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Final Push: Activists on Both Sides of Bloomfield Bond Issue Plan to Finish Strong

Members of One Bloomfield United and Bloomfield 20/20 are taking their messages to the people on the final weekend before the vote.

 

With arguably the biggest decision Bloomfield Hills Schools district residents collectively have had to make looming just days away, activists on both sides of the high school bond issue aren't taking anything for granted. 

Members of One Bloomfield United — the grassroots community group formed last year that supports the Bloomfield Hills Schools' initiative to merge and high schools on one campus — will continue to canvass neighborhoods door-to-door, making sure residents are aware of the election and their reasons for supporting the plan at the polls on Tuesday.

"This is our highest concentration of volunteers going door-to-door as far as number of people that we've had," said OBU organizer Ellen Tener, who estimated about 100 residents offered to participate for one final push.

Their presence will also be felt Tuesday, organizers said, as they plan to be at polling locations, busy shopping centers and even high-traffic intersections reminding people to get out and vote.

Of interest: Learn more about this issue on the High School Consolidation Topic Page.

Opponents are also mobilizing their message to stop the $59 million tax proposal. It's familiar territory for many members of Bloomfield 20/20, which helped defeat two prior consolidation initiatives in 2010 and 2007.

With district officials vowing this will be the last vote, and the merger of both schools set for the fall of 2013 — whether on one or two campuses — the group has centered it's 'No' campaign on the alternative plan to renovate both existing buildings. They're also noting a Detroit News editorial published Friday that criticized the district and the proposal, and focusing on OBU's delay in filing campaign finance reports.

"Will dirty tricks win a stealth election?" Bloomfield 20/20 spokeswoman Jenny Greenwell said in an email raising the concern.

Brandon Kaufman, spokesman for OBU, said the filing report is massive and requires detailed documentation that will be complete within the next few days, in compliance with campaign finance rules.

Not to be outdone, the organization has also compiled its own impressive list of  endorsements from local officials, business owners and area publications in a large mailer sent out before the weekend.

Charles Gaba May 06, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Mr. Fellin-- We have a form for local businesses to fill out which requires them to expressly state that they're authorized to do so for that business. If someone filled out the form who wasn't authorized to do so--whether it's a "yes" supporter OR A NO SUPPORTER, I have their IP ADDRESS ON RECORD and can track the computer used to do so if it comes to that. Most businesses listed on the site came through this form; in other cases we have written or verbal permission from the owner or an authorized manager of the establishment. There has been exactly 1 case in which the owner supports the YES vote *and* had a YES sign in the window and another in front of their property, but didn't specifically authorize listing on the endorsements page due to an honest mistake. That's it. If there's a business listed on the OBU website endorsement page that did not give permission to be listed there, name it. Meanwhile, I don't see any local businesses endorsing the "no" vote. The best you have is an economist who hasn't lived in the area in a dozen years who openly admitted not having the slightest idea what condition the buildings are in, who openly admitted not knowing what the tax situation would be if the bond passes, and who openly admitted that "existing funds" (ie, the sinking fund) SHOULDN'T be used for capital improvements (ie, major renovations of the existing buildings), which is what WOULD be done if the bond FAILS.
BHSDistrictParent May 06, 2012 at 04:14 PM
The Bloomfield district is spending $60,000.00 or more to hold a special Bond election on the irregular voting day of Tuesday, May 8th. The board is hoping to just have their "Yes Sir/Ma'am" troops show up at the polls, and also are marshaling a door-to-door absentee ballot campaign which is heavy funded by special interest groups. Previous incarnations of this Bond have twice been rejected by voters in general elections, but the board members (whose own election campaigns are also funded by special interest groups) want it on an off day now so only their supporters will be more likely to come out in greater numbers and vote yes to fund the construction of a large new high school. The board unwisely spent millions to close Pine Lake School and Hickory Grove, tossing the students, including Special Needs and Severely Multiple Impaired, off to facilities which were too cramped and inappropriate for them. It spent close to a million to make detailed plans for one high school. It spent hundreds of thousands to pay Clark Hill attorneys in their wrongful effort to close Pine Lake School in the face of a valid deed restriction and, adding insult to the injury, bought the rights of the heirs of Mae Callow, the generous donor of Pine Lake School. They still are hoping to sell the Pine Lake School property and to funnel other monies to make one large high school at Telegraph and Long Lake's busy intersection - crammed in with the police department and the fire station.
BHSDistrictParent May 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM
For any plan which this board puts forth, see who is really benefiting - the board at election time, property speculators, architects, construction companies, attorneys. One thing is for sure, it's not the children or the taxpayers. Their voices are surely muffled and ignored. Many voters do not speak up as their kids are still on school campuses, or doing so can have negative impacts on their jobs. Any board member who says that it's a good idea to close neighborhood elementary schools, chasing families away, as a way of increasing the tax base with new high density multiple housing, is not competent to be on the board. Any board member who says that it's a good idea to put an 8 year-old into the Middle School teenage culture is plain dictatorial and needs to be ousted. And poor Rob Glass has had to try to make the best of the bad hand that has been dealt to him by the previous superintendent.
BHSDistrictParent May 06, 2012 at 04:18 PM
From an e-mail by a concerned Bloomfield senior citizen - "A notice was sent to One Bloomfield United about their failure to file financial statements on time with the Oakland County Elections Division. This is just one more indication of the District and its supporters crossing the line into the gray area. The total abuse of the electoral process is disgusting -- an election scheduled to minimize voter turn out and now flaunting the minimal rules trying to ensure campaign finance disclosure." If Lahser has close to 900 students, and Andover about 1000, then why build a 1,650 capacity school at a high traffic major intersection? The Board is hoping than another 200 high school students/families will flee. That's what happened in Royal Oak after Gaynor's consolidated mega school was built there. Please don't take away the close neighborhood atmosphere. The unneeded bond vote would have been held without polling expenses if it had taken place at the normal election time in November. Way to go Bloomfield Board for the Education. Three times and you should be out. Stop wasting our district’s funds on an unwanted fantasy! Once again, please do check out www.bhsforum.org Absentee ballots are available at the Township offices if you are unable to stand in line on Tuesday. So, get up from your computer chairs and get out and please do Vote...
Brandon Kaufman May 06, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I agree with Ann: How about we stick to the facts: 1. The plan was endorsed by all local papers based on the facts. 2. The plan has been endorsed by many previous no voters who had legitimate concerns. 3. A yes vote still lowers our school property taxes 20%. 4. The township supervisor and Oakland road commission have provided written documentation indicating traffic is not an issue and will most likely improve under the proposed plan. 5. Our community relies on the schools overall reputation to attract families to the area. This plan is needed so the school can make structural changes (they way it delivers education), gain efficiencies and reduce operating expenses, while improving the image of the schools. We are all in this together. Vote YES on Tuesday
Keith Peters May 06, 2012 at 04:43 PM
How is this a steath election? How many more 'YES' signs can you see in Bloomfield? The only really dirty trick I know of is impling to voters that their taxes will go up by bringing in an outside source that hasn't even studied this issue. Again Mr. Fellin, can you find another person in your group who can post? VOTE YES MAY 8!
Marcia Robovitsky May 06, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Will you please say which township supervisor....Payne until July 31, 2011 or Savoie that began Aug. 1, 2011 gave "written documentation" concerning traffic? Was this "documentation" part of recorded minutes or part of an agenda at the township? If so, which meeting? Please also provide more information about the "written documentation" from the Oakland County Road Commission. Thank you. I am concerned about this as a township resident and the traffic at Telegraph/Long Lake/Franklin/Exeter/Andover Rd. and the police and fire stations and their ability to service the rest of the community during "school rush hours".
Ken Jackson May 06, 2012 at 06:19 PM
"Frankly, I had no idea if he would support the bond proposal or not." You have to try to be a bit more frank Mr. Fellin. You had no idea an anti-tax ideologue from an anti-tax think tank whose primary objective is to destroy public education writ large (one building, two building debates look kind of meaningless in that context) would favor a school bond? Fans (and foes) of the Mackinac Center should check out the editorial in today's Detroit Free Press to see what that group of folks will bring to BHSD next.
Charles Gaba May 06, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Oh hogwash, Chris. If you know a business owner who doesn't want to be listed, speak now or quit making unfounded accusations. If my own business showed up as endorsing a cause I didn't believe in (like, say, your own site), I'd certainly want it removed immediately, along with an explanation of how it ended up there, and wouldn't have any compunction about contacting the source. As for "turning off a significant portion of the residents", business owners aren't children. They're perfectly capable of determining what they feel is or isn't good for their business, and for the local economy in general. If a business wants to endorse, put a sign out, or whatever, that's THEIR business (literally and figuratively), not yours. Of course, if they then fell pressure to REMOVE their sign and public endorsement due to harassment of their employees by the opposing group, that's also their business, and I don't fault them for doing so. Not that you have any personal knowledge of any such harassment, I'm sure.
Howard Baron May 06, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Chris, it is dirty pool to make statements and then play coy when confronted by the expert for support for your statement. I have respected you for being truthful with the facts. We have differed in their interpretation, which is understandable. Maybe, though, that trust has been misplaced.
Andy Reed May 06, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Chris, please stop with all the 'dirty tricks' accusations. My home just had it's 4th set of B2020 propaganda hung on my mailbox. Coincidentally, this latest papering was IMMEDIATELY after One Bloomfield United placed literature in my neighborhood. Not only did B2020 feel the need to place their pamphlet over the YES literature - it was taped to my mailbox. My mailbox was the only one on my street to receive the B2020 propaganda. AND they felt the need to tape it to my mailbox. Now I have a mailbox with a huge swath of paint missing. Thanks a lot. Now that's a dirty trick.
Andy Reed May 06, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Andover HS at one time had 1600 students. Now the site can not handle the traffic? Enough with Pine Lake and Hickory Grove. Those decisions affected everyone - even those at Eastover and Lone Pine. It was a difficult, but necessary consolidation. Even with improvements over the years to the surrounding infrastructure? Your post reeks of sour grapes. I didn't realize that May 8th was such a convenient day for YES voters, but is horribly inconvenient for those opposed. Enough already.
Andy Reed May 06, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Wait - I thought with the reportedly huge increase in taxes, no one would buy property in BHSD? Now it is ripe for property speculators? Read the proposal. Ask a student. Their support is overwhelming. Your post has so many flaws and misguided thinking, I'm going to have to stop before my head explodes.
Amy Cardin May 06, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Chris...ok, I really had to laugh out loud over that one. Not familiar with the work of the Mackinac Center? What state do you live in? I would have thought since you touted Littman's expertise and experience, mentioning the Center by name in other posts, that you would have taken the time to at least familiarize yourself with what they do. If this is how you care deeply and have command of the facts, then it is no surprise that you constantly foist misleading and inaccurate information. Vote YES on May 8 for a plan our entire community can get behind and be proud of for decades to come.
Neal Charness May 07, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Chris: The good news for you is that I really doubt whether undecided voters are looking at the blogs on the Patch to make up their mind. The bad news is that you're saying things that you probably know (or should know better) to say--your comment disclaiming knowedge of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is just foolish. I believe one of your clips from Littman's comments was the one where he admitted getting his information from B2020--but you didn't know what position he would take. Don't do this Chris--you need to have credibility so you can be part of the future planning for the district.
S Sera May 07, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Hmm. Have you read the decision of the courts regarding the Pine Lake property? Seems to me that it might be interesting and educational reading. Others who have posted on this site are concerned with what the district is going to do with the excess property. Why shouldn't it be sold? No one wants their neighborhood schools to close, but reality is that something had to be done. At this point that ship has sailed and it is time to let it. The kids who are in the schools seem to have handled it better than the adults and we should all take a lesson from them. As someone who's own child had to deal with the transition I would not say that the district "tossed" anyone. There are special needs students in all of our schools. They weren't just located at Pine Lake and Hickory Grove. Where is it written that high density multiple housing would be put at either of those two locations? Sounds like fear mongering to me.
Charles Gaba May 07, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Chris--you may recall that I defended your own error-riddled filings in the past, recognizing what a royal pain campaign finance filing reports can be. I have nothing to do with the OBU financial reporting, so believe me when I say that I'm genuinely interested in knowing what the hell it is that you think is being "hidden" in the OBU report? Do you think we're being secretly funded by George Soros or something? (Or the Koch Brothers, depending on your political leanings, although that would obviously be pretty unlikely under the circumstances). Do you think we've been paying people to pretend to support the Yes vote (Lord knows some political candidates have been known to pay people to fill the ranks at their rallies)? Or do you think that OBU is being secretly financed by non-BHS residents? I see that B2020 has a few donations from Clawson and Florida (though I would imagine the Florida donors are snowbirds who spend the summer here and the winter down there), but nothing too significant. Not that it really matters, as long as they're legally allowed to donate money (ie, U.S. citizen and all that), I'm not sure what you're hoping to find here. My suspicion is that you don't expect to find anything significant whatsoever, you're just trying to stir up FUD as usual.
BHSDistrictParent May 07, 2012 at 11:03 AM
To S Sera - The closures of Pine Lake and Hickory Grove were not the result of a decision of the former superintendent's hand-picked FMP1 Committee (instructed to examine only grades K-6) but were announced by him as their decision even thought it was not. FOIA produced e-mail communication from him indicating that he knew that Pine Lake School was superior to Lone Pine Elementary, yet he chose to close it instead because of it's better acreage and, as minutes from his public meetings show, because it was better suited to the building of "family friendly housing." He also discussed having such a planned community built on the Wabeek property as a way of attracting families with young children. His decision to close Pine Lake School and Hickory Grove was part of his self-designated "master plan" to raise unrestricted district funds to put towards his fancy new high school, and was not driven by a need to consolidate the neighborhood schools. In fact, it had been recommended by the Lighthouse project that a middle school be closed (at a savings almost equal to the savings realized by closing two elementary schools) and with a consolidation at the middle school level. That wasn't convenient, however, to his master plan for the district. If the bond passes, or fails, the matter of district configuration needs to be reexamined from top to bottom, with an eye towards what truly makes the most sense - for our neighborhoods, our children and families, and our taxpayers.
Casey May 07, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Chris Pot (as in Pot calling the Kettle Black) - I personsally saw you placing a No sign in the Yard of a board Memeber's Mother at 6:02 Pm on April 24. While I did not touch the sign - I did call a friend of the home owner to let them Know of YOUR dirty tricks. I am not surprised the sign came down.
Casey May 07, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Chris - Please tell me why Bloomfield Taxpayers for a Reasonable Plan still has not filled their papers from 2007? They managed to donate to Ms. Greenwells Election campaign but cant file the papers in 5 years?
Casey May 07, 2012 at 04:29 PM
CHris - Are you saying you knowingly placed signs in the right of way (public property) in front of people's houses (Private property) - I beleive that is not only a dirty trick but also against campaign sign ordinaces.
R Gibson May 07, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I can't wait for Wednesday morning. By then we will have a decision, one way or another, and the whole lot of you will have to figure our new ways to insult, lie, berate, accuse, and antagonize one another. I have enjoyed some of our exchanges, in some instances there has been some real good exchanges, some constructive ideas proposed. But over the last several weeks this whole thing has turned F@@@ing ugly. Bloomfield Hills is supposed to be where the educated people live, where the leaders in the community reside. This is the home of Dick Purtan, Al Kaline, Alex Karras, Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Lee Iacocca, Roger Smith, Bob Stempel, Gov Romeny, and so many others. We should all be ashamed of ourselves for our behavior on this forum.
S Sera May 07, 2012 at 05:59 PM
To BHSDP-- First of all, I agree with what Mr. Reed has said regarding the parking situation at Andover. Secondly, there have been people from 20/20 who have been arguing that our district needs to look at things like employee counts, benefits, etc. I would think that from a business standpoint closing two schools would lead to a greater decrease in employee costs then closing one middle school as well as a greater decrease in maintenance costs. By the way, "Almost equal savings" is not "Equal savings". Additionally you argue that the district should have closed Lone Pine even though it's potential resale value would be lower. Once again from a business standpoint that doesn't make sense. By the way which set of words of yours regarding types of housing are true, "High density multiple housing" or "family friendly housing". There seems to be a difference to me. As for Wabeek, the district should have sold it off long ago. I wouldn't mind having families with young children in my backyard! It certainly would be far better than a space with not even a tree on it that the district must maintain. Like I said you were fear mongering. You didn't answer my question regarding whether you read the decisions of the courts nor did you care to address your accusation that student's were just "tossed". Some of us know they were not. FYI, I have ALREADY voted YES because I care more about today and the future than the past which can't be changed!!
Casey May 07, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I prefer www.onebloomfieldunited.com
Kelly May 07, 2012 at 06:31 PM
This just in Chris, all the YES signs were stolen from Lahser road last night. Also, NONO signs are appearing on private property next to YES signs.
More thoughts May 07, 2012 at 08:30 PM
We will only have a decision if it is "Yes". They will keep bringing it up until they get what they want based on past history. Why do you think they set the May election? They always have another chance in November. There is always a new way to spin it. Quite a childish discussion over the signs,too. Yes, I agree they are an antagonizing lot. Chris is right, I hardly know anyone who looks at these discusssions and David Littman is a very celebrated economist and having been on the board and having had kids in the system, I think he is qualified to address the issue. Shame, shame on those who would attack him.
R Gibson May 07, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Dear More Thoughts, well unfortunately, you didn’t understand one bit my point or post. This is not about Chris, Brandon, Charles, John, Keith, or anyone else. This is not about 20/20 or OBU. This is about people’s behavior towards others on this forum, and ultimately what that behavior is doing to our reputation. Ultimately, all you are doing is harming us all by your repeated insults to others. This site obviously has a broader audience then just us. What do you think all this back and forth, name calling, and personal attacks is doing for how people perceive us outside this community.
Neal Charness May 07, 2012 at 11:45 PM
B2020/Bloomfield Voice gets Texas super pac money for their last minute mailing. It came in today's mail and it has the usual content, all fine and good. But...right after Chris Fellin and Jenny Greenwell complained about finance disclosure here's a mailing with Bloomfield Voice (Chris is/has been the treasurer) that shows it was paid for by Americans For Prosperity, the Koch Brother's super pac out of Texas. For shame, for this to happen in a local school bond election. Mr. Gibson is right that all this reflects poorly on our community and will make working together very difficult.
Sherrie Singer May 08, 2012 at 02:47 AM
As a former pine lake school parent, I do agree it was upsetting to see our wonderful school close. But PLEASE we must move on and understand that it's our economy and low enrollment that made the board close our doors. We must now look to the future and hope that people will make the responsible choice and vote yes tomorrow!
R Gibson May 08, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Mr. Charness, Thank you for you support. They say all politics are local. I guess we now can see why Washington is so disfunctional. If we can't get through something as simple as this, what makes us think we can tackle really tough problems when they come up.

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