Extortionate City of Manistique Water and Sewer Charges in a Water Wonderland

Facebook discussion link created 09/01/23: https://www.facebook.com/profile

CAVEAT: 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 pmarkham@manistique.org


After ten years in prison, among many other serious consequences of his alleged "crimes", Peter Markham was effectively exiled from his home, wife, and community for two years by a special condition of his parole. The alleged crimes of which he was convicted were delusionary, imagined by the municipal "victims" of his lawful defensive protests documented below.

A jury of his "peers", absent critical thinking skills
, accepted the municipal delusions as true beyond a reasonable doubt, and accepted the prosecutorial fantasy that he was a lying criminal; beyond a reasonable doubt. Consequently he was convicted.

The following was of no concern to anyone that may have believed in the rule of reason and law -  before, during, and after his trial.

He opposed
his victimization and that of others by the City of Manistique knowingly and recklessly imposing unlawful municipal taxes. His years long failed public defense against that government abuse was by the sole use of the least forceful means available to him, lawful public defensive political speech. Consequently, he lost most everything because he challenged the prevailing atavistic nature of municipal public officials willing to abuse their power - with the default or active approval of law enforcement and judicial officials.

In November 2019, his wife emailed to Manistique City council members an early draft copy of the following letter. She also hand delivered paper copies to the offices of the Schoolcraft County Prosecutor and Manistique City Attorney. As expected, total silence prevails from the old and new City government and county officials. Perhaps, with the help of Schoolcraft County Alliance members, the shameful saga condensed below, with extensive following details, will be considered as it should be:

Manistique's Unlawful Water and Sewer "Base Fees"

"unlawful" - adj. - not conforming to, permitted by, or recognized by law or rules
"base" - adj. - without moral principle, ignoble
"fee" - n.- a payment made for professional advice or services
"tax" - n. - a compulsory contribution to state revenue levied by the government...

          Oxford College Dictionary, copyright 2007

The following questions and subsequent justifying details of this editorial effort concern mandatory municipal flat-rate monthly water and sewer fees (referred to by many other names) imposed for no specified individual commensurate or proportional value provided to a property or the owner thereof. The questions are inferred from and details sourced from the likes of the Manistique City Charter, municipal ordinances, manistique.org, online law research services, and a related Manistique incident report and the consequential trial transcripts.

                                                           *   *   *
Are you aware and do you care that for decades, to this date, no relevant provision of any related lawful public record has ever been revealed, cited or quoted, that empowered the City of Manistique to create its base fees, by any other name?

Are you aware and do you care that for decades, to this date, no lawful and relevant public record City ordinances have been revealed, cited, or quoted, the provisions of which authorize the imposition and forceful collection of monthly base fees, by any other name?

Are you aware and do you care that numerous owners of property within the City limits, and likely outside, have – absent relevant municipal authority – been forced to pay, for decades, under color of law, millions of dollars in monthly base fees, by any other name, the apparent characteristics of which are those of unlawful taxes?

Are you aware and do you care that Manistique, and other communities’ apparently misleading and fraudulent water and sewer invoicing could be lawful and commensurate with the measured amount of water used and/or disposed of, and the amount of any other waste disposed of?

Are you aware and do you care that no revealed provision of any USDA-RD grant-loan contract mandated Manistique's base fees or any similar impositions?

Are you aware and do you care that the tax limiting legislation of the Headlee Amendment to Michigan's Constitution is subject to widespread and creeping evasion by unacountable local governments that collect various rents in the form of fees and other charges over which the individual has little to no control?

Are you aware and do you care that in 2011 a property-owning citizen of Manistique was sentenced, at the age of 65, to a period of 10 to 40 years in a Michigan penitentiary, for his failed lawful attempts, with public, defensive, political speech alone, to persuade the City of Manistique to cease its fee based victimization of him and other property owners in similar circumstances?

Are you aware and do you care that the public corporate entity City of Manistique –and its various agents and supporters – violated the Constitutional rights of due process of law, limited free speech, and a fair trial due one who opposed the City's base fees under duress of his perceived victimization by apparent municipal fraud, extortion, and theft, under color of law?

Are you aware and do you care that the government of the City of Manistique fosters behavior, with a reckless disregard of the consequences, normally attributed to governments like those of Iran, Russia, China, and others with laws and constitutions that are readily ignored by those intolerant of justified dissent?

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The following details provide the relevant conceptual bases for the previously inferred questions:

Manistique's monthly flat-rate water and sewer base fees are imposed for no specified individual or proportional commensurate value conferred to those imposed upon.

The base fees are imposed for no specified commensurate or proportional municipal regulatory expense incurred.

The base fees are imposed contrary to the will of those that receive no equivalent value in return.

The base fees are enforced by the threat of property seizure, by armed police if necessary.

The base fees are imposed for the publicized and sworn purpose of generating revenue for major public infrastructure projects for general public benefit.

The base fees are imposed equally upon users and nonusers of the public water and sewer infrastructure.

The base fees are imposed with no revealed and relevant public record of lawful authority to create, define, fix, impose, or collect and enforce said fees.

The base fees genesis is so vague and vaporous in nature that the fees have been referred to, at many public meetings, as service fees, connection fees, ready-to-serve fees, readiness-to-serve fees, etc.

The base fees are so onerous and unjust that at the time of an imprisoned protester's arrest, his yearly total of fees was approximately 50% of the annual property tax on one property, and approximately 200% of the other.

The base fees in one month of 2017, imposed upon the dissenter's wife, totaled $55.53 and her total water and sewer use rate was $12.17. She received the water she requested and paid for, but she has never received a base.

The base fees of 2019, imposed and collected from about 1,300 residential accounts of users and nonusers, for twelve months, at $59.94 each, totals a guesstimated yearly imposition of $935,064 +/-. This equals millions of dollars over the decades –and no revealed relevant public record of lawful authority to do so.

The base fees are imposed contrary to well established state law, and contrary to the provisions of City ordinances.

The base fees, as imposed for decades, invited the unlawful taking of money and real property belonging to those who would not or could not pay the base fees and lacked the resources or courage to resist the abuse of municipal power.

The base fees could be replaced with lawful property taxes, or objective and truthful invoicing of the voluntary use of municipal services and commodities consumed, that would generate revenue to secure bonds, loans and grants.
The base fees and usage fees were allowed to accumulate past the delinquent limit defined by a City ordinance, thereby placing at risk of seizure under state tax law, the property of landlords that were not provided the legislated option, in the municipal water lien ordinance, to avoid harm from irresponsible renters and City policy.

The base fees as apparently dirty money as described, were laundered and leveraged into clean money by using them as matching funds for various federal and state grant-loan offers of greater value.

The choice to impose and enforce base fees – absent any revealed and relevant authority to do so – is apparently willful municipal fraud, extortion, and theft, under color of law, committed via U.S. Mail in apparent violation of the Federal R.I.C.O. and Hobbs Acts and other mail fraud statutes.

The base fees and their unlawful genesis, enforcement, and victimizing impact – as apparent unlawful taxes – were ignored by all local, state, and federal officials who were made aware, starting in spring 2006.

                                                           *   *   *

By what process, other than a silent conspiracy of barbarian magical thinkers, was it determined appropriate to seek the imprisonment of a protesting victim for the likely remainder of his life (10 to 40 years) consequential to his lawful, justified, documented, public, defensive political speech opposing his apparent victimization by apparent municipal fraud, extortion and theft, under color of law as described?

By what standard of civilized justice does the use of justified and substantiated public political speech - the least forceful means to defend one's property and life interests – deserve imprisonment and the loss of most everything dear to a lawful protester?

Does a community's public silence imply justified fear of municipal reprisal for vocal opposition to apparently irrational and unlawful government behavior?

Does a community's public silence mean that even though money, property, and freedom are at risk, most folk don't care enough to understand and separate facts and relevant context from municipal fiction promoted at public expense by those with self-serving agendas?

I don't know why, beyond municipal delusions and the silence of those who know better, why a protester rotted in prison after losing most everything dear to him.

                                                           *   *   *

Judge for yourself from this introductory editorial synopsis and the full content and context provided by Peter Markham's utility fees documentation at:


Please consider the following:

Why have the City, and all its past and current agents, representatives, and supporters, refused for decades to produce the lawful public record basis for the lawful imposition and enforcement of the City's water and sewer base fees?

What are the real, true, and relevant relationships of cause and effect that led to Markham's imprisonment?

Who are the victimizers and victims?

What is victimizing and defensive behavior?

Who had lawful and unlawful motives?

Who had lawful and unlawful intents?

Who had the rational absence of a guilty mind?

Who had rational and lawful just causes and excuses to protest, by his sole use of lawful defensive speech, his apparent victimization?

There is sufficient public officials' perjury, mendacity, irrational fantasy, irrelevant facts, and delusional thinking and action, surrounding the issues of base fees and Peter Markham's incarceration, to fill a book. Hopefully, this editorial article will inspire and persuade others to seek and provide this innocent, indigent man with competent and effective representation, and relief from judgment. To this date, he has been denied due process by everyone, including his trial and appeal attorneys, all of whom ignored all that I have written of, and much more.

As of 08/29/23, I am aware of no public recognition of any of the above, by anyone responsible before, during, or after my false imprisonment. By logic alone, a reader should conclude that my documented perspective of facts, persons, government entities, and context was and is essentially true. No attempt has ever been made, by anyone, for decades, to censor or remove my website contents, or sue me for any violation of law, real or delusionary.

So much for left and right wing chest thumping about "civilized behavior", "democratic ideals", "religious exhortations", "free speech" and the "rule of law". With sufficient time, the agrieved will fade away and die, and the public and government-sanctioned government predators will retire with their ill gotten gains and public kudos, as selective memory and predatory human behavior assures.

               Peter Markham

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