Writing in Public Response Years Ago with Regard to Strathmore Development Company Were not Intended to Allege or Imply Illegalities

I have received a letter from Attorney R. Christopher Cataldo, demanding retraction of anything I wrote on Public Response years ago concerning Strathmore Development Company or Scott Chappelle that alleged or implied corruption, illicit schemes, criminal, or other wrongdoing.

I never intended to make such allegations and tried my best to stick to publicly available facts and documents concerning projects by Strathmore and its affiliates. The context was the City Center II project in East Lansing that involved bonds backed by full and credit … Read more →

Tuesday Night Massacre (with apologies to Richard Nixon) // Eliot Singer

Back around 2007, when I first realized there was something rotten in the City of East Lansing and started complaining about Staton’s arrogant unwillingness to deal with neighborhood problems, I had a conversation with an activist in the local Democratic Party who said, “Staton, Meadows, and McGinnty.” McGinnty was then city attorney, and Yeadon did the scut work of plea bargaining MIPs, etc. This was shortly after Meadows had left Council for State Representative (after Whitmer had moved on to Senate). The feeling was … Read more →

In-house city attorney // Eliot Singer

I’m going to write a couple of posts regarding the firing of Yeadon and resignations, from a historical perspective.

First, I want to review the financial argument for an in-house city attorney (city employee). When we did the petition drive, the primary motive was to get rid of the law firm that had had the contract for a long time, because of the many reasons that law firm had failed the public interest.

But we did also make the case that an in-house attorney would save … Read more →

East Lansing City Bond Attorney // Eliot Singer

I see  in ELi  that some members of Council are (finally) questioning the continued use of the bond attorney. I would add, they also need to get rid of Baird as the city’s bond agent.

Better yet, time to stop allowing DDA/BRA to issue bonds and to stop allowing the city to issue bonds unless approved by voters. Just a reminder, the DPW building was built without voter-approved bonds (with cost overrun) after voters were promised, in approving sale of the old building, there would be no … Read more →

Decommissioning Yeadon // Eliot Singer

Ah, nostalgia, to quote the great storyteller, Gamble Rogers.

I see the DDA is finally giving up on Yeadon. I still maintain, if the city gave up on the DDA, eliminating staffing costs and reducing it to paying its existing debts and bills, it would save more money than trying desperately to make good on the idiotic 2009 decision to borrow to buy the Evergreen properties. By time any big new project is completed, the debt of the bonds for City Center I will be … Read more →

Announcing my new website for sharing research and writing including kids’ stuff // Eliot Singer

Hope everyone is doing okay social distancing. A few cases in Traverse City and NW Michigan.

I decided it was time finally to start a website to share my (not-political) research and writings, including a lot of handouts from my days working with teachers, some of which might be useful for stay-at-home children (with parental help). Lots of writing on history and folklore. Will be continuing to add to it. If you were thinking of reading a long novel to pass the time, check … Read more →

Selling and redeveloping city’s Evergreen properties is not financially necessary // Eliot Singer

Three of the EverGreen properties

With a new Council and an apparent willingness to look beyond the DDA for solutions to the Evergreen properties quagmire, I am going to revive my analysis from several years ago that it is not financially imperative to sell and redevelop the city’s Evergreen properties, which were originally bought with the intent of tearing them down and replacing with a massive parking garage.

Recall that the properties were bought 10 years ago for more than 3 times their assessed market value, at a time … Read more →

Failure to Reform // Eliot Singer

I thought it might be useful to provide some insights as to what reformers hoped to accomplish at the time of the 2015 Council election.

The context that was finally conducive to reform was: City Center II, St. Anne’s Lofts, and other public-private development fiascos; “retaining-wall-gate”; neglect of neighborhoods in favor of the downtown development agenda; the growing fiscal crisis, brought on by unfunded debt for big projects, tax diversion to development authorities, and legacy costs; and lack of accountability in city hall. Getting rid … Read more →

Mourning Loss of Mackerel Sky // Eliot Singer

Mackerel Sky - East Lansing - Street Shot

I was saddened to see that Mackerel Sky will be closing, after celebrating 30 years. I met Tom and Linda in 1980, right after we first moved to Michigan, when they were co-owners of Brother Gambit, back when downtown East Lansing had a vibrant small, locally-owned, business community, which we regularly patronized, despite, at the time, living in west Lansing. There was still such a community, as well as vibrant historic neighborhoods and the top local school system, when we chose to buy a … Read more →

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