Sunday, July 26, 2015

7th Annual Cass River Cleanup Project July 25th, 2015

This was a fantastic event!

I would first like to say THANK YOU to all the volunteers that joined in this cleanup and helped to make the beautiful Cass River here in Bridgeport a little cleaner, actually a lot cleaner!  This is a annual event held by the Cass River Greenway Organization -
Bill  Wheeler the Bridgeport Parks & Recreation Director helped to organize this years event here in Bridgeport.  Great Job!!  
These people that do this event every year in a different section of the Cass River are a great bunch of people.  They are from many different communities here along the Cass River.  This was my first time at one of these events but it will not be the last time.  If you have never joined in before, I highly recommend you join in one of their future events.  Any time you have a excuse to play in the river and make a difference at the same time - That is always a good thing :-)
I want to give a personal shout out here to those that I know of that were involved in helping to make this event so successful.  These are the sponsors listed on the back of the really nice t-shirt I got:  Leinenkugel's Canoes For A Cause, Cass River Yacht Club, Bridgeport Township Parks & Recreation,
Bridgeport Township Downtown Development Authority,  Grasel Graphics, Bavarian Inn Restuarant, Cass River Greenway, McDonald's Of Bridgeport, Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs, Billy's Contracting, R.A. Monk Insurance.  Also Thank You to Bridgeport residents Glen Chaney, Dr. Darrow and Jim Secord for allowing their property to be used for access to the river.  Also Gobeyn's Service Station for picking up and disposing of the 14 tires that were removed from the Cass River. Almost forgot Star of the West Milling Co. that provides trucks every year to help with the cleanups.
Some Bridgeport residents that joined in the clean up were Township Supervisor Augie Tausend and Township Manager Rose Licht, Police Chief Dave Duffett and Officer Mat Kaz-Mika, and Bill Wheeler.  Bridgeport's public servants got wet, muddy and did a great job in helping with this cleanup!  Rose, Augie and Chief Duffett did get a car door out of the river!  Miss Bridge Fest 2015, Chelsea Nedrow also joined us in the cleanup.  She drove a long way to come and get wet, muddy and pitch in to help cleanup.  I think she is a great representative for our Bridgeport community.   There was also a great group of teens from the Wolverine Human Services, Pioneer Work & Learn Vassar program.  They did a great job of helping out, got out a lot of trash, looked like they had fun doing it too!

I got a few photo's from the event.  You can see them here -
and the Bridgeport Parks and Recreation has a few photo's of the event posted

Thursday, July 23, 2015

O' What A Tangled Web

O, what a tangled web we weave
 when first we practise to deceive!

- Sir Walter Scott

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bridgeport School Board Special Meeting July 20th, 2015

On the agenda:
- Citizen Participation begins at 0:46
- Closed Session - They voted to go into closed session at 5:00 and they come back into meeting at about 6:14
-  Agenda Adjustments begins at 6:31.  This is where they added the Jennifer McDonald contract to the agenda.
- Committee Reports begin at 7:57
- 2015-16 High School Student Handbooks Discussion/Approval begins at 12:17
-Bus Leases begins at 13:03
- Personnel Report begins at 14:35
-Discussion on the Resolution to approve 2014 settlement agreement with Jennifer McDonald begins at 23:46.  It starts with just a recap of the legal actions concerning this.  The boards statement concerning Marti Sageman and the resolution to approve the agreement begins at 27:40
- Board Member Comments begin at 32:16 ..  Board President Jay Bruns closing comments begin at 33:43

There was also a vote by this school board to approve the separation agreement from 2014 between the Bridgeport schools and former Elementary Principal Jennifer McDonald.  Where to even begin with this!    
Back in July of 2014 there was the infamous separation agreement signed by Former Superintendent Tom Hill on behalf of the Bridgeport School District and Elementary Principal Jennifer McDonald. 
So now we have a new school board with 2 new members and a new board president, voting last night 5 to 2 to approve that separation agreement that was not discussed or approved in 2014 by the previous board or voted on in 2014 in an open board meeting, in which it was required to be according to the laws pertaining to the OMA.  Following so far?  

Last night Board President Jay Bruns read a statement that appeared to have been prepared by the school districts lawyer Mr. Patterson.  At 27:40 in the video he gives the prepared school boards response concerning the separation agreement and the handling by Marti Sageman of the actions taken and the money spent.  This is not a legal judgement given by a court, only by the board members.  Wasn’t the school district’s lawyer Mr. Patterson also the one who drew up that separation agreement for Jennifer McDonald?  Based on the lawsuit filed against Marti Sageman on the circuit court website, the school district attorney is NOT Mr Patterson in fact it states the attorney is Philip Ellison. Therefore was it legal for the board to enter into closed session for the reason of exempt material when that pertains to client attorney privileges?   The way I understand the law this would make Mr. Patterson a witness to the case and a direct conflict of interest.  You can view the lawsuit papers filed here --

Jay Bruns stated last night that the school board members were aware of the discussions between the school board’s representative and the representative for Jennifer McDonald.  How many school board members were actually told about this agreement and exactly when was it ever discussed by the board members?  If there were board members that were aware of it, then why did they not follow proper procedure and vote on it and approve it in a board meeting?  If the school board members were aware of this agreement and the payment made, why have they stayed silent since February when questions were first brought up about it?  Would the vote last night by the board to approve the action from a year ago be considered a admission of guilt that they did violate rules concerning it in 2014?  Or just a admission of incompetence?  Incompetence then, Incompetence now?

In the ABC 12 article and video by Terry Camp,  he states that “We spoke with school board members Jay Bruns and Pat Nelson and they confirm they knew nothing of the separation agreement between McDonald and the district.”   See video and story here - 
It seems that more people than myself are confused about this.  Did Jay Bruns Know about it or did he Not Know about it?  Are we expected to settle for the best 2 out of 3 for answers concerning this?  It is obvious, and should be even to those that lack reading comprehension ability, that I have a lot of questions concerning everything about this whole matter.   

Now on to the closing comments made by Board President Jay Bruns.  

I have totally lost faith in the political system in D.C.  One of the things I find disgusting about the national politics is how when there is a vocal critic of or opponent to those in power, the opponent becomes a target of what appears to be a smear campaign.  They are attacked and lied about in every way possible in an attempt to destroy any credibility of the critic and thereby destroying the credibility of their criticism and opposition…….  When I heard Jay Bruns comments last night, I almost felt like I was watching this same kind of politics happening here in Bridgeport.  I have spent hours thinking over what he said and I still do not really know what to think of it.  So let’s take a look at what he said, piece by piece.  I would love some feedback from others on what you think of his comments.  You can leave a comment and post as “anonymous”.

First he talks about how they are moving forward etc…  I agree with that to a point. The schools and staff are moving forward; the school board not so much.  I think we have a few good board members that could help move the district in the right direction.  There are some good things happening in the district and I have talked with several people connected to the schools about how I would like to write about them here on my blog, to really highlight the positive things.  The problem is I just don’t have the time to do it.  I wanted to get all the info etc… to share.  There are too many important things in my life that are being put on hold, shoved to the side, just to be able to have the time to share what I do with the Township Board Meetings and the School Board Meetings.  There are so many good things happening here in Bridgeport that I would like to share on my blog, just can’t get it done.

Next he talks about every citizens Freedom of Speech and that I, Carla Citizen, have the right to video tape public meetings and share them on the internet.   Those are rights that all public officials need to remember that we as citizens have, and also remember that there are laws in place to guarantee and protect those rights. There are penalties for violating those laws.

He says that anyone has the right to come to the podium and say “whatever they want about anyone they want”, “Whether It is True Or Not”.  That remark blew me away!  Who was he talking about there?  The couple that spoke that evening about the 2015 Great Lake Rendezvous that will be held this August on the island at Davis Park here in Bridgeport?  Was he talking about the staff members that have spoken at the podium about some of the great things like the Robotic Program they have started here in Bridgeport?  Was he implying that people are actually speaking at the podium and intentionally lying? My first thought was that he was referring to the most vocal opponent of the school board and by far the most frequent visitor to the podium – John Rhines.  But he surely can’t mean John Rhines, because I believe that John Rhines can back up everything he has ever said with facts and documents.

Right after he talks about my right to video tape the meetings and share them online, he talks about “someone” advocating for the closure of the Bridgeport School District.  I got into a discussion with Mr. Bruns after the school board meeting about this.  The only remark that I can think of that he is referring to is one I made at the end of my blog post about the June 29th, 2015 Special School Board Meeting.  That was one of the meetings that made me feel like there was probably no hope for this current school board being competent enough to save this school district. 
My remark was “If I was sitting in Lansing and saw this meeting, along with all the other problems that this school board and district have had for years, I would shut this district down.  This meeting left me with little hope that this school board will ever be able to function in the necessary manner to bring this district out of the mess that it has allowed it to become, and especially to ever make it a thriving district.”  
I am NOT advocating for Lansing to shut the district down, I was in despair because I felt that is what Would Happen because of the incompetency of this school board.   If anyone goes and reads all my blog posts it should be obvious to them that I care deeply about the future of this district and the children that depend upon this district.  In my conversation with Mr. Bruns after the meeting, I said that I never advocated for closing the district down.  When Mr. Bruns tried to quote exactly what I had written, I said something along the line that he was paraphrasing, taking out of context what I had written, thus changing the meaning of what I wrote.  That quote needs to be taken in full context of the entire blog post.  If you read all my posts I think it should be obvious what I meant.  I keep asking myself if maybe he truly does not understand what I wrote or if he is intentionally twisting it to change the meaning?  I honestly don’t know what to think.

He also says “Everyone would be out of a job, because of what is being put on the computer and on YouTube, advocating closure of our schools”….  Wow, I wish my humble little blog really had that much power!  I do now average between 3,000 to 3,500 views over any 30 day period now.  After my post about the June 29th School Board Meeting, I did have over 600 views, from the U.S., in the first 48 hours after it went online.  That is not counting the international views it received.  If my blog posts had the power to close down the Bridgeport School District, just think of what I could do to change all the wrongs in the world with just my little blog!!
If the State of Michigan ever does close the Bridgeport School District, like they did with the former Buena Vista School District, it will not be because of anything that I write on my blog, it would be because of what they see happening here through the lens of my camera.  The buck stops with the School Board Members!  You can have all the best staff in the world working here in Bridgeport, but there is only so much they can do to save our school district when the school board is either so incompetent or possibly so corrupt.  If the district ever gets shut down it will be because of the actions or lack of actions by the School Board Members themselves and no one else!

In my conversation with Mr. Bruns after the meeting I also told him that what I want is for several of the board members to be gone so that the school district does not get shut down.  He said something like “You can’t remove the board members, only in an election”.  Mr. Bruns is not up for reelection until 2018; But there is always the Recall choice to remove a board member.  To remove them now would take a special election and I am not yet willing to go there because of the hardship it would cost the Township.  There is an election coming up in May 2016.  Jay Bruns can be recalled in that May election.  Maybe he will be recalled.  I will be seriously looking into that option after last night's meeting!

Lawsuit On Behalf Of The Bridgeport School Board Against Marti Sageman

On June 22nd, 2015 a letter was delivered to the Bridgeport School Board Members demanding action by the board concerning the $38,000 that was spent and the Separation Agreement that was signed between former Superintendent Tom Hill and former Elementary Principal Jennifer McDonald.  You can view my original blog post about that matter and see the copy of the letter sent to the school board and the separation agreement here --

No action was taken by the Bridgeport School Board so a lawsuit was filed on July 14th, 2015 --
I am not sure how the bizarre action taken by the school board at last night's meeting will affect this lawsuit; but I look forward to watching this all work its way through the court system. 

Here is the lawsuit filed by Attorney Philip Ellison against Marti Sageman.  You can read each page by clicking on the photos.






Just Wait For It

For all my 3,000+  monthly faithful readers - I do have several blog posts coming up that I hope you will enjoy.  Until then, I leave you with a cute little song I haven't thought of in years until tonight.

Queen of Denial,
Just floating down a river of lies. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bridgeport Township DDA Board Meeting July 8th, 2015

On the agenda:
Public Comments begin at 1:41
New Business -
- Chamber Membership Services /Larry Ford begins at 5:07
- Land Bank Parcel at 4274 Dixie Hwy begins at 6:52
- Bond Pre Payment begins at 12:17
- Chamber Luncheon for July 15th begins at 20:40
Old Business -
- Beautification Committee Report - a. Rain Garden Section
b. Landscaping Contract 2016 begins at 21:58
- GLDC Update begins at 36:32
DDA Coordinators Report begins at 40:02
DDA Member Comments begin at 49:06

Bridgeport Township Board Meeting July 7th, 2015

On the agenda:
Special Orders -
- Public Hearing for sidewalk repairs begins at 3:27
Public Comment begins at 41:28
New Business -
- Appointments to Planning Commission, Roads & Drains Committee & Personnel Committee begins at 45:50
- St. Matthews taking steps against hunger run/walk - Jean Schluckebier begins at 47:08
-Water Main Bids - Curtis Road begins at 55:52
- Fire Department Hydrant Mapping begins at 57:46
- Resolution R15-12 Street light at 3600 block Williamson Road begins at 58:50
Board Member Comments begin at 1:01:14