| . . .
come to the
1~3pm on Saturdays and
Stand for Peace
The Farmers' Markets
only lasted through October (thanks for your support of Peaceful Pastries -- and watch for updates
about how and where Jennifer's goods may become available in
restaurants or stores near you!) -- but the Stand will
go on, weather and health permitting.
-- the Stand this weekend will be on Sunday, not Saturday . . . because
Jennifer has two business-development activities on Saturday.
Thanks also for your support
for our runs as well as our Stands, no matter what the Enquirer said, or rather didn't
say, about our campaigns.
local clerks to figure out how busy our polling places will be on Nov.
6, and posted updates to his initial analysis (in Excel
format) of all the responses so
also revived his 2008 inquiry to the Bureau of Elections, and found out
have no documented reasons why
they decided ID card X was
"generally accepted" and eligible to be voter ID at the polls, but not
ID card Y.)
And, fortunately or un-, we got a few more
invitations to forums alongside other candidates than our Green
Jill Stein and Cheri
It's good to have candidates who care about people,
justice -- about elections run and public records managed for the people .
. . who want to bring good food to their community, and equally
healthy policy to the local political scene. But, as promised,
we'll still find time to Stand for
believe in. Mind you, we may have to be flexible . . .
so if you
don't see us Saturdays, keep an eye out for us Sundays -- like
Still, it's as important as ever to spread the word every day,
all through 2012, that
peace is patriotic.
We also thank all who
came to see jalp &
Jennifer at the Franke Center 1-4pm Sat 11/12/2011 at our post-wedding reception.
Apologies to those who aimed to see us Standing on
Sun 11/13 (we were exhausted from the rigors of our Saturday adventure).
And thanks again (always) to
all the folks who support our Stand for Peace each week and help us spread
the message that peace is
patriotic . . . and
choice, no matter which of the big parties in the
White House or Congress isn't making it. (Some of you must have
supported us more than once -- we've now topped 30,000
honks, waves, nods, peace signs, and other signals of definite
enthusiasm.) And please remember to plant a tree
the next chance you get, in honor of the late Wangari
BTW . . . we're now sharing that purple peace
young woman brought jalp
back last January, when the weather was too cold to wear it over
hats & hood & scarf and all. But Jennifer has an even
bigger one on her purse. . . .
The Calhoun County Apportionment Commission has
new map of County Board districts, based on the
2010 Census. It may not be as good a plan in all particulars
it could have been, but it met the basic legal requirements well enough
that it seems nobody has sued over it.
general description of how the Commission worked -- and links to
the state law that sets the rules for that work,
and information including maps and a jalp-created spreadsheet
gathering the Census data so you can try to draw your own maps -- go to
City Council rezoned 223 N. Marshall to
POSD on Dec.
7, 2009, and the variances on neighboring lots also went into
effect, despite confusion at the ZBA as to the
proper standard for granting a use variance. For future
copies of the opinion
at the Oct. 15 ZBA meeting, the
case that one was
and a newer
also involving a use variance and a parking lot.
Suggestions at that meeting (by jalp
others) led then-Mayor Smith to found a Hospital and
Committee whose initial goal was "To determine a plan to
accommodate possible hospital expansion that is satisfactory to the
Community and the Hospital."
was appointed to that committee -- but his life got busier,
and the Committee's goal shifted somewhat, and
two factors he ha to resign his seat. But he still hoped for a
process to build openness and trust between and among segments
and members of the community. He sees that as
keeping a good hospital and
healthy Historic District in Marshall. And he'll still keep
working for that, no matter what actually results from the work of the
If you want information
on that issue which used to be posted here, please feel free to e-mail
me! (Tell me what you're looking
for, as best you can.)
e-mailed a survey July
4, 2010 to Calhoun County and all the cities, townships, villages,
districts, and library districts in it about their procedures and
guidelines for charging fees on FOIA requests. (Hey, it does stand for Freedom
of Information Act!) He plans to post results too, when he
them -- and now the first
installment of responses is here
(HTML) or here
posted some of the Michigan Freedom of Information Committee
compilations of state FOIA caselaw. A FOIA
with links to those notes and other useful sources of FOIA
information, is also on line here. Enjoy!
City adopted a new FOIA policy
on Jan. 3, 2011. (If I do say so myself, it's a good bit
than the old one.)
Information on local governing boards across Calhoun County (meeting
dates/times/places, contacts for agenda information, etc.) can be found
(HTML) or here
(PDF). Updated 2010/03/19.
info on local governing boards' FOIA
and public- comment policies: here
(HTML) or here
law & order and justice
(not always in that order)
meeting good people
. . . & other ways to combine
two or more of the above
(a work in progress; more
will be coming eventually . . . in the meantime, here are a few
assorted Webpages we visit fairly frequently)
Ballot Access News
If you've noticed that bi-partisanship
isn't the same as non-partisanship,
this is a good resource for following how people of other parties (and
people of no party affiliation at all) are being treated by the system
built by and for the only two parties we hear about.
Japanese sound and
A good way to look up examples of Japanese onomatopoeia
which is very useful if you like manga
Ikkoku -- which you can find
out about here
among other places. (The first link is also closely tied to
discussion board where jalp
met Jennifer. )
the author of Maison Ikkoku,
has a new series -- Kyôkai
. That's 境界のりんね
if your browser can show you the Japanese characters, though they're
out RINNE (or RIN-NE, to emphasize the multi-syllabic Japanese
pronunciation). And it's being posted on line in English
at the same time as its publication in Japanese. You can read
The series is now at 11x chapters and counting as of 9/11/11,
Japanese publisher hasn't let its US partner post the English
translations of the last 25 chapters or so since the Fukushima
talk about it here at this Takahashi-centric discussion board
we found some kindred souls . . . including, as mentioned
above, one who now is literally kindred. (If
you want to look back that far, you
can see jalp's rash
attempt to match imaginations with Takahashi-sensei
. . . his first
thoughts about where the story
you can do
an advanced search of the Legislature's database
of state statutes. (And from the menu on
the left side, you can also find out about current and past bills, and
other activities at and around the Capitol in Lansing.)
is the page on the "Michigan Courts"
Website where anyone can search through case decisions by the state
Supreme Court and the four branches of the state Court of
Appeals. There are also links to court rules and other useful
categories of information.
The link is set
up to show weather information for
Marshall, Michigan where we live. But you can put in
town name or ZIP code. (If you prefer the site's "classic"
use this link
the Ten Key Values of the Green Party -- summarized by jalp
words (in HTML
Party of Michigan (which held its nominating
June 2-3 in Mount Pleasant)
County Green Party (jalp is
Clerk-Register of Deeds (that campaign's Website is no longer on line;
if you want particular information from it, please let
nominated at this June's Green Party of Michigan convention in
Mount Pleasant as its 2012 candidate for Calhoun County Clerk
& Register of Deeds! And watch this space for news
of Jennifer's campaign for the 6th District seat on the County Board of
Commissioners. If she can get jalp onto Facebook,
she can do anything!
nominated by the Green Party of Michigan as its 2010 candidate for
of State; in case your news media missed
the issue discussions or the rest of the news from
jalp's campaign, the home page for that
campaign is (still) here
. . .
. . . turn off unnecessary lights 9~10pm the third Thursday of
laude from Thomas M. Cooley Law
School in May
the July 2008 Michigan State Bar examination; admitted to the State Bar of Michigan
editors and guest
letters to editors and "Roses" posted or linked below
columns for the
Marshall Review (now defunct):
are now (finally!) posted, and linked here;
make room for more someday
other writings --
Am the Very Model of a Modern Surgeon General" --
a parody (of what, we wonder?)
dating way back to 1998! . . . HTML
tales of Maison
Ikkoku-related fan fiction:
Your Voice" (jalp)
(co-authored) "Ace no Ikkoku" (episodes
1 & 3 so far)
posted as appropriate and available
Don't miss Jennifer's sweet and savory vegan treats
at the Marshall Farmers' Market 8am~12 noon almost all Saturdays
between now and October! (Update: Thank
you for your support -- and watch for more news of how Peaceful
Pastries may grow into a business whose products you can find in stores
it's a good time
to remember this rose jalp
sent to the
Battle Creek Enquirer 3/11/2010:
A ROSE . . .
. . . to the Michigan
Press Association’s Dawn
— for “un-covering” KCC’s
process. Luce Herrmann is right: if the
advisory committee hasn’t
exercised authority subject to the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of
Information Act, it’s wasted time and public money.
(KCC’s carefully-worded legal
opinion rests on
Board minutes saying nothing about authority to interview
candidates.) Celebrating Sunshine Week (March 14-20),
adding KCC to my FOIA-subscriptions project (see http://members.triton.net/jalp)
. . . and urging MPA members to open their election coverage freely and
equally to all
candidates and parties.
John Anthony La Pietra
Calhoun County Coördinator, Green Party of Michigan
386 Boyer Court
Marshall, MI 49068
sent to the
Battle Creek Enquirer
ROSE . . .
. . . to those Calhoun County
who have fulfilled my requests for subscriptions to their board-meeting
agendas under the state Freedom of Information Act.
been subscribing (or trying to) for over a year now, and I just updated
my reports on how open our local governments are being to us.
how the county itself is responding – your favorite cities,
townships, villages, school boards, and library boards, too.
Visit my Webspace at:
Then try subscribing yourself! . . .
John Anthony La Pietra
386 Boyer Court
Marshall, MI 49068
. . .
It's still a busy time, though some issues are decided. For
at least. Last Monday (12/7/09), Marshall City Council
7-0 before a big but not overwhelming crowd. This action also
activated the nearby variances
that had been adopted conditional on the rezoning passing too, so I
took the liberty of giving Council some information
offered the Zoning Board of Appeals back in October. (I
thought it might be useful to let everyone see something about the
standard for considering use variances -- which the ZBA meeting didn't
exactly clear up.) Here's
the Michigan Court of Appeals opinion in Janssen v Holland Charter
which was quoted at the ZBA meeting where they were conditionally
adopted. And here's
the case Janssen was
based on (caution: some links may not work). That 1967 case
been cited across the country, as well as in a fairly
standard Michigan law reference treatise:
show the unnecessary hardship necessary to support the granting of a
use variance, the landowner must prove the land cannot be put to a
reasonable use or yield a reasonable return under its current zoning
classification. The hardship must be unique or peculiar to
the particular parcel and cannot be the result of general neighborhood
conditions. Finally, the use variance should not be granted
if it alters the essential character of the
v Leo, 7 Mich App 659,
667-674; 153 NW2d 162 (1967). The unnecessary hardship test
for use variance is equivalent to the confiscation standard for
regulatory takings. Unnecessary hardship amounts to a taking
of the land unless a use variance is granted.
J. Rae, editor, Local Government Law
and Practice in Michigan
Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys,
at 10-12. (I happened to see the volume while I was waiting
an unrelated bit of legal business to begin.)
Council a copy
of a 2007
Inc v City of Birmingham
(again, caution: some links may
not work). It's unpublished, so it can't be precedent -- but
does cite Janssen,
it involves a use variance and a parking lot, so I thought it
might be relevant.
mine was not
voice calling for a better way to address town-and-hospital-gown
conflicts before they happen . . . so it was a good time to bring a
sign-up sheet for volunteers to start meeting on that. I got
about a dozen signers, and have now mailed or e-mailed them all a full
list of each other's contact information. Maybe we'll get to
to open up the process somehow.
and community forum was held at 7pm Wednesday evening
the Middle School cafeteria (despite the weather) . . . and there was a
little more information on individual projects that may be in
issues) we'll see on the ballot next May 4.
But it's still not to the summary-page-on-each-project level
detail I've been asking for -- and even designing a draft summary
to start the ball rolling. Still, I do have a
showing the kinds of information that are now being put out.
that was shown at a previous Board meeting, I believe. And,
if anyone wants to see a 44-page
slide show from a few weeks ago, well
. . . I can't post that -- I don't have that much storage space, my ISP
tells me -- but I can e-mail the 8MB PDF file to someone if
want it. Just say
work would help MPS do better at convincing the public that it
needs, it's properly identified them, and it has a well-thought-out
plan for fulfilling them. If they get closer to that, I'll
let you all know.
The Board met 12/14/09 and unanimously adopted a bond program, after
voting 6-1 to make expansion of the high-school auditorium a
separate second question. I mentioned in the initial public
comment period that I hadn't seen the program as
proposed/recommended by Superintendent Davis made available for the
public. A few agenda items later, an updated draft of the
from the 12/9 community forum -- reflecting some discussion there --
was handed out to the audience (and more copies left alongside
agendas and comment forms in case anyone came in later). I
an extra copy of this updated handout, marked it up to show as
best I could the changes the Board made, and have now posted
This is obviously NOT
official "mark-up". I have asked for an official version --
for its address on the district's Website -- and I will let you know
what comes of that dual request.)
the weather didn't stop last Saturday's "Stand for Peace" 1~3pm at
Fountain Circle, though I did bring a broom to brush off a small
standing space. (I even used it to clear off a bit of the
scene -- let's face it, a blanket of snow is not exactly good swaddling
next Saturday (after celebrating another monthly Dark
9-10pm Thursday evening by turning off unnecessary lights and power).
I don't expect to be on that eastern corner
of the Circle the day after Christmas, but after New Year's Day --
sometimes celebrated as a feast of peace -- I do plan to be back.
And I invite others
who know Peace Is
Patriotic to join me in
thinking globally and acting locally . . . to come Stand for Peace
John Anthony La Pietra
386 Boyer Court
Marshall, MI 49068
Can Get for FREE
at City Hall!
(left up as a
reminder . .
. this charter subsection applies to all
copy of the
proposed new noxi- . . . um, *nuisance*
ordinance! The one about which a public hearing has been
scheduled at Monday's Council meeting.
do I mean, a free copy? Well,
you wouldn't know it from the
City's public notices for the hearing, but it's right there in the City
Charter. Subsection 4.02(b) of the Charter says:
(b) Following introduction of any
city clerk-treasurer shall publish a summary of the proposed ordinance
in a local newspaper of general circulation in the city, together with
a notice setting out the time and place for a public hearing on the
proposed ordinance; the public hearing may not be
held sooner than five (5) days after the publication; copies
of the ordinance
shall be distributed without charge at the office of the city
can see this language
for yourself on page 12 of 32 here:
rush right down to City Hall and get YOUR
. . .
not. If you still have the text of
the amendment proposed last
year -- the one Council thought
it had adopted -- you have the text of this year's version.
this one has spaces for the Mayor and the interim Clerk-Treasurer to
sign . . . but only two things of any arguable
substance have been added.
is a sentence of introduction at the
very top of the first page:
Ordinance is established to eliminate health nuisances throug the
elimination of harborages and conditions that are conducive to the
causes and propagators of
unhealthy animals and plants.
hold on while you
pencil that in at the tops of your first pages. . . .
other addition is a new section:
Ordinance Sections 92.25
through 92.27 (Ord. 00-08,
passed 9-18-2000) are repealed.
case it doesn't come
out right on your end, the character before 92.12 is a "Section" symbol
-- looks like two S-es piled one on top of the other, kind of like the
double-P symbol for "Paragraph".)
other addition is treated pretty
casually, though. In fact,
it's not even listed in the table of contents.
that's all you have to add to last
year's draft to get this
year's draft. But you don't have to use up your pens or
-- you can get a FREE
copy of the new draft from the Clerk-Treasurer's office today!
if you do get a copy -- and you see
something in there that you
don't like -- maybe I'll see you at the Council meeting Monday
evening. And we'll see if we can get Council to think beyond
staff's twice-in-a-row recommendation: that Council hold the
public hearing, hear public comments, and
then go ahead and approve the ordinance amendment as is regardless of
John Anthony La Pietra <email@example.com>
386 Boyer Court
other letters, I've been working on a sort of "Public
Project" for Calhoun County.
I've already posted pages on my personal Website with information on
meeting dates, times,
and places for county, city,
township, village, school district, and library boards.
the Enquirer posted last
letter naming those
Webpages, the double hyphens
caused some confusion . . . so the
addresses are now
two other kinds of information from our local governing boards:
aim to compile that
information onto new Webpages by
or before Sunday, March 22.
Well, it's the weekend after spring starts -- so it should be
a good time for
fresh air and new
beginnings. And I've reserved the Reference Room of the Marshall
District Library (124
West Green Street) that
afternoon. Please join me there, starting around 1:30pm.
want to meet and talk
with anybody who's interested in
figuring out what to do next. And, better yet, willing to help do some
Should we expand to more
public bodies? Committees and subcommittees? Find people to attend
meetings and take
"citizen minutes", and
publish and post them?
should we just start
by picking a better name than the
"Public Participation Project"? . . .
you want to RSVP, or
suggest ideas for the agenda of
this meeting, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 269-781-9478.
(this letter in PDF
January 28, 2009 letter to the editor -- on exercising
our rights under Michigan’s Freedom
well as our shoveling muscles -- is here
My December 31, 2008 letter to the editor is here
last updated: October 28,
October 27, 2012: Stand for Peace shifts from Saturday 10/27 to
(update 10/28: Stand canceled this
weekend -- but we'll be back out Standing in the future!)
October 4, 2012: Stand for Peace shifts from Saturday 10/6 to
Sunday 10/7 -- because
Jennifer has a chance to tour a commercial kitchen which
may help Peaceful Pastries grow!
(and there's an update in the posted material
for "Voting-Conditions Survey II")
September 30, 2012: Farmers' Markets run through October, Stand
for Peace goes on;
jalp & Jennifer still running, too (early version of
new voting-conditions survey material is up)
August 15, 2012: Stand for Peace shifts from Saturday to Sunday
-- so Peaceful Pastries
can be part of the first annual Taste of Calhoun County
at the Fairgrounds 2-6pm . . . also
adding notes and links for a few Green candidate
campaigns (with maybe more on the way!)
July 8, 2012: Stand for Peace (and Peaceful Pastries) canceled next
weekend . . .
because we'll be at the Green Party national
nominating convention in Baltimore!
May 29, 2012: Stand for Peace (and Peaceful Pastries) canceled
this weekend . . .
because we'll be at the Green Party of
Michigan state convention in Mount Pleasant!
Apr. 28, 2012: Stand canceled due to low-down weather and lower
Feb. 27, 2012: Stand shifts from Saturday to Sunday
(because we'll be at a GPMI Media
Committee meeting in Chelsea on Saturday)
Feb. 7, 2012: no Stand this weekend; we'll be at a Green
Party meeting in Bay City
Jan. 21, 2012: shifting from cold Saturday to less-cold Sunday
1/22/2012 from 1~3pm!
(well, that was the idea, anyway. . . .)
December 20, 2011: we'll see you at the Stand next year, starting
1~3pm Saturday 1/6/2012!
November 17: the Stand is back to 1~3pm Saturday (11/19);
thanks to our friends
who came to our post-wedding reception --
and sorry we missed you 1~3pm Sunday 11/13!
November 7: this week's Stand is 1~3pm Sunday 11/13 --
because of . . .
jalp & Jennifer's reception 1-4pm
Saturday 11/12 at the Franke Center!
October 5: next two Stands on Sundays (10/8 => 10/9,
-- the site is now under new joint management! :D
September 11: next Stand for Peace is Saturday 9/17 Sunday
August 1: updated Stand for Peace schedule . . .
July 25: updated Stand for Peace schedule . . .
replacement Stand on Mon 8/1; back Standing (with Jennifer!) on Sat 8/20
Stand on Sat 8/6 (possible replacement Stand on Mon 8/1)
Stand on Sat 8/13
variation in Stand for Peace schedule (no
Sat 6/18; planned shift to 1~3pm Tue
6/14 so I can visit my
re: county apportionment commission, Kyôkai
no Rinne / 境界のりんね
variation in Stand for Peace schedule (shift to 10am~noon
Battle Creek area "sketch map" for apportionment process
March 5, 2011:
variation in Stand for Peace schedule (shift to 10am~noon Sat
information on County Apportionment Commission
update, changed or cut out some older/outdated items
noted variation in Stand for Peace schedule (shift to Friday
December 8, 2010: updated Stand for Peace schedule
November 21 included:
no Stand 12/25/2010 or 1/1/2011
November 5: updated Stand for Peace schedule
Stand for Peace schedule (special dates/times coming for holidays)
report on public-body responses to survey of FOIA fee calculations
September 27: updated
Stand for Peace schedule (1~3pm Sunday
August 28: updated
Stand for Peace schedule (10am~noon 9/4); text edits
Stand for Peace schedule (10am~noon 9/18)
- clarified link
of State campaign homepage
various items on the left side of the page
July 25: posted
first responses to FOIA-fee survey
Stand for Peace schedule
- posted link
campaign as Green candidate for Secretary of State
May 11 (& 15):
new FOIA-fee survey
update dates for local public-body meeting, FOIA policy info
schedule changes for upcoming Stand for Peace (July 31 => July
on the 31st, jalp
will be at the GPMI state convention!; August 7 =>
April 6: noted
schedule changes for upcoming Stands for Peace
one schedule change for an upcoming Stand for Peace
back to regular schedule)
a link to a section of state law to explain why Calhoun County may wind
up with an appointed Clerk-Register for two years
updates on the City's consideration of two issues -- fixing
its FOIA policy and appointing
a committee to plan for the Historic District and Oaklawn Hospital to
co-exist into the future
started posting jalp's
"Mind's-Eye View" columns that appeared in the Marshall Review
from 2001 to 2003
the public-body board-meeting and FOIA-response information
a "Rose" for Sunshine
thanking the MI Press Association for supporting open government
(and hoping its member media outlets will be as open, free, and fair
covering all candidates of any party -- or none -- this year)