The System Works - Three Examples Including My New Perspective on Tax Abatements

I constantly encourage people to attend City Council meetings (1st & 3rd Mondays at 7 pm at Lowell City Hall) and/or the monthly Coffee With Council (1st Saturday of the month from 8-10am at the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce building on the Riverwalk).
As a City Council member I not only want to hear from you, but I need to hear from you. If you think expressing yourself to me and the rest of the City Council is a waste of time - let me give you some examples of why it is NOT a waste of time or energy.
A few weeks ago we had some gentlemen attend a meeting. They are interested in setting up a grow facility for adult use marijuana. The City of Lowell is working to get regulations in place to accommodate such facilities in response to the overwhelming support demonstrated by Lowell voters last year. (Prop 1 passed by a 60/40 majority). I read all the proposed rules, but somehow a portion that dealt with restricting the type of lighting that could be used to grow pot escaped my co…

Health care for all unaffordable? The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan CEO Makes $52,700 A Day - Every Day of The Year

Have you or a loved one been hit with a serious health care issue?  If so, did it put a hurt on your financial situation?
Do you receive regular requests to help someone who is sick pay their bills? Have you ever attended or contributed to a any effort designed to help pay medical bills?
Are you aware that the #1 of bankruptcy in the US is medical bills? Are you aware that we are THE ONLY developed nation without Universal Health Care? Do you know that people in other countries cannot believe the way we treat illness?
One of the recurring songs we get to hear in the discussion of Universal Health Care (or Medicare for All or National Health Insurance - pick your favorite name) is that we simply cannot afford it.

Milk shoots out my nose when I hear this tired, bullshit ridden trope.
Never mind that we live in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet. How about we boil it down to just the State of Michigan - where I live and where Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan insures about 4…

Jaw Dropping Interweb Truth: Lowell Mayor DeVore Actually Funding Roundabouts

Dear Readers - let me set the scene for you. Ride along with me - here we are enjoying a beautiful Michigan Morning as we weave our way via a wonderful, however indirect, set of roads on the way to and from Horrock's Market for some big bags of Chicago Mix popcorn. 

What do we spy ahead as we leave heading South on Breton? Imagine my smile of delight as I approach one of my favorite traffic control methods: a roundabout. The sign brings joy to my heart as I realize yet one more intersection in West Michigan has thrown off the shackles of 4 Way Stops or traffic lights for the way of the future: A Roundabout.
Seconds later my joy is crushed. My jaw is dropped. My eyes are bleeding in their sockets. WHAT THE HELL? I almost hit a mailbox when the rest of the sign comes into view. Mike DeVore, Mayor of Lowell and ALLEGED opponent of roundabouts has his name on a sign for one in Kentwood? How is it possible that the man who has repeatedly torn my fragile self-image to shreds with his c…

Two Pieces of Misinformation on The Condo Project Cleared Up With Dated Emails

As I have mentioned in prior blog posts, the Unity Investors seem to have a hard time with the sequence of events concerning the southern piece of property they purchased. It is the small piece that has power lines from Lowell Light & Power running across it.

They like to give people the impression that they had no knowledge of the power lines when they bought the property. Here are two emails from Todd Schaal which tell a different story.

He contacted City Manager Mike Burns on October 15, 2018 with the subject line reading: "Mike, who is the guy at Lowell Light and Power I should talk to re their power lines? Thanks, Todd."

The partners closed on the property on November 6th or 7th, 2018 almost 3 weeks after the email. Furthermore, Todd met with Steve Donkersloot and Ryan Teachworth at the Lowell Light and Power offices on October 18th to discuss the power lines.

Here is another email from Todd Schaal about the power lines on November 8, a day or two after the purchase…

OBFUSCATION: The Request To Vacate High Street - Lowell Condo Project Part 2

The word of the day is Obfuscate: Definition ofobfuscate

1a: to throw into shadow : DARKENb: to make obscureobfuscate the issue2: CONFUSE

Lowell City Council Blocking Condos? I think not.

I have been on the City Council now for a little over half a year. Still learning new things every week.  It has come to my attention that some folks in Lowell believe the City Council is holding up progress when it comes to the proposed condo project on the Riverwalk in the old school buildings.

Bull-shizzle. Not the case at all. Let me give you a bit of a time line to demonstrate how much City Manager Mike Burns, the DDA, and the City Council have been trying their best to make the condo project a reality.

1. I was a board member of the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) for a couple years before being appointed to fill Jeff Phillips council seat late last year. While on the DDA, Mike Burns came to us with the recommendation that we become a recognized Brownfield site. In short, doing so would allow anyone purchasing a building or buildings with something like asbestos in it to be able to apply for and easily receive tax credits to offset the expense of asbestos abatement. At the …

Fix The Roads in Lowell: Do We Cut Services or Raise Funds?

Lowell has roads that need work. It is a fact; 63% of our local streets are in poor condition. Another fact is that the City, like most other municipalities in Michigan, has no funds to fix the roads. We have two options – cut back on services and put the cost savings into the streets or raise funds. There is going to be a proposal on the November ballot asking Lowell voters to approve a City income tax with the monies collected to be dedicated to improving our roads. The tax will be 1% for residents and ½% for non-residents and it will be packaged with a 5 mill reduction for property owners in Lowell. Before we dive into the income tax, I want to address two popular methods suggested by folks to lower expenditures. The first one is to eliminate our police department which represents about $860,000.00 of our three million dollar annual budget. It is the single biggest expenditure.  The wisdom on the street is that if we eliminate the LPD, then our policing needs will be made up by the Ke…