The supporters of higher Ypsilanti taxes sent out an email blast to the media this week saying they want to debate and no one from the Stop City Income Tax and Vote No On Water Street Millage committee (SCIT) will respond.
This is simply a political ploy from a campaign desperate for attention.
The partisans advocating for this huge new 30% tax increase made no attempt to contact the SCIT campaign office via the campaign phone number 734-252-YPSI (9774), campaign email address SCIT@ypsi.com, or the mailing address 309 Oak St, Ypsilanti, Michigan, 48198. All of this information is clearly available on our campaign website www.StopCityIncomeTax.com and campaign materials.
Instead their “debate invite” was sent to a list of supporters on a Facebook page. Sending the invite as a Facebook posting is like dropping a letter in the gutter in front of the mayor’s house and then running to the press screaming, “See, the mayor refuses to meet with me.”
In January, at a public City Council meeting, Council Member Peter Murdoch argued for the earlier (May election) date, expressing the opinion that the case (for or against) could be made by then, and a desire “not to give the opposition even more time to organize.” He also said that in a November election “people who don’t really live here” would vote and might be harder to persuade. (Eastern Echo, January 11, 2012)
We agree with City Council Member Murdoch, the voters are informed on the issues and there have been plenty of opportunities to ask questions. The City Council has spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to host three town hall meetings in March and April to inform voters on the issues. Another town hall is scheduled next week. We asked if someone from our campaign would be allowed to respond to questions during these events and the City said no. So instead, we have had volunteers at each of these events handing out flyers and talking individually with voters.
We have already met with hundreds of citizens across Ypsilanti in homes, restaurants, and coffee shops talking about this election. Time and time again, voters tell us they had no idea this election was coming and they thank us for letting them know about the issues.
That tells us the Council’s ploy to sneak the election on the May ballot and hope for a low turnout is not working.
With just over four weeks before the election and where one weekend is Easter, there is little time left to do anything more than to get out the vote. The time for debates has past.
We believe there should be more time for discussions and thoughtful consideration and we advocated strongly for a November election. Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber agreed with us, saying he too was in favor of a November election. (Eastern Echo, January 11, 2012)
It was the Ypsilanti City Council and supporters of these two new huge tax increases that rushed this election so as to limit community discussion and input. If City Council really wanted to hear ideas and alternatives from citizens, they could have waited until November to allow for more time and saved nearly $20,000 of taxpayer money on a special election in May.
Our volunteers will continue going door to door and calling voters to tell them about the upcoming election. We are working hard to defeat these huge new tax increases that don’t solve the fiscal challenges Ypsilanti is facing. Our goal is to make sure Ypsilanti voters are heard on Tuesday, May 8.
In the meantime, the Stop City Income Tax and Vote No on Water Street Millage campaign committee and volunteers welcomes the opportunity to speak with anyone in the media regarding the upcoming election and the impact a 30% tax increase will have on our community. Please call our office anytime to setup an appointment.
Peter B. Fletcher
Stop City Income Tax and Vote No on Water Street Millage