In Brief: Gran Fondo Update, Ethics Opinion Released

The Royal Oak City Commission handles long agenda in Monday night meeting.

The Royal Oak City Commission worked until 11 p.m. to get through its agenda at Monday night’s regular meeting.

Commissioners release ethics opinion

Commissioners voted to release a legal opinion on whether the actions of Commissioner Jim Rasor constituted an ethics violation.

The controversy surrounding Rasor alleged inappropriate actions on the part of the commissioner with regards to an

On Dec. 3, in a closed session, attorney William Hampton, a former state legislator and Oakland County Circuit Court Judge, discussed an attorney-client privileged legal opinion he prepared for the commission.

"The report needs to released. The taxpayers paid for it," said Commissioner David Poulton.

Hampton's opinion will be posted on the city's website.

"I am obviously relieved to read the report," said Commissioner Jim Rasor, after the vote to release the document.

Rasor quoted Hampton as stating: "It is my conclusion, based on the facts, that Commissioner Rasor did not violate the city's ethics ordinance nor did he engage in any conflict of interest with the city."

No action taken on Gran Fondo 

No action was requested or taken at Monday's meeting in regards to the Gran Fondo—a 54-mile public bike ride along Woodward Avenue tentatively scheduled for June 30, 2013.

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is organizing the Grand Fondo, Italian for "big ride." The purpose behind the race and ride, organizers say, is to promote healthy living, showcase Woodward Avenue and raise funds for sustainable infrastructure and other beautification projects along Woodward.

Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue gave commissioners an update of a Dec. 10 meeting hosted by the city and attended by police chiefs from neighboring Woodward Avenue communities and other municipal officials. The chief outlined his safety concerns for the event.

"One thing that was clear at the meeting is (the organizers) currently have no plan. They refer to a plan that's been approved by MDOT. There actually is no plan," the chief said. "MDOT was there and they said they have an idea, but they want help from local law enforcement with problem intersections. I brought up the fact that just about every one of our intersections is a problem intersection and they had no idea how to deal with it."

O'Donohue noted MDOT officials have stated they will not permit the event without approval of cities.

At this point, nothing has occurred that would cause the city administration to alter its recommendation that the bicycle race and public ride on Woodward Avenue are unsafe for the participants.

Heather Carmona, executive director of WA3, has promised a plan in writing in the next couple of weeks, City Manager Don Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Birmingham officials say they don't have a problem with the Gran Fondo — at least, the Birmingham part — and threw their support for the event on Monday night. 

"I don't see a problem with our little corner of the world,"  Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt said on Monday. "There are lot of problems I can see, but those aren't mine to address."

Studt noted potential problem areas include the 8 Mile overpass, the 696 overpass and the intersection at 13 Mile and Coolidge. There could also be problems with several of the churches along Woodward — the race is scheduled for a Sunday morning.

Other agenda items

  • Commissioners unanimously approved a Naming Commission resolution to designate the 44th District Court Plaza in honor of retiring Judge Daniel Sawicki. Read the proclamation on the city website.
  • The city commission also approved a Streets and Sidewalk Ordinance Amendment, which prohibits the riding of bicycles and similar devices on downtown sidewalks. Bikes are welcomed downtown, but must be walked on the sidewalk or ridden in the street.
  • Commissioners approved all Liquor Control Committee recommendations, including Union Brewery's request to change the plan of operation at 419 S. Main St.; Lawrence L. Sophiea & Sons, Inc. request to transfer license at 212 W. Fifth St.; Dexter Hospitality Holdings, LLC  request to transfer ownership at 401 South Lafayette; Kyoto Japanese Steak House request to change plan of operation at 1824 W. 14 Mile Rd. and The Rock on 3rd request to change plan of operation at 112 E. Third St.
William McLaughlin December 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM
It's on Sunday morning, for Pete's sake, I fail to see how traffic could be significantly disrupted if the fondo participants obey all traffic signals. I'm pretty sure God will not smite people coming late to church because of some bicyclists on the road.


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