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The Ladies Doth Protest Too Much: “There is No ‘Predetermined’ Outcome,” Claim Rapunds and Margie T. (With Poll)

At the January 4, 2010 City Council meeting, First Ward Council member Sabra Briere put forth one of her classic “resolutions.” She told the Press she didn’t want to step on the toes of anyone on the Library Lot RFP Advisory Committee, City Council, Santa and his elves, the Five Families of New York, or the entire populations of China and India combined. Sabra’s a politician, after all, careful never to step on anyone’s toes. Well, except the toes of those she represents in Ward One. Those toes get trampled regularly by Briere’s inability to represent the best interests of her constituents first, and worry about all those other toes at some other point in time. Lord knows Marcia Higgins isn’t worried about Briere’s toes. Higgins referred to Briere’s resolution as “insulting.” Briere wanted to have Council directly re-examine the two open space projects that were eliminated by RFP Advisory Committee.

The resolution was insulting and worthless. Worse still, Briere had all the evidence she needed to bring forth a different resolution. A resolution that would have shown her to be a leader and not scared of her own political shadow.

Briere could have come forth with a resolution to immediately disband the RFP Advisory Committee, rewrite the RFP with public input, and reissue it. She could have brought this resolution forward on the grounds that there is ample evidence that members of the RFP Advisory Committee, and members of our City Council engaged in ongoing private meetings and passed information to members of the Valiant Group—one of the six groups that submitted proposals. These discussions and meetings went on for months prior to the issuance of the RFP. Briere could have brought forth this resolution, based on the fact that there are members of the RFP Advisory Committee who, because of their ongoing communications with members of the Valiant Group, should not have been allowed to evaluate the proposals due to conflicts of interest. 

Marcia Higgins called Briere’s ineffectual and completely ridiculous resolution insulting, and then Marcia Higgins pulled the “trust” card.

Higgins lectured that Council and the public need to trust that the RFP Advisory Committee.

This advice came from a woman caught via FOIAed emails rigging votes for her own Council pay raise. Trust Margie Teall? Trust Stephen Rapundalo, Chair of the RFP Advisory Committee? That ship left the dock in June 2009 when the Ann Arbor News fingered Teall and Rapundalo (along with Higgins, First Ward Council member  Sandi Smith, Third Ward’s Chris Taylor, Second Ward’s Tony Derezinski and Fifth Ward’s Carsten Hohnke for allegedly deliberating via email during open Council meetings. The city is now embroiled in a lawsuit as a result of Teall, Taylor, Higgins, Derezinski, Rapundalo, Hohnke, and Smith’s alleged repeated violations of the Open Meetings Act.  

Second Ward Council member Stephen Rapundalo and Ward Four’s Margie Teall both told their colleagues on Council, and the turnips watching on CTN, that “the process” of selecting the proposal to recommend to Council is totally unbiased. The thought that the procedure is rigged or “fixed” is ridiculous, Teall and Rapundalo both said. 

The Process Queens doth protest too much. Here’s why.

Let me introduce you to the cast of characters on the RFP Advisory Committee:

Margie Teall – Council Member
Stephen Rapundalo – Council Member
Eric Mahler – Planning Commission
John Splitt – DDA
Sam Offen – Resident & PAC Member
Roger Fraser – City Staff
Jayne Miller – City Staff
Matt Kulhanek – Manager of the Ann Arbor Airport
Susan Pollay – DDA staff

Here’s the language from the resolution approved by Council on July 6, 2009 that outlines who will serve on the RFP Advisory Committee: The authorizing resolution (R-09-268, passed July 6, 2009)  contains the following Resolved 

RESOLVED, That the Mayor, prior to the deadline for submission of RFP’s for this project, will appoint an RFP Review Committee consisting of two members of City Council, one member of the Planning Commission, one member of the Downtown Development Authority, and one resident to review all properly submitted proposals. This committee will conduct a public meeting to solicit public input on the desired use of the site, as is consistent with current City practice. 

Anyone notice that all the members of the RFP Advisory Committee are appointed commission members or council members? If you did, move to the head of the class. Anyone notice the four staff who were magically added to the committee? Give yourself a gold star.

This change to the composition of the RFP committee was never brought to City Council for approval. 

At the January 4, 2010 Council meeting, Rapundalo, Higgins, Teall, Smith, Hieftje, Derezinki and Hohnke, all of whom voted against Briere’s resolution, talked about how important it was to respect the “process” and follow the rules. 

Again, the Ladies doth protest too much. 

This simple timeline taken from FOIAed emails should demonstrate just how our Mayor, City Council members and City Administrator have rigged the RFP process, and why it won’t be a shock if one of the losing groups files a lawsuit against the city.

January 2009: City Administrator Roger Fraser presents Council members with a plan for “a little convention center” at the Council’s retreat. The Ann Arbor News later reports that the plan is from the Valiant Group, of which Fritz Seyferth is a partner. According to Valiant’s proposal, Seyferth stands to split a $1 million dollar developer fee with his partners should the Valiant Group’s proposal be selected.

Setting the stage for the Valiant Group: Ann Arbor City Administrator Roger Fraser was in contact with the Valiant Group at least 9 months before the City Council voted to issue the RFP to develop the Fifth Avenue parcel. RFP Advisory Committee Council members Teall and Rapundalo were shown the Valiant Group’s plans for a convention center 9 months before the formal RFP was issued, and 13 months before the group’s proposal was submitted to the RFP Advisory Committee.

January 20, 2009: Via email Sandi Smith invites the Mayor, everyone on Council and Roger Fraser to a meeting at the DDA to talk about what they want to build atop the parking garage. No meeting agenda. No meeting minutes. No public notice of the meeting.

February 2009: Mayor Hieftje emails a constituent concerned with what will be built atop the underground parking garage. Hieftje writes that it will probably “be years” before anything is built on the Fifth Avenue parcel owned by the citizens of Ann Arbor.

February 11, 2009: Fritz Seyferth, partner in the Valiant Group, emails DDA representative and future RFP Advisory Committee member Susan Pollay. He writes,

“Susan,

Please call with any feedback you got on the meeting re what may go above the parking structure. We have received a more positive feedback from our concept from some on Council, so that is good.”

March 2009: Sandi Smith announces to Council that she plans to bring an RFP to Council for the group’s approval for the development of the Fifth Avenue library lot parcel.

April 6, 2009: Fritz Seyferth writes to DDA representative and RFP Advisory Committee member Susan Pollay:

“Susan -

Hope you are well.

Bruce Zenkel and Mike Bailkin (Seyferth’s Valiant Group partners) will be in town for University meetings. We would very much like to meet with you if you have time.

We would like to give and get updates on where we are on our projects…..

It was suggested I touch base with Sandi Smith….Any thoughts?”

Conflict of Interest/Ethics: Either Seyferth is lying to Pollay, or the Valiant Group met with “members” of Council and presented the Valiant Group’s “concept” for what was to be built atop the library lot months before the RFP was written and issued. Furthermore, Susan Pollay, a member of the RFP Advisory Committee, had contact with Seyferth prior to her appointment to the RFP Advisory Committee.

April 6, 2009: Susan Pollay schedules a meeting with the Valiant Group partners for April 21st or April 22nd.

April 21, 2009: Susan Pollay emails Fritz Seyferth:

Current design details [of the proposed underground parking garage] for your use….It was good seeing you earlier today. I look forward to talking to you again in a few weeks after your team has had another chance to meet with city folks.

May 5, 2009: Susan Pollay emails (in PDF format) Fritz Seyferth a dozen structural schematic drawings for the underground parking garage  for use in preparing the Valiant Group’s RFP. The drawings were provided by Michael C. Ortleib of the Carl Walker Company. 

July 2009: Ann Arbor City Council approves the issuance of an RFP for the development of the Fifth Avenue parcel.

Who were the members of Council with whom Seyferth met last February? Rapundalo? Teall? If so, neither has any business on the RFP Advisory Committee. Will those Council members with whom Seyferth met identify themselves? The DDA’s Susan Pollay should be replaced immediately, as should Roger Fraser, both of whom had extended and extensive contact with the Valiant Group’s partners prior to the issuance of the RFP.

Local blogger Vivienne Armentrout writes about the Valiant Group’s ongoing contacts with the Downtown Development Authority’s staff member Susan Pollay, as well Roger Fraser, City Council members, and other city officials. She refers to the contact as “the inside track.”

The inside track refers to a race where all of the runners start at the same time and one runner draws the inside lane. The Valiant Group was given a year-long head start in the race. The six proposals that came in on November 13th were, presumably, compiled between August 14th when the RFP was published, and November 13th, when it was due. Except for one, the Valiant Group’s.

All of this adds up to a rigged RFP process. It was rigged either through duplicity or sheer stupidity. Either way, Higgins’s demand that we trust the “process” is for suckers. The citizens of Ann Arbor deserve an honest RFP be written with public input, a fair and honest RFP competition be held, and an honest evaluation of the proposals submitted by a Committee comprised of individuals as per Council’s original July resolution, and headed by politicos we can respect and trust. That list certainly does not include Stephen Rapundalo or Margie Teall…..or Marcia Higgins, Carsten Hohnke, Christopher Taylor, Tony Derezinski or Sandi Smith—whose alleged Open Meetings Act violations for deliberating in secret via email during public meetings have plunged the city into a lawsuit.

 

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Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=2488

25 Comments for “The Ladies Doth Protest Too Much: “There is No ‘Predetermined’ Outcome,” Claim Rapunds and Margie T. (With Poll)”

  1. [...] had even begun.  Emails released in response to 2009 and 2010 Freedom of Information Act requests revealed that not only had DDA Executive Director been in contact with a particular developer with respect [...]

  2. [...] by every member, with the exception of Ward Five Council member Mike Anglin. It was revealed in emails released to the public via Freedom of Information Requests, that the parking garage was built, primarily, because politicos wanted a hotel/conference center [...]

  3. [...] “accomplishment” that is absent from Teall’s web site is her 2010 involvement in the Council majority’s underhanded efforts to use public funding to lure a [...]

  4. [...] What he fails to tell his constituents is that the parking fees were raised to pay for these bonds, that the structure was built to subsidize a downtown hotel and conference center, and that city taxpayers are on the hook for the bonds if the DDA can’t come up with the [...]

  5. [...] on January 6, 2010, A2Politico wrote about FOIAed emails that exposed the Valiant Group’s repeated contact with City Council [...]

  6. A2P, this poll does not show the raw numbers of people voting for each choice. A short while ago, another poll here did show this.

    The actual numbers are quite helpful. Could you please re-set the polling program to show them? Thanx!

  7. Re: #17. I often disagree with Council Member Sabra Briere. What I appreciate about having CM Briere on Council is her willingness to listen and give real consideration to other points of view (including mine). She forms her opinions and takes her positions based on her independent thinking after hearing all sides. Often, her vote is predicated on finding a logical approach that she can apply to subsequent, similar issues. In other words, she doesn’t follow anyone’s “script”.

    Recently, CM Briere circulated a draft resolution that would have required the RFP Advisory Committee to reinstate the open space proposals. After hearing from others on Council that it is a bad idea to interfere in committee actions, she modified her proposal to simply seek more information directly from the excluded proposers. That idea is based in the Mayor’s representations that without regard to the Advisory Committee’s choice, Council can select any of the 6 proposals. For Council to exercise that discretion it needs as much information as possible.

    CM Briere could have demanded a vote on her original resolution, but it too would have failed because of the current composition of the Council. Even if it had passed, it would create the precedent of interfering with committee work. Would we stand by silently if the Council decided to direct the Germantown Historic Study Committee to take particular actions? The desire for consistent treatment of committees reasonably led to modification of her resolution.

    Placing the watered down resolution on the Council agenda led to a healthy discussion of underlying issues. More importantly, it led to an agreement to have CM Teal and CM Rupundalo seek reinstatement of the rejected proposals. Friday morning, the RFP Advisory Committee voted to reinstate the rejected proposals. Those proposers will have an opportunity to answer further questions and offer additional information. They will also have a chance to describe their proposals to the public during the RFP interviews to be held at the downtown library on January 19 and 20.

    Absent the placement of the “insulting and worthless” resolution on the agenda, none of this would have happened. I think CM Briere deserves credit for restoring full deliberation of all of the library lot proposals. Her resolution alone will not stop the secret plan from being realized, but it is a small step in the right direction.

  8. The RFP advisory committee just voted to include the two previously eliminated proposers in the review interviews. These will be held on the afternoon of January 19 and all day January 20 at the Downtown Library.

    Film at eleven. 8-)

  9. Mr. Floyd..my comments are not directed to you in the least. While I’m happy you put your money where your mouth is and actually ran for office, it matters not to me. It is apparent from your comments that you buy into the group mentality of this tabloid. Its the same story, you ignore the obvious appearance of a conflict of interest of those 3 councilmembers and state, “But you never know, he could also be interested in public service.” This isn’t about the Hotel owner, he is trying to protect his interest, I get that. This is about the blatant hypocrisy of those who don’t like the decisions the current majority has made. Why aren’t the true believers of council corruption sending FOAI’s for these 3 councilmembers e-mails to see if they discussed their political donations and their special treatment of Mr. Dahlman? Because you (everyone associated with this blog, not you in particular Mr. Floyd) don’t really care about corruption. If you did, you would hold all councilmembers to the same standard. But in true FOX News style, you go after those you disagree with and call them crooks and ignore the short-comings of those on your team. As I accurately predicted, this information would be met with either silence or excuses. The silence is defeaning, and you have provided the excuses. I don’t have the time or the interest to respond to your lengthy diatribe about what you perceive to be the Mayor and majority councilmembers short-comings. I will only say that just because they don’t do what you say or vote a certain way, doesn’t mean they can’t hear the incessint ranting from you and the true believers. They just choose to put their time and energy into others. It is noteworthy that you will at least try to discuss these issues nothwithstanding the above. Others on this rag merely scoff and want to know what office in city hall is mine as if somehow that changes the facts.

    “Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know.”
    -Cullen Hightower

  10. John, I continue to appreciate your thoughtful comments here. One exception to what seems to be quite clear thinking on your part is your repeated attempts to put words in someone’s mouth about wanting to increase our city’s population to 500,000. You might consider going to Carsten’s (or whoever’s) office hours or making a phone call and getting an actual quote (if that’s what you’re looking for.) Then again, maybe I’m just missing a rhetorical point of your hyperbole. (I see it as a likely exaggeration because I don’t think that any advocate of increased density, either downtown or citywide, envisions a population increase of more than 10,000-20,000 or so.)

  11. @13 Mr. Crazy,

    I did have the courage to run for office, and you have noted that others you dislike have also run. If you want to mock we who stand up for our beliefs, and then cite Gary Hart complaining that people who don’t like the direction of government don’t run for office, well, “to each his own”.

    It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist “following the money” to figure out that the owner of the Campus Inn might have more than one motive for offering to pay $2.5 million to put a public plaza on top of the library lot instead of another hotel. But you never know, he could also be interested in public service. Go check out the literature on the economic effects of urban green space (while you’re at it, check out the literature on the economic effects of historic preservation).

    When an entire slate of council candidates, plus the mayor, run on a “Shared high-level vision of the future of Ann Arbor”, but don’t bother to mention that to the public during the election, don’t respond to simple public inquiries about that agenda, don’t ever explain their vision to the public at even a high level, let alone specific details (like, “we want to turn your town of 115,000 into a town of 500,000″), claims to altruistic public service ring hollow. People who believe in what they are doing do not keep their intentions secret, at least not in my life experience. Unless they are planning a surprise birthday party, people hide their intentions when they believe that what they want to do cannot withstand the light of day, has some shameful element to it. Hidden agendas don’t square with claims to “Public service”.

    Add to this their ugly opinions about the people they were elected to represent and serve, their glee at their skill at perverting public process (see “Corruption”, above), their attitude of entitlement to run other people’s government as if it were their personal toy, their belief that they are the mean kid’s table at a middle school lunch room, rather than elected representatives in a legislative body, and suddenly Mr. Hart’s commentary seems out of place in Ann Arbor.

    Real leaders tell people where they want to go. They are not afraid to explain or sell their vision – they understand that selling their vision is the essence of leadership. Slight-of-handers are intent on keeping their true goals secret. The puffed-up are concerned with their egos, with their status, their position, their entitlements, how deferential others are to them, with “winning”. Real leaders know that it’s not about them – its about the mission.

    Intelligence comes in many different forms. Skills can be bought from accountants, lawyers, engineers, programmers and wonks. Wisdom – knowing what to do – is the intelligence most in short supply, not fund accounting or legal analysis. We spent an entire generation discovering that sometimes “The Best and the Brightest” aren’t quite as smart – or wise – as they imagine themselves to be. Wisdom is what we need in political leaders, not in-depth knowledge of waste-water engineering, libel law, or techniques in weasel-wording.

    One of my greatest disillusionments in life has been the discovery that there is no particular correlation between education/credentials/resume, and Wisdom. Credentials measure skills and memorization, and they are great for those things. Turns out, you can’t measure things like judgement or creative thinking, You can’t even teach them, you can only help someone else along their own journey of self-cultivation. Experience is great, if you choose to learn the right things from it. Being the smartest kid in the class is irrelevant to wisdom.

    Recently there was a man on council who, by all accounts, was credentialed, experienced, and smart. He was removed from office largely, in the end, because he never mastered the basics of leadership, and either did not cultivate his own capacity for wisdom, or has little of this capacity in him. Being the smartest kid in the class is not what it’s all about.

    When people feel heard, understood, and respected, when they feel they are not being lied to, not played for suckers and simpletons, not manipulated, that no agendas are hidden – in short, when the feel they can trust their government – they tend to be less shrill, even when they lose the argument. There ain’t much of this intelligence at 5th & Huron, Mr. Hart.

    The period in America from 1945 to, say, 1973 was an outlier, unlike any in the history of the world. Don’t be suprised that it ain’t coming back. Except among WWII vets, politics in America has always been dirty, Mr. Hart – and we are reverting to form.

  12. You are being really rough on Sabra Briere, who tried to do a good thing. Her resolution occasioned a good bit of discussion, much of it quite revealing. Its moderation gained it an extra vote or two and meant that the discussion was substantive, while if she had tried to disband the committee, it would simply have been hooted off the floor. And where is the basis for your statement that she neglects her constituents? Is there an example to be cited?

    Council has its own culture and traditions. Working with it effectively requires recognizing that, just as diplomats learn to speak in language acceptable to foreign powers. Politics is the art of the possible, at least when it succeeds.

    • @16 Let me give you another perspective.

      Dennis Dahlmann is a big donor to her campaigns (as he is to others). She was asking to have the proposal of one of her biggest political donors re-evaluated. Thus, the resolution becomes less altruistic and slightly more self-serving.

      Let’s set that aside and realize that there were people who asked her to refrain from putting forward her resolution for the simple reason that it was ill-thought out logistically. Lastly, she watered down the watered down soup even further because she got some push back from Rapundalo and Teall.

      When is Briere going to realize that she’s getting a bad reputation for playing both ends against the middle?

      She has few friends on Council, and from what I hear is beginning to alienate her political supporters by voting with the majority, and circulating justifications that make little sense. She is quickly losing what little political usefulness she ever had.

      I’m going to go out on a limb and predict unless she stops playing both sides badly, she’ll find herself challenged for her seat next time around and will lose based on her own voting record and lack of a record of fighting for her political base.

  13. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alan Pagliere and A2 Politico, A2 Politico. A2 Politico said: RT @A2Politico: The Ladies Doth Protest Too Much: "There is No 'Predetermined' Outcome," Claim Rapunds and Margie T. http://bit.ly/65wUPq [...]

  14. Mr. Floyd..”Any time an elected official takes disproportionate contributions from an interest who wants something from the official or the body to which the official belongs, that official’s moral authority takes some degree of hit.” I COULDNT AGREE MORE! Why not check the campaign finance filings for the Three Musketeers and see if you can find a common donor. Then see if that Donor was involved with the recent RFP for the library lot. Then, look and see if one of the chosen 3 recently submitted a resolution to have that donor reconsidered for consideration, or, in other words, given special treatment. Then, read a recent AA.com article were one of the three councilmembers expresses his doubt that the city needs a new hotel cause there is not the demand, even though a new hotel might actually be viewed in direct competeition of his overnight hospitality business. As Mr. Cahill says..connect the dots. When your done, lets see if there is the same outrage that is usually reserved for the “council majority.” My guess is there will be silence or excuses because thats what this tabloid is about.

    My early statements weren’t meant to intimidate anyone. Freedom of speech is our most cherished freedom. But reminding those who think they are oh so holy that writing about others in a negative light that calls into question the legality of their acts is my way of expressing myself!

    As for the lawsuit, I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.

    I am including a recent article from the HUFF POST by Gary Hart. Very interesting.

    “The current turmoil in Colorado politics and beyond, marked by resignations of senior elected officials, has many lessons. First among these is: “It isn’t fun anymore.” From the nation’s founding, the idea of public service never was meant to be “fun.” The Jeffersons, Madisons, and Hamiltons intended the thoughtful, dedicated, and dis-interested (that is, those who were committed to the public interest) to hold public office for a time and then return to the ordinary citizen’s life–involved and engaged but not in an official capacity.
    But, having held office in the 1970s and 1980s, I can testify to the fact that politics used to be more civilized, more collegial, and more, well, enjoyable. It certainly was more honorable. Since then, the confluence of exorbitant campaign costs, special interest influence, and the meanness of “consultants” have all conspired to remove almost all joy from public service. The net result is, with a few notable exceptions, the decline in the caliber and quality of Americans willing to serve.
    For the tea-baggers and government-haters, this is all to the good. They claim to love our country even while hating its government. So, the worse the government performance, the more it proves their point. And the less thoughtful, intelligent, and wise the elected officials, the worse the government.
    The U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century reported this in January 2001: “the United States finds itself on the brink of an unprecedented crisis of competence in government. The maintenance of American power in the world depends on the quality of U.S. government personnel…at all levels. In this light, the declining orientation toward government service as a prestigious career is deeply troubling.” Deeply troubling not for some reason of abstract civics, but deeply troubling for the security of this nation.
    So, the cynics and trolls who scream like banshees at town hall meetings and scan the blogosphere to post cynical put-downs of their country’s government are hurting no one but themselves. Not one of these people has the courage to stand for public office. And the most qualified Americans will continue to choose not to serve their country and we will continue to be weaker for it.”

    A2P continues to vilify elected officials like Hohnke and Warren even though they are highly qualified individuals with no agenda other than public service, while supporting candidates that have no business handling complex fiscal and policy matters. To each his own.

    “Movements born in hatred very quickly take on the characteristics of the thing they oppose.”
    -J. S. Habgood

  15. This is another important article! I myself had failed to connect the “DDA dots” with the other dots.

    I think there are mistakes in the comment following the January 2009 timeline entry. You say:

    “Setting the stage for the Valiant Group: Ann Arbor City Administrator Roger Fraser was in contact with the Valiant Group at least 9 months before the City Council voted to issue the RFP to develop the Fifth Avenue parcel. RFP Advisory Committee Council members Teall and Rapundalo were shown the Valiant Group’s plans for a convention center 9 months before the formal RFP was issued, and 13 months before the group’s proposal was submitted to the RFP Advisory Committee.”

    According to the article, though, the RFP was issued in July, and the Valiant proposal was received in November.
    January is 6 months before the RFP was issued, not 9. And January is 10 months before the Valiant proposal was submitted, not 13.

    Can these counting errors be corrected in the article?

  16. Mr. Crazy,

    1) I wonder if anyone on council has personal, business or other ties to major central Ann Arbor property owners? Perhaps you have insight into this.

    2) Got any dope on the the status of back-and-forths between the city and those who threatened the lawsuit? Is the suit not filed because those threatening to file suddenly believe that their claims have no merit, or is non/delayed filing part of a strategic dance between the parties? I have no knowledge or insight into this, would welcome any you have.

    3) In reading the comments, I have not seen an instance of any individual, or any group, labeled as “corrupt”. I, myself, made an abstract statement about a form of corruption that, to date, does not seem to be in play in Ann Arbor (know something I don’t?), and that was not mentioned in the article in any case. For that matter, my statement does not even refer to the article or its content. If my statement is what you refer to, you connected your dots all by yourself, without any help from me. What would that tell us?

    4) When voters and citizens meet with their elected representatives to seek redress of grievances, we call this “democracy”. We two have gone round on this before, it seems to be a hard point for you to grasp, or at least to remember.

    5) When elected representatives meet with a particular out-of-town interest for months – or years, if Ms. Sydney reads correctly – to discuss what the council will subsidize with other people’s money, then issue an RFP apparently based on those discussions and devoid of citizen input, offer only a small time window (compared to discussion window with that interest) for responses, stack the review committee with a too-narrow-to-see range of perspectives, and create a review “process” designed to avoid citizen input or desires, then claim that that process – and their integrity – are beyond reproach, you tell ME what to call it. And I’m not so sure that a similar event-train with a local interest would look any prettier. Consider comment #10.

    6) Who has been accused of a crime, what crime were they accused of, and by whom? Many people blow off steam on this site, seems to me you should be entitled to be among them. However, attempting to intimidate debate and discussion is different from mere ranting, derision and name-calling.

    7) For the record: my Daddy’s dictionary (Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, 1966) defines “Corruption” as “1. a changing or being changed for the worse… 2. evil or wicked behavior; depravity. 3. bribery. 4. decay; rottenness. 5. a thing or influence that corrupts.” For “Corrupt”: “2. deteriorated from the normal or standard; specifically: a) morally unsound or debased; perverted; evil; depraved. b) taking bribes. c) containing alterations, foreign admixtures, or errors”

    For both words, the “improper” or “sub-normal” meaning proceeds the “personal gain” meaning. I don’t think this is an accident. In any case, per Mr. Webster, no, you do not have to have an obvious, identifiable source of financial gain to engage in “Corruption”, or to be “Corrupt”. Lord Acton’s old saw, “Power corrupts” does not necessarily mean that a politically powerful person is on the take like a Chicago alderman with a bag under his desk: he may just be deteriorated from normal or standard practices, or morally unsound. And I still have not referred to any individual or group as “Corrupt”.

    What does your Daddy’s dictionary say?

    8) Any time an elected official takes disproportionate contributions from an interest who wants something from the official or the body to which the official belongs, that official’s moral authority takes some degree of hit. While the degree of hit depends upon “facts and circumstances”, this axiom may explain why office seekers & holders, as a class, are sometimes loathed in the abstract.

    In fairness to office holders – even to those that I wish would find something else to do – there are no perfect people. It is unreal and unfair of us to hold anyone to a standard of moral perfection. This is why we need accountability in government: all of us behave better when we believe that we are being watched. Accountability, in turn, rests on contested elections. No contest, no accountability, no self-restraints on behavior.

    By the way, I wonder if anyone on our un-accountable council actually wants an in-depth public (legal proceeding) inquiry into their dealings? They certainly seem to not want the public to have access to information about their dealings. If there really is no hanky-panky going on, what’s up with that? Why do they go to such lengths to hide their angelic natures? Got any insight?

  17. A2politico strikes again.

    The chronology of the emails is the perfect side dish here. Thank you for linking to the scanned documents. I took some time and went through a couple of other batches. The problem, I believe, is that no one has really bothered to go through the various loads of documents so as to piece together events like you’ve done here. The contact between Council, our City Administrator, Ms. Pollay and the members of the Valiant Group prior at the same time as the Mayor is emailing some poor unsuspecting constituent that it will be years, possibly, before anything will be built? It’s diabolical. It needs to be exposed and that’s exactly what you’ve done. Where on earth is the AnnArbor.com cadre of reporters on this? Has no one there thought to look at events through the lens of a simple dateline to match public words with what was going on behind the scenes?

    I frequently chide you for stirring things up, but this time I’ll simply thank you for your perseverance as an individual. I agree that the RFP process needs to be halted immediately, and the Council members who had contact with the members of the Valiant group identified.

  18. All of this adds up to a rigged RFP process. It was rigged either through duplicity or sheer stupidity. Either way, Higgins’s demand that we trust the “process” is for suckers. The citizens of Ann Arbor deserve an honest RFP be written with public input, a fair and honest RFP competition be held, and an honest evaluation of the proposals submitted by a Committee comprised of individuals as per Council’s original July resolution, and headed by politicos we can respect and trust….libel???I think not…attitude, absolutely, crazylikeu are you on council?

  19. Valiant had an even bigger head start than 13 months. The first page of their proposal says “For well over 18 months we have been meeting with institutions, businesses, public officials, individuals and focus groups throughout the Ann Arbor community to determine what is the type of project that will best meet the needs of the City and the broader community. The primary need of the community became clear to us early on, and as a result we have spent considerable time and effort working on the feasibility and structuring of the Project that we have ultimately determined to propose.”

  20. “The city is now embroiled in a lawsuit as a result of Teall, Higgins, Derezinski, Rapundalo, Hohnke, and Smith’s alleged repeated violations of the Open Meetings Act.”

    If the city was never actually served with the lawsuit, would that still constitute “embroiled”?

    Oh the conspiracies and the corruption!! Council members meeting with developers! How come its not corruption if a councilmember meets with a citizen group who wants to halt a proposed development cause they are worried in part that their property values will go down if the development is built? Or what about councilmembers who take max donations from a developer who submitted an RFP on this project? What should they do? Hmmm….
    Doesn’t the definition of political corruption include gaining something of personal value in exchange for a vote? So what was personally gained by these bad corrupt morally bankrupt politicians?….. Do you know that accusing someone of committing a crime without facts could be libel per se even if the speech has higher constitutional protection because its directed at a public figure? The problem with on-line tabloids like this rag is that it becomes a free for all without accountability. Tsk Tsk…such poor behavior from those who fancy themselves as “citizen watchdogs”.

  21. where’s your cover story about Jayne Miller leaving?
    this is the best news Ann Arbor has gotten in a long time and you missed it!
    Jayne Miller and her liquers in the golf courses, letting dealers into the farmers maarket.
    the list goes on. ann arbor.com has a great story and several posts condemning her 20 years of diservice to the community. good luck and good riddens to her..

  22. It’s not “predetermined” it’s “preordained”!

  23. Sometimes public corruption involves cash in a paper bag handed under a table.

    @2 Got my vote.

  24. Janelle for RFP Review Committee 2010!

    Qualifications listed in 12/18/2009 application letter to Mayor Heiftje:
    1) No known conflict of interests
    2) Willing to do research and ask lots of questions to ensure best use of tax-payer funds
    3) Experience in purchasing long-term contracts and individual services, ensuring best value for the company

    Sadly, no word yet from his Honor regarding this committee or my applications to the Economic Development Corporation Board and Local Officer’s Compensation Commission.

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