Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flint City Council Responsibility!



Just who is responsible for Flints Budget?

The Ward 9 Council person said at the last special council meeting that the council is not responsible for making mid term budget cuts that is the Mayors job.

The Ward nine council person then chastised the Flint Journal reporter present 3 times for saying effectively that the council was facing hard decisions with the projected budget short fall.

So just what is the council responsible for?

Now I do not want to offend the delicate sensitivities of a couple of council members.

But just who is responsible for making sure, on behalf of the taxpayers, that Flint has a balanced budget?

What accountability exists?

Whenever you hear the council say they are not responsible they mean they do not want to be accountable.

Flint is facing a budget shortfall, what is the councils role?

Lets avoid the head in the sand approach the council took in the Stanley Administration.

The mayor presides over the officials responsible for the day to day work of the city .

The Mayor is assisted by a City Administrator.

The Flint City Council is a legislative body.

It can introduce and pass legislation proposed by the Mayor.

The council has the authority and responsibility to audit the city books.

These two branches of municipal government are meant to be a check on each other.

Not to just point fingers but to cause accountability.

How can the council protect us. Not by pointing fingers and saying its not our fault.

The Flint City Charter 3-205 to 3-207 grants the City Council substantial powers of investigation.

The Council may ,as group or committee, look into the conduct of the City’s Executive branch.

This is an important check on the use of power by the Mayor.

The City Council is RESPONSIBLE for auditing the City financial records at least annually.3-404 to3-405 Flint City Charter. So who is responsible for the city budget.

The Mayor or the Council?

They both are. So if there is a projected budget shortfall the Flint City Council does have hard decisions to make.

The drafting of the budget is the Mayors responsibility.

This budget is presented to council on or before the first Monday in April for its examination and adoption before July 1st of every year.

Flint City Charter 7-104. A. At any time during the fiscal year, upon written request of the Mayor, the City Council may consider amendments to the previously adopted budget which (1) transfer an unencumbered appropriation balance from one program service or activity to another (2) provide for expenditure of revenues in excess of those in the budget or (3) meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace which may require emergency appropriations as provided by statute.”

The Mayor can always spend less than the budgeted amount.

The council may investigate him if he chooses not to reduce expenditures in the face of declining revenue.

Management of declining revenue then is the primary responsibility of the mayor and the council protecting the taxpayer may investigate and hold him accountable.

At all times the City must meet the solvency requirements of State Law.

So the council now does face tough choices.

Now that it has exercised its power to monitor city financing through its audit function and now has knowledge of a revenue short fall its role for us is to question the mayor on how solvency will be protected and to investigate and possibly hold hearings should he chose not to react.

It may be the mayors responsibility to spend the budget.

Its is the Flint City Councils responsibility to protect the taxpayers from insolvency.

The Flint City Council has some tough decisions to make.

Josh Freeman explains the audit.

Posted here by Terry Bankert

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Saturday, January 23, 2010



In Flint MI USA at 10 am Eastern a planning meeting to discuss social media and ideas for a social media educational project.


On site participitants are asked to arrive at 9:45 am .

The location is 1000 Beach St. Flint MI 48503.

Those physically attending and those digitlly attending are invited to participate using the tools of social media.

I will post as this meeting is conducted to Flint Talk . You are invited to join in
Post to Face Book
Post to Flint talk on the political thread " Good Morning Flint
My Blog Good Morning Flint.
Comment section at bottom
Email to

During the meeting several lap tops will be up and running. Your digital comments will be integrated into the meeting.

You do not have to be present to participate and you can participate before or reasonably after the meeting. If this works the meeting will not end and a product of the meeting will not be finalized until after your comments are incorporated.

You are invited.

For those present there will be pizza at 11 am we will tell you who are not in attendance how good it was.

This is the opening statement I have prepared and I will referenced it at 10 am. But, this will be an informal meeting, a planning session and agenda setting.

10 am opening by Terry Bankert.

We are at an informational cross roads.

The communication industries are remodeling how they share information with us as we are changing our routines for collecting information. We all know that a significant number of people get most of their news on line.

As people share information with us social media occurs when we talk back to them online.

I you own a widget retail shop and use a widget web site where you post articles about your widgets to get search engines to bring widget seekers to you and these artices have a public comment section or your site has a chat room and complete strangers who may be your competition trash your widgets you are in social media. Welcome to the wild west of social media.

Social media occurs when we can talk back quickly and publicly with the digital sender of a message.

New people may responed to the widget article. They may be possibly trashing your widget, the people who posted or you personally.

Others may support your product. Some may make ;positive suggestions for change.

Is this sounding real uncomfortable?

You should engage directly in this process as a form of reputation management, transparency and accountability.

When its over you will learn of and from your clients. They will know more about your widgets, your company, and you. You might even sell some widgets.

You say how can I afford to do this with the reputational risk . I say you cannot afford not to . Become engaged in the social media process.

You want to be where your customers are, right. Well they are already there.

Traditionally we think of advertising of product, services, candidates and causes as a one way street. That is no longer true.

For example I will use newspapers, specifically The Flint Journal as an Example.

As a business owner, cause coordianator or political candidate you are on to somethjng you want to share.

For example.

Your store is selling a new widget.

Your store fixes widgets and has new technology to make it cheaper.

Your cause " Save the Widgets" has condcuted a study of the impact of widgets on the human species.

Your candidate or candidacy has a new platform " Stop widget production by over regulation and taxation"

How did we share this with the world.

paid advertising

send out letters and newspetters

press release

You would launch these vehicles and hope for the best. Not any more.

Today when the Flint Journal covers the story it is posted digitaly on MLIVE.

Sometimes because the Flint Journal does not publish every day this digital post can be up to a couple of days.

At the bottom of the story is a comment section.

Now if this is a story about your widget strangers could post comments possible negative ones.

The next reader will see the article and the posts.

These Post have now become part of the story.

Can you afford to ignore this if a large part of your target market will react to the story and comments together.

Later readers will see the story and comments and then respond to this new totality of the now evolving story about you widgets. Can you afford to ignore this?

Traditional media was one talking to the many. Social; media is the many talking to the many.

If you are concerned about your business ( product or service), cause or candidate my theory is you cannot affored to ignore social media.

Think of examples you know of the use of or the conversation about what is on social media.

Is there a need to educated about social media.

If no stop here and we will all go home.

If yes then should we the users conduct the education.

If no then who and lets go suggest it to them.

If yes then how should this be organized

What are your thoughts.
Post to Face Book
Post to Flint talk on the political thread " Good Morning Flint'
My Blog Good Morning Flint. Comment section at bottom
Email to

Posted here by
Terry Bankert

The Social Media workshop planning committee met on Sat 01/23/2009. Seven people registered four attended. Several issues were decided.
1. A Host organization will be sought.
2.There will be a minimal registration fee to cover costs and to secure attendance. Donations will be sought. Any funds left over will be donated to charity.
3.The Educational vehicle will be a workshop on a Saturday.
4.The event shall take place in April.
5. The agenda will be an introduction, educational presentation of Basic techniques, lunch (sub sandwich) and afternoon with two break out programs 1. Business 2. Advocacy
6.Core Facilitating Committee Don Potter, Dave Broadworth, Terry Bankert ,Ed Hoort.

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Friday, January 22, 2010


By Terry Bankert

I attended the College and Cultural Neighborhood Association (CCNA)meeting last night 01/21/2010.

It began at 7 PM in the Mott Community College Regional Technology Center Auditorium RTC 1005.

My 2010 new years pledge is to lose enough weight to be able to fit into the auditorium seats.

The CCNA is a non-profit with a mission of preserving and improving the College and Cultural Center Neighborhood.

This is done by raising awareness of political, governmental, social and environmental issues concerning our neighborhood and Flint Neighborhood groups. Our claimed turf is I-69 to Gilkey Creek, Longway to Dort Hwy.

That’s roughly the boundaries of the group I ran a billion years ago the East Village Legislature.

This began in conjunction with Flints best community magazine the East Village Magazine. All the Brain child of Gary Custer. But that’s another story.

I have taught community/neighbor hood organization. With Gary Bates about 10 years ago.( I would like to again!).

It is difficult to keep the communities attention to deliver a grass roots involvement product.

The President Sherry Hayden and the Vice - president Mike Keeler do a great job. My observation that a good grass root operation is really a dictatorship masquerading as a democracy. They do it well deliver a good product. It feels good to be there for 2 hrs a couple of times a year.

Last night Paul Streby read detailed minuets of the previous meeting. You get used to it and the listener gets a sense of continuity. Cindy Robinson gave the treasurers report.

State Representative Lee Gonzales talked about the alternative Battery success recently. Good Job Lee. He will make a great County Treasurer.

Flint City Councilperson Josh freeman was present. He bashed the Ombudsman position and once again called for its elimination by way of a ballot question. YAWN!

Douglas Wieland the Executive Director of the Genesee Land Bank spoke.
-The 25,000,000 has to be spent I 3 years.
-The City of Flint is doing 2 demolitions a day
-Flint NIPP rehabs are setting vacant.
-nsp funds used to rehab have to be sold to qualified buyers who get a mortgage. Good luck there.
-The land bank owns 3200 and clears 9,000 lots.
-The land bank now has year round crews to clear property.
-25% of the vacant property in Flint belongs to the land bank.
-The land bank will begin to train neighborhood organizations.
-The city of flint had a population of 196,000 in 1960 and last year had 106,000.
-6,000 houses are in need of demolition at a cost of 7,000 each do the math.
-there are 10,000 vacant houses in Flint.
18,000 of 57,000 parcels in Flint are vacant that 33%
-The land bank owns less that 50% of the vacant property.

Flint 7th Ward Council Person Dale Weighill spoke.
- We are half way through the budget year and there will be a 5 - 7 million dollars budget deficit if the Council does not take action.
-the Mayor has not presented a plan and it should have been presented several months ago.
-there will be a mid year budget review a week from Sat.
-He said his mind is open to the elimination of the ombudsman’s office.
I suggested directly to my Flint City Council person Weighill that if they put the ombudsman on the ballot they should put up a question to the community asking if the council terms should be returned to 2 years. The original 1974 charter called for 2 years terms of the Flint City Council. The council changed it to 4 years terms. I think 2 year terms are a good idea it keeps the council accountable.

I predict things will begin to go badly between the council and the mayor after this meeting , budget review, if the mayor does not have a firm budget reduction plan. 7 Million dollars is a lot of money. The only way to do it is to scrape away a lot of misc. items then cut once again into police and fire. Here we go again.

I announced my plans to facilitate a workshop on Social Media and its application to business, community action and politics. My plan is for this to be free.

All were invited to the informal planning meeting this Saturday 10-noon 01/23/2010 at my law office 1000 Beach St., Flint MI.

Please arrive at 9:45. Meeting ends at noon though there may be some carry over discussion. I will provide water and pizza at 11:30. Bring pop or coffee if you desire.

The Mott Community College Police are sworn police officers and Sheriffs deputies they patrol for one mile around the college. Their number is 762-0222
DATES from the CCNA hand out TO KEEP IN MIND.

Next CCNA meeting

March 18 2010 7-9 pm Mott RTC Room 1005

MAYOR WALLING Flint neighborhood Action Session Phase II schedule that interest me. There are other meetings. I hope this process and the effort Citizens have given is the real deal, it looks like it may be. But if in the end we think this was a lot of naive BS it will bite the mayor.

1-27-2010 Phase II Introduction at the Flint Public Library. 5:30 pm

02-10-2010 Downtown residents and business 5:30 Flint Public Library.

02-11-2010 Phase II NBH Action Session Ward 7 NOON? Brennan Community Center 1301 Pingee Flint 766-7238.

03-15-2010 Noon MCC RTC Rm 1301 762-5906

04-12-2010 City Wide work group 5:30 pm Brennan Com Center

4-24-2010 Phase II Conclusion meeting 9:30 Am Ballenger Field House MCC
Since the budget had already been submitted to council I wonder how our ideas can be implemented 2010 -2011?
CNNA is on face book and has a list serve

Posted here by Terry Bankert

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


1/20/2010 reflection11th year on line with Good Morning Flint started with a yahoo group,then flint talk, blogging, photo / video blogging, channel 17, wflt, pod cast, flint talk radio, my space, mlive,blogging for michigan,face book , twitter . al...I have gained..hope I have given .Thanks for the Fish!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Flint inviting Youths to get involved.

By Terry Bankert


The affairs of our city are run by the Mayor with policy and funding set by the Flint City Council. We want our citizens involved in the process. In the last 25 years we have had a variety of youth groups involved with the city. Its a good thing.... If these types of groups become formally active in city decision making then there is a minimal amount of Flint City Charter compliance required . That a good thing to. If its needed with what follows then it’s a good thing to ask these questions now.Our Flint City Charter "is the city’s constitution."[4]

This social contract gives our Mayor and City Council authority and responsibility to run our city. This authority is derived from us by adoption of the Flint City Charter. So consider these thoughts as you review the following.


Flint Mayor Dayne Walling is looking to local Flint high school and college students to help shape the city’s future through the creation of the city of Flint Student Cabinet. The Student Cabinet will help the mayor and the departments of the city of Flint decide on how to act on important community issues. [1]

How involved in the decision making process will they be. I ask not intending to limit the enthusiasm for a youth group.


The current Flint City Charter opened up government to the citizens by making the elected and appointed official responsible for public decision making. " It set a mechanism to re evaluate the need for the 37 independent boards, commissions and multiple member bodies."[4]

When theses bodies make decisions or even recommendations do Flint Citizens have a right to be involved?To make the actions of these boards more responsive to public wishes, the current charter has increased the size of most boards, shortened the terms of membership in many cases outlined procedures for the conduct of hearings and rule making which gives the public ample time to respond to the actions of these bodies.[4]

If the youth group just meets occasionally with the ,Mayor and shares their opinions no formality is required. But what is the limit?The Mayor has a right to create a multiple member Flint Student Cabinet.

But by helping the city make decisions it appears to be organized close to one that will need to meet special charter requirements. If the Flint Students makes recommendations to city departments heads the mayor tells them to follow must they be formally organized? If the Flint Student Cabinet makes written recommendation to the Mayor must it meet multiple member charter compliance?

If the mayor says I am recommending the following because it was recommended by the Flint Student Cabinet does it , the cabinet, need to be formally organized?

We want the Council and Mayor to reach out for citizen involvement in the affairs of the city. If in fact Flint Downtown is to be a college town it is a good thing .We should get them involved in Flint. The Mayors task is build a sense of community that involves them the college students. The best people to tell us how to do that are the college students. It’s a good thing.

My only point here is to talk about the Flint City Charter. I do not know the answer to the above questions. But now is the time to resolve the issue.


A. The executive branch of the City, under the general supervision of the Mayor, shall administer all programs, services and activities of the City, unless otherwise provided in this Charter or required by statute.

B. To the extent permitted by law, the City may transfer any program, service or activity from the executive branch to administration by a multiple member body and may transfer any program, service or activity from a multiple member body created under Section 6-101 to the executive branch or to another multiple member body, provided that this procedure is followed:

1. The Mayor must request the transfer in writing.

2. The City Council must adopt, by an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members elect, an ordinance setting forth the terms and conditions of the transfer.

C. All members of multiple member bodies which receive the transfer of programs, services or activities must be residents of the City of Flint.(Adopted by the electorate, 11-5-74)

[3]Meetings of these bodies must be public and they must adhere to the rules ands hearing procedures.[4]


"We’re not just fixing the problems of the past, but we’re actually building a foundation for the future of this community and young people have a very good sense, a lot better sense than people who have been around for a long time, of what that new future may be," Walling said. [1]


Posted on MLIVE by Shawn ChittleJanuary 17, 2010, 12:21PM

Terry I'm beginning to wonder if somehow, you've lost touch with reality.

Flint will NOT be reborn with the SAME PEOPLE WHO KILLED IT.

Even GM tried that with Rick Wagoner and Obama FIRED HIS ASS. Walling is trying to do the same but everyone keeps deluding themselves into this idiotic "You're doing a great job Brownie!" mentality.Keeping the SAME MORONS in power that RUINED FLINT is like asking an abortionist to deliver your baby. Walling "gets it" and people who keep making his life harder are the ones who are the real enemies of Flint's progress! [5]

I have questioned the Mayor on the DDA appointment. I guess I have made his life harder. I doubt I have any real influence but for the sake of argument here possibly I have.

So I am the enemy? I should not be listened to because I have been involved and I am 58. Well I guess it’s a new day.

I should form an over 50 political activist community promoter responsible citizen support group. If you the reader want to be a member join my face book friends.

For the sake of argument if the Flint Student cabinet meets the legal requirement of a multiple member body what are the rules? The decision on multiple member body is a question for the city attorney. I do not know the answer.

A. Multiple member bodies, including boards and commissions, may be established by the City by ordinance or resolution. Such bodies may exercise those powers and duties granted by the City, provided that they do not conflict with provisions of this Charter or State law.B. Multiple member bodies, including boards and commissions established in this Charter or created after the effective date of this Charter, shall be subject to the following provisions, unless otherwise stated in this Charter:

1. They shall consist of at least seven (7) members, whose terms shall not exceed five (5) years;

2. Initial appointments of persons shall be made to provide for staggered expiration of terms.

3. Appointments shall be made by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council.Removal from office shall be for cause upon recommendation of the Mayor and approval of the City Council.

4. Vacancies which occur prior to the expiration of the term shall be filled for the remainder of the term in the same manner as an expired term.

5. Members shall serve in the interest of all the citizens of the City and, except for compelling reasons stated prior to appointment, shall be residents of the City. In all cases, at least three-fourths (3/4) of the members of all multiple member bodies shall be residents of the City.

6. Each body shall have the power to organize for the conduct of its business including the selection of officers. All rules adopted and used shall comply with the provisions of Section 1-801 of this Charter. The rules shall provide for notice of meetings and shall define the manner in which nonattendance becomes neglect of duties and grounds for removal from office.

7. Each body shall report at least once a year to the Mayor and City Council concerning its activities. The reports shall include an accounting of the receipts and disbursements of all monies which have come into its hands and of any monies which may remain in its hands. A copy of the report shall be filed with the City Clerk and be available for public inspection.[3]


Michael Rettler, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at Kettering University is applying for the cabinet. "I think people should apply for the position if they have a desire to help Flint become, once again, a beautiful city," he said. [1]

I think the involvement of Kettering University will benefit all of us beyond the years of this administration. It’s a good thing.

MULTIPLE MEMBER BODY TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO DEPARTMENT HEADS.Student Cabinet members will meet monthly to discuss proposals and develop new recommendations for department heads. The proposals that the Student Cabinet work on will be related to the issues the group thinks are the most important. [1]


Student Cabinet members will be able to increase their knowledge of municipal government operations through mentoring from administration officials. "We want to match students with somebody who can be a good mentor for their own stated career objectives," Walling said. [1]


"In order to make informed decisions, we’ll go over some of the key functions of local government," Walling said. Members will learn about policy analysis, negotiation, financial management, budgeting, and matching resources to needs, which "is something that applies in any kind of public or private enterprise." [1]


Walling served on former Mayor Woodrow Stanley’s Student Cabinet as a high school senior. "It did not include college students, so this is a new dimension that we’re bringing to it in that we want this to be youth and students, broadly defined." [1]

MAYORS OFFICE TAKING APPLICATIONSThe mayor’s office would like to see an increase in applications from female students. "We don’t want politics to continue to be an old boys club," said Walling. [1]


The Student Cabinet should begin its work by fall semester. "I want the cabinet to help inform the major decisions we’re making about how services are delivered—where we’re putting millions of dollars in investments and services," Walling said. [1]What are the rules for these meetings.


All meetings of multiple member bodies of the City, including boards and commissions, called for the purpose of discussing business within the jurisdiction of the body, and all gatherings of three (3) or more members of the body at which business within the jurisdiction of the body is discussed, shall be public unless otherwise authorized by law. Public notice shall be given in the manner provided by statute for meetings of public bodies.(Adopted by the electorate, 11-5-74)[3]

APPLICATIONS CAN BE FOUND ONLINEApplications and one-page resume or biographical statement are due Jan. 22 and can be found at [1]

Here is what’s on the City of Flint website.City of Flint Student Cabinet: Are you a high school or college student in the City of Flint looking for an exciting opportunity to impact the future of Flint? If so, please consider the City of Flint Student Cabinet. Cabinet members are provided great opportunities to: - Attend ½ day leadership training with the Mayor; - Enhance leadership skills, - Represent the views of their peers; - Learn about municipal government operations; - Participate in volunteer community service projects; - Attend press conferences and special events; -Receive mentoring from administration officials.[2]


Involving young people in the affairs of Flint is a good thing.Implying that any other group specifically older people should not be involved in the affairs of Flint is a bad thing.

Posted here

by Terry Bankert01/19/20

An old guy! I am 59 on Wed, I guess my feelings were hurt.

[1]POSTED TO Google News 9 am 01/19/2010



[4]"the new city charter" A 1974 publication of the 1974 Flint Charter Commission


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Sunday, January 17, 2010


By Terry Bankert 1/17/2010

Within the last several days the Flint Mayor Walling Administration recieved a major infusion of Federal money.

Will 70-80% of the Blight in Flint be gone by 2013?

The process of how this 25 million is spent will be our best measure of this Walling Administration.

A Mayor is accountable for and gets positive or negative review for what happens on that Mayors term.

Mayor Walling gets the credit for winninging the 25 Million for Flint. Good Job.

The money is intended for specific purposes.

There will be Federal monitoring and deadlines.

How this money is allocated will demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the Walling Administration.
There are many other tests. He is doing a lot.

1.There are too many of us to be communicated with directly and its too hard run polls on every decision. I mean decisions like how the money is spent, where, and through what vendors or city departments. We elect a city council to stay on top of these issues.

I hope my city council person Weighill is fully engaged in monitoring for me how this money is spent. I assume many share this thought concerning their own councilperson.

2.I wonder how this $ infusion will fit in with the information from the community input meeting the Mayor conducted and a future Master Plan for the City.

3.Will part of this money be used to hire and get a master planner? Since there may be little time will the U of M study default to being treated like it is a master plan.

4.What will be the role of the landbank in this process? Does it hurt the process that we do not have a County Treasurer running the land bank board ? We need Lee Gonzales appointed to the County Treasurer position so the Land Bank can hit the ground running.

5. Will private sector Dan Kildee stay on that board until a new county treasurer is appointed? If yes is that a good thing?

6.Will these decisions be transparent when the landbank is involved.

7.Will this allocation of $25 Million dollars be a transparent process with the City of Flint?

8. If there are vendors will there be fair competative bidding?

There are a 100 other questions we could ask.

The Mayor and the Council can, will, and should be measured by how this 25 million dollars is spent.

The reader should get involved.

Ask questions.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010


A Flint Family Law Lawyer sharing his opinion.
How can the troubles we face compare to to those in Hati?

But there are other issues.

In reading the news today I am appalled at the the “audacity” of the Republicans and their Banking Industry Leaders in their opposition of President Obamas “just demand” that the loans be repaid.

I agree when the president voiced our repulsion with the Banking Industry and its huge bonus. We agree Mr. President .....Collect every dime.

Collectively we should have little sympathy for the big financial institutions. Unchecked they will just take the money and run.

Who really knew what to do when the financial systems collapsed?

History taught us that when government did nothing earlier in the last century we ended up with the great depression.

So a bi-partisan bailout began.

So much for the free market nonsense we have been spoon fed by the FOX net work , Rush and the O man.

We did fear the taxpayer would never see this money again.

President Obama said “Many originally feared that most of the $700 billion in TARP money would be lost. But when my administration came into office, we put in place rigorous rules for accountability and transparency, which cut the cost of the bailout dramatically. “[5]

We agree with Obama’s pledge to get every dime back.

What Obama pledges is a fee payable over 10 years to get back our 90 Billion dollars. Good Job Mr. president. Only the really big banks will be affected.

We need the president to act quickly because these “sots” that run the biggest banks are getting ready to give billions in bonus to their friends and themselves.

This must be stopped.

But my leader President Obama sums up how I feel.

"We're not going to let Wall Street take the money and run. We're going to pass this fee into law," Obama vowed after proposing a levy to raise up to $117 billion over the next 10 years to recoup projected losses on a taxpayer bank bailout.[2]

The proposed 0.15 percent tax would last at least 10 years and generate about $90 billion over the decade, according to administration estimates. It would apply to about 50 of the nation's biggest banks, those with more than $50 billion in assets, and include many institutions that accepted no money from the $700 financial industry bailout.[4]
The Banks and the republican that have underpinned their failed economic policies must not take the money and run.

They must give us our money back.

Posted here by
Terry Bankert, citation on my blog
Obama chides banks' "audacity" for fighting fee[2]
President Obama Vows to "Collect Every Dime" of Taxpayer Funds that Helped Big Banks[5]
Showing little sympathy for critics of his proposed fee on big financial institutions, President Barack Obama vowed to recover all the cash taxpayers spent on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, saying he won't let Wall Street "take the money and run." [1]
Many originally feared that most of the $700 billion in TARP money would be lost. But when my administration came into office, we put in place rigorous rules for accountability and transparency, which cut the cost of the bailout dramatically. [5]
We have now recovered most of the money we provided to the banks. That's good news, but as far as I'm concerned, it's not good enough. We want the taxpayers' money back, and we're going to collect every dime.[5]That is why, this week, I proposed a new fee on major financial firms to compensate the American people for the extraordinary assistance they provided to the financial industry. And the fee would be in place until the American taxpayer is made whole. [5]
Only the largest financial firms with more than $50 billion in assets will be affected, not community banks. And the bigger the firm - and the more debt it holds - the larger the fee. Because we are not only going to recover our money and help close our deficits; we are going to attack some of the banking practices that led to the crisis.[5]
In his weekly radio address Saturday, Mr. Obama said the large banks that are gearing up to dole out billions in bonuses can afford to pay his planned "financial crisis responsibility fee," which is designed to generate $90 billion over 10 years. [1]
President Obama unveiled a plan Thursday for what he called a financial crisis responsibility fee that is designed to recoup taxpayer funds and reduce risk-taking at banks. It is expected to raise $90 billion over the next 10 years.[3]
"We're not going to let Wall Street take the money and run. We're going to pass this fee into law," Obama vowed after proposing a levy to raise up to $117 billion over the next 10 years to recoup projected losses on a taxpayer bank bailout.[2]
The proposed 0.15 percent tax would last at least 10 years and generate about $90 billion over the decade, according to administration estimates. It would apply to about 50 of the nation's biggest banks, those with more than $50 billion in assets, and include many institutions that accepted no money from the $700 financial industry bailout.[4]
Obama said that although the banks were facing a "crisis of their own creation," the "distasteful but necessary" taxpayer-funded bailout prevented an "even greater calamity for the country."[4]
Most of the banks have returned the money they borrowed, and Obama said that was "good news."[4]
European governments likely are cool toward the U.S. tax because of its potential impact on lending at a time of slow economic growth.
"I think it does make it less likely because I can't see a global-transaction tax without the U.S. joining it and, having gone down this route [of a tax on liabilities], the U.S. is probably less likely to add another tax," said John Hitchins, U.K. banking leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.[3]
"Like clockwork, the banks and politicians who curry their favor are already trying to stop this fee from going into effect," Mr. Obama said. "The very same firms reaping billions of dollars in profits, and reportedly handing out more money in bonuses and compensation than ever before in history, are now pleading poverty." [1]
"It's a sight to see." [1]
Congress must approve the tax and that was not assured, given the immediate opposition from Republicans. Democrats also appeared in jeopardy of losing their 60-vote majority in the Senate, with Democrat Martha Coakley in an unexpectedly close race against Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts to fill the seat held for decades by the late Democrat Edward M. Kennedy.[4]
Brown opposes Obama's bank tax. Obama was heading to Massachusetts on Sunday to campaign for Coakley.[4]
The proposed tax, which must be okayed by Congress, has triggered stiff opposition from the banking sector. Opponents say it will hinder banks' ability to lend and unfairly saddle Wall Street with the cost of the auto-sector bailout. Many banks would be hit by the fee, even though they have already repaid their TARP funds. [1]
But Mr. Obama said the criticism ignores the fact that the entire financial sector benefited not only from the bailout, but from government aid to #American International Group Inc. and homeowners, and the Federal Reserve's emergency measures. [1]
"And it ignores a far greater unfairness: sticking the American taxpayer with the bill," Mr. Obama said. [1]"President Obama's plans to institute a 'financial crisis responsibility fee' to recoup the bailout funds from major banks is nothing more than another tax on the American public," said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.[2]
But European governments indicated they wouldn't introduce similar taxes because they don't need to raise as much money, or will recoup taxpayer cash in other ways.
The U.K. Treasury said it is studying the U.S. government's plan but suggested it won't need such a tax because it expects to retrieve bailout money by selling the shares it owns in the banks it rescued.[3]
However, the government is considering the possibility of a global-transactions tax to raise funds for future crises.[3]
In Germany, a Finance Ministry spokesman said the government doesn't have any plans to impose a special levy on banks. But Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her support for the introduction of a global-transaction levy.[3]
Outlined this week, the bank fee will be included in the White House's fiscal 2011 budget, set for release next month. [1]
Linking the fee with his administration's goal of financial regulatory reform that it says is needed to prevent a repeat of the crisis, Democrat Obama also sought to channel public anger over the bailout toward the Republican Party.
"The industry has even joined forces with the opposition party to launch a massive lobbying campaign against common-sense rules to protect consumers and prevent another crisis," he said.[2]

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

When do we go too far?

untanglingwebs schreef:
Terry- read the comments again.

The cougar remarks were allegedly made throught the university rate the professor blog. Most comments were news stories, etc.

The blame lies with Kettering for allowing such posts and not with Flinttalk. Yes people slammed her but there were no slanderous or libelous remarks.

If Kettering was pushing her for that position, someone should question why. Were they trying to get rid of her? The ratings made have influenced that position.

Were they trying to influence political decisions in their favor? Possibly, but I don't see the DDA as the vehicle for that. Why not the Convention and Visitors Bureau? Her credentials in planning and organizing events would appear to make her better suited for that position rather than the DDA. Word is they may push Preston out too.

We are independent posters using space owned by another to post. There are a loose set of rules and an evolving culture to guide us. Some posters are identifiable because they use their given name , such as myself, some us screen names.

For those that choose our given names when the muck flies our reputations have a possibility of being affected. Because of my state licensing my exposure is even greater. I am a family law practitioner, you know more about libel than I do.

But when my internal alert goes off I listen to it. Was a line crossed by the comments directed at Ms. Wilson? Are there any lines? After the Clinton era there may no ,longer be any lines. We then are to personal choice.

My choice is to affect in my small way public policy debate in Flint MI.,

My last political stand if you will. My internal alert says the discussion about Ms. Wilson went too far. Did it? When the Cougar stuff began I ignored it I thought it was Ketterings mascot.

When the connection with Walling to Harris to Wilson came up the the linkage sounded logical. Comments on the professional relationships between Wilson and Harris were legitimate? Remember there are no rules here. Several poster then just laid the line of logic out in the open. That’s done here all the time.

Then what was my problem? It offended my sense of fairness.

My problem?

When you seek public office or appointment in this country the public has a right to know. But how far into your personal life does this right go? It was the post of 1-6-2010 that went too far. When we find ourselves in this environment and comments of others go too far what recourse. Distance your self, comment on it consider leaving the forum. I have done all three.

I think the Flint Talk forum has added important information to the general public policy debate answering the question "Who is in charge of this city, downtown business interests, the mayor, the council, or the voters in the neighborhoods? The Cougar talk since it originated at Kettering is fair game. Where do I think a line was crossed.

A review of the thread “Larry Ford Fired.” Was it appropriate to talk of speculation of very personal relationships with big money donors to secure a job. Of course it is if you use the national media as a standard.[ Post of untangling the web on 1-6-2010.]

[Flint City Mole] then lays it out in post 1-6-2010. This was done as a question not a statement of fact.

[pauchuco] Raised the ethical/ question in post 1-11-2010.

Andi03 and “back again” joined in posts 1-11-2020 6 pm

In summary nothing was done wrong here.

The focus on the personal relationship was the real reason or the contrived excuse for the resignation.

This is a real power struggle. Chittle has started an anti ford face book to counter the pro-ford face book. Joel , the UofM downtown darling has weighed in supporting Walling. Pro Walling anti us posted are stalking MLIVE.

Phil is throwing elbows and wants to take some people out, real bad.

Ford may still be removed, some say Preston may be next, I bet Walling is even considering tearing down the DDA.

Transparency and accountability are objectives we should all seek. It is some times messy, but then so is democracy.

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Monday, January 11, 2010


JOELRASH SAID:Terry, you suggest the council 'follow the charter' and block the nomination. What provision of the charter is being violated here? It seems that the candidate you supported in the past, Mayor Williamson, was the one who violated the charter by making up new titles (CEO and COO) and appointing people without council or DDA Board consent.
First I will RE POST what I wrote.
January 07, 2010, 5:38AM
No its is not Go Dayne.
Mr. Mayor you have made a mistake. Mr. Ford will be the best possible choice to head the DDA. The Council will be correct to block this appointment. The era of this community believing every word you utter has ended. Your process of governing demonstrates that your administration is just politics as usual. We are tired of this. Follow the charter, build coalitions of support and lead. You may be too young to know the rich history of community service that Larry Ford has given this community. He has worked in the brackground just getting the job done. I am a downtown business person and I want Larry Ford to head the DDA. I have been on the DDA and you must work with the board to accomplish your vision. I suggest the council block the appointment of Wislon. Its their job. You need to be sent back to the drawing board and given a time out.

January 07, 2010, 6:18AM
It is also clear that the Flint City Council representing all of us must approve this decision. They should listen to us and we say KEEP LARRY FORD. The DDA a public body subject to the freedom of information act and the open meeting act has a mission to develop downtown. Downtown interest working privately behind closed doors have manipulated resource allocation to themselves. Their initiatives that are risky like the Parking ramp are left with the DDA. How much else have the saddled us with. We need accountability through the DDA to protect our tax dollars. An inexperienced cheer leader cannot match the ability of larry Ford to protect our interests.
January 07, 2010, 10:35AM
OLDEASTSIDE SAID "Terry, I am beginning to believe that you are part of the "Old Boys Network" and that you need to endorse moves that keep you business."
I am 58 and have had several political appointments. The Ombudsman experience took me outside the net work, I chose to to stay out side. On this case Larry Ford is a friend and I respect the opinion of Inez Brown plus I was a member of the DDA as City Clerk and have that knowledge on how it is supposed to work. As to keeping me in business ?I am a downtown Flint Divorce Attorney located across the street from the Court house. Thank You for bringing up my business but the Good Old Boys Network would be too concerned for their pensions to seek a divorce. The DDA has a mission that Larry Ford is bringing back to life. But thats my opinion, you have yours. I like this Mayor, we do not have to agree all the time, none of us are perfect.
RASH SAID:you suggest the council 'follow the charter' and block the nomination. What provision of the charter is being violated here?
BANKERT: I did not say the Mayor Violated the Charter on MLIVE
RASH SAID:It seems that the candidate you supported in the past, Mayor Williamson, was the one who violated the charter by making up new titles (CEO and COO) and appointing people without council or DDA Board consent.
BANKERT: I supported Mayor Walling openly in the last election and still do today. We just disagree on the DDA issue. Many people supported Williamson at one time or another in the past. I was one. The Mayor currently has on staff in high position A PERSON that at one time was on Don Williamsons Advisory committee. Be careful where you through that rock.
BANKERT: The community must insists that the Flint City Council and Flint Mayor and all of the multiple member bodies follow State Law Code and case law, Attorney General Opinion, City Charter , Promulgated rule and procedures in that order. This commitment will protect us all.
Now as to Ms. Wilson resignation letter. Yes I did call her a cheer leader, meaning to young and inexperienced for the job to lead the DDA. The DDA is an independent Multiple Member body. The very fact that the Mayor has to bring the nominees name to council demonstrate it is not the Mayor appointment alone.
But others posting comments anonymously did "smear" unfairly. For that I apologize to her. I did not but it was happening around me and I should have spoke out against it. With that said,having gone through A SIMILAR very trying appointment process a half dozen times the old adage applies "If you cannot take the heat stay out of the kitchen".
The Downtown Business need the involvement of Kettering University and the University of Michigan, Uptown Reinvestment and the Mott Foundation in the affairs of our City. Who ever the DDA Director is will have to work with these entities.
Again to Ms Wilson you were treated unfairly, hopefully not by me, for that inaction on my part I apologize. I do not apologize for advocating the appointment of larry Ford as the permanent DDA Director.
Posted here by
Terry R. Bankert

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cold enough fer ya


65 above zero: Floridians turn on the heat. People in Michigan plant gardens.

60 above zero: Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in Michigan sunbathe.

50 above zero: Italian & English cars won't start. People in Michigan drive with the windows down..

40 above zero: Georgians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats. People in Michigan throw on a flannel shirt.

35 above zero: New York landlords finally turn up the heat. People in Michigan have the last cookout before it gets cold.

20 above zero: People in Miami all die. Michiganders close the windows.

Zero: Californians fly away to Mexico. People in Michigan get out their winter coats.

10 below zero: Hollywood disintegrates. The Girl Scouts in Michigan are selling cookies door to door.

20 below zero: Washington DC runs out of hot air. People in Michigan let the dogs sleep indoors.

30 below zero: Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Michiganders get upset because they can't start the Snowmobile.

40 below zero: ALL atomic motion stops. People in Michigan start saying...'Cold enough fer ya?'

50 below zero: Hell freezes over. Lions win the Super Bowl

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Saturday, January 9, 2010


Rep Nancy Pelosi has got it right. The tea baggers, big religion, big business, and big special interests like the NRA are what is wrong with American Politics. These baggers are going to picket Pelosi at our Detroit Auto show. The baggers should be opposed. Angry New Liberals must re establish intelligence in the debate and application of public policy in this country. We have suffered a generation of dumbing down by the Regan religious rights resulting in the idiotization of political action as demonstrated by the "tea baggers", baggers for short.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010


By Terry Bankert


I like the work Larry Ford has done for this community.

You cannot minimize the experience translating into an ability to get the job done that Larry Ford brings to this position.

As City Clerk I sat on the DDA board. We have allowed the downtown interest to under fund and minimize the public body DDA . This has allowed private bodies like Uptown reinvestment to do the publics business.

Walling supports all things UPTOWN REINVESTMENT.

What is becoming apparent is that we must now begin to question the decision making of Rhodes scholar Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.

This is a good case to bring the mayor back to reality, there is a council and a community he should listen to.

I had hoped that Mayor Walling would stop the practice of politics as usual in Flint. Well that is not happening.

I suggest the Flint City Council get some back bone and assert the council ‘s “will” when appropriate. It is appropriate here.

There is a good reason why the final arbitrator of this decision is with the Flint City Council. The Charter gives council the role of setting the vision for Flint allocating the money and representing all of us holding the administration accountable.

But lets talk about Politics as usual in Flint.

This issue , dumping Larry Ford for a Kettering payoff, will break me from blindly supporting the Walling initiatives , will alter relationships and I will take it directly to the mayors door step, critic him directly and put all his initiatives under a microscope no longer will I believe he has a reasonable vision for Flint.

I am just one person , but if a couple of thousand vocal people make the same pledge that’s community power, its loud messy and impolite.

What is an intense community reaction against an elected leaders self serving political decision?

That’s politics as usual in Flint.
Mr. Mayor on this issue it could erupt and head your way. I suggest you compromise.

The Downtown Development Authority board and other city officials are warring over two candidates under consideration as the authority's next leader.[]

WALLING SAYS , HEY ITS JUST POLITICS!Flint Mayor Dayne Walling wants Caron Wilson, a Kettering University project manager, to replace Larry Ford, who has been serving as interim director since James Rutherford retired. Ford would continue to serve as deputy director, Walling said, though it is unclear whether that would be a permanent position.[]

THE DDA’S REAL LEADERSHIPS WANTS FORDS COMPETENCE, WALLING WANTS POLITICSBut some city council members are questioning Walling's choice, since the DDA board "highly recommended" Ford for the job, they said. The appointment was debated tonight at a council committee meeting with both candidates in attendance. []

THE DDA UNDER FORDS LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN EXCELLENT, EXPIERENCE COUNTS!Walling said the DDA needs new leadership, and he chose the better candidate to move it forward. Others contend that Ford is visible in the community and serves the authority well.[]

THE DDA IS SADDLED BY UPTOWN , TAX DIVERSION AND WALLINGS LACK OF LEADERSHIP"The DDA of 2010 is not the DDA of 1990, 1995 or even 2000," Walling said. "It is saddled with high expectations.[]

WALLING DEFINES STATUS QUO, PEOPLE I DID NOT APPOINT"We cannot let the status quo continue."[]The protocol for appointing a new DDA director begins with the DDA board's personnel committee, which reviews applications and interviews candidates. The personnel committee then nominates two candidates, who in this case were Wilson and Ford.[]

THE COUNCIL CAN SHOW ITS STRENGTH BY REJECTING THIS SELECTIONThe mayor then brings one of those names before city council for approval.[]

BROWN ACCUSES WALLING OF IGNORING THE RULES TO DO IT HIS WAY….HERE WE GO AGAIN…City Clerk Inez Brown, who sits on the DDA board, said it was clear that the board wanted Ford to continue as director and Walling is circumventing the rules for Wilson. []
LARRY FORD"Larry's been the best director that I've worked with," she said. "I cannot speak highly enough of Larry."[]

THESE ARE MY TOYS AND I CAN PLAY WITH THEM ANY WAY I WANTBut Walling said he isn't breaking the rules since he was given two names for consideration.[]



WILSON WOULD MAKE A GOOD DEPUTYWilson, a Flint native, has worked at Kettering since 1998 in various positions, including student services coordinator and most recently as project manager in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. She also has worked for the University of Michigan-Flint.[]

WALLING WILL FALL OVER BACKWARDS FOR ANYTHING KETTERING University.Walling said Wilson has the connections and experience to make event management and marketing, among other things, a priority for the DDA.

Councilman Scott Kincaid said Wilson is "capable and competent."[]

JACKIE POPLAR HAS GOT IT RIGHTBut one community member who addressed the council said Ford works hard for the city. Councilwoman Jackie Poplar said Ford has been known to shovel snow downtown and salt sidewalks early in the morning.[]

"You might as well call that man Mr. Flint," resident Dan Hajek said.[]

WE SHOULD ALL ATTEND THIS MEETING , FILL OUT A SPEAKERS SLIP AND SPEAK FOR LARRY FORD.The city council will consider Wilson's nomination at its regular meeting on Monday.[]

GOOD QUESTIONCouncil President Delrico Loyd questioned whether the DDA can afford to have a director and deputy director. Walling said both positions were included in this year's budget. []

LARRY FORD HAS BEEN EMERSED IN ALL THINGS FLINT FOR 30 YEARSSome city council members also were disappointed that neither of the candidates live in the city of Flint. Wilson lives in Flushing, according to her resume []

Posted Here by
Terry Bankert

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Relationship disclosure! Is it a good thing?

An ethical question was raised. Do you believe financial disclosure of relationships with products, causes or candidates should be made by internet posters that use their own name or something made up? I do. I have no financial relationship with Lee Gonzales the candidate and the cause. There I showed you mine!

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Monday, January 4, 2010

The U of M Report to the Land Bank

Adversity to Advantage:
New Vacant Land Uses in Flint
Nathan Geisler, Shana Greenstein, Chuang-Chung Hu, Cisco
Minthorn, Melissa Munsell
Urban and Regional Planning Program, University of Michigan
August 2009

Executive Summary
In the last 40 years, industry, jobs, and people have left Flint, creating a city with thousands of vacant residential lots with a low likelihood of redevelopment.
This project examines how potential new uses might be implemented to use Flint’s increasingly abundant vacant land, focusing on uses only in current residential areas of the city.
The plan addresses potential uses for vacant land in a “focus area,” west of the Buick City industrial stretch in central Flint, which has the highest residential land vacancy rate in the city.
Two smaller pockets of high vacancy east of the Flint River and Buick City
are also included in this focus area.
The uses covered in this plan are: urban agriculture (farming, biofuel crops, tree
nurseries), waste management (deconstruction and composting), natural features enhancements (greenways and trails, expanding green waterfront amenities, and storm water management), and small parks and community gardens.
Stewardship patterns and future vacancy
This plan relied on fieldwork to account for 1) existing stewardship, or the signs that residents are maintaining or beautifying vacant lots, and 2) estimates of future vacancy, by counting the number of dilapidated homes per block that
will soon be demolished to create a new vacant lot.
These counts revealed that:
 The best encouragement for stewardship is the existence of other stewarded lots.
 Future vacancy will reach over 40% per block in many parts of the focus area.
Matching potential uses to Flint’s vacant residential land supply
An examination of the location criteria for potential uses revealed that the uses fall into two broad categories:
 Uses that need large sites (contiguous lots totaling at least one-half acre) and are suitable for highly vacant areas (over 50 percent of lots vacant per block).
 Uses that need small sites (contiguous lots adding up to less than one-half acre) and are suitable for moderately vacant areas (less than 50 percent of lots vacant per block).
This plan examined available vacant land by combining contiguous vacant lots into “sites” and applying use-specific criteria to identify and map optimal locations for each type of use. In addition to the location criteria, implementation
criteria were also identified. The implementation criteria and the number of sites identified for each use are as follows:
Urban farms
 Number of potential sites: 94
 Implementation criteria: Financial viability; strong neighborhood relationships.
Biofuel crops
 Number of potential sites: 281
 Implementation Criteria: Expertise in biofuel crops; demand for product; existence of processing facilities.
Tree nurseries
 Number of potential sites: 56
 Implementation Criteria: Specialized knowledge about growing trees and shrubs.
 Number of potential sites: 38
 Implementation Criteria: Availability of vacant structures to deconstruct; market for salvaged materials.
 Number of potential sites: 35
 Implementation Criteria: Supply of organic materials; demand for compost.
Natural features
 Number of potential sites: 100
 Implementation Criteria: Interest in expanding existing trails.
Community gardens and pocket parks
Number of potential sites: 48
 Implementation Criteria: Resident interest.
Key points
The plan details the broad criteria for implementation of each use, identifies opportunities, discusses potential challenges,
and proposes solutions for Flint that have proved successful in other cities. Specific points include:
 Significant urban agriculture already exists in Flint.
 Urban agriculture generally needs social programming or non-profit support to help launch and sustain activities.
 Urban farms benefit most from clustering sites.
 Potential biofuel crop sites face financial feasibility challenges, as this is a mostly untested urban land use with only
early-stage pilot projects to consider for comparison.
 Deconstruction and composting are not currently supported by the city government
 Deconstruction facilities will rely most on private interest and involvement, while the city government can undertake
composting by adapting Flint’s current yard waste collection programs.
 Opportunities to enhance natural features are plentiful along the Flint River, Flint Park Lake and Thread Lake, due
to high rates of vacancy in these areas. Additionally, vacant land along proposed greenway routes can expand
recreational assets in sections of Flint.
 Pocket parks and community gardens are not appropriate in areas of high vacancy where resident upkeep is likely
to be a challenge. Despite the focus area’s high vacancy rates, some blocks are nearly intact and residents can
support parks or gardens to help stabilize physical conditions and home values in neighborhoods.
Recommendations for assembling sites
The Land Bank can promote new vacant land uses through the following approaches:
 Determine target areas: The Land Bank might capitalize on existing neighborhood strengths by focusing new uses
and revitalization efforts in targeted areas.
 Narrow the use focus: Promote uses efficiently and in a manner that reduces the challenge of holding thousands of vacant properties by narrowing the number of uses the Land Bank encourages (example: put resources towards
launching an urban farm cluster on sites in north-central Flint, rather than implementing multiple uses).
 Strategically acquire lots: Obtain lots proactively, through in-kind trades, property swaps, relocation assistance, or the promotion of stricter code enforcement policies in the city. Further, critically examine requests for side lot
transfers – several potential sites were too small because of past transfers of side lots.
 Rank potential properties for acquisition: Assemble the necessary amount of land to promote uses through a
ranking system that shows strategic parcels. This plan maps Land Bank holdings with three contiguous lots and shows the location of recent foreclosure properties and city-owned land that are contiguous with these Land Bank
properties. Acquiring foreclosure properties and city-owned land adjacent to existing Land Bank holdings increases the viability of new uses, by reaching a half-acre size necessary for many of the uses discussed in this

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Saturday, January 2, 2010


Posted here by Terry Bankert

The Flint Journal recently ran on MLIVE and article by Andrew Heller on Flint Shrinking City policy initiative. The article can be seen at

I wrote the following on the comment section of the article which follows.

I agree we should be managing decline gracefully, even creatively.

The market already is doing it. What is needed is public policy to clean up the edges of neighborhoods already in a state of abandonment and plan for the future.

How that policy is created is my difference with some.

I do not think that groups or people I did not elect or that are not accountable to an electorate should make the decision.

Specifically I mean the shrinking City policy should not be set by the following : Downtown business people, Mott Foundation, Land Bank leaders who ever they are, Phil Shaltz, smart aleck Flint Journal writers, college kids doing term papers, political gadflies, bloggers, posters, trolls, and even retired ombudsman.

We need an active debate, publicly involving decision makers.

If your grandmothers home is the only one left on the block and she does not want to leave should we make her?
Happy New year.

I then responded to Andrew Hellers, Yoopers first response.

YOOPER-So, Terry, what's the alternative?
TRB- Protect the rights of the home owner before exercising the oppressive act of state action through “Eminent Domain.

YOOPER-Continue providing full city services to that one home, or raise that person's bill to pay for a full block's services?
TRB-Why not upgrade the block , create a park, encourage new housing. Lets reward the Flint Citizen who has chosen to stick it out, not punish them. The real cost saving are minimal by taking that last house off the block against their will. When you ride in the country there are long stretches between housing so why not in Flint? I believe economic interests are attempting to assemble large blocks of land for the benefit of larger developers. There is no crisis that demands immediate action. The Flint Citizens through our elected leadership , public hearings and a public decision making process should be allowed to be fully engaged in this debate.

YOOPER-I agree it needs studying, but why invalidate so many opinions from the people you mention.
TRB-There are a variety of opinions on this issue. The opinions that matter are those of our elected leadership after full public debate. What’s going on now is a selling of the idea before public deliberation. I am demonstrating that there are opinions in opposition or at least the position that this should be done with get care.

YOOPER-Sometimes smart aleck columnists know a thing or two.
TRB- As rare as a blue moon, but then we did just have one.

YOOPER-Or is intelligence only the province of attorneys?
TRB-No it’s a large province with many actors. You should stop by.

I lastly responded to Andre Hellers second response.

ANDY-Terry, wonderful snide tone. Much appreciated.
TRB- I must have just finished one of your old articles. But what is wrong with my conclusion, “We need an active debate, publicly involving decision makers. “
ANDY-But listen, are you serious when you say the only opinions that matter are elected officials? Wow. That's stunning. I won't say it's dumb, especially in a democracy, but I will say I disagree strongly.
TRB- I did not say that. What I said was
“I do not think that groups or people I did not elect or that are not accountable to an electorate should make the decision. “ Meaning we need this issues debated before the City formally with citizens differing opinions voiced. The media ,you, are just cheerleading one side of the question.
I said “Specifically I mean the shrinking City policy should not be set by the following : Downtown business people, Mott Foundation, Land Bank leaders who ever they are, Phil Shaltz, ..[the usual suspects]…smart aleck Flint Journal writers, [you] college kids doing term papers, [ Good Job].. political gadflies, ..[they will surface]… bloggers, posters, trolls, [ mostly un named]..and even retired ombudsman. ..[that would be me]”
This debate means nothing until its in front of a duly elected public body. All opinions matter, but it is a public decision. There are differing opinions. What is wrong with wanting our elected leadership to weigh, ponder and debate these issues? I said “What is needed is public policy to clean up the edges of neighborhoods already in a state of abandonment and plan for the future. “
ANDY-And you say (without a question mark, I might add, snidely), "Why not upgrade the block , create a park, encourage new housing." Again, you're kidding, right? The reason for shrinking is lack of money, and you're saying add a park? Flint has an enormous park system that it already can't take care of.

TRB-GRAMMAR POLICE? What money is saved by shrinking? Just what does shrinking look like? Just what do we do with the existing utilities? What maintenance will be required? None possibly? What will be the impact on the rest of the system if one part is left un-maintained? If we have shrunk within the city does that mean no policing? What do we do with the squatters villages? No fire protection? What if the abandoned uncut grass and trees catches’ fire? Will the storm drains be sealed? Blaa, blaa, blaa. My point is there are many variables. These should be debated publicly before a public body with free debate. The pre-selling of this idea should seed debate, as here, not stifle it.

ANDY-I suppose there are ways to encourage new housing, but again, have you looked around? The area is filled with housing at 50 percent off.
TRB-The market will return slowly. Possibly it may be better to keep the blocks in a reduced state of maintenance, than to abandon by force this private property. Possibly by batching small groups of properties already vacant this will cause developments, market driven activities, to occur. Drive up MLK and look at the new construction. Its already happening. With under valued property the market will react.

ANDY-So why would someone build in a vacant area of Flint.
TRB- Because they own the Block? Because they own the house next door? Because they own the church next door. Because they can buy multiple parcels. I said
“We need an active debate, publicly involving decision makers.
If your grandmothers home is the only one left on the block and she does not want to leave should we make her?”
ANDY-One idea off the top of my light-headed head that might work is a version of homesteading. Let people who have a job have empty houses. Put them to some use.
TRB- Light-headed is your diagnosis. I am heartened to see you to realize there are opinions other than forced abandonment. Yours is an excellent idea. My point is that we must explore all alternatives before we put grandmother out of her home. We have not done that. All that’s going on now is that the “usual suspects “are pre selling the phrase “Shrinking City” with out knowing the implications.
ANDY-Ignorantly yours, Andy
TRB-Your choice of words. This might help, look up transparency in government, accountability , democracy, protection of individual property rights, and any treatise on the role of the media in a democracy. You probably have one somewhere!

Then another voice joined.

Posted by starvingartist January 02, 2010, 11:50PM

Terry, you are in dreamland if you think the people will slowly return. What are they going to do when they get here?

What do you want to do, talk this thing to death and then do nothing, just watch it all fall apart? We have a chance to be proactive, we have a chance to set the precedent for the country. Let's be proud of Flint! [end]

With this I concluded.

The people will slowly return.

Couples are still having babies.

A new business base will develop ,part of it is here.

What can Flint be to attract the new order?

So far all that is going on is a study that has generated media speculation that something called shrinking our city is a good thing.

The credit takers for this acclaim are lining up.

But what does shrinking a city mean? I agree we must do something.

That something is to create public policy through our elected officals.

These officals will protect our individual property rights while reorganizing Flint for the future. I am for us leading the country in how to downsize a city.

To date there is no plan only an idea. I support the idea.

The worst thing we could do is to adopt some half baked plan.

We have the resources to actually do this one right.

The right people in the Mayors office, the right people on the city council, a downtown and regional chamber of commerce with a track record of development success and an electorate willing to back up a well thought out initative.

Remembering AutoWorld a good idea executed horribly hurts us all.

The real work of this initative will soon begin by the people who can actually cause change.

This is just a discussion to see if your eyes are open.


Everyone has the right to their opinion.

Where are the elected City Council and Administrations opinions on this issue.

The policy of shrinking Flint should be developed publicy, not presented as a done deal.

I hope I have encouraged debate.

But I do intend to read the UofM full report.

Posted here
Terry bankert

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