Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

ArborUpdate Sheriff's Race: Bielec vs Clayton vs Minzey

30. July 2008 • Nancy Shore
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For the final installment of our ArborUpdate Voter’s Guide, we have the county sheriff’s race. Iva Bielec and Jerry Clayton both responded to our requests for comments, Sheriff Dan Minzey did not.

1. What will you do to repair the relationship with the West Willow and African American communities after the incident involving the Sheriff’s Department which led to a death and severe injuries (and a subsequent law suit and settlement against the Sheriff’s Department)? (Question by Kathy Wyatt)

Iva Bielec: I will reach out to the New West Willow Home Association immediately. I will participate in citizens meetings assuring them this type of incident will not happen on my watch. I will instruct every deputy/detective on their conduct and handling of this type of incident. I will immediately start proceeding fromsuspension to firing if this type of incident occurred during my watch. As Sheriff, I am responsible for every Sheriff Department employee and everythingthey do reflects back on the Sheriff.

Jerry Clayton: First let me state that repairing the relationship with all of the residents that feel disconnected and or underserved by the WCSO is critical to the ultimate success of the organization and to our goal of being a positive impact on the community and positively impacting the quality of life for all the residents of WC. With that stated, repairing the relationship in West Willow and with African Americans (and others) in general will take some time and requires a steadfast commitment by the entire organization and the community as well. We recognize that the relationship did not get to its current state in a short period of time and we do not expect to reach our goal of a “Mutually Trusting, Respectful and Collaborative Relationship” over night, but we do believe that such a relationship is possible. The steps that I believe we must take while traveling that road toward our goal is as follows:

1. Commit to establishing and maintaining a strong relationship

2. Gain a better understanding of each other

3. Hold each other responsible for their role in the relationship

2. Given that an unsuccessful lawsuit against Washtenaw County by the Sheriff’s office has cost the County an estimated $238,000 in legal fees, there was a more than substantial settlement against the Sheriff’s Department based on the conduct of sheriff’s deputies (which the County wil have to pay), and ongoing overtime costs, what will you do to improve the financial management of the Sheriff’s office and avoid these types of costs in the future when the County is facing a budget crisis? (Question by Kathy Wyatt)

Iva Bielec: I will re-address road patrol looking at availability in certain areas, accountability in certain areas, look at run sheets, manpower, reserves to address the overtime issues. I will look at shipping out certain type of offenders to other areas on a 3-6 month offense. I will demand respect and discipline. The conduct of a deputy will be of the highest level, I will not settle for any less. I will be investigating each department within the Sheriff’s management. I will find ways the cost of operating some of these department can be cut. I will work on combining departments to cut costs. After seeing the budget I am sure there are other areas of decreasing costs.

Jerry Clayton: As stated in the question itself, some of the undue financial burden placed on the county occurred as a result of lawsuits brought by the Sheriff as he and the “county” fought over “contract policing”. I believe one way of reducing the burden is not to initiate litigation against the county. I stand strong in my belief that the quality of life for all county residents as it relates to public safety is positively impacted by a strong sheriffs’ office road patrol presence. I also believe that we can move the discussion in that direction through a collaborative process involving all the stakeholder groups. It is critical for the Sheriff to lead that collaborative approach and in the face of philosophical disagreement and personal differences of opinion remind all stakeholders that each must remain steadfast in their commitment to provide public safety service to all county residents. Internally, the Sheriff as leader of the Office must make fiscal responsibility along with maintaining public safety and providing excellent police services a top priority and value within the organization. Organizational decisions (at all levels of the agency) must be made in the context of “what is good for the residents of the county from a public safety, fiscally responsible and quality service perspective.

3. How will you repair relationships between the sheriff’s department, the county commission, and the townships? (Question by Chuck Warpehoski)

Iva Bielec: Communication is paramount. Communication and accessibility would be of the highest caliber. I have good working relationships with townships from my term as clerk.

Jerry Clayton: As the newly elected Sheriff, there is an opportunity to start a new relationship between the BOC and the elected officials within the county that cannot be squandered. I understand the importance of communicating with your partners early and often and as Sheriff I will engage immediately. My staff and I will attend the regularly scheduled meetings and initiate additional opportunities for interested stakeholders to meet and communicate. I have plans to involve the Sheriffs’ Office in areas that have traditionally been ignored or avoided (juvenile related issues, education, employment), not in an attempt to takeover, but hopefully to gain a better understanding of issues that are important to others and to explore if the influence of the Sheriffs’ Office can assist in their efforts. All successful relationships require some give and take and a willingness to sacrifice and assist your partner(s). I am committed to that process.

4. What would you do as Sheriff of his county should do to prevent future occurrences like the death of Clifton Lee, Jr.? (Question by Mark Koroi)

Iva Bielec: I will be a leader first. I will demand discipline, respect, accountability, and intensive training anything less is unacceptable. I will be addressing moral issue and attitude issues. Professionalism is a must.

Jerry Clayton: Given the nature of law enforcement I do not believe that any police chief or sheriff will guarantee that an occurrence like the Clifton Lee incident will never happen. I can assure the residents of Washtenaw County that as Sheriff I will establish very clear guidelines and directions regarding the expected conduct of my staff during situations involving contact with members of the community. I will provide my staff with the training necessary for them to perform their duties proactively, safely and courteously and without violating anyone’s rights. I will also insist that our supervisors and managers monitor our staff’s behavior and performance to ensure that our expectations are being met. If they are not, we will conduct the proper assessment to determine the root cause and respond appropriately as an organization. Finally, we will create an organizational environment that values positive relationships with the community and hope to motivate the community to share in that value towards our staff and agency.

5. Do you believe that the posting of Sheriff Minzey’s face on gasoline pumps has led to a decrease in petroleum theft and ,if elected, would you continue this practice? (Question by Mark Koroi)

Iva Bielec: I will absolutely not continue the practice of posting the Sheriff’s face on gasoline pumps. It serves no purpose except to waste taxpayers dollars. If a person is intent on stealing a posting with a face on it is not going to stop them. This is hard times, the economy is bad, and people are going to resort to theft. To me the posting of Sheriff Minzey’s face on gasoline pumps is a hostile tactic, a threat against the public.

Jerry Clayton: As Sheriff, I will work with business owners to address any threats to their businesses and public safety, but I have no plans to implement any strategies that include pictures of myself on gasoline pumps.

Note: This is posted by Chuck Warpehoski, so he, not Nancy Shore, get’s the blame for any misrepresentations or botched cut-and-paste jobs.

  1. For the record, I did think the questionnaire we developed was a tough one for Minzey to answer. I took the questions offered, but many of them did focus on critiques of his administration. I do wish he had taken the time to respond to them.

       —Chuck Warpehoski    Jul. 30 '08 - 05:25AM    #
  2. Is there anyone in the city of Ann Arbor that thinks Minzey should be re-elected?

       —John Q.    Jul. 30 '08 - 07:37AM    #
  3. I certainly hope not! Jerry Clayton is an intelligent, experienced and thoroughly professional law enforcement executive, who will work with ALL the stakeholders to make sure that the Sheriff’s Department returns to excellence.

       —Leah Gunn    Jul. 30 '08 - 05:29PM    #
  4. It’s unfortunate that you continue this one-sided forum against the Sheriff. Did anyone confirm that the Sheriff actually received these questions before you post comments that he did not respond? Maybe the change in county government does not belong in the Sheriff’s Office….

       —Brian M.    Jul. 30 '08 - 07:22PM    #
  5. Brian, I sent three messages to the email address posted on the candidate listing on the county site. Considering that he has also declined to show up at 5 different candidate forums, I’m not surprised he didn’t respond here, either.

    It sounds like you’re a Minzey supporter, you can stop this from being one-sided. Why should people vote for Sheriff Minzey?

       —Chuck Warpehoski    Jul. 30 '08 - 07:53PM    #
  6. Please let the record show, the gas pump stickers were paid for by Minzey’s private foundation. No taxpayer money involved. Get over it.

       —Marie    Jul. 31 '08 - 04:50PM    #
  7. Leah: Exactly how will candidate Clayton “return the Sheriff’s department to excellence” when his personal finances are such a debacle? How can he manage a county budget when he can’t pay his own mortgage? FACT: Clayton’s home has been repeatedly posted in the foreclosure column of The Washtenaw Legal News. His personal finances are a train wreck and you want to hand him a county checkbook? I question your own judgement and your motives.

       —Pam B    Jul. 31 '08 - 04:57PM    #
  8. Pam B — re: Clayton’s foreclure proceedings. I doubted you, but confirmed this! Why haven’t we been told about this? Such a financial lack of responsibility should not be kept secret!

       —Ed    Jul. 31 '08 - 05:30PM    #
  9. Such a financial lack of responsibility should not be kept secret!

    You’ve made two assumptions here, Ed. First, that the foreclosure is being kept secret. You were able to confirm it in half an hour, so it’s not much of a secret. Second, that the foreclosure proceeding(s) were a result of a lack of responsibility and not other circumstances. Millions (or is it just hundreds of thousands?) of Americans are going through foreclosure. I’ll give Clayton the benefit of the doubt until I learn more.

       —Steve Bean    Jul. 31 '08 - 06:29PM    #
  10. Mr. Bean: According to Clayton’s profile, he runs a consulting business. He also received full county pension. Smells like bad money management to me. You are benevolent in giving him the benefit of the doubt. Bless you.

       —Ed    Jul. 31 '08 - 06:56PM    #
  11. “His personal finances are a train wreck and you want to hand him a county checkbook? I question your own judgement and your motives.”

    How would you know what the state of his personal finances are? Please share with us your insight into the details.

       —John Q.    Jul. 31 '08 - 06:57PM    #
  12. See Washtenaw Legal News. Public record.

       —Ed    Jul. 31 '08 - 06:59PM    #
  13. Many of the people in the audience at those forums attended most of the forums. Did these people really need 5 forums to make up their minds? Or were they just planted there for political reasons. I think that sheriff minzey used good cop instincts to avoid that ambush.

       —Donna M.    Jul. 31 '08 - 07:33PM    #
  14. Hmmm, I did attend a number of those forums, though perhaps more in the role of speaker than audience. The one at the Chelsea Depot appeared to be packed with people from that vicinity. The one at the Ypsilanti District Library was full of Ypsilanti Township folks. I doubt there was much, if any, non-candidate overlap between those two audiences.

    A lot of folks have concluded that Sheriff Minzey isn’t interested in participating in public discussions of the sheriff’s department and its problems.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Jul. 31 '08 - 07:47PM    #
  15. Your statement doesn’t make sense, Donna M. First off, how do you know who was in attendance at the five forums if you didn’t attend them also?

    Lastly, Sheriff Minzey’s lack of attendance at the debates, his mismanagement of the Sheriff’s Department, his lack of leadership as displayed by the numerous deputies that were/are on administrative leave and or facing criminal charges leads me to believe that his “good cop instincts” have gone bad!

    Jerry Clayton will be a breath of fresh air. Time for Sheriff Minzey to throw in the towel.

       —annarbor1us    Jul. 31 '08 - 07:55PM    #
  16. Why no discussion regarding Iva Jo Bielec? She delivered an excellent response to my question regarding the effectiveness of Sheriff Minzey’s face on gasoline pumps in deterring petroleum theft. I am sure she would be more than happy to disclose her credit report so her financial savvy and competence could be compared with Mr. Clayton. She successfully held public office previously and she has participated in all public election forums, unike Minzey. The only serious question I have heard raised regarding her competency is whether she is proficient in the use of standard issue department revolvers; you never know when the sheriff may need to use it.

       —Mark Koroi    Jul. 31 '08 - 08:29PM    #
  17. I’m intrigued at the concept of Minzey’s “private foundation” paying for his pictures on gas pumps. Did someone from the “private foundation” go around to the gas stations asking them to put the stickers on? Or were the gas stations approached by armed sheriff’s deputies and told to put the stickers on?

       —David Cahill    Jul. 31 '08 - 08:36PM    #
  18. Those gasoline pictures show Minzey in full sheriff’s uniform. There is also the issue of whether Minzey was proper in using the prestige of the sheriff’s office to advance his foundation’s goals and, further, whether disclaimers should been placed on these pictures to ensure that the public was aware that they were being sponsored and financed by a private foundation rather than the county. In any event, what is the “Minzey Foundation” and what does it stand for?

       —Mark Koroi    Jul. 31 '08 - 08:48PM    #
  19. Mark – I’m with you … Iva Bielec for Sheriff!

       —Wanda    Jul. 31 '08 - 09:10PM    #
  20. From all of the one-off posters here in defense of Minzey, at least some (one?) of his supporters knows how to find the debate. Too bad that’s considered “bad cop instincts” unlike those shown by the missing-in-action sheriff.

       —John Q.    Jul. 31 '08 - 10:29PM    #
  21. The questions were toughest on Sheriff Minzey, but isn’t that always the case with the incumbent being the only one in the position of having to answer for their performance.

    Regarding the unfortunate events that occurred on Minzey’s watch, it would seem that Minzey would welcome the chance to assure everyone that he has taken steps to make sure these events don’t happen again. But Minzey declines to make such an assurance.

    Minzey’s absence at the forums and his refusal to answer the AU questions is consistent with the pattern I pointed out in another post regarding Minze’s failure to investigate the civil rights violations that occurred under his command.

    Minzey would apparently rather spend his attention on gas thieves, than to try to find out why his Officer Eberle asphyxiated Clinton Lee, Jr. with a can of mace

    Sheriff Dan Minzey either will not or can not assure the voters that something is being done to make sure a similar event won’t happen again.

       —Michael Schils    Jul. 31 '08 - 11:06PM    #
  22. I find it ironic that the Sheriff’s Department handles foreclosure auctions and can handle subsequent evictions after expiration of the applicable redemption periods, making it conceivable Clayton could be under a court order as sheriff to arrange for his own eviction! But seriously, many foreclosures are due to the wildly gyrating installment payment amounts arising from adjustable rate mortgages.

       —Mark Koroi    Jul. 31 '08 - 11:45PM    #
  23. Moderator’s note: Many of the comments on this thread are under different names, but coming from the same IP address, and some share an e-mail address. Those comments are as follows:

    4. Brian M , 6. Marie , 7. Pam B , 8 and 12. Ed, 13. Donna M , and 19. Wanda .

    While it is reasonable to expect that a household might have a few different ArborUpdate commenters, 6 different screen names from the same IP making related comments on the same thread has at least the appearance of dishonesty. Please pick a consistent screen name and use it for all of your comments. Further abuse may lead to our banning your IP address.

    If you feel this message is in error, please contact .

       —Murph    Aug. 1 '08 - 08:42PM    #
  24. Can anybody verify that Candidate Clayton’s home is, in fact, in foreclosure? That could be very damaging to his candidacy even though foreclosures are common and Clayton may have a good reason for this (e.g dispute as to amount owed to the bank).

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 1 '08 - 09:54PM    #
  25. Candidate Clayton’s home is NOT in foreclosure. As you may know, foreclosure is a legal process by which a mortgage company initiates foreclosure proceedings. As Mr. Koroi notes, the homeowner may be withholding funds for any number of reasons. In order for any disputes to be resolved, the mortgage company must, by law, file a public notice of default. The notice must be published for four weeks. The foreclosure can be resolved simply by paying the amount of money owed or coming to some other agreement with the mortgage company that resolves the issue.

       —Jackie1    Aug. 1 '08 - 11:55PM    #
  26. To be clear, having property in ‘foreclosure proceedings’ is just that … the process is cumbersome and can be aborted. However, Mr. Clayton’s repeated postings in the Washtenaw Legal News are too numerous to mention. For a sample: See Washtenaw Legal News dated 8/9/07, also 8/23/07, continued again in May 2008 and on and on… We cannot write this off as a ‘misunderstanding’. Postings clearly state: “DEFAULT HAS BEEN MADE ...” Mr. Clayton needs to explain the situation. As a wannabe County leader, it would be sad to see such ‘financial misunderstandings’ manifest themselves at the County level. We would be the losers.

       —search 4 truth    Aug. 2 '08 - 01:10AM    #
  27. Jackie 1: What is your source that the home of Jerry Clayton is not in foreclosure, and as to the other posters, what evidence is there that he owns a house in foreclosure proceedings?

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 2 '08 - 01:10AM    #
  28. I agree with Mark that evidence would be nice. 8-)

       —David Cahill    Aug. 2 '08 - 07:28PM    #
  29. It’s real easy to second guess quaterbacking” Neither clayton or bilek could have controlled the out come in w willow.He Ca and Will take action after all the DUE process has been afforded to everyone under the constitution.AS forbilak stsing demands from employee’s,What a joke, both citizen’s and employee’s get what they give.Godd luck when that old woamn fires all the current emplyee’s,or gets sued for not giving dur process.Minzey will take action only afteradjudication.BUT I GUESS the other candidates are not fimilar with DUE PROCESS>They are both a joke”.I will be the first to complain if the sheriff doesnt do whats right after all court rulings are in.As for clayton i worked with him ,he has no personel skills, criminal,and only was promoted by schebil for political reasons.ASK THE Unions about how they like clayton As for the other candidate,just stay at home, you have no clue,on being in law enforcement”> Retire Deputy Tom Peters

       —tom peters    Aug. 3 '08 - 06:07AM    #
  30. Mr. Peters, you’re entitled to your opinion, but so are the rest of us. Taxpayers have a right to expect any police agency not to overrun its budget year after year after year.

    I have not seen the video of what happened in West Willow, but a I know a number of veteran law enforcement folks who have. They say what the video shows is a police agency out of control. “Those guys KNEW they were being videotaped,” one says, “And they didn’t care.” Another adds: “It’s time to put the grown-ups back in charge at the sheriff’s department.”

    Sheriff Minzey asked the county board to pay his legal bills for suing the county itself. That request was pretty much laughed off the agenda, and that denial became the central focus of the sheriff’s lawsuit. I myself, as county clerk, was called to testify for hours at a deposition, on this momentous issue of the treatment of the sheriff’s request for legal fees to sue the county. A whole bunch of very high priced lawyers were there too. And other depositions went on longer than mine. Tell me, Mr. Peters, why this was such a good idea for Sheriff Minzey to waste all this money?

    This morning (Saturday) I heard Jim Fink, conservative attorney and former sheriff’s deputy, strongly urge a vote for Clayton. Jim Fink and I have little in common politically, but we both agree that Minzey has been a huge embarrassment to Washtenaw County.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 3 '08 - 09:42AM    #
  31. I should add, not necessarily in counterpoint to the above, that I like Dan Minzey, I supported him in 2000 and 2004, I defended him for years, and I encouraged conciliation between him and the county board.

    When people criticized him for not having overtime under control, I pointed out that he had fewer tools to manage this than his predecessor. I urged his critics to be patient, and let him work to manage what everyone admits is a very difficult job.

    I defended Minzey and his record in office until it became impossible to do so. The Ann Arbor News editorial is a good summary of why.

    Apparently Mr. Minzey agrees, because he has not been willing to show up at candidate forums and defend his own record.

    If substance matters in this primary, Jerry Clayton will be successful.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 3 '08 - 06:19PM    #
  32. Here is a link to the POW! website, which includes two articles on the sheriff’s race. The articles are too long to post here. Both were written by County Commissioner Conan Smith.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 4 '08 - 09:37PM    #
  33. “I defended Minzey and his record in office until it became impossible to do so. The Ann Arbor News editorial is a good summary of why.”

    A link to the editorial endorsing Jerry Clayton.

       —Bruce Fields    Aug. 5 '08 - 02:28AM    #
  34. Larry Kestenbaum is one of the nicest people I know. If he is fed up with Minzey, that’s enough for me.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 5 '08 - 03:34AM    #
  35. If Minzey was so bad, why has he been able to collect far more contributions for his campaign than Clayton and why are the deputy’s and command officers’ unions so supportive of him?

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '08 - 04:52AM    #
  36. Having spent a chunk of the late afternoon out Dexter way, I saw any number of Minzey signs … not the modest little signs we make do with round these wiccan infested parts but rather the SUPER SHERIFF-SIZED SIGNS you need for serious campaigning.

    I’ll be voting for Clayton. But suspect that Minzey could win with support in the townships.

       —HD    Aug. 5 '08 - 05:12AM    #
  37. You are correct, HD. The great irony is that in the 2000 general election it was the Ann Arbor vote that gave Minzey a narrow victory over his Republican opponent and he was trounced in the townships. If Minzey can beat Clayton (and the candidacy of Iva Jo Bielec will not help Clayton), then Minzey would have only token Republican opposition in the November General election, especially if the Michigan Republican Party does not offer substantial funding to the security guard running unopposed on the Republican ticket.

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 5 '08 - 08:37AM    #
  38. Um, no, Mark, I don’t agree with your analysis at all. In 2000, incumbent Republican sheriff Ron Schebil (who had bipartisan support and outspent Minzey almost five-to-one) ran furthest ahead of the Republican ticket in the city of Ann Arbor; in other words, Minzey was weakest there.

    For example, in my own precinct, which is strongly Democratic, Minzey beat Schebil by just a 1-vote margin.

    When I ran for county clerk in 2004, also against a popular incumbent, I figured I wasn’t likely to run as well as Minzey did in the townships, but I could do a whole lot better than he did in the city. And I did.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 5 '08 - 03:29PM    #
  39. Larry,
    I just returned from voting, and though you ran unopposed, I voted for you anyway :)

    I also voted for Jerry Clayton as I know him personally and I too think that he would do a wonderful job putting the Sheriff’s Dept back on the “straight and narrow”.


       —annarbor1us    Aug. 5 '08 - 04:27PM    #
  40. Judging by voters I spoke to at Northside School, it appears that Clayton may do very well.

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 6 '08 - 04:48AM    #
  41. Here’s the page with the election results for the Sheriff race .

    The very quick take I have on it with about 5% of votes in is that Minzey does better in less urbanized areas.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Aug. 6 '08 - 05:10AM    #
  42. e.g. Clayton wins Ypsi City 1-1 156-34, but loses Lima Twp 48-118.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Aug. 6 '08 - 05:13AM    #
  43. Looks like we have a new Sheriff!


    Iva Jo Bielec 1859 6.25% Jerry L. Clayton 16027 53.87% Daniel J. Minzey 11838 39.79% Write IN:

    From the Washtenaw County Website, as of 12:15am

       —annarbor1us    Aug. 6 '08 - 08:17AM    #
  44. Today’s A2 News article says Minzey left his group of supporters before midnight and has not been heard from since.

    I wonder if they’re going to take his mug pic off the gas pumps now or wait ‘til November.

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 6 '08 - 06:33PM    #
  45. That’s going to be a lot of gas pump. I’d swear I saw one at every station I got gas from.

    On a side note, I was about 5’ from Jerry Clayton when it became apparent that he beat out Minzey for the Sheriff’s position. He appeared quite humbled by the whole experience. I’ve got a feeling he’ll do a fantastic job, but he’s going in with a whole host of issues he’ll have to deal with…no thanks to Minzey.

       —annarbor1us    Aug. 6 '08 - 08:18PM    #
  46. I must say I’m uneasy about having found myself on the same side of this race as the Ann Arbor News. Favoring the minority candidate over the white guy is not a traditional position of a conservative newspaper. Pardon my cynicism, but perhaps this is a maneuver for a Republican victory in November.

    I would have felt better if Jerry Clayton’s answers to questions #1 and #4 would have been more specific. Although perhaps he was looking to avoid making any specific criticisms regarding the Lee brothers’ incident, because the lawsuits are still pending in federal court. Isn’t that always the situation where by the time there are no longer any pending lawsuits and public officials are free to make specific comments on a case—the incident is long past.

    I read a A2 News comment that stated that Clayton was on the SWAT team while he was an officer at Washtenaw. If anyone has any additional information on this…

    There’s a recent article about a SWAT team in Maryland delivering a package of marijuana to the doorstep of a household, in an effort to bust a pot smuggling scheme. Immediately after the package was retrieved by someone inside, the SWAT team “with guns drawn kicked in the door and stormed in, shooting to death the couple’s two dogs and seizing the unopened package.” It turns out the couple (the mayor and his wife) were not involved in the pot smuggling scheme and were innocent victims of the raid, along with the dogs.

    What especially strikes me about this story is why didn’t the SWAT team wait and see if the couple contacted the authorities after opening the package? The couple’s failure to do this within, say, an hour, would have been a good indication that they were complicit in the scheme. The extreme action that was chosen by the SWAT team was premature, with disastrous results, especially for the two dogs.

    I would like to see Jerry Clayton assure the voters that he will conduct a thorough review of Washtenaw’s SWAT team’s policies and procedures, should he win in November. This will do well to differentiate him from the former Sheriff, who seemed to be lax in that regard.

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 10 '08 - 08:33PM    #
  47. Michael, I assure you, the chances of a Republican victory in Washtenaw County this November are pretty much nil.

    Time will tell, but I’m pretty confident Jerry Clayton will uphold good policies in office.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 11 '08 - 08:19AM    #
  48. What a shame that voters are blinded to the source of real corruption and mismanagement in county government in the person of Bob Guenzel. He has been “working” a power trip in county government for at least 25 years, possibly more, including his former stint as corporation counsel. Anyone who truly believes that the county budget woes will be ameliorated by electing a new sheriff is naive. Guenzel and his good buddy Ed P., editor of the Ann Arbor News go way back as union-busting, institutional racists as many long-time county employees know. It helps to hide history when you want to remove your opposition, as was done by Guenzel and Ed. P. County budget woes are exacerbated by a deplorable economy under strain of new construction of county facilities and possibly a new jail, that Guenzel could not get with Minzey in the way. Despite the fact that Clayton is black, he is a good man in an impossible position without any real chance of changing the institutional racist culture of Washtenaw County government. Anyone who has been in county administration for over 20 years is the core of its problem, including fiscal mismanagement. Too bad voters don’t bother to do good research before voting. So what, Clayton is black, and the only elected Ann Arbor black in a countywide position. Yet we ask Minzey to leave, despite a drunk for a drain commissioner, and a prosecuting attorney who botched a major rape case. Minzey was not the problem. Years of corruption in county government is the problem. A boatload of revenue is about to be made on housing foreclosures. Ann Arbor ranks fourth in the nation, not the state in assessing higher mortgage rates to blacks! Minzey was not and is not the problem. Oh well, Detroit has Kwame and we have Washtenaw County government. No vote for change in either one of those.

       —Audrey Jackson    Aug. 11 '08 - 09:20AM    #
  49. “Years of corruption in county government…”


       —Bruce Fields    Aug. 11 '08 - 04:33PM    #
  50. I like to think of myself as a contrarian, often skeptical of the conventional wisdom, but Audrey leaves me far behind in that department.

    A few specific points of disagreement.

    Guenzel and his good buddy Ed P., editor of the Ann Arbor News

    It wouldn’t surprise me that Bob and Ed are on pretty good terms, but if so, why did Bob Guenzel find it necessary to write an open letter to the News complaining about their coverage of the sheriff issue?

    a new jail, that Guenzel could not get with Minzey in the way.

    At no point did Sheriff Minzey articulate an alternative vision to expanding the jail, the smallest in the state on a per capita basis. He supported the 2005 jail millage. He argued against the scaled-down proposals since then on the basis that they don’t provide enough jail capacity.

    [Clayton] is a good man in an impossible position without any real chance of changing the institutional racist culture

    At least within the sheriff’s department, the sheriff is king, with constitutional authority over all personnel decisions and policy. Moreover, dealing with biased policing is Clayton’s expertise. Give him a year or so, and then tell me he hasn’t changed anything.

    A boatload of revenue is about to be made on housing foreclosures.

    I would imagine somebody is making money on housing foreclosures, but it’s not the county. Tax assessments and transfer tax revenue are down in part because there have been so many foreclosures.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 11 '08 - 06:55PM    #
  51. I’m with Larry.

    Years of corruption in county government is the problem. ... Ann Arbor ranks fourth in the nation, not the state in assessing higher mortgage rates to blacks.

    Note that the study on mortgages analyzed Metropolitan Statistical Areas, so this is not “Ann Arbor”, but the “Ann Arbor MSA”, which is Washtenaw, Livingston, and Lenawee Counties.

    And, while predatory lending is a real problem, I don’t see the connection to the County government as the cause of it. (And especially not the cause of it across three Counties…)

       —Murph    Aug. 11 '08 - 08:55PM    #
  52. Audrey, thank you regarding your observations, especially those regarding the dismissal of the rape case by Judge Swartz last May as reported on so admirably by Art Aisner in the Ann Arbor News; this was just another example why Brian Mackie’s office has been a general embarrassment. Mackie’s staff in the last several years has filed weak or outright frivolous charges against civil rights activists. These include the 21 anti-KKK protestors in 1998, of whom 20 were acquitted or obtained dismissals, the only conviction being of Tom Doxey for allegedly striking a cop with a rock (he got 9 months probation). Then came the obstruction case of Dr. Catherine Wilkerson which resulted in a jury acquittal last December. These charges were viewed as politically motivated. The really serious criminal cases, such as the Clifton Lee, Jr. death are ignored by Mackie’s office. This is why civil rights activists took a very active position in opposing the judicial candidacy of Margaret Connors, who played a key role in both of the aforesaid prosecutions of civil rights activists. Eric Gutenberg’s background was scrutinized and he was deemed to be acceptable; he won one of two judicial primary winner slots despite holding a supervisory position in Mackie’s office, although Mrs. Connors lost despite having the endorsement and/or contributions of all five circuit court judges. You would probably take solace in the fact that there is a registered political action committee known as People Against Corruption that has attempted to educate citizens in Washtenaw County; they maintain a website known as Their allegations on that site are astounding.

       —Mark Koroi    Aug. 12 '08 - 01:25AM    #
  53. Larry, I’m puzzled by the near certainty you expressed that the Republican candidate will not be elected Sheriff in November. Just a few posts earlier you mentioned the Republican, Ron Schebil, who held the Sheriff’s office in Washtenaw in 2000. That was just 8 years ago. This same Republican had defeated the Democrat in 1996 with 58% of the vote. That’s not exactly a squeaker.

    What’s up your sleeve, Larry? Do you have a “special” Diebold patch for the voting machines? (That was a joke! Lest I be charged with “Conspiracy to commit voter fraud” or somesuch.)

    But seriously, I wouldn’t put it past the A2 News to be positioning for a November Republican victory with its recent endorsement of the minority non-incumbent candidate in the Democratic race. If the election nears, and the media gives the Clayton/foreclosure thing legs—then you’ll know I was onto something.

    As for your confidence that Jerry Clayton “will uphold good policies” after elected, with all due respect, you had the same confidence at this stage in Minzey, and look how that turned out. So I was thinking that maybe this time, rather than waiting to see how he does after elected, we should be pro-active in our expectations, and demand a pre-office commitment from Jerry Clayton that he will take up the task that his predecessor never started—review the policies and procedures that led to the asphyxiation-by-mace death of Clifton Lee Jr., and the beating of his brother, Bruce Lee.

    Please revise your expressed optimism, Larry. Because I’m concerned that if Clayton gets too comfortable thinking that he already has it locked up—then he will see no need to assure the voters that he will fix what Minzey screwed up and left undone. Let Clayton know that it could be a close race and that he is going to have to EARN a victory in November. Don’t tell him about the Diebold patch. :-)

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 12 '08 - 07:29PM    #
  54. The man running against Jerry Clayton is a security guard with no police experience….

    I agree with Mr Kestenbaum. Jerry will do just fine….

       —annarbor1us    Aug. 12 '08 - 07:56PM    #
  55. Mark, what has happened is that Washtenaw County, year by year over the past 40 years, has been gradually shifting from strongly Republican to strongly Democratic.

    No, it’s not because of the student vote. Students cast only a small percentage of Washtenaw County’s votes, and indeed, over much of that period, college students have become more conservative. But the county as a whole, pretty much every section of it, has been getting more liberal, and voting more Democratic.

    Twelve years ago, in 1996, against a Democratic candidate who didn’t have much of a campaign, Ron Schebil was re-elected sheriff with only 58%. If he had been an equally longtime member of Congress, that kind of number (below 60%) against a weak opponent would have put him on target lists.

    In 2000, seeking re-election, Schebil was a respected longtime sheriff who had bipartisan support (including an Ann Arbor News ad listing prominent “Democrats for Schebil”). His campaign spent well over $100,000, outspending Minzey almost five-to-one. Moreover, a Green Party candidate took 6,000 votes that might otherwise have gone to Minzey.

    Yet Minzey won by 8,000 votes — pretty much because he was the Democrat.

    And since 2000, Washtenaw County has only become even more strongly Democratic. Unlike most places, Kerry-Edwards pulled a better percentage in this county (63.4%) than Gore-Lieberman did (59.8%).

    I absolutely agree that citizens should be pro-active in pinning down new officials before they take office. Notwithstanding the likely election outcome, I doubt Jerry Clayton, or anyone in his shoes, would be truly “comfortable” at this moment, given the huge challenges ahead in coping with the issues in the department.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 12 '08 - 09:12PM    #
  56. Oops, that last comment should have been directed to Michael, not Mark. My apologies.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 12 '08 - 09:20PM    #
  57. “what has happened is that Washtenaw County, year by year over the past 40 years, has been gradually shifting from strongly Republican to strongly Democratic.”

    You can see this shift most dramatically in the Townships. Just 10 years ago, Pittsfield and Scio Townships were reliably Republican strongholds. Now the shift to the Democrats has been so strong that former Republicans, such as the likely future Township Supervisor in Scio, Spaulding Clark, have to run as Democrats to get elected.

    One trend that hasn’t been noted but may have an impact on some of the regional efforts is the backlash that appears to have run through the Northfield Township primaries. While the current supervisor and board have held the line against massive development proposals, got on board with the Greenbelt concept and have supported the WALLY commuter rail proposal, the primaries saw those running on pro-development, anti-regionalism platforms lead the vote totals among Northfield voters. What impact could that have? You could have Northfield becoming the home for a lot of bad sprawl development including massive retail development at the US-23/North Territorial interchange while losing the Township’s support for regional efforts to preserve farmland and extend commuter rail to Livingston County. In short, it’s a disturbing turn of events up there and one that could have an impact beyond Northfield.

       —John Q.    Aug. 13 '08 - 01:32AM    #
  58. Hello. I am so shocked about what goes on under our noses. I guess if people weren’t so involved in trying to just make it on a day by day basis they might be able to pay attention to politics in their own county. If someone gains a seat in our gov. through deception and I knew about it I sure wouldn’t be letting them get away with it so I thank you people who are trying to expose these scum bags. From what I have seen so far there has been a lot going on that I have been ignorant about. I will be paying more attention from now on and I will try to contribute some worthy writings when I get a thought or 2. It’s great that some people here put many links to help people make good choices by doing their own research on the allegations that they make against those seeking a public office. We need more people who pay attention to the family trees that fertilize the court system with people that don’t have my best interest in their agenda. Anyone who believes that being in any public office for a long time guarantees a better candidate than some one who has almost no experience is not in my opinion giving any more thought to who they elect than just voting for an incumbent.

    It doesn’t take a person with more than a 12th grade education to look at the books and see where the problems are and fix them. Most of the time the problems are with those who have held an office for a long time and have built up a credit of favors from others in in public service. These jobs are not hard or impossible for just anybody to do. An idiot could hold so many of these positions and just collect a paycheck and in fact that is the case in many of these people who are running or already incumbents. I will be watching and I hope the supporters of those who I disagree with provide much info so I can be educated as to how they came to their conclusions.Have a good day. Darryl
       —newbiedude    Aug. 14 '08 - 01:19PM    #
  59. An idiot could hold so many of these positions and just collect a paycheck and in fact that is the case in many of these people who are running or already incumbents.

    In theory, that is true: the only threshold qualification for most elected positions is winning the election. However, if you do a poor job, people are going to notice, and you won’t be there long.

    I will venture to say that, regardless of criticisms which I or others may make, no one holding local elected office in Washtenaw County is an idiot.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 14 '08 - 05:30PM    #
  60. Oh, I don’t know. What about that commissioner doofus in Superior Township who one night a couple of years ago got shitfaced with his troglodyte buddy and drove to Detroit to paint the Joe Louis fist white? As I recall he was apprehended covered in paint as he fled the city in a paint splattered pickup.

    He may not currently hold office, but the fact that he was ever elected suggests that one should not rule out the possibility of elected idiots in the county.

       —Parking Structure Dude!    Aug. 14 '08 - 06:15PM    #
  61. However, if you do a poor job, people are going to notice, and you won’t be there long.

    Larry, this is also true, in theory. However, as John Q. mentioned, Scio Township Republican Spaulding Clark and his cohorts managed to subvert this theory by merely switching parties and running as Democrats to get elected. Spaulding Clark served in Scio Township for 16 years before being booted by the voters in 2004.

    The return to office of these Scio DINOs (Democrat in name only) demonstrates the unfortunate reliance by the voters on the party designation, without considering the actual candidates who are running. Apparently, the voters who were duped by these guys’ new party designation out-numbered the people who voted them out of office in 2004. Of course, the relatively low voter turnout of the primary worked in their favor, too. The party switch was not attributed to any change in policy and the article states that they were reluctant to discuss the switch.

    In their endorsement, the Ann Arbor News agreed with Clark that “he was ousted as part of a general, nationwide discontent with the [Republican] party”. Neither he nor the News seemed to have considered the possibility that the voters were basing their 2004 decision on Clark and his fellow Republicans’ performance in office.

    I wonder how far this willingness to deceive the voters can extend. For instance, could McCain have darkened his skin with makeup and wore tattered clothes because of a general, national discontent with electing as president rich white guys?

       —Michael Schils    Aug. 14 '08 - 08:24PM    #
  62. What about that commissioner doofus in Superior Township who one night a couple of years ago got shitfaced with his troglodyte buddy and drove to Detroit to paint the Joe Louis fist white?

    I’m not sure why township park commissioners are elected. In this case, the two major parties combined did not nominate enough candidates to fill all the positions available on the township park commission, so the doofus in question, nominee of the Libertarian Party, was elected by default.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 14 '08 - 11:33PM    #
  63. Larry,

    Shouldn’t you be working during business hours?

    Keep in mind, I think that dialogue involving a public offical is a huge positive but there have to be more pressing issues than


       —anonymous observer    Aug. 15 '08 - 10:56PM    #
  64. AO, I’m county clerk 24/7, and a whole lot of what I do is communication: phone, email, and in person.

    Some days, I go from one meeting to another to another. Meeting topics in the last few days included emergency preparedness, future directions for Deeds office technology, proposed budget reductions, the impact of changes in county mail delivery, a project to automate processing for county contracts, and evaluating proposals from law firms to represent the Michigan Association of County Clerks.

    Yeah, I check in on Arbor Update now and then, and throw in a comment if I have something to say. Thanks to the “New Comments” column on the right, it’s easy to see where the activity is, if any.

    You posted your question at 2:56 pm, and I just now saw it almost four hours later. I’m still in the office at 6:47 pm on a Friday. Obviously I’m not spending much time following AU.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 16 '08 - 02:49AM    #
  65. Larry,
    Sadly, you actually had to defend yourself.

    I look forward to reading your next post.



       —annarbor1us    Aug. 16 '08 - 04:24AM    #
  66. Larry,

    You don’t have to defend yourself. Part of the job of an elected official is to be accessible to his/her constituents, are you are doing exactly what you should be doing – and you do it better than elected official I know of.

    I also note that AO posted his comment in the middle of the work day.

       —Tom Brandt    Aug. 16 '08 - 05:32AM    #
  67. Arrgh.

    That second sentence should read “... better than any elected official I know of.”

       —Tom Brandt    Aug. 16 '08 - 05:34AM    #
  68. My feelings exactly, Tom. Larry’s accesssibility is one of the reasons he had no opposition this election and, on the other hand, was a key reason “The Big Minz” got bounced in the primary.

       —Kerry D.    Aug. 18 '08 - 04:02AM    #
  69. A great deal of credit to Jerry Clayton’s victory should go to County Prosecutor Brian Mackie. Minzey had the support of most deputies and the endorsement of Congressman Dingell. Mackie’s mustering of support clearly tipped the balances in Clayton’s favor despite creating schisms in his own party. Same with the Ann Arbor District Court race in which Minzey backed Eric Gutenberg of his office over Margaret Connors, another assistant in his own office. Mackie’s endorsement was critical to Eric’s success on August 5th but likewise had to be disconcerting to Mrs. Connors and the five circuit court judges endorsing Mrs. Connors. This is especially so since Mackie’s office must appear before these judges in felony prosecutions on a regular basis. I was present at Chris Easthope’s September 10th campaign dinner and witnessed the presence of Margaret Connors and her husband, who are now actively supporting Councilperson Easthope, and are probably somewhat perturbed about Mackie’s support of Gutenberg and the deleterious effect it had on the Connors campaign. In sum, the “power play” by Mackie in support of Clayton and Gutenberg was highly successful but, on the other hand, likely made him enemies in the Minzey and Connors camps.

       —Mark Koroi    Sep. 22 '08 - 08:45AM    #
  70. In one of the final chapters of the Minzey administration, United States District Judge Sean Cox, in the U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, as reported in the Free Press and Ann Arbor News today, sentenced Washtenaw County Sheriff Deputy Kelly to one year of probation upon his November plea of deprivation of civil rights in connection with the incident involving the Lee brothers in West Willow. Sentencing guidelines called for 18-24 months of imprisonment, however Judge Cox cited a number of mitigating factors in rendering his sentence. Two other deputies were acquitted of federal charges. The surviving Lee brother, Bruce, was in the courtroom during the sentencing hearing and received an apology from Deputy Kelly.

    The Lee brothers incident in West Willow in 2006 was a key issue in the campaign that brought Jerry Clayton to victory in the sheriff’s race last year.

    The sentence handed down to Deputy Kelly was a proverbial slap on the wrist by Judge Cox, who is the brother of Republican Michigan Attorney General Michael Cox, who may be seeking the Governor’s office next year. Judge Cox was a Bush appointee and both have strong prior ties to the law enforcement community.

    The West Willow incident was a political hot potato for Prosecutor Brian Mackie, who did not bring charges in the incident.

    I feel somewhat gratified that the Lee family can now have reason to feel closure in this case with one of the deputies being convicted, although the light sentence may be disappointing to some.

    The West Willow case had been the first federal indictment of law enforcement personnel on civil rights charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit in a homicide case since the 1967 Algiers Motel incident.

    The conviction of Deputy Kelly represents the third felony conviction of a Washtenaw County Sheriff deputy in the preceding 18 months. The other two were prosecuted in the Washtenaw County Circuit court in an insurance fraud case. All three have received probation with no incarceration.

       —Mark Koroi    Mar. 19 '09 - 07:12AM    #
  71. From this article, a deputy who was involved in the West Willow incident, sent an email to dozens of employees of the Sheriff’s department, including supervisors, which read in part:

    “Miranda Rights (revised). You have the right to swing first. However, if you choose to swing first, any move you make can, and will, be used as an excuse to beat the sh** out of you,”

    Two hours later, officer Eric Kelly was captured on a patrol car video, kicking HANDCUFFED Bruce Lee twice in the back of the head, before kneeling on his neck, while he and other deputies restrained Lee’s arms and legs.

    Around the same time this was going on Bruce’s brother, Clifton Lee, also HANDCUFFED, was being smothered to death at the bottom of a pile of officers.

    Not a single officer will spend a day behind bars over this entire incident. Words fail me.

    An internal review is pending before newly-elected Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton. It remains to be seen if the new boss is same as the old boss.

       —Michael Schils    Mar. 19 '09 - 09:59PM    #
  72. Several videotapes of the Lee incident in question have been released by Sheriff Jerry Clayton and have been posted as of yesterday for downloading at the Ann Arbor News website.

       —Junior    Mar. 22 '09 - 12:22AM    #
  73. Here’s the link with the videos.

       —Michael Schils    Mar. 22 '09 - 09:03PM    #
  74. The release of these videos by the newly-elected sheriff marks a welcome departure from the non-transparency of the previous administration. The contents of the videos and the “reverse discrimination” lawsuit being filed by a local attorney on behalf of the suspended officers are also new topics for discussion that may be ill suited for this old thread.

    So I nominate this article for consideration as a subject for a NEW thread, which could be titled something along the lines of, “Sheriff Clayton ushers in new era of transparency by releasing videos of West Willow incident.” (Is anyone with me on this?)

       —Michael Schils    Mar. 23 '09 - 05:20PM    #
  75. Yes!

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Mar. 23 '09 - 10:24PM    #
  76. A new thread would be appropriate. The Ann Arbor News already has received over one hundred reader comments in the first few days of its posting for downloading of the videos in question.

    I revived this long dormant thread several days ago because the West Willow incident was a key campaign issue in the Sheriff’s race and mentioned on the thread prominently.

       —Mark Koroi    Mar. 24 '09 - 12:28AM    #
  77. A new thread has been started. Apologies for the delayed response.

       —Matt Hampel    Mar. 29 '09 - 10:42PM    #
  78. Thank you, Matt. I trusted that at least one AU administrator would appreciate the virtues of government transparency. (And you were The One…)

       —Michael Schils    Mar. 31 '09 - 05:41AM    #
  79. Thanks for the new thread!!

       —Junior    Apr. 4 '09 - 09:59PM    #
  80. Matt, I request that you reconsider your decision to close down the new thread because of name-calling. Giving participants who engage in personal attacks the power to end entire discussions sets a bad precedent and unfairly punishes the other participants.

    I suggest that a better alternative would be to reopen the thread and delete the offending comment, and maybe even block its author, but let the rest of us continue our discussion.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 20 '09 - 12:35PM    #
  81. I shall second the request of the prior post. I deplore name-calling as much as anyone else, but stifling needed public discourse on an issue that has such profound public policy implications is detrimental to the public interest and, further, advances only the goals of the offending poster.

    The same phenomenon has already occurred as the Gaza vigil thread.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 20 '09 - 07:41PM    #
  82. So the entire thread was shut down because one anonymous participant
    called another anonymous participant a “sad pathetic person”. Who
    cares? They’re both anonymous so it isn’t like anyone’s reputation is
    being damaged by this name-calling. I’ve seen worse on Arbor Update
    that didn’t draw such a harsh administrative response.

    Me thinks there is more to it, and there must have been some
    behind-the-scenes politics involved in the decision to close the

       —Darryl    Apr. 20 '09 - 08:47PM    #
  83. I have just written the words “sad pathetic person”.

    So that means this discussion must automatically be closed. It is awe-inspiring to have such power to end discussions.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 20 '09 - 09:10PM    #
  84. You know I just have a hard time letting this one go. This is BS ( stands for big stupidity so I dont get banned from this site ) I was learning about the wrongs of the sheriff dept. because the ann arbor news was so deficient of its coverage and accuracy of this case and now for some sad pathetic BS reasoning the entire thread is down and I am one ticked off sad pathetic person. Oh nooo what did I just do. Now I will be responsible for shutting down this thread cause I called some one a poopy name. I wonder if anyone can close a thread for such a stupid pathetic reason? I wonder if this whole thread will be shut down by a stupid pathetic person or will a person with good common sense leave it alone and lift the shut down order on the west willow comments because there was some good education from that section. It just smacks of dirty play when it is shut down for such a silly reason. The only sane explanation there can be is that some one didnt like the way they were being represented. I feel very insulted that you think that I am that stupid that I would believe the section had to be shut down for that reason.

    I call on you Matt to reconsider your decision or open yourself up to ?s of your own credibility when it comes to making big important decisions like shutting down a section for such sad and pathetic reasons. I say good day and if you are insulted by anything I just wrote here you shouldnt be unless you are flat out the most saddest and pathetic person I have ever known.
       —Darryl    Apr. 20 '09 - 09:25PM    #
  85. I certainly would not call anyone in the sheriff’s department “sad” or “pathetic”, or anything even the slightest bit negative. When they kill people, it is always because they have a Tough Job in a Tough Neighborhood. Even if they have to kill the entire neighborhood in order to save it.

    I would also never, ever, call Matt “sad” or “parthetic” for closing down entire discussions of Gaza or of West Willow, which actually have some major similarities (Tough Job in Tough Neighborhood).

    When Matt shuts down criticism of Our Men in Blue, it is simply because he has a Tough Job in a Tough Neighborhood.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Matt, for not shutting down this thread yet. You are the most merciful of all possible Arbor Update administrators.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 20 '09 - 09:47PM    #
  86. I am the guilty party. I sincerely apologize. However if I did not bring up the points that I did the west willow thread would been most of you agreeing with each other on one of the most misleadingly dishonest threads I have ever seen on the internet.

    I am curious how to reconcile suggesting banning anyone from a posting board and comparing the west willow incident to the civil right movement…………..or am I not entitled tp voice an opinion
       —ziggy selbin    Apr. 20 '09 - 09:49PM    #
  87. Re Post#85: The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department may more appropriately be identified as the “Men in Brown”, though not to be confused with the “Brownshirts” of the days of yore in post-World War I Germany.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 20 '09 - 10:31PM    #
  88. I called my self a sad and pathetic person also and any body should be able to read and figure that out. It just means that they ( men in blue) are no better than me because they have a gov. or I mean a socialized job. I dont think people should just get shot cause they are in a bad neighborhood. Thats pretty bad and heretic not sad and pathetic. No excuse to kill an innocent person.

       —Darryl    Apr. 20 '09 - 10:38PM    #
  89. I applaud the moderators from keeping this blog from becoming another mlive. Can’t say the same for any of the threads on this subject, however.

       —come up for air    Apr. 20 '09 - 10:45PM    #
  90. It is so nice to see how the threat of closing down discussion has made this a pleasant place to pass the afternoon. No more complaining about our men in blue, brown, or whatever fine uniform they are sporting, as they chat with their many friends in West Willow.

    This is truly Freedom of Speech at its finest.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 20 '09 - 10:49PM    #
  91. You’re right, ziggy; you certainly should be allowed to express your dissenting viewpoint. So I retract my suggestion that banning you would have been a better alternative than closing down the thread. It’s just that your repeated postings where you asserted essentially the same argument started to resemble spam a bit. Perhaps the moderators here will better receive your comments if rather than calling people “sad, pathetic, and dumb”, you instead explain exactly why you feel their arguments are such.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 20 '09 - 11:19PM    #
  92. This is a good illustration of how censorship leads you to censor yourself. All comments about the police’s conduct, and about their superiors’ conduct, have ceased.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 20 '09 - 11:33PM    #
  93. Actually, this thread was “resurrected” at Post#70 after being dormant for six months; since the West Willow incident was apparently a key factor in Mize’s election defeat, I assume that one can resume posts on the Lee incident here without being deleted as “off-topic”.

    Although I much rather see the closed thread re-opened.

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 20 '09 - 11:38PM    #
  94. I was following the thread and found it to be quite interesting and informative, and I am disappointed that no further comments will be

    Please reconsider opening it up again.

       —Simmie    Apr. 21 '09 - 02:22AM    #
  95. Thanks for moving the conversation away from personal insults to respectful discussion. We’ve re-opened the thread.

       —Matt for Arbor Update    Apr. 21 '09 - 05:54AM    #
  96. Apologies have been said and now it is time to reopen the thread so lets get with it. There seems to be no reason not to. A lot of people here want to see more of this situation as it plays out and we all love hearing ziggies world cause it reminds us of what it means to be mediocre and kill people who are a threat to you. Police need to have the highest regard for human life that goes beyond normal people. Thats why they are police. To protect and serve. If anyone could be an officer they probably would but the police have a higher standard because they do face situations that would make a normal person fall apart under the pressure. If an officer cant live up to those standards and lives in ziggies world its ok but in the real world you need to be fired and punished for breaching your contract with the very people you are protecting. In no way do I see a reason for someone to die for the blatant crime of living in the wrong part of the city. Did anyone at the scene of the crime have a gun? Who at the scene didnt have a gun? Its that simple. How can at least 10 officers who all have guns be threatened by a fewer # of citizens who dont have guns or even mace. Oh I forgot the citizens also had the reputation of the bad neighborhood behind them making it impossible for the officers in question to make rationale decisions cause they were scared of the reputation.

       —Darryl    Apr. 21 '09 - 05:57AM    #
  97. I apologize to Matt as I see he has reopened the thread and I thank him for it.

       —Darryl    Apr. 21 '09 - 06:01AM    #
  98. Thanks for re-opening the thread!

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 21 '09 - 06:11AM    #
  99. Thanks Matt. From your message in the reopened thread:

    [update 4/20/09] Missing from this thread is a long personal attack by ziggy selbin.

    So it wasn’t the “sad pathetic person” comment (which still remains in the thread) that made you pull the plug. It was the “long personal attack” which nobody had a chance to see because you must have deleted it before you closed the thread. OK, now it’s starting to make sense.

    Matt, in the future, if someone posts some long personal attack against myself, please just go ahead and leave it. Personal attacks don’t bother me, as I’ve probably been called worse, and deleting the offending comment without giving an indication that you have done so, seems to create more confusion than it is worth.

    One of the drawbacks of a moderated forum, as compared to the “rawness” of an mlive-type forum, is that a moderated forum gives a false sense that people aren’t as ignorant and racist/classist as they truly are. When I view the mlive comments, I can get a much clearer picture of exactly what was at play when the judge and jury acquitted the officers. But the drawback of mlive is that wading through the wave after wave of almost identical imbecilic comments can get a bit tedious, to which it is nice to return to Arbor Update for a higher level of discourse.

       —Michael Schils    Apr. 21 '09 - 09:00AM    #
  100. Since Dan Minzey’s term of Sheriff expired on December 31st last year, does anyone know what he has been doing?

       —Mark Koroi    Apr. 24 '09 - 12:04AM    #
  101. Out of all those thousands of gas stations sporting his picture, you would think that one has a job for him. They would probably require that he not kill their customers, or allow anyone under his supervision to do so.

    Of course, if he worked in West Willow, pumping gas, and a customer looked suspicious, I suppose all bets would be off. Of course, that would be impossible, as we have already read so much about the friendly relations that exists between our men in blue and the neighbors of West Willow.

    But I would never call him “sad” or “pathetic”. That could close down this whole discussion.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 24 '09 - 12:13AM    #
  102. I believe Minzey now works for a private security firm. Something akin to a “Wackenhut”.

       —scooter62    Apr. 24 '09 - 01:46AM    #
  103. Does anyone have an opinion on the job performance of Jerry Clayton almost four months in to his term?

       —Junior    Apr. 25 '09 - 09:13PM    #
  104. His deputies have not killed any unarmed people, so far.

       —The Colonel    Apr. 25 '09 - 09:21PM    #