This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent to remain focussed on specific public issues, regarding the personalities involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their private lives and other public business...
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Unfortunately, Dale DuFour does not walk on water. He has not stunned me with his political prowess. He has not garnered undeserved accolades as a consequence of self serving and "no-brainer" decisions. To the best of my knowledge, he has not appropriated the ideas and creativity of others. He has not earned my scorn as a documented liar. Unlike some other local politicians, I have no reason to believe that he is bent, or crooked. While wearing his public service hat, I have yet to detect, about him, the odor of more than honest sweat. He ain't perfect, but until someone with much better credentials vies for his seat, he deserves my support.
Margaret "Peggi" Arnold is running against incumbent Dale DuFour, for the Schoolcraft County Commissioner position representing District 5, Inwood and Thompson Townships, and Precinct 3, City of Manistique. That can be considered old news, "news" with little to no substance; fit to print and report by local media.
What follows is some old news that may have been unknown, or unfit to print, unreported by local media, and worthy of no significant media editorials. A purpose of recounting the following events and commentary is to provide some basis to my awareness that Ms. Arnold is not worthy of the government positions she held, holds, or desires. Another purpose is to promote the re-election of Schoolcraft County Commissioner, Dale DuFour, who has no noticeable stink of obvious deception and special interest politics about him.
The following barely touches upon what I am aware of:
My first involved glimpse of Ms. Arnold's political nature came when I was a Manistique City Council member, serving on the Board of Review, for the purpose of considering alleged property tax related inequities for city residents. Prior to serving on that board, I requested, from City Tax Assessor, David Huddleston, the State of Michigan regulations regarding the process by which real estate taxes are determined. I read the information and asked questions of Dave to make sure I understood the process and its basis.
In short order I realized that Ms. Arnold had her own view of what was right, the outlaw's view. A well known Name in town came to seek property tax relief for a recently purchased house. Name stated that the taxes were too high for the residence. Ms. Arnold, knowing the property, agreed with Name. After Name left, the Equalization Board members considered the request, supposedly within the state mandated guidelines, and procedures. When I pointed out that the property considered was purchased by Name with full knowledge of its value and taxes, Peggi Arnold informed me that it was her opinion that the house was only worth X dollars, and that the taxes should be based on her opinion of the house's value. Her opinion, in direct conflict with the legal process, carried the day.
I still wonder how much tax revenue was lost to the City of Manistique, over the years, due to similar behavior by a City Council member/ Mayor/ accountant doing favors for her friends? By Peggi's standard, the City of Manistique did not need the revenue, and her friend did.
My perception of her outlaw view extends to many political issues, some of which I refer to, below, with or without supporting references. Most of what I refer to is mentioned in past issues of the Pioneer Tribune, and/ or may be found on videotape recorded by the City of Manistique, or has been witnessed by others attending public meetings.
Mayor Arnold had no reluctance to corrupt a public bidding process, for the primary benefit of employees of Wilcox Professional Services. For no expressed and obvious reason, of grave public concern, she, and other members of the Manistique City Council, tried to avoid a public bidding process for the closure of the old M-94 landfill. Later, she gave no credit to those that strove to keep the procedure honest, and likely helped to reduce, significantly, the $5 million original closure cost estimate to City of Manistique taxpayers.
Mayor Arnold fostered substance abuse and incompetence by public servants. At the 08/19/03 County Board meeting, she helped remove, from continued public and media scrutiny, the obviously intoxicated Director of Schoolcraft County Public Transit. Director Swanson was late for a scheduled union grievance hearing by the Board, concerning the consequences of allegations related to his evident alcoholism and professional incompetence. By her action, Ms. Arnold helped to insure that the county union worker was fired and the Director of Schoolcraft County Public Transport remained uncensured for obvious substance abuse and a gross dereliction of his professional responsibilities.
Ms. Arnold fosters public service incompetence, and holds others responsible for the effects. She, and other City Council members, remained silent when Councilwoman Linda Hoffman, and other public officials present at a City Council meeting, last year, expressed their disappointment, in a deprecating manner, with the Board of Commissioners' refusal to honor a false estimate from the City. The estimate was authored by past Manistique D.P.W. Director, Ole Sholander. Sholander's ~$45,000 estimate became a more realistic ~$193,000, less than a year later, and the County Board would not defecate the money to fund the county's share of the City's false estimate for the road, water and sewer improvements to a proposed industrial park. No public mention of censure was made regarding the apparent incompetence behind the City's estimate, or the impact of that work of fiction upon the County's faith in any future consideration of county-city co-operative ventures.
Peggi's understanding of public service includes fostering public deception. The ex-Director of the Manistique Department of Public Works invented public policy, in front of the tv cameras, to hold a city resident responsible for a possible sewer failure under a city street. At a later City Council meeting, when the City Manager revealed that no such city policy existed, neither Mayor Arnold, nor any other council person expressed any problem with D.P.W. Director Sholander's televised deceit.
Peggi Arnold's outlaw view includes lying to the public at City Council meetings. At the City Council meeting of 08/25/03, she denied her knowledge of the obvious public intoxication of the Director of Schoolcraft County Public Transit at the Board of Commissioners meeting of 08/19/03. On 04/28/03 she denied her documented responsibility for her formal inquiries of the Schoolcraft County Prosecutor regarding her unjustified allegations of violations of the Open Meetings Act by members of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners.
Ms. Arnold's public service perspective includes using her public position to wreak private retribution. She told me that she obtained and provided a copy of a closed police investigation, to her friend, Meg Wnuk, regarding the circumstances and individuals surrounding allegations made by an unsupervised mentally ill female sexual predator client of H.B.H. Meg Wnuk then used that investigative information in her efforts to destroy Commissioner Erickson's private and political life. Commissioner Erickson "earned" Wnuk's retribution by answering, in a public manner, Meg's public request for the reasons why he chose not to recommend her reappointment to the Schoolcraft County Public Transit Committee that had failed to eliminate founded public allegations of alcohol abuse and mismanagement.
Ms. Arnold's public service record exhibits no significant redeeming insight and action, base upon her professional accounting career. The City is now considering new taxes, including a city income tax, because obvious and necessary public financial decisions were not politically expedient, at the time they should have been made.
Ms. Arnold's questionable public service activity is not limited to only that which I have been aware of and documented. The danger from most deceivers, in public office, is that most of the deceit is unrecognized, unpublicized and unreported. The consequences are paid for by the "public" that either pay the bills, loose their assets, and-or go to jail; while bent public servants receive public accolades for "dedicated public service", from the likes of the Michigan Municipal League and a minority of special interests that profit, in some fashion, from choices made by bent or broken "public servants".
Ms. Arnold has shown to me, on countless occasions, that for all the public recognition she has received for her continuing education and promotion of modern and enlightened local "governance", she learned little to nothing - or the lessons she learned were based on the requirements of some primitive and corrupt government, in a Third World country.
If I could vote for Dale DuFour, and if he died before the elections, I would consider writing in Pinocchio before voting for Ms. Arnold. Her public record, from my perspective, qualifies her more for "certified public predator" than an M.M.L. sanctioned icon of progressive City government. I still believe, and accept, Dale DuFour's apparent good faith efforts, regardless of whether I agree with them, or not. In general, I have little to no reason to believe Peggi Arnold, or trust her political motives and efforts.
At the candidate forum, of 07/15/04, in the Schoolcraft County Courthouse, I offered the following questions to be asked of Ms. Arnold. None were asked.
To Ms. Arnold:
Ms. Arnold, why do you think that you are suitable, as a county commissioner, if your professional business experience as an accountant, coupled with your extensive political tenure as mayor of Manistique, have guided the City of Manistique to the serious consideration of tax increases, or new taxes?
How do the following two events enhance your suitability as a candidate for Schoolcraft County Commissioner? Your 08/25/03 choice to lie to the public, and the television cameras, about the obvious public intoxication of the Director of Schoolcraft County Public Transit at the 08/19/03 county Board Meeting; and your 04/28/03 televised denial of your documented complicity in formal charges of County Commissioners' violations of the Open Meetings Act? Rephrased, in general, does your ability and success to deceive the public, and evade your public responsibilities, make you a suitable candidate for the position of Schoolcraft County Commissioner?
Tell me what, of significance, you have done for the general public of the City of Manistique, that wasn't rubber stamping the suggestions, ideas or accomplishments of others, beyond petty "no brainer" or self serving decisions? Rephrased, what credentials of competence and accomplishment makes you suitable, to the general public, as a Schoolcraft County Commissioner?