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Letters to the Editor

Did you notice from the recent televised political debates that all the presidential candidates support the middle class--so long as the nation's richest and most privileged citizens don't have to pay higher taxes and military spending can escalate? Little mention was made of income security for the increasing cadre of senior retirees who already face meager or no cost of living raises in the face of rising medical and other costs. No plans and goals for creating more higher paying jobs for middle class workers. Instead, we were told that the educational system--already gutted by Lansing and Washington politicians--is at fault for producing too few properly educated and skilled workers. Usually, shortages of valuable resources mean higher costs, but not when it comes to middle class workers whose wages have stagnated or fallen under the current political leadership where only "talented" CEOs deserve astronomical compensation and pay increases to complement their already cushy tax situations. But the candidates tell us that a flat rate tax system where millionaires and billionaires pay the same percentage rate as poverty level workers is fair. Meanwhile, our beloved governor--masquerading as a populist--is establishing a new PAC to help more talented geniuses get elected throughout Michigan. But no new PACs or plans to advocate for the middle class.

Politicians pretend to represent their constituencies as they quibble over immigration and computer servers, but no realistic or equitable answers or plans result. They purport concern for saving unborn children, yet have done little to improve wages, living conditions and opportunities for existing working families and single parents with children who struggle with low paying jobs and dwindling household incomes and net worth. America's wealthiest citizens and corporations are faring relatively well as their bank accounts grow, but only the foolish or arrogantly ignorant believe that most Americans--those who generate the nation's wealth--are receiving their fair share. If you've read the newsy email updates your elected representatives send to keep you informed, you may have noticed that the topics they tout rarely address the real issues and concerns you and your family face. Let them know. Well, they already know, but advise them you are tired of distractions and want real action and accountability--something akin to the quick action they took when Courser and friend strayed from things like more taxes for pensioners and less funding for education--on matters affecting you.

Mike Fetzer
September 20, 2015

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Thank you to the Pine Knob staff ...

Thank you to the Pine Knob staff and The Oakland County Sheriff's Department. Another great season of events has come to a close and what could have been an absolute disaster every night, with the construction, turned out to be not that bad.

We knew when we moved here 6 years ago that DTE was there before we were and they have been great neighbors. I don't think we ever heard an artist go past curfew or we never had issues with concert goers around town. When the summer first started we were having a number of people try to cut through our neighborhood (Wyndgate) after events. One phone call to the Palace and the rest of the season they had a truck blocking the front of our sub turning away anyone that didn't live here.

Big props to the deputies from Oakland County too. Rain or shine they were out there keeping traffic moving and making sure it wasn't a free for all.

I know some people grumble about the noise and the traffic, but it is going to happen no matter what when you live that close to a major music venue. The Deputies and Pine Knob staff has done a great job making sure they were good neighbors and as respectful of us residents as I could expect.

Chris Drouin
August 31, 2015

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Township considers road millage

Proposal 1 which proposed a tax increase to fix roads overwhelmingly failed in May. Now, Supervisor Kittle is proposing a PROPERTY TAX increase to fix our roads? The voters said rearrange priorities and use existing revenues! If our local elected officials believe that fixing the roads is a priority that deserves local funding, then REARRANGE LOCAL PRIORITIES AND USE EXISTING LOCAL REVENUES!!!!

The voters have already spoken.

Rick Gutowski
August 01, 2015

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Letters to the Editor

Notwithstanding the expressions of a select group of area individuals and businesses purporting interest in community development via more aggressive development of Clarkston's Main Street, the reality is that the proposed development will largely serve to financially benefit a only a relatively few wealthy individuals, all at tremendous cost to area residents. The reality is that the new businesses being planned will provide mostly very low paying service jobs which will do little or nothing to economically benefit the area's middle class residents. Indeed, it is proposed that residential apartments with parking for just a few vehicles be rezoned to allow for another restaurant, reducing the area's housing stock and moving the town further toward traffic gridlock. Oh well, at least someone will get richer from the deal. After reading about the visions for wider sidewalks and more tree space on Main Street--and viewing the ever-increasing vehicle load on the street--one wonders where all these niceties will fit! It would be great to see a stylized plan for Main Street so that those of us with perhaps less vision can visualize exactly where all the new buildings, widened street/sidewalks, trees, etc. will be placed. Meanwhile, I suspect that many who drive along Main Street on any given time are wondering if all the traffic makes a stop at Rudy's Deli or another favorite spot really worth the hassle, and ponder whether anyone who bought a beautiful house on the street is bothered by the increasing noise and traffic and regrets the purchase. Maybe they can get rezoned to commercial and move out. Oh well, at least someone will get richer. Waiters and parking attendants, get your resumes ready.

Mike Fetzer
July 08, 2015

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Buy local – unless you can save a buck and get a free cart, then forget local

If I were Odd-Job Disposal I'd pick up stakes and move to Metamora or Lake Orion. It is a shame that the council had a opportunity to support a small, local business thats rooted within our limits yet chose a big out of state owned service...all for what? A nickel a day?! I could see if they were way overpriced like some of the others...but they were in the same neighborhood. If it came down to recycling bins (which I could definitely use) they could have simply offered them on a request basis. This was a real opportunity to demonstrate loyalty to a solid and growing contributor to our local tax base. Another swing and miss. Maybe we can outsource our local government?

Mike Shea
July 02, 2015

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While Mr. Thrown may be a fine ...

While Mr. Thrown may be a fine individual, I have a number of questions regarding his placement in the position of Superintendent of Schools. First, why is the board electing to hire an individual who does not support public education (children in non-public schools) and who is not an educator (director of technology)? Second, how does the school justify hiring two superintendents, while claiming that they are saving money? Why couldn't the board find a qualified superintendent who didn't need to be mentored at the cost of $180,000 per year? Is the district wanting to same money or simply play politics?

Dr. Jerry K. Oermann
April 28, 2015

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FBI has a chat with Skilling

I am a concerned citizen of Oxford and I am appalled by the unprofessional conduct made by Mr. Skilling the Superintendent of Oxford Schools. He made statements that are unprofessional and worse are misrepresention of the truth. He is supposed to be a public servant for the community he serves. He should be disciplined for his actions.

He should not be making commits and attacking the community for which he serves. He owes Mrs. Roesner an apology and than some. She was only seeking answers to questions he and the Board of Education refuse to answer which is her civil rights. I also am 100% against this dorm and feel this should have been put on the ballat for the citizens to decide on. His conduct was inappropriate and shameful.

Laurie Winter
April 24, 2015

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Proposed supt. contract a large savings

As I read the article on the new Superintendent Thrones' contract negotiations, pleasing thoughts turned to dismay when I saw the follow up insight on Dr. Skilling’s contract.

First and foremost, how much is Skilling going to continue to take from this district? It is time for him to ride off in the sunset.

When I looked into it further and located a copy of the Consultant Contract, I was further perplexed. I am certainly not an attorney, but as a reasonably competent businessperson, I was amazed our School Board would agree to this. After a cursory read, some information that is troubling includes:

- Document Title – Consultant Contract of Employment – By nature, a consultant is not an employee. Why would the title read as such?

- Section 1. Term/3. Compensation – The contract term is defined 6/1/15 to 8/1/15. Yet, the compensation is based on annual amounts of $180,145 with the caveat that it will be prorated if the consultant works less than a full year. Why not just spell out the amount each month? It seems as if the BOD is trying to pull the wool over our eyes by getting a short-term deal approved then extend it to a long-term deal.

- 3. Compensation is defined as salary. Consultants are not employees. They are paid fees and need to produce invoices (also, no provision for invoicing)

- 5. Term Life Insurance/11. Benefits – Can a 3-month term policy or Health Insurance plan even be bought? Why not just say these items carry over from his current full time role which is seemingly the case?

- 6. Holidays – Why identify all paid holidays except those that occur during the contract term? Further evidence that there may be plans for the good Dr. to be around for a longer period of time that includes the other holidays. Also, since when does a consultant get holiday pay?

- 8. Other work/9. Conflict of Interest – I cannot believe this would be allowed, given Dr. Skillings past conflicts of interest in this area, namely with the Weiming Corporation.

- 9. Cell Phone/Electronic Communication – What are the plans to return these devices and the associated data at the end of the contract? Who owns the data?

- 12. Termination prior to Expiration Date – Reads that contract can be terminated for cause with advanced notice provided to consultant. The duration of advanced noticed and method of notice is not defined.

- 15. Totality of Terms – Provides the BOE ability to renew contract at their discretion. What a surprise!

This seems like more than a parting shot for Dr. Skilling. Did he write this contract himself? I thought we had attorneys on the Board? Good grief!

Mr. Throne, The Board of Education Office has violated the communities’ trust. Please lead the charge to rebuild it.

John VanLoon
April 22, 2015

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Rumors surround corner lot

Not every taxpayer agrees with Washington Management's Robert Roth's apparent view that investors have an absolute right to determine how land they own is used for development and profit. While investors may expect to reap rewards, their "development" efforts and profits must not ignore the views and needs of others in the community, including other taxpayers, who also have compelling interests in how the community evolves. Feudal lords and 18th century land barons may have had their way, and today's wealthy elite expect to benefit from their economic and political access and advantages, but most contemporary middle class Americans expect to have significant, meaningful input into decisions affecting their communities' overall development. They also expect public officials who are responsible to all constituents and not just to the financially privileged. Of course, wealthy corporate and individual investors who donate land for parks and other civic purposes in the communities where the investors have so richly prospered are also appreciated.

The community is grateful for all property owners who pay their taxes. Still, the fact that investors may have paid property taxes over a ten-year period in the expectation of eventually reaping a windfall does not sound like much of a risk or hardship to most middle class Americans, especially without full disclosure of the itemized expense and other deductions that may have otherwise affected the investors' balance sheets over the decade. Hopefully, none of the investors starved for lack of cake.

Investment is essential for economic growth, but investor profits must not come at the exclusion and expense of other individuals and families who might be left holding the bag with future water, traffic, infrastructure and other quality of life expenses and costs--all endured with fewer trees.

Mike Fetzer Clarkston

Mike Fetzer
April 09, 2015

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RE: D. Rush's "The Saga of Yoga ...

RE: D. Rush's "The Saga of Yoga Pants & Your Daughter"

This article is a classic example that covert sexism is alive and well today. Mr. Rush feels yoga pants are distracting to teen males because they allow one to imagine the sexual nature of the female form. There is so much that is wrong with this thinking it's difficult to know where to even begin. First, I quote Juliet Bond, LCSW, Professor at Columbia College in response to an IL school ban on yoga pants: "We are frankly shocked at this antiquated and warped message that is being sent to the kids. Under no circumstances should girls be told that their clothing is responsible for boy's bad behaviors. This kind of message lands itself squarely on a continuum that blames girls and women for assault by men. It also sends the message to boys that their behaviours are excusable, or understandable given what the girls are wearing. We really hope that you will consider the impact of these policies and how they contribute to rape culture. Girls should be able to feel safe and unashamed about what they wear. And boys need to be corrected and taught when they harass girls." Second, I have a Pakistani host-son who comes from a town where women are clothed head to toe (even eyes) for fear that (his words) "men will go crazy if they see women's bodies". How is this yoga pants issue any different? Again, it places the blame on women and the bodies they were born with. Furthermore, a friend of mine commented re: Mr. Rush's opinion, "When he was a kid, hot pants were a standard fashion! And mini and micro-mini skirts before then. And leggings (effectively same as yoga pants) have been around for ages." In fact, women's bodies have been around for ages. There's just, sadly, always men trying to control them. And lastly, just because you state "I am not a creepy old guy on the prowl for cheap thrills" doesn't make it so. That's precisely what it means whether or not that's your intent. Stop sexualizing our kids.

Kelly Teague
March 27, 2015

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