The City has now made available four draft alternatives for an amendment to the City Charter to change how decisions are made about the sale of City-owned lands. Some Council members expressed an interest in changing this provision in East Lansing’s Charter to be more in line with Lansing’s, but the decision parameters being suggested for East Lansing are different from Lansing’s in an important respect.
As we approach the May 5th election in East Lansing, ELi hopes you will speak up and tell us your positions on the issues that will affect all of us. We will be looking for residents of East Lansing to help educate fellow citizens about their perspectives, and so we hope you will consider contributing in this way.
Residents of East Lansing with landline telephones are sending in reports to ELi of a mysterious political phone poll. A recorded voice has been asking callers a series of questions about whether the call recipients would vote for various versions of a City Charter amendment on the sale of public lands. (See background on the political issue here.)
A surprise discussion broke out tonight at City Council during dialogue about the subject of the last agenda item: the ballot proposal to change the City Charter to limit East Lansing’s ability to restrict marijuana possession. The published agenda had named only discussion of when the vote on the proposal would occur. With no prior notice to the public, Council and the City Attorney suddenly began discussing letters received from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office and Governor Rick Snyder regarding the proposal.
In his formal response to the Michigan Department of State regarding a complaint made against him under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, City Manager George Lahanas has maintained he did not violate the Act by using a taxpayer-funded publication to disseminate his opinion on a ballot proposal. At issue is Lahanas’s use of the City’s September Dialog newsletter to tell residents he hoped they would vote “yes” on a development-related ballot proposal.
Image: Nathan Triplett and Susan Woods at City Council
At City Council’s work session last night, Council entered into a lengthy debate about how, if at all, it should work to make sure East Lansing citizens know from whom Councilmembers have taken campaign contributions. The issue came up in response to a proposed amendment to the Code of Ethics from Councilmember Ruth Beier.
Each week at ELi, we take a question from a reader, investigate the answer, and bring you the result on Friday.
This week’s question from a reader: Did the failure of the parking lot sale authorization on Election Day cause Hotel Indigo to pull out of its plan to be a tenant in the proposed “Building A” in the Park District?
Above: Photo of the City Manager's controversial Dialog column.
A complaint has been filed with the Michigan Department of State alleging that East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas violated the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. The complaint, filed against Lahanas on November 3 by East Lansing resident Donald Power, relates to Lahanas’s decision to use the September issue of the City’s Dialog newsletter to encourage voters to vote “yes” on the parking lot sale authorization question.
This week’s “Ask ELi to Investigate” is a follow-up to last week when we looked at why people voted “no” on the question of authorizing City Council to sell three parking lots. Today we’re looking at why 4,858 people (about 56.6% of those who voted) voted “yes.”
What were the 3,728 people who voted “no” thinking? That’s the question we’re tackling this week in “Ask ELi to Investigate”—why enough East Lansing voters said “no” (to authorizing City Council to sell three parking lots) to cause the measure to fail. We think gathering answers to this question could help citizens, City officials, and developers understand what happened as the City goes forward from here.
This article was updated to add the final three paragraphs at 4:45 pm, Thursday November 6.
Results are still somewhat unclear concerning the November 4 East Lansing School Board election.
At 3:03am, MLive posted an article indicating that “East Lansing races [were] too close to call” at the time, but named Kate Powers, Karen Hoene, Yasmina Bouraoui and Nell Kuhnmuench as the winners of four open seats.
Tonight at City Council, Mayor Nathan Triplett spoke with disappointment about yesterday’s failed vote to authorize City Council to proceed without the need for further direct-voter-approval on developer DTN’s Park District proposal. But City Manager George Lahanas said he saw the vote as sending an important reminder or message to City Council and the City planning staff.