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 may change,
depending upon my awareness and understanding of changes in factual
information. Over time, I may edit my writing to express my thoughts more
clearly. It is my intent to remain focused 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...
Changes may be requested by e-mailing the details to firstname.lastname@example.org
For those unaware, the rural City of Manistique, with a population of less than 4,000, sits at the mouth of the Manistique River, on the north shore of Lake Michigan, over bedrock of "water-logged" fractured limestone, in the 1,178.11 square miles of Schoolcraft County, with a total population of less than 9,000, with more sources of potable water than most communities, domestic or foreign.
On 06/17/08, as a consequence of local gossip, I became aware of a special Manistique city council meeting, on 06/19/08, regarding the requirement for, and bonding of water treatment plant upgrades.
The following is a list of questions, and comments, that I wanted to address to council, along with answers to those questions that I got to ask, in the context of my understanding of issues considered at that meeting, of which I had no prior knowledge:
Q. When were the public notice requirements of the meeting made?
Observation: I did not take notes of who was present at that meeting, but my casual impression was no member of the established news media or general public, other than me. Could it be that everyone else considered their presence a waste of life, or did everyone else have no reason to believe that they were about to be handed a $4.6 m/l million bill, for a project that had no guarantees to meet future EPA and DEQ requirements?
Q. Why the last minute rush consideration of that which I knew almost nothing about, beyond a casual reference that I heard at a past city council meeting?
A. Chuck Lawson, of Wilcox and Associates, preempted my question by stating that the federal "Farm Bill", that helps to fund rural water projects, became effective, in May of 2008, and the draft of the "study, for which Wilcox Engineering was responsible, was completed at the end of May, 2008. The grant/funding application, and prior necessary actions, "had to be completed" by 21 July, 2008, to take advantage of the available federal money, and terms, that would be unavailable, later.
No member of Manistique city council, or administration, asked if a request could be made of the U.S.D.A. to keep the city's various options open past July 21, to allow other qualified engineering businesses to do their homework and bid on the project. I concluded that "circumstances beyond our control" included the USDA's deliberate choice to force Manistique into a sole source contract.
Observation: Council-person Rantanen asked a similar question, in a justified and offended manner, and was assured by Mayor Peterson, City Manager Aldrich, and several representatives of Wilcox Engineering, that nothing was amiss, beyond "uncontrollable circumstances".
Observation: The timing of the "study" completion, and the apparent loss of three weeks of formal city council and administration consideration, and necessary action, makes Wilcox Engineering the likely guaranteed recipient of a "no bid" pending multi-million dollar drinking water infrastructure improvement contract. There is little to no chance that any other business could do the required homework in time, to make a well considered bid, regarding information that Wilcox Engineering had full and prior knowledge of, and planned upon, already.
It was far easier for Mayor Peterson to suggest raising the limit for sole source "no bid" professional services, than it was to insure some form of truly competitive bidding.
My memory recalled, immediately, similar questionable circumstances surrounding Wilcox and Associates personnel's attempt to shut out competitive bidding for the closure of the M- 94 landfill. Click here, for part of my personal perspective regarding Wilcox personnel involvement in predatory public business and policy, regarding the Schoolcraft County's M-94 landfill closure.
From my perspective, history is repeating itself among those that choose not to learn, and have no problem pissing away other peoples' money. It is as if Wilcox Engineering folk's involvement to bypass, or rig, the M-94 landfill closure bidding, and its involvement with the cost overruns and surrounding deception concerning the "Arbutus Ave." project, never took place.
Q. Has all past bond debt, for the water treatment plant, been paid?
A. No, there is almost $2,000,000 + interest, of long term loans, still outstanding.
Q. What, in terms of infrastructure and costs is required, and why?
A. According to Wilcox Engineering personnel, primarily, new EPA and DEQ requirements regarding unfiltered solids and chemical treatment by-products, and general upgrading of the facilities to insure another 30 years of useful life.
Q. What alternatives have been considered beyond more of the same that insures spiraling water rates and fixed expenses rates, twice that of Gladstone?
A. My question was preempted by Wilcox engineer, Dave ?, who referred to unspecified considerations of drawing water from Lake Michigan, or drilled wells. Both alternatives were rejected, primarily, because of water quality concerns, regarding wells, and "ancient" sawdust concerns, regarding lake water.
Q. Has anyone considered drilling wells, possibly adjacent to the water tower? Wells, adjacent to the water tower, or treatment plant, or elsewhere, with automated pumps and treatment processes, might be a viable and far more economical long term alternative to more of the same.
A. I did not ask this question, and a related question concerning Lake Michigan water, because it was "dealt with", in a vague and preemptive manner, by Wilcox Engineering representatives. See above.
Q. Beyond job security, and increased wages and benefits for city employees, what does the planned upgrade or refurbishment or replacement of the water treatment facilities do for the majority of city residents that must pay the bills as their vulnerable future, and property, is threatened by city management's predatory policies?
A. Never got to ask the question, due to the Council's arbitrary three minute public comment time rule.
Q. To rephrase my concerns, where is the bonding money to come from, and out of whose pockets will it be taken, and whose best value for money is being considered?
A. Never got to ask the question, due to the Council's arbitrary three minute public comment time rule.
On 06/19/08, in city council chambers, Wilcox Engineering associate engineer, Dave ..., expressed his pride in the existing water plant and his association with its continued development. As one who shares the bills for that pride, I find it onerous to bear the cost of both Manistique's fixed infrastructure costs, and associated water rates, approximately double that of Gladstone residents. It is an insult, to me, that he is proud of his work, and, therefore, the consequences of that work.
As one who lives in poverty, without the motivation, or desire, to prey on my neighbors, I resent the fact that I will pay, when the most recent rate increase takes effect, $360 a year, for zero gallons used at a downtown property. That $360 is, in fact, little more than a whimsical tax, or, if you wish, forced fire insurance premiums, paid to the city, that insure nothing, and from which I stand to gain no value at all if my building burns.
By a claimed "city ordinance", if I want to terminate city billing for water and sewer service I do not use, or want, I must dig up the water and/or sewer lines on my property, cut and terminate the line to some unspecified standard to be inspected by a city worker, and then bury the line, again, to preclude frost damage, a public safety hazard, and likely a blight offense. Local plumbing businesses get the water turned off and on, at the city water shutoff valve or "curbstop", for free, and I have to hire a contractor to dig up my property, sever and terminate the water line, and fill in the hole, when there is a working shutoff valve a few feet away!
As one who lives on a sub poverty income, without the motivation, or desire, to prey on my neighbors, I resent the fact that I pay, today, $26.33 for 2,000 gallons of water per month, delivered to the house in which I live. I am, by the financial necessity of conserving water, subsidizing others' water rates for their greater consumption.
As one who lives within limited means, without the motivation, necessity, or desire, to prey on my neighbors, I resent the fact that the city's water rates, and infrastructure development and maintenance costs, penalizes those of seriously limited means, and the desire or necessity to conserve, in favor of those that don't give a damn about either.
As one who lives with limited means, without the motivation, or desire, to prey on my neighbors, I resent the fact that I am, to often, little more than the means to ensure the continued well being of public employees, public business contractors, and other "movers and shakers" in the community.
It has been apparent, to me, for almost two decades, that the world wide economy, and international politics, reflects the consequences of others, around the world, learning that they do not have to be little more than "plantation niggers" to democratic and capitalist ideals corrupted by unbridled personal self interest.
I share, and identify with that offshore sentiment, as I watch local officials trying to maintain a similar form of involuntary servitude, in my own community, to finance the city's ill designed water and sewer system.
Why do I consider that individual drilled wells and pumps, or neighborhood drilled wells and pumps, shared between neighbors, are an attractive alternative to supporting the cost of the City's spiraling water delivery infrastructure? Why do I look at the water rates of many surrounding and downstate communities and conclude that the Manistique city infrastructure is at the mercy of children supervising children, and elected and hired officials filling public employment slots, too often, with ignorant, unskilled, malingering, shirking, and lazy relatives and friends, with zero, or close zero talent, skills, knowledge, motivation, experience, and professional credentials?
Why did I conclude, almost two decades ago, that incompetent city administration officials curry favor with those businesses that bill me for their privilege of leading ignorant public officials and employees to whatever conclusion is in the best interest of the businesses, and their employees' paychecks and stockholders' dividends?
For those that have yet to figure it out, corporations have no civic, moral, legal, or ethical responsibility, beyond maximizing profits and minimizing expenses, at customers' expense, to whatever degree that they can circumvent the law. Individuals, generally speaking, work within the same guidelines; to maximize their incomes, and minimize their expenses, to whatever degree that they can circumvent moral, ethical and legal concerns.
And, for those that give a damn, there has been a too cozy, long term business relationship between City Attorney Filoramo, and the main engineer, Randy Scott, of the Wilcox Associates office, in Escanaba. As far as I know, the two of them have been involved in a major real estate venture, under the most recent name of Sunrize Inc., in Escanaba, and, more recently, another venture in Menominee. During that time Manistique City Attorney Filoramo was writing and reviewing contracts representing City of Manistique public business with the Wilcox Associates office headed by his private business buddy, Randy.
It is the responsibility of the electorate, and those individuals who are elected, or hired, to represent the best interests of the general public, and to be aware of, and act consistently with the knowledge that humans are intelligent predators, ready willing and able to enslave there neighbors in whatever creative manner they can devise.
Me, today, bitching; you, and your kids, tomorrow, crying, because you asked for more of the same.
I attended the Manistique City Council meeting, last night, during which Wilcox Associates engineers reviewed the business discussed the previous Friday, this time in front of the cable tv cameras, during a regularly scheduled council meeting.
I learned, later, that the broadcast audio was, for the most part, unintelligible to viewers. S.O.S.; someone's unskilled, no-nothing child at the wheel, again. I also got to appreciate, from the front audience row, the squeaking of the vcr tape transport that has entertained me for well over a year, during various public meetings. Oh well, S.O.S, as I said.
During this meeting I learned the following:
1. The City of Manistique was put on notice in 2005, by the Michigan DEQ, that new drinking water standards were due. The new EPA mandatory water quality standards were made public in January of 2006, so now, 2 1/2 years later, the City of Manistique is squoze for time because it waited for a Wilcox Associate's incomplete draft "study" and now risks loosing most favorable USDA rural development funding if the completed application is not submitted by 07/21/08.
2. As I heard, Friday, seeking bids from competing engineering businesses is highly unlikely, given the short period of time remaining for favorable funding, and the inside track that Wilcox Associates has as author of a 1000 page draft engineering study.
3. No details were given regarding why ground water wells vs. surface water was so "cost prohibitive", as stated by Wilcox engineer Dave....?
4. No details were given regarding why lake water vs. river water was not a viable option, beyond a vague reference to a shifting layer of submerged "historic" sawdust that coats the floor of Lake Michigan, in some areas. Seems to me that if a water pipe intake didn't lay on the lake bed, in shallow water, in a prevailing detrimental current, the waterlogged sawdust was unlikely to swim or drift into a intake elevated above the lake bottom.
Regarding lake water and well water alternatives, I heard nothing of substance from paid professionals.
5. No member of city council, considering spending $4.4 to $7.2 million of other people's money, had read the draft report, or admitted to have read any part of it.
6. The only City of Manistique employee that claimed to have read the report was Corey Barr, who has never stated his verifiable professional credentials, in public, at any meeting that I have attended.
7. I have no more understanding of, or faith in, the various arguments for more of the same, than I had at last Friday's special city council meeting.
This is one of several "unpublished" articles that I wrote, regarding Wilcox and Associates engineers involvement with Schoolcraft County business:
"After watching the televised Manistique City Council meeting of 02/14/06 I thank Councilman Evonich who, under obvious emotional strain, summoned the courage to question the competence of the engineers that represented Wilcox and Associates' business concerning their apparent failed contracted responsibilities for the Arbutus Street CDBG project.
For those that missed the meeting, City Hall should have a recording of the televised Council meeting that shows one of the head engineers of the project, Randy Scott, babble in subjective terms, such as "tried", "thought", and "considered", concerning various alleged failures of the street infrastructure renovation. From my perspective, the terms used were more suitable to express gross ignorance and an experimental learning processes for a high school freshman science fair project, than appropriate jargon for a continuing 8 week civil engineering project, heading for a 20 weeks completion time.
As I sat in my recliner, at home, I swore at the tv, as I listened to and watched what I considered a feeble attempt of evasion of responsibility, worthy of any adolescent child. Randy Scott stood there, in front of City Council, and the tv cameras, acknowledging the fact that Wilcox and Associates had failed to meet their contractual obligations, but that they still sought some $18,000 more for engineer project oversight fees.
To his credit, before some other generous council-person could make a motion to give away more tax revenue, Councilman Evonich spoke up, and let everyone know that, under the circumstances, there was no way he was going to vote for more of the same. A few minutes later, Randy Scott stated that the business would eat the extra $18,000 "engineering" costs.
Randy said nothing about City taxpayers eating the $465,000 cost overrun, that, IF it had been used to match State funds, would have secured an additional $1,395,000 for City infrastructure renewal!
Manistique City Attorney Filoramo offered no help with any appropriate suggestions that would hold liable, to some significant degree, the Wilcox Associates Escanaba office, headed by his private business associate, Randy Scott. Almost $1.9 million professional engineering mistakes were made by Randy Scott, and his professional engineering associates, that the residents of Manistique funded.
From my perspective, it is more than likely that contracts with favorable terms, and lack of "legal boiler plate", were written by city attorney Filoramo, for Wilcox Associates, because his lucrative private conflict-of-interest business ventures with Randy Scott need not be jeopardized by representing the public interest of the City of Manistique. It wouldn't make much business sense to poke a sharp stick into the eye of your private business partner, if the city's attitude is "We don't care, coz it's mostly other peoples' money!".
If I remember correctly, Randy Scott headed up the test well drilling fiasco, for the M-94 landfill closure, that cost the City of Manistique taxpayers the purchase of Patz's damaged real property, and Filoramo's legal fees to hassle the Patz's on the city's behalf. To me, City of Manistique taxpayers payed Scott, Wilcox Associates personnel, and Filoramo for a variety of failed efforts, rather than the concrete results that should have been contracted for."
Beyond the politics of the federal budget and health regulations, none of the above has anything to do with "uncontrollable circumstances". Its all about a predatory process of extorting the "Benjamins", from a captive "clientele" in Manistique.
Michigan Municipal League Yellow Page entry:
Wilcox Professional Services, LLC
300 Ludington, Suite 310,
Escanaba, MI 49829
Contact: Randy Scott, P.E.
Speaking of extorting the "Benjamins", yesterday a friend showed me a City of Manistique water shutoff notice he received for a H.U.D. rental to a "brain dead" renter. Before he showed it to me, he told me what the water shutoff notice stated. The meaning of his words brought me to a fast boil.
The following is that City of Manistique water shutoff notice, FOR A 3 MONTH BILL, 2 months of which were delinquent over 30 days. At current rates, with no water used, that bill is approximately $90.00 + late fees?.
NOTICE OF INTENT TO DISCONNECT SERVICE Because of failure to make proper payment on your utility account, you are hereby being notified that -WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE-- YOUR UTILITY SERVICE WILL BE DISCONNECTED ON: ........., 2008. unless satisfactory payment is made before that date. This shut-off is for the "past due" amount of your bill, however, if it becomes necessary to disconnect your service, it will not be restored unless the "Total" bill, plus a reconnect fee of $15.00 has been paid. PLEASE NOTE, THIS WILL BE THE ONLY NOTICE YOU RECEIVE PRIOR TO YOUR DISCONNECT ON THE ABOVE DATE. In the event your service is disconnected, PAYMENT MUST BE MADE BEFORE 2:00 P.M. IN ORDER TO HAVE WATER RESTORED THAT SAME DAY. It is recommended that payments be made at City Hall to insure prompt credit."
So, what's the problem? --- Consider the disconnect notice policy, above, in the context of a copy of the Manistique ordinance and memorandum quoted below, as provided me by an employee of the Manistique City Clerks office in February of 2007, and if the obvious is not, allow me to connect the dots for you:
+ Sec. 14. ENFORCEMENT. (A) CHARGES ADDED TO BILLS. Charges for water service and other charges, costs, and fees provided for in this chapter shall be added to the bills submitted to the consumer. (B) CHARGES AS LIEN. Charges for water service and supply and any other charges, costs, or fees provided for in this chapter shall constitute a lien on the property served, and if not paid within 30 days, shall be placed in the next general tax roll and collected as part of the general city taxes. The entry on the tax rolls of the amount certified as water charges, costs, and fees which are more than 30 days past due shall constitute notice of the pendency of the lien. (C) ENFORCEMENT OF LIEN. Enforcement of the lien shall be made as provided by state law. (D) TERMINATION OF SERVICE. The city shall have the right to shut off and discontinue the supply of water to any premises for the nonpayment when due, of water charges, costs, or fees. In the event any such water billing is not paid within 30 days after it has become due and payable, the water to such premises may be shut off by the city and services need not be restored until the delinquent bill and penalty, plus a turn on charge, as set by the city has been paid. (ord. no. 193 of 1981 eff. May 1, 1981) 25.463 • 25.464 (Rev. 3/86)
WATER/WASTEWATER DEPARTMENT MEMORANDUM Date: July 1, 2004 To: All City Water & Wastewater Customers From: Manistique Water/Wastewater Department RE: Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge Termination of water and sewer service means a physical disconnection of the water service and or sewer lateral on the property owners, property. This option is at the property owners expense, the City will not incur any cost for this termination. This disconnection must be visually inspected by appointment, by an authorized City of Manistique employee. This is only way to have the monthly base fee/ready to serve charge removed from your water/sewer bill. If you have any questions please feel free to call the Water/Wastewater Department at 906-341-2281.
I do not remember seeing or receiving that memorandum, "To: All City Water & Wastewater Customers" by any means other than a city clerk handing it to me when I requested the water shutoff.
Now, on the face of it, this last piece of deliberate and arbitrary fraud is not by ordinance, not by legislation, but by the whim of Manistique public officials expressed in a memorandum with no legal reference. Based upon that enforced published whim, the City of Manistique has billed me, and collected ~$507, for some 19.5 months after I requested the water turned off at a property I own.
I was given a choice, by the whimsical memorandum, to hire a contractor to dig up the front yard of my property, separate and terminate the water service line to the City's specifications, and fill in and landscape the access hole... Start at $1,000.
Another choice, given by 1981 City of Manistique ordinance 25.464, AND the 2004 whimsical memorandum, was to pay a constantly recurring and steadily increasing "service charge" for that which I do not want, or risk losing my property to a constantly increasing "lien" levied by the City of Manistique "...as provided by law..."
First, for those that have failed to connect the dots, assuming that there is no lawful City of Manistique ordinance on which to base the confiscatory mandatory "water service termination" policy memorandum, I have been coerced out of some $507 since mid February of 2007, by totally arbitrary, and, likely, unlawful decision by persons unspecified.
Second, on the face of it, the City of Manistique "NOTICE OF INTENT TO DISCONNECT SERVICE" notice rewards those that fail "...to make proper payment on your utility account..." for the whimsical, "mandatory", and ever increasing water service charge for water service not used! It specifies consequences, but does not mention an ever increasing "lien" leading to eventual confiscation of property, as if those consequences do not exist, or are not worth mentioning to a building's occupants or owner.
Read the shutoff letter, and do the arithmetic, based upon the example shutoff notice I quoted, above, for a 90 day period during which no water is used. These are the "civilized" choices I have, now:
Don't pay my bills: 3 months x $30 = $90 ..... Then, pay the $90 and do not pay the $15 fee to turn the water back on. Total cost $90, plus no late fees? + no more continually escalating costs + joy; forever...
Pay my bills: ~19.5 months x $25+$20 = >$507.... Total cost $507 + lost use of the money + continually increasing "service charge" billing, + heartburn + another reason to never trust a public official; forever?
Sever and terminate the water service line, at my cost, under my property, while a new working curbstop valve, that I helped pay for, exists at the sidewalk, a few feet from my property boundary ...? Pick a real number, at commercial rates... Cost prohibitive, predatory and stupid; beyond civilized belief!
I can only fantasize it is God's will to tempt public service thieves, so that they will roast in Hell, for all eternity, for making slaves of their neighbors by stealing pieces of those neighbours' lives, while they proclaim their piety and are lauded for their dedication to "public service".
Conclusion: Again, I have been screwed by City of Manistique public officials famous for their ignorance, stupidity, lack of ethics, scofflaw mentalities, and hypocritical religious "faith" that is best expressed as, "Do unto others, when you can."; the prime directive of con-artists and slave owners.
How many others have been hosed by the City of Manistique, by some form of a whimsical, predatory, and extortionate "...termination of water and sewer service..." policy, and for how much?
Regarding the shutoff notice quoted above:
Notice the bargain basement discount price for water service shutoff ...$0.00.
Notice the fair price for same-day water service restoration, $15.00; but, why should anyone pay to have their water shut off, or reconnected, assuming that they are paying their bill for the water, sewage disposal, and the "service charge". Why not add separate charges for city employee wages and benefits, such as travel expenses, Christmas presents, illicit relationships, Thanksgiving turkeys, booze, beer, and recreational drugs?
When, and by what legal process, did City of Manistique administrative personnel acquire lawful authority to extort a significant chunk of my money, for no value received?
Am I angry that my ignorance allowed paid predators, hired with my taxes, to mislead me and take a piece of my life? You betcha, assuming that no local ordinance, state law, or federal law, authorizes local officials to reach into my wallet, on a whim, as any grifter or common pickpocket.
It is September, 2008, and what I have raved about is not recent, or rocket science. How many more centuries will it take the citizens and "public servants" of Manistique and Schoolcraft County to realize that it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel, every day, and it is uncivilized predatory behaviour to fabricate irrational policy, and ordinances, while rational, tried, true, and available policies, ordinances, and laws exist, and are readily available, elsewhere. Local public policy that sanctions extortion, nepotism, patronage, malingering, shirking, fraud, property theft, substance abuse, etc., is nothing more than testimony to deliberate predatory behaviour, fostered by inexcusable stupidity and ignorance that continues to be the hallmark of Schoolcraft County, and Manistique.
It doesn't help matters that the Manistique City Manager and Chairman of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners are husband and wife, and their various relatives, friends, appointees, and political allies are well entrenched within local government and administration, because both buy loyalty with public money. That is the consequence of basic human nature expressed in the predatory will of the Schoolcraft County and Manistique voting public, in a representative democracy. For worse, in Schoolcraft County, so goes the nation; by choosing predatory, ignorant, or stupid representatives.
Within the 3 minute period of public comments, I will ask a few questions of Manistique City Council, and City Manager, at the next council meeting of 09/22/08. Depending upon the answers, what I have written will be edited to correct any misunderstandings I had, writing this editorial.
This evening, at the Manistique City Council meeting, I asked the questions, and received no answers, therefore I found no reason to make any changes or corrections.
Q. What source of authority sanctions the City of Manistique's choice to extort some $507 dollars from me, over the past 19 1/2 months, with the threat to place a lien against my property, as an alternative to the City using a curb-stop valve to shut off water to a property I own? I am sure that a July 1, 2004, memorandum from the Manistique Water/Wastewater Department, with no reference to authority, does not substitute for a local ordinance, state law, or federal legislation. Again, what gives the city the right to extort $507 from me, instead of turning off the water supply to my property, at a curb-stop valve?
A. No answer
Q. Is anyone concerned about the safety of Manistique's drinking water supply, due to future increased long term and transient contamination of the Indian River watershed, and future scientific research that determines more unacceptable toxins in the city's drinking water? More specifically, is anyone concerned about the vulnerability of Manistique's drinking water supply, to the consequences of natural, negligent, accidental, or deliberate introductions of toxic substances into the city's drinking water, and if they are concerned, what is being done to secure the integrity of the city's water supply?
A. No answer
The point I wish to make, regarding Manistique's source of drinking water, is that I am more concerned about the vulnerability of the city's drinking water supply to the consequences of transient toxic material dumping, and runoff, into the lower Indian River, than I am about E.P.A. sanctioned science that concludes that I am drinking consequential water processing carcinogens from treating the city' naturally contaminated water supply. From my perspective, my assimilation of the harmful natural water supply contaminants, and treatment by-products, are at a lesser rate and concentration than breathing an equivalent deliberate toxic effluvium plume from burning waste in barrels and "wood" stoves, or breathing the industrial waste dust kicked up by speeding orvs on the shoulders of city streets, gravel roads, and the various dirt trails throughout the city.
For those that don't get it, there is a cause and effect relationship between many carcinogens and cancers in the community, due to toxins and carcinogenic materials from other than the community water supply, and, to me, there is a deliberate choice by community "leaders" to make subjective political decisions, instead of decisions to ensure the best quality of life bang, for the general public, for each public buck spent.
Incidentally, who in the city government and administration has the technical credentials and expertise to decide what appropriate choices should be made regarding a multi-million dollar investment of public funds into a water treatment plant, with no guarantee that a few years from now there will not be a demand for more? The last time I touched on this subject, I offended someone, and learned, later, that a "license" to drive a water plant is equivalent to the knowledge and skills required to build or modify one to E.P.A., D.E.Q. and peer reviewed engineering standards and specifications.
Recent high school graduates don't cut it, neither do those with sheepskins that represent little more than minimum rote learning.
If hired engineers are making all the decisions - political, economic, and technical, - because gross ignorance, laziness and self interest rules Manistique government, then lets hire an engineering company to run the city. At least there is a better chance of finding qualified people at the wheel.
Locally, beyond the ridiculous expense of treating contaminated river water, with little to no knowledge of the concentration of transient contaminants, and then adding carcinogenic treatment by-products, the current insecure water supply, and treatment plant infrastructure, is an invitation to set a new record for domestic horror. The real situation prompts me to s'pose that most of the local noise about terrorism and water supply safety is more about lip service to control public access to public business, and lining the pockets of Wilcox and Associates, than sincere public concerns about the subjects.
On 09/26/08, I received the following letter. Notice that, just like the memorandum letter of July 1, 2004 there is no reference to any government authority, as I requested at the last city council meeting, and this web page. The letter is from a Manistique city entity unknown to me, named "Manistique Utilities", with no reference to any authority beyond the implied authority of the City of Manistique's letterhead. That letterhead does not indicate God's, or Caesar's address.
Once again, no name on the document, and no reference to any governmental authority that sanctions a mysterious "Manistique Utilities" to extort money from me, regarding another property. No details of what constitutes "... service lines running to your building...", or in the earlier quoted memorandum, "...a physical disconnection of the water service and or sewer lateral..."
It is as if legal and technical details are irrelevant to a city government and administration that determines fiscal policy as any grifter might. If the above letter and memorandum was signed by God, then I would be a little more impressed by the authoritative credentials, but I have previously substantiated reason's to believe that it was authored by a nobody that considers me, and other nobodies, as no more than a nobody means to an end, as any bunko artist might.
As, until last Friday, there was no apparent concern about billing my second vacant property for water service that I have never used for the last ~12 years I have owned the property, and there was no concern about billing the property for the time it was owned by Marquette General Hospital, I have to assume that the unidentified "meter reader", and other City of Manistique employees associated with the City's billing and extortion racket, were unconcerned until someone chose financial retribution instead of the appropriate informational response to my public comments and questions posed at the Manistique City Council meeting of 09/22/08.
According to the letter above, all I have to do is lie, and I save ~$360 dollars a year. It's a no-brainer! (Note - on my last bill, due by 01/08/09, the cost for monthly water and sewer service not wanted or used, to the same property, is $36.14, which now changes the yearly cost to me, for no value in return, to $433.68, significantly higher than the taxes I pay to retain ownership of the property!)
I trust that if I made a F.O.I.A. request for a computerized list of billed water account addresses, and compare it to actual properties, as I mosey around town, that I will find that I am one of relatively few against whom is enforced an unidentified extortionate ordinance or law, and there will be many unoccupied and "unimproved" properties, with connected and functional water and sewer lines, owned by folks not on the Manistique city administration's "theft list" for easy money extortion for unused access to municipal water and sewer service they do not use. Perhaps someone should stop by the City of Manistique Tax Assessor Office to find out how many occupied, unoccupied, and "empty" properties have water and sewer lines, compared to the number of properties billed for unused water and sewer service...
I, most other property owners, and too often the City of Manistique, have no documented "proof" of the physical existence of a "terminated" or unterminated water or sewer service line buried on their property. But, for $360, or more, each year, I, like any other private property owner, can state that, to the best of my knowledge, a water and sewer line that I have never used is terminated.
An unsubstantiated or irrational claim to a piece of my life, or anyone else's life, is, from my perspective, a hallmark of a predatory con artist, and if my first line of defense against that species of predator is a simple statement or lie, so be it. A lie is my civilized alternative to surrendering part of my severely limited wealth to an administrative thief, armed with local police power to enforce the equivalent of armed robbery. The lie is preferable to the armed confrontation I witnessed when Manistique City Manager, Sheila Aldrich, using the police power of Manistique Public Safety and the Michigan State Police, stole Alfred Burns real property with the default sanction of Manistique City Council and every law enforcement agency from the Schoolcraft County Prosecutor to the U.S.
It's like this, if City of Manistique administration personnel want to steal from me, I suggest they steal from every City of Manistique property owner in an equitable manner, with fully disclosed, substantiated and publicized authorization. At the same time, I suggest city administration make sure that no one gets off the "theft list" with a simple lie, claimed ignorance, or any other form of evasion encouraged by the likes of the particular current vague, arbitrary, and predatory city administration policy expressed in the memorandum letter quoted below.
From the same perspective as Alfred Burns, regarding the theft of his property by the City of Manistique, it makes no difference to me if the current form of confidence theft has the default sanction of the Manistique City Council to the President of the United States, because, at this stage of my life, I am no one's willing sheep, or slave.
At the city council meeting of 10/13/2008, during the public comments period, I requested confirmation of my understanding of the July 2004 "memorandum" regarding the monthly "Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge". Corey Barr, acting as council secretary and taking the minutes of that meeting, was the same person responsible for the operation of the city's drinking water and waste water infrastructure, and the person answering my question in this recording.
Today, I filed the following F.O.I.A. request with the City of Manistique:
Dear "Manistique Utilities" - City of Manistique - Whomever, This request for information is filed under the terms of the Michigan Freedom of Information Act 442 of 1976. 1. Please provide me a copy of the ordinance, law, or lawful authority, that sanctions the use of an unsigned July 1, 2004 "administrative memorandum" to extort from me $29.54 per month, by threatening a lien against my property, to which the city refuses to shut off the water supply by using a curb-stop valve as designed. After inquiring about the source of the memorandum's lawful authority, and receiving no answer at the 09/22/08 city council meeting, I was told, during the public comments period of the 10/13/08 Manistique City Council meeting, that a city ordinance exists that authorizes that which I understand to be the arbitrary and predatory water & wastewater utility policy, quoted below. No one at the council meeting offered anything more than the vague claim that a city ordinance existed. To the best of my knowledge, the unsigned "memorandum" quoted below, is nothing more than an UNLAWFUL, UNREASONABLE, EXTORTIONATE AND ARBITRARY WATER SERVICE TERMINATION MANDATE, SECURED BY A THREATENED LIEN ON A PROPERTY, TO FORCE A PROPERTY OWNER TO INCUR THE UNECESSARY EXPENSE TO EXCAVATE, TERMINATE, AND REBURY A WATER SUPPLY LINE, IF WATER AND SEWER SERVICE IS NOT NECESSARY FOR THE PROPERTY'S USE. To the best of my knowledge, I know of no city council lawful action that sanctioned the memorandum's intent to extort a "Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge" for every piece of private property within the city, occupied or not, that has a buried municipal water service line with a city "curb-stop" shutoff valve that enables the city to shut off or resume water supply service at a moment's notice. To the best of my knowledge, I know of no city council lawful action that authorizes the City of Manistique to bill a property owner for a "Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge" for water service that the city shut off with a curb-stop valve. 2. Please provide a copy of the lawful authority that allows the city to keep the money extorted from me, since February 2006, as I described at the city council meeting of 09/22/08. "WATER/WASTEWATER DEPARTMENT MEMORANDUM Date: July 1, 2004 To: All City Water & Wastewater Customers From: Manistique Water/Wastewater Department RE: Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge Termination of water and sewer service means a physical disconnection of the water service and or sewer lateral on the property owners, property. This option is at the property owners expense, the City will not incur any cost for this termination. This disconnection must be visually inspected by appointment, by an authorized City of Manistique employee. This is only way to have the monthly base fee/ready to serve charge removed from your water/sewer bill. If you have any questions please feel free to call the Water/Wastewater Department at 906-341-2281." Sincerely, Peter Markham"
In answer to the Manistique water disconnect documentation request, I responded as follows:
Peter Markham 416 Alger Ave. Manistique, MI 59854 email@example.com October 20, 2008 Manistique Utilities Manistique, MI 49854 300 N. Maple St. 906-341-2290 Dear Whomever from Manistique Utilities, I do not know of a "Manistique Utilities" or anyone working for such an entity, but, relative to a September 26 request from an anonymous person, apparently working for a City of Manistique entity I have never heard of, I respond as follows. I do not know when my property at 401 N. Houghton Ave was disconnected from the city water/sewer infrastructure. I do not know if the water or sewer line, between my building and the city owned infrastructure, was ever disconnected, terminated, or ever existed. I do know that I have never used any water or sewer service at that address for as long as I have owned the property. I have no knowledge that water and sewer service was provided to the property when others owned the property. I have no knowledge of any City of Manistique revenue raising ordinance that provides any entity of the City of Manistique the authority to demand payment for water and sewer service that I, or anyone else, have not received, and do not receive, based upon speculation that I, or any other property owner may, or may not, have unterminated water and sewer service lines on their respective private properties. I trust that the information that I have provided is as comprehensive as Whomever needs, for whatever purpose Whomever requires it. If not, I hope the next request from Whomever will be in a more justified and informative manner with fewer anonymous and coercive qualities that I attribute to someone with (little more than) the authority of a gun. The equivalent message of "Gimme yer money, or else!" doesn't appeal to me. Sincerely, Peter MarkhamFor those that still don't understand what all the noise is about, from my corner, beyond the brain dead way in which the City of Manistique administration and city council handled my request for information, - all I want to know is when did the "Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge" become a provision of a Manistique City ordinance i.a.w. "....other charges, costs, and fees provided for in this chapter..., and of which ordinance is it a provision, and consequently, did the City of Manistique have the legal right to extort that charge from me with a predatory water line disconnect policy?
I have waited since mid-February, 2006, for an appropriate answer, and I am still waiting! Perhaps the rumors about the past quality of local education, and too many inbreds in local government, is true. Perhaps Manistique City Attorney Filoramo is still looking for the ordinance that includes the provision of a Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge. Perhaps, like those further up the political and administration food chain, the broken "powers that be" know that they can indulge whatever whim that moves them because law enforcement is arbitrary, and legal representation is cost prohibitive to most victims of crime, and unlawful and unethical behaviour.
Perhaps I am mistaken concerning my understanding of past events, and I was provided the information regarding the historical due process and consequential lawful basis of the extortion I have described. Perhaps it is me that is wacko, but, as with much of my private and public perspective, it is better substantiated than the basis of most of that I question.
To me, after two ignored requests of the Manistique city clerk's office, once in 2006 and once in 2008, and the same request at the last two Manistique City Council meetings, the "Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge" ordinance provision, that no one wishes to identify, is nothing more than a whimsical and predatory fabrication to justify the arbitrary and extortionate fabrication of the Manistique administration's "Termination of water and sewer service" policy, that would make any rapacious criminal enterprise proud.
Perhaps, if Manistique City Attorney Filoramo doesn't advise Manistique City Manager Aldrich to wipe her ass with it, maybe I will get a rational, relevant, and substantiated answer to my 10/17/08 F.O.I.A. request. Most likely, I will get another vague, evasive and irrelevant response as I did regarding my queries surrounding the new Manistique water tower antenna.
After receiving a bill for $93.71, along with 70 copies of irrelevant documents in response to my 10/17/08 FOIA request, and after making another request, on 04/06/09, for the authorization of Manistique's extortionate "Termination of water and sewer service... memorandum", today, I sent, by receipt requested certified mail, a complaint to the Michigan Public Service Commission:
This space was occupied by a copy of my complaint that, to the best of my knowledge, found its way to am anonymous trashcan somewhere in Lansing. An edited copy, was filed, again, with the Consumer Protection Division of the Michigan Attorney General's office. That complaint, follows, below.
Today, beyond my own speculation, I have no idea what a planned City of Manistique water plant upgrade will cost me, even though elected Manistique City Council members had no trouble approving, and indebting ~1,500 city water accounts for what appears to be, at the moment, a $6 million bonding proposal.
Given the necessity of guessing what is going on, regarding "public" water and sewer business, I guess that if the average amount of water processed by the city water plant is ~500,000 gallons a day, and if that is distributed, equally, to ~1,500 water accounts, and if there was a 50% water loss in the city's distribution system, and if each account used ~165 gallons per day, then each account would use an average of ~165x30 = ~4,950 gallons per month. Assuming the billing is equitable, and small users are not subsidizing large users, then, if ~1,500 gallons costs me $50, then everyone else must be paying $50 x ~4950/1500 = ~$165 per month x 12 months = ~ $2,000 per year x 1,500 accounts = ~$3,000,000 per year the city collects for water - ~$300,000 for the 10% city "accounting administration fee" = $2,700,000 for the actual cost of delivering a years worth of daily water and sewer use to ~ 1,500 city water accounts!
If my arbitrary choice of 50% lost and unbilled processed water is too high, and the billing process does not penalize conservative water use, then the city collects significantly more money to meet the actual costs of water and sewer use, and the skimmed 10% "costs" of "administering" the computerized water and sewer accounting system.
Regarding relatively recent policy instituted by the city manager of taking a straight 10% "administration fee", from the water/sewer "enterprise accounts", in the above case a speculated ~$300,000, to be spent on administering accounts that were, until recently, administered as a part of regular city business... I remember councilman Evonich's observation, during a council meeting, that he had serious reservations concerning City Manager Aldrich's claim that it takes 10% of gross water and sewer receipts to keep track of computerized accounts and billing... As the lone "wacko" on city council, Evonich's observations fell on deaf ears.
To me, a guesstimated $300,000 a year purchases a lot of discretionary toys and political favors, in a small backwater community in hock up to its eyeballs, spending other people's money like a drunken sailor.
I know why I had water delivered by truck, during the dry seasons, to the cisterns of the bungalows I rented in Thailand, 2 lifetimes ago! There are few places in the world that can justify or afford the costly water processing and distribution system of the City of Manistique, with so many sources of good water available.
I do know what the consumption, use, and disposal of 1,500 gallons of water cost me, in the City of Manistique, in January, 2009, and I do know why I submitted a detailed editorial letter to the Pioneer Tribune newspaper, to which I know some residents took offence. The content of the letter speaks for itself:
" Why Does 2ppb = >$6,000,000 of Other Peoples' Money? Based upon the City of Manistique's letter of 03/05/09 to city water customers, that did not specify what part of a $6,000,000 grant/loan for a water plant upgrade will be financed by federal grant money, I offer the following, based upon my observations that next to no public input was solicited, or considered. According to Manistique City Hall, the city has approximately (~) 1500 water service accounts. Assuming a 40 year payback period for a $4,500,000 loan at 3.5% APR financing, for the upgrade of the city's water treatment plant, shared equally among ~1500 water service accounts, then the 40 year cost of the loan is ~$8,367,643, the total cost each month will be ~$17,433, shared among ~1,500 water accounts, or ~$11.62 added to each water account bill, not including a 10% city "administration" fee the city would add. If the loan is actually $5,000,000 at 6% for 40 years, as could be, according to the 03/12/09 public notice in the Pioneer Tribune newspaper, then the 40 year cost of the loan is ~$13,205,126, total monthly cost is $27,510, or ~$18.34 added each month to each of ~1,500 accounts, not including a 10% "administration fee" that the city would add. That ~$11.62 to ~$18.34 per month will be added to each account bill, regardless of water use, and regardless of additional rate hikes for any number of real and fabricated reasons. Read the public notice of the intent to issue bonds, up to $6,000,000 and up to 6% interest, on page A8 of the March 12 issue of the Pioneer Tribune, consistent with the claimed reasons to reduce disinfectant by-products printed in the city's information letter of 03/09/09. If you understand what is printed, you will notice that the bonding will take place whether it is required or not, because your elected representatives wish it to be, whether it is needed or not, or if you like it or not. Now, after the shell game, the only way residents of Manistique can avoid buying that which they do not need, is for a valid petition, with 10% of the registered electors signatures, be submitted within 45 days from 03/12/09, to demand that the bonding be decided by ballot and passed by the approving vote of a majority of qualified electors. Does anyone else, beyond very few well known "trouble makers", have any problem with the cost of water, in a city with more potable water sources than most other places in the world? For those like me, that wondered in dismay about the analogous distance and time related nonsense included in the 03/05/09 drinking water information letter from Water/Waste Water Superintendent, Corey Barr, let me provide a more relevant junior high school level analogy related to the creation of a certain level of water treatment by-product that "requires" a multi- million dollars water plant upgrade to rectify. This real world "mathematical word problem", with real world consequences, is offered to the Manistique community of students as an example of my failure to understand local government responsibilities to obtain the best public value for other folks' money. Given, Mr. Barr's claims that the EPA limit of 60ppb (parts per billion) annual running average of a specific disinfectant by-product is exceeded by 2ppb, ie. it is 62ppb, and, if the city processes 500,000 gallons of water a day, then what amount of contaminant free water could be mixed with the polluted water to dilute the disinfection by-product contamination level to 60ppb, thereby removing the reason for a de facto government mandate to upgrade the drinking water plant? Then, write the formula for your local elected representatives to use to determine the amount of contaminant free water required for any particular day, to be mixed with any given amount of daily processed Indian River water, to reduce the by-product contaminant to any particular level, below 60ppb. A quick guesstimation, by this ol' geezer who has forgotten much of his high school elementary algebra, concludes that the addition of some 33,000 gallons per day of contaminant free water would meet the city's current requirements of producing ~500,000 gallons of drinking water per day, with a running annual average of no-no! by-products of 60ppb. I never was an algebra whizz, so I will not be disappointed by anyone that proves me wrong... Being "whacko" means, among other things, that I cannot count. Can you imagine how much less processing would be required by increasing the flow rate of the near stagnant lower Indian River, during the warmer months, instead of setting the Carpenter Dam gates to reduce the water flow, and, thereby, creating little more than a giant culture medium of the lower Indian River, and, fostering to some degree, a similar water quality reduction of Indian Lake? I know that I spoke of, at a public meeting, the alternative of using Lake Michigan water or drilling wells, as an alternative to treating "polluted" Indian Lake and River. Both suggestions were dismissed by Wilcox Engineering with no detailed reasons. Beyond the typical silence, or unsubstantiated "It ain't feasible." answers to public input, what is wrong with pumping quarry water to the city water plant? A friend related to me his memory of failed attempts to pump sufficient water out of the quarry, with large diesel powered pumps, to locate a drowning victim. A stable, and relatively secure source of abundant, naturally filtered subsurface water, strikes me as more palatable and more economical to treat, than recycled surface runoff, with essence of rotting vegetation and wildlife, unknown chemicals, creature feces, and effluent from broken or ill designed waterfront septic systems. I could suggest that a well, nearby to the water plant, would supply enough contaminant free water to be mixed with the processed contaminated Indian River water that the contaminant of concern would be reduced by significantly more than 2ppb, ergo, no necessity to waste other people's money to upgrade the water treatment plant to treat contaminated water created by treating contaminated water... For those hooked on Indian Lake water, the water from the quarry could be mixed with water from Indian Lake, to lower the level of waste and consequential waste treatment by-products. I suspect that, for those hooked on surface water, the Manistique River, adjacent to Wyman Nursery, would supply all you want, with significantly less processing disinfectant by-products than water from the relatively stagnant Indian Lake and lower Indian River, if local county outlaws continue to play with the Indian Lake water level and lower Indian River flow rate. I know of no publicized information that considered the likelihood of significantly more than 2 parts per billion (ppb) of chemical treatment by-products is due to the necessity of treating the consequences of unnecessary seasonal rotting aquatic and shoreline vegetation of Indian Lake. Much of that vegetation is killed as a consequence of the deliberate, arbitrary, and unlawful county seasonal lake level manipulation with the Carpenter Dam gates. Add that unnecessary rotting vegetable soup to that cultured in the lower Indian River, and then consider the overall consequences in the light of your ever increasing water bills, and elevated incidences of cancer in the community. Cause and effect? History? Too often, they do not exist in Schoolcraft County. Are city residents once again, as with the M94 landfill, going to pay for the consequences of county residents wanting the good life without paying for it? Given the annual running average of 62 ppb vs. the 37 ppb for the last quarter of 2008, when the gates were opened to allow the greater Winter flow through the lower river channel, then, might I suggest that a single position of the Carpenter Dam gates would maintain a greater and more steady river flow, with significantly less organic material, from significantly less lake and river vegetation, with significantly less undesirable environmental impact? Is it a more appropriate and sensible alternative to indebting future generations of city dwellers, because a minority of Indian Lake and River shoreline residents want their permanent docks immune to Winter ice damage, and others want to run their boats in water that is too shallow without damming the river? I see little more than make work for Wilcox Engineering, curried by Wilcox, and paid for by several generations of city residents held hostage by their elected representatives to the whimsical decisions of those that have waterfront property interests outside of the city. Among many other waterfront property owners with significant political influence in the community, is City Manager Aldrich, who has a residence on the Indian River, upstream from the Carpeter Dam, the operational policy of which, for years, was, until very recently, controlled by her husband, ex-Commissioner Keith Aldrich, and the actual paid manipulation of the gate done by family relative, Pete Olsen. It is part of the public record that, for years, ex- Commissioner Keith Aldrich promoted the deliberate and arbitrary Indian Lake levels, and, at the same time, evaded his responsibility to ensure that a new, lawful, and appropriate lake level was established. The consequences of his obvious self-interest, and that of his wife, are apparent done deals that will ensure that city property owners will pay to ensure that the good waterfront life will be free from seasonal weather hazard expenses, Wilcox Engineering will obtain a happy contract, and the city will receive another ~$3,000 a month in "administration fees" to waste upon another whimsical expenditure, like collecting and hauling snow from city street right of ways, to various dump sites throughout the city. Given little more than a couple of self-serving public presentations by the chosen recipient of a well orchestrated last minute multi million dollar contract to upgrade the water plant, I have few doubts that little to no thoughtful public input was solicited, or given appropriate consideration, by any elected representative or city administrative employee. Consequently, I have major doubts that any city water customer will get appropriate value for the increased water rates, beyond the warm feeling that comes with being hosed. I have no use for the continuing process whereby Wilcox Engineering personnel, and others, are profiting by their self-serving pronouncements and schedule, solicited by, and endorsed by elected officials that are supposed to represent the general publics' interests, and not those of special interests. I have no use for a city manager that determines city policies related to money, with no public record of appropriate city council due-process for the authority to reach into the public pocket. I know, as ex-mayor Hogue suggested in an editorial letter, if I don't like it, I can move elsewhere, because there are always enough ignorant suckers to scam. City elected representatives are elected to determine fiscal policies and make fiscal decisions to spend their constituents' wealth. City administration personnel are hired to administer or execute the fiscal decisions of the city council; not the other way around. As I understand the water plant upgrade "reasoning", it is pure predatory behavior to spend ~$4,500,000 of city residents' money, and ~$1,500,000 of others' money, to ensure the low maintenance costs of the good life of special interests on the shores of Indian Lake and River. Peter Markham"
At the reports and communications business of the Manistique City Council meeting of 04/12/09, Councilman Dan Evonich reported that he was motivated to request of MDEQ officials that they attend a public question and answer session to clear the air regarding the necessity of and requirements for the water plant upgrade. MDEQ officials agreed that they would, preferably with the project engineers present.
After a short discussion, with the general tone of "Oh my! What a great original idea!", council agreed to have it take place within a month. As a result I am happy to assume, at the moment, that those without a dog in the fight might be a little more candid about a process that has been, to date, little more than another murky, private, and broken a piece of Manistique "public" business.
Thank you, Councilman Evonich.
PS. The public meeting requested by Councilman Evonich did take place. The subsequent discussion emphasized (1) The economic futility of drilled wells, based upon 1945 geological "survey" data. (2) The economic futility, and "sawdust problems", of relatively pristine water piped from Lake Michigan to the treatment plant. (3) Ignoring the option to use relatively pristine quarry water. (4) There was no, and will will no engineering study consideration of the manipulated Indian Lake and River water levels and flow vs. current treated water source quality. (5) The status quo was chiseled in granite, making the meeting a total waste of everyone's time.
The MDEQ folk present at the meeting had nothing of consequence to say about any of the above. Had they not been present, they would not have been missed.
If you ever wanted to witness a model of the consequences of a community hiring and electing "public servants" based upon personal connections rather than professional and intellectual credentials and merit, Manistique, once again, takes a blue ribbon. The consequences of hiring or electing individuals with virtually no intellectual or professional credentials for the responsibilities of various public positions, results in perpetual political turmoil and financial waste as consequences of continuous on-the-job training constantly at odds with the perceived personal interests of those hired.
Without being a fly on the wall of the city manager's office, and as no witness to any of the "back room" shenanigans, I gave ex-City Manager Housler a significant degree of credit for his efforts, during public meetings I witnessed, to separate his administrative duties and responsibilities from the political policy creating responsibilities of city council members. Current City Manager Aldrich has no such concerns, and neither do city council members. I condemn Housler for his public recommendation of, and Manistique City Council's choice to hire Aldrich, to "manage" the City of Manistique, with little more than the credentials of a backwoods "accountant".
From that which I have witnessed, I conclude there is not much difference, beyond degree, between the public service credentials and likely consequences, of placing an ignorant and unethical "paper hanger", or ignorant and unethical "accountant", in a public office. Look what giving the primary management position of the nation to a Texas "oilman", with an MBA and an outlaw's mentality, did for everyone's quality of life. Beyond the relatively small percentage that became considerably more affluent and influential, it hung most of us, and the next generation, with a legacy of debt, gutted equity, failed "wars", and a falling standard of living.
Rewarding predators, supporting predators, or forgiving predators, in a civilized society, does nothing but foster predation. Rewarding incompetents, supporting incompetents, or forgiving incompetents, in a civilized society, does nothing but foster incompetence. To the victims of predatory behavior, the pain and cost is the same, regardless of the reason, be the predation deliberate or the consequence of any combination of incompetence, ignorance, and stupidity.
Today, I received the following "gauntlet" in the mail, from that unknown entity named "Manistique Utilities", with no signature and no reference to lawful authority beyond a vague reference of "Pursuant to City Ordinance" that the City of Manistique has yet to provide, beyond that which deals with water and sewer use. The letter, delivered in an envelope bearing the City of Manistique logo and postage stamp code, threatens the eventual confiscation of my property, if I refuse to pay a utility bill for water that I never used, and the use of water and sewer infrastructure that I never used, or wanted, and my refusal to excavate and terminate my water and sewer lines to meet the city's whimsical demand to stop their extortion of a whimsical "Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge" of unknown and anonymous genesis, claimed in a July 2004 "memorandum".
The threat of property confiscation for a fraudulent and extortionate water and sewer use bill of:
$246.68, for 1 gallon of water, was not preceded by the "NOTICE TO DISCONNECT SERVICE" offer to disconnect water and sewer service, that my friend received, as documented above. To penalize me for my refusal to be victimized quietly, instead of providing me the notice for an ~ $90 disconnect + $15 reconnect option, some unknown City of Manistique administrative employee exercised their whimsical policy choice to threaten me with the eventual seizure of my property because I will no longer pay an extorted property "protection" fee to the "Manistique Mob" masquerading as local government, as an alternative to excavating and terminating my water and sewer lines.
What makes the fraudulent bill that much more fraudulent, is the "gallons charged" is the same one (1) gallon for the past two years! By the city's own bill, every month, for the past two years, I have been forced to pay for the same one gallon of water and sewer "service"... and no one in a local government position has any problem with the obvious documented fraud they sanction.
This 10/13/08 recording of my question to Manistique City Council should leave little doubt about what my "water and sewer bill" really is, and the apparent total lack of serious concern by Manistique City Council, and Manistique City Attorney Filoramo, regarding a process of extortion and fraudulent billing.
I will not "...be governed accordingly.", because I am not the equivalent of someone's impotent "plantation nigger", accepting domination and the extortion of a piece of my life for reasons that runs contrary to my understanding of the English language, basic property rights, and civilized government behavior. I would be "governed accordingly" if some competent individual explained, in a relevant, substantiated, rational, and objective manner, the ethical reasons of why I should submit to blatant extortion because I will not excavate and terminate my properties' water and sewer lines according to the apparent whimsical demands and threats from an anonymous Manistique government administrative entity.
The bottom line is, I will not pay a fraudulent "utility bill" for utility services I did not use, that I did not want, that I did not contract for, and which I requested to be terminated over two years ago. Either there is a deliberate legislated basis to extort a piece of my life for unused and unwanted water and sewer service, or there is not. Even if there is, if I do not see and understand the legislated primacy of a thief's perspective, no one will gain by extorting a piece of my life, with the whimsical use of police powers, under color of law, in such an obvious and arrogant manner.
Property is the means to live, and a significant purpose of life, in a complex, productive society. I will defend my right to property, as I would my right to life, because both are linked, inextricably, as one cannot be without the other. I do not care for a life, and the means to live, that are subject to the arbitrary whims of others, enforced by police powers, and it is not my intent to allow others to profit by the use of police power, under color of law, by extorting from me that which represents a substantial piece of my life.
I am no silent and helpless victim to those that would enslave me beyond the requirements of civilized tax law, and I am not so taken with life that I am willing to live as little more than the bullied and dominated means to the ends of elected and hired white collar goons with the equivalent ethics, morality, and integrity, of common street thugs.
I realize, fully, that few predators change their predatory behavior without serious consequences for their predation. Regarding the white collar theft I have documented, those responsible "public service thieves" are insulated from deserved retribution by broken attorneys, judges, and compliant police. A broken system of law enforcement enforces the predatory will of white collar thieves in a manner that blue collar thieves, insignificant in comparative effect, can only dream of.
I had to refile my original complaint, removed from above, with this amended version, because, after a telephone inquiry, over a month later, I discovered that the original complaint had disappeared, with no acknowledgement, by anyone, that US Certified Mail had delivered it to any warm body. As this is the third time, in as many years, that certified mail has failed to deliver a complaint to other than a rubber stamp, I suggest to anyone considering such foolishness, that they have a backup plan that cannot be delivered to a rubber stamp, or ignored.
I found it interesting that no State of Michigan official I spoke to had a name to which I could refer, regarding any future business. I suspect, from my own experiences, that institutionalized anonymity is due to the fear of accountability. My awareness of the fact that an individual fish, lost in the anonymity of the school, is less likely to be identified as predator, or victim, leads me to consider a source of power wielded by faceless anonymous bureaucrats in barbaric Third World states; or is that in the USA?
"Peter C. Markham 416 Alger Ave. Manistique, MI 49854 05/26/09 Michigan Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, P.O. Box 30213, Lansing MI 48909 Re: Extortion and Property Confiscation Under Color of Law Dear Anonymous Female Michigan Attorney General's Office Person Against Whom I Have No Axe to Grind: Thank you, for what I perceived, at the time, as the professional response to the May 22 phone call from this angry victim. Following this introduction is my complaint sent, over a month ago, to the entity to whom I was told, by phone, by another anonymous Michigan state employee working for the state, in Lansing. After more than one month of silence I assumed that A. The complaint and documentation found its way into the toilet, or B. See A. Phone inquiries on 05/22/09, to you and an anonymous DLEG female, confirmed A. and B., assuming that the complaint was not being considered in secrecy. The included edited and updated complaint and documentation is, essentially, as I sent to DLEG, except for copies of some original documentation, (Shame on me for sending the originals!), a recent document listing one of my properties added to the City of Manistique's delinquent property tax role for delinquent taxes I will not pay because it is likely that the property will be confiscated for fraudulent water and sewer service bills that I refuse to pay for reasons detailed below, and the rewording of my concerns regarding the liability of landlords, in Manistique, for renters' unpaid "water" bills resulting from water and sewer use contracts between renters and the City of Manistique. Regarding the (anonymous) A.G. Consumer Protection Division woman to whom I spoke on 05/22/09, who said she reads and initializes the processing of complaints, I appreciate the manner in which she responded to my claimed major concern of the complaint, and the recognition of my justified anger concerning two years of the "Fetch the stick, Dummy!" political and legal abuse to which I allege I have been subjected. Given my justified and substantiated cynical view of human nature, politics, and the law, I will not hold my breath for an objective review and response to my complaint, and I will consider all past and future options that occur to me, until I have objective, civilized, and rational reasons to do otherwise. P.S., Are most state consumer protection agency workers so callously indifferent that they choose to ignore, and file in the trash, substantiated documented complaints sent to them, by mistake? It took a substantial piece of my life to create that complaint, and, as an ignorant hick Yooper, less than 20 minutes by phone, on my nickel, to find out where I was led astray, and find the correct entity to whom I should have filed my complaint. That 20 minutes included a short and unbelievable conversation with an anonymous DLEG woman who told me I had no other choice than to re-file my water service complaint with my state legislator! Five minutes, or less, would have been spent to send that complaint to the correct "In" basket, if it had been received by a competent ethical employee with half a brain. It has become obvious, to me, too often over the years, that "Don't Give a Shit Degrees", professional deceit courses, and required "dumb-ass training" are, too often, the apparent professional requirements for employees of the State of Michigan. I include a copy of the certified mail receipt, for my complaint sent to the DLEG, that I have every reason to believe led to a substantial piece of my life winding up in the consequential trash can of apathy and incompetence, paid for, in part, by my tax dollars. "Mad as a hornet" does not come close to my current disposition toward the many government parasites that suck the teats of productive members of society. This is the second time that a serious complaint, with extensive documentation, sent by certified mail to a Lansing government entity, has "disappeared" into a black hole of silence and subsequent denial. Two unrelated and documented events leads me to the conclusion that either the Mail and Delivery Services Agent rubber stamp, Jeremy Hall, uses such mail for butt-wipe, or there is a major problem concerning professional responsibilities, discretion, and accountability, within the Lansing bureaucracy, of those with whom I have been forced to deal, because I refuse to resort to violence until I perceive no viable and acceptable option, within my remaining lifetime. My "civilized" patience and disposition is wearing thin, as my fuse of life runs out, regarding the whimsical predation of self-serving "public officials" whom I, and others, are forced to pay and suffer gladly. Today, 05/26/09, I faxed copies of this complaint and supporting documents to 1-517-241-3771, as instructed by an A.G. telephone answering device, in an attempt to ensure the likelihood that it is received by someone with a degree of professional responsibility. Today, 05/26/09 this edited version of my original to DLEG, Public Service Commission, is now addressed, and First Class mailed to: Michigan Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, P.O. Box 30213, Lansing MI 48909 "Dept. of Labor & Economic Growth Public Service Commission PO Box 30221 Lansing MI 48909 To: A Competent and Ethical Public Official with an Abundance of Integrity and Influence and a High School Level Comprehension of the English Language, I am facing the confiscation of several properties located in the City of Manistique, as the consequence of my refusal to meet the requirements of what I perceive to be an unlawful and extortionate city "Termination of water and sewer service policy". After several years of verbal and written requests, by me, no city government or administration official has provided me the public record documentation of the lawful due process that authorized the extortion of a "fee/charge", for unwanted and unused water and sewer service, by adding it to my property taxes as a municipal lien against my property, the collection of which is enforced by the threat of the city's police powers to confiscate my real property according to state property tax laws. Several times I have rephrased my understanding of, and requests to various Manistique city officials, regarding the relevant city business. Again, I will rephrase that which no member of the government or administration of the City of Manistique will consider, as I requested in person, in written and verbal form, formally and informally: By what lawful due process, regarding property rights protected by state and federal constitutions, do I now face the confiscation of my property because I choose not to excavate and terminate my water and sewer lines, on my property, or pay for unused water and sewer service, when a single service "curb-stop" shutoff valve is located a few feet away from my property line? Why must I fear the confiscation of my property, after I have requested, several times since April 2006, that billing for water and sewer service that I have never used since April 2006, be terminated? If the City of Manistique's current extortionate "termination of water and sewer service policy", and "base fee/ready to serve charge" were not imagined by some anonymous administrative predatory outlaw, enforced under color of law, and sanctioned by city council members, when did elected representatives of the residents of the City of Manistique ensure the best interests of their electors were represented by lawful due process recorded in the Minutes of the Manistique City Council, and expressed in an appropriate city ordinance that holds an owner's real property hostage to unused and unwanted municipal water and sewer service? As Michigan's MUNICIPAL WATER LIENS Act 178 of 1939, 123.162, grants municipalities the power to collect "...rates, or any assessments, charges, or rentals ... for the use of sewage system services or for the use or consumption of water supplied..." why have I been forced to pay for that which I did not use, and why do I face the confiscation of my property if I refuse to pay for that which I do not use, or want? The purpose of municipal water liens is not about extorting money for undefined reasons or purposes. The purpose of "water liens" is clearly stated to collect delinquent fees for the USE of water and sewer services. So why do I take offense to the gun in my face represented by the threatened use of police powers to take my property because I refuse to pay for water and sewer service I do not use or want and I will not excavate my water and sewer lines according to a whimsical administrative "memorandum"? Why am I forced to purchase municipal water and sewer service, or risk losing my property, if I never used the sewage service, or consumed water since since April 2006, and if no lawful necessity existed for such mandatory "use" when I purchased my properties, ~15 years ago? Not wishing to use my creative imagination to extract satisfying physical retribution, and absent the financial resources to purchase a legal representative to "force" some degree of civilized accountability, I paid the water and sewer bills on one property, for almost two years, as I sought understanding of the City of Manistique's lawful basis for charging and enforcing payment of a "fee" in a manner I relate more to an organized crime family, than a government and administration of responsible individuals representing, via lawful due process, the best interests of the electors of a local "representative democracy" form of government. Eventually, what followed a whimsical City of Manistique 2004 "memorandum" regarding my concerns first voiced at the Manistique City Clerk's office in March 2006, was the City of Manistique's response to my 10/17/08 FOIA request. That response was a ream of copies of irrelevant public record documents associated with a variety of tax funded infrastructure contracts, and certain ordinance related public business, unrelated to my request, with a bill for $93.71. From that response, I am left to infer, as some "ignorant dummy", that I cannot comprehend concepts and details, spoken and written, as one of the few city residents that actually attends many public meetings, with an intellectual understanding of lawful due process, documented in the recorded minutes of Manistique City Council meetings. Consequently, consistent with much of the City of Manistique and Schoolcraft County public business I have paid attention to, I am left to conclude that I am little more than an ignorant dummy means to others' ends, and, subsequently, I find myself musing about various undesirable options, including arson and abandonment of the wreckage, as an alternative to, or in addition to, possible retributive bloody violence that might be considered by a citizen of some lawless Third World country. A significant part of my perspective of the real world, formed relative early in my life, is based on the certainty that I entered a predatory world with nothing, and I will leave a predatory world with nothing, and it is not necessary that I sanction the "civilized" equivalents of thieves and slavers to profit by my existence, beyond the lawful requirements that I am willing to tolerate as necessary for the well being of those productive individuals that form the collective society of which I am a member. If City of Manistique administration officials choose to threaten my well being by extortion, under color of law, outside of a necessary tax system, and with no apparent concern for lawful due process and fiduciary responsibility, beyond the claim that "It exists! Find it, Dummy!", then I care not if those officials live or die, and from my perspective, the world would be a better place if they were dead. Therefore, I request State legal assistance regarding that which I consider unacceptable, unlawful, unethical, unsubstantiated, and unjustified by those that act as nothing less than legally sanctioned predators, while the Manistique City Attorney, John Filoramo, watches and smiles. I include the following to substantiate my claimed concerns: 1. Copies of monthly water and sewer bills for two properties that I have owned for some 15 years. The largest bill is for a property that has been vacant for two years, and the smaller bill for a property that has been vacant since I purchased it. The annual cost of both bills is ~$720 per year, representing >5% of the total of < $15,000 per year that my wife and I survive on. 2. My transcript, below, of the "Manistique Water/Wastewater Department memorandum" used as the sole justification for the city administration's reprehensible, extortionate, and unsubstantiated confiscatory policy regarding termination of water and sewer service. " WATER/WASTEWATER DEPARTMENT MEMORANDUM Date: July 1, 2004 To: All City Water & Wastewater Customers From: Manistique Water/Wastewater Department RE: Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge Termination of water and sewer service means a physical disconnection of the water service and or sewer lateral on the property owners, property. This option is at the property owners expense, the City will not incur any cost for this termination. This disconnection must be visually inspected by appointment, by an authorized City of Manistique employee. This is only way to have the monthly base fee/ready to serve charge removed from your water/sewer bill. If you have any questions please feel free to call the Water/Wastewater Department at 906- 341-2281." 3. A copy of the City of Manistique's confiscatory "memorandum", quoted previously. 4. A copy of a recent letter signed by an unknown city entity named "Manistique Utilities", that decided to bill me for a "ready to serve charge" of unknown genesis, for no other reason than I own "service lines" on my property, that have existed for as long as the property has been on the city tax rolls and municipal water and sewer service were available. 5. A copy of my 10/17/08 FOIA request to the City of Manistique with a copy of the bill for the City's response that did not address my request, within the context of all my prior efforts to gain an understanding of why I should not resort to violent retribution against those that threaten my current and future health and welfare. 6. The following quote of my question addressed to the local cable televised Manistique City Council meeting of 09/22/08: Q. What source of authority sanctions the City of Manistique's choice to extort some $507 dollars from me, over the past 19 1/2 months, with the threat to place a lien against my property, as an alternative to the City using a curb-stop valve to shut off water to a property I own? I am sure that a July 1, 2004, memorandum from the Manistique Water/Wastewater Department, with no reference to authority, and with no signature, does not substitute for a local ordinance, state law, or federal legislation. Again, what gives the city the right to extort $507 from me, instead of terminating water and sewer service to my properties, with a curb-stop valve? A. No response. 7. The original copies of the 04/06/09 attempt by the City of Manistique to provide some lawful basis for its policy of extortion, as described in this complaint and request for help, that follows. 8. A May 21 2009 "memo" to Manistique City Council for its approval of the fraudulent billing of water and sewer service that I have not used, and refuse to pay, to be added to my property taxes. 9. The receipt by rubber stamp Jeremy Hall of my prior complaint that disappeared into a black hole of professional State apathy. 10. The 05/11/09 bill for one gallon of water never used, front, rear, over two years ago, that prompts me to consider bizarre retribution for bizarre reasons! 11. The URL - http://www.manistique.org/manistique_water_rates.html link to my web pages that chronicles much of my effort to obtain the lawful due process basis for that which I consider to be part of the City of Manistique's institutionalized policy of deceit, extortion, theft, fraud and unlawful conversion of property. According to the anonymous authority of a City of Manistique "memorandum", if I want to terminate city water and sewer service, I must excavate by hand, or hire a contractor to excavate, my lateral water and sewer lines from the city's water and sewer mains, on my property, cut and terminate the lines to some unspecified standard, to be inspected by some city worker with unknown credentials, and then bury the lines, again, to preclude frost damage and the liability of a public safety hazard and likely blight offense; while there is a working water shutoff "curb- stop" valve a few feet away! If I refuse to be victimized as described, and I refuse to pay for the use of water and sewer service that I do not use, or want, I am informed that my property will be confiscated according to no identified authority, beyond administrative whim expressed in a July 1, 2004 "memorandum". As a consequence of my attempts to resist what I perceive to be criminal extortion, I came to deduce the de facto existence of an extensive administrative extortionate city policy, created by other than "due process". Subsequently, I have little choice beyond speculating that unidentified City of Manistique administration personnel, with the secret default or explicit sanction of the Manistique City Council and City Attorney, chose to "invent" an unspecified and unknown authority to give the City of Manistique the right to place a lien, under color of law, against certain private properties, to collect payment for fictional delinquent water and sewer service bills for services not used and not wanted by the owners of the properties billed. After indebting certain property owners against their will, for services not used or wanted, the City of Manistique then enforces the collection of those bills for unwanted water and sewer service, by threatening the use of authority granted in State of Michigan property tax legislation that authorizes the use of police powers to confiscate property for delinquent bills of municipal services that are requested and used. Consequently, property owners, like me, are billed for unwanted and unused water and sewer service, imposed and collected by force, without due process, under color of law, contrary to basic federal and state legislation and property rights, as if some have a God given right to victimize others. So, because I must be an ignorant dummy, and because those with the responsibility for transparency in government choose to make the process as opaque as possible, it is left to me to speculate that, consistent with some anonymous individual's personal and subjective interpretation of a term of the Manistique City Charter, administration personnel of the City of Manistique threaten to confiscate my property if I do not pay a delinquent "base fee/ready to serve charge" and I do not follow the City of Manistique's predatory whimsical 07/01/04 memorandum to excavate, sever, and terminate my water and sewer lines. Two years after my first inquiries regarding some relevant documentation of the due process that authorized public extortion, by the City of Manistique, I have no knowledge of the due process that created the policy of "If you do not excavate, sever, and terminate your water and sewer lines, or pay a base fee/ready to serve charge for that which you do not want or use, your property will be confiscated by a lawful process the City chooses not to reveal." I have no understanding of how implied due process of public business forces Manistique city residents to excavate and sever their private water and sewer lines or be billed for unwanted and unused water and sewer service, the payment for which is secured by the creative accounting method of co-mingling the fraudulent bill for water and sewer service use, with a property tax bill which is collected by the motivating legislated authority of forced confiscation of property for the failure to pay the fraudulent water and sewer use bill. Reduced to its essence, the threat of "Pay your bill for that which you did not request, or use, or we will confiscate your property!" could motivate me to destroy all that I own, and those that would make me little more than an "antebellum plantation nigger" to their whims. Some 15 to 20 years ago, when I purchased my properties, I was not forced to pay for mandatory water and sewer service, or the costs to excavate and sever my private water and sewer lines prior to declining water and sewer service. Since 2004, with nothing but a memorandum that refers to no lawful authority, the city administration has been in my wallet for two years, and refuses to provide the minutes of a Manistique Council lawful resolution that created the legal authority to extort a piece of my life. After numerous requests to obtain that authority, at various formal and informal meetings with public officials, I get nothing more than a stack of irrelevant crap, with a bill for $93.71, that claims, approximately, 0.75% of what my wife and I live on, each year. Currently, a downtown residential property I own, to which the city refused to terminate water and sewer service, has numerous ruptured water lines as a consequence, in part, of the city's refusal to shut off the water, and my financial inability to heat the building during the past two Winters. At the same time, to retain ownership of my property, not only must I pay property taxes, but I am forced to pay the city for water I do not want, use, or need, the freezing of which ruptured water lines within the unheated building. For this I should be grateful to Manistique city government and administration personnel, and the authors of state and federal legislation that the city claims, in $93.71 worth of butt-wipe, nothing specific to justify its claim to my money, its threat to confiscate my property, and the consequential damages of lawless and inconsiderate choices? (Today, 05/23/09, I was made aware that the downtown property in the preceding paragraph will be placed on the delinquent property tax roll, not because I do not care to pay the taxes due, but because I will not pay a fraudulent water and sewer use bill that will be added to my property taxes. As it stands, I will lose that property as the consequence threatened for my refusal to pay the City of Manistique for unused water and sewer service that I did not use or want. I include a copy of that document with this copy of my prior certified mail complaint, of which no entity acknowledges receipt other than a rubber stamp named "Jeremy Hall".)
The magic of deceit under color of law ... The Manistique City Charter dictates nothing outside of due process, including the collection of fraudulent water use bills.
Fraudulent bills against account 47201 heading for collection by confiscation of property.
If I do not want electric service, and I do not wish to pay for electric service, and I do not wish to purchase the utility infrastructure, and I do not wish to lose my property, I am not forced to cut the power lines on my property. If I do not want natural gas service, and I do not wish to pay for natural gas service, and I do not wish to purchase the utility infrastructure, and I do not wish to lose my property, I am not forced to excavate and cut the gas line on my property. If I do not want cable TV service, and I do not wish to pay for cable TV service, and I do not wish to purchase the utility infrastructure, and I do not wish to lose my property, I am not forced to cut the cable line on my property. If I do not want telephone service,and I do not wish to pay for telephone service, and I do not wish to purchase the utility infrastructure, and I do not wish to lose my property, I am not forced to cut the telephone line on my property. If I do not want mail service, and I do not wish to pay for mail service, and I do not wish to purchase the utility infrastructure, and I do not wish to lose my property, I am not forced to destroy the mail box on my property. If I do not want solid waste collection and disposal service, and I do not wish to purchase the utility infrastructure, and I do not wish to pay for solid waste collection and disposal service, and I do not wish to loose my property, I am not forced to destroy my solid waste containers. Simple logic, alone, prompts me to ask, based upon what lawful due process am I forced to excavate and sever the water and sewer lines on my property or pay the City of Manistique for unused water and sewer service that I cannot afford, I do not want, and I do not use - or lose my property to threatened confiscation under color of law? If I was dealing with a criminal enterprise, in some uncivilized country, that enforced its arbitrary will with local police powers, I would know how to deal with the "problem" in a way that is in the news, every day. After some 40 years of adult life, I have learned a great deal about human nature, deceit, politics, corruption, unenforced laws, and my willingness, early in my life, to help kill men, women and children, in the name of "Uncle Sam", for no other reason than my naive and irrational belief in the lies of public officials. The days are over that I victimize my neighbors for those that exhort my complicity and acquiescence as the will of God and Country. The days are over that I choose, by default silence, to be the helpless victim of my neighbors as the consequence of their deliberate or default predatory choices. If, in my callow youth, I was willing to risk my life for "God and Country" to help my peers to destroy strangers, and their livelihood, for little more than the philosophical beliefs they held, why should I be impotent to hold accountable those known individuals that would deprive me of my means to exist, today? Based upon my understanding and acceptance of the rule of law and individual responsibility in a civilized society - and so that I may sleep well at night and clear the ugly voices from my head - please answer the following questions so that I may decide what my next option is: The overlapping questions I want addressed, ignored in the City of Manistique's response to all my queries, including my FOIA request, are summarized below: 1. What is the lawful due process basis for City of Manistique administration personnel to extort money from me, and others, by holding real property hostage to the threat of confiscation, through State tax laws, if we choose not to excavate and terminate our water and sewer lines, or pay the City of Manistique a "Base Fee/Ready to Serve Charge" authorized by no more "due process" than an anonymous memorandum? 2. What is the due process lawful basis for City of Manistique administration personnel to extort, from me, payment for water and sewer service I do not want or use, the payment of which is secured by the threatened confiscation of my property according to property tax legislation? 3. The City of Manistique, by a process that reeks of whimsical extortion, chooses to hold liable a landlord, with the threatened use of courts and police powers to confiscate the real property of a landlord, if that landlord does not pay a renters' delinquent bills for water and sewer use due by terms of a contract between the renter and the City of Manistique. The city requires an $80 water account deposit from a renter who is then allowed to accrue a 2 1/2 month unpaid water use bill, for which the city holds the landlord liable by threat of property confiscation, as documented in attachment A! What is the lawful due process for City of Manistique administration personnel to extort money from property owners, by holding real property hostage to the threat of confiscation, through state tax laws, if a landlord in the city does not pay a renter's delinquent water bill, for a water service account contract between the renter and the City of Manistique? 4. As I cannot afford to hire legal gunslingers, to spin the roulette wheel of justice, and Manistique city officials will not reveal the lawful due process that justifies an extortionate policy memorandum, what civilized recourse do I have to reclaim, or be compensated for, within my likely remaining lifetime, that part of my life that has been lost to the consequence of whimsical public extortion, by public officials, under color of law? 5. Are crushing the skulls of, or setting afire my tormentors, viable options for me to be compensated for that part of my life that has been extorted from me directly, and as a consequence of being forced to defend myself, my quality of life, and my property, from those that steal with impunity because I cannot afford to purchase justice? The City's 04/06/09 response to my last effort to obtain a rational and relevant answer to question #1, is the enclosed two page attachment, marked "7", from City of Manistique ordinances. I was left to assume that all the City of Manistique needs to justify extortion, is to circle and highlight specific ordinance text, isolated from its own context, isolated from state legislative context, isolated from federal legislation, and interpreted by "someone" to mean something contrary to my understanding of the same content and context, with a significant new meaning ascribed to the word "use" contrary to any common use or legal definition that I am aware of.
This extract from Manistique City ordinances was handed me, by a city clerk, earlier this year, as it has several times over the past two years, to justify the billing for water I have never used. This time, the relevant legal prose was circled with a yellow marking pen to ensure that I read and understood a few select words divorced from the context. I can only conclude that a Manistique High School diploma, or a college degree is necessary to understand the meaning for "use" to mean the opposite. As many other city properties with lateral water and sewer lines are not billed for water not used, I assume that I must be an easy mark congenital "dumb ass" who, at the age of 63, has failed to grasp the meaning of "use" as used in the last sentence circled by my anonymous Manistique City administration tutor.
To me, the language circled could not be more clear... but then, I was educated elsewhere.
25.464 (C), of the city's own ordinance, states that "The enforcement of the lien shall be made as provided by state law."
Having established an ordinance, shown above, that defines charges and fees based upon water use, some anonymous City of Manistique twit circled part of a subsequent ordinance, shown below, to justify the collection of charges and fees that are related to everything other than use. Imagine Edison Sault replacing a power pole, adding that cost to your electric use bill, and then confiscating your property because you refuse to pay for the pole! So it goes with the City of Manistique administration process. Law means nothing to predators that prey with impunity.
It is interesting to note the copy of the ordinance, or Manistique City Council resolution, that was not provided. Not a word concerning a non-existent 'base fee/ready to serve charge', or 'fraudulent billing for water not used', '...as provided for in this chapter...' as clearly required by the language included in the reference provided me, '...charges, costs, and fees as provided for in this chapter...', in the ordinance quoted above, as circled and handed to me by a Manistique city clerk.
If, as I wrote earlier, Michigan's MUNICIPAL WATER LIENS Act 178 of 1939, 123.162, grants municipalities the power to collect "...rates, or any assessments, charges, or rentals ... for the use of sewage system services or for the use or consumption of water supplied..." why have I been forced to pay for that which I did not use, and why do I face the confiscation of my property if I refuse to pay for water I have not consumed, and for sewer service I have not used? A highlighted portion of City of Manistique ordinance 25.314, sec 14, concerns the "...rates and charges for the use of the waste-water system of the city..." specified in the prior sentence. I have not used the water supply system, or waste- water system, for the last 2 years with one property, and for over 15 years with another, yet I have been billed, and continue to be billed, for water and sewer service I do not use. Another highlighted portion of the same section of the ordinance states. "Such charges shall be based upon the quantity of water used thereon or therein." To me, as an ignorant Limey immigrant, the basis for billing water use is stated in indisputable language, "...shall be based upon the quantity of water used..." Regarding the fictitious "termination of water and sewer service policy", and "base fee/ready to serve charge" referred to in a July 1, 2004 memorandum, I have found no public record of a due process basis for a revenue raising resolution that serves as the source of authority for the memorandum's whimsical extortion. For as many times as I have requested a copy of the due process basis, no one has provided me with a copy, even though the City billed me $93.71, that I will not pay, for an irrelevant response to my FOIA request for the basis. To the best of my knowledge, there is no provision i.a.w. Manistique City Ordinance 25.464, sec. 14 (A). Note the copy of my May 2009 water use bill, attachment 10, $246.68 for the same gallon of water I never used, over two years ago. That same one gallon, nothing more than the next digit on the water meter after a renter left, cost me ~$500 out of my pocket since March, 2006, until I refused to pay any more. Since I refused to pay any more, the City has continued to bill me for the water and sewer I do not use, and has now added the fraudulent delinquent water bill of $246.68 to my property tax bill. To add insult to injury, the City discriminates against property owners that use no water and sewer service in their buildings on property with lateral water and sewer lines connected to the city's water and sewer mains. A vacant property with lateral water and sewer lines is not billed by the city for water and sewer service they do not use. Once again, the City's own ordinance handed to me on two different occasions states in unambiguous language, "Such charges and rates shall be made against each lot, parcel of land or premises which may have any sewer connections with the sewer system of the city...based upon the quantity of water used." If I have a vacant city lot, I get no bill for water and sewer I do not use. If I have a building on a city lot, I am billed for water and sewer I do not use! Either there is legislation that authorizes the City of Manistique to extort money from me, and related threats to confiscate my property, for my refusal to pay for water and sewer service I do not want, and I have not used, or there is not. Either City of Manistique city council members have the God-given right to sanction the God-given right of city administrative personnel to deprive me of my means to exist, or they do not. As an adult, I have always understood, and accepted, the necessity of taxes, based upon lawful due process, to build and maintain the public infrastructure on which a civilized, complex, production driven society depends. I have never understood, or accepted, quietly, a perceived necessity and right of some to dominate, deceive, steal, and extort from others, that which they have no lawful or ethical right to, beyond an unsubstantiated and/or undisclosed claim. To me, beyond attire, there is no difference between a white and blue collar thief. The loss, to the victim, is the same. It is the loss of a piece of a victim's life, represented to a greater or lesser degree by that part of a victim's life required to produce the product stolen; plus that part of a victim's life lost trying to achieve some form of objective and equitable justice, to preclude repetition of the victimizing behavior. The current national economic mess, due to the theft of $trillions by white collar con artists, fostered by those with the responsibility to do otherwise, stands as testimony to my personal perspective. The main difference that does exist, between blue and white collar crime, is that a victim may shoot a blue collar thief that steals by the use or threat of physical violence, but a victim of much greater white collar theft, enforced by the threat or use of government police power violence, is helpless to do anything, too often, beyond pissing into the wind. Like me, too many victims are victimized too much, because too many public officials, with the sworn duty to do otherwise, have benefited from too much unethical or unlawful behavior, for too long; or served their self-interest by ignoring too much predatory behavior, for too long, because they claim to have the lawful discretion to sanction, overtly or by default, any act of victimization they have the "professional" discretion to ignore. Regarding the documented evolution of my cynical opinion concerning the dereliction of the lawful responsibilities of public officials sworn to promote civilized behavior, and uphold the laws of the land, I offer my personal web site, manistique.org, as my documentation of that which forces me, and other victims that choose not to be silent acquiescent prey, to consider "uncivilized" and undesirable remedies. As I get older, I find myself weighing the consequences of pissing into the wind while I lose that which represents my life, a piece at a time, versus destroying what little I possess and killing and maiming those that choose to prey on me, regardless of the consequences. I am finding that the latter bizarre choice, typical of citizens living in barbaric Third World countries, is becoming more desirable and necessary as I watch the consequences to those of limited means, including myself, that try to hold accountable the closed ranks of private and public predators, protected by the best, or most broken, unethical public officials and attorneys that public money will buy. There is nothing like paying local government officials, with pieces of your own life, for their attempts to steal your property and their subsequent evasion and deceit regarding their authority to do so! There is nothing like begging "higher authority" government officials for your lawful right to retain and enjoy the means of your existence! There is nothing like the understanding that constitution based property rights and tax laws are considered by your peers as privileges, to be granted or denied by whimsical choice, with impunity! There is nothing like the understanding that, while "we" teach others the errors of their ways, with brute force, in the far corners of the world, we foster similar barbaric behavior in our own back yards. It would be far easier, faster, more effective, and less painful for me, to deal with local human predators in an instant bloody encounter, instead of turning a cheek and asking for more pain, grief, and misery - piecemeal - because I care not to become a predator, and I care not to be a tortured impotent victim for my remaining life. For reasons that I have documented here, and elsewhere, I hope that you will consider and respond to this request for assistance in the candid, relevant, civilized, justified, substantiated, and constructive manner that my request has been made. This request, like my other public concerns, will become part of my public record concerning unethical, unlawful, and predatory public business, sanctioned by the powers that have the responsibility to do otherwise. Hopefully, that public record might discourage others from ever answering the question "Why?" with their own fantastic speculation, should I decide to deal with my victimization in the manner I consider deserved. If you intend to respond to my concerns, in the same way that Michigan Assistant Attorney General Stacy Erwin-Oakes responded to my complaint - AG#2007017274A - Consumer Protection #200709370 - concerning the actual confiscation by the City of Manistique, without due process, of the right-of- way property located in Schoolcraft County, owned by Schoolcraft County resident Alfred Burn's, just tell me to "Fuck off! We don't care." in clear and unambiguous English. I will then respond, as I see fit, with the clear understanding that the State of Michigan condones the unchecked efforts of City of Manistique administration personnel to acquire private property, under color of law, inconsistent with the due process of existing Federal and State legislation required to protect me, and others, from our predatory peers that would reduce our quality of life to that of slaves to their whimsical aspirations. I may be contacted by mail: Peter C. Markham, 416 Alger Ave., Manistique, MI 49854 by email: ******* No phone service. I cannot afford it. Sincerely, Peter C. Markham, 04/09/09"To get an extensive real world peak at the corrupt legal process I referred to, above, regarding a prior AG complaint, do a text search of http://www.manistique.org/quarry.html
During the agenda business of the Manistique City Council meeting of 05/26/09, City Manager Sheila Aldrich spoke of the "Utilities Bills Added to Taxes" memo in each councilperson's business packet. When asked by Mayor David Peterson why some of the bills were so substantial, possibly reflecting a water billing or shutoff problem, Aldrich replied that most of the delinquent bills were for the "base fee", (imposed by anonymous administration personnel with no reference to the due process of a city-council revenue raising resolution.)
During the public comments period, following that memo business, I read the following question:
"Regarding the "Utilities Bills Added to Taxes" memo, does any member of City Council have any concerns that some of those unpaid water/sewer utility billings are not for unpaid water and sewer use, as considered in city ordinances, but are for a whimsical "base fee/ ready to serve charge" of unknown genesis, derived from unknown authority? You may rest assured that I will not pay that which you try to extort from me, and the City will gain no free real estate, from me."
As usual, there was no response from any one, but I had the distinct impression that City Manager Aldrich was looking me right in the eyes, paying attention.
Following the brief silence that I understood as, "Fuck Off! We don't care, because you can't do a fuckin' thing about it." I then added the following candid comment, along the lines of "I promise you that I will not pay the charge, and the city will gain no free real estate, from me.", the implication of which was that the city would pay for my real estate, one way or the other.
Yesterday I received a response card from Consumer Protection Division of the Michigan Attorney General's office, regarding my complaint concerning Manistique's extortionate and fraudulent water use billing policies.
Today, my wife stopped by the Manistique City Clerk's counter to determine what I owed for property taxes. While at the counter, she was overheard by the Director of Public Safety, Ken Golat, who asked to speak to her in private. Golat asked her whether she thought that I might do something rash because he knew that I was not one to suffer abuse, or tolerate the abuse of others, in silence, and that I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. My wife assured him that I had tolerated far more abuse, peacefully, in 2005, when the State of Texas kidnapped my dying father, with the help of two armed goons from the Guadalupe County Sheriff Department. (That is another life experience, recorded in notes, documents, and photographs, taken at the risk of being set upon by armed deputies that threatened to do whatever it took to stop me taking photographs of the State of Texas sanctioned kidnapping event. Think adult protective services, instead of child protective services used to justify the recent kidnapping of almost 400 Mormon religious sect children that were later proven to have suffered no child abuse.)
Golat was reported to have said, or implied to my wife, that I have threatened public officials and threatened to torch my buildings. If considering harming others that harm me, and considering destroying my property to deny others the opportunity to steal it, is unlawful, then I am guilty of having an imagination. As for threatening people, I learned, as a juvenile, a long time ago, from the experiences of my delinquent peers, don't threaten - just do it, and, if questioned, deny involvement and let the accusers "prove" their conclusions to the contrary. That is how, too often, professional criminals and local governments and administrations evade "the law", and other consequences due their predatory efforts.
Golat expressed his legitimate concerns that if my buildings succumbed to arson, that process would be unlawful, and a hazard to the property and health of others. I quite agree, but given the history and context, I conclude that his concern is less for the health and wellbeing of the general public, than it is the expression of a lackey that tries to justify, and supports, the corrupt political choices of Manistique City government and administration. Regardless of his concerns, I am forced to consider all options, by the apparent stated and written intent of public officials to extort by whimsy, instead of due process.
Regarding threats, officials of the City of Manistique have threatened me, and I have considered my retaliatory options.
Golat asked my wife why I don't excavate and sever my water and sewer lines and be done with the escalating pissing contest. My wife answered why should I have to excavate and sever the water and sewer lines, or pay for water that I don't use, when all the city has to do is shut off the water at the curbstop valve and quit billing me for water I don't use.
The answer that followed, that I find difficult to attribute to Golat, was someone's pretzel logic that no other public official had ever revealed to me in over two years since I first questioned Manistique's extortionate water billing policy. He said that folks who's water was shut off at the curbstop valve would only turn it on for free city water; to which my wife responded that legal action and a locking device to secure valve operation would discourage and cure such problems.
My answer to his question to my wife, concerning my responsibility to excavate and sever the lines i.a.w. an anonymous city whimsy, is the following: In light of the apparent and acceptable absence of due process of the City of Manistique to raise revenue in a lawful manner, why not take the suggestion a step further, and make the extortion non-discriminatory, as defined by the City's existing ordinances, and bill $30 to every piece of property, including vacant, with lateral water and sewer lines connected to city mains, instead of extorting $30 from a select few that do not use water and do not want to use water.
If Golat's suggestion is appropriate, then the City of Manistique should, for each property with lateral water and sewer lines, send an anonymous "memorandum" to each owner, with no quoted, or suggestion of, due process authority that justifies the two choices of extortion offered by the city. The first choice would demand some arbitrary equivalent of "protection" money for no use of water and sewer services, from each owner. The second choice, for those that refused the first offer, would be the property owner's forced excavation, destruction and city "inspection" of their severed and terminated water and sewer lines - or excavation and city "inspection" to prove that it was done - enforced with the threat of government police powers to confiscate the owner's property if they choose not to submit to either extortion choice. To me, it sounds like making offers that can't be refused, out some gangsta movie, but, at least it is honest non-discriminatory extortion, without the claim of, or suggestion of, lawful due process authority.
To make Golat's response more ludicrous to me, is the fact that (1) it is his responsibility to ensure that known theft by any means is not sanctioned by him, and (2), unknown and undetected water theft in a small community where everyone knows their neighbor's business is virtually impossible. It's a good bet that vacant properties and empty buildings do not use city water, and with all water accounts in the city read with a hand held "reader", the warm body attached to the reader should be bright and responsible enough to note and report all properties that show signs of residential or commercial life, that are not on the list of property water meters to be read. A subsequent check for open city valves to unbilled and unmetered water lines or bypassed metered water lines should result in immediate shutoff and securing of the "curbstop" valve and appropriate legal action, instead of extorting payment from me for water not used!
It is likely that, if the City of Manistique revealed its due process lawful authority, as I requested numerous times, regarding the discriminatory billing practices I have witnessed and described, then there would be no pissing contest. Instead, administration personnel of the city choose to collect money in a whimsical manner, sanctioned by apparent fictional authority, as they engage in apparent extortion sanctioned by apparent fictional authority, for the purpose of securing an apparent unlawful revenue stream justified by little more than wholesale deceit. Subsequently, I am a "threat" for requesting government and administration officials to reveal the lawful due process that sanctions their power to force me to pay for that which I do not use, or excavate and sever my water and sewer lines, or they will confiscate my properties.
Assuming that my wife understood and paraphrased Golat correctly, it emphasizes A. the lack of understanding of that which he has witnessed at numerous Manistique City Council meetings, and was part of regarding the theft by the City of Manistique of Al Burns property for the Lakeside Road, and/or B. he understands his secondary duties as the equivalent of a "mob enforcer and collector" of the City of Manistique as well as he understands his duties as a guarantor of public peace and safety.
Regarding his concerns, expressed to my wife, that I might, with a pistol, take on an unknown number of armed individuals; I wouldn't think of it. In my world, violent fantasy Hollywood entertainment is fiction. John Woo or Brandon Lee I ain't, and never was. If I considered retribution with firearms, a pistol would be the last thing I would take to a likely gunfight with those that should be trained, regularly, in the art of killing people with guns.
Regarding his concerns, and those of others that think, because I am an outspoken individual, who speaks candidly, that I must be a danger to my wife and others with whom I associate, I have only this to say. You may imagine anything you choose, consistent with your personal perception, experiences, and degrees of ignorance, but, in 63 years, including my U.S. military experience for "God and Country", I have never picked a fight, and beyond childhood sibling rivalry, I have never abused anyone that did not earn it for very real, justified and substantiated rational reasons. In my later adult life, I have never threatened, or given anyone a reason to infer a threat, without very real, justified, substantiated, and articulated defensive rational reasons; and I do not intend to start picking fights, anytime soon.
To me, to malign anyone for obvious restrained defense to obvious abuse, is the mark of a bullying coward. To me, it is reprehensible for anyone to attempt to intimidate an individual with the authority of police power, or to use their influence to project or direct police power, to intimidate anyone for obvious restrained defense to obvious abuse.
I will defend myself, my property rights, and my property, until I understand that property rights are actually privileges, to be granted or denied by the whimsical decisions of those that choose to corrupt basic civil rights for the purpose of self serving domination.
Unlike many others that serve this community, with public and private records that identify them as professional predators to all that care to know, I have no such record.
That said, I have never chosen, knowingly, to suffer abuse by predators or fools, quietly, and, if pushed sufficiently, after exhausting more civilized options, I could be motivated to mayhem and murder, as most others of my species, given sufficient motivation. I had, at various times in my life, justified and substantiated reasons to consider such options, but was without the means, or too enamored of life and leery of "Bubba", at those times, to risk my remaining life to exact retribution.
I am not hired, elected, or appointed to determine how much unwarranted, unjustified, and unsubstantiated abuse I will take before becoming violent, and I am not losing sleep considering related future options and consequences. I do not fear a malevolent universe controlled by the hand of God, but I do fear, for very well considered, articulated, justified and substantiated reasons, the obvious malevolent intent, or malevolent acquiescence, of too many of my neighbors. But, like many others in more barbaric Third World countries, I have learned, early in life, to sleep well among those that wish me ill.
As for Director of Public Safety Golat asking my wife to inform him if I "go off the deep end", he, and anyone else concerned about the consequences of their predatory choices, may rest assured that I will give no one any warning of such intent, as that would surrender the only advantage that I have among men with guns; the element of surprise to achieve retribution against those that enforce their whims with guns in lieu of lawful and ethical due process. In the context of any business at hand, I like to consider all appropriate options, regardless of whether others have reasons to fear undesirable consequences for their predatory behavior, or support thereof.
Relative to Director of Public Safety Golat's concerns about a rash reaction by me to what I perceive to be deliberate and arbitrary extortion by Manistique City government, perhaps he should counsel the outlaws that have chosen to victimize me, and other owners of property, in and adjacent to the city.
Sound like some hollywood plot? Nope, it's endemic City of Manistique and Schoolcraft County business. If, and when, I decide that I have had enough of being considered little more than a mindless "resource" for the ends of others, then I will act as I consider appropriate. Appropriate includes the full knowledge that no public official, with whom I have communicated, will ever be able to ask the question "Why?", in any other context than the deceit of a deliberate predator that chooses to ignore a universal law of human nature, "cause and effect", equivalent to the "action and reaction" of classic Newtonian physics.
To Golat, and other apologists for broken government officials and business, if my perspective is considered a threat, to those that consider me little more than a means to an end, just consider how I, and others, might consider irresponsible public officials as threats to our health and well being. Both effects result from the same causes, predatory and defensive human nature encouraged by the absence of ethical and lawful due process.
Yesterday morning, as I moseyed around the parking lot of Manistique's only downtown supermarket, waiting for my wife to finish shopping, I was approached, on separate occasions, by two local residents with technical credentials and nothing personal to gain by recent water plant "upgrade" decisions.
The first person, with a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, asked, "How many wells can be drilled for $6 million?", and then he told me of a local farmer that, recently, had a well drilled for irrigation purposes. We parted with the mutual understanding that the recent water plant upgrade decisions had less to do with public benefit than political goals, job security, and lucrative contracts - at a "captured" public expense.
The second person thanked me for the courage to speak up, in public, concerning the public business I chose to consider. I then asked him why it is, that, beyond very few individuals, most Manistique residents remain silent. He stated, without hesitation, "They are afraid of the consequences." I thanked him for the "Attaboy!", and we went our separate ways.
Last week, I submitted the following request to be placed upon the agenda for the Manistique City Council meeting, this evening
10/22/09 City of Manistique, mc/ho City Manager Aldrich, 300 ln. Maple St., Manistique, Ami 49854 To Whomever, This is a request to be added to the agenda for the Manistique City Council meeting of 10/26/09. The topic of my business with council is the financing of city water, sewer, and street infrastructure, its current and future impact upon my life, and some of the consequential options I find myself considering. It is possible that I may have reason to delay my business with council, if some information I sought is delivered in the next few days. Sincerely, Peter C. MarkhamIn response, I received from Manistique City administration a copy of the 10/26/09 Manistique City Council agenda items including,
4. ARRA-Water/Sewer Project questions on financing from Peter MarkhamAt the city council meeting of 10/26/09, prior to my intended address to council, that follows, I introduced it by making all aware that I had no idea how the topic of my specific written request became the listed agenda item.
I was, shortly after starting my intended address to council, challenged by Manistique Mayor Pro Tem Rantanen and Manistique City Attorney Filoramo to stick to their version of what my purpose was regarding my approved written request. Beyond their obvious self-serving bluster addressed by the record, above, they silenced me by stating that my claims and threats had nothing to do with the nature of my approved written request, and Rantanen demanded that I cease. As the Director of Manistique Public Safety was in the audience, armed, I relinquished my position at the podium rather than taking the risk of mixing it up with men with guns, at the beck and call of political whim.
Here is a shirt pocket recording of my denied attempt to address Manistique City Council, at the council's public meeting of 10/26/09, consistent with my accepted written request to be on the agenda, i.a.w. the provisions of the Michigan Open Meetings Act.
Regarding the heated exchange between "them" and I, I am heard, several times, saying "OK" to various claims by Rantanen. For those that care about due process, in any venue, it was my feeble attempt to discourage her continued unsubstantiated rant so that I could continue with my business, as stated in my approved request to be placed on the council agenda. I wanted, in the worst way, to tell her to "Shut up, asshole, and let me finish what I came to say!", but, based upon my prior experiences with City Attorney Filoramo, and Director of Public Safety Golat, my justified fear moderated my tongue.
As for her claims that I have refused to accept various attempts to edify me, in private, I can only say that, for as long as I can remember, going back well over a decade, the general rule concerning Manistique City Council was to ignore me, or most others with similar concerns. It is possible that I have "forgotten" all that she claimed to have occurred, and "forgot" to include such offers in my extensive and candid documentation of my political concerns in the City of Manistique. If the past minutes of city council, or past issues of the Pioneer Tribune, or past recordings of city council meetings were perused, I suspect that my less than perfect memory would be far more correct than hers regarding her numerous claimed offers of relevant substantiation.
In other words, I understand her claims as confabulation or lies, and the context of her claims eliminates confabulation.
I am well aware of my less than perfect memory, and I am more than willing to concede that I may have forgotten, and failed to document, the numerous efforts to which Rantanen referred. I am also aware that it is highly unlikely that I would refuse to attend any offer to explain that, which after several years of my documented efforts to get relevant answers, I still understand to be little more than a local government con game to collect revenue in a coercive and unlawful manner with fraudulent water and sewer use billing and an extortionate "memorandum" based tax against property I own. From my perspective, my ire has a substantive basis, regardless of how many claimed offers to explain, real or imaginary, I am told I acknowledged and then forgot or refused to attend.
I cannot imagine what Rantanen could say or produce beyond what has already been said, or not, and produced, or not. I have no reason to believe that her recorded offer of 10/26/09 is anything more than desperate deceit to provide, "tomorrow", that which no one has produced, including her, over the years I have requested it.
Either the lawful authority to take my money and, eventually, my property, exists, or it doesn't. As those hired city administrative personnel with the responsibility to locate and produce such authority have not only failed, but produced authority to the contrary, as I have documented above, I have no reason to believe Rantanen.
If the city administration failed with some 70 pages of irrelevant FOIA response related documents, that should have been little more than a few quotes from several identified and relevant city ordinance(s) with their authoritative roots in identified state and federal legislation, then I have no reason to waste my life accepting her only offer to produce that which she and most of her colleagues have refused to acknowledge or speak of, for years, in public, or private, until now.
As I have documented elsewhere, regarding human nature, no meaningful communication can take place to reach a common goal when one party refuses to speak, or speaks of that goal as an armchair, while the other speaks of a pig; regardless of whether either one exists.
Honest, ethical, and meaningful communication concerning public business is even less likely to take place in private when those engaged in self-serving questionable public behaviour can, with impunity - obfuscate, evade, lie, confabulate, deceive and baffle with irrelevant bull shit those that request rational public accountability, in the public arena, in a pointed, forthright, substantiated and justified manner.
The following is the entire content and context of my intended address to Manistique City Council, denied by Mayor Pro Tem Rantanen, with the default silent sanction of other council members and the voiced approval of Manistique City Attorney, John Filoramo; under the watchful, restrained, and appreciated presence of Director of Public Safety Golat.
I am addressing council, this evening, with significant and justified fear regarding the consequences of my continued efforts to defend my property from imminent confiscation, by unethical if not unlawful means. I base this introduction on my awareness and substantial documentation of the process and consequences of the City of Manistique's successful conspiracy, with Schoolcraft County elected officials, to steal property for the Lakeside Road, instead of adhering to well established laws of the state and federal governments, regarding the necessity of acquiring property for public purposes. To rephrase my fear in a more simple and generalized context, I expect the worse from government officials that, because of a generally timid, cowardly, ignorant, and predatory populace, conspire to steal, deceive, and intimidate in the "best interests of the city"; with the sanction of those with the implicit or sworn duty to prevent such activity. That said, what legislated source of authority justifies the choice of the Manistique City Council and administration to extort a substantial piece of my life for municipal water I have not used, for the purpose of building roads and underground infrastructure? If the source of authority is not legislated, then, what source of U.S. common law authority justifies the choice of the Manistique City Council and administration to steal, by extortion, a substantial piece of my life, outside of the legal, well established and defined methods of raising public revenue to pay for public projects such as city streets and underground infrastructure? I have asked this same question concerning property and money extortion by the City of Manistique, verbally and in writing, numerous times, in numerous contexts, with numerous details, over years of time; and received no relevant answers or hint of any interest to represent my interests, or those of others that are victims of what I conclude is unlawful municipal government behaviour. It is not my intent to repeat those questions again, with context, to the Manistique City Council, that expressed, many times, previously, with its default silence, its members' total lack of interest, or abject terror of some entity or consequence unknown to me. The guidance of Mayor David Peterson and City Manager Sheila Aldrich, with the default sanction of the majority of city council, completed the transition of city politics from the best interests of the general electorate, to "the best (private) interests of the city", as if, somehow, a minority of private interests elected them to be their exclusive representatives. I am not unaware that all council members were voted into office by a majority of electors, any of whose predatory interests they may represent, accordingly, regardless of law, because those with the discretionary authority to ignore the rule of law curry political favor and job security by doing so. Since the hiring of Sheila Aldrich as Manistique City Manager, I have noticed a continual and sometimes ludicrous increase in my property taxes even though all my properties suffer from benign neglect, one had several outbuildings removed, and the real estate market in the city is so depressed that, to me, Habitat for Humanity appears to be the significant profitable business in the city, building new houses and remodelling old. At the same time as various folks have been abandoning their city properties, over recent years, I have marvelled at the amount of revenue spent on various city street projects, some complete with frills, east of the Manistique River. Consequently, I find myself, as the "Joker", asking, and answering, the question, “Where do they get those wonderful toys?” The answer I find myself repeating, too often, is, "From city water and sewer bills" claimed by city administration to be based upon city ordinances that specify billing to be based upon water consumption of each property to which the city supplies water and sewer infrastructure. The city's claim is a lie that justifies theft by memorandum, as if a piece of paper representing an anonymous individual's whim provides the authority for the city administration to coerce and extort revenue with the council's approval, and the sanction of the city attorney and state's attorney general's office. Since the ascendancy of Aldrich as "queen bee", I have, subsequently, watched my quality of life reduced, and that of others, and my source of retirement income pillaged by the conscious and deliberate choices of those local individuals that I can identify, readily; unlike those victimized by the nameless of global financial institutions. Consequentially, I find myself considering a variety of options open to me, including murder, arson, and suicide, rather than being the continuing means to the ends of others, that do not care enough about my health and welfare, to provide civilized, relevant answers concerning the source of their assumed authority to coerce, extort, or steal from me and others, that which represents our respective lives. For those government officials that continue to ignore me - as active or passive participants, you are taking my life, a piece at a time, with subjective whimsical authority; a situation I have no interest in suffering in silence, or accepting until my natural death. As I learned from my extensive experience dealing with law enforcement government personnel with the discretionary authority to ignore predation of all types, at all levels of government, I am considering my personal options for justice, that include taking pieces of your lives, with interest, in whatever manner I think might work for me and discourage similar activity, here and elsewhere. For those that fail to understand what a treacherous path to community growth and preservation you have chosen, I suggest you consider the consequences of considering me, and my peers, as little more than those represented by the racial epithet that describes the situation so well; "antebellum plantation niggers", aka the subhuman means to an end, that is so prevalent, and the source of so much violence in Third World countries that you and your kind denounce in pious righteousness. Personally, I do not intend to continue my life as a variation of such, and, as I said, I have considered numerous options to respond, since, relative to my voiced concerns, from local government to the federal government, I have heard nothing but evasive irrelevant deceit, if anything at all. For those that choose not to understand, continually, I will explain it to you, for the last time, as succinctly as possible, from another point of view. If, in my naive and ignorant youth, at the coercive behest of the federal government, I was willing to help kill some two million people innocent of hurting me, or threatening my well being, or that of anyone else in my adopted country, or its allied countries, then give me one good reason why I should not consider that which I stated previously? You have, and continue to hurt me, and others, deliberately, with no revealed source of your authority to do so, with pride of your accomplishments, under the guise that the "best interests of the city", or whatever arbitrary entity you wish to create, represent the best interests of me, and others that elected you. To accentuate the lack of humanity and caliber of the predatory leadership in Manistique that has led to my presence here, Mayor Peterson, ex-cop and unethical authoritarian control freak, wears a Vietnam veteran's ball cap, at public functions drawing attendees from surrounding states. He is, perhaps, totally unconscious of the fact that wearing that hat demonstrates his pride for his involvement, real or imaginary, in the Vietnam War, and represents to the innocent victims of the Vietnam War, their relatives, and understanding sympathizers, the equivalent of a German army veteran wearing Nazi paraphernalia, at a public function, to celebrate his pride in WWII German occupation and slaughter. Some folk never learn, for various reasons connected to self-interest, even if serious innocent blood is spilled; and history is full of bloody failed attempts to promote civilized behaviour of those sworn to do so. Seldom is it that significant government and social change to enforce civil rights occurs without the impetus, or inevitability of, blood and misery. It appears, to me, that the damage, and subsequent inevitable confiscation of my property, for water not used, and water and sewer service not wanted or requested, could lead to bloody violence, because I am one that does not suffer unjustified abuse gladly, or in silence. If, from my perspective, some of the options and context I consider lead to another wasted and bloody effort for justice, at least the blood will be the testimony of one relatively civilized individual who chose not to enslave others, or be a slave to others' whims, or suffer abuse quietly. For those that choose to interpret what I have said and written today, and previously, as the threatening ravings of a certified wacko, I have been certified by a professional, to be totally sane, rational, and justified in my perspective, which is far more than I can testify to regarding the majority of Manistique City Council, administration, and too many others with the responsibility to consider the general public welfare outside of the dogma of a dictatorship. For all those that may be ignorant of the fact, or don't care, there is a "social contract" inherent in our form of government to which elected representatives have a sworn obligation to uphold. That obligation is to govern according to the laws of the land intended to ensure the implicit agreement among people that results in the organization of society whereby an individual surrenders liberty in return for protection; not to be bullied and victimized by those sworn to do otherwise. It is as if the Manistique City Council, and too many local government committees and boards, act as if it is their duty to act as schoolyard bullies, to, among other goals, extort the equivalent of lunch money to pay for the personal goals of themselves, and their political allies. With historical perspective, I fully understand that which I have said, today, and years past, means nothing to a mayor with a "free" $30,000 no-deductible health insurance plan, and the pride of his complicity in the slaughter of innocent foreign nationals. With that understanding, I stress that, what others consider "lunch money" is, relative to my future, the difference between a life worth living, and a life of misery. If nothing else, I request you give serious consideration to what that means, and what I might consider to hold accountable those that would steal my interests that represent my current and future quality of life, that they care nothing for. If you find my presence and words unsettling, and worthy of consideration, then my purpose here tonight has been accomplished. If you don't, I am beyond caring, because, to me, most of you represent little more than the interests of parasitic vermin. Regarding my personal interests, private, and public, I learned, long ago, from the actions of others, that threats are counter productive, and have a tendency to limit options. If you choose to label my candid public comments as threats or menacing, contrary to the legal and English language meaning of "threat" and "menace", that is your business, but at the moment, and previously, my angst is directed towards the appropriate application of well established and lawful ethical concepts compared to the cowardly unethical behaviour of which the public record testifies you represent. If council chooses, it may now return to its irresponsible "in the best interest of the city" "business as usual", most of which represents little to nothing of my interests, or the interests of many other city residents that elected you. If any council member chooses, they may inquire of me any pertinent details related to that which I have just read. I will answer your questions, candidly, as long as I do not understand the gist of the question as an attempt to elicit a response that implies a threat, or from which I think you may infer a threat. As Director of Public Safety Golat, and other imaginative city employees may understand, by now, I speak candidly, but I do not menace or make threats. I thank you for whatever relevant attention you might have paid to the issues of my interest and, perhaps, in the near future, you might set my mind at ease by making transparent that which you have refused to acknowledge, for years, in any relevant manner or form. I thank your historical ethical predecessors for this opportunity to petition Manistique City Council, and I request a copy of this address be included in a permanent public record. Peter C. Markham, 10/26/09
Today, I stopped by the Pioneer Tribune newspaper office for a short chat with chief-cook-and-bottle-washer-reporter, Paul Olson. The short chat turned into somewhat of a candid soup-to-nuts conversation regarding the nature of my presentation. Of particular interest to Paul was why my use of the term "nigger" in the context I chose to use it.
What follows are my views, written earlier this month, concerning my use of the term, in my context, of my writing, above, and a few other places at this web site. I wrote my views on the subject because I knew that my choice of words would ignite a similar furor, for similar reasons, as when I used the term "Afro-American engineering" instead of "Yooper engineering", while addressing past city council business, during the short period of time I was a member of that council.
For those folks that, due to ignorance and their inability to consider context, might have ascribed some racial bias to my use of the term; no way, Jose.
For those folk that know better, but wish to ascribe and articulate their motives and context outside that of my writing and my speach; keep fantasizing and lying coz the gullible and stupid will believe anything.
10/08/09 I have been aware of an ongoing controversy, for some 45 years in the black community from which I have been isolated for 25 years. I have heard, over the last decade, on tv and radio, and from reading news articles, that popular, successful, and influential entrepreneurs and professionals, such as Bill Cosby and Opra Winfrey, chastise those black folk that use, while referring to each other during their informal banter, some variation of the term "nigger". I was aware of the use of that idiom, in the described context, throughout my military experience context, during my Vietnam War days, and later. At that time, I gave it little thought, because military folk are far more inured than the average civilian W.A.S.P. to the good natured use of epithets and derogatory idioms. Over the past 25 years I came to appreciate, from my chosen "poor white trash" perspective, what I assume is a particular black under-class understanding associated with their good natured and candid use of what most white folk cannot speak, in a typical candid social context, beyond... "The N Word". In my case, it was not until I gave serious thought to local politics, and realized that I, like many black folk at the low end of the socio-economic scale, are, to the average person with "middle class" aspirations, considered as little more than a means to their ends, just as the middle class is a means to the ends of other levels of elitists further up the human food chain. Later in life, when I became fully at ease with my understanding of basic human nature, goals and politics, I then understood how the word "nigger" could have meaning far beyond a derogatory term for people with skin color different from mine. I also understood how a specific term used to classify a particular group of people could be used by that group to communicate their candid and common understanding of their place in the world, relative to those that viewed them as little more than a means to an end; be it political power, sales, labor, sex, killers, etc. I fully understood, during my Southeast Asia years, how it was easier for the college educated folk I worked with to abuse, torture, and kill "Gooks", instead of Vietnamese, but, at the time, I had not made the related philosophical connection that many of the "brothers" had, regardless of whether their connection was intuitive, based upon shared common heritage and experiences, or, as in my case, later, a consequence of intellectual musing. So, for those that don't get it, the term "nigger", as I choose to understand and use it, is as a term of historical significance and meaning that represents a particular classification by certain elitist individuals of those individuals that they consider a disposable sub-human resource, for their ends. Being black helps to facilitate the classification, but the effective meaning of the word is far more sinister than a disparaging term to identify an individual of a "colored" race. I know from experience, it doesn't take much misplaced ego to go from classifying your peers as a "human resource" to sub-human "gook" or "nigger" or "indian", or "white trash"... Mostly, those terms, along with a multitude of de-facto synonyms, all have the same meaning of classification... to identify a disposable means to an end of some special interest. In several barber shop scenes, of his movie, "Gran Torino", Clint Eastwood made it a point to illustrate the humor of shared experiences and understandings that can be associated with the good natured use of epithets and derogatory idioms. The point being, a "nigger" ain't, necessarily, a "nigger", and a "honky" is not necessarily a "honky", and being afraid to use any particular epithet or slur, in an appropriate context, says everything to me about empty minds that find such words sufficiently offensive to inspire them to incite hatred by claiming meaning for a word that does not exist in the context of that word's use. The "N word", at its most recognized historical worst, means a black slave; epitomized by the phrase "antebellum plantation nigger" - i.e. pre Civil War non-white humans considered as the sub-human means to white humans' ends, because of the easily recognized and particular distinguishing characteristics of the individual, or group, to be victimized. In an intellectual context, what better universally understood idiom is there for a disposable class of people, and what better way is there for an individual of a disposable class of people to express their common understanding of their lot, and bond, than to co-opt and use the term, themselves? As a metaphor, the "abused", or "victimized, or "poor white trash" has far less effect than the equivalent emotional, literary, and historical impact of "nigger". Metaphor? What's a metaphor? - Must be a racial slur! For all that I have forgotten, I remember well, not too many years ago, the publicity surrounding my use of a racial idiomatic metaphor, taken out of my innocent context and twisted into a hatred inciting racial slur context, by others burdened with their own ignorance, or twisted minds! This time, my use of a similar racial metaphor was deliberate, pointed, and with full historical understanding that some movers and shakers in my community would be overjoyed to label me a racist, again, because I do not play by their "politically correct" rules and the relative ignorance that limits their perspectives.
During a recent conversation I was asked, by another Manistique resident, if a city council resolution to establish and collect a water and sewer "ready to serve fee" was revealed, would I cease my pugnacious tirade. I responded that I would, if I was shown the public record of the due process followed to establish the right of Manistique city administration to fish in my wallet with its extortionate water/sewer ready to serve policy, and its water/sewer service termination policy, and its patently fraudulent billing and collection of water and sewer service contrary to City of Manistique ordinances, and state law.
The question that followed was, paraphrased, "If the public record of the due process and legal authority was lost, or was established "years ago", what would it cost the community to find it?" Our conversation was interrupted, and being short of time I had to depart before I could answer, and discuss our different views.
My answer, today, relative to the last question that I understand to be voiced by an apologist for certain previous and current Manistique government tyranny is, "Considerably less than the likely eventual consequences, if I am any judge of history, and human nature." For a government entity to have taken wealth, or to continue taking the wealth of those governed, based upon little more than a whim, its refusal to reveal its source of lawful authority to do so, and its use of police power and the courts to enforce its extortionate and confiscatory whims, is the mark of a typical Third World government of cowardly predators engaging in government terrorism.
Regardless of how much it took for an honest, ethical, and capable person to go through the public record, in a complete, conscientious, and responsible manner, it would be a drop in the bucket of money collected to date, with no little to no legal authority or due process that I am aware of.
In effect, I understand Manistique city government resorts to more than a touch of whimsical rule with impunity, due to the justified and understandable fear and ignorance of those governed to voice their objections to the manner in which they are governed, contrary to the laws of the land.
It was not me that stated, in so many words, "If laws are not enforced, in effect, they do not exist." That credit goes to an FBI agent of the Marquette office that understood that law enforcement starts with the appropriate enforcement of lawful city ordinances and ends with the appropriate enforcement of constitutional law.
The state and federal governments provide local government representatives legislated tools, and sanctions the use of those tools by those local government representatives that choose to impose their respective wills upon others "not deemed to be in the best interests", of whomever, contrary to the purpose and spirit of the legislated tools provided them. In a similar fashion, various governments provides weapons to various government organizations and individuals, used to impose their respective wills, with impunity, upon others, domestic and foreign, not deemed to be in the best interests of various contrived government entities.
Hence, as in many Third World countries, my choice is to succumb quietly, or consider my viable options to resist the inappropriate imposition of others' wills, by any means available, in whatever manner I deem is to my best interests, at whatever cost I am willing to pay, within the context of my likely remaining natural lifetime and quality of life given the current impositions upon me. Hopefully, my perspective and consideration is consistent with the interests of others with a similar view of a populace that should be governed by the consistent enforcement of well considered and established law, instead of the personal whimsies of those that would be slavers.
At the Manistique City Council meeting of 12/14/09, a feeble attempt was made to provide some apparent legitimacy to the city's unsubstantiated claim that State and Federal governments promote and sanction municipal policy to confiscate private property from those that refuse to pay for unwanted water and sewer service, and false billings for unused water to private properties within the municipality of Manistique. Based upon the above premise, documented previously, a new municipal water service termination policy process was introduced and explained by public employee, City Manager Aldrich, and a resolution to that effect was approved by elected city council members.
Regarding the due process, under color of law, that I witnessed, I conclude that local city government learned something since the anonymous memorandum of July 1, 2004, that has been used by the City of Manistique, for over five years, as the sole claimed publicized authority for municipal extortion and confiscatory policy, tantamount to theft. At least, this time, there is a formal council resolution to extort by whimsical policy, rather than letting city administration extort by whimsical anonymous policy "memorandum", alone.
Now, Councilwoman Rantanen can claim, truthfully, there is authority, under color of law, instead of pure administrative whimsy. I do not expect her to understand the difference, or the fact that, without a lawful authority to extort money, there is not one iota of difference between the new and old policy, beyond the fact that not one member of council can claim ignorance of what they have done.
A shirt pocket mp recording of the inauguration of the "new" City of Manistique policy may be found here. As with the prior water and sewer related whimsical policies, the new policy refers to no city ordinance, or legislated authority, for the "choice" given by Manistique City Council to municipal private property owners to determine the means by which the City of Manistique may extort pieces of their lives.
As with the prior water and sewer related whimsical policies, I note a questionable lack of legislated authority, ethics, and logic, in the new one.
If, to secure funding from "...Rural Development, our loan holder...", required the City of Manistique to ensure that "...our base fee cover fixed expenses at the plants..." Then, assuming I am not grossly stupid and naive, I fail to understand why I should believe Aldrich's implication that one party to a federal loan agreement can make an arbitrary and unilateral choice to establish, change, or ignore a supposed mandatory condition/term to secure a federal loan, based upon extortion and confiscation. Assuming that federal legislation and USDA Rural Development policy is not designed to confiscate citizens' cash and property, or destroy the purpose of the US Constitution, and Bill of Rights, then I am moved to conclude the likelihood that the USDA agency's official policy is not to sanction the policies of the City of Manistique to secure its loans with ordinances and policies more consistent with the choices of a repressive criminal enterprise than a progressive and enlightened municipal government.
Regarding the 11/14/09 "new" offer of choice, to those with occupied property requiring water and sewer service, it is, for any typical short term shutoff, a no brainer to "choose" the old extortionate policy at the current rate of $36.14 per month, because, by today's numbers, ~7 months is 7 px $36.14 = $252.98, only $2.98 more than the new $250 billing of a property owner to shut off and turn on the water supply at the curbstop, and invading private property to remove and reinstall a water metering device that has nothing to do with shutting off water service at the curbstop valve, or securing the municipal water supply from theft.
As a consequence of the 12/14/09 whimsical decision of city council to institute a new method of extortion, the "optional" $250 base-fee-exception-fee, I am inclined to conclude that substantial deceit and creative accounting methods were used to establish the original "base fee", and the optional exception fee, and the stated purpose and amount of the "base fee" and water and sewer use rates. By the city's own ordinances that I have referred to and quoted, previously and later, "...Such charges (...provided for in this chapter...) SHALL be based upon the quantity of water used thereon or therein..." Unless the city has been withholding information from me, there has never been any due process to change any relevant part of the original ordinances designed to ensure the funding of water and sewer infrastructure, while discouraging predatory politicians, administrators and bureaucrats from creating whimsical and extortionate revenue streams at the electorate's expense.
For the years I have requested it, no one from city government or administration has shown me any due process to raise water and sewer infrastructure related revenue outside of the city ordinances I have referred to, and quoted. Therefore, given the premise that all the revenue required to maintain and operate water and sewer infrastructure SHALL be based upon water use within the authority of existing city ordinances known to me, why all the apparent deceit to conceal the apparent criminal behaviour of raising revenue by apparent fraud and extortion?
If any current owner of any property connected to the municipal water and sewer system, is being charged for water and sewer service they do not want, or use, and are willing to buy relatively cheap "protection" from further extortion, under the terms of the city's new offer, then the loss of a whimsical "mandatory base fee" can be compensated for, readily, in the following year, by rate and "base fee" increases among the remaining water and sewer bills. Its easy to keep the money flowing from the wallets of sheep.
Then there is the supposed reasoning of "...people turning themselves back on, after being turned off by the City Utility Department." I will assume that the quote suggests reasoning related to water theft, and has nothing to do with drug use so prevalent in the community. Given my prior assumption, and the relative ease and economy of using available technology and existing municipal employees to determine water theft at unoccupied buildings with no water and sewer service accounts, then the legality of, requirement of, and liability for, municipal employees requiring access to private residences, to shut of and turn on water service by removing and replacing metering devices, borders on a likely consequence of drug induced lunacy.
During the time the purchase, installation, and use of new water metering devices was considered at public meetings, no such lunacy was suggested or considered.
It takes an accountant to suggest that removing and reinstalling a water metering device, at substantial cost to the property owner, somehow secures water from theft, and prevents a property owner from replacing the removed meter with an ~$5 piece of copper, steel, or PEX tubing. It takes a crooked accountant running the city, with the approval of bent city politicians, to create or preserve policies that encourage municipal water theft and water and sewer service credit that everyone else pays for because no one paid to stop such theft, and unsecured municipal credit to renters, will do what they are paid to do.
It doesn't take too much effort, or too much money, to secure the municipal water supply from illegal use by any typical property owner with access to municipal water. It doesn't take more than a few brain cells to institute a three month deposit policy, based upon local demographics, if customers are given a three month option to ignore legitimate water and sewer bills before the city terminates water service. What it takes is focussed concern, and action, from those that, supposedly, represent the interests of most members of the community stuck with the consequences of broken reasoning, regarding broken people given the opportunity to screw their neighbors, with impunity.
I found it interesting to note that during City Manager Aldrich's introduction of the new policy, and city council discussion of the motion to approve a resolution to impose a revised extortionate revenue raising policy upon the electorate, no formal public input was solicited, no formal public input was referred to, and no reference was made to an authorizing local ordinance, state or federal, or common law basis; sanctioned with City Attorney Filoramo's silence. Again, I am motivated to wonder how representatives of the electorate can determine the nature of the electorate's interests, without public communication with the electorate that elected them to represent their interests.
During the introduction, and discussion of the motion to adopt the "new" policy, no one mentioned any "punishment" for a property owner's failure to ransom their property from the unmentioned confiscatory consequences of failing to abide by the original whimsical policy. The new policy, like the old, refers to no lawful source of authority or consequences for violation, and, to the best of my knowledge, like the old policy, the new is based upon some mutually understood conspiratorial agreement between local, state, and federal governments to victimize ignorant and cowardly citizens.
The only justification for the "new" de facto confiscatory policy was a vague hearsay reference by Aldrich to a conversation with the "recent city manager", regarding a prerequisite federal infrastructure funding necessity for a whimsical extortionate municipal policy required to secure federal funding of municipal water and sewer infrastructure; a policy enforced by city police powers as the equivalent of holding a gun to a municipal property owner's head and demanding, "Pay for unused and unwanted municipal water and sewer service, and non- existent water use, or we will take your property, by force, if necessary." As I implied, previously, the only essential difference that I see, between the neighborhood Italian mob of my impressionable youth, and the architects and enforcers of too many Manistique City policies during my somewhat wiser waning years, are the surnames of scofflaws, for which I conclude that the City of Manistique has its City Attorney Filoramo as the equivalent of alleged Consigliere Corozzo, of the Gambino family.
As I tried to make evident at the Manistique City Council meeting of 10/26/09, during an agenda item aborted by Councilperson - Mayor Pro Tem Rantanen, and "Consigliere" Filoramo, I am forced by whimsical city policy to consider any and all options to hold responsible, with interest, those that have sanctioned the right of others to steal the future I invested in, i.a.w. the property rights provisions of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. No local ordinance, or state, or federal law has been offered, in any fashion, to authorize what the City of Manistique has done, and threatens to do, regarding its confiscatory policies concerning my private property, and that of others of concern to me; contrary to the recorded tirade of Mayor Pro Tem Rantanen.
If local, state, and federal governments find it necessary to promulgate, promote, and enforce infrastructure financing policies that promote and sanction the extortion of a citizen's property, for the claimed purpose of securing funding to build new municipal infrastructure and repair old, then, real property rights do not exist. Instead, property is held by whimsical privilege, granted by, and held hostage to whimsical government choices to collect revenue outside of a constitutional authority to levy taxes, and the reasonable expectation of a government enterprise to be paid to deliver goods and service as a consequence of a voluntary contract between the government provider and the citizen customer, subject to the terms of a contract that both parties are fully aware of, and understand.
When only one party to an agreement understands the terms, there is no voluntary "meeting of the minds" to establish the basic elements of a contract. An attempt by one party to a "wannabe contract" to collect an undisclosed liability from another party with no knowledge of, or reason to know of, an undisclosed term that established said claimed liability, is little more than blatant fraud. A threat by one party to a "wannabe contract" to collect by force, an unjustified and undisclosed liability, allegedly incurred by an undisclosed term of a "wannabe contract", from another party to that "wannabe contract", is little more than blatant extortion.
When I purchased my properties in the City of Manistique, there were no such liabilities of record, the properties were free and clear of any incumbrances, and I incurred no such liabilities, other than property taxes and the consequences of all disclosed terms of the legal contract I entered into. It is not my intent to acknowledge, specifically or by default silence, anyone's criminal claim to what I own, and it is not my intent to sanction criminal extortion and theft of my property, regardless of subsequent consequences.
If, for some lawful and ethical reason yet to be revealed to me, there is a conspiracy of shadow government politicians, and bureaucrats, and their supporters, that create predatory secret policies and laws to meet their agendas, then it is not my intent to sanction such behaviour, or be victimized quietly, regardless of subsequent consequences.
It is the stated intent of the City of Manistique to confiscate my property, i.a.w. whimsical administration policy and the tax laws of the State of Michigan, if I do not pay for water and sewer service that I never contracted for, do not use, or want, and which has nothing to do with the lawful raising of tax revenue, or other lawful due process required to collect revenue from city property owners for the purpose of funding infrastructure. It is my stated intent not to submit to whimsical extortion and to consider any and all options necessary to make any confiscation as costly as possible to those that create, support, and sanction such behaviour, regardless of subsequent consequences.
If those that claim to represent the best interests of the electorate wish to finance city infrastructure, such as roads, curbs and sidewalks, parks, D.P.W. personnel, city administration personnel, and a variety of equipment and toys to maintain such infrastructure, and pander to the advocates of such business, then there exists mechanisms to levy taxes for such purposes in a lawful and equitable manner. Taking a portion of water and sewer payments to purchase "wanna have" items, and to provide matching funds for grants and loans for a variety of "wanna have" projects, outside of the water and sewer infrastructure, is fraud. The water and sewer enterprise accounts are not extensions of the general fund, or local and major streets budget, to be used for any related purpose a parasite may imagine.
If those same "representatives" wish to raise revenue for new water and sewer infrastructure, operation, and maintenance, with water and sewer funds, then Manistique city ordinances exist to authorize the levying of water and sewer rates, in an equitable manner, based upon water consumption.
If those same "representatives" wish to raise revenue for new water and sewer infrastructure, operation, and maintenance, secured by some new whimsical, discriminatory, and predatory fee, charge, etc., then the establishment of, and authorization to collect that new charge may be achieved by establishing a new city ordinance to such effect. Since its creation, existing Manistique city ordinance 25.314 sec 14 does not authorize future revenue raising methods, whimsical or not. Manistique city ordinance 25.464 Sec 14 does not specify or imply the authority for the city council to sanction administrative efforts to collect or enforce collection of any whimsical and extortionate revenue methods outside of those "...provided for in this chapter...", and its provisions would have to be replaced or amended to permit whimsical and extortionate gouging based upon other than water consumption.
To the best of my knowledge, based upon information provided me by the City of Manistique, there is no provision in existing Manistique ordinances, to collect water and sewer related fees based upon some arbitrary discriminatory basis determined by city employees and sanctioned by city council members that are crooks or cowards, by choice or gross ignorance.
Among other questionable behavior, council members claiming to represent the best interests of the city, rather than the electorate, finance pet projects and curry favor with special interests, by authorizing the spending of 10% of the gross water and sewer service fees upon that which has little to nothing to do with the accounting of city water and sewer service fees. Consequentially, I find myself wondering about the motivation of those that have perverted a relatively rational and equitable system of legislated and ballot based tax revenue generation into a whimsical de facto, "We, your masters, can raise revenue from you, our serfs, in any manner we choose, because you do not have the financial and political clout to hold us accountable, or the balls to do something outside of a system of law enforcement that we, and out ilk, have broken to such a degree that you cannot afford to resist us. Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile!"
If the elected representatives of the residents of the City of Manistique wish to finance, "in the best interests of the city", the building of roads, among other goals, with water and sewer related fees based upon whimsical policies that hold hostage my current and future well being represented by the properties purchased with the product of my life, then I am more than willing to go to the mat in whatever style, and to whatever degree I consider necessary, regardless of subsequent consequences.
Either the founding documents of the Republic are overarching, or they are of no more value than toilet paper, to those that choose not to sanction the victimization of themselves, and others. Either there is "...liberty and justice for all." as claimed during the "Pledge of Allegiance" before each televised regular Manistique City Council meeting, or any such pledge is a gross lie.
If the citizens of this county and country have little to no concern about touting to their neighbors, and other nations, the sanctity of a constitution based government, predicated upon the enforcement of laws that ensure individual and property rights, while denying the same to their own neighbors and citizens, then I have not one iota of guilt, regret, or remorse, considering my remaining options. Consequentially, I understand why others, elsewhere in the world, have no compunction about resorting to "mindless" violence so vilified by their abusers that take umbrage to the very thought that a victim might fight back, regardless of the fact that one victim cannot win against an armed government entity that considers most citizens as little more than human resources to meet the aspirations of a privileged few.
Unbridled human nature is what it is.
After a phone call to the US Attorney office in Marquette, yesterday, and a subsequent call to the FBI office, I wrote, and mailed today, the following letter to FBI Special Agent, Clint Morse.
This is a complaint seeking relief from, and compensation for, the consequences of past and current extortion, by the City of Manistique, of the owners of real property within, and in at least one instance, outside of, the corporate limits of the City of Manistique. To the best of my knowledge, the city chooses to extort money and property from a select group of real property owners, of its own choosing, under the color of law, contrary to the plain language of existing city ordinances, state law, and federal law. To the best of my knowledge, it did, and does so, with the complete awareness of its actions and consequences, with the full awareness and advice of the city's legal counsel. To the best of my knowledge, the bases for my allegations are, from my limited perception, relatively simple. 1. It is my contention that no lawful due process exists to establish the authority by which the City of Manistique extorts payments for what it labels, at times, as a "base fee" and "disconnect policy" regarding municipal water and sewer service. Both "fees", to the best of my understanding, are little more than whimsical city administrative fabrications, sanctioned and enforced by subsequent city council approval, and enforced by the threat of using police powers to confiscate property, with no due compensation, under the color of law that denies basic property rights guaranteed by state and federal constitutions, and enumerated rights. 2. It is my contention that no lawful due process exists to acquire certain private property related to what is known, locally, as the "Lakeside Road". Under the color of law, the City of Manistique acquired jurisdiction over private property owned by Manistique Township resident, Alfred Burns, and used local and state police power to forcibly confiscate and convert Burns private property, adjacent to the city limits. Mr. Burns and I, relative to our respective abuse, have "wasted", to date, a considerable part of our respective lives seeking some form of lawful justification and substantiation for our abuse, and redress due, from those with the responsibility to enforce laws that deny, specifically, the assumed right of government officials and employees to treat citizens of choice as nothing more than a means to their ends. Speaking for myself, only, I have stated, at two recent public city council meetings, and written articles I published on my public web site, that I am considering murder, arson, and suicide, as consequences of the municipal extortion and abuse I have suffered to date and the pending confiscation of my properties, by a process of what I have no reason to consider to be other than unlawful municipal extortion, of a particular class of citizens, under color of law; the terms of which I refuse to accept. Speaking for myself, only, I fully understand that, to date, from the City of Manistique's perspective, I do not have the civil right to own property, without paying "protection money" to counter the stated intention of the city to confiscate my property, if I do not pay. I fully understand the consequences of my choice, if I choose to take a violent stand against those that have chosen to enforce their uncivil right to treat me as the equivalent of an "antebellum plantation nigger", a part I refuse to accept. As I am sure you know, "Unenforced rights are no more than words on toilet paper." Due to inherent predatory human nature, molded by environmental pressures since our ancestors crawled out of the primeval ooze, it is an historical fact that beyond the threat of certain and effective retribution by a victim, or their advocates, against human predators of all stripes and circumstances, predators will continue to prey. Beyond personal violent self-defense there is no effective choice for an individual victim of limited means and influence to discourage further abuse, if those with the sworn duty to enforce laws that secure legal rights choose to do otherwise. It would appear that I have wandered into the midst of a situation directly related to the historical, philosophical, and legal reasons for the Second Amendment, among other reasons for national and state constitutions that are other than fiction. If there are any inquiries related to that which I have stated, I may be reached at:
Based upon the consistently lame and irrelevant responses to the many efforts of Burns and I to hold government predators accountable, I expect little more than the likelihood to be labelled a "dangerous" person, beyond Manistique City Hall. I have little to no expectations that anything will come of my latest civilized effort to curtail systematic corruption of juris prudence that leads to endemic victimization of those, like me, that did not develop the skills and knowledge to prey, or chose not to be predators.
Without repeating, for the umpteenth time, why I find the policies of my concerns predatory, reprehensible and unacceptable, consider the following analogy:
You purchase and pay for a vehicle, receive a recorded title with no encumbrance, and store it in your garage. Several years later, you receive a continuing monthly bill of $36 for a "ready to use the city street fee", billed against you vehicle by the City of Manistique, because your garage floor connects to the street by way of your driveway. If you do not pay the monthly bill, the city will, with no compensation to you, confiscate your vehicle, and garage, by force, with local and state police powers "authorized" by a whimsical city administration policy, "sanctioned", or not, by a city council resolution, and state tax laws.
What's wrong with this picture? If, in the historical context of the US Constitution and Bill of Right you find nothing wrong with the real "ready to use water fee", and the fictional "ready to use street fee" analogy, you and your descendants deserve to be slaves.
The schoolyard bully-predator mentality is well represented by Manistique's city government and administration. Beyond typical sibling rivalry, I never sanctioned it as a child, and I never sanctioned it as an adult, and I am more than willing to fight it, now, as I become an ol' geezer with less, and less, to lose. The power of predators to extort becomes zero when a victim has nothing to lose, or refuses to be held hostage to that which they have.
As I lay in bed this morning, it occurred to me that my choice of words, to express some of my considered choices of future action, might be interpreted out of context, or in some manner that I had not intended. My concern is the likelihood of a misunderstanding of, or total ignorance of, a significant part of the misery visited upon Burns and I, and silent others, that is opposed to the basic concepts of the constitutional US government as defined by the content of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The source of our abuse is nothing more than politicians and government officials acting, deliberately, together, in direct contradiction to the wording and intent of the founding documents, because it is in their personal self-interest to do so.
I have, since my adolescence of the late fifties, been aware of those that strove for freedom from the predatory domination of others, starting with opposition to school bullies, to the efforts of Cuban "terrorists" that chose to oppose the U.S. supported brutal regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Since that time, including some three years in the Southeast Asia theatre of the Vietnam War, I was constantly troubled, by words such as "terrorist", "murderer", "radical" "fundamentalist" "rebel", "bandit", etc. used by most government and media mavens to demonize victims of harsh regimes that had some obvious reason to "be" one or all of the above, assuming they were not typical criminals hiding their criminal intent behind empty philosophical rhetoric.
The trouble I had, and still have, is that if I detach myself from the stated motives of opposing forces, too often, there is little to no difference between one man's terrorist and another man's patriot, because the means to respective goals are, primarily, the same; death, destruction, torture, coercion, maiming, misery, extortion, starvation, deceit, fraud, etc. What does differ, to a significant degree, is the propaganda surrounding the conflict between "good" and "evil", or "right" and "wrong", as promoted by each opposing force in a struggle for dominance.
That difference of perception of right and wrong, good and evil, cause and effect,... results in the use of words that have opposite meanings to opposing interests, due to the differences of perception, context, and goals of those that use the words vs. those that hear them. Patriotism or terrorism? Which is it?
I have stated in writing and verbally, that I am considering various options regarding the eventual and inevitable confiscation of my property for what I have no reason to believe are other than fraudulent "water and sewer service bills" and unauthorized "base fees" that I refuse to pay. As these delinquent billings are collected as delinquent property taxes, or co-mingled with property tax bills, if I do not pay them, I am bound to lose my property because I cannot pay the property taxes without paying the unauthorized water-sewer-base-fee bills.
It has been made clear by Manistique city administration, and council, that if I do not pay both, they will confiscate my property, so there is no point in paying one if I do not pay the other; therefore, I will pay neither. Beyond being broke sooner, I stand to preserve or gain nothing by paying taxes on property that is destined to be confiscated for my refusal to pay for extortionate fraudulent water and sewer service bills, and extortionate unauthorized "base fees".
The city's confidence game is, and was, to hold my property, and therefore my future quality of life, hostage to its whimsical decision to extort payments from me, and others, under color of law, for non-existent water and sewer use and an unauthorized "base fee". As the community electorate has expressed no outrage, concerning the grossly unethical, if not criminal, behaviour of its representatives, then I have little choice but to conclude they agree and approve of such victimizing behaviour. Consequently, I have no qualms about the likely consequences of options that I consider.
What must be murder, arson, and suicide to the silent populace of Manistique is, to me, nothing more than justified self-defense to promised municipal theft by the equivalent of armed thugs and their supporters. Due to the obvious difference in perception, between me and most everyone else, I must consider the rational option of suicide weighed against spending the rest of my life in prison, because I have no reason to believe that a jury of my "peers" would be capable of determining right from wrong, and act accordingly.
So, as it has been quite obvious, for years, that I cannot be right and everyone else wrong, I used the terms for my violent options that reflect the perception of most everyone else, in the community. From my minority perspective of "everyone else is nuts, but me", what I consider is nothing more than the only defensive options I have to ensure that "they" pay as dearly as possible for their unilateral choice to take, or sanction the taking of my money, and property, and rights that make life worth living.
For well documented reasons, Al Burns was powerless to stop the use of armed police to enforce similar whimsical municipal decisions to confiscate his property and rights. I have no intent of repeating his final failed effort to hold accountable his victimizers, in a civilized manner. Uncivilized behaviour calls for uncivilized remedies.
In defence of my property, and rights of ownership abrogated by those with the sworn responsibility to do otherwise, I am forced to consider reprehensible choices. Elected and hired officials of the City of Manistique demand that I accept their whimsical claim to my money and property and, for years, none of them have provided me any indication of the lawful due process and authority they claim to possess. They threaten to take my property, and the life worth living that it represents, if I do not pay them for the privilege of property "ownership". Among choices considered by me are the options to maim or take the lives of those that authorize, or sanction, the impending theft that I am helpless to stop, beyond surrendering to municipal coercion and extortion.
Obviously, as in Burn's case, the status quo is sanctioned by the silent acquiescence of the "majority" of city residents. Consequently, I must be the minority "bad guy" considering "murder", "arson" and "suicide" instead of the rational defence of my property, and the quality of a life worth living that property represents, supposedly ensured by a constitution based government, the laws of which are supposedly enforced to foster "liberty and justice for all."
It is obvious, to me, that I, and a powerless minority, recognize, and refuse to accept, the primacy of a constantly evolving nationwide political confidence game, with constantly evolving rules, and constantly changing participants, the sole purpose of which is for various special interests to profit from the destruction of the enforcement of laws based upon national and state constitutions designed to benefit the governed, not the governing.
I can only imagine the value of properties stolen with de facto conspiracies between government entities and contractors, by the wholesale violation of laws governing the acquisition of private properties for streets, roads, and highways. Burns learned, through a long and painful legal process, that he is the only one bearing the scars of his encounter with those that pay little more than lip service to the law, to be paid to steal from him, and the general public, with impunity.
In retrospect, he and I learned that he was easy meat, that profited everyone else except he and I.
Relative to those that have sanctioned the extortion of money from me, and the stated intention to steal my property, it is my stated intent to consider all viable options to share the pain, outside of wasting what life I have left hoping to find a competent and effective law enforcement official that does not sanction the equivalent of municipal fraud, extortion and theft.
Having learned from Burn's experiences, I have no reason to expect anything other than to lose my property to confiscation, and my money to extortion. With those likely eventualities in mind, I consider all options that occur to me to make the experience as costly as possible to all, as I do not intend to be easy meat, or to carry the scars, alone, as Al did.
The rhetoric from my corner becomes more heated as a consequence of little more than years of silence from my abusers, a bill for ~$93 of irrelevant FOIA response, and a televised ass-chewing by an elected fabulist. The civilized options open to me become fewer as detailed public comments at public meetings are ignored, my requests for information from the Manistique City Clerk's office are met with copies of ordinances that do not authorize the extortion taking place, and my attempt to address Manistique City Council during a scheduled agenda item was unilaterally terminated by an elected fabulist with no understanding of the English language, and a deliberate disdain of the Open Meetings Act.
As a consequence of no civilized communication concerning my justified and detailed requests from those that claim to represent the "law", city, and electorate, I find my mind wandering elsewhere in the world where the consequences of those with differences, and the refusal to communicate in a candid and respectful manner, results in inevitable violence; one-sided, or both. Among those with the courage of their convictions, whether they be of a factual or mythical nature, violence is, too often, the only viable option to combat sanctioned victimizing behaviour.
If one party views another as nothing more than a means to an end, and the means refuses to be consumed without resisting in whatever manner is available, then any and all options are considered, by both parties.
Helplessness, real or imagined, fosters violent confrontation, assuming a victim refuses to be victimized in silent desperation. I notice that I, like others victimized in countries where the rule of law is fiction, have no trouble considering all forms of retribution. In a community that sanctions victimizing behaviour, there are no innocents, especially when the representatives of one faction, or another, have the silent sanction, or open co-operation, of those they claim to represent.
The inevitable consequences of governing without enforcement of civilized laws make headlines every day. It is part of human nature to attempt domination of one's environment, including one's neighbours, and it is part of human nature to resist domination. If the power to dominate others, collectively or personally, is unchecked by the effective enforcement of laws and policies that discourage arbitrary dominating behaviour, then victims of domination become alienated from society and, with "sufficient" reason, will consider any and all options to end their abuse, or make their abusers "pay" for their assumed right to abuse. The greater the impact of their abuse, the greater the likelihood that a victim will consider and actualize retribution in a "satisfying" manner.
In the school yard, someone kicks me for a whimsical reason, I kick them back, harder.
In Manistique, by whimsical authority, known individuals extorted my money and currently threaten to take my property that represents the quality of my current and future life. As I choose not to pay or condone whimsical extortion and taking of property, and I cannot afford to ransom my future quality of life, or buy justice, then, with nothing to lose beyond an undesirable existence of penury and deprivation, I have little choice but to bend over and submit to abuse, quietly, or consider preferable alternatives that I can afford.
In answer to my letter to the local FBI office, today I had a face-to-face serious and candid conversation with two FBI agents. We discussed a substantial part of what I have written, and said at public meetings. Part of the conversation centered on the apparent difficulty of both agents to consider the situation from my perspective that, in the eyes of the universe, and from my perspective, most humans are no more than ants at a picnic, and, as I have no reasons to believe in God, Heaven, or Hell, I welcome the death of both humans and ants that consume my means to my survival.
The point I tried to make was, as far as I am concerned, the death of an ant taking bread off my plate is of no greater concern to me than the death of a neighbour taking the product of my life for not other reason than they can. Both the predatory ant, and the predatory neighbour, are, to me, little more than predatory vermin, without which life would be far more pleasant.
When we parted company, after our civil and professional discussion, I was left with no doubt that the FBI agents considered municipal extortion a civil matter. How that FBI distinction was derived was never discussed. How it differed from the extortion of the Bonano's and Gambinos of my youth was left for me to ponder, and to inquire of the U.S. Attorney's Office, or elsewhere.
The FBI agents next stop was Manistique City Hall, to discuss the situation with those that I hold responsible for the abuse of municipal power that threatens my future. It will be interesting to hear the rumors concerning one that refuses to be silent about his yet-to-be-justified victimization. As I have told everyone that cares to listen, if you show me the lawful due process authority to get into my shorts, then I will not resist while you screw me; but not until then.
The following editorial letter was published in the 12/24/09 edition of the local Pioneer Tribune newspaper.
To secure a loan for new water and sewer infrastructure, City Manager Aldrich claims the city electorate needs to provide city administration with revenue secured by a discriminatory and extortionate "base fee", consistent with a USDA mandated method to cover fixed expenses of the water and waste-water departments. I claim the following. No lawful due process has been made to establish that discriminatory and extortionate base fee, and disconnect fee, consistent with the Manistique City Charter, authorizing city ordinances, and state and federal laws. In the short term, the establishment of, and authorization to collect new whimsical, discriminatory, and extortionate "fees" may be achieved by establishing a new city ordinance to such effect. As long as the electorate is willing to be victimized in silence, there is no limit to what can be achieved, under color of law. Alternatively, the existing Manistique city ordinance, 25.314 sec 14, regarding "Rates and Charges for City Services..." could be amended to include the imposition of current and future whimsical, discriminatory, and extortionate "fees", not based upon use. To the best of my knowledge, from the time of its creation, to the present date, the existing Manistique city ordinance never authorized any lLLEGITIMATE, or legitimate method to raise revenue beyond the "hereby established" (note the tense), or the collection thereof, based upon any other basis than the use of the infrastructure system, and "...the quantity of water used..". Manistique city ordinance, 25.464 Sec 14, defines the due process whereby "Charges" established i.a.w. ordinance, 25.314 sec 14, may be collected, consistent with confiscatory legislation that is required to ensure that those that contract for value received from a municipality, pay for value received. From my perspective, Manistique City Ordinances, 25.464 Sec 14, and 25.314 sec 14, do not provide or imply the authority for the city to collect or enforce collection of any whimsical and extortionate revenue methods outside of those "...provided for in this chapter..." (i.a.w. ordinance 25.464 Sec 14), and the chapter's provisions would have to be replaced or amended to permit whimsical and extortionate gouging, based upon other than water consumption, regardless of how many city council members, and city employees, claim otherwise. (The MUNICIPAL WATER LIENS Act 178 of 1939, 123.162, grants Michigan municipalities the power to collect "...rates, or any assessments, charges, or rentals ... for the use of sewage system services or for the use or consumption of water supplied...") Typical arguments from authority may prevail in Manistique, but too many suck dead air, at everyone's expense. No ordinance, that I know of, sanctions the politically expedient choice of the city administration to abdicate its responsibility to secure the municipal water supply against theft. No ordinance, that I know of, sanctions the politically expedient choice of the city administration to enforce the collection of water bills incurred by the consequence of THE CITY extending credit to deadbeat customers, for which a property owner or purchaser is held responsible. So, if the USDA wants the City of Manistique to secure certain fixed expenses of the water and waste-water departments, then collect those expenses within the context of the Manistique ordinances that exist to define the equitable collection of expenses, based upon the amount of water used, instead of whimsical extortion. At a recent city council meeting, Councilwoman Rantanen claimed that I ignored, for years, a plethora of offers to provide documentation of the lawful due process of the establishment of extortionate and confiscatory water-sewer base fee and disconnect policies. Contrary to her rabid assertions, I never received any offers to resolve the issues I have specified. I have, to date, spent a considerable piece of my life trying to pry the information I seek from city council and administration, to determine if there is any legal basis for the city's policy to extort money from me by threatening the eventual confiscation of my properties because I currently refuse to pay for water and sewer bills for service that I never contracted for, and I do not want or use. In the few paragraphs above, I provide substantiation of my understanding that there is no basis for the city's "water disconnect policy" and "base fee" policy, beyond that of a criminal enterprise free to extort at will. How, with the passage of time, the advancements of technology, and the ease of information location and retrieval, can a community retain the collective intellect of a group of predatory savages when a resident requests the lawful authorization and justification of their de facto discriminatory abuse?
The following are quotes, within the context of what I understand to be the English language. In legal context, the meaning may be something entirely different, but it has been my experience that the local interpretation of laws, as written, has been based upon political goals rather than the language used and the spirit and purpose of the laws considered.
Michigan Combined Laws (MCL) - Chapter 123 - Municipal Water Liens Act 178 of 1939
"AN ACT to provide for the collection of water or sewage system rates, assessments, charges, or rentals; and to provide a lien for water or sewage system services furnished by municipalities as defined by this act."
Municipality operating water distribution system or sewage system; lien as security for collection of assessments, charges, or rentals; effective date and enforceability of lien.
"...for the use of sewage system services or for the use or consumption of water supplied..."
123.163 Manner of enforcing lien
The manner of enforcement required to collect for "...the use..." as specified in the previous provision.
123.164 Official records of municipality as notice of pendency of lien.
What the "official records" of the City of Manistique reflect, I do not know. I do know that, relative to my concerns, the city's fraudulent water and sewer bills reflect billing for water and sewer service not used, and those fraudulent bills are the only connection to the Municipal Water Liens Act 178 of 1939 that has been used, for years, by the City of Manistique to extort payment of false billings under color of law.
123.165 Priority of lien; applicability of act where lease provides lessor not liable for payment of bills; affidavit.
NB! If a landlord provides an affidavit to the city, i.a.w. with this section, that water and sewer service is not included in the lease (rental) agreement to a lessor (renter), then, by this law, the city cannot hold the landlord liable for the renter's refusal to pay for services used. Never have I heard mention, verbally or in print, of this option for a landlord to be held harmless for the consequences of a municipality extending credit to, or contracting with a deadbeat renter. I know of several property owners that have been coerced by the City of Manistique to pay municipal utility bills incurred by deadbeat renters, and not one of those landlords mentioned any knowledge of such a civilized means to protect themselves from renters whose predatory behaviour is encouraged and sanctioned by the city.
Nothing like taking candy from a baby!
123.166 Discontinuing service or instituting action for collection; invalidation or waiver of lien.
"...the lien created by this act..." The magic of local enforcement of laws and ordinances is the degree of flexibility that the enforcers choose to imagine that which does, or does not, exist. Assuming there is some degree of consistency to the meaning and use of the English language, the enforcement of any particular provision of a law is incumbent upon the other provisions of that law, associated laws, and the language used.
123.167 Construction of act.
"This act shall not repeal any existing statutory charter or ordinance provisions...but shall be construed as an additional grant of power..." The obvious meaning of which is... The MUNICIPAL WATER LIENS Act 178 of 1939 provides no power to enforce that which does not exist outside of its provisions, or outside of the provisions of the existing Manistique city charter and ordinances; none of which include whimsical municipal extortion for services and products not used.
Councilwoman Rantanen has voiced her opinion, several times, in front of the tv cameras, that Manistique City Hall is not a den of crooks. If it is not, then, relative to the Lakeside Road, city water rates, ready-to-serve-fees, and too much other "public" business, what is it; an organization of individuals elected or hired to be con artists, extortionists, and thieves?
This morning, I made a brief call to the Marquette U.S. Attorney office, regarding my understanding of the meaning of extortion, as practiced by the City of Manistique and other criminal enterprizes, vs. the voiced perspective of the FBI agents that interviewed me. I was told that the "chain of command" required me to contact the FBI office in Bay City, or Detroit, if I was not "happy" with the efforts of the Marquette FBI office. It makes sense, to me, to give the local FBI office a fair shake and wait until its agents have finished their task, before I conclude that, in the U.P., "extortion" is only practiced by criminal organizations in other parts of the country.
This afternoon, I spoke to the Schoolcraft County Treasurer, Terri Evonich, regarding my understanding of the options open to me to save my property from eventual confiscation. I did learn that the option was open to me to pay the property taxes, without paying the delinquent fraudulent water-sewer bills. Terri also re-affirmed my understanding that I, like all real property owners, have certain legislated "rights" of appeal as the gradual process of collecting delinquent property taxes and water-sewer bills takes place.
A similar required due process existed, regarding the legislated property rights of Alfred Burns. That due process was completely worthless, resulting in loss of his property and rights, without compensation, and his subsequent arrest for "assaulting and resisting" a Michigan State Police officer while he tried to defend his property, in a passive manner, from the inexorable theft and conversion by the City of Manistique.
His rights and property were lost to local law enforcement officials and judges that valued political expedience above the law.
Having witnessed and documented Burn's total failure to see justice done, I concluded, as I had earlier, the total futility of paying taxes on property that was due to be confiscated for fraudulent water and sewer use bills I refuse to pay. The City of Manistique stole from Burns, with impunity, and I have no reason to believe that it will not steal from me, with illegal impunity, in a similar manner.
As I have said, regarding the consequences of municipal extortion, I am considering any and all options based upon the documented, logical, and historical premise that legislated justice will not prevail, in my life-time, if ever. I am not holding my breath as I hope that I am wrong.
At the Manistique City Council meeting of 01/11/10, City Manager Aldrich introduced an ~$12 million water and sewer infrastructure upgrade project that would effect some 50% of city streets. During the subsequent discussion and presentation by agents of Coleman Engineering, it was revealed that various methods of financing ~$6 million of the project had been considered, and Aldrich stated that the decision had been made for a "fair and equitable" "utility increase" to pay for the project. Subsequently, Councilman Evonich questioned the addition of another $10 to the recently added $6 for a likely monthly "base fee" total of some $46, later this year. City Manager Aldrich's answer was, in so many words, "Its gotta be paid for."
As far as I know, the necessity to provide separate trenches for water and sewer lines will require destroying a substantial amount of city streets pavement. No one mentioned the cost of replacing it, with crushed rock, asphalt, gravel, concrete, sand, logs, or cedar swamp muck. Hang onto your shorts; coz there's gonna be more to come, unless the City has figured in the price of the streets foundation and pavement repair and improvements, to be paid with water and sewer revenues! Perhaps repaving the streets will be paid with the 10% of each year's water and sewer revenues that the city skims for "administration costs"? I dunno...
Personally, I have no problem with the water-sewer project, as such, or financing it with the equitable distribution of costs, based upon water use, i.a.w. the city's own ordinances. Regarding paved residential streets, they are nothing more than "nice to haves", and a total waste of money in a community that has 25 mph residential speed limits, and enough crushable limestone to pave the rest of the world.
What I do have a problem with is adding another ~$10 to each "base fee"; a whimsical administration created extortionate "fee" that has nothing to do with the equitable distribution of new and old water-sewer infrastructure costs, and, to the best of my knowledge, has no legal basis for its existence in Manistique, i.a.w. city ordinances, or state and federal laws. It is nothing more than an administrative assessment, created with no lawful due process, collected by the threat of eventual confiscation of property at the barrel of a gun, by fraudulent municipal use of the authority created by the state Municipal Water Liens Act 178 of 1939 that was not created to authorize the collection of whimsical fees, "base", or otherwise. Section 123.163 of that act defines the lien applicability to "...rates, or any assessments, charges, or rentals..." "...for the use of sewage system services or for the use or consumption of water supplied to any house..."
Nothing about whimsical base fees for infrastructure financing, perks for public employees, or recreational drugs, either! As for most legislation, the folks that wrote that Act understood predatory human nature and provided no means for a municipality to collect, by force, whimsical and unauthorized "base fees", or "ready to serve fees", or any other unfair and inequitable assessment unrelated to water and sewer use.
If it is equitable to add $10 per month to one residential customer's water-sewer bill, for no water and sewer service used, or wanted, then how is it equitable to add only $10 per month to the water-sewer bill of another residential customer that consumes 10,000 gallons of water per month? How is it "fair and equitable" to refuse to bill a multitude of city properties adjacent to water and sewer lines? If the whimsical "base fee" is collected, separate from the water processing and delivery costs, to pay the costs of water-sewer infrastructure depreciation, and expansion, why are there a multitude of unbilled city properties, adjacent to water and sewer lines, while other properties are billed? Are their "black" and "white" properties, or just owners?
What makes it more "fair and equitable" to bill a city property with a building, that uses no water or sewer, vs. not billing a vacant city property that uses no water or sewer? Most all the properties gain relative value from access to city utilities, whether they are developed, or not. The City Tax Assessor might be aware of that, and if not, consult a realtor!
What is fair and equitable about a base fee that a property owner has to pay the city to discontinue, if no water and sewer services are used or wanted?
By what pretzel logic of a shyster accountant running a confidence game, does one turn a whimsical "base fee", assessed in a whimsical manner, into a bill for water-sewer use, based upon council approved rates, the bills for which are secured with a lein, under the color of state legislation? How, when the city's ordinance specifies water and sewer service billing based upon water use, does the City Manager intend a fair and equitable "utility increase" of a "base fee", created with no lawful authority derived from the Manistique City Charter, or ordinances, and enforced in a whimsical manner by the use of police powers attendent to enforcing liens for delinquent water-sewer use bills?
What is fair and equitable about the majority of the elected representatives of Manistique residents approving, with their default silence, a $10 per month increase of a "base fee" that is the whimsical bastard child of thieves and liars, instead of the lawful offspring of intellect and integrity?
I have asked, many times over the last 3 years, where did the lawful authority come from for the city to charge the current residential $36 "base fee" to which it appears that another $10 will be added, for a total of $46 per month, regardless of water use? Tomorrow, a $46 "base fee" for 0 or 10,000 gallons? What part of "fair and equitable" do I not understand? Currently, $36 per month if you do not use water or sewer, or "we take your property if you don't pay us." What part of extortion is "fair and equitable"?
To the best of my knowledge, in the City of Manistique, there is no lawful authority for anyone to reach into my wallet for anything outside of lawful taxes, in particular, there is no lawful provision to extort a "base fee" for water and sewer service not wanted or used. Just because I live in a community of sheep that sanction those that screw them, I have no intention of becoming screwer or screwee, because fair and equitable it ain't, and I never learned to love either one; and I am not about to start.
With no evidence to the contrary, for over three years that I have requested it, to me, the "base fee" is nothing more than, "We wish it to be. Therefore it is!" I am sure that mantra, so prevalent in Manistique, is not i.a.w. the 01/11/10 sworn duty of Mayor Peterson and Councilwoman Jeffcott to support the U.S. and State of Michigan Constitutions, but, if you consider, as they must, that constitutions make little more than good asswipe, and "pledging allegiance to the flag" is little more than public deception, then their personal and political priorities take precedence over constitution based laws.
Those laws were created to establish and protect individual rights that allow an individual to live according to their personal standards and goals, within the context of a civilized society ruled by law. I am sure that I am not the only fool that understands and still believes in such fantasy, as I consider atavistic and barbaric options that, in a country ruled by law, should only be considered in fantasy sci-fi movies of the U.S.A., after Armageddon!
A special Manistique City Council meeting took place today, Martin Luther King Day, one week after the regular city council meeting, at which indeterminate numbers were kicked around, centering on ~$10 each month added to everyone's "base fee". Today, it appeared that numbers with more calculations, and less guessing, were offered up for public consumption, some ~25% less than a week ago, along with the information that water sewer related revenues will pay for new full width pavement, and gutters, for most streets considered.
Of particular interest to me was a short discussion that, at the time, sounded questionable, at best. It concerned the further applications for infrastructure grants and loans without revealing the fact that the Manistique Downtown Development Authority had the responsibility to fund some 25% of the cost of infrastructure building and maintenance within it jurisdiction. The point made by several council members, and the city manager, was the DDA would provide ~25% of the cost to the city, after the federal financing.
Given that the loans and grants combinations being considered required matching funds from the city, it made no sense to me, based upon the limited discussion I heard. If the fed is giving money for matching money, what will the City of Manistique gain by the DDA paying $X to the city, after the fact? Does "The City" have matching grant funds for the DDA?
It sounded to me, at the 01/10/10 meeting, as if "The City" intends to gain some ~$850,000 of DDA captured tax revenues, as stated by Councilwoman Rantanen, to spend on some unidentified project. All city water and sewer customers pay off the bonds issued for water, sewer, pavement, gutter, and infrastructure renewal for certain streets within the DDA, and there is serious talk of the DDA making a payment to "The City" of ~25% of that cost destined to be paid by all city water-sewer customers? Why? According to the DDA charter? What am I missing? What agenda remains unspoken?
Here is a novel idea. How about the DDA pay each water-sewer customer by the amount the DDA is bound to pay for infrastructure in its district? Once again, fair and equitable seems to be off the table as a sly accountant scares up more cash for "The City", the quick and dirty way, with the intent that all city water-sewer "customers" pay for water and sewer infrastructure that the DDA should be paying.
Is "The City" butthole deep in ethical, innovative, and creative accounting; or fraud and extortion? Are the city manager, and her acolytes, saviours or con artists? Regardless of what they are, or doing, regarding water-sewer-street infrastructure, I feel the pain, with too many unanswered questions, and too little to no rational or lawful justification for the hurt that I feel.
Related to the current water and sewer infrastructure costs and deception is a little history. To the best of my knowledge, around 1989, "The City" was so close to bankruptcy that the "city fathers" requested a loan from the local paper mill, to meet city employee payroll. Around that time it was realized that running a city in a relatively ethical and efficient manner was not going to be done by local political talent with few government management skills and knowledge. Subsequently, City Manager, Alan Housler, was hired.
As the City of Manistique had nary a pot to piss in, the main source of revenue seized upon, to finance the city out of the hole its previous "leaders' had dug for everyone, were the water and sewer enterprise accounts. With subsequent creative accounting and some less than ethical decisions, Housler, with the support of council, yanked the city back from the brink of bankrupcy. For that, he and several council members are due a well deserved "Attaboy!"
As I remember it, while on the twisted path to solvency, City Treasurer Linda Armock was sentenced for embezzeling funds related to the creative accounting and lax security required for the city to manipulate revenues in its various accounts. I remember listening to Karen Meiers, the accountant representing the city's auditors at city council meetings, tell council, for several years running, that the city's lax accounting procedures meant inadequate security, that begged abuse of all forms, among which were those that enabled the use of water and sewer revenues for purposes other than water and sewer.
Along that twisted path, before Armock's theft became public, a creative accounting effort was made to replace the water and sewer funds used by the city for other purposes. Part of the repayment plan was the magic of "payment in kind", as in exchanging future labor for cash already spent. That questionable accounting method has become a significant part of "The City's" method of providing matching "funds" for grant money from various sources, but, relative to "The City's" finances, it was nothing but a shell game that provided little to no value to the taxpayers of the city.
Local tax and enterprize accounts revenues spent for that which has little to no connection to the purposes for which those revenues were collected, can never be "replaced" with labor and material for which the local taxpayer must pay for, outside of the revenues to be replaced. Any such suggestion is nothing more than deception promoted by those that believe in a free lunch.
The reality of the con is the local taxpayer paid twice for the same value. First, they paid their water and sewer bills, then they paid with local taxes to pay for the "in kind" payment that was credited to replace the mis-spent revenues.
Consequently, only a small part of the water and sewer revenues spent to pull the city out of bankruptcy were ever payed back to those accounts. The financial records of The City were in such disarray, and absent, that it required a concerted creative effort by The City's new accounting firm, and then new City Treasurer Sheila Aldrich, to manufacture a plausible paper trail to keep the state happy.
I can still remember many Manistique city council meetings that I attended during which City Treasurer Armock and City Manager Housler had a regular obfuscating back and forth routine to respond to inquiries concerning the funding of budget reviewed line items. I understood that the routine was a con game to cover lax and creative accounting, and history proved me correct. I suspect that, after Armock's embezzlement became public, the accounting business for which Karen worked refused to help The City dig itself out of the obvious deception and fraud, with more deception and fraud, that ran contrary to the professional advice the business provided at public meetings.
I spoke to Karen Meiers, by phone, after I learned the business for whom she worked no longer audited city business. She chose not to speak to me about the specific reasons for the severance of the business relationship with The City. Shortly after, I asked then City Treasurer Aldrich why the city had a new accounting firm and she told me that the prior business did not want to help clean up The City's mess.
I do not know if the city requested the mess be cleaned up for free, or for cash beyond whatever contract agreement existed, or, perhaps, the business relationship was terminated for some unrelated matter. Regardless of the reasons, it was, essentially, private public business.
After finding out that much of The City's financial documents were "smoke and mirrors", and given that I heard not one believable detail offered in public for the change of city auditors, I concluded that the accounting firm for which Karen worked had far more integrity than the business that replaced it. It became quite apparent to me, shortly after the change, that the new accounting firm, like the city council and manager, cared little about the ethics of city financing.
Today, the accountant that helped the city bury its financing misdeeds in a ream of fiction, after Armock's embezzlement, is leading the city, as City Manager, down a new road of fraud, coupled with extortion. The major reasons for current policies are political expedience, fostered by an apathetic public and a compliant city council, coupled with a plastic and bloated Manistique Downtown Development Association that has lost sight of its legislated reason for being; to redevelop areas within the actual urban downtown area and not most everywhere else, but downtown.
The fraudulent basis for the D.D.A. lies in the artificial boundaries of a "downtown" district that includes more area and property outside of the actual downtown urban core than within, and on which more money has been spent than within the actual downtown area. It's so easy to collect and spend other peoples' money for that which it is not intended. Those that have the responsibility to cater to the taxpaying electorate, within the content, context, and spirit of legislation, can, with impunity, as the equivalent of "The City" priests, cater to their personal self-interests and the interests of their de-facto god, "The City"; beholden to no one.
"The City" has become a deity to whom must be sacrificed most of that which makes a lawful and civilised government of the residents, for the residents, by the residents. The consequence is the making of a local tyranny that I, and a handful of others, refuse to condone with cowardly silence, or the sanctimonious piety of others that have no problem sacrificing their neighbors to their god, "The City".
Over the years, starting as an adolescent, I have questioned authority. As one raised in a family environment in which both parents never claimed that "God's will" determined the vagaries of life, I have questioned that which I was aware of, and that interested me. Regardless of the extent of my curiosity, my intellect limited, and still limits, my ability to understand much of the world around me, including the source of that equivocal enigma labelled "authority" that so many use as if the word itself makes the source self evident!
Relative to this article, my interest regarding authority has to do with lawful authority, i.e. authority derived from legislation. From my perspective, in a civilized society with many sources of that which others claim to be "authority", there can be only one source of authority to which all are bound. To me, the necessity of a single source of authority is self-evident, in a complex and productive society of individuals, each with a unique perspective of the world, working together as a consequence of voluntary mutual agreements.
The shared and individual goals of voluntary human collectives of intelligent individuals are at serious risk if one individual has the right to dominate another, arbitrarily, based upon whimsical authority derived from any of a multitude of sources that claim the authority of one individual to control and abuse another. Human nature motivates most folk to aspire to some level of "success" by their own efforts, and at the expense of the environment and others' lives. In short, history supports my contention that everyone wants to own a "nigger", to one degree or another, and when whimsical authority is granted to some, to own others, in part or in the whole, then natural property rights derived from ownership are used to justify an owner's choice of actions regarding the property owned.
From my perspective of U.S. history, the "Founding Fathers" of this nation had sufficient understandings of human nature to establish a constitution based government, that, with its basic amendments, was designed to promote a lawful and law abiding productive society, that gave each individual the right to protect life, liberty, and property, if those sworn to do so chose to do otherwise. The right to bear arms, and use them, if necessary, was fully understood in the relatively primitive, and disorganized society of this nation's birth, and can be understood, readily, by considering such places as Afghanistan, today, where many individuals carry a gun because the rule of a uniform and objective system of laws is non-existent, and, ultimately, consistent with individual human nature, "might makes right" in any disagreement where laws are unenforced or non-existent.
The founders of this nation knew, from their understanding of human nature in general, and themselves, in particular, that, ultimately, the only way to ensure that the rule of law held sway was to provide each individual the right to the means of self protection. If those with the sworn duty to enforce the laws failed to do so, then the individual had the means to protect life, liberty, and property, to whatever degree they could.
From my perspective, as one of the unwashed masses with too few resources, and no inclination to gamble what little I have to buy a justice lottery ticket, the individual ownership and use of weapons is, ultimately, the only thing that stands between those that would be slaves and those that would make them slaves. I have no doubt, considering the individual and collective intellects responsible for the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, that the authors knew why the individual ownership and bearing of arms was necessary to keep human predators at bay, when government and law enforcement officials failed their sworn responsibilities to enforce constitution based laws.
If one considers the times and perspectives of those reponsible for the Second Amendment, their concerns, of their time and the future, were about the individual's right to own, carry, and use arms in the context of a government that chooses to rule by other than constitution based laws, based upon the premise that individuals are little more than the means to the ends of those that consider themselves the masters of others. Assuming the world is perfect, in a civilised society ruled by the enforcement of constitution based laws that respect individual rights, there are few to no reasons for an individual to consider the force of arms as an alternative to the rule of law.
In an uncivilised society, the individual force of arms is necessary to replace the protections that would be, in a civilised society, provided by the timely and impartial enforcement of appropriate laws.
The historical use of arms to defend life, liberty, and property, in the U.S., and many other countries, represents a significant consensus that an individual has a survival right to prevent imminent and deliberate injury by others that refuse to acknowledge another's right to live in peace and enjoy the fruits of their ethical labor. With knowledge of a little history, that uncommon commodity, common sense, leads any thinking person to a simple and logical conclusion that, at a primal level, or in the context of a complex civilized society, no one should have the whimsical unapposed power to deprive another individual of that which makes life worth living.
Just because some human beings consider others as "human resources", gives no one the right to treat their neighbour as one, as if the clock had been turned back to more uncivilized times. When people are considered as little more than cattle, to be sacrificed for a good meal, or to appease "The City", or "The Nation", they have every right to act as animals that must depend on the law of the jungle for survival.
By their actions, those that refuse to abide by, or enforce the laws that are created to protect the life, liberty, and property of this nation's citizens, are no better than the criminals they foster. If no one wishes to hold accountable those known individuals that are stealing pieces of my life, then, I am willing to spill as much blood as possible to make the consequences of sanctioned theft as costly as possible.
For those that pig out at the public trough, or care not about their decisions that effect the welfare of others, a loaf of bread, to some, is the difference between a life worth living, or not, and as far as I am concerned it is an issue of life and death when others make the arbitrary decision to take my loaf.
It matters not, to me, if others think that I have no lawful right to defend myself and my property with force, from those that steal in the name of "The City" with the use or threat of police force. I am at ease with my natural right of survival to attempt to defend my property and life from those that are sanctioned to steal what I have left.
At this stage of my life, I am quite willing and capable to implement a variety of options that I have considered as an alternative to sanctioning those that are stealing my life, with impunity, a piece at a time. I prefer to spill as much blood as possible of those that choose to eat me alive, a piece at a time, and die in the process, rather than die a lingering death of their choosing as they pick my bones while I live.
For those that still "don't get it", armed confrontation is an option that I consider as I continue to resist the City of Manistique's unlawful fraud, coersion, and extortion, from me, of revenue for non-existent water and sewer use, the extortion of which continues to threaten my current and future income and quality of life.
I may be too stupid to know or understand the claimed source of Manistique's authority for municipal fraud, coercion extortion, but...
I have no intention of letting others abuse me, with impunity.
I have no intention of sanctioning bullies, or their behaviour.
I have no intention of suffering predators, gladly.
I have no intention of sanctioning government extortion.
I have no intention of letting others steal my future.
I have no intention of suffering a penurious existence after my properties are confiscated.
I have no intention of trying to live on the charity of others.
I have no illusions about the nature of my species, or the consequences of that which I consider.
Today, Director of Public Safety Golat, stopped by my residence to provide me the City of Manistique response to a letter that I handed City Manager Aldrich during the last public comment period of the 01/11/10 Manistique City Council meeting. In so many words, Golat told me that "The City's" response was due to the "threat" of bloodshed that I had made no effort to disguise. The obvious implication of his statement was that I had extorted "The City's" decision. During a subsequent conversation we discussed our differing opinions of the situation and parted, amicably, with my stated intent to revisit the situation further up the FBI chain of command, and, until my civilized options, or my money ran out, no one had to fear physical retribution from me.
"The City's" response to be added by tomorrow.
01/11/10 Sheila Aldrich Manistique City Manager 300 N. Maple St Manistique, MI 49854 On 01/07/10, I received an email request to touch bases with the Marquette office of the FBI, concerning my ongoing water and sewer billing dispute with the City of Manistique. Before telling me of a City offer to resolve the dispute, the FBI agent "Jay" stated that it was his professional responsibility to be involved in a civil dispute, to a limited degree, if it might maintain public safety. The offer he relayed to me, as I heard it, was: The City would return, to me, $915 it billed and collected from me, for water and sewer service I never contracted for, or used, if I would pay the City $100 for each property, so that it would cease to bill me for water and sewer service I do not want or use at each property. I thanked the agent for his professional concern, and I told him that I had never paid an extortionist, and I was not about to. After a little related chatter, we terminated our conversation in a candid, civil, and professional manner. I understand the City's current offer as little more than another attempt of extortion, the purpose of which is to extort my approval of the City's whimsical choice to charge me $100 per property, to terminate, by whimsical choice, the fraudulent billing of water and sewer service I did not contract for, or use. I further understand the City's offer, to return $715 of the money it extorted from me, as recognition of the fact that it had, and has, no lawful authority to extort my money, in the first place, and the City hopes to buy my silence with my money that, in the context of my life, is an offer that I am unlikely to refuse. For those that have difficulty understanding the English language; stated differently, it is my understanding that the City wants me to pay it $200 of my money, to secure the release of $915 of my money that the City acknowledges it had no lawful authority to extort by threatening the eventual confiscation of my properties, enforced by the inevitable use of armed police, i.a.w. the authority it claims to derive from the Manistique City Charter and ordinances, the Municipal Water Liens Act 178, and state property tax laws. Regarding the City's offer, it requires collusion by me to sanction, and thus hold harmless, the City and its elected and hired officials, for past and current reprehensible and unlawful victimizing behaviour. I perceive it as a racketeer's offer that I refuse, with no misgivings. Here are the terms of my counter offer that address the personal and public harm done by those that chose to commit, and lie about their right to extort from me and others: To be considered as open public business after a signed agreement: 1. Within 3 months of a signed agreement, the City of Manistique determines what is required to meet its water and sewer related obligations, and, consistent with its own ordinances, charges each lawful account an appropriate equitable rate for the use of water and sewer services, based upon the amount of water used. 2. Within 1 year of a signed agreement, the City determines what provisions of the existing City charter and ordinances do not meet the lawful requirements to finance the city's water and sewer infrastructure, i.a.w. term 1., then it takes whatever public and lawful due process is required to amend current ordinances, or repeal and create new ones, to finance, in an appropriate manner, the creation, operation and maintenance of its water and sewer infrastructure. The following may be considered as subject to a confidentiality agreement, if the City chooses. A confidentiality agreement will not include anything published on line at http://www.manistique.org prior to a signed agreement, unless the City purchases that web site, domain name, and content, at a mutually agreeable price, the content of which I will still retain an exclusive right to reveal, with prior notice and options, should the City violate any term of a signed mutual agreement: 3. Regarding properties that I own, or for which I pay the tax bills, at which no water or sewer service is wanted or used, the City ceases the imposition of water and sewer related charges, fees, attachments, taxes, etc. that are not specified on a legal bill, and enforced uniformly, i.a.w. the current provisions of the existing City charter, ordinances, and state laws; subject to the condition that interpretation of the provisions is by a competent and independent legal professional with unquestionable legal integrity and merit unconnected to the political, economic and personal aspirations of those that are elected or hired to represent personal and public interests in Schoolcraft County and the City of Manistique. The condition of this term shall be interpreted as, among other things, a deliberate exclusion of City Attorney Filoramo whose corrupt influence I consider a major reason for the current dispute, and others that I am aware of. 4.Within 1 month of a signed agreement, the City shall return all my money, plus 10% of the total that it extorted from me, or, if the word extortion sounds like hyperbole, then, it shall return the total of all my money it collected by the fraudulent billing of water and sewer use that I did not contract for, and did not use, that I was coerced to pay by the city's threatened confiscation of my properties, to be enforced with municipal police powers, under color of law. It shall add 10% to the total of coerced payments as compensation for denying me the use of my money it obtained by unlawful means. 5. Within 1 month of a signed agreement, the City shall pay, in full, the current and past property taxes in arrears, on both properties subject to the addressed dispute, because, when I realized, eventually, that City government and administration personnel were not inclined, without the voiced possibility of bloody confrontation, to reveal the source of their assumed right to coerce and extort, I refused to pay, or consider paying, taxes assessed for property that was doomed to confiscation consequent to my refusal to accede to the City's stated intent to collect fraudulent water and sewer use billing, under color of law. 6. Within 3 months of a signed agreement, the City shall pay me 50% of all the mutually agreed upon professionally estimated expenses, for the professional repair of freeze damaged plumbing and resulting water damage of the building at 110 S. Cedar St. that occurred as a result of the City's refusal to turn off the water, or if turned off, its refusal to make me aware of the fact while it still billed me for water and sewer related rates, charges, fees, etc. The 50% of liability that I assume is due to the fact that I failed to motivate the City by suggesting, earlier, the possibility of bloody retribution for the unauthorized municipal coercion and extortion to which I refused to submit or condone. 7. Instead of Term 6., the City may purchase the 110 S. Cedar St. property, at fair market value, as if freeze related damage did not occur. The value to be determined by mutual consideration of 2 disinterested professional appraisers, one contracted by me, and one by the City, the City paying for both appraisals. All monetary liabilities, other than what I have stated as consequences of municipal coercion or extortion, currently due the city, county, and state, to be mutually considered and determined before a final sale agreement, and those liabilities deducted at the time of sale. All other costs to be paid by the City. 9. I encourage "the City" to make a comprehensive counter-offer, consistent with my interests expressed in this offer. Should I get a counter-offer as ridiculous as the 01/07/09 verbal offer conveyed to me by Agent "Jay" of the Marquette office of the FBI, I will consider any and all options to end the current impasse, outside of wasting any more of my life trying to resolve the dispute, with City officials, in a candid and civilized manner. 10. I will make public this entire offer and communication, if I do not receive a formal written acceptance of this offer, or what I deem is a formal and responsible written counter-offer, within 15 working days from the witnessed hand delivery of this offer to City Manager Aldrich, at the Manistique City Council meeting of 01/11/10. In summary, I did not victimize "The City". Its known elected officials and employees victimized me, deliberately, under color of law, and, sooner or later, I have little doubt that the FBI will acknowledge that it is not a "civil matter", just as it was not a civil matter when the City of Manistique stole and converted Alfred Burn's property for a right of way over which it had no lawful jurisdiction. I have no intent to accept and pay for my deliberate victimization by those with the sworn or professional duty to do otherwise, and, when I perceive that my civilized options for justice and equity are zero, and I have nothing more to lose than my life, then, any and all options become viable. It is not my intent to gamble what little is left of my money and property, to fight, in court, a den of con artists and thieves sanctioned by an assortment of law enforcement officials. I earned what I have, alone, and I am willing to defend it, alone, at any cost, to deny the right of sanctioned thieves to take whatever they want, by whatever means they consider expedient. Sincerely, Peter C. MarkhamBelow are all of the documents handed me, on 01/28/10, by Manistique's Director of Public Safety Golat. You might notice, as for the past 3 years, there is no lawful authority, or due process quoted or referred to, that authorized in a lawful manner, my abuse and that of others.
Assuming that Director Golat's statement regarding alleged "threats" of bloody retribution was true, might not a small herd of reasonable people thus threatened have the collective wits about them to provide a reference to the "lawful" basis for the extortion I have taken issue with?
The solution to the impasse is simple. Gimmee copies of the due process that established the "lawful authority" to steal from me, and I will go away, peacefully; or, pay for the deliberate trespasses.
The above is a current "statement" of the 110 S, Cedar St water and sewer bills balance, handed to me by Director of Public Safety Golat, on 01/28/10. No details of why it is, today, $0, and no indication it was ever $327.36, as billed below. This creative accounting statement indicates no wrong doing by "The City", and, on its face, says "The City" never billed me for unused water and sewer service. Below is the 01/13/10 bill for $327.36, for water and sewer service unwanted and unused, that belies the statement, accounting system, and integrity of those employees of the "The City" responsible for an obvious work of fiction.
The two tax bills below, for 110 S. Cedar St., were handed to me by Director of Public Safety Golat, on 01/28/10. No recognition that the taxes are delinquent because I had no rational reason pay them, as "The City" had made quite clear that it intended to confiscate the property for my refusal to pay fraudulent "delinquent" water and sewer use bills.
For those interested in Manistique real estate, be aware that the whimsical and fraudulent annual billing by "The City", for water and sewer not used, equals ~50% of the annual property taxes of a well located downtown property! 12 x $36.14 = $433 annually vs. $911.76 for 2009 property taxes. For a well located "downtown" property located on US2, purchased recently by "The City" for >$200,000, the water and sewer billing has been $0, for years. That is what Manistique City Manager Aldrich refers to as "fair and equitable."
The above is a current "statement" of the 401 N. Houghton St. water and sewer bills balance, handed to me by Director of Public Safety Golat, on 01/28/10. No details of why it is, today, $0, and no indication it was ever $418.94, as billed below. This creative accounting statement indicates no wrong doing by "The City", and, on its face, says "The City" never billed me for unused water and sewer service. Below is the 01/13/10 bill for $418.94, for water and sewer service unwanted and unused, that belies the statement, accounting system, and those employees of the "The City" responsible for an obvious work of fiction.
The tax bills below, for 401 N Houghton, were handed to me by Director of Public Safety Golat, on 01/28/10. No recognition that the taxes are delinquent because I had no rational reason pay them, as "The City" had made quite clear that it intended to confiscate the property for my refusal to pay fraudulent "delinquent" water and sewer use bills.
For those interested in Manistique real estate, be aware that the whimsical and fraudulent annual billing by "The City", for water and sewer not used, equals 185% of the annual property taxes of a well located commercial property! 12 x $36.14 = $433 annually for unused and unwanted water and sewer vs. $233 for 2009 property taxes. For a well located "downtown" property located on US2, purchased recently by "The City" for >$200,000, the water and sewer billing has been $0, for years. That is what Manistique City Manager Aldrich refers to as "fair and equitable."
I knew that I was black, but I never guessed how black... Today, I accept, with pride, the title "Bęte Noire".
This is the original offer from "The City" relayed to me by FBI agent "Jay", on 01/07/10. I erred in my written offer to "The City" by stating that the "The City's" original offer regarded money it had already extorted. In fact, "The City's" offer was, reduced to its correct essence, if I paid "The City" $200, in cash, it would make go away $918 of "delinquent" false water and sewer use billings, that I refused to pay. There was no reference in "The City's" offer to return any of my money it had extorted, already.
Yesterday, Golat handed me the vague and unsigned documents that implied that $918 of delinquent "fees", allegedly owed by me, had ceased to exist, by municipal magic; without me paying "The City" $200 cash for its accounting legerdemain, as it had tried to extort in the previous verbal offer relayed via FBI agent "Jay".
Obviously, had I reviewed the verbal offer more closely, I would not have wasted my life making a counter offer. Two lessons learned, for those that do not suffer criminals gladly... (1) Check your premises, often, to minimize the chance of life wasting foolish behaviour. (2) Do not squander any more of your life, than is absolutely necessary, trying to communicate or negotiate in an objective and civilised manner, with criminal muncipal extortionists paid by you, to extort from you, and protected by attorneys and law enforcement officials paid by you.
Everyone, but me, in the fight is paid from an inexhaustible tax revenue coffer. I am fighting to keep that which I have title to, and for which I paid my taxes, until "The City" stuck a gun in my face and demanded additional payment for the privilege of owning my property. So, when my money or patience runs out my remaining options are physical, and should I pursue those options, no one will profit from my demise.
As far as I am concerned, at this moment, assuming the FBI insists that municipal extortion is a civil matter, there is only one way this dispute will end. To me, sanctioning extortion is not an acceptable option, just as giving up its gains by fraud and extortion is not an option for "The City".
Coming soon... The U.S. Attorney's Office prompts me to ask, "Where is the pea?", further up the FBI chain of command.
02/01/10 Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena Federal Bureau of Investigation 477 Michigan Avenue, Fl. 26 Detroit, Michigan 48226 (313) 965-2323 Dear Sir, This complaint to you, is i.a.w. verbal advice from the Marquette U.S. Attorney's Office because, to date, I have no reason to believe that the Marquette Office of the FBI considered, verbally, the original complaint as anything more than a "civil matter". If what I describe as municipal extortion is a "civil matter", I would like to see that professional conclusion in writing, before I consider settling the related dispute in a violent physical manner. I include a copy of my original written complaint to the Marquette Office of the FBI. A prior related complaint to the Michigan Attorney General's Office and a documented history of what I understand to be municipal extortion, racketeering, and deprivation of constitution based civil rights, under color of law, with the legal, philosophical, and political context of the dispute, as I understand it, is available at: http://www.manistique.org/manistique_water_rates.html#W hat is lawful authority? and related web site pages. The above link is to the latest section of that web page. In summary, regarding this particular complaint, I want to know, (1) By what lawful authority did the City of Manistique extort money from me, (and others), by threatening the confiscation of my (their) properties with municipal police powers, under color of the City Charter of Manistique, Manistique city ordinances, and State of Michigan's legislation, for failure to pay for water and sewer service I did not contract for, or use, and/or my refusal to pay a whimsical administration water-sewer "base fee" with no more due process origin that anyone will reveal, beyond an anonymous memorandum? (2) By what lawful authority did the City of Manistique steal county property titled to Schoolcraft County resident, Alfred Burns, for a city street claimed to be the "Lakeside Road"? (3) If the two matters (1) and (2) are considered "civil matters" i.a.w. relevant authority that no one wishes to identify, quote, or explain, then, what alternative to bloody violence do I (or others) have to hold accountable those that have and continue to victimize me (us), in a manner that I (or others) consider criminal for relevant and explicit reasons I (we) have made all aware of? I have no phone, but I may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I can respond by email or a VOIP application. Sincerely, Peter C. Markham
After posting the latest complaint to the FBI, a comment was made to me, in person, by a local resident that has followed much of my online documentation of politics in the City of Manistique. They said, paraphrased, "Manistique city government might have been modelled on a late Russian communist municipal government." I was quite surprised by the comment because I had never thought about it, in that manner.
Even though I understood the democratic process at work in the city had produced a totalitarian government in democratic guise, in which the individual exists to achieve the interests of "the state", as in "The City", I had never drawn an analogy of the situation as succinctly as Citizen Y.