Friday, December 8, 2017

Public commentary as performance art

A YouTuber who goes by the name, Chad Kroeger (No, not that Chad Kroeger) has posted a series of videos taken from public commentary from public meetings in the greater Los Angeles area. Above you will see an impassioned plea against a potential ban on house parties in the Hollywood Hills. Interesting note, public commentary at LA City Council meetings is only one minute. Pretty harsh. Below you can see Chad and his buddy JT making a plea for a Paul Walker memorial sculpture to the San Clemente City Council. Note: his prop game is great.

Gentle readers, what do you think about this use of public commentary? On one hand, it may not be the best use of public official's time. On the other hand, it certainly adds some levity to public meetings.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Scorekeepers, the most popular Uber destination in Michigan

Uber has just released their 2017 list of most popular destinations in each state. In most states, the most popular destination is some sort of sports stadium. E.g. Ohio's most popular Uber destination is Progressive Field in Cleveland. Michigan's most popular Uber destination is none other than local watering hole, Scorekeepers. Popular college town bar is the second largest category in Uper's 2017 rankings. Still, I'm a little surprised that Skeeps beats out the popular Detroit stadia for Uber traffic.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday gift idea: Ann(e) Arbor perfume

Gentle reader, there is an Etsy Shop in France that is selling what appears to be a half empty bottle of Anne Arbor perfume. Even stranger, the price is listed as $7.34. Is someone trying to send us a message? Is this just a giant cosmic coincidence? I have so many questions. What is Anne Arbor perfume? Does it smell like Ann Arbor? What does the essence of Ann Arbor smell like?

Gentle reader, do you have a difficult-to-shop-for Ann Arborite on your shopping list? Why not buy them the ultimate gift? A half empty bottle of Anne Arbor perfume. It can be yours for just $7.34(!) plus $7.71 shipping and handling. Seriously, if somebody does buy it, please let us know what it smells like.

An interview with Richard Retyi on the occasion of the publication of the publication of his first book

Damn Arbor alum Rich Retyi has just published his first book, The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History Book. He will be discussing the book tomorrow night at Literati Bookstore at 7 pm. The Book of Ann Arbor compiles many of the historical stories you may have heard on Rich's podcast, Ann Arbor Stories.

This afternoon, Rich and I sat down at our respective computers to discuss his book over email.

Ben Connor Barrie: What is your favorite story in the book?

Rich Retyi: he saddest is It's Lovely to Die Together. The most messed up are Ann Arbor Cages Public Animal #1 or The Torch Murders. The grossest is A Brief History of Poop. The historicaliest is Dirty Rotten Founders. But Ben, my favorite is obviously the Dam Arbor chapter!

BCB: What was the best part about writing the book?

RR: Nothing. It fucking sucks to write a book. That's not exactly true. Going down 41 rabbit holes to write these stories—reading all these old newspaper articles and looking through old photos from the Ann Arbor District Library's archives—that's a lot of fun. But deadlines and editors who hit me and did I mention deadlines? I also feel really weird signing my book because that feels super pretentious. Wait, your question was what did you hate about writing this book, right?

BCB: Is your book the best local holiday gift for the 2017 season?

RR: No. It's the third best holiday gift for the 2017 season. The first best would be John Bacon's book about when the town of Halifax blew up. The second would be a t-shirt from The Bar at Braun Court. THEN Book of Ann Arbor.

The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History Book, published by Fifth Avenue Press, is available at Nicola's Books, Literati, Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Amazon.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ypsilanti City Council Preview

December's first Ypsilanti City Council Meeting is tomorrow night at Ypsilanti City Hall at 7 pm. The most exciting item on the agenda is a presentation of the 164 page 2017 Annual Financial Report. I've only skimmed the report, but here are some of the highlights: property tax revenue is up about $157,017 or 1.5% to $10,582,364; total revenue is down from $24,375,260 to $19,072,294; and total expense are down from $22,865,869 to $20,848,429.

Another interesting item is Resolution No. 2017-282, which would enter into an agreement with the Huron River Watershed Council to manage a study examining the feasibility of removing the old Peninsular Paper Co. Dam and restoring the riparian ecosystem there. There will also be presentations on the the snow removal plan for winter 2017-2018 and the plans for the large parcel at 800 Lowell (pictured below).

Citizen Streamers have streamed been streamed several recent public meeting in Ypsilanti via Facebook Live. I haven't been able to confirm whether anybody will be streaming the Dec. 5th #YpsiCouncil meeting. If I do hear anything, I'll update this article.

UPDATE: Ypsi Live will be streaming tomorrow night's meeting.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

#a2council preview

The site of the proposed Lower Town development outlined in red. Three of tomorrow night's 7 public hearings are on the various aspects of the Lower Town development.

Tomorrow is the first Ann Arbor City Council meeting of December. The agenda includes seven total public hearing. You can check out the agenda here. Three are about the Lower Town development at 1140 Broadway. The first is on the proposal to rezone the parcel. The second is on landscape modification for the project. The final one is on the brownfield plan for the site. Three of the remaining public hearings have to do with annexing township parcels. The final public hearing is on an amendment to the city's medical marijuana zoning rules. Of the public hearings, I anticipate the ones regarding the Lower Town development will have the most speakers.

On the consent agenda two of the items relate to sidewalk easements. There is also CA-10, which is an emergency purchase order for replacement elevator belts for the City Hall elevators. Yikes. Hope those elevators are safe.

Gentle reader, what are you most excited for in tomorrow's City Council Agenda? Also, what do you think about the Lower Town Development?