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Great Lakes Folk Festival–and its successors? // John Kloswick

A “hiatus” for MSU’s and East Lansing’s folklife festival this year would be a mistake, especially since the festival has been moving in the right direction in recent years by returning to its roots as a regional chapter, as it were, of the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folklife.  This format will not appeal to everybody, but, while P. T. Barnum’s museum aimed to draw as many suckers as possible through the turnstiles, our principal aim is education. Since the land-grant tradition which Mark Auslander invokes to support emphasis on undergraduate students (see  eastlansinginfo.org/content/museum-director-explains-folk-festival-hiatus  , paragraph 13) is also about supplementary and … Read more →

The Costs of Boozing, Bloody Well Boozing // Eliot Singer

I see the 50-50 rule is being dissed again. For those who do not know the history, the 50-50 rule says that half the revenue from bars and restaurants must come from food not booze. This rule was at behest of the Responsible Hospitality Council, a group of businesses who recognized the need for responsibility when it comes to boozing, bloody well boozing (to quote an old English boozing song). Whether or not the rule has helped over the years is impossible to prove. It was undermined by having several establishments grandfathered in who did not have to comply and … Read more →

Tree Trimming Under Power Lines // Don Bosman

For publication. I’m going to stir this pot. Partly as the devils advocate and partly because I have a very strong opinion about tree trimming near power lines. After a power outage due to trees breaking power lines, I’d like the power companies to publish a list, of property owner who interfered with scheduled trimming or removal that resulted in a broken power line. Why? Public shaming will do, for a start. I like trees. I’m an advocate of permaculture. The cultivation of trees for the benefits they produce and the simple beauty of them. I have more trees on … Read more →

Tree trimming in East Lansing // Frank McAlpine

The Board of Water and Light through its subcontractor Wright Tree Services is doing tree trimming in East Lansing.  You may have noticed that the trimming is much more drastic than in past years.  This is because the Board of Water and Light has unilaterally decided to cut trees back ten feet from the power lines, in all directions, rather than the four feet it has been using for at least the past 20 years.  At our home, while we were out they topped a row of trees in the back yard.  I came home while they were working and … Read more →

Ostrom and O’Regan Granular Enough? (re: Proposals For Budget Reductions) // Sheila Taylor

In their March 7 post, Ostrom and O’Regan called for a granular look at the proposed budget, then made a cost-saving proposal of their own.  I appreciate the considerable work they have done, respect their intentions, and presume many of their suggestions are worth considering (though I suspect that even taken together, they would not fill the financial gap our city faces). I have a problem with their proposal, however, because they misunderstand how the library is funded. At one time, the city budget included funding for the library, but those days are gone.  Several years, ago, when city budget problems already … Read more →

Proposals For Budget Reductions // Kriss Ostrom and Daphne O’Regan

The budget cuts mentioned in City documents rely excessively on cuts to public safety and merely tinker around the edges of other city services and staff reductions at City Hall. Kriss Ostrom and I propose the following cuts to the East Lansing budget. We have both been East Lansing residents for more than thirty years. Daphne served on the East Lansing School Board and on the School Board Finance Committee during several years of intense budget cutting. Kriss was the Head of Circulation in the MSU Libraries for more than thirty years and accomplished many staff and program reductions while maintaining … Read more →

Financial Crisis and Meadows Still in Denial // Eliot Singer

I hate to talk about this now, given the immediate flood crisis. I hope most of you are managing. This flood is worse than anything in my 35 years in residence in Lansing/East Lansing, and our backed-up sewer problems were not flood related. I feel compelled to say something after reading the latest on financial crisis in Eli. Avondale Square is not the worst by any means. The building of the new DPW building without a debt millage last time Meadows was mayor is costing about $600,000 per year for 25 years, ultimately mostly from general fund money, though hidden … Read more →

re: More Tax Comparisons // Phill Bellfy

In response to Eliot Singer’s most recent post –a small group of activists looked into creating “Spartan City” out of the shallow hull of the city that would formerly be known as East Lansing.  It could be done, but there is one rather large complicating factor: Abbot Road forms the dividing line between two underlying Townships (Lansing Twp. to the west, and Meridian to the east). So, in order to create “Spartan City,” the voters both east and west of Abbot would have to separately vote to separate from “East Lansing” and join their respective Townships.  Then voters in the … Read more →

More Tax Comparisons // Eliot Singer

I am very curious about why certain non-city taxes are so much higher in EL/Ingham County than in TC/Traverse Bay/Grand Traverse. I have analyzed why EL city taxes are so high—the disproportionate cost of policing a college town with much smaller tax base than Ann Arbor, with collateral effect on legacy costs, which are mostly for public safety, and the huge amount of money squandered on building public works, without seeking voter approved debt millages, and pursuing public-private development with snake oil finance. ISD costs might be something to look at through state funding, at least something local legislators might … Read more →

TC v EL Taxes // Eliot Singer

Having recently received my Traverse City 2018 assessment, with 2.1% inflation increase, I have been trying to more fully understand my tax millages in comparison with what I was used to in East Lansing. Both communities have significant aging infrastructure problems. As far as I can tell, public safety and public services in TC are as good or better than in EL. Bottom line is TC local taxes (defined as for a brownfield plan, including ISD but not school district) comes to about 27.8 mils as opposed to about 47.1 mils for EL. (I have excluded voter-approved debt. EL debt … Read more →

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