Comments on: Transportation Dominates Council Meeting it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kai Petainen Kai Petainen Fri, 26 Oct 2012 02:20:12 +0000 I appreciate the work that the Chronicle does in detailing the city council events. My public comments at the end of the meeting were not included in this write-up, so I’ll note the letter that I sent to city hall after I spoke, where I re-iterated my thoughts. #6 refers to the sewer work at Fuller and how they spent $2 million, but the sidewalk wasn’t fixed. After, the mayor noted that they’ll fix the sidewalk in November. I also want to thank city hall again for the work that they did with the skatepark. The person who spoke before me, bashed it… and I want them to know that I am thankful for the park. At the end of council, I also noted that I was appreciative of how although some councilmembers would vote the opposite way to how I would vote, I was respectful of those who explained why they were voting the way that they did. That it was helpful to hear the counter-argument to various points.


Here are the public thoughts I had towards council at the end of the meeting. This isn’t what I said word-for-word, but it gives the idea of what I said.

1. The AAFD was never thanked publicly for the work that they did on the spill. It was a large spill for the Ann Arbor area, and they should have been thanked. A lot of work went into that spill and I doubt the city was compensated for it.

2. The spill was unsolved, so we don’t even know if it was a midnight dumper. In a perfect world we’d solve the spill, charge whomever did it and give the money to the AAFD, but since we can’t do that, we need to know what steps to take next. I’d like to know, what did Ann Arbor city hall learn from that experience? What did the University of Michigan learn from that experience? What did the AAFD learn from that experience? This was a huge learning opportunity for the city, and I hope that people were able to learn something from it.

3. The environmental report of the fuller station included small leaks in the UofM area. However, it does not include this particular spill. Any environmental report of the new station should include the spill that I saw and steps that the UofM/City have taken to protect/prevent one in that area in the future. It’s a big spill and it should not be ignored. And although the new station might not be directly beside the river, it will be within some proximity to that spill and it should be noted in the report (and how big it was and how it was unsolved).

4. When the spill happened, the UofM police had jurisdiction over the river. Although the spill covered the river and ran for hours (i witnessed this) from an outfall (a boom was placed there) at the UofM hospitals to Gallup Park (a boom was placed there), the EPA, DNR, state police and the city police did not investigate. When another spill happens in the future — better oversight should be provided as the river is not UofM property (or is it?). If a spill happens in the river, an outside agency must be brought in.

5. Thank you for the skate park.

6. I spoke about the $2 million work and how the sidewalk sucks. Thanks for letting me know that it will be fixed in November. Thank you.

By: Rod Johnson Rod Johnson Fri, 26 Oct 2012 01:50:56 +0000 Dave, next cycle, I hope you can work in the antepenultimate and preantepenultimate meetings. As a fellow linguist, I’m counting on you.

By: Larry Krieg Larry Krieg Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:42:51 +0000 Once again, I am blown away by the careful, detailed reporting in The Chronicle. Thank you not only for reporting impartially what’s going on, but for giving background material and links where clarification is helpful. The Chronicle is a priceless community resource for the Washtenaw County region.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:37:13 +0000 Re (1), Jim I think you are comparing apples to oranges. The $8 million dollars for the new Blake Center will be the total cost. The $3 million spent on the Fuller Park Amtrak station is just the local share.

The local share of the Blake Center comes from AATA’s transit millage. Dedicated transit funds being used for transit facilities.

The Fuller Park Amtrak station will require at least another $6 million in local funds to actually build it after all this preliminary work is done. We will spend about $9 million for the local share of the cost of a new Amtrak station if this project is completed.

That $9 million will have come from our utility and general fund accounts. Money that could have been spent addressing neighborhood flooding was spent replacing 20 year old (not very old for plumbing) utilities that needed to be relocated to make the station possible. While there is some magical thinking out there that believes that part of the $6 million local share for building the station will be provided by some one other than our general fund, that source has not stepped forward.

When the Fuller Park Amtrak station is placed on the ballot two groups will oppose it. Those opposed to re-purposing park land will reject the ballot proposal. Those who object to spending $6 million of general funds on a train station instead of public safety will similarly vote no. I believe that combination will defeat the proposal.

The City budget for the current fiscal year now includes about $850,000 for the local share of preliminary efforts for a project that will eventually be rejected by voters. The waste in this project is so very much like the money spent planning the “county-wide” transit system that the county did not want. The City should have sought voter approval before spending this money.

By: Jim Rees Jim Rees Wed, 24 Oct 2012 20:49:39 +0000 AATA ridership was 6 million last year, Amtrak was 71,000. The new AATA station is going to cost $8 million, but just the study for the new Amtrak station is $3 million before we even start building anything. The AATA station will be right downtown, the new Amtrak station will be in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think I want this.