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.
July 08, 2015
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?
July 02, 2015
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
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.
April 24, 2015
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.
April 22, 2015
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
April 09, 2015
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.
March 27, 2015
"The other prohibits "all truck traffic," with the exception of local deliveries, on W. Burdick St. between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m."
This is one part of a local ordinance that was passed a few months ago. The ordinance was meant to extend the life of the new road surface on W. Burdick. What I find interesting is that no longer does anyone on W. Burdick have to tolerate truck traffic of any kind between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. while those of us on East Burdick get to listen to empty gravel trucks bouncing along E. Burdick starting as early as 4:30 a.m. This part of the ordinance obviously has nothing to do with extending the life of the roadway but was meant to give residents on W. Burdick a privilege not granted to anyone else in the Village of Oxford. The article goes on to quote a W. Burdick resident stating how the lack of truck traffic has improved the quality of life for them and another states that there shouldn't be trucks running up and down a residential road. (Here is a bulletin for the Council, there are no more businesses E. Burdick than W. Burdick so I would surmise that makes us residential as well). I can appreciate how the W. Burdick residents feel about having the truck traffic removed from their street. Given that those of us on E. Burdick get to listen to empty gravel trucks bouncing down E. Burdick as early as 4:30 a.m. This a particularly enjoyable experience in warmer weather when you may have a window open at night or are attempting to listen to the television.
Since we now seem to have a Village governing body that passes ordinances to benefit certain residents to give them what the residents themselves will tell you is a better quality of life and possibly even improve property values for them and do nothing like this to benefit the rest the residents makes me stop and have second thoughts about some things.
I knew when I bought my home that there would be truck traffic on the street and have listened to it for years, as the pavement deteriorates the noise level increases as has the traffic however when the Village passed the new ordinance they gave benefits to some people that all Village residents should be able to enjoy.
As a resident of the of Oxford for 43 years 22 of which I have been a Village resident I have seen a many changes to the area and watched it grow. When we begin passing ordinances that benefit a specific group and in general does nothing for the rest of the residents I think it's time to look at how this happened and why the Council thought that passing this ordinance that benefits only a few was proper. Perhaps we approaching the time when we need to look at how we are governed and consider some alternatives.
March 22, 2015
I can't believe the proposed increases in salaries for these two positions? With wage growth nonexistent over the past 6 years and inflation below 1% how can you possibly justify raises of 8% and 24% respectively? I guess when you're the one who decides if you should get a raise then it's pretty easy to justify? The problem with spending other people's money is eventually you run out (Margaret Thatcher)?
March 10, 2015
I'm sorry Mr Rush had such an awful time in Royal Oak, where I have lived the past twenty years. I'm sorry that parking meters--which are also in Birmingham, as well as just about every suburb in our area--are so alien to him. I'm sorry he thinks that charging him $25 for a $10 parking ticket he decided he didn't deserve is somehow unfair, despite the fact the rules are clearly printed there. I'm sorry neither Mr Rush nor anyone else in family (apparently) has a smartphone, as there are several parking garages--some of which offer the first two hours' parking for free--which would have provided an alternative to a parking meter.
So, meanwhile, I went on to Yelp to find a nice, upscale restaurant in Oxford. There are lots of $ and $$-rated casual dining establishments--some of which are apparently quite good--but if I want a swell night out, I'm apparently out of luck. I guess you do need to get out and about for fine dining, which Royal Oak has in abundance.
I would also love to see one of these coin changers which must be so prevalent in his neck of the woods, as I have never seen them anywhere but Laundromats and the Detroit People Mover. They're not in Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, or Birmingham, either.
Next time you venture far from the comfort of your home, Mr Rush, try doing a little research (rather like I did, looking for a restaurant in Oxford). And if you break the law--parking or otherwise--don't assume you are somehow above it.
March 01, 2015