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About Jackson Recall


JACKSON STREETS ARE A PLAGUE UPON OUR CITY

The condition of streets in a city are indicative of the priorities attended to by the management and elected council. A city Like Ann Arbor can afford to neglect streets as they have a captive constituency in the student population, the university staff and associated business spin offs and support groups.

It is easy to overlook some shortcomings as Ann Arbor does when the city is booming, the streets are filled with shoppers and there is generally positive atmosphere.

In Jackson which was devastated by the closing of numerous factories and the building of outlying malls that sucked the retail business out of downtown, we are faced with very different problems. The tax revenues which once supported adequate police forces and fire protection personnel have dwindled and with it the attractiveness of the city to new businesses,

In an effort to turn the economic stagnation around, the previous mayor Martin Griffin and his supporters at city hall engaged in a massive giveaway to Consumers Power under threat of their leaving downtown. promises were made and promises broken Griffin would argue that we had no choice but to take on the burden of enormous debt to keep C.E. in town. The plan was that new businesses would open downtown attracted by the new C.E. campus and the taxes from those new businesses would pay the debt service on all the bonds the city sold to support C.E. staying in place. No now businesses, no new taxes, we pay the debt service and are facing a huge increase in that debt service over the next few years.

In 2011 Larry Shaffer was hired as the new city manager to save the day. He was soon ousted in a coup orchestrated by Schlecte, Greer and Dobies to replace Larry with smooth talking Patrick Burtch, hired as Larry's assistant at the same time. Burtch immediately went to work with his plan to restore Jackson to it once great position among American cities. This involved concentrating expenditure of city money and grants on creating a dynamic downtown bustling with crowds of shoppers and young professionals employed by the numerous employers relocation to the new paradise at the crossroads of Michigan. All these new YP's who were waiting in the wings to move to Jackson had nowhere to live downtown so the plan was to demolish the "excess" housing units in Jackson's non-core area. This would entice developers of downtown housing to more readily gamble on the future of Jackson.

With limited funds available for all these grandiose plans, something had to be done. Money spent on these projects led our police to be understaffed and the crime rate soaring to put Jackson at number 50 in America's most crime riddled cities. Money spent on these projects led to reductions in fire personnel and closing of fire stations. The response time increase and so do insurance rates. Money spent on these projects led to insufficient funds for street maintenance and repair. The city tried to work around this by imposing an illegal Storm Water Fee. That resulted in a lawsuit which the city lost and was ordered to refund one years worth of illegally collected taxes. The city spent over $600,000 fighting this lawsuit with a high prices law firm. When Griffin ran in 2011 he said the tax was illegal and would rescind it. His lack of leadership cost the taxpayers over $1,000,000. Out of spite, when still mayor, Griffin canceled leaf pickup, street sweeping to pick up debris, canceled catch basin cleaning and the associated storm sewer maintenance resulting in clogged drains, storm sewers and flooded streets. That in turn caused accumulated water to penetrate through cracks and joints, soften the subgrade material and allow passing cars to break up the paving. It is unknown at this point that actual incremental cost of this decision by Griffin which allowed further destruction of the streets but it may be millions.

We want to thank Marty Griffin and all the council persons who have voted repeated to throw other peoples money around with no accountability on ill conceived programs while out streets deteriorate, destroy our suspension and drive potential employers and residents to other more welcoming locations.



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