• Title: Where's our Democracy?
  • Author: Phil Bellfy (East Lansing, MI.)
  • Date: 04/22/2009
  • Additional Categories: Recent Essays, Phil Bellfy

Where's our Democracy?

We are deeply concerned that our rights as citizens are being violated
by the East Lansing City Council, and you can read about some of those
concerns in the Complaint that has been filed with the Attorney
General's office( AG's Office).
But our immediate concern is the pending purchase
of the properties on Evergreen Road. The city has already spent
$585,000 (DDA tax revenue) and is poised to spend over $5 million more
--this will be borrowed money, backed by the taxpayers, in the form of
Bond Anticipation Notes. Our opposition to this purchase is probably
a lost-cause because the city claims that the DDA is on "auto-pilot"
and nothing can stop them --not even the Council! How did we get to
this point in East Lansing? What's happened to our democracy? Please
write the Council and let them know how you feel about throwing over
$5.5 million down the City Center II rat-hole.

Our other concern stems from the fact that the city appears to have
taken away our right to vote on the sale of city property underlying
the CCII project, which is mandated by Section 4.8.b of the City
Charter (City Charter).
The Development Agreement with Strathmore states the the city "shall
sell" city property to them, but the Code says the city "shall not
sell" property without a 60% vote of the people. What happened to our
right to vote on this issue? Why didn't the city seek our approval
before making a contractual obligation to sell seven parcels of city
property to nearly-insolvent Strathmore? Please ask the Council to
give us our Charter-mandated right to vote on these land sales
immediately.

When you email the Council, tell them you want your letter entered
into the public record (which requires you to provide them with your
name and address) --and, thank you for standing up for your rights:
.

Phil Bellfy
East Lansing