Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Sheriff Minzey plays populist

6. May 2005 • Murph
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At the third of eight scheduled public forums to discuss Washtenaw‘s public safety needs and funding, Sheriff Dan Minzey vowed to fight against the County Commission to ”protect” road patrols to the Townships. The road patrols cover several Townships by contract, with the local government paying less than half of costs and taxpayers County-wide subsidizing the rest at the rate of $9 million annually. County Executive Bob Guenzel has proposed to phase out those subsidies and use the money instead for needed court security and jail upgrades.

The Ann Arbor News reports that Sheriff Minzey lashed back at Guenzel to applause from the Chelsea forum’s audience:

“I’m backed up against a wall and I have to fight … and I plan on fighting the county on this right until the very end. I have no other choice,” he said to rousing applause from about 60 people, including several uniformed and plain-clothed deputies at the Washington Street Education Center in Chelsea.

“We provide the blanket of security to everyone in this county, and public safety is in jeopardy,” said Minzey, who used multiple hand gestures and a raised voice as he paced before the crowd at a forum on public safety funding.
. . .
He said the sheriff is constitutionally obligated to protect and serve residents, a much broader interpretation of the law than that supported by Guenzel and other county officials who assert that the sheriff is only required to maintain a jail and minimal police service.

Minzey’s brave stance against the County Commission seems to overlook the fact that his deputies will not respond even to emergency calls from the smaller Townships that don’t contract for services, even when deputies are available on road patrol in adjacent Townships. His argument that the Sheriff’s deputies so subsidized help out all residents – for example, by assisting City of Ann Arbor Police on football Saturdays – would also seem to be weakened by the fact that the City pays the Sheriff’s department for these deputies’ time, despite having already paid for the deputies through the subsidy.

Future forums will be held,

> 10 May in Superior Township
> 11 May in Manchester
> 23 May in Ypsilanti Township
> 24 May in Saline

County Commissioner Conan Smith has said that there will probably be an additional forum scheduled in Ann Arbor, considering the interest in this issue.

More information on forum schedules, minutes from the past forums, a FAQ, cost-of-service comparisons to other Counties, and an online question and feedback form are available on the public safety section of the County’s webpage.



  1. When there is a 911 call from one of the smaller townships which do not contract for “extra” road patrols, the caller has to wait for state police as the sheriff’s dept is not interested in responding. There can be a severe gunshot injury in an isolated area with the injured person outside and a lone female in a house making the call, but the medical people, the frightened female and the injured person have to wait for the state police, regardless of availability of sheriffs nearby. The people of the smaller townships pay county taxes and should be given protection by the sheriff’s department regardless of whether or not they pay for “extra” patrols!
       —CMurphy    May. 6 '05 - 04:39PM    #
  2. Hey, we “city” dwellers pay county taxes, too. We pay “extra” taxes for our police departments, and therefore don’t require use of the sheriff’s deputies. If all y’all out in the sticks want police protection, somebody’s got to pay for it: you. And if you don’t want to pay for it, live without it. And if you do want to pay for it, but democracy gets in the way (i.e., your neighbors don’t want to pay for it), move somewhere where you “get to” pay extra taxes and receive police services …
       —Scott    May. 6 '05 - 05:20PM    #
  3. I have to agree with Scott. If your township (no doubt Republican for the most part) isn’t willing to pay the true cost of the sheriff’s patrols, and if it’s not willing to create its own police dept, then please don’t look to the cities (and democrats for the most part) in the county to do it for you.
       —Kurt    May. 6 '05 - 05:51PM    #
  4. I think the distinction that CMurphy might have been making is that between “extra road patrols” and basic service, such as response to an emergency. (Reread her/his comment, guys.) I don’t know if that’s spelled out in the contract, but I’d like to think that our county sheriff’s office exists for such emergencies as CMurphy described for any resident of the county. If not, the office is inappropriately named and improperly funded.

    If it doesn’t exist for that purpose, what is it’s purpose? To deal with traffic?!
       —Steve Bean    May. 6 '05 - 07:04PM    #
  5. I have city cops, and city firefighters. I pay bigtime for these through my city taxes. If folks in rural areas want city-style protection, let them pay for it.

    You know this dovetails nicely into the city-suburban problem. You want your McMansion on two acres, fine. But not at my expense. You want an older home with city services, here we are. But you will pay—one way, or the other. There’s no free lunch.
       —JennyD    May. 6 '05 - 09:16PM    #
  6. Also notice the “Add Event” link below the events listing. That’s right, you all—add events over at Upcoming.org in the Ann Arbor Metro and they’ll show up here. In case you didn’t know. Now go!
       —Scott    May. 6 '05 - 09:35PM    #
  7. Meant to post that in “new site design” .. Guess “preview” doesn’t catch all problems. :)
       —Scott    May. 6 '05 - 09:40PM    #
  8. The sheriff and the county are absolutely required to provide an adequate jail. Most of the other stuff the sheriff does are discretionary services. Policing as we know it had not even been invented in 1826 when Washtenaw County was formed, and it was never part of the basic starter package of county services, as conceived in the state constitution and laws.

    Of course, any politically wise sheriff, in any Michigan county, focuses on doing the things which people like—such as road patrol and other police services. Very few voters care much about how the jail is run or what condition it’s in.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 7 '05 - 03:34AM    #
  9. (Having discussed over dinner with CMurphy, and hurled accusations back and forth over which of us is subsidizing the other’s built form), I think there’s some reasonable argument in favor of fast emergency response throughout the County. If there’s an assault, or life-threatening car crash, or something of the sort, police should be available within a few minutes of a 911 call. Literal “road patrols”, however, don’t fall into this category. Nor does responding to simple fender-benders. Nor does responding to shoplifting complaints at Wal-Mart. (The nation’s largest producer of shoplifting calls to local police!)

    I think anybody suffering from criminal physical danger should be able to pick up the phone and have police arrive in a reasonable amount of time, rather than half an hour later, when the State Police arrive from the Ypsi post. This may involve, for example, adding some regional funding to the Chelsea Police, and expecting them to provide emergency response to the four NW Townships, rather than expecting each of those Townships to contract for its very own deputy from the Sheriff. Beyond emergencies, though, policing should be get-what-you-pay-for.
       —Murph    May. 7 '05 - 11:22AM    #
  10. Also note that CMurphy’s example is non-hypothetical: Man shot in Sylvan field, 11/13/2003,

    “The man was shot in the face with a .357 magnum handgun last Thursday night in a field on Sager Road near M-52, police say.
    . . .
    Five Chelsea firefighters responded at 11:02 p.m. on the medical call, and waited for police to secure the scene before going in, Sgt. Matt Tuttle said yesterday.
    . . .
    Michigan State Police Detective Patrick Moore said troopers responded to the scene at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday after the 21-year-old victim called 911.”

    Certain things, I think, can be considered relevant to the common good, before TANSTAAFL kicks in the tough love for the “Ann Arbor schools without Ann Arbor taxes!” crowd. Responding to attempted 1st degree murder in under half an hour is probably one of these.
       —Murph    May. 7 '05 - 11:33AM    #
  11. Murph makes a good point here. The ‘get what you pay for’ approach likely abandons not only the McMansion owners, but also those who don’t make enough money to live inside the city limits the way they would like to do (and we would like them to do, in the name of higher density, local business, ad infinitum.) In fact, said approach sounds an awful lot like the hallmark of today’s criminal justice system, which is not at all the right way to do things…
       —Marc R.    May. 7 '05 - 05:05PM    #
  12. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to charge townships for their use of sheriff’s road patrols, or whatever, and leave the city out of it. The person who lives in a cheap house because they can afford it won’t be any worse, really.

    If property in a township is valued properly, then the owners of the McMansions will be substantially more in taxes to cover the costs of road patrols. Less expensive houses pay less in taxes. It’s simple.

    If the tax assessor has screwed up valuing property, then you have another problem.

    People here are arguing for density in Ann Arbor, and for cutting down on sprawl. But by subsidizing township policing with city taxes, you are encouraging sprawl by making it cheap to build and live in new housing in more rural areas. Just an obvservation.
       —JennyD    May. 8 '05 - 07:43AM    #
  13. To clarify for those who have not been following this controversy in detail: the policy adopted four years ago required townships to pay a portion of the cost of sheriff’s department police services. Many of them had it for free previously, or paid widely varying amounts of money for basically the same services.

    Townships which declined to pay now rely on the state police to respond to calls.

    Anger over the county board’s action in June 2000 is still very much alive, and helped doom the jail millage last February.

    The cost to the county for the now somewhat formalized and structured program (townships and other entities sign a 2-year contract for a fixed dollar amount) has been more than originally anticipated.

    The county administrator (needing money for the jail) wants to end the subsidy, such that any township wishing to contract for deputies pay the full county cost per deputy of about $188,000. The townships and the sheriff dispute this figure.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 8 '05 - 10:00AM    #
  14. Larry,

    I don’t understand where the controversy is. What excuse is Ypsi giving for not wanting to pay for its own police force for the roads? It is just Ypsi? Someone told me that Saline doesn’t pay for road patrols either.

    I think that I don’t know the full story here, as the stuff that I read in the papers/see on County TV doesn’t make any sense.

    The only thing that I have seen are angry cops explaining that we need patrols of the road. I think that everyone get their point. Cops good. Got it. I think we can agree on that. Now, is the only problem “hey, who is going to pay for this service”?

    What I don’t get, and what I haven’t heard an explanation from the cops for, is why Ypsi and Saline is allowed to get this service for free.

    In other words, is Guenzel simply asking for all of the townships to muck in for this service? If so, where’s the problem? Is it that they think that Guenzel’s numbers are wrong? I would think that that would be easy to audit and correct. Or is it just that Ypsi and others are mad that they have to pay for what they are getting?

    Did I miss something? Help me out.

    thanks.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 8 '05 - 12:50PM    #
  15. Todd,

    Some jurisdictions, such as the cities of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Ypsilanti, Pittsfield Township, and Northfield Township, have their own police departments paid for with their own local dollars.

    The rest of the jurisdictions (including Ypsilanti the other townships) used to receive police services froom the sheriff’s department. Until 2000, most of them got it for no extra charge; after 2000, they had to pay a part of the cost or do without.

    Most did chose to pay—I think now around $80,000/year per deputy. But none of them were happy about paying. They say that they get very little in return for their county tax dollars, and that most of the jail inmates are not from their township. Sheriff’s road patrol isn’t a mandated county function, but it is a long tradition, and the recipients of this service feel that they are entitled to it.

    The County Administrator’s new proposal is to eliminate the county’s subsidy of those contracts. If this is enacted, and I expect it will, they can either pay the county’s full cost ($188,000 per deputy) or start their own police departments.

    It sounds like a lot of money, and the number is certainly being disputed, but when you consider uniforms, vehicles, training, fringe benefits, secretarial, building costs, etc., those costs add up.

    The city of Saline police chief said that their police department budget comes to about $180,000 per officer on the street.

    And Scio Township has estimated that their own police department would cost them just about the same as paying the unsubsidized county rate.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 8 '05 - 02:40PM    #
  16. JennyD is right on! If the McMansionites paid a tax rate that they “should” be paying, then most of the Twps could probably afford the patrols or their own police.

    This also makes me think of the fact that places like Scio don’t have any of their own parks or other public amenities and aren’t willing to pay the taxes to get and maintain them. Yet, sure enough, they drive into Ann Arbor and Ypsi and use their parks/pools/golf courses/ all the time. The extra non-residence fee is a joke and they rarely, if ever, check ID’s anyway. Now, by way of the Greenbelt fiacso,
    Ann Arbor residents are also faced with buying greenspace in the Twps which would become de facto Twp parks in many cases.

    Not a bad deal for the Twps. The cities pay for your police, parks, and you get to keep building your new homes with low taxes.
       —Kurt    May. 8 '05 - 03:28PM    #
  17. As far as the greenbelt goes, I think that the vast majority of purchases that the City will be making will be conservation easements, and not fee simple, and so the land would not become parkland, officially or otherwise. Recall, if you will, that one of the anti-greenbelt tactics was to play up the fact that there would not be public access to the land that the greenbelt funds were being used on, and, if it wasn’t going to be publicly-accessible parkland, what exactly was the point?

    The City’s greenbelt PDRs will, in fact, reduce the tax base in the target townships by driving down the value of the farmland – traditionally a land use which generates a lot more property tax than it consumes – placing more burden on the other land uses for the same level of services.

    There are, indeed, problems with the City -> Township subsidies, and problems with the greenbelt, but I for one do not see any significant overlap in the two conversations.
       —Murph    May. 8 '05 - 04:13PM    #
  18. Meanwhile, yes, the City should not be paying for services that encourage sprawl by making it cheaper. Seeing the slogan, “Ann Arbor schools without Ann Arbor taxes!” makes me want to burn the billboards that bear it.

    There is, however, some minimal level of service which can be justified on common good grounds. If the City shouldn’t be providing any subsidy whatsoever to the Townships for policing – not even for, say, bare-bones emergency response – then are you also in favor of a fully privatized school system, which only the people with kids pay for? A fully privatized road system, which only the users of particular segments pay for? A fully privatized solid waste system, in which trash only gets hauled for those who pay for it, and recycling only happens when it is profitable? Or is there some public good / positive externality that comes out of a certain minimum level of education, police protection, intercity transportation, garbage pickup, recycling?

    I think there is a certain minimum level of police service that is justified, but I think it’s significantly lower than providing Scio and Ypsi Twps with full speeding-ticket-writing and noise-violation-issuing police coverage, and that, if the Sheriff is going to be funded on a Countywide basis to provide emergency response service, then that service ought to be provided Countywide, and not just in the places that lack their own full police force.
       —Murph    May. 8 '05 - 04:21PM    #
  19. Murph- I want you to be right about the purchases for the greenbelt, I just don’t trust that there will be enough oversight and input to make sure that is the case.
    I guess my main point was that the Twps seem to be reaping the benefits of lower taxes in more ways that just the Sheriff’s patrols. And that Ann Arbor is even doing open space preservation for them b/c they want more and more one acre lots instead.

    Yes, provide emergency services, but I see the real problem with the lack of any real regional/county authority because of the amount of power that the Twps have. They were a great organizing tool for settlement in 1787, but without them the county would seem to be able to do more for the whole. I am amazed that the sprawl isn’t even worse given the competeing interests of Villages, Cities, Twps, County and State.
       —Kurt    May. 8 '05 - 08:43PM    #
  20. I would have more sympathy for subsidizing these Townships if they didn’t enjoy super low millages and tax bases that are far larger per population than Ann Arbor’s or Ypsi’s. Sorry – the argument that they can’t afford it doesn’t hold water. They may not want to pay for it but that’s a whole different story than saying they can’t pay for it.
       —John Q    May. 8 '05 - 08:47PM    #
  21. Kurt, so far the only parcels recommended up for purchase by the Greenbelt Advisory Commission (or whatever it’s called) have been active farmland. That’s partially because there was a federal matching grant available that they were working towards, but I also think it is representative of the priorities that Mike Garfield (the Chair) and the rest of the commission are working under. Parkland is fairly low on the list, and you should have a conversation with Garfield if you want to figure out exactly how he’s thinking about it.

    As a more succinct answer, I suppose: yes, I share your concern. But so far I haven’t had reason to be upset over greenbelt administration.
       —Murph    May. 9 '05 - 08:03AM    #
  22. “They say that they get very little in return for their county tax dollars, and that most of the jail inmates are not from their township.”

    So Larry,

    What are these township’s excuses for not having their own police force? If the argument is that they aren’t getting a bang for their buck, then what is keeping them from telling everyone to buzz off and simply start their own police force?

    Why do they think that they are entitled to free policing? I don’t understand that. What does that have to do with the jail? Why are these two separate things linked?
       —Todd Leopold    May. 9 '05 - 10:09AM    #
  23. Todd,

    They’re saying that the county taxes they are paying for the jail should be going toward their policing services, since they don’t “use” the jail. I.e., they’re saying their “subsidizing” our jail, so we should “subsidize” their police…
       —Scott    May. 9 '05 - 10:53AM    #
  24. I think the shelter and any kind of social services whatsoever also fall into the category of things the Townships think don’t benefit them.
       —Murph    May. 9 '05 - 11:00AM    #
  25. Wow.

    What the heck kind of argument is that?

    What are they doing, counting how many Saline citizens are getting sent to Wash County jail?

    Who came up with this ridiculous argument? That’s like asking the Fed’s for a tax rebate to Saline because most of the funding goes to I-94 and “we don’t really use I-94”.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 9 '05 - 11:08AM    #
  26. Okay, how about we have no jail. If a place wants a jail, they can have one. So I vote for AA to have a jail. But if someone murders someone in Saline, and there are no cops out there and no jail, too bad for them.

    That’s harsh. But the folks in the township are making that argument.

    How about this? Ann Arbor arrests criminals, and then buses them out to the townships?
       —JennyD    May. 9 '05 - 11:59AM    #
  27. > Ann Arbor arrests criminals, and then buses them out to the townships?

    Jenny, I was going to suggest the same thing. That’d be a “tenable” proposal if the county weren’t required to have a jail. :)
       —Scott    May. 9 '05 - 02:39PM    #
  28. Looking for comment on this Sunday’s Protest:

    * Protest the Jewish Community Center’s May 15th event, which they are
    advertising as a festival to “celebrate the 57th anniversary of the State of
    Israel”, on their Web site at:

    http://www.jewishannarbor.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=149760
    ———————————————————————————-

    Join the protest:

    * Protest Israeli Apartheid,
    * Protest Israel’s Shooting Innocents.
    —The protest starts at 12:30 PM, Sunday, May 15th.
    —Where: In front of the Jewish Community Center.
    —Address: 2935 Birch Hollow Drive; Ann Arbor, Michigan.
    ————————————————
    If your group wants to endorse the protest, or to get a copy of the Protest Flyer, just e-mail Jewish Witnesses for
    Peace at:

    vigilannarbor@hotmail.com
       —Blaine. (Protest this Sunday, for Palestine and its occupied people)    May. 9 '05 - 11:33PM    #
  29. Thanks for hijacking the thread.
       —John Q.    May. 9 '05 - 11:52PM    #
  30. Dear Anonymous Poster,

    I’m confident that Ari, Mark, or Scott will remedy the situation by posting an announcement for this Sunday’s protest at the Jewish Community Center, to commemorate the destruction of Palestine.

    They are not men to shrink from posting community events.

    They don’t have to take my word for it.

    The official protest flyer is up on the Web at:

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Flyers/Protest%20JCC%20Israel%20Celebration.pdf
       —Blaine. (Protest this Sunday, for Palestine and its occupied people)    May. 10 '05 - 09:01AM    #
  31. Here’s a comment: Don’t be a jackass, Blaine.
       —js    May. 10 '05 - 09:27AM    #
  32. too late, js, too late…

    geez Blaine, get your own website.
       —KGS    May. 10 '05 - 09:43AM    #
  33. Posting off-subject does NOT get you called names at ArborUpdate.com
    —unless it’s about Palestine.

    Posting anonymously is specifically allowed at ArborUpdate.com
    —unless it’s about Palestine.

    Then watch out!

    Enthusiastic human rights advocacy, using epithets like “Killer Coke”, draws no negative comment at ArborUpdate.com
    —unless it’s about Palestine.

    I don’t want to keep throwing out the word “racist”, but why, why, why is Palestine—as a topic—almost considered off-limits on ArborUpdate.com?

    Still waiting for the same respect as other community events.

    Ari, please try to post the Sunday protest announcement.

    Again, it’s a protest of the JCC’s “Celebrate Israel!” event, this coming Sunday, 12:30 in the afternoon.

    Official protest flyer, by Jewish Witnesses for Peace, is at:

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Flyers/Protest%20JCC%20Israel%20Celebration.pdf

    Thanks.
       —Blaine. (Protest this Sunday, for Palestine and its occupied people)    May. 10 '05 - 09:43AM    #
  34. Blaine, you retard, it’s not Palestine: It’s you. Get it? There have been plenty of posts about Palestine on AU. While they generally devolve into shouting matches, it’s an important topic. But jesusfuck, Blaine, can’t you understand a modicum of basic internet etiquette? Do you have Asbergers? Add your event to the Upcoming.org website, and it’ll show up in the sidebar. Then have a frosty mug of shut the fuck up, Ok?
       —js    May. 10 '05 - 10:25AM    #
  35. Blaine, we’ve slowed down in posting for the last couple of days since we’re all a little busy wrapping up post-semester business, mother’s day and what-not. You are always welcome to post events to Upcoming.org and if you list them in the Ann Arbor Metro, they will appear on our events calendar. Please use that for posting events—save the comments for relevant comments, please.
       —Scott    May. 10 '05 - 10:40AM    #
  36. * Thanks Scott,

    For a straightforward answer.

    Of course, I’d love to see the Sunday JCC Palestine Protest given front-page treatment like the more dry topics of site-plans, Coke Protests, and greenway news.

    But thanks anyway, for the coutesy of an answer.
    —————
    * Now, to the Anonymous “js”,

    I have never seen anyone, other than yourself, use the words “retard”, “jesusfuck”, and “fuck”, all in six short lines on ArborUpdate.

    Posts in favor of Palestinian human rights seem to have a special resonance for you.

    They unleash your, uh, literary artistry.

    Congratulations.

    I’m glad to know that I, too, can avail myself of the freewheeling First Amendment rights available on ArborUpdate.com

    Because if you can call fellow writers “r.”, and exclaim “j.f.” and “f.” to oppose what you view as an unseemly announcement about Palestine,

    then heck, I should be able to talk about Palestine all day, every day, on ArborUpdate.

    I’m getting ready about a millions postings right now, all about the Sunday Palestine Protest at the JCC.

    Mr./Ms. “js”—thanks again!
       —Blaine (Palestine Protest this Sunday)    May. 10 '05 - 01:40PM    #
  37. Josh Steichmann, Blaine. My name’s Josh Steichmann. I use my initials. Because, well, I’ve been doing it for a long time.
    I’m calling you a retard because you clearly don’t understand why your comments are routinely derided, and why you do more harm, to the cause that you supposedly espouce, than good.
    But hey, keep thinking you’re a martyr, you whining douche.
    It’s not about Palestine. It’s about you.
       —js    May. 10 '05 - 02:22PM    #
  38. Joshua,

    So an announcement for this Sunday’s JCC Palestine Protest, from someone other than myself, would be perfectly OK with you?

    You would not call other advocates for Palestinian human rights a “douche”, as you put it?

    If other people announced the protest-

    -You would then engage your deep, deep, undying concern for Palestinian human rights to support a big attendance at the protest?
       —Blaine (Palestine Protest this Sunday)    May. 10 '05 - 02:48PM    #
  39. Blaine,

    We’d prefer you send things you’d like to see posted to arborupdate@umich.edu … If you’d like to post in the comments about an event, the community would much prefer you post it into a relevant thread. We’ve had plenty of posts on palestine/israel and your announcement as a comment would have been much more appropriate on one of those threads. Posting in irrelevant threads is simply rude. It’s like walking in to a meeting of roller skating enthusiasts (or pick some other random topic) and spouting off at length about an entirely unrelated issue. So please try to respect the community you’re in, or you’ll continue to provoke disrespectful attacks like Josh’s and continue to be ignored by most of the rest of us.

    This is a volunteer project. We cover the things we’re most interested in. If you think we could do a better job, we appreciate constructive feedback. If you’re not happy with what we’re doing, nothing is stopping you from starting your own blog. It isn’t hard and doesn’t cost much. E.g., How to start a blog
       —Scott    May. 10 '05 - 03:12PM    #
  40. Blaine, I think an announcement for a protest would be perfectly okay with everybody, as long as it was done through the proper venues. Posting repeatedly in unrelated discussions about it – and deriding the interrupted topics of conversation – is probably about as welcome as if I showed up at Sunday’s protest with a sign protesting City subsidies to Sheriff’s patrols in the Townships and held it in front of any camera I could find; it’s not the right way to make your point.

    If you want to make an event announcement, you can put it on Upcoming, and it will show up in our sidebar. If you want a discussion, well, you’re welcome to go restart the discussion in one of the pre-existing threads on Palestine and/or Israel (if you google for “arborupdate” and “palestine”, you’ll find many). Since our sidebar displays the most recent comments, regardless of how old the post is, yours will show up there, allowing anybody who is interested to go join the discussion.

    If that’s not enough coverage, you can either wait until an existing blogger posts something for you to comment on, or you can start your very own blog devoted to the topic.

    As js notes, the current tactic (calling people racist for caring about issues other than what you care about or for trying to keep discussions on track) is only irritating people and making them less likely to listen to what you have to say. If you have the idea that filibustering AU by spamming it with Palestine-relevant comments until something top-level is posted that you like will be effective, as you seem to indicate, I’ll ask you not to try. The likely outcome will be that we’ll be annoyed, not convinced, and will just delete your comments. If you want to complain about “free speech”, you might notice that your comments have thusfar been allowed to remain, even though they’ve totally derailed a conversation. There’s a limit, though, and I ask that you please not try to find it.
       —Murph    May. 10 '05 - 03:16PM    #
  41. Hey guys, sorry. I apologize for my own breach of the etiquette. I should hold myself to a higher standard. I’ve just seen one too many threadjacks from Blaine and I got upset. Sorry again.
       —js    May. 10 '05 - 03:56PM    #
  42. The apology is the only thing you need to apologize for.
       —Dale    May. 10 '05 - 08:05PM    #
  43. Anyway, returning to the original topic…

    My view (as an ex-twper) is that we don’t want to pay for the full road patrol coverage, but do want to have access to emergency response. The problem lies in the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a way for us to get the sheriff’s dept to provide our emergency response without paying for the full converage.
       —Patrick    May. 11 '05 - 11:48AM    #
  44. Right – Minzey’s being awfully disingenuous by claiming that “maintaining the road patrol system in its current form” is the same thing as “protecting all of the citizens of the county”. I think that there needs to be defined a level of services that we feel is “essential police protection” provided by the County across the County (including the places with their own police forces) and a slate of for-pay additional services.

    For example, I could get behind a suggestion that a 911 call should be able to get an officer to any point in the County within 10 minutes – which in some cases might involve paying Ann Arbor or Chelsea officers to serve calls in adjoining townships? (And either paying these departments some of the cost of serving emergency calls within their own districts, or placing deputies within those districts, allowing them to reduce their in-house costs.)
       —Murph    May. 11 '05 - 12:22PM    #
  45. Hey, how about if Ann Arbor township pays the city for road patrols?
       —JennyD    May. 11 '05 - 01:38PM    #
  46. See, Jenny, that’s why I think that I’m not getting the whole picture.

    Why is Minzey po’ed at the commissioners? Why isn’t he angry at, say, the townships? I don’t understand this.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 11 '05 - 01:57PM    #
  47. Ha, here it is. Read the article, pay attention to the Ypsi township deputy’s comments, and to the Saline official who comes to the conclusion that Saline will have to raise its taxes to pay for this….well, welcome to the club.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-13/1115822426226493.xml
       —Todd Leopold    May. 11 '05 - 02:06PM    #
  48. “The problem lies in the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a way for us to get the sheriff’s dept to provide our emergency response without paying for the full converage.”

    Why don’t you just ask for a free lunch? Seriously, do you think it costs any less to have officers sitting around to respond to emergency calls as it does to run road patrols? There’s a certain amount of overhead to just provide a level of service that could handle emergency responses. It doesn’t make any sense to hire officers just to wait for emergency calls. If you’re going to have them, they might as well be doing something. The problem is that the Townships enjoyed a free or subsidized ride for so long that they don’t appreciate the real costs of providing these services. Welcome to the real world of gov’t.
       —John Q    May. 11 '05 - 02:39PM    #
  49. Okay, the county should have one millage for the care and keeping of a county jail, including personnel. And then if townships want cops, they can figure out how to get cops.

    Other states do this. Why can’t we?
       —JennyD    May. 11 '05 - 02:39PM    #
  50. As far as I know not too many other states have Townships and with the few that do, they don’t have the power that the one’s in Michigan have.
       —Kurt    May. 11 '05 - 05:38PM    #
  51. So they hold political power that keeps the state and county from working out arrangements like JennyD describes.
       —Kurt    May. 11 '05 - 05:55PM    #
  52. JennyD, what about mental health assessment and diversion in the criminal justice system? Do you think that’s included in the “one millage for care and keeping of a jail”, or is that something that each local government should take care of separately?

    Since mental health is something that’s much more popular in Ann Arbor (the “just lock ‘em up” mentality is more common in the Twps, especially since jails, shelters, and social services are seen as “city problems”), I’m sure the Twps will be saying that’s something that should be provided on a muni-by-muni basis, which is not a solution I’m happy with. (Especially since the people who need those services gravitate towards Ann Arbor and Ypsi, where the services are located, from around the region.) If we want to fund those things on a County-wide basis, well, we can probably expect the Twpers to ask for something in return, to take care of their “needs”. If basic emergency service isn’t the concession we make for that, well, what else should we expect?
       —Murph    May. 11 '05 - 08:25PM    #
  53. Murph, I want to see the statistics that show that on a per-capita basis, Ann Arbor generates more mental health needs than somewhere else.

    Here’s the wrinkle though: if you live in York Twp, and you’re mentally ill, chances are someone drives you to Ann Arbor for services. Does that mean Ann Arbor generates the mental health need, or York Twp?

    How about we send all of Ann Arbor’s homeless back to their hometown’s and let the local deal with it? I think that Chelseaites would be surprised to see a few folks arrive.

    I confess to not knowing much about the homeless, but I do know that mental health is not a city-centric problem, but distributed among geographic populations. Consider that Utah has the highest rate of consumption of medication for depression of any state (at least among women).

    The townships seem to have the sense they are in a bucolic wonderland of happy, law-abiding, productive, healthy citizens. They also don’t seem to respect their dependence on Ann Arbor City. How about the city closes up shop, and leaves? What would happen to the townships?

    I have no problem paying for services shared by everyone in the county equally. I don’t want to subsidize the low taxes of people who live in McMansions in Scio, and Saline, so they can have cops. And quite honestly, a lot of the townships are starting to get to big to rely on road patrols. They need their own police.
       —JennyD    May. 12 '05 - 06:18AM    #
  54. “If we want to fund those things on a County-wide basis, well, we can probably expect the Twpers to ask for something in return, to take care of their “needsâ€?.”

    Hear what you’re saying Murph, but once you get into the prid pro quo game, arguments will devolve rather quickly.

    E.g.,

    1. Townships are using AA City resources when they come to UMich Sporting events. Where’s our $$ in return?
    2. Let’s do as Jen recommends and check city of residence for those in the County Jail. Charge each Michigan Township per person for every one of “theirs” that’s in jail. I bet that there’s more than a few people in County who don’t reside in Ann Arbor. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me too much if Ann Arborites were a minority in jail (relative to non-Ann Arborites).....not that I know, it just wouldn’t surprise me. There’s an awful lot of cities in Michigan.
    3. More people commute to Ann Arbor for work then actually live here. Where’s the $$ for all of the infastructure that we provide for the commuters? Commuters who likely live in surrounding County townships and cities? All these workers need to be provided with a police force, so why isn’t the county paying for the police here?

    etc., etc.,

    ...it’s a slippery slope. That’s why I think that the logic used by those who think that it’s cool for the townships to slide without paying is, well, foolish.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 12 '05 - 08:58AM    #
  55. JennyD, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The Twpers live in a bucolic wonderland where they don’t see homeless people or mentally ill people unless they come into Ann Arbor to go out to dinner – therefore, homeless and mentally ill people only exist in A2, and it’s A2’s problem. (Or, if they acknowledge that mentally ill people or others requiring social services live in the Twps, they probably resent the “trailer parks” that “those people” live in, and would be happiest not providing services so that “those people” will go somewhere else.)

    I’m not saying the Twpers who think homelessness and mental illness are city problems are right; I’m saying that’s the political reality we have to operate in. Ann Arbor is big relative to any one Twp, but it’s not big enough that we can just say, “Oh, well, this is how it’s going to be, and the Twpers can just deal with it.” We have to acknowledge and work with their beliefs and positions if we want to make any headway. As Todd says, we’re getting into slippery slope territory, which is why I think we need to figure out exactly what we think is justified / justifiable and what isn’t. It’s the situation in which we haven’t considered these possibilities, but merely said, “The Twps need to pay their own way,” that the slippery slope will really kick in, when we get surprised by the Twps throwing their political power around because we haven’t accounted for it in our pay-their-own-way scenario.
       —Murph.    May. 12 '05 - 10:21AM    #
  56. Well Murph,

    You’re right. There’s a big difference between logic and political reality.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 12 '05 - 10:59AM    #
  57. Yes, tragically enough . . .

    I don’t really know anything about the makeup of the County Board of Comms relative to which munis have their own police and resent the subsidy, which have already opted out and resent being asked to pay anything, and which have opted in and resent being asked to pay more. Maybe Larry or Leah has a good idea of this?
       —Murph.    May. 12 '05 - 11:20AM    #
  58. Could be a close vote – here’s a map:

    http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/boc/distmaps/boc_interactive_map.html

    City of Ann Arbor, City of Ypsi and Pittsfield TWP all have their own depts. and account for 6 of the 11 Comm. districts. Some of the outlying districts have split interests – Chelsea, Saline and Milan all have their own PDs – will those Commissioners side with their city or Township residents?
       —John Q    May. 12 '05 - 12:52PM    #
  59. As a resident of Ypsilanti Township and one who attended the Board of Commissioners Meeting, I became more informed on the acts of the Ypsilanti Township Board.

    1. The board chose to sign the contract. That is after more than eight hundred thousand dollars on the law suit.
    2. I wonder the dollar figure on all time spent to fight the law suit by the three elcted officials.
    3. Brenda Stumbo continued to assure the deputies, not to worry. You will be fine.
    4. Not to forget the other attorneys involved with the township. I expect that cost money.
    5. And they say they will continue, or are they saying “here Mr. Winters is a blank check”, Go for it!
    6. This board is pumped up with Winters words of winning. He is a joke and the board gives him all the money he wants. Let’s remember the GM case where he invoiced a million dollars and was paid. You remember that case.
    7. I will say it outload or type it real big! Stumbo and Winters personal relationship is indeed a conflict of interest. What is she gtting, other than the obvious?
    8. Her speech after the sigining of the contract contained the same verbage she said before the sigining. Or was that a way to flex her muscles.
    9. Shame on these officials for throwing away our money for a non-winning lawsuit.
    10. And where was Dan Minzey?? The question was asked. Thank you Mr. Sizemore.
    11. One neighborhood watch resident asked their residents with guns and dogs in case there was a lay off.
    12. I hope the Deputies look as to why they had to endure this issue. They were held hostage by the board. And, Dan Minzey gave McKinley properties a private for profit corporation a deputy when there was a shortage of deputies for $54.00 an hour. Information in the lawsuit filed by Minzey.
    13. And the last I will write but I have more to say and do! Thank you to the BOC for their continued profesionalism on this case. If you took them aside they would all say, I believe. Ypsilanti Township could have save their residents money. The BOC could have saved their money, (how much was that one) if the Township signed when this all began. They held on for the big bucks to be spent. Do not send us letters to explain your actions. We are informed residents.


       —Susan Roberts    Nov. 17 '06 - 04:00PM    #