Maxe Obermeyer lost his last shred of decency

Truth should not be victim to politics
 
Just because a letter to the editor is published in the newspaper does not mean it is vetted for truthfulness.  As a public official, I am often subject to criticism based on a less than factual account of actions attributed to me.  However, once in a great while there is an egregious violation of the facts that I am required to respond to.  Maxe Obermeyer has submitted a letter to the editor published in the Ann Arbor News on Sunday, 03 August 2008, that contains such a blatant misrepresentation of fact that I must respond publicly.  It is widely know that my campaign literature contains reference to my express advocacy for fair and equitable consideration when addressing the city’s budget.  To that point, I have been criticized for my resolution that called for no reduction for AATA bus service in the City for the coming fiscal year.  So be it.  You may disagree with that position, as did one of my fellow council members.
 
Mr. Obermeyer did not let the facts stand in his way of advocacy for his particular candidate, Michael Bodary, and thus he was willing to willingly propogate statements that are patently untrue.  In his letter to the editor, Mr. Obermeyer stated that "Mr. Gawlas voted to eliminate AATA bus service".  The public record reflects the actions of Ypsilanti City Council on both 08 May 2008 and 27 May 2008.

As reported by the Ann Arbor News, "The council first voted in April to fund the service in full. But Council Member Bill Nickels, D-2nd Ward, was absent for that vote and asked the council Tuesday to reconsider its decision. He called it improper to cut other services to balance the city’s budget while sparing the bus service.The council approved the resolution to keep bus service in full in a 4-1 vote, with Robb voting against it.

Gawlas said many people in the city depend on the bus for transportation, and reducing the service would impact more people than cuts in other services – especially at a time when the price of gas continues to rise. "It’s important for us to maintain the bus service," he said.

From the minutes of Thursday, 08 may 2008, of the Ypsilanti City Council Meeting:

BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Ypsilanti commits to safeguard this minimum service level and City Council hereby directs the City Manager to identify potential additional funding options including, but not limited to, further contribution from the general fund for the fiscal year ending 2009; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that City Council, both collectively and individually, undertake the task of advancing public understanding of the tentative nature of public transportation as it exists and call for a coalition of municipalities, institutions and private businesses to advocate a regional transportation model that better serves the needs of the County of Washtenaw.

OFFERED BY: Council Member Gawlas SUPPORTED BY: Mayor Pro-Tem Swanson Council Member

On roll call, the vote to approve the resolution was as follows:

Council Member Filipiak Yes

Council Member Robb No

Council Member Gawlas YES

Mayor Pro-Tem Swanson Yes

Council Member Nickels Absent

Mayor Schreiber Yes

Council Member Richardson Yes

Finally, again on 27 May 2008, the City Council again considered the support of bus service provided by AATA and approved the following resolution:

From the minutes of Thursday, 27 may 2008, of the Ypsilanti City Council Meeting:

WHEREAS the City of Ypsilanti has committed to safeguard current service levels provided by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) and anticipates entering into a Purchase of Service Agreement (POSA) that maintains those levels, and

WHEREAS, the Ypsilanti City Council has previously given direction to the City Manager through Resolution 2008-088 to identify potential additional funding options including, but not limited to, further contribution from the general fund for the fiscal year ending 2009, and Council Budget Session May 27, 2008 4

WHEREAS, the City Council was provided a memorandum from the Assistant City Manager dated 16 May 2008 outlining three options by which the City can contribute in the event other outside funding such as partnerships are unable to be secured,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council rejects any option that directs the City Manager to eliminate more personnel as a funding strategy for the Purchase of Service Agreement (POSA), and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council hereby accepts the recommendation of staff and directs the City Manager to allocate the necessary balance of funding from the projected excess revenues for the fiscal year ending 2009.

OFFERED BY: Council Member Gawlas  SUPPORTED BY: Council Member Nickels

The roll call vote was as follows:

Council Member Filipiak – Yes

Council Member Robb – No

Council Member Gawlas – YES

Mayor Pro-Tem Swanson – Absent

Council Member Nickels – Yes

Mayor Schreiber – Yes

Council Member Richardson – Absent

Political hyperbole aside (which I understandably expect during the normal political), Mr. Obermeyer’s misrepresentation of the facts is incompetence at best and at worst represents a willful effort to engage in deceitful actions in the advocacy of his chosen candidate.  Ypsilanti deserves better than this and I call Mr. Obermeyer out on his fabrication.

 

John Gawlas

 

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