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.