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
Dear Editor: I just wanted to say that I think its in poor taste for Mr. Rush to trash Royal Oak over the fact that he couldn't figure out how to ask for change to put in his parking meter.
Dear RO Hater aka: Mr. Don Rush:
Let me get this straight. It's Royal Oaks' fault that you can't read a watch? I'm sure the restaurant would've given you change. Did you ask? Probably not from the outcome. Did you know that Birmingham also has parking meters?
I'm sure you don't want Money for writing this article? That would make you just as greedy as our city, right? Your article is surrounded by Advertisements to make money for your paper. I don't know how your "perfect" city makes money, but it doesn't run on air.
You also ended up getting a ticket because you didn't keep track of time, then it cost you more because you didn't pay it by the due date. Hmmmm... It may be time to invest in a watch and a calendar.
Sincerely- happy to live in Royal Oak
PS I don't wish to have a return phone call. I just wanted to share my opinion.
February 27, 2015
To whomever oversees Sherman Publications:
Don "Don't Rush" Rush was sure in a hurry to make a complete nincompoop of himself in this article. Like most driving adults, I expect certain things when I am using my automobile. For example, I expect to occasionally come to a red light, or stop for a train. Similarly, I also expect to have to pay for parking during the week-- especially in mid-size cities located in metro-Detroit. Don Rush, however, does not.
Maybe he has lived some great life of privilege or fantasy, where the toilet paper is silken, beer flows from drinking fountains, and parking is always free. Or maybe he's just an entitled whiner.
Perhaps that's what Sherman Publications needs to attract an audience; poor writing with utterly no content. If that is the case, well, you have bigger fish to fry than just one awful writer.
When you tell your readers that you spent $400 on dinner but continue to lament over the quarters you wasted on parking, well, perhaps Don should look into fundamental money management practices. Or maybe he should stay clear of Royal Oak. He labels the city as money-grubbing and haughty, but the only one I see condescending here is Mr. Rush.
Don Rush, must have been in quite the rush to exemplify himself as a hypocritical buffoon.
Stay out of our city, Don Rush.
The People of Royal Oak
A Long Term Resident of Royal Oak
February 27, 2015
I've never written to a paper before but I saw a column by Mr. Rush on Facebook about Royal Oak and I felt as though i needed to comment. I just find it weird that a guy can use space in your paper to knock another city when most of what he is complaining about was his own fault. Why is Royal Oak to blame for the amount of money he chose to spend on an Italian dinner and tickets to see Ghosthunters? Yes, there is metered parking but be chose to not feed the meter, again that's on him. Then he tops it all off by not paying his ticket on time and he has to pay more..... Because of his night of stupid decisions and because he works for a paper it lows him to just bash another city???? I don't complain about driving to Clarkston for $12 Mac N Cheese. Its my choice. If i got a ticket on the way because i was speeding to get there, how would that be Clarkston's fault? I guess I'm just ticked that in this day and age a guy can turn that garbage in and it gets printed. With all the other things that can be talked about...... I mean at least have merit to the bashing. Have him write a column about how the Emagine theater in Royal Oak is a pot infested hangout for Detroit thugs and gang members on Fridays and Saturdays, then i will agree. But his rant just made him look like a dummy.
February 27, 2015
Any rezoning of a multi-family dwelling to another Italian restaurant in the downtown core seems ill-advised and contrary to public policy. The area's housing diversity and availability will be significantly diminished, all for another restaurant which may, at best, generate a few low-paying service jobs. It would be nice if all affected cashed in thru the building sale and rezoning, but renters will be squeezed as more units are eliminated, and the town moves further from its roots. Why not require investors to kick in for the costs of their development, with requirements for contributions for new mixed housing stock and infrastructure creation and maintenance costs emanating from public burdens for their largesse? Development is good, if it reflects careful planning and concern for community benefit, and goes beyond whether a mere handful of investors will get richer from an ill-conceived project.
February 27, 2015
To the Editor,
I had to respond to the very irresponsible article of your writer Don Rush.
To tell people in his own words to not "go to Royal Oak" is beyond ridiculous. What his rant boils down to is basically a childish whine, placing blame on the city for his forgetting to bring change.
Ron, we are not the only local city to charge for parking in our downtown area. Birmingham (which he specifically mentions and has much higher taxes) charges for parking. This not an uncommon thing. In fact...Ferndale, Detroit, Rochester, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Mount Pleasant, Traverse City, Grand Rapids (just to name a few) ALL charge for parking in their downtown areas.
I understand that in this day and age a night out is expensive. However, you choose to attend that show and eat at that restaurant. You may not have chosen to pay for parking, but I will share with you a little lesson I tell my 4 year old, sometime in life we don't get to choose. Some things just are, and the best you can do is be prepared and have a good attitude.
So next time, you are planning an extravagant night out; factor in the parking, coat check, valet or any other possible hidden fees. Then $2 in change for a meter won't be what ruins your $400 night.
As for the upcharge for your ticket, my only response is, next time pay it on time.
Some things beyond parking to consider about Royal Oak.
According to a survey conducted this year by Area Vibes, Royal Oak was ranked the number 1 city in Michigan to live in. Their basis was Cost of Living, Crime, Education, Employment and Housing.
Also, homes here have appreciated 15.6% in the last year, while unemployment has dropped to 4%. (6.3% is the national average)
Royal Oak also boasts the best ranked Hospital in Michigan, William Beaumont.
Sincerely the happy and Proud Royal Oak Resident,
February 26, 2015