Please Vote Today // Matt Kazmierski

This is a friendly reminder to be a responsible citizen, and vote in today’s primary election. In addition to the races, there are a couple of important ballot proposals for those in the East Lansing area.

Here are some helpful resources to prepare you for voting: – A very helpful voter guide, with information on candidates, ballot proposals, and polling place locations. Just enter your address in the left side bar, and go from there. – Preview your ballot on the State … Read more →

Fiscal Options for East Lansing // Ron Fisher

I have already commented about the East Lansing tax proposal arguing that the imposition of a City income tax or an increase in the property tax are inherently limited as a solution to the City’s fiscal issues. The main point is that the City is relatively small and surrounded by similar suburban communities with essentially equivalent access to major employers, making it relatively easy for individuals and businesses to select locations outside the City.

The point of this comment is the City has … Read more →

Influence peddling and tax vote // Eliot Singer

Even after years of investigative reporting on East Lansing, I am amused by the report in ELi about big contributors to the yes campaign with reasons to influence city hall, including what is now hotter than development tax giveaways, peddling dope. (I’ve favored legalization since my hippie days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big players trying to get in to a profitable industry by greasing the skids. )

Normally business interests don’t like taxes, witness Chamber sayin no, but this is the only influence peddling game … Read more →

Consumption taxes vs Income taxes… // Dave Finet

I’d like to thank Mr Wolf for reinforcing my point with his informative email.  The difference between consumption taxes (as most of the taxes he mentioned ARE consumption taxes) and income taxes is EXACTLY the reason that some STATES don’t even collect income tax!

Consumption taxes are more progressive than income taxes and (in the East Lansing situation) don’t punish “non-residents” for East Lansing’s financial mismanagement and force them to pay for anyone else’s “quality of life”.

So, yes, compare all you’d like… but … Read more →

Smart Development, Cool City, No Income Tax // Matt Mitroka

While East Lansing may have limited options to increase property taxes, there is the option to raise more money via property taxes in the form of increased property values and reassessment at the time of sale. While there are the issues of potential bait and switch by developers, etc, there are also the issues that East Lansing seems to be afraid of student developments and increased urban density. Yes, previous eras of MSU students acted in ways that hurt the relationship between the City … Read more →

Service Solvency: An Analysis of Michigan Cities // Tali Faris-Hylen

Service Solvency: An Analysis of the Ability of Michigan Cities ....

I’ve read through this extensive piece put out by Robert Kleine, Interim Director and Mary Schulz, Associate Director Center for Local Government Finance and Policy Michigan State University Extension, and found it very informative given the financial situation East Lansing is in.

It addresses why cities like EL, that seem like truly vibrant communities in every way, have revenues far behind other communities. It specifically states how cities with per capita taxable value below $20,000 will struggle financially (East Lansing is $19,461). … Read more →

re: Response to Mr. Bellfy // Phil Bellfy

Reply to Ruth Beier:

There is no nice way to say this, but it is simply not true that​ “the property owners gave up valuable property so that the sidewalk could be widened to improve pedestrian safety.”

Number 1:  The sidewalk was not “widened to improve pedestrian safety.”​ Please look at the attached email which lays out the City’s rationale for replacing the retaining wall.  Here’s the relevant part of that email, and it should be noted that this is the oldest document I … Read more →

re: Response to Mr. Bellfy // Eliot Singer

Cronyism is not a “mistake.” Doing favors for those with connections is cronyism. No one familiar with government in general and East Lansing government in particular thinks retaining wall gate was an innocent mistake. That’s why it was called retaining wall gate in the first place.

Remember this happened in the context of even worse government misconduct with City Center II and St Anne’s Lofts and all the lies and cover up.

I said long ago the only way to restore credibility is accountability.

Read more →

re: Response to Mr. Bellfy // Alice Dreger

​This is a response to Council Member Ruth Beier’s post this morning to Public Response.

Before responding to that, please note that East Lansing Info (ELi) provides sourcing (with links and PDFs) for all of its reporting on Phil Bellfy’s lawsuit against the City and City Attorney under the federal False Claims Act, so you can check our reporting for links to things like the settlement agreement, the City Manager’s request for a waiver from the federal conflict of interest rules, and HUD’s determination … Read more →

Response to Mr. Bellfy // Ruth Beier

There is no question that the City of East Lansing made a mistake when it made its application to HUD to use CDBG funds for the project in question.  Specifically, the city should have disclosed to HUD that one of the four properties abutting the sidewalk housed the City Attorney.  This was the city’s error.  People make mistakes, and the city owns this one.

The problem with Mr. Bellfy’s accusation and the reporting by ELi  is that both imply that the City Attorney was … Read more →

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