Wednesday, March 21, 2012
“Let’s Send the Letter” Allen Park Votes
“I’d rather fight the devil I can see than the devil I can’t.” Allen Park Mayor William Matakas spoke against the vote at the emergency meeting last night after the panel voted to send a letter to the State asking for financial review.
I shook my head as I listened to Councilman Dennis Hayes state, “I would say do it as quick as possible, tonight if we could, but since we can’t, first thing tomorrow.”
Allen Park residents clapped as the vote was approved. It was almost as if the citizens believed if the State came in and reviewed the current financial status they would have answers. I could only continue to shake my head while thinking of a term labeling people blinded and easily led: “Sheeple.”
The panel was aware that the State had told them it would be better if they waited until after the May 8th millage election. Not one person appeared to care there was a reason for that warning by the State.
I wanted to laugh in disbelief when I heard someone on the panel say: “Well, he went into Pontiac and Ecorse and advised them.” I wanted to shout out “and they both have Emergency Financial Managers now, don’t they?” I didn’t, only because I knew it would fall on deaf ears.
The Allen Park residents didn’t seem concerned about their city falling into the hands of the State. Their focus was on the Ice Arena. I couldn’t believe they were shouting out “privatize.” One by one, people came to the podium and talked about means to save “the ice.” They talked of private donations, privatization, everything and anything that would save “hockey.” Yes, Sheeple.
I listened to an hour and a half, mainly about the arena. There was little talk of the entire recreation center, but there was some. I couldn’t believe that the Department of Parks and Recreation hasn’t had a plan in place since 2001. That one simple neglect has cost that department thousands in grant money. I, also, found it interesting that Wayne County had to contact Allen Park and tell them they had $120,000 in grant money waiting for them to update the park system. The Department of Parks and Recreation should have been up on what is allocated to them and the neglect of this matter is unacceptable. Oh, but then it doesn’t involve the beloved hockey arena, an area that I felt was directly about the adults and their passions.
The people of Allen Park don’t realize or understand that the appointment of an Emergency Financial Manager isn’t something the city “asks” for. It is someone the Governor decides to appoint, like it or not. I know Mayor Matakas is well aware of the way the Governor is pouncing when he can smell the weakness in any city. The EFM is not something a city wants to fall to. I guess examples of Benton Harbor, where the city has lost all control, property sold, counsel ousted (and they even need special EFM permission to attend city meetings,) Mayor non-exist, isn’t a good enough example. The EFM won’t care about the beloved “ice” that the residents are so concerned about. He will sell it to the highest bidder, making it almost impossible for even the residents to be able to afford ice time, much less allow it to the school system. Maybe he will even sell the space to Westinghouse for storage.
I spoke to two residents after the meeting and they agreed that the people of Allen Park only care about the big recreation center and the ice arena. They both agreed the people “just don’t get the seriousness of an EFM against our freedoms of a city.”
My job is going to be to try and help Mayor Matakas get his 4 mill, two year, tax increase. I will shout it from rooftops to all Allen Park residents until they understand that an EFM isn’t going to come in and assist the Mayor and the counsel in fixing the financial issues in Allen Park. The EFM is going to sell off everything they can…they call all of the shots…and the residents have no recourse.
The police and firefighters are against taking a cut and the union is backing them, but wouldn’t a cut in pay and benefits be better than the union contract being canceled and the city police and fire fighters being privatized or sent to another city to absorb? These are the things that happen when an EFM is in place. Do your homework!
So, to you Allen Park residents…VOTE and PASS that millage on MAY 8th…or your praised “Ice” may become a thing of the past, along with the city police, fire fighters, paramedics, garbage collection, and taxes may increase anyway, because the ONLY person the EFM answers to is the Governor.
Be careful what you wish for.
Till the next time…