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Tag Archive | "Truesdale"

Go ahead given on recall petitions


Cedar-Springs-new-logo

Cedar Springs resident Mark Laws can begin collecting the signatures he needs to recall City Council members Ashley Bremmer and Patricia Troost. The two councilors had 10 days to appeal the decision of the Kent County Election Commission, who approved the language on the petitions 2-1. But they opted not to appeal this time, and are instead leaving it in the hands of the voters.

The recall petition language reads:

1) On July 11, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patrica Troost voted to go into a closed session, to hear complaints against council member Truesdale. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.268, 8a allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be disciplined or reprimanded. Council member Truesdale made no such request.

2.  On November 14, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patricia Troost voted to change the city logo and tagline. For many years it has been procedure of the council to not take action on an item not previously on agenda for public input and comment. This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.

While Bob Truesdale voted with the rest of the council to go into closed session for that July 11 meeting to hear complaints against him by the council, he says he was unaware of his rights. During a special meeting in December, he alluded to the previous meeting and noted that it was illegal for the council not to explain to him when they took him into closed session that he could call it off anytime. “Some of you really pounded on me,” he said, “and I said nothing in my defense.”

At  last Thursday’s City Council meeting, the council voted 6-1 to authorize City Manager Thad Taylor and their attorney to investigate whether anything illegal did occur regarding the July meeting. An outside agency will need to investigate the matter.

The second complaint on the petition refers to the new logo for the City of Cedar Springs, and the complaint is that the public did not get to see or comment on the logo before it was voted on.

According to Kent County Elections Director Sue deStiguer, the recall law has changed drastically, and the Cedar Springs recall will be the first test of the law since it went into effect in January.

The language on the petitions is good for 6 months from the date it was approved—March 7. However, the signatures (170 of them) must be gathered within a 60-day window. It used to be 90 days. “Any signature older than 60 days is automatically stricken,” explained deStiguer.  The amount of signatures needed is based on 25 percent of the votes cast in the last presidential election.

Another change is that there will be no justification or explanation from the defendant (the council members) on the petition. The language will be as you see above.

A local recall can now only go on a May or November ballot, where previously it could go on the February or August ballot.

The ballot will also look differently. It will say recall election partial term ending, and the two candidates will automatically be on the ballot as running to fill that term. And that may be confusing for some people. “If the voter wants them to complete the term, they vote for them,” she explained.

 

 

 

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Recall language approved


Cedar-Springs-new-logoLast Friday, March 7, was the third time the Kent County Elections Commission has held a clarity hearing on the petition language filed to recall two Cedar Springs City Council members. It was approved 2-1.

Council members Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer have 10 days from last Friday to appeal the decision.

According to Elections Director Susan deStiguer, the petition language was approved 2-1. Chief Probate Judge David Murkowski expressed concern about the factual portion and voted no.

Resident Mark Laws filed the petitions. The first time he filed, they were rejected by the Elections Commission. The second time he filed, the Election Commission approved them 2-1, but the Council Members appealed, and Circuit Court judge Mark Trusock reversed that decision Friday, February 21. Laws then immediately filed new language. That is the language approved last Friday.

It reads:

1) On July 11, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patrica Troost voted to go into a closed session, to hear complaints against council member Truesdale. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.268, 8a allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be disciplined or reprimanded. Council member Truesdale made no such request.

2.  On November 14, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patricia Troost voted to change the city logo and tagline. For many years it has been procedure of the council to not take action on an item not previously on agenda for public input and comment. This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.

Watch the Post for more details next week on the status of the petitions.

 

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City needs a leader with common sense


The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 

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Dear Editor,

I have lived around the Red Flannel Town for 80 years now, and was a resident of the city around 30 years in that time span. I have no voting power now, so maybe I can look at the machinations going on more objectively.

I do not know the council members personally and Mr. Truesdale slightly. When reading his letters to the public in prior editions of the Post, my reaction? Wow! What a great thing to keep the citizens informed, regardless!

Cedar Springs needs a leader with plain old common sense. I’m not a common sense type of person, but have enough wisdom to realize that to run a successful city, business, or anything, common sense is a requisite of great value.

Mr. Truesdale would have made a very, very good Mayor. He is honest and blessed with common sense.

Council take heed of one comment in the meeting and have no more of “underhanded dealings and slipping things in at the last minute.” This is not the most ethical way of business.

There was a comment as a reason for not voting for Mr. Truesdale. The reason came from a piece of gossip: “Mr. Truesdale didn’t believe women should be on the council.” It does give one pause. That’s a good reason?

To the mayor and council members, for the good of the city, everyone stop the pettiness. Please!

 

Alice Powell, 

Solon Township

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To the Cedar Springs City Council and its Tax Payers:


 

I have held back my thoughts for a couple of years, but recent events do not allow me to do so any longer.

Just when several of us, and what I truly believe to be a majority of the tax payers, were excited that we had a leader with innovative business ideas, as well as a goal of making the city friendlier, a majority of the council voted him out of office in what I would call a very unprofessional manner. I know Mr. Truesdale had some very big, aggressive, modern, and forward-thinking ideas that quite possibly the council was not ready for yet, but in my opinion, it is past time for big ideas for this city. He may have made some mistakes, but who doesn’t? I, personally, like big goals. I look at it if from the point of view that if you only make it half-way to your goal, you still got somewhere! But why should I be surprised when this is the same group that says you cannot run the city like a business? I find this statement ridiculous and cannot believe such a thing is said. Rather, if it’s a school, city, county or any organization, it must be run like a business and get the most out of every dollar you possibly can. Please remember in your thinking, you do serve the taxpayers. The task of the council should be about what is best for the citizen not about which side one is on or about wins or losses.

It also does not hurt to be friendly instead of arrogant. Some of the city employees are great, but it seems as you get up the ladder it ends. City Hall should be a friendly place to go, not confrontational. After all, you are working for the citizens of the community!

I know some of the council members will say I have no vote or voice, as I do not live in the city, and yes, I cannot vote but I do feel the $468,000 I have paid in property taxes to the city in the last ten years does give me a say! I pay what I consider a lot of property tax without any city services: no water, sewer, leaf pick-up or road maintenance, as our property is on a county road but in the city limits.

I have never met the new city manager who has been here over a year. If I was a council member, I would want him out meeting with the tax payers, seeing if they had any needs, complaints, and maybe even new ideas. The last couple city managers at least stopped at our place of business when they first came to town.

Our company does a lot of municipal work for several cities throughout West Michigan and I can assure you, our city is very backwards and unfriendly. I truly feel we are a joke to all of West Michigan, not just Kent County. In the construction industry, we are known to be a very unfriendly city to try and build anything for and/or with.

I remember when my uncle (Mike Holton) and I donated the heating and air-conditioning to the Kent Theater, I checked to see if we could get the city fees waived. “Oh absolutely not,” as that would set a dangerous precedent. A few months later, we donated the plumbing for a shower building at the Kent County fairgrounds in Lowell. The city waived the fees and asked us if there was anything else they could do; they even thanked us and they weren’t even the owners of the building!

I have watched this city squander away so many things in the past, one being when the new Meijer store was being built. Meijer offered to pay the entire cost to run a water main big enough for their store as well as for future use under the expressway. This included all engineering, fees, permits, fire hydrants and related items at a cost close to one million dollars, and all at no cost to the city. As the individual from the West Michigan Metro Council tried to explain to both the city and the township, he encouraged them to take this gift as this is something the two of them wouldn’t be able to afford to do together in the next 10 to 15 years.  It was still turned down. In talking to Meilogo. This is my opinion, but I feel this is such an embarrassment to all of the residents in northern Kent County. What a joke that never should have happened. The attorney fees and time that was wasted on this is totally ridiculous! I am old-school and just a plain plumber, but I feel both sides should be tarred and feathered for their actions. Some sensible people from both sides need to get involved and get this issued solved. We do not need a new logo. I truly believe the Red Flannel logo needs to be returned to the people who really own it—the citizens of Cedar Springs and surrounding area. It has been our logo for as long as I can remember.

It’s past time to return the community back to the people that pay the taxes instead of a few people, who in my opinion, are trying to feed their huge egos and it appears have no common or business sense.

In all honesty, I feel badly that I have to write a letter of this nature. I grew up in this town, graduated from the school system, I’ve ran my business here, Northwest Kent Mechanical Co., for 25 years, and my mother lives here. My dad was fire chief for several years, he was on the council for 15 years, and served as its’ mayor for 7 years. This is a city which I truly cared for in my past, care for in my present, but more importantly for the future.

I truly hope this council can go forward in a more professional manner, but I am not convinced it can.

Thank you for taking the time to allow me to share my concerns and frustrations.

Dale Larson

 

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From the Mayor’s Desk


Mayor Bob Truesdale

Mayor Bob Truesdale

By Bob Truesdale

 

Wow! Election Day was exciting. I saw many of our older citizens hobble in and out of City Hall to vote. They remember the good old days when our city was a thriving community.

A big thank you to everyone that put forth the effort to vote the new faces to city council. It was a tough call, but you made it happen.

Congratulations to Daniel Clark and Jerry Hall. I look forward to working with each of you in years to come.

And to Pam Conley and Mark Laws, you fought a good fight, and don’t give up. Our city needs someone like you to form a “Concerned Citizens Coalition,” with a representative of the group at every planning and council meeting. If you, the taxpayers of our city will get involved, I promise you an all new Cedar Springs in 2014. With God’s help, watch us make the changes you have been asking for.

 

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From the Mayor’s Desk


Mayor Bob Truesdale

Mayor Bob Truesdale

By Bob Truesdale, Mayor

The City of Cedar Springs

 

First, my condolences to the Mike and Alice Holton family. You should be mighty proud to be the children and kin of such a caring couple. Cedar Springs and Red Flannels was a great part of their lives, and they showed it in so many ways that can’t be named or counted. Thank you, Mike and Alice, so very much for your love and example to we that remain.

In June of this year, I asked my wife to send an email to my fellow council members that started with the statement, “Depending on your support, I might become known in the future, as the Mayor who served the shortest term in office, for delving into the problems John and Mary Taxpayer experience. I asked for their support and it backfired, with my getting called on the carpet for editorials in the Post.

As kids in Sunday School we sang, “Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone, Dare to have a purpose firm, Dare to make it known.” Daring to be a Daniel is not always easy, but I stand by the statements I made; length of time served as your Mayor means nothing to me. If it turns out to be only a one-year tenure, so be it. You won’t find me crying, for in God’s sight, I have given it my very best, with the abilities He gave me.

My promise to you: I will continue to serve with a good attitude, in any capacity, for an all-new Cedar Springs in 2014.

Thanks for your prayers and support,

Your friend and present Mayor

 

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City Council Clips


By Judy Reed

Council reprimands mayor

The Cedar Springs City Council went into closed session last Thursday evening, July 18, to “hear complaints against a public officer.”
While council members, including the mayor, cannot talk about what is discussed in closed session, the news on the street is that council members have not been happy with recent editorials that Mayor Bob Truesdale has put in the Post—especially one where he talked about the problem of brush in the city right of ways, and the fact that there was no money in the budget to pick it up until the next pickup in the fall.
The mayor, owner of the Amish Warehouse, has been a proponent of a “kinder, gentler” city that is more business-friendly, and operates with a more common-sense approach and less rules and regulations. In the editorial he compared running the city to running a business. “I am also told that running a city is nothing like running a business, and I guess I can see that,” he wrote. “For, as a businessman, I buy the truck, I pay $75 to fill the gas tank and I pay wages to the driver, so it only makes sense to have my driver stop and correct the problem when driving by the blight. I also realize that in our present system of procedures that the few minutes of cleaning up the blight would need to be charged back to that city vehicle. It sure sounds like something that came out of Washington D.C.” He also included that his wife was looking for nominations for that city worker or any citizen that goes the extra mile to make the city a nicer place, and the winner would win a $50 gift card to a restaurant of their choice.
While it was never the Mayor’s intention to make it sound as if he was blaming the city workers (he told the Post at the time he wrote the editorial that he was very proud of our city employees—that they were just following policy by not picking up the brush), his letter must have ruffled a few feathers because several of the council members included in their council comments at the end of the meeting how appreciative they were of the city employees. And one council member stated that the city could not be run like a business.
The Post asked Mayor Truesdale about the closed session, and he confirmed that he couldn’t discuss what was said. He did, however, dispute the rumor that he is stepping down. “I have no intention of stepping down,” said Truesdale. “I’m hanging in there for now. Better days are ahead. We are just going to move forward.”
In the past, the city used to pick up brush on Monday mornings, but it was changed to two pickups per year—spring and fall—due to budget cuts last year. Residents are now urged to take brush to Cannonsburg Wood Products on Northland Drive, near Rockford. They will take it for free.

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Bob Truesdale is new city mayor


Bob Truesdale

In a strange turn of events, a newly elected member of City Council was voted in as mayor Monday evening.

“Amish” Bob Truesdale was voted in by the Cedar Springs City Council as the new mayor of Cedar Springs by a 4-2 vote. The City Councilors voted six times on two different candidates before they finally got the needed 4-2 majority vote.

Pam Conley was nominated by newcomer Patricia Troost, but could not get enough votes. Each vote ended in a 3-3 tie, with Troost, Conley and Truesdale voting for Conley, and Charlie Watson, Ken Benham and Ashley Bremmer voting no. Former Mayor Watson was nominated by Benham but refused the nomination so it did not come to a vote.

Watson nominated Truesdale, who said he thought Conley should be mayor, because when the City Council voted on the Red Flannel issue, she was the lone dissenting vote and seemed to feel an agreement could still be reached. He also noted that he had no experience.

Watson then explained why he nominated him. “With all due respect, you stated in open forum that you think the people should vote for mayor. If that’s the case, why would you not accept a vote of the people? I think you need to sit up here so that you can realize how much power you don’t have,” he said.

Truesdale then said that he did not want the position but would accept it if they voted him in, which they did, when Conley changed her vote.

“I will accept humbly and do the best I can,” said Truesdale.

Watson said that he would help him.

A mayor pro-tem will be selected in December.

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We need new city council


Dear Citizens of Cedar Springs,

I have been looking though the council minutes all the way back to 2009, and what I have seen is disturbing. Time and again, citizens showed up and voiced their objections to proposed changes in ordinances, and despite that, the council went ahead with no documented public support and changed them. People were being ticketed for parking on their own property. It is my understanding that if I wish to put up a tent in my backyard, I must first secure a permit. Why does the council feel that they have the right to dictate to us what we may or may not do on property that we pay taxes on? Cars parked in public lots have been vandalized. Citizens have told me that when they have spoken out in a way that the city did not like, code enforcement showed up at their door. To say that if they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear is untrue. My next door neighbor parked 23 ft from the side walk and 60 ft from the center of the street. The car was in front of her own garage, and was ticketed. She had to fight it all the way to the doors of court, despite talking to city hall.

Another matter I would like to call to the attention of the public is the city’s purchase of 95 N. Main. *In council member Fahl’s own words: “It’s a mess.” “The city can’t make money off of it.” “We paid like $19,000 for the entire property, it’s actually 3 lots and a building, and the reason we paid that is because that’s what the IRS…was owed on the back taxes. So we picked it up because it was actually a really good deal, at the time.”  She also explains the city can only sell the property for the original purchase price, plus any upkeep. I wonder who was this a good deal for? If the city legally is not allowed to make money off of it, why did we enter the real estate business? According to the council minutes from 3/08/12, “City Manager Christine Burns stated that the buyer for 95 N. Main St. had rescinded his offer and had presented another offer due to the discovery of asbestos contamination during a property inspection. The buyer now only wanted to purchase the two vacant parcels associated with the property.” The council voted to not allow this sale, but rather demolish the building and sell the property as a whole. According to council member Fahl, “There is a fuel tank that’s underneath that building…and that was one of the city’s requests that whoever buys that building remove the fuel tank due to … possible contamination.” She continues that removing just the asbestos from the building was estimated to “cost us close to $80,000.” She states that if the building did not have so many issues “somebody could have made good money off of it.” So, if I understand, the city legally cannot make a profit, and we now own an asbestos contaminated building sitting on top of a fuel tank that could potentially be a source of contamination? We bought it because it was a good deal?

Christine Fahl, Bob Truesdale, and Patty Troost are all on the November ballot for City council. Christine Fahl was the only one of them on the council in 2009 when we bought this poisonous building. I don’t know about the rest of Cedar Springs, but Christine Fahl will not get my vote.

Molly Nixon

City of Cedar Springs

*The quotes from Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl were from a private meeting in Ms. Nixon’s home, which Ms. Nixon videotaped, without Ms. Fahl’s knowledge.


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