City has neither the expertise nor the funds to replicate the work of existing agencies to address mental health issues

More about last week's CITCOM meeting

More about last week's CITCOM meeting

The same emotionally convoluted off-focus tone which caused Versagi Voice and bloggers on Patch's neutral coverage to use "waste of time" in their comments about such serious topics as depression, suicide, mental health, pit bulls, dangerous dog breeds has dominated published and private communication since last week's CITCOM meeting.

Suggest that the city has neither the expertise nor the funds to replicate the work of existing agencies to address mental health matters, and the response is personal attacks charging the commenter with caring more about mowing grass in city parks than about people. Not nearly as fierce and unbending are the counterattacks against people who would ban pit bulls and who neither share nor understand what seems a mindset which comes close to equating animals and humans.

The business of city government is government, not to stretch the meaning of "health and welfare" so much that it takes precious time away from addressing cops and firefighters and inspectors and engineers and treasurers and . . .

The Daily Tribune's Thursday edition carried an excellent overview by Catherine Kavanaugh, using the tragedy at Target Sports as its focus.

Those two agenda items aside, here’s what else occurred.

To begin with, not having the mayor read the announcements not only saves a few minutes, but gives WROK a chance to shine. Richard Wilson creatively and attractively scrolls the announcements on-screen before and after the meeting.

There were only a dozen speakers during Public Comment. Besides those who had been invited specifically to suggest city involvement in mental health matters, we heard: A friendly threat that the bicycles will be on Woodward en masse on Gran Fondo day, despite city rejection the race . . . A suggestion that the human rights ordinance is a moral issue and should be put on the ballot, not implemented legislatively at The Table . . . A plea not to pile shoveled snow on the Veterans Memorial . . . A reminder that each dog is an individual, so it is illogical to ban any specific breed . . . The Royal Oak Optimists donated a check for more than a couple thousand dollars to the city (My notes don't show if the check was earmarked for a specific purpose.)

Other agenda items:

  • Apparently holders of a Bistro license seem to be moving toward wanting to change their Plan of Operation so it is more like that of a bar/restaurant. The request to serve food after midnight comes across as a first step.
  • Improve implementation of online registration for Recreation and Senior Center programs.
  • Consider rezoning of a portion of Eleven Mile Road to allow a new development.
  • Settled a legal matter re preventing a foreclosure which would have deprived the city of some money.
  • Dealt with a Dream Cruise concession agreement in Memorial Park.
  • By showing the commissioners all seven of the RFPs concerned with developing a brand for Royal Oak, the Administration confirmed that it had made the right choice. (I know, I know. Why are we spending $20,000 on branding? "Because you suckers passed the millage," a handful of readers tell me.)

Unexciting as they may be for most of us, the bulleted items are the real business of local government.

Frank Versagi is the editor of Versagi Voice.


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Exchange Park February 11, 2013 at 04:59 PM
What's next? Well after the city solves southeast Michigan's mental health issues, I heard they might try to tackle global warming. In the meantime, I can expect the grass at the park across from my house not to be cut until June.
Bill February 11, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I looked up Royal Oak's block grant budgets from the past. The city used to regularly fund Common Ground - Sanctuary from the block grant fund. The last year the city funded Common Ground - Sanctuary was in the 2006-2007 budget year. They haven't funded them since. If the city was truly committed to suicide prevention, they would immediately restore funding to the organiztion that has expertise in suicide issues. How can the city be concerned about suicide prevention, when they cuty funding on the very issue? All I see is a bunch of political grandstanding and posturing.
Bill February 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM
....then reparations.
RO Biker February 12, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Ron- I agree that city hall is blind to alot of things, but instead of the blind squirrel metaphor, shouldn't Royal Oak's new logo include a mole?
Tom February 12, 2013 at 11:53 PM
The city logo needs a skunk, and any animal that has a forked tongue.
S. Dudek February 13, 2013 at 02:11 AM
The new logo needs to have a martini glass to represent all the booze in town.
Ray Smith February 13, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Sheesh, some of you folks ought to start your own Cynics Anonymous chapter. What a depressing group.
Bob February 13, 2013 at 01:38 PM
I swear, it's like Ronald just crawled out from under a rock and ended up here in Royal Oak. I have seen this on numerous comment threads on this site. It seems you don't understand the recent history here regarding the cutting of grass in local parks. For several recent years, it was city policy to reduce grass cuttings in the parks due to budget issues. This led to very tall grass in May and June.
Bob February 13, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Right on Frank. The title of this blog says it all.
Exchange Park February 13, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Ron, I live on Montrose across from Exchange Park. For the last two years, the city hasn't cut the park grass until it reached nearly 3 feet tall, claiming the ground was too soft for their equipment. Yet, they could cut the soccer fields. Mind you, I've lived in this house for 37 years and the grass was always cut in a timely manner for the first 35 years. I pay more in taxes, yet city services have declined.
48073 February 13, 2013 at 10:10 PM
So to summarize some of the logo suggestions, the city needs to incorporate a mole (or some other poor eyesighted creature) that has a forked tongue, and a stripe down it's back, that has oppsible thumbs, so that it can hold a martini glass. That sounds about right for a city mascot.
S. Dudek February 13, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Good summary! The opposable thumbs aren't a deal breaker. The mascot could always drink out of one of those hats that can hold two cans of beer that has a long straw.
Happy Jack February 14, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Did you hear about the buff blind squirrel that walked into the Royal Oak bar with his seeing eye dog? The blind squirrel starting swinging his seeing eye dog over his head in a circle like a lasso. The bartender said to the blind squirrel, "What the heck are you doing?" The blind squirrel replied, "Just looking around."


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