The fact that you are at this page means you care about the direction our city is going and wondering who
you should vote for to bring about needed change.. Whether you agree or disagree with what I say...I am glad you care enough about City of Jackson to visit to see what I am about
My name is Susan Murdie and I care about our City of Jackson
If I had won the last election for City Council, I would have voted very differently from the majority
of the current City Council members and particularly, my opponent in the 5th ward race on most issues.
I believe what drives people to come downtown is exciting places to see entertainment, shopping, and
restaurants. I have lived in a loft downtown for 15 years, I owned a 15000 sq ft building for eight
years, I sold clothing from my own boutique clothing store downtown for two years, and I have continued
to shop and eat downtown for over 20 years. I have had extensive training in revitalizing downtowns
and our historic theater.
The WORST way to revitalize a downtown is what this City Council has approved, the Corporate Welfare
giveaways, new streetscapes, parking lots, the unused food truck alley, the many parks and long closures
of our major streets.
WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS AND RESOURCES
The unused food truck alley is a perfect example of the mindless regulation proposed by Burtch and put in
place by the council. After spending hundreds of thousands of extra dollars on the food truck alley and
supporting infrastructure, an ordinance was passed to regulate this activity. The registration fee was
$100.00 and a food truck could only use the spot once per month. To date, no one has paid the fee and
used the spaces.
Excellent planning by city officials that went unquestioned by the council persons who voted for this
Instead these City Councilmembers continue to vote to waste our tax dollars on well heeled developers
and creating vacant lots. Instead of investing into more public safety, fighting poverty and making
vacant homes available to the public for purchase, the subsidize developers which increases their bottom
line. As all of your know this City Council has ignored street maintenance and care which has resulted in
85% of poor to bad roads throughout this city.
I can't tell you how many times I hear, “I WOULD NEVER LIVE IN THE CITY OF JACKSON”. People tell me
they would be afraid because of the all of the crime and shootings. Just this past week in downtown we
had a hold up robber and a shooting at Abbey Villa Apartments, both are a mere four minute walk from
from downtown. This City council has done absolutely nothing to fight crime or the addiction
problems that plague our community. The City of Jackson is the third most dangerous city in the state
of Michigan and 40% of our residents currently live in poverty.
UNKEMPT DECAYING STREETS AND CLOGGED GUTTERS
Not wanting to live or purchase a home in this city has nothing to do with the population decline over
50 years, nor does it have anything to do with a “bad perception” that some council persons blame on
the citizens feel about Jackson, but it has everything to do with the hopelessness, poverty,
blighted streets and clogged gutters, and crime we experience living in
our neighborhoods in Jackson and the bad misguided direction this current City council is heading!
TIME FOR A REAL CHANGE
It's time for a change. Our residents must stand up and fight for our city. Our neighborhoods, crime
rate and poverty need to be addressed...please friends, start holding these council people accountable for
making Jackson a better place for us citizens to live. We don't need new and pretty white sidewalks
downtown, we need to take care of what we already have.
Just this Tuesday the City Council agenda added an item to be voted only 24 hours before the meeting.
There are 79 pages to the council packet and it was sent to us on Friday at 4pm. This means that we were
only given 48 hour work day notice of what was going to be voted on. This is unacceptable, we need a
“study session” two weeks before every council meeting just like the Jackson County Commission has and
other cities around the state. Burtch opposes this because he wants absolute control over every aspect
of the governing process here in Jackson.
PROTECTING THEIR OWN
The Prater embezzlement was not handled well and made a lot of citizens question the transparency and
ethics of our local government.
Since Patrick Burtch took over as city manager, he has done away with written performance evaluations
to strictly control the various departments. Sheila Prater received a pseudo-evaluation from Burtch
in 2013. It was a letter saying what a wonderful employee she was and should have a raise. She got a
huge raise and promotion all the while embezzling thousands of dollars from the city.
The current council has allowed Burtch to run roughshod over city requirements for hiring and evaluating
employees. The next council must bring Burtch under control.
There needs to be an outside investigation of the embezzlement and how it was handled at City Hall. And who
was responsible for the lax enforcement of good practices which allowed this to happen.
OPEN MEETINGS ACT
City Council violates the open meetings act with frequency. They misuse the Closed Sessions by not revealing
what they are voting on after the session. We need representation that is fully transparent, with not a hint of corruption or dark money that two of these Council people, Greer and Frounfelker have used for this election.
The city is carrying a huge debt burden due to the agreements made by earlier
councils to "keep" Consumers Energy downtown. We owe $18.5 million for the parking structures we built for C.E.. The parking space rent
that C.E. employees pay covers only about $250,000 of the almost $800,000 yearly cost. The DDA Tax Increment
Funding Area was supposed to attract new businesses whose taxes would go to retire this debt. Has not
happened. We pay for it with out property taxes. This is the same philosophy guiding the current efforts
to attract developers to the downtown with massive tax abatement's and other subsidies.
If I am elected I will start by pushing for a renegotiation with CE whereby they would take over
the debt and operations of "their" parking structures.
Other areas of significant debt include massive unfunded retirement and retiree health benefit funds.
Double dipping by city retirees where they retire and are immediately hired on in the same or other city
jobs at the whim of Burtch and without a proper performance evaluation history must stop. No more patronism
at city hall.
Now that you have an idea of what I stand for and what I will try to address if elected, please give
serious consideration to casting your vote for me.
SUSAN MURDIE WILL BRING ABOUT CHANGE FOR THE BETTER IN JACKSON
VOTE NOVEMBER 7th FOR SUSAN MURDIE IN THER 5th WARD.