Comments on: Ballot Questions: Parks, Public Art Funding it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Orphaned Comment Orphaned Comment Sat, 18 Aug 2012 18:12:04 +0000 Comment has been relegated to the orphaned comments page: [link] I’m not kidding, when I write: “This comment is meant to end any discussion of screen names versus real names in this comment thread.” And with that, this comment thread is closed. I have actual work to do today. — Dave Askins

By: Orphaned Comment Orphaned Comment Sat, 18 Aug 2012 16:46:56 +0000 Comment has been relegated to the orphaned comments page: [link] I’m not kidding, when I write: “This comment is meant to end any discussion of screen names versus real names in this comment thread.” — Dave Askins

By: Orphaned Comment Orphaned Comment Sat, 18 Aug 2012 16:45:15 +0000 Comment has been relegated to the orphaned comments page: [link] I’m not kidding, when I write: “This comment is meant to end any discussion of screen names versus real names in this comment thread.” — Dave Askins

By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Sat, 18 Aug 2012 14:50:26 +0000 A note regarding the issue of screen names versus actual names in commenting.

First, the comment in [11], which attempts to reveal the identity of another commenter, is not consistent with the general Chronicle commenting policy of “Be Generous.” If someone chooses to comment using a screen name that is not the same as their actual name, then we expect that others will generously assume there’s some good reason for that. If readers think that someone’s writing is recognizable as unmistakably that of some specific person, then that’s great fodder for a conversation at a bar, but not really consistent with what we’re trying to accomplish here.

The comment in [11] appears in the thread, despite not being generous in that specific regard, because either (1) The algorithm that senses potential problems was not triggered and it was automatically approved; or (2) I was asleep at the switch when I moved the comment out of the moderation queue.

On the general issue of screen names compared to real names there is a vast corpus of argument stretching back to the beginning of remote online communication. I have nothing new to add to that.

For The Chronicle’s part, we appreciate the fact that many commenters are willing to use their actual names in their comments. But our policy does not preclude the alternative of a screen name. On the whole, I think this has worked out for the good. While the world would not end without the inclusion of remarks by, for example, “abc” or “Marvin Face”, I think on balance the remarks of screen-named commenters add to the richness of the commentary in a positive way. It can be frustrating not to know who these people are. Marvin sounds like an interesting person – based solely on this statement: “I have recorded at Sun Studio using the same mic as Mr. Cash.” Though that makes me curious about him, that’s just too bad for me.

Personally, I don’t find it at all persuasive when one commenter seeks to diminish the merit of another’s comment by “calling coward” – either implicitly or explicitly – based on a choice to use a screen name.

This comment is meant to end any discussion of screen names versus real names in this comment thread.


Dave Askins
Editor, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

By: Diane Diane Sat, 18 Aug 2012 14:37:12 +0000 @ Vivienne I am not a person in public life. I am a volunteer on a commission, not an elected official or anyone who has ever ran for an elected office. You and John Floyd have ran for office. If I debate your stance on things, it is extremely unethical of both you and John Floyd to try and scare me into silence by invading my privacy. You are the candidates with campaign platforms, I am a member of the public.

It is not for you or anyone else to choose for me what I should do. You do not get to take my privacy away from me especially when it is done for intimidation.

As for accountability, I am not hiding. I used my first name and people can tell who I am just like you said. My reasons are my own why I don’t want to use my last name. You and others may think it is justified. I think it just shows what type of people you really are.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Sat, 18 Aug 2012 14:19:07 +0000 Ha, Diane, your style and voice are unmistakeable. I spotted you on your first comment of this series.

We’ve been around this block before but I continue to believe that people in public life (which you are, as a commission member) should post in their actual names. Be accountable.

By: Diane Diane Sat, 18 Aug 2012 13:57:25 +0000 @ John Floyd No, voters were not played for suckers and council did not circumvent the voter intent at all. You do not speak for my and others intent regarding how we think a “sale” actually is defined. Long-term leases ARE in the best interest of the city. Huron Hills Golf Course is an infrequently used golf course and should be used for more than it currently is. It is redundant (the city has a better and more frequently used, award winning golf course) and loses money year after year. The city and council did nothing inappropriate whatsoever when looking into other uses for the golf course. Why not use that space for some other recreational or entertainment park activity (not condo or houses)? Why not build a water slide park? The skatepark could have been built there. How about a boardwalk with restaurants along the river. Another public pool? Why NOT a miles of golf driving range? Miniature golf? And my personal favorite would be a garden and sculpture park along the lines of Federik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. All prior park uses are not sacrosanct, and all new uses are not bad.

The only way to accomplish these things is to lease…using a long-term lease. The city cannot possibly expect to have expertise in all things all the time. At times, specific expertise is required for certain park amenities, some are not just menial jobs that can be temped in or hired in yearly. Also, the city does not have the budget to pay for the upfront capital costs anymore. A long-term lease is the only way some other private entity can afford to invest in our community while bringing us, the residents, some type of activity we can all enjoy. The city saves the upfront costs while bringing a new, more useful and updated use to the residents and the private entity makes some money off the user fees. So what? Sounds fine to me. Due to the reality of the situation, if one does not want long term leasing, then one is saying that they want everything to stay the same, no change, and no innovation. Personally I like change and I like innovation.

I could care less that a bunch of rich people in ward 2 want to keep an empty golf course as their backyard. They are using “leasing” as a way to get what they want, which is no change. If the Leslie Science Center was a new concept and they wanted to locate on the Huron Hills golf course today, we would be hearing the same arguments from them just so they could stop the repurposing of the golf course into another park use. In hindsight we now know the value of the Leslie Science Center, should we have not leased to them years ago. Was their lease unethical or wrong? Their attempts at trying to keep an empty golf course for a backyard, IMO, are actually hurting the entire parks system.

As for the train station, it is a moot point now because UM pulled out of the deal that would have saved the residents and the city a lot of money. Now the train haters can only rely on their ridiculous argument about how building upon this parking lot is going to ruin the city and the park system. This is the same piece of land that 20 years ago was so meaningless, that PAC and the local Sierra Club TRADED it for TWO TREES. Really? Now we want to throw away an opportunity to build mass transit that could help our environment by getting more cars off the road? If the rescue of two trees is worth paving over a strip of grass that falls between a road and a railroad track, then I think building mass transit that could help improve our air quality and decrease road congestion is even more justified. The train issue is not about long-term leases in the parks either.

Selling parkland for private use for office or condos is completely different than leasing park land for an amenity that serves the public. That is why, Steve Bean, I would not have voted for the 2008 ballot proposal if it included leases. I actually understand the difference between a sale, a lease, and a long-term lease. I am only against selling the parks in general. However, for a good use that has not been thought of yet, who knows? The unknown is the unknown and I could not say I would never back the “sale” of any park without knowing all the facts…having an open mind and all.

And John Floyd, your intimidation tactics have not gone unnoticed. I post in my first name. So what? My choice to post under whatever name I choose is my business, not yours. There is no policy against it. Ignoring my decision to use only my first name, does not make you honorable it makes you an a………! The Ann Arbor Chronicle has transformed into the Ann Arbor Curmudgeon and could use some other voices in its comments section.

By: John Floyd John Floyd Sat, 18 Aug 2012 03:26:42 +0000 Ms. Giannola,

The major point I attempted to make- unsuccessfully, I see – was that the use of the transaction form of “long-term lease” to get around the requirement to obtain consent of the governed, before a parkland sale, played us voters for suckers. Council did not propose renting out the Huron Hills concession stand; it proposed a long-term lease in order to turn over Huron Hills to a private entity so that they could permanently turn Huron Hills into something other than a public golf course. Similarly, the attempted “lease” of part of Fuller Park was not to outsource management of lawn care, operation of the pool, or maintenance of soccer fields: it was to turn over part of Fuller Park to an entity that would permanently remove part of the park from the park system in a way that a gravel parking lot does not.

These “leases” of park land are not at all like the agreement with Leslie Science Center, to run an existing program in an existing building. Rather, the purpose of the ‘lease” transactions at Fuller and Huron Hills was to enable the leasees to make changes to parks that permanently divert them from their park use, to make uncompensated capital investments that only an owner would make, and to earn a return from their investments. I am comfortable with the assertion that these attempts to use capital leases as a vehicle for avoiding recent commitments to public accountability, played the friends and neighbors of council members for suckers.

You may wish to familiarize yourself with the difference between a capital lease, and an operating lease.

I observe that whenever the Council Party or their supporters find themselves caught doing or espousing something that should not be done or espoused, they try to turn to conversation to some national political topic, and away from the thing they should not be doing. Apparently, the logic is that because someone in Washington is nuts, there should be no accountability in city hall. I wonder how much longer the Council Party can get away with this tactic.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Wed, 15 Aug 2012 15:07:20 +0000 Diane, I’m curious why you say you would not have voted for the ballot proposal if it had included leasing.

By: Diane Diane Wed, 15 Aug 2012 11:20:55 +0000 My previous comment was for #5 Tom Hollyer.