There’s a cost for elections

The election will be over by the time this letter is presented. I’d like to congratulate the citizens of the Village of Lake Orion for their energy and passion for the subject of the election!
I wish that enthusiasm would be present at all times for our community. If you were to review our citizens involvement in our public village meetings, you would be shocked by the lack of attendance.
Matt Pfeiffer, in last week’s paper, wrote about the openness of the public meetings, but if none, or just a couple, citizens attend it just shows our apathy in the operation of our local government.
I believe that if you were to review the public hearings before the adoption of Ordinance 36.05 on Jan. 13, 2020 that you would find few, if any, comments regarding the acceptance of that ordinance.
Mr. Pfeiffer also mentioned the cost of this election, which is real. Last year I presented a similar certified petition to the village clerk, who then gave it to the interim village manager who placed the issue on the next village council agenda per the guidance of the village charter.
The council briefly debated the subject and decided to receive and file and do nothing.
Speaking of cost, yes there is a cost for elections, but how about the cost of the suit filed by the village and the DDA trying to stifle this election. These legal cost will continue to grow in that the final judgement has yet to be filed.
In the spirit of transparency, all cost associated with these legal proceedings must be made public and the authorizing parties held responsible.

Harry Stephen
Lake Orion

2 responses to “There’s a cost for elections”

  1. If the Tom Patterson had followed the instructions of the Village Clerk by providing wording to Ordinance 36.06, as well as getting the form of the petition approved by the Township Clerk (both parameters of which are clearly stated in our Village Charter), then the petition would have been 100% legal, and thus no purpose to file a lawsuit.

    While you (and likely Tom Patterson) feel the lawsuit is a personal attack or a political maneuver, many of us residents are thankful that our elected officials are adhering to the law as stated in our Village Charter. Otherwise, our charter is meaningless.

  2. There is so much that is less than transparent in the Village of Lake Orion that is difficult to know where to start.
    I started attending meetings when we moved here and found it to be a waste of everyone’s time. The official policy of the Village Council and DDA is to not respond to citizen comments and concerns. The DDA goes a step further and does not allow comments when an agenda item is being discussed. You can comment for 3 minutes at the beginning of the meeting before an item is presented, or at the end when it makes no difference. Given that there are many items on an agenda, some quite complex, it is impossible to address them in 3 minutes only to find out that the council and board will not respond.
    As to Mr. Pfeiffer’s comments about the Open Meetings, that is the law in Michigan, so it is not like our local government is doing anything special or beyond the minimum requirements. They get around even this minimum requirement with closed meetings and claims of attorney-client privilege in order to hide issues and decisions from the public. In a public meeting, the Village attorney admitted that much of what is hidden is actually public, but it remains hidden.
    Then we have the recent ballot issue that was defeated by a vote of 444 (57%) NO and 332 (43%) YES and it seems only a small portion of the voting public actually voting. While many ordinances are on the city website, 36.05 is not so a lot of claims were made by people who probably did not have a full understanding of the issue. I had to file a FOIA request to get the present ordinance. Unfortunately, false and misleading claims seems to be the nature of current politics.
    This election was also not anywhere on the Village website until I asked about it. It was put on only 6 days before the election.
    Then we have the Village government and DDA filing a lawsuit against a resident for daring to distribute a petition, even though it is a constitutionally guaranteed right. They also named Oakland County and eventually Orion Township as accomplices to this act because they allowed the public to vote on how their tax dollars are spent.
    The public has now, for the first time, been allowed to vote on the DDA. We can only hope everyone learned something from these actions, costs, and results.

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