdemeanant or civil infraction violator. Anyone know of the status of the Capital Improvemrnts Plan?


       —Mark Koroi    Jan. 21 '09 - 06:34PM    #
  3. Anybody notice that the Farmers Market project budget zoomed up to over $2 million? This is outrageous, and a clear example of what happens when one delays (I’m talking to YOU Glenn Thompson) what could have been a very worthy project from proceeding. Ann Arbor had a chance to have a premier market a few years ago, and which would have been completed by now, for much less than $2 million.


       —Fuzzbollah    Jan. 22 '09 - 06:59PM    #
  4. I agree with fuzzbollah. Many vendors blame glen Thompson and a small but very vocal group of “long time” vendors that denounced even the heated sheds for more vendors that would have wanted (been able)to to come to the market year round. The market sticks out as a dilapitated old ugly shed roof parking lot, while the rest of the area around the market is being renovated. Kerrytown is beautiful. The market as it is now is ugly. Though the market office has been renovated 2 times in 5 years.


       —sherry    Jan. 23 '09 - 08:48AM    #
  5. A strong and effective Market Commission could have addressed many of the areas of contention and prevented problems in the first place.


       —Mark Koroi    Jan. 23 '09 - 08:03PM    #
  6. I am surprised and flattered that Fuzzy thinks I run the city of Ann Arbor. I suspect the Mayor, City Council, and the City Administrator would also be surprised but not flattered. Also, the public record simply does not support your claim that the renovations could have been done earlier for $1 million.

    At the most recent Parks Advisory Meeting (PAC) Jeff Dehring stated that very early in the project a decision was made to separate the renovation into phases so that work could begin on the maintenance of the sheds along Detroit Street and Kerrytown while funds for the remaining work were obtained. A $100,000 consulting contract was awarded to Becket and Rader to do the site plan design, prepare construction drawings for the renovation contracts, and to manage the construction.

    It seems the consultant is already out of money, yet Council, the citizens or PAC have never seen a site plan or even complete concept drawings. The only thing we have seen were the drawings for the lighting modifications and this design was seriously flawed. Mr Dehring refused to consider our comments when we tried to correct the lighting design but now states that some of the cost overrun is because of unanticipated electrical problems. Very little construction has even been started.

    Mr. Dehring asked Council to add $100,000 the consultant contract even though the performance of the contractor has been poor in both quality and quantity of work. Council was asked to approve a $2 million project on the basis of a freehand sketch and to authorize use of money from the utility storm water fee to renovate the Market. I think it was quite reasonable for Council to ask for an explanation.

    In response to the Comment by Sherry, the proposed Market renovations never included any major modifications to the main sheds. This has been one of our objections; the vendors are getting very little out of this $2 million renovation. The city considers the Market an enterprise fund. That is, it is expected to pay all of its operating costs from fees. The Market currently operates at a loss that is made up by investment income from the reserves. The renovations will deplete the reserves and the Market will then have a net deficit in a few years. The Vendors should realize this is not a free lunch, in the future they will pay increased stall fees because of the renovation.


       —G. Thompson    Jan. 23 '09 - 08:32PM    #
  7. Don’t flatter yourself Thompson, I never implied that you run the city. Its more accurate to say you ruin the city. I have referred to you as “self-appointed Market Czar” on my blog arbormarketwatch.blogspot.com though, so maybe you can expand your already fat head a little further. However it is not meant as a compliment, and I’m sure the Mayor, City Council, and the City Administrator are tired of your near-constant pontification and wish you would just go away.

    Due to the content of the rest of your posting, I see you are actively engaged in meddling with the rest of the process, so now I am convinced there will never be any renovation to the market. You put things into terms of absolutes like “the only thing ‘we’ have seen…”; “Mr Dehring refused to consider ‘our’ comments when ‘we’ tried to correct the lighting design…”; “the ‘vendors’ are getting very little…”, as if you are some kind of ‘insider’ with all the scoops. Who is the ‘we’ you are referring to? Are all of Ann Arbor’s Market ‘vendors’ in agreement with you?

    The facts are that you and a small group of malcontents stood in the way of progress with the market renovations that were being contemplated and planned 5-6 years ago, when there was indeed a chance of building a beautiful renovation, with closing off of part of Detroit Street and making that into part of a larger market area, where vendors would have many more stall spaces with parking on site. The design 5 years ago cost the Market Operating Fund $90,000 to produce, was pissed away, and will never be recouped. Much of the thanks goes to you, Glenn Thompson, for creating a very negative impression of a very worthy project. Council and the Mayor got spooked by you and your group’s phony machinations, and the result is delay, and no market renovation. And the market still looks shabby, with depression-era sheds. No wonder business is so bad there, operating at a loss.

    The renovations would have cost much less than $2 million at that point in time, and would have generated revenue for the Market Operating Fund. It was a proverbial ‘golden opportunity’, but you and your little group didn’t want that. Blame yourself and that small group of ‘vendors’ you got to rally around you for any increases to stall fees.


       —fuzzbollah    Jan. 25 '09 - 03:00AM    #
  8. What exactly is Glenn Thompson’s role as to the Market? Is he an employee, vendor, or managing agent. I always hear people talk about him, usually negatively, but I do not know his role. Is he the same fellow that helped organize Ask Voter First?


       —Kerry D.    Jan. 27 '09 - 10:29PM    #
  9. I am a citizen that has shopped at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market for many years.

    I have created a blog to promote the Market: ArborMarket.blogspot.com Visit the blog. Go the Market this Saturday, talk to the vendors and ask if our contribution has been positive or negative.

    I was one of the organizers of Ask Voters First.


       —G. Thompson    Jan. 28 '09 - 01:08AM    #
  10. My question is, who is fuzzbollah and why is he so angry? I hadn’t visited Glenn’s blog for a long time. I find that it contains some pictures of mouthwatering food and timely notices about what produce is currently being displayed at the Farmers’ Market. Its subhead is “A blog dedicated to the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market”.

    Then I go to fuzzbollah’s Arbor Market Watch and find nothing but polemic, especially rants against Glenn. (Sample: “Glenn Thompson, you are so pathetic.”) Its subhead is “Dedicated to exposing the dirty underside of the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, and giving it a good spanking”.

    There must be quite a story here. Why is this anonymous blogger so angry?

    Disclosure: I know Glenn personally and he supported me in my recent city council campaign. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says on any topic, but I’ve never seen him go off the rails. I haven’t discussed this particular issue with him.


       —Vivienne Armentrout    Jan. 28 '09 - 06:06PM    #
  11. To answer your question Vivienne, I am a citizen who has shopped at the Ann Arbor Public Market for many years.

    Over many years, I have observed that some vendors at the market receive preferential treatment, and are allowed to violate Market Operating Rules with impunity. Mr Thompson has allied himself with that group of vendors, and has put alot of effort into impeding reforms attempted by the previous Market Commission.

    I have created a blog which is a platform for pointing out uncorrected grievances at the market, since the political process was stifled, and since Ann Arbor local media have demonstrated an indifference to the reform efforts. My focus on Glenn Thompson is such because he deserves it, particularly when he has denigrated the public service of those volunteers who tried to correct past grievances at the market. He puts himself forth in public as some kind of authority on all market matters. I see Thompson as an interloper.

    Of course there is much more to the story, but, in my experience, people don’t seem to care, hence the harsh vibe of Arbormarketwatch.


       —Fuzzbollah    Jan. 28 '09 - 10:08PM    #
  12. To Mark: a strong and effective Market commission”

    NO ONE comes to the commission meetings except Mr. Thompson. The issue with the market is that it is classified as “long time vendors” vs. all other vendors. The only time “Long time” vendors are heard from is when the subject of equity and equality is discussed. They never contribute ideas for solutions to these 2 issues,instead always fighting against equity and equality.
    The Public Market advisory commitee as it is called now, sway their attention to only those “long term vendors” and their needs.
    As in the case of the vendors with stalls over the limit. They are “Long time vnedors”.
    Then there are the “non long term” vendors that do try to contribute ideas for equality and equity for all venors only to be assaulted by other vendors. Remeber when in council chamber, Vendor Carol Scott flashed her boobs as she bolted towards another vendor and purposely broke his video camera. Not soon after Carol Scott was appointed to the commission by the Mayor.

    The mayor maintains that the “long term” vendors do all the work. What a slap in the face to the local oragnic farmers that have participated in the market for over 19 years and are considered non long term vendors not doing any work.

    Don’t get started on big ag farms vs. small family farms as the market has both.

    Also there were some plant dealers at the market in recent years 2008 season included. Confirmed by the Dept. of Ag. However the management claims they were plant growers.


       —sherry    Jan. 30 '09 - 01:33AM    #
  13. I am an organic Washtenaw county farmer.My farm originally was a dairy farm started in 1894 and went to about 1945 and then declined. We have revivied it. There is an underground spring on the farm which starts one of the branches of Arms Creek. Over the years we have hired many people from Ann Arbor and Washtenaw county. It is important for us to be tied in back to the communtiy which helps support us and keep chemicals off the land so they don’t go down stream to Ann Arbor We started selling at the farmers market in 1980. I studied biology at U of M in the early 70’s and helped start the Peoples Food coop in 1971. It was on State just up from Pizza Bob’s and then later moved to Packard. I Studied sustainable Ag at Grand Valley. I also work as a consultant and lecturer. I don’t know who Thompson is but he did assualt my wife at a public city meeting when he reached over a person and tried to rip a piece of paper from her hand. My wife did not know this man was. I know that thompson supports just a few vendors at the market. Most of them are from other counties and not organic farmers. I know that thompson helped these few farmers shout down the original plan for the market. That was the one that the public had input on the design. It was those few farmers who did not like the “circular pattern” and wanted to keep “dead man’s alley” so we lost $60000 out of the market fund. Most of that was from farmers like me who until I got the rules changed we had to pay over 400% more for our stalls. I know thompson is not a farmer and does not understand how physically demanding organic farming is. I know thompson supports a vendor and one time commsioner who while a commisioner at a meeting stated that while he was a member of the Growers ass. gave cash payments to the market manager from the growers ass. and called it a “tradition” while this man’s wife yelled from the back “we did it alot”. I never see thompson carrying produce at the market.
    For almost forty years I have felt that an honest open healthy local food system is important for my community.
    About five months ago I sent a letter to the market commission regarding a senority system based on a co2 footprint and length of time selling at the market. It would promote local sustainable farming. It was met with harsh criticism from those few vendors that thompson supports. I spoke with one commisioner regarding this and he stated that he was taken back at the hostility directed toward this proposal. According to the minutes of one commission meeting one commissioner said this could not be legislated. Several cities in the U.S. have banned plastic shopping bags so this could be done.
    I believe the vendors that thompson supports are short sighted and only care about the money they make from the market and not the larger picture.


       —Peter Stark    Jan. 30 '09 - 07:59AM    #
  14. It seems unlikely the market will receive any renovations. Almost one hundred thousand $$$ of vendors fees went to the first market plans. Glen and his few long time vendor cronies slammed the plan. The plan intended to rid the market of the long “ dead man’s alley”. many vendors cited traffic to be much slower in this area of the market than that of Detroit Street. The “long time vendors” are on Detroit Street where traffic is cited to be much heavier. however it was the “long time vendors” on Detroit Street that bitched the most about the plan. They did not like the plan as it would have opened up the market to allow equal traffic throughout the market. Large square with more seating area for customers. The end result plan was talk of an addition to “dead man’s alley” (true!!) Thanks Glen for all the help! Now the market gets nothing. The entire original plan (6 years ago) costs were much less than 2 million. What a loss for both vendors and customers.


       —Market Vendor    Feb. 3 '09 - 08:47AM    #
  15. Judy McGovern reports in the Feb 3 edition of the Ann Arbor News that the Public Market renovation project is now on hold, but does not say whether item DS-5 on City Council’s 2/2/09 agenda was voted up or down.

    She also says the project budget has grown to $2.5 million, not the $2.05 million as stated in the item DS-5, perhaps this is a typographical error on Judy’s part.

    She goes on to say “The project has long been controversial among market vendors who dislike changes meant to make the Detroit Street facility amenable to other community activities on non-market days.” My questions for this are: why is a small group of out-of-towners trying to thwart a project that would not only be in their best interest by adding other revenues to the market operating fund from those other community activities, but would also benefit the community by having a multi-purpose public space? Does Judy McGovern think that all of the vendors at the market have opposed the renovation project? Judy, I think you should ask which vendors would agree to being located on an extension of “dead man’s alley”, the middle stall sheds at the market – if this small group of vendors and Glenn Thompson had their way.

    Also, I think Judy should have named the parks planner who has moved on to greener pastures. Was that Jeff Dehring?

    The time for this renovation project passed by a few years ago, when there was a viable market renovation plan put before council, when construction costs were a bit less, before the whole local and national financial mess that has dried up many resources. For now, Ann Arbor is stuck with an unattractive parking lot Farmer’s Market which serves the narrow interests of a few vendors who like to monopolize a public space.


       —Fuzzbollah    Feb. 4 '09 - 05:13PM    #
  16. Mike, had you ever considered I might be a practitioner of foosball?

    Regarding your post #17, City Council has its hands full what with a new City Hall to be built, and the usual other monetary crises. Market stuff is small potatoes.


       —fuzzbollah    Feb. 9 '09 - 04:44AM    #
  17. Mike and fuzzy etc.
    Just found this check out this link. Page 18 2006 http://www.michigan.gov/documents/maydet_161760_7.pdf Kapnick orchards Inc.
    and Kapnick farm market Inc. Shady business transactions and Jayne Miller and the Mayor support this behavior of corporations at the market.


       —sherry    Feb. 9 '09 - 09:26AM    #
  18. MSA shares a problem with city council:

    MSA contemplates changing ‘Community Concerns’ portion of meetings

    Non-city matters taking up the time of city council. What to do?


       —Campus    Feb. 12 '09 - 08:38PM    #