knowing where to begin

Not sure of what motivated Ypsilanti voters to approve a new Charter Commission. As I had publicly indicated, my recommendation was to vote no on a general revision to the charter. Yet here we are with a newly elected Charter Commission comprised of Cheryl Farmer, Jim Hawkins, Karen Valvo, Bill Fennel, Peter Fletcher, Jim Fink, Bob Doyle, Kim Porter-Hoppe and myself.

A reading of state law (MCL 117.20) would seem to indicate that the commission must hold its first meeting on the second Tuesday following the election…November 16, 2010.

A thorough review of the current charter is an exercise that will enlighten many on how the charter shapes our self-government. I would encourage our community to learn more about what is outlined in and defined by the current form of the charter. Perhaps that should be the first step of the process this commission embarks upon.


keeping the charter

There are two local issues on the November 2nd ballot in Ypsilanti.   One of them will provide for dedicated transit funding here in the city which I view as critically important.  The other relates to the requirement that voters get to decide every 16 years whether or not to call for the establishment of a Charter Commission to write a general revision of the Ypsilanti City Charter.  It is to this second ballot proposal that I will share my thoughts especially as that I appear on the ballot as a candidate for the Charter Commission.

I advocate a NO vote on the general revision question.  The current City Charter was key in ushering  in a period of competent, accountable and responsive governance for the City of Ypsilanti.

A careful reading of the charter will reveal its focus on ethical principles and the standard of public office as a public trust.  It was drafted by a bipartisan Charter Commission of 1994 that included Peter Fletcher, Ann Cleary Kettles, Norm Kennedy, Jerome Strong, Esther Williams, Cheryl Farmer, Robert Kilpatrick, Suzanne Shaw and Joan Kennedy Hughes.  This group was politically, ethnically and culturally diverse – truly representative of our community overall.

Vote John Gawlas for Charter Commission
Yes my name appears on the November ballot to serve on a Charter Commission.  Yet I urge all voters in Ypsilanti to join me in voting NO to the GENERAL REVISION proposal to the City Charter.  It is mainly as a contingency that I offer myself as a candidate in the unlikely event this proposal were to be passed by voters.  In that event, it is important that we have individuals guiding that process who have broad perspective, knowledge of the structure of government and a commitment to fairness.  I offer myself as someone who has a long tenure as a public representative with a thorough understanding of defining both the limits and expectations of local government.

Please vote YES on the Charter Amendment for Public Transit.  Please vote NO to establish a Charter Commission to write a general revision of the Ypsilanti City Charter.

Domain Squatting at its Finest


Here’s a little look behind the scenes…




    <TITLE>YpsiTucky LLC</TITLE>

<META name="description" content="Ypsilanti Michigan YpsiTucky Music and Video Studio" />

<META name="keywords" content="Jamboree, bluegrass, music, ypsitucky, Ypsilanti, Ypsi, Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan, EMU, U-M, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti Township, City of Ypsilanti, A2, Michigan Newspaper, Ann Arbor News, Ypsilanti News, Ypsilanti Newspaper" />




<BODY bgcolor="Black" text="White" link="White" vlink="White" alink="White">




<font face="Arial,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif" size="6" color="White">

          <h1>YpsiTucky, LLC <br>Adult Movie Studio Complex</h1>



<font face="Arial,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif" size="2" color="White">


<h2>Ypsilanti, Michigan</h2>


<h2>Home of the Brick Dick</h2>


<img src=""&gt;








Whois info for,
96 Mowat Ave
Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
Domain name: YPSITUCKY.COM
Administrative Contact:,
    96 Mowat Ave
    Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
Technical Contact:,
    96 Mowat Ave
    Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
Registration Service Provider:
Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 01-Apr-2009.
Record expires on 22-Jun-2009.
Record created on 22-Jun-2008.
Registrar Domain Name Help Center:
Domain servers in listed order:
(Thanks to Candace for this special insight.  Now who is making all this ruckus about the "Ypsitucky" name not being appropriate?)

Making Transit Happen – Ypsilanti Rail Stop


City and SEMCOG will host an Open House
March 18, 2009  4:00 PM – 7:00 PM 
Ypsilanti City Hall – 1 S Huron St

The Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter rail project is scheduled to begin its pilot service in late 2010. The City has been working with SEMCOG to provide for the Ypsilanti stop, and will be holding a drop-in open house session to discuss the needs and considerations for this stop. The stop is planned to be located in Depot Town, and SEMCOG currently expects to provide 4 trains daily in each direction at the beginning of the pilot service.

The City and SEMCOG are considering the needs for the initial startup of the service, as well as the ongoing development and maturation throughout the 3-year pilot program and beyond. Issues under discussion include access to and from the station, by bus, bike, car, and foot; circulation between the station, EMU’s campus, and downtown; anticipated parking needs; and ensuring that the train service supports and contributes to ongoing investment in the Depot Town business district and surrounding neighborhoods.

The open house will be held Wednesday, March 18, from 4-7pm, at the Haab Medical Building (111 N. Huron Street). The open house will be followed immediately at 7pm by the Planning Commission meeting, at the same location, which will include a formal presentation from SEMCOG staff. Questions and comments can be made during the open house, at the Planning Commission meeting, or to the City’s Planning and Development Department. All comments will be provided to City Council and SEMCOG as the project moves forward.

For more information on the Ann Arbor to Detroit rail project in general, please see SEMCOG’s website, .

Please contact Richard Murphy, City Planner, with any questions at<> or by phone at 734-483-9646.

Further Reading…

Mark Maynard has discussion on the rail stop platform locations as well as potential funding from the stimulus package approved by the White House.

Help me sustain a positive vision for Ypsilanti



Here are some of my recent actions on City Council:


·         Voted to safeguard AATA bus routes at their current levels and prohibited elimination of personnel as a funding strategy.

·         Voted to accept EPA funding for environmental cleanup in the Water Street project area adjacent to Michigan Avenue.

·         Voted to revise zoning on Forest Avenue to permit to establish their new facility and return parcels to the tax rolls.

·         Voted to reduce administrative costs in the Ypsilanti Police Department through an early retirement that avoided any layoff of patrol officers.

·         Requested the City update the feasibility study for a Storm Water Utility to recover costs related to storm water management.  (It would require EMU to pay for their significant discharges into the system to relieve the City’s general fund and ensure greater dollars could be directed to critical public safety needs.)


Supporters (Part 2)


Council Member John Gawlas is endorsed by the Ann Arbor News


Here is what they said in their editorial entitled Ypsilanti City Council Needs Problem-Solvers


“We believe Gawlas has shown responsible leadership since he was first elected in 1996, and that he deserves to continue his work on the council…we’re endorsing Gawlas in this race.”


Endorsed by local entrepreneurs, progressive, environmental and community activists, including:

Matt & Rene Greff § Linda French § Lisa Wozniak

Beth & Lisa Bashert § Kira Berman § Sarah Devaney

Lisa Mills Walters § Fred Davis § Nathalie Edmunds

David Bates § Bill Nickels § Beverly Fish




ANN ARBOR NEWS – Letters to the Editor 7/30/2008

"As an extremely proud citizen of Ypsilanti for the past eleven years, I have watched the city struggle with a number of challenges, many of which are fiscal in nature and have been exacerbated by the lack of revenue sharing from the State and the disappearance of major employers, such as Visteon.  

In the face of these challenges, however, we have been extremely fortunate to have strong leadership in city government, with Council Members like John Gawlas who have worked relentlessly to keep a balanced budget while maintaining core services that the city’s residents care deeply about, including fire, police, and recycling.

Councilman Gawlas has also been out in front on a proposal for a storm water utility to recover costs associated with protecting our local watershed (which will ideally include a fee for our largest resident: EMU).  And, John has been a strong advocate for reducing barriers to private investment in the long-awaited Water Street project, a project the entire City will benefit from when it comes to fruition.

Don’t stay home on August 5th! John Gawlas is much appreciated on City Council. Let’s make sure we keep him there!


Lisa Wozniak"




The real issues in Ypsilanti


Thoughts about real issues we face in Ypsilanti


Water Street has taken longer than we ever expected which is why we cannot afford to wait.  This is a critical element of redevelopment with land cleanup and mitigation yielding long-term benefit for the city.  We must take action and not simply wait to the opportunity to present itself — because that simply maintains the status quo. To keep encouraging investment, we must reduce barriers so that private sector partners can make the highest and best use of existing industrial and commercial property to grow our community.


Quite frankly, I believe it a highly cynical political ploy by some to suggest the income tax is not a dead issue.  While it was right to consider all the options in addressing the fiscal issues facing the city, we citizens ultimately decided that prudent reduction and regional collaboration remain the chosen course of action for city council to follow.  Based on goals adopted by the Mayor and council, the city participated in a regional police authority study with the townships in Washtenaw County (albeit notably absent Ypsilanti Township) that outlined the feasibility and benefits in delivering a higher level of service vs. contracted Sheriff’s deputies.  With the full support of council, Ypsilanti Fire Chief Ichesco and Chief Hopkins in Ann Arbor have worked out an agreement that results in a functional fire district involving these two fire departments.  We are clearly leading the way for others in the county to deliver enhanced public safety to all of our residents.



The following question has been posed to me on more than one occasion, so let me share what I told Christine Laughren of the Courier staff…


“What do you like about the City of Ypsilanti?”

I enjoy that sense of place you will find in Ypsilanti.  Our diverse population, the natural waterway that meanders through this city, historic homes and structures, downtown and depot town districts all contribute to a higher quality of life.  I also like the sense of energy and engagement exhibited by many who have recently moved into this community.  There is a strong sense of community, manifested through volunteer collaboration and a grassroots approach to problem solving.  It helps to foster that feeling of renewal and leads to a newfound sense of optimism for our City going forward.


I also believe it important to build the brand of Ypsilanti.  Such efforts would be an aid in moving the Water Street development project along as well as position Ypsilanti as an appealing community in which to live.  My recommendation is to define a working committee of the Ypsilanti Board of Education and Ypsilanti City Council to compile an agenda of projects entailing marketing, recycling and recreational issues that would benefit the greater community.


When you are deciding how to vote on the August 5th ballot, I trust that you will consider my experience and perspective on the issues before us.