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After reading the article in the December 16, 2015 Oxford Leader about Officials rejection / denial of creating a rehab district for the Legacy Center and allowing a Tax Abatement on only the improvements made to it all I can say is one word—GREEDY

This action taken by a local government that continually sates it wants investment in the community and are “willing to work with anyone to gain investment and jobs” shows their true nature--- GREED.

Mr. Mills believed their commitment to work with a business like his (especially like his) would be valued and welcomed. So, instead of placing conditions on the purchase agreement of the property that he first must be able to obtain a tax credit or abatement for jobs he is bringing in, tax abatement for the entire existing property taxes for a few years including any improvements, he bought it without them. IF he did place those restrictions on the purchase agreement and the Oxford Township board or the state rejected them he could have walked away and the community would continue to be left with a Dilapidated Eyesore that was only a few years away from demolition due to the lack of maintenance and improvement. Thus bringing down the values of all the community along with the tax loss associated with that decrease in value.

Mr. Mills went ahead without any stipulations for tax abatements in the purchase only to be slapped in the face when he went to shake the hand of the community and ask them for some assistance and belief in the dream he has to help and be part of the Oxford community. By Allowing and supporting him (key word Allowing- as this is only a first step in the process) to apply for an abatement on ONLY the taxes that would be imposed on the IMPROVEMENTS for up to 10 years. He currently is paying 46.5% or $42,454 more in taxes than the former owner ($91,250) for a total of $133,684.00 this year. For Oxford Township Board to deny his request says only one thing—Oxford Township is GREEDY.

To relate ourselves to Mr. Mills think of buying a house. You buy a dump of a house; your taxes you pay are now 46.5% higher than what the guy had to pay that owned it before you on the same dump of a house. Then, you improve it to something that totally benefits the neighborhood and the community as a whole only to see your taxes go up another 45-50% for PERFORMING NEEDED MAINTENANCE and IMPROVING IT. See a pattern here?

I wish Mr. Mills would have bought a building or built a building in Addison Township, we would not treat him or his idea to help the community like Oxford Township did. We like what he is doing by building a community center that does not require tax dollars to build and that would never make back that cost on its investment, as all of those have done before because government should not be in that business. His concept blends all the facets you need for one to be successful Businesses, Food, Fun, Learning, Exercising, and more. The biggest part is the Businesses= Growth.

For Oxford Township to not even work with in any way and allow Mr. Mills to even apply for tax abatement on the improvements only shows the true heart of the Oxford Township Board and government ---TAX –TAX more—GREED. Oxford is not the business friendly environment that will bring more investment and jobs to the community, that environment brings the whole community and its value up which in-turn deliver more taxes collected on the many not just the one. Their actions revolted businesses that were to bring in jobs and more investment to the community, a sorely needed aspect as we are losing many more businesses, jobs and investment.

We need leaders to realize a net gain when it presents itself, not be greedy in the short term and look past the immediate to how this will grow the community and with it the tax base as a Whole.

Ron Renaud

Addison Township

Ron Renaud
December 22, 2015

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Letters to the Editor

Most agree that the holiday season is to be a time of joy and celebration, a time to enjoy family and friends, and an opportunity to recognize all that is good in our lives. Charitable giving is at its highest and corporate America will see its biggest profits of the year. Yet as we embrace the season, it is important to keep in mind that the realities of January are not far behind, when a middle class already strapped with debt and flat and declining incomes will return to their jobs with little hope for greater prosperity in the New Year. We should feel good about our charitable giving and contributions, but the reality is that the gap between nation's wealthiest citizens and our middle class will continue to widen unless we take stronger action to ensure fairness. Our state and national legislators have done little this past year to do anything other than maneuver to guarantee their own power base. When you see the national presidential candidates on stage are you anything but entertained and embarrassed? Inspired and confident?--not likely.

This year we saw no meaningful tax relief for the middle class, but corporations and the wealthy were gifted with billions in more tax credits and other write-offs. Fuel and other consumption taxes for the masses increased, but the wealthy are on course to pay their lower real tax rates in history. Meanwhile, legislators have acted to increase the national debt by billions more, all while doing nothing to strengthen social security or create anything but more low paying and part-time jobs. Nothing. But legislators, particularly at the state level, were quick to take steps to ensure they can operate with even greater secrecy and less accountability as they serve their wealthy friends and selves. And of course, their charity is always tax deductible on their tax returns.

This year, when your legislators issue their lists of legislative "accomplishments", look critically to see what items they tout really had any impact on the lives of the middle class. There will be a glaring absence of any significant tax reform or other action to ensure the security of the middle class and greater economic opportunity, and no action to secure the border or facilitate immigration reform. Instead, the middle class has been played for fools, asked again to pay more for less.

In 2016, each time you make a charitable contribution, vow to take action to ensure that more opportunity and less charity will be required to sustain the nation's middle class and seniors. The truly charitable act would be to facilitate leadership change in Lansing and Washington.

Mike Fetzer
December 20, 2015

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Dear Editor, I want to thank the ...

Dear Editor,

I want to thank the friendly staff at Independence Township DPW. Every year, for the Clarkston Marching Band Invitational, they provide barricades, cones and construction barrels that allow us to arrange the parking lots to accommodate the dozens of buses, semi-trailers and thousands of spectators. A special appreciation goes out to Ray Neubeck who makes sure the barricades and cones are set out for us. This helps us make the event organized and safe for all participants. Thanks so much!

Steve Hyde

Steve Hyde
November 21, 2015

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Good afternoon, My feedback ...

Good afternoon,

My feedback for the new elementary system of "Successful", "Developing", or "Beginning" follows. The previous, standard letter grading scale (A,B,C,D,F) that was in place beginning in 3rd grade was an adequate way for BOTH students and parents to become accountable and aware of students strengths in weaknesses as they approach a higher level of learning.

Higher-level education grading exists for a reason and our students have lessons to learn about accountability, and this new system leans towards mysterious grading and accountability for the students.

I believe students at 3rd grade and beyond take pride in "earning grades" or identifying weakness areas that they need to focus extra study time on.

ELEMENTARY education and concepts are important for higher learning and to put generic scoring does not provide fair representation for students who are achieving excellence or addressing students who need to spend more time on studies outside of school. This system is not one that I support or find benefit.

The only reason of benefit I can see, is that it may be hiding the true learning that is happening at the elementary level ... and why....are we trying to hide something? This is not fair or beneficial for anyone!

Finally, my daughter, Ava, achieved all A's last year and that was because she challenged herself and she took pride in herself and the grades that she strived for all year.

Now you have taken that from her and all the other students who are putting forth the efforts to earn grades. Where is her motivation now, all she has to do is get an "S"? You have taken away the "Excellence" in Clarkston Elementary Schools and replaced it with "Successful". Our graduating Elementary children can no longer be eligible for the President's Education Awards Program http://www2.ed.gov/programs/presedaward/eligibility.html.

I ask that you share my letter & concerns w/ the school board as this is a big deal for the future of our child

Julie Wojewnik
November 13, 2015

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Re: McLaren plans upset urgent ...

Re: McLaren plans upset urgent care

I scratched my head at the article announcing negotiations for McLaren to buyout the Urgent Care and imaging facilities of Clarkston Medical Group. After some thought, perhaps the auxiliary services at Clarkston Medical Group today would be duplicative in a future full ER/short-stay hospital.

However, Ms. Halsey and Montpetit-Bursthat are quite right that there is a difference in wait time and cost between urgent and emergency care.

I had hoped McLaren would come forward with their proposed full emergency room and short-stay hospital plan first that would address an affiliation or coordination of services with Clarkston Medical Group.

There has been no plan shared yet, just the announcement of negotiations for a buyout of pieces of CMG. The message, in the absence of further comment, is indeed one of “takeover.”

I have some questions that I hope can be addressed. Why is there a billboard on southbound I-75 advertising an ER at the Sashabaw Road location when there isn’t one?

In the midst of all the discussions and announcements, what for the McLaren Emergency Room on Dixie Highway at White Lake Road today?

I also want to comment on the economics of the proposed short-stay hospital. To the $100 million already invested, how much is tied to the purchase and development of the site, the cancer treatment center, and pursuit of the Certificate of Need?

Are hospital revenue bonds planned to fund the short-stay hospital? Revenue bonds are issued on projected revenues, and while it wouldn't place a burden on Independence Township or Oakland County as on obligor, the issuance of debt is based on the health of the local economy, that would be impacted by a default.

I feel that plans for the proposed project; coordination and delivery of services that meet the needs of the community; and funding should be commented on comprehensively.


Sue Nederlander
November 06, 2015

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Letters to the Editor

So, the owners of the Sutherland building on Main Street are suing the city over failure to grant rezoning from residential to restaurant use! I for one hope the city stands firm and refuses to allow scarce residential housing in a historic home to be destroyed. Another area newspaper indcates that the building owners, CBC Joint Venture, experienced a $1200 operating loss on the building in 2014. It would be nice if the affected owners and partners had all been identified in the paper so we'd all know exactly who is involved. Maybe the judge can require them in the course of their litigation to divulge their complete tax returns for 2014 and the preceding five years or so to allow all see how such a loss was sustained and how the parties may have suffered financially over the years thru this particular investment. All of us could be educated on exactly how the tax system works. Alternatively, but I suspect less likely, the tax returns might reveal a lack of business/financial acumen such that those involved could not be expected to successfully manage a restaurant. In any event, more transparency is warranted here. If the plaintiffs are struggling financially, perhaps the court will not hold them liable for the costs of the city in responding and defending against the lawsuit...

Mike Fetzer
November 05, 2015

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Letters to the Editor

Michigan's Republican-dominated legislature this week gave Michiganders the fifth highest gasoline tax in the nation. When queried, Republicans could or would not address how slightly increased taxes for the state's very wealthiest residents, or increased registration fees for luxury cars only, were likely to obviate the Republican need to again impose more taxes on the state's middle class workers and pensioners. This is because the legislators simply refuse to look beyond middle class voters--whom they hold in contempt--to wealthy supporters--whose companies will now benefit from profits from the new tax largesse--for more taxes. The Republican war on the middle class forges ahead in Michigan where a new tool--taxes indexed to increase with inflation--has been introduced to regularly screw the middle class who experience only higher costs of living but stagnant or dwindling incomes...

Mike Fetzer
November 04, 2015

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Andrea's Anecdotes A column by Andrea Beaudoin

Yes, America needs to change, and if you believe presidential candidate John Kasich's comments this week, Republicans have stealth plans to "reform" entitlements. Kasich chastised a senior citizen that the citizen would just have to "get over" the reductions that are coming. Of course, middle class Americans will be most affected. They probably can expect to work until age 90 or so, at the low-paying and flat income careers provided by the "job creators" who've received more tax deductions and write-offs for their economic contributions. Not to worry, though--Republican congressman and chairman of the congressional Ways and Means tax-writing committee Paul Ryan purports disinterest in the House speaker post vacated by Boehner, claiming his real interest is in "reforming" the nation's tax code before he leaves for a lucrative job in the private sector. Guess who will benefit from his reforms? The middle class? Wrong! It will be the same high income "job creators", business owners and high income contributors who have funded our legislators and will cushion their move to the private sector. It's the same in Lansing as in Washington D.C., and will stay the same unless middle class Americans, including their voting age children, mobilize and vote for something different.

It simply is not true that our wealthy nation, with wealth built by the middle class, cannot afford decent health care and income security for its senior citizens, all while providing affordable education and healthcare for younger Americans. Politicians are playing older Americans against younger ones in a competition for available resources--a competition in which the entire middle class loses. The reality is that things like social security, technical and college education, healthcare and all the other things middle class families deserve could easily be funded if the nation's piles of money--now concentrated in the hands and portfolios of a priveleged few--were rearranged more equitably. The trillions of dollars that have been wasted on ungrateful and hostile citizenry in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could have been better utilized here at home. Fair tax reform would mean that the nation's wealthiest would have fewer tax shelters, deductions and write-offs, and instead would be required to pay higher taxes commensurate with the largesse they have generated off the backs of the middle class. (Ideally, transparency would mean that we'd all see the tax returns the one per centers are filling. After all, the middle class is funding their tax relief.) The "death tax" that Republicans bemoan would be retained. It is not a death tax. It is an equitable way to prevent huge accumulated wealth being bequeathed untaxed to subsequent generations who often have had no significant role in earning the wealth. If you're middle class, you're never going to have to worry about a death tax--Mom and Dad will never have a bundle to drop on you! Don't be fooled by the slick marketing of politicians who largely believe the population is stupid. Another "Main Street Fairness Act" and "Fair Pension Tax" are probably in the offing. How about a "Make Multi-Millionaires Pay Their Fair Share for a Change Act?" We're not likely to see that from the current Lansing and D.C. crowd.

Nothing is going to change and things will worsen if we don't insist on new political leadership, locally and nationally. Seniors will never retire and kids will graduate loaded down with unmanageable student debt which cannot possibly be repaid with the low-paying jobs they'll be chained to for life.

Mike Fetzer
October 09, 2015

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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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