Just thought you’d like to hear from #4. (FJV: I
have three biological daughters and a son.)
Activity re 696/Main site
Development Authority becomes significant
After more than a decade of being a
do-nothing group (except to act as the
city's Parking Committee and to service some
of the city's debt), the DDA has come to
life to deal with multiple prospects for
doing something with the city's snow-dumping
site at I-696 and Main.
developers have expressed interest in
submitting an RFP (request for proposal),
according to DDA Chair Jay Dunstan,
who is reported as requiring that each
prospective developer make clear whether
they intend to request tax increment
financing from the DDA. TIF is the legal
procedure which enables certain taxes to be
collected by the DDA, rather than by the
city. That money can then be spent only in
the territory which fall in a rather
casually defined Central Business District.
From memory, the CBD includes a narrow strip
running down the middle of Main from downtown to the 696
property, forming a sort of visual hockey
residents stand ready to object to any
proposal which doesn't meet their preference
re height, materials of construction, and
overall aesthetic design. I seem to remember
reading artistic objections to the design of
a sign on the property. Comments on a thread
in the leftover Patch website include:
"Medical offices and apartments are not an
attractive addition to the area . . . The
Krieger rendering looks atrocious, like
barracks or an institutional enclave with a
strip mall in front . . . A cartoon
rendering from some budget home-design
software . . . Construction materials look
prefab and cheap.
they avoid the same homogenized style of
building=s that are sadly found everywhere
in America nowadays Nowhere is unique
anymore. So far it's pretty ho-hum."
Oak's city manager, who sits on the DDA and
who is a great fan of studies, can create
Task Force Nbr 27 to explore all the
possibilities, as an added bureaucratic
burden on the process.
A case history
One of my three
biological daughters, Debbie,
is the principal of
an inner city school
in Cleveland. Below, Debb comments re
coverage of school
I read your piece about the state of
Michigan not having educational vouchers
yet. Thought I would add some Ohio,
specifically Cleveland, information to your
The average cost to educate a student in
Ohio is $10,700. In Cleveland, that number
is $15,000. The average cost to educate a
student in a Cleveland non-public school is
$4,698. The current voucher amount by the
state is $4,250.
Having been a part of the voucher issue
since its inception in 1999, I have
encountered everything from the church
versus state discussion to the “do we have
to have those black kids in our school?”
discussion. Further, the opponents of the
voucher program consistently express the
thought that we “voucher” schools are taking
money away from the public schools. In
reality, we are educating city students for
less than half of what the public schools
can, thereby saving them the cost to
educate. Also, the voucher fund is not
available to public schools, so they would
not have access to that pool of money.
Perhaps the greater issue with voucher
students, is where would they be without the
voucher program? In public schools with
security guards, 39 students in a classroom,
constraining discipline practices, and a
pool of less than enthusiastic teachers?
Statistically, 89% of graduates from a
non-public elementary school continue on to
non-public high schools, where they have a
93% graduation rate. The current high
school graduation rate in Cleveland is 38%.
Vouchers are a part of the national school
choice momentum that does not punish
students because of their zip code or income
level. It provides opportunities for
success that levels the playing field, if
you will, with access to quality education.
Of course there are social issues.
Certainly, voucher schools spend a lot of
time remediating, re-directing, and
re-creating to make learning engaging and
sustainable. Without access to a high
quality education, though, the cost to
society of bearing the weight of
undereducated, socially depleting citizens
would be high.
Debbie for a more formal
my professional sign-off
Principal, Saint Stanislaus School
Bonitatem, Disciplinam, Scientiam
Yes, we teach
black kids Latin.
Family Dialogue 2
Then there's this from one of my grandsons, Joe Drew,
a Harlem-based professional musician and composer (trumpet,
piano) who performs everything from jazz club gigs to
classical concerts, nationwide and in Europe. The
Stockhausen Joe mentions is a 20th Century German composer.
I'm in the final throes of my dissertation, and as I
was writing up some of my research last night, I
couldn't help but think of today's culture wars. I
did a lot of work tracking down the stained glass
windows in a 17th-century Carthusian monastery in
Xanten, because Stockhausen was sent there in 1942.
Stockhausen was 14, and he remembers a giant
stain-glassed window of a dragon slayer, the
identity of which is central to my dissertation.
I found an inventory of the monastery's original windows
that was done in 1802, as the windows were being
removed. The monastery was being secularized as part of
Napoleon's larger campaign against the Church. When I
was synthesizing all of my notes, I thought about how
risible it is for us to shout on cable news about
culture wars and infringements on religious liberties.
No one is using the power of the state to take windows
out of churches! Granted, I'm sure people on both sides
of these issues feel genuinely violated, but some
perspective might help temper their debate.
Speaking of which, it seems to me, as problematic as
Obama's hands-off style of leadership can be, it does
have the benefit of a more neutral perspective. The
Ukraine hawks sound like Rip van Winkle waking up from
Obama is maddeningly detached, and on certain issues,
like Palestine, his engagement could genuinely effect a
positive outcome. Instead, he's letting Kerry freelance.
But far better that than someone like McCain, who I
think would prefer to relocate the Oval Office to the
bridge of an aircraft carrier, trolling the seas for any
war that he could find.
Mom's coming for a visit tomorrow. We're going to be so
happy to see her.
All the best,
Public Safety Latest
Police: Week ended Feb 27: 40 Arrests
Fires: 1 Fires -- 24 for the year . . . 64 EMS Runs --
625 for the year
Well Frank, what little you said about the
confrontation with the city manager is true.
I thought it was more important what was
said. Many things that were taking place at
the market, our committee was never told
about. The one item that brought us to the
commission was the fact that Greg was asked
if he had the support of the market
committee when it came to a hiring
position. He said yes. He never brought it
to us. Things sort of changed after this,
but the aim of the mayor and city manager
and a few bean counters on the commission
who know little about the market indicate
how little they care. They think the
market is a cash cow to be wrung for every
cent you can get lout of it. Newer mind who
The language used in the proposal was truly
unprofessional and the treatment of our volunteer
committee disgraceful. I have heard from several people
who are becoming very concerned about the direction the
city is moving. It's rather ironic that the city is
talking about more bars and liquor in our city when we
had a big blast at the market itself with a bunch of
young twenty something causing so much trouble that the
power had to be turned off to get them out of the
market. Vodka Vodka!!!!! I am pretty sure they won't be
back, but it's an indication of what we have to deal
with. They paid big money to be there, but not any
more, I hope.
Back to my point; Does being left out of loop count
for anything more than being a shrug of the shoulders?
Tom provided the following comment a day or two
After I got that letter off my chest, I looked it up ,
again, the exact definition of the market committees
responsibilities. " The Farmers Market Committee
functions in an advisory capacity to the city commission
on all matters concerning the operations of the Royal
Oak Farmer's Market." I think Greg forgot about that
one. You can check it out in the green booklet
"Advisory Boards and Commissions."
Your bias is showing. Why have you not
mentioned Hillary Clinton at all in your
remains a celebrity -- one of those
individuals who is well-known for being
well-known but whose accomplishments are unknown.
Regular Versagi Voice readers know I don't
Enthusiastic Hillary 2016 supporters can’t
think of a single thing she accomplished
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/05/enthusiastic-hillary-2016-supporters-cant-think-of-a-single-thing-she-accomplished-video/#ixzz2v860mLon
celebrated the unveiling of four city clocks this morning with a
short ceremony at the site of one of the clocks, outside Cobo
The Cobo clock, featuring LED lights and a stainless steel
casing, has a diameter of more than 3 feet and stands 13 feet
Other clocks can be found:
- at Eastern Market. Shed 3 is the
temporary home of a wall-mounted city clock. The clock
eventually will be on a pole outside Shed 5, which is
- in Midtown. A pole-mounted clock sits on the site of a
future dog park on the corner of Cass Avenue and West
Canfield Street, and near Shinola's Detroit headquarters and
- outside the College for Creative Studies.
The pole-mounted clock can be found at the corner of West
Milwaukee Street and Cass Avenue.
2.2 million-square-foot Southfield Town Center
office complex is under contract to New York City-based real
estate investment firm 601W Cos. for $177.5
million and the company plans more than $30 million in
renovations to the complex.
Michael Silberberg, principal for 601W, said the Class A four
buildings will be modernized where necessary to retain existing
tenants and attract new ones. Specific improvements have not yet
been determined. The complex has a vacancy rate of 32 percent,
according to Bloomberg LP.
This is 601W’s first purchase in the metro Detroit market. “We
think the market has bottomed out and there is good, exciting
stuff going on in Detroit and in those submarkets,” Silberberg
Bushes and the Clintons,
If we have to choose a dynasty, how tough a choice can it be?
Putin's Plan For Overturning the European Order
It will be hard to counter Putin because he has
refused to play by Western rules. He seems not to fear political
isolation; he invites it. He seems not worry about the closing
of borders; he hopes for it. His foreign policy amounts to a
deep rejection of Europe and an attempt... --Foreign Affairs
Space Research: The more we learn, the
less we're sure of
Most of the universe is rushing away from us. It's not that
we're particularly repellent; it's just that the universe is
expanding, pushing most other galaxies away. Light from distant
galaxies travels toward us through this expanding space, which
stretches their light to longer, or redder, wavelengths. As a
result, the spectra of most galaxies exhibit redshifts.
Now astronomers have accidentally discovered the greatest blueshift
ever seen, in a star cluster that a giant black hole may have
catapulted our way.
Over small distances gravity has reversed the universe's
expansion, so modest blueshifts are common. Neither the solar
system nor the galaxy is expanding. Not even the
Local Group—the collection of approximately 75 galaxies that
includes the Milky Way—expands. In fact, the Local Group's
largest member, the
Andromeda Galaxy, is moving toward us: it has a blueshift of
300 kilometers per second.
Yet astronomers have spotted an object far beyond the Local
Group's borders with a blueshift of 1,026 kilometers per second,
far surpassing the
previous record of 780 kps set by a star in the Andromeda
Galaxy. "It's always fun to be at the extreme," says Nelson
Caldwell, an astronomer at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics who made not just this discovery but the earlier
one as well. "That was a complete accident, too!"
Astronomers have recorded greater velocities when jets or
explosions shoot debris toward us but they've never seen the
main body of any star, star cluster or galaxy exhibit such an
Caldwell and his colleagues were measuring Doppler shifts of
star clusters around M87, a giant elliptical galaxy located at
the heart of the Virgo Cluster, 54 million light-years from
Earth. Unlike the Local Group, which holds only two giant
galaxies—Andromeda and our own Milky Way—the Virgo cluster has
dozens of large galaxies. M87 possesses an enormous number of
tightly packed star clusters called globulars. Whereas the Milky
Way has about
160 known globular clusters M87 boasts some 10,000.
Moreover, M87's center has a black hole that dwarfs the Milky
six billion to seven billion times more than the sun, over a
thousand times as massive as the four-million–solar mass black
hole occupying the Milky Way's center.
In 2005 astronomers reported finding a so-called hypervelocity
star that the Milky Way's central black hole had kicked
away. According to an
idea proposed two decades earlier, when a binary star system
skirts close enough to a black hole, one star falls in, losing a
large amount of energy; in order to conserve energy, the other
star shoots away at high speed.
A different three-body scenario may explain what Caldwell's team
calls the first hypervelocity globular cluster. If M87's black
hole actually consists of two black holes orbiting each other,
they could fling away a star cluster that strayed too near. The
cluster's gravity causes the two black holes to get a little
closer together, making them lose orbital energy that gets
transferred to the star cluster. If it rushes away in our
direction, it can acquire a large blueshift even though the
galaxy it sprung from has a redshift of 1,307 kilometers per
second. The astronomers have submitted their
work to The
Astrophysical Journal Letters.
"It's a very interesting object," says Daniel Batcheldor, an
astronomer at the Florida Institute of Technology who is not
affiliated with the researchers. "We do suspect thatthere
has been a binary black hole at the center of M87 in the
past but we don't think that there's one right now." A binary
black hole can arise after two large galaxies, each with their
own black holes, smash together. Furthermore, such galaxy
mergers would explain M87's gargantuan size. When its central
black hole was still two separate supermassive black holes, it
could have hurled the star cluster away. But Batcheldor says the
blueshifted object may instead be a dwarf galaxy on the far side
of M87 that is plunging into the galaxy, explaining its high
velocity toward us.
Additional observations are vital. "To really nail down that
it's been ejected from M87, we would like to know its distance,"
Caldwell says. The Hubble Space Telescope can glimpse the
cluster's brightest stars, which will reveal how far it is. If
it's closer than M87, that would favor the ejection scenario.
Despite its extreme blueshift, the object won't hit us,
because it surely has some sideways motion. But it faces a
lonely future. "This thing will eventually leave Virgo and then
be in between clusters of galaxies," Caldwell says. "If it
really was ejected by some binary black hole mechanism, then
there probably should be a few more. We're certainly going to
Current Year's CITCOM meetings
CITCOM Meetings since 2004
How to watch a commission meeting
Do televised CITCOM meetings last longer?
Tone of City Commission meetings
Limit Public Comment Speakers
to 3 Minutes
Public Comment speakers should be
limited to 3 minutes, rather than 5, whatever
First, with rare exceptions the speaker's basic thought is understood within
the first minute or two. All the rest is
repetition of the basic thought -- sometimes
rambling, sometimes in exactly the same words.
Second, watch the speakers watch the digital
clock. They feel compelled to keep talking
until they have used up their 5 minutes.
Ferndale permits only 3 minutes and when Ferndalians speak at our CITCOM
meetings they comment on the bonus we give t hem.
Essay on local government
Micromanagement in Government
Royal Oak Politics
2009 CITCOM Campaign
2009 Royal Oak Politics
What can we expect from CITCOM in 2009?
Commissioners on Committees
The Debate over Ethics
Appointments to City Committees
City Manager Reports
General City Hall News
Ill-mannered mob at Plan Commission
Legacy Costs: the spreadsheet
Liquor Control Committee
How much liquor is too much?
Local Streets classified by traffic count
Royal Oak Officials Over The Years
Sitting In: Occasional reports from city/civic meetings
Who serves on Committees & Boards
Zoning Board of Appeals
Bordine/English Gardens/Jim Rasor
Commissioners on Committees
Ask City Hall
Late posting of meeting agendas
Driving south on Main to Lincoln
How real estate assessments are made
Re Municipal Bonds
How recalled city commissioners are replaced
Who creates the city commission's Consent Agenda?
Snow Removal & Angle Parking
Conditional Zoning and How It Works
Main Street widening seems successful
does movie-making help the city?
Citizens for Property Rights (CPR)
Debate about some matters never ends. New thoughts are seldom introduced, but new people present them, sometimes using fresh language.
Micromanaging vs. Oversight
Tax Credits for Movie-makers?
The Revolution Cometh
Health Care Debate
It's the End of the World, again
Budget Talks never end
The Sound of Downtown Music
City of Royal Oak
Royal Oak Library
Royal Oak Historical Society
Royal Oak Schools
Royal Oak Community Coalition
Ezra Parker Chapter DAR
Royal Oak Woman's Club
Downtown Royal Oak
Chamber of Commerce
League of Women Voters
Cindy La Ferle
Detroit Free Press
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South Oakland Eccentric
Links to Pages & Folders
Overview of issues, candidates, and results
Ongoing news and opinion
Old, but still informative and interesting
Histories, Novels, Biographies
You know: Dollars & Sense
Some Guidelines work in the public and non-profit sectors, too.
News from announcements about Local civic, service, and political organizations
List of conversations with noteworthy civic and political figures
Commission Meetings & Activities
News Reports and comments about substance and tone -- since 2004
Mostly information about the Administration
Probably the city's most controversial panel
Concepts re curriculum and funding.
Royal Oak and Worldwide
For those needing more than a couple of paragraphs to make their point in
About Versagi Voice's favorite civic organization
Pieces about everything from "Merry Christmas" to drug legalization
News about the News Media
Elected and appointed officials come and go. Arguments about the role of
government remain pretty much the same.
Mostly thoughtful, occasionally angry, sometimes humorous
Royal Oak General News
Not everything interesting or important comes from city hall
Science, Environment, Technology
From global warming to molecules
European history . . . Islam . . . Mideast: The world is One
Citizens for Property Rights
Monitoring the threat of mandated historic designation of private
Hey, it's my website!
Royal Oak 48067