Thursday, April 26, 2012

David Littmann, guest speaker tonight @ 7:30 PM “Bloomfield Hills School District Bond Proposal: Financial and Educational Integrity for the 21st Century"

Hi All,
The following is the press release from the United Homeowner Associations of Bloomfield Township.
(format changed some and web links added for my blog readers)

David L. Littman, Senior Economist with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and former member of the Bloomfield Hills School District Board of Education will present his program:
  “Bloomfield Hills School District Bond Proposal: Financial and Educational Integrity for the 21st Century" on April 26, 2012, 7:30 pm at the Bloomfield Township Offices Meeting Room
  • In 2003-04, a plan for a new $123 million high school was floated by BHSD and dismissed by the public, but the public approved $50 million in bond sinking funds to augment the District’s operating budget, thus, providing sufficient funds to keep our high school buildings “safe, warm, and dry.”  
  • In 2007, the BHSD presented voters with a plan for two new high schools, costing $145 million with a bond request of $121 million, which was defeated by voters 54% to 46%.  
  • In November 2010, the BHSD presented voters with a plan for one new $97.5 million high school with a bond request of $73 million, which was defeated by voters 55% to 45%. At the same time, voters approved another $25 million in bond sinking funds “to continue to provide for a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings and all other purposes authorized by law.”  
  • Now, in May 2012, the BHSD presents voters with its fourth high school plan, and a bond request of $58.65 million with the District supposedly “contributing” another $20 million toward the project.  The BHSD has worked hard to sell its latest proposal to taxpaying homeowners through paid consultants, multiple meetings, mailers and a dedicated web-site.  
  • Because of the very short window between the formal announcement of the 2012 bond proposal and the vote on May 8th, there has been little chance for residents in the District to obtain an objective analysis of the need for another $58.65 million in taxes given the $75 million already provided by District taxpayers.  
  • The UHOA invited David Littmann, a former District resident and school board member, to provide that objective analysis and he has graciously agreed to provide this public service.  
  • No promotional signs or materials will be allowed in the meeting room.  Attendance will be limited to voting age residents of the Bloomfield Hills School District due to the legal capacity of the room. 
  • The UHOA anticipates posting a video tape of the event on its web-site.          

About David L. Littmann:  David L. Littmann is senior economist with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a non-profit research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich., and the largest state-based free-market think tank in the country.  Among other degrees, Littmann received his M.A. degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 1967. Littmann retired from Comerica Bank in early 2005 as senior vice president and chief economist after a 35-year career in charge of Comerica’s Economics Department and Research Library.  In 2004, Littmann was honored by the state Chamber of Commerce as Michigan’s man of the year for outstanding leadership and contributions.  Littmann served as chairman of the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association.  Over his working career, Littmann held positions at all levels of government (and) is a former trustee of the Bloomfield Hills School District.  For more information on Mr. Littmann and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy visit

About the United Home Owner Association of Bloomfield Township, Inc.: The UHOA is a non-profit association of homeowner groups comprised of 60+ member associations with a history of more than  40 years.  The UHOA is “dedicated to preserving, promoting and improving the Bloomfield Township homeowner associations, its members and community through action” and its purpose is to “promote a spirit of cooperation among the various home owners in Bloomfield . . ., and to further support, develop and promote by moral, social and ethical means and influence the general welfare and civic interest of the home owners of the Township of Bloomfield through non-partisan activities; to hold meetings at stated periods where the members of the Association may meet one another in a body and where by the interchange of views, they may be mutually benefitted; to investigate, consider and support the various means for the improvement and betterment of municipal government . . .”  For more information on the UHOA visit

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Lot to Discuss, But No Meeting

Hi All,
Posted from Bloomfield Township:

Board of Trustees Meeting Cancelled
The regular Board meeting scheduled for Monday, April 23, has been cancelled due to lack of sufficient agenda items.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, May 17, 2012, instead of the regular meeting date on Monday, May 14.

Possible Agenda Items That Could Have Been Discussed:
  • Liquor license policy change that was tabled at a January 2012 meeting.  What's up?
  • Televising, recording and archiving all public meetings.  Should approve all NOW.
  • All seven elected positions at the township expire in November....any challengers?
  • What is happening at 16 Mile Rd. and Woodward?  Please no large banquet hall and liquor.
  • Why is the May 14 Board of Trustees meeting going to a Thursday?   May 17?
  • SMART bus millage request on August ballot?  Yes.
  • DIA millage on August ballot?  Maybe.
  • 2.5 public safety millage on August ballot?  Not announced by Board of Trustees...likely Yes.
  • Primary voting for all 7 elected township personnel positions on August ballot?  Yes.  Petitions due in MAY  final votes in NOV.  Supervisor, Treasurer, Clerk, 4 Trustees
  • What else is happening on the August ballot?  All issues need to be finalized soon in order to be on that August ballot.  It's a timing issue.
  • What are the results of the Mitchell Survey?  What were the questions?  Was it worth: $12,000 ++
  • put your concern here..... 

Other Meetings Coming Soon:   Some With DIFFERENT DATES  &  PUBLIC HEARINGS
  • Design Review Board  Next Meeting Date – Wednesday, May 2, 2012  @ 2 PM
  • Monday, May 7th Planning Commission meeting will be rescheduled to Wednesday, May 9th at 7:00 PM in the Township auditorium. 
  • Tuesday, May 8th Zoning Board of Appeals meeting will be rescheduled to Tuesday, May 15th at 7:00 PM in the Township auditorium.   
  • Public Hearing? Zoning change for Maple Theater?  Liquor?  on May 15?   Watch Eccentric newspaper for legal notice and date and time.
  • Board of Trustees meeting rescheduled to Thursday, May 17th at 7:00 PM

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Design Review Board @ 2 PM WED., April 18, 2012

Hi All,
Sorry to get this to you so late.  The township does not have to post until 18 hours before the meeting.  For some reason, my computer does NOT receive the internet from the township when everyone else receives the information.  I have confirmed this with others.  Strange.  In fact, at this hour (10:15 pm), I do not have the April 18 agenda on my internet....but received it via email from a friend.  Does anyone know what is happening with my computer and the township internet postings?  I get ALL other internet information immediately from other sources.

The Design Review Board Meeting:
The township should include the minutes of April 4 (that they intend to approve at this meeting) in a board packet with other details about the other agenda items.  There is NO packet.  What do those minutes say?  Go to this link to read the minutes IF the township will actually post it. I believe those minutes will have information on the Maple Theater and liquor license and other items.

As predicted:  the township CANCELLED the Planning Commission meeting that was supposed to be on Monday, April 16.  Therefore, the minutes from the only meeting this year on April 2...are not "approved" and posted on the website.   They could do it and put "draft" at the heading.  They won't.  Not open and transparent design.

I hate to repeat myself...but IF THE MEETING was RECORDED and ARCHIVED...we would all know what happened at that meeting.  The agenda of that meeting was a site plan review of the Maple Theater project.... ie:  liquor license...zoning change...special hours of operation...etc.  Too bad the public was not aware of the meeting or the issues.  A tabled liquor license policy agenda item was cancelled in January...because of citizens calls and concerns.  That agenda item has not been seen again at the Board of Trustees....but....issues are being dealt with behind the scenes and not in the newspaper or website.

For this Design Review Board meeting @ 2 PM  4/18....  the other issue besides no minutes to read and no board packet is: section D Site Plans.  This board should NOT be doing site plans.  That should go to planning commission. Why was the PC cancelled on Monday?  They could have reviewed these plans.

My answer....the three elected officials like to see things first...and then send it on to another committee with "recommendations".  I can't say they tell the next committee how to VOTE on the issues/site plans....but.... somehow....

The three elected officials:  Supervisor, Clerk and Treasurer  should NOT BE DOING SITE REVIEW.  There is a citizen committee to do that.  This meeting should not be at 2 PM when many citizens cannot attend.  There should be a board packet to review.  This is a public meeting and should be recorded and archived on the township website.  These same three officials...also have the final vote with the 4 trustees on site plans.  Not right!


Unless YOU speak up and contact the township...they will continue to keep the public meetings out of the public eye. ASK for all public meetings to be recorded and archived on the township website.  They have the cameras and they have the money from your cable PEG fees every month. No excuse!

The 4 trustees do NOT have township email addresses to my knowledge.  The trustees SHOULD be available to the public via township email. They need to hear your voices, also.

Leo Savoie:
Jan Roncelli:
Dan Devine:

Bloomfield Township Auditorium
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.

I. Attendance
II. Approval of Minutes:
A. Approval of the Design Review Board Minutes of April 4, 2012

III. Tabled Items:
1. 1727 Telegraph Rd. – Roadside Bar and Grill – Seasonal Outdoor Seating

IV. New Items:
A. Special Events:
1. 4200 Quarton Rd. – BHMS - Charity Fun Run

B. Signs:
1. 37100 Woodward Ave. – Level One Bank – Wall Sign
2. 43121 Woodward Ave. – The Medical Pharmacy – Wall Sign
3. 1617 S. Opdyke Rd. – Hungry Howie’s – Wall Sign
4. 1507 Telegraph Rd. S. – urbanscapesdetroit – Wall Sign

C. Site Improvements:
1. 1507 Telegraph Rd. S. – urbanscapesdetroit - Gates

D. Site Plans:
1. 1651 Telegraph Rd. S. – Motor City Sports – Automobile Sales
2. 2510 / 2520 Telegraph Rd. – New Construction – Retail Center

V. General Business:

A. Recent Design Review Board Approvals
B. Next Meeting Date – Wednesday, May 2, 2012
C. Public Comment

VI. Adjournment
Posted: Tuesday, April 17th , 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Hi All,
The township knew way before March 29 that they were going to have a planning commission meeting on April 2.  However, the public did NOT know that.  I call all these meetings and their agendas that are posted on a Thursday at the end of the day....with the township being closed on Fridays....with the meeting to be on Monday ---stealth meetings and a disservice to the public it serves.  There is no good reason for not posting the new date and new outline of what may be discussed ....days after the last scheduled meeting date.
Here is some information about what happened at the Planning Commission meeting on April 2, 2012. I did not attend this meeting as I missed the late Thursday noticing... I do not read the township website daily.
The township website link for this agenda and MOST IMPORTANTLY, the "meeting packet"  that gives DETAILS of what the commissioners will see can be found here under  "meeting packet". 

I am NOT sure that this site plan for the Maple Theater  will be reviewed again at the Planning Commission.  Minutes of this meeting will not appear on the township website until tomorrow:  April 12, a Thursday.   Decisions MAY have already been made.  The township offices are closed on Fridays.  The PUBLIC HEARING may be Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 7 PM  for :  Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance" IF it is at the Planning Commission.  Or is this call for a ZONING change going to the ZBA?  That meeting will be May 15, 2012 @ 7  PM.   That meeting date was changed from May 8 because of the school election.  By law, there SHALL be 15 days notice of the public hearing.  The township has a category called :  "Legal Notices" on their own website....but did not bother to mention this public hearing as of 11 am April 11.  The "home" page on the township website apparently does not consider public hearings as "News and Events" worthy of first page notification.  If the township KNOWS NOW of the public hearing...why not post it NOW?
I looked in the Eccentric newspaper of April 8 and no mention of this public hearing was posted there.
The township did post a notice of street lighting for a certain subdivision.  Therefore, I consider this public hearing  IF scheduled for Monday, April 16 @ 7 PM at the Planning Commission meeting illegal.  IF scheduled for the ZBA it would be on TUESDAY, May 15.   The township should still post the information on their website AS SOON AS KNOWN.  It should be in the Eccentric the last week of April/first week of May.
However, which ever meeting will hold the PUBLIC HEARING there will be only printed minutes the township version.....and NO audio/video tape will be made, although the township has the capability and money to do so....and therefore, no audio/video archived records will be archived on the township website.  Please contact the township and ASK for all public meetings to be recorded and archived ASAP.

FYI:  If the April 16, 2012 Planning Commission meeting is will NOT see the minutes of April 2, 2012 until the Thursday before May 15.   Note to township:  it is easy to write DRAFT on a page and post it....why wait?  Answer, the less the taxpayer  knows... you won't interfere with the township leaders and employees changes to the township zoning and other policy changes.....  Remember...the Township claims they  "...know what services you need and want..."    Why not try ASKING for a change?  Or including us in the agendas of the different meetings? 

The PAST agenda from the 4/2/12 Planning Commission meeting... see  III and IV .....

Monday, April 2, 2012 at 7:00 P.M.

I. Attendance
II. Approval of Minutes     THOSE MINUTES WERE FROM DEC. 19, 2011 (marcia's comment)
III. Call for Public Hearing       
A. Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance – Cinemas with a Class C License
IV. Site Plan Review
A. 4135 W. Maple Rd. – Maple Theater – Special Use with a Class C License
V. Discussion Items
A. Items Not on the Agenda
VI. General Business
A. Election of Officers
B. 2011 Planning Commission Annual Report
C. Next Commission Meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 16, 2012
VII. Adjournment
Posted: Thursday, March 29th, 2012


Hi All,
What are the township's priorities?  Well, the non-profits (WA3 and Preservation Bloomfield) got agenda time at the April 9, 2012 board of trustee meeting.  Nothing happened but spin for the organization. They'll need to reappear if any money goes their way. Stay tuned, they'll be back.  However,  what is more important to discuss at a board of trustees meeting?  What issue was missing from this agenda and many agendas before this one?   Discussion of the Liquor License Policy.

A TOWNSHIP PROPOSAL FOR CHANGING THE LIQUOR LICENSE POLICY was first put on the agenda January 23, 2012.  I wrote a blog about this agenda item:  Click here for that blog.  It is archived under my January blogs...see column to the right.  I feel it is important for you to review my comments concerning the liquor license policy in that blog.  Please take the time to reread it now before continuing.  Apparently some of my readers may have called the township or other concerned taxpayers contacted the township.  The minutes of that 1/23/12 meeting show the item was TABLED because "...several calls had been received ....":

What would you expect the next step to be in this issue?  Hold the study session on the liquor license policy? Right?  Wrong.

Before ANY study session was held, the following took place by our elected officials on March 14:
The Design Review Board that is Leo Savoie, Dan Devine and Jan Roncelli met.  This committee meeting, which is open to the public meets at 2 pm in the township hall on Wednesdays. It is not audio/video recorded or archived for the website.  Only 18 hour noticing is required.  This particular meeting that I will refer to was supposed to meet on March 21.....but the township held it one week EARLIER on March 14.  Did you make the meeting or were you looking for the regularly scheduled meeting on March 21?   Here is the agenda item that needs a liquor license from that 3/14/12 meeting.  I believe this agenda item should FIRST go to the planning commission....not three elected officials who will have the final vote at a board of trustees meeting.

Read this carefully and note all the special conditions that need to be approved/changed to make this project happen.  When was the township going to tell you about this project and the needed changes?
So the three elected officials make a MOTION at their 2 pm meeting (on a specially scheduled meeting date) to send the Maple Theater liquor issue to the Planning Commission on April 2, 2012.  Mind you, the Planning Commission has cancelled every meeting so far in 2012.  The township web page listed the March planning commission meeting as cancelled...nothing was posted until late Thursday, March 29 ...YET the township KNEW after their March 14 Design Review Board meeting that there would be a Monday April 2, 2012  planning commission meeting... but waited until March 29 to list the meeting notice and agenda.  Friday the offices are closed to ask questions.  Did you miss the Planning Commission meeting on April 2?  I did.  I got lulled into the pattern of planning meetings being cancelled. The last one was Dec. 2011.   Didn't think anything needing liquor licenses would be presented because there was no study session called yet.   The MINUTES of this meeting were not available on the web before the April 2 planning commission meeting.  So how do you know that agenda is coming?

OK.  The study session on the liquor license policy that the Board of Trustees said they needed back in January happened on March 15 at  8 AM.  Did you wake up in time?  This meeting was the day AFTER the Design Review Board where the 3 elected officials made decisions and sent a project with a liquor license need to an April 2 planning meeting....but you won't see the audio/video minutes of these meetings archived because the Board of Directors refuse to tape the you know why?  To keep you in the dark and approve things without citizen my opinion.  These meetings can be easily taped and archived but YOU must contact the township and tell them how important accurate and timely audio/video archived minutes are to the open and transparent system of government.  All public meetings should be archived this way.

Here are the printed minutes of the one hour and 40 minute STUDY SESSION meeting on March 15, one day AFTER three of these participants sent a liquor license project to the planning commission on April 2.  Are you following all these mystery meetings?   An audio/video recording of this meeting would be more revealing.  These written minutes are rather short for so long a meeting.  Are there comments or important data missing from the minutes?  Notice who attended.  Another law firm.  Who were they representing at this meeting?  Our township attorney was present.  Different law firm.  Hmm...could it be the Maple Theater lawyers?  Or for whom?



Note:  Nothing was determined at this study session:   Township attorney, Hampton, will "present a comparison overview to the Board at a future meeting."    Wonder when THAT will occur? Is this liquor license policy revision needed before the Maple Theater approvals?  Why isn't this presented at a regular board of trustees meeting?  Show US the powerpoint.  Let us give input on the issues. 

More on this liquor license policy change and the businesses requesting liquor licenses in my next blog.  Coming soon.