Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Are We Simpletons?

The following was provided as a letter to the editor
for the Reporter:

Some time back I mentioned to Iron River that
the amount transferred from taxes to the water
department to pay those water system costs directly
involved in fire protection was far too small. Like
children discovering mom left the cookie jar on a
low shelf the city manager and council raided those
legitimate tax transfers by misappropriating taxes
to non-essential frills while leaving the water
system hanging out to dry. As a result, I’ve been
waiting for “the other shoe” to drop with the city
increasing fees for water service so that the city
council can continue to spend tax money that
should be paying for fire services on “feel good”
but otherwise useless items. The city council
thinks that taxpayers are simpletons who can’t
figure this out.

Now it has begun with a recommended increase
in “tap in fees” because most folks will feel as
though that has no effect on them although
eventually we all end up paying for it. But of
course that will not be enough, it never is. Once
water system charges begin increasing look
forward to much higher monthly water charges
in the near future, because the cities in Michigan
can increase “fees” without voter approval, the
loophole in the Headlee amendment that has us
paying make believe fees that in reality substitute
for taxes.





The above is the opinion of Bill Vajk.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Why


Why isn't the USA collecting costs of health,
education, and welfare for illegal immigrants
and refugees from the responsible country of
origin?

We cannot afford the mounting national debt.

www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/unitedstates


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Merging Chamber of Commerce with Economic Development Corporation

The Iron County Economic Development
Corporation is the creation and the responsibility
of the County Board. The only reason the board
has failed to significantly improve our economic
conditions is because historically the board
members have been more interested in keeping
the county a private playground for the upper
class rather than fostering economic growth
to benefit everyone.

The solution, if the board were really interested,
is as simple as hiring a competent outside
economic developer with a track record and
giving that person free rein.

The entire ploy of merging the EDC and the
Chamber of Commerce that is comprised of
business owners solely interested in the
success of the business they own can only
lead to yet another failure.

There is probably no one in the Chamber of
Commerce who has the time or the ability to
bring significant business to Iron County.
The only advantage to merging the Chamber
with the EDC is simply to create a new excuse
for the County Board’s failure to economically
advance the County. This new excuse will
doubtless hold us back for another few decades
while maintaining the private playground.

Please tell your County Board representative
(you voted them in so you should know who
they are) that you want real progress, not the
political games that have kept us economically
depressed ever since the mines closed. Telling
them emphatically what you want is important!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your children and
grandchildren be able to move back home
because there finally are good jobs for them
here?

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Rapid Fallout from Is America a Lie - Page 1

OK, is this predictable or what? Looks like the
IRS has opened an investigation of yours truly.
All that's available as income for the past
decade is Social Security and pensions and we
take the standard deduction every year, so
there's *nothing* of interest there. Here's the
entry for the page view today by the IRS.

=================================
Page Views 1 Exit Time: 27 Sep 2016 13:51:06
Browser: IE 11.0 OS: Win7 Resolution: 1536x960

Total Visits: 1 Location: Washington, District
of Columbia, United States
IP Address: Internal Revenue Service
(152.220.54.160)

Label Visitor

Search Referral: www.google.com/#5
(Keywords Unavailable)

Visit Page: Iron County Doings: Iron River
sued in Federal Court

=================================

They were looking up what I wrote about
a federal lawsuit that is several years old. To
me this demonstrates just how desperate the
folks involved in demonstrated corruption at
my federal district court and the defendants,
the justices of the Michigan Supreme Court,
in the underlying case must be. As I wrote
earlier, this nixonian coverup is far worse
than the underlying misbehavior. How much
more evidence of their misdeeds and a
coverup are they going to provide?

Thank you!

The above is the opinion of the
author Bill Vajk

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Is America A Lie? -page 1

It isn't enough that Michigan Courts are corrupt,
it turns out that the federal district court is
engaged in a Nixonian coverup that is, as in the
original version, worse than the crime itself. If
we don't have an honest and honorable
independent federal judiciary, then America
itself is a lie and we're no better than any of the
third world despotic dictatorships. Given
corruption in any act of the court, can we trust
that the rest of the system is actually honest?
The "once a liar always a liar" principle applies,
doesn't it

Letter to US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts
and links to other documents follow below:

William J. Vajk
Iron River  MI  49935
                                                22 September 2016

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
1 First Street N.E.
Washington  D.C.  20543

Dear Chief Justice:

This is a courtesy notification that
appearances are that all is not well in the
District Court Northern Division, Western
District of Michigan. This is not a
complaint about a judge, but what appears
to be corruption devised to prevent a case in
which the defendants are the Justices of
Michigan’s Supreme Court from achieving
adjudication.

To demonstrate the problem, I have
included a copy of the three page docket
for case# 2:16-cv-129 and the first page
of the most recent motion filed with the
Court.

Please take notice that:

1) The Court reframed the case into a
grotesque charicature only superficially
resembling the case actually submitted.
Please see included page of the motion.

2) Prior to the assignment of a new judge
replacing one who retired, the Clerk’s Office
without justifiable reason and unauthorized
by any party to the case or a Judge of Record
renamed the motion to vacate judgment under
FRCivP 60(b)(4) converting it to a
“MOTION for reconsideration.” This illegally
changes the rules under which the motion is
adjudicated. Please see attached Docket items
6, 7, and 9.

3) The motion and supporting papers were
filed on 19 July 2016 with no activity by the
District Court since then, introducing, to date,
an illegal delay of more than 2 months.

4) To all appearances at this time the case is
purposely stalled by actions of the Clerk of the
District Court.

As noted in the opening paragraph of this letter,
this is a courtesy notification and does not request
anything from this Court at this time. The only
purpose of this letter is advisory. I will be writing
to the Chief Judge of the District Court as well
as Judge Quist suspecting that Judge Quist was
not properly advised of his assignment to this case
as it appears to me, because of the events in 1
through 4 above, that the Clerk’s office has
illegally engaged in a political action in lockstep
with Michigan officials. I strongly feel that if the
appearance of any corruption has crept into the
lower court system, the US Supreme Court and
its Chief Justice should be the first to know.

Sincerely,

For the attachments to the above letter please see:

bill-vajk.angelfire.com/Docket-report-160921.html

bill-vajk.angelfire.com/motion-pg1.pdf


The above is the opinion of Bill Vajk

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Change of Emphasis

Having now lived in Iron County for over 12
years, and having driven initiatives to foster
improvement in the local governments and
economy, it has become obvious that this
community fights against any advance that’s
not sport/outdoor related tooth, nail, and claw.
The odds have overwhelmed anyone and
everyone who has actually worked for
improvement, and all such efforts are proven
futile.

In what became the Warsaw Pact nations, right
at the end of World War 2, coalition
governments were formed in an attempt to
satisfy every faction. Invariably the
communists were, by their request, given the
national police to run, while other factions took
over the various other branches of government.

Over time, in the natural course of events, with
communists favored at every turn of by the law
enforcers, all the nations evolved into total
communism. Here in Iron County, and much
of Michigan’s upper peninsula, the solitary
function that was quickly taken over by the local
oligarchy is education. It takes a concerted effort
by only one branch of government to achieve any
particular goal so long as that branch is totally
devoted to the mission. You can see by the results
how effective they were.

So for more than a century what the Upper
Peninsula children learned both at home and
school was a single creed, “Shut up and do as
you’re told.” And to reassure that the lesson
could never be diluted, a second creed took
effect. If you’re not born here, what you think
and say can have no effect, because you’re not
from here, so you cannot possibly appreciate
how things are. When Dan Vosyka, a transplant
to the shore of Ice Lake coming from Illinois
first told me this, I couldn’t believe it. But as
time has gone on, I noticed little things like the
signs on Angeli’s Central Market doors, “Not
just in the community, but part of it.” If, for
example, as a visitor to the UP you don’t know
this dirty little secret, that statement on the door
doesn’t make any sense so why not simply gloss
over it? But once you understand, you begin to
see it literally everywhere. That’s much like
buying a different brand of car or pickup. All
of a sudden you notice how many cars just like
yours inhabit the roads, cars you never noticed
before are there in abundance. They always
were, you just never noticed them before.






I don’t find it odd at all, that if one drives the
few miles it takes to get out of Michigan’s
Upper Peninsula, none of these attributes exist
in the Wisconsin local populations. I haven’t
spent time on the Iron Range in Wisconsin or
Minnesota to discover whether the teachings are
natural to regions formerly controlled by big
money mines and thus are a cultural holdover or
are actually unique to Michigan’s UP, but then I
am not a social scientist so exactly why these
things have become the local morés is not of
interest to this article, but the fact they do
provides a good explanation for the economic
depression unique to this region.

When I meet “important persons” here in Iron
County, within the first few minutes of
conversation I invariably hear, “I was born up
here, at such-n-such location.” Once you notice,
it is, at the risk of repeating myself,
EVERYWHERE! And of course I wasn’t
born here, let alone even in this country, despite
the fact that I am, under the law, a natural born
American citizen. In most of these United
States of America, any citizen with broader
experience than those who are born in the US
and never travel more than 100 miles from
home are valued as people who bring useful
experience to the locality where they now
live. Not so in Iron County!

Moneyed outsiders who have transplanted to
the UP seem to come here for the isolation or,
as is the case of one of the current Iron County
commissioners, because their wife grew up here.
I met a couple who were born here and mostly
grew up in Iron County but now live in New
York City, more precisely in Manhattan. They
told me they bought a house in Iron River and
that they don’t want anything changed here. No
progress of any sort. For them it is a primitive
vacation spot that gets them away from the
pace of advanced civilization and they don’t
give a whit about the effect on the local
population and that most of the children who
grow up here have to leave in order to be able
to earn a middle class living.

So the reasons for the region being economically
depressed some 40 years after the last mine in
Iron County closed are simple enough. Those
who most easily could foster economic
improvement for the general population don’t
because there’s no benefit to them. The rest of
the population refuses to stand up for
themselves by forcing their elected officials to
do anything useful. For example, how many
years has the Iron County Economic
Development Corporation been funded by tax
money, and in all those decades what have they
actually achieved? This combination leaves no
way for us to improve the economic situation
in this region. The people have to want it, and
they’re content to see their children move far
away to build successful lives elsewhere and
to be served by the two nursing homes that
provide good care here in Iron County. And
that’s because they learned early in life to
“shut up and do as you’re told,” a lesson
they never got over.

Earlier in my life I twice found myself living
and working in areas similar to today’s
economic lethargy similar to Michigan’s UP.
The first was Cumming, Georgia. But Cumming
is within a commuting distance of Atlanta, and
you should see it today. It has wildly expanded
and grown. The second was Dover, Delaware.
The entire region south of the Canal on the
Delmarva Peninsula was pretty much destitute.
Once again, it too has bloomed into an economic
powerhouse. But it will take many generations
for this region to outlive the teachers who did
such a good job in holding the economy down
by teaching subservience.

That said, the focus of this little publication is
shifting primarily to a single question with
many reasons for the answers that are created
by the actions of government affecting all of
us, wherever in the USA you happen to live.
That question is, “Is America a lie?” I’ll begin
with the federal case I presently have in court.
That doesn’t mean that nothing about America
is wonderful, but these articles will point out
significant shortfalls in the promise of America.
Those promises aren’t, after all, a statistical
game, but were designed to be universal,
applying equally to everyone. Where they do
not, makes America a lie that can and must be
corrected in spite of oligarchies that fight to
keep things just as they are.

As we progress with this publication, there are
a couple of important things to keep in mind.
Every topic that I will touch has a direct
relationship to someone or some group living
in Iron County. None of it will be remote purely
intellectual discussion, but rather will be very
practically linked to local people and situations.
The second consideration is that this publication
has a strongly international audience in addition
to local readers. Some of the recent visitors are
from: Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine, Canada,
India, Netherlands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and
Mauritania. Given the internet, we are one world
much more than ever before. What happens here
is of interest around the world.

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

100 years of double taxation


In 1914 when George W. Fuller wrote his paper
Elements to be considered in Fixing Water 
Rates his thesis was already old news in
government circles. By 1876 The Board of Water
Commissioners of Detroit had already been sued
by E. Huff Jones for charging him when water
mains,to which Jones was not connected in any
way, were installed in front of his property.

Actually, the property value on his home had
already been increased to pay in taxes for the
new waterworks that became available to him.
That's how and where such essential
government services that are provided to the
general public are paid for. But since most
people really don't pay attention to government,
simply paying taxes without a second thought,
governments have always schemed to increase
their income. After all, more government
income, higher wages for politicians.

Fuller, in 1914, urged that "readiness to serve"
was an important element of the water bill
because it cost just as much when allocating
costs to a vacant house as it did for an occupied
home that is actually consuming water. He has
a point, the same point as befits a sidewalk on
a dead end street at the edge of town that no
one ever uses. Similarly, that bit of sidewalk
cannot be charged as a user fee to the owners
of property in that block. All the sidewalks are
paid for by everyone in the town. And of
course Fuller ignored the fact that property
taxes are the same whether a house is
occupied or not.

Little by little, for the past 100+ years, the
Michigan judiciary has managed to illegally
redefine the "readiness to serve" charge into a
fee for service when what it is paying for is also
being paid for in property taxes. Let's not forget
that this charge is for a publicly owned resource
that is shared equally by everyone in town, as
well as all visitors to town who actually may
contribute nothing to the tax base, let alone any
"readiness to serve" charges that are imposed.

With the passage of Michigan's "Headlee
Amendment" to the state constitution, limiting
taxes, it has fallen to the courts, as the last
resort, to ignore this problem on behalf of
local governments, thus allowing this double
taxation.

So in their "wisdom" the  Michigan Supreme
Court created a court rule allowing the
unfettered dismissal of lawsuits that challenge
the fee vs tax paradigm.

Having been subject to that particular
miscarriage of justice, I have instituted a federal
lawsuit. You can find a copy of my complaint at:

http://tinyurl.com/zeu94l3

The cheating that goes on with this double
taxation exists in slightly different forms all
over the United States. I attribute the water
problems in Flint Michigan to government
looking at providing essential services as a
revenue source rather than looking at it as a
public service, that forms the underlying
need for governments in the first place.

I think we need to revisit the very basis for
having governments in the first place before
we can actually make realistic progress in
resolving many of our modern day issues.
So many of our governing bodies, and state
judicial departments, have wandered away
from their essential functions, looking after
their private interests rather than the public
good they were created to assure.

Bill Vajk

Monday, May 9, 2016

How close is Iron River to Bankruptcy?

The City of Iron River continues its unabashed
theft of tax money from the property owners.
This time, according to Page 7 of the May 4th
issue of the Iron County Reporter, the city is
reducing the fire hydrant rental fee to $5.

Property taxes include a component that adds to
land value based on availability of utilities such
as water and sewer. The tax money raised that
way is supposed to be transferred into the water
and sewer fund. The mechanism to do that is the
“fire hydrant rental” that until now was officially
$150 per hydrant. But even there the city has
been cheating for years. With 352 hydrants in the
city, the budget allocation was only $30,000, a
shortfall of $22,800 that has been made up by
increased water and sewer fees.

A paper written by George W. Fuller, a sanitary
engineer understanding public utilities, found
that for a town of 5000 people fire protection
contributes costs amounting to 75% of the total
water budget. With Iron River smaller yet, it
appears that the fire protection impact, that is
everything from determining the size of water
pumps, storage capacity, and pipe sizes, is a
greater percentage of the budget. I recently
met with the new city manager, David Thayer,
who asked, "what do you suggest we do, rip
out fire hydrants?" That's asinine, because if
you do that, you still cannot reduce the sizing
of pumps, storage capacity, and pipe sizes, the
significant aspects of the actual costs to the
system.But that's the sort of "political argument"
I've come to expect from local politicians who
seem to have trouble utilizing the God given
brains I experience in discussions with  more
sentient humans.

Adjusted for inflation, Fuller’s analysis
commands $1500 per hydrant per year in
today’s dollars. The city council wants to pay
a total of $1760 for fire protection costs in the
water system where the actual cost, following
Fuller’s guidelines, should be $528,000. The
city is stealing $526,240 out of the taxpayer’s
pocket, while forcing the residents to pay that
amount a second time in the water fees so the
council can waste more money.

Fuller's paper can be found on the internet at
 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1012201

Fuller goes on to say that municipalities
generally use another 10% of the water
budget going to public use consumption.
Some part of that is metered. How’s the rest
being paid by the City? Simple answer, it is
all smoke and mirrors lacking any legitimate
audit. I hate the fraud.

Given that the City of Iron River is willing to
rip off the taxpayers for what amounts to
relatively petty amounts, how far can they be
from having to declare bankruptcy? Why else
would they be going through these
convolutions, unless it is to conceal the failure
of the "ruling elite" of the city, and that means
the complete failure of the consolidation that
was supposed to save three communities from
the failures we now see in their full splendor
before us? Starting in the year 2000, when
consolidation was supposed to modify the
way local government operated, actually
nothing changed, and all the waste continued
less two municipal councils and that overhead.

It was years before the city even got rid of
duplicated machinery, and the insurance costs
for stuff they no longer even used. Instead of
laying off public works employees who
numbered too many for the consolidated
city, they kept them all,and then openly stole
water funds to pay their pensions almost up to
date. There went $150,000, and for what, a
number of people sitting around with no work
to do for years. When did it become legal for
a Michigan municipality to get into the
business of providing welfare benefits?

This is all disgusting beyond words.

Given the experience of the city of Flint, do
we dare invite the state to help straighten out
Iron River's mess?

The above is the Opinion of Bill Vajk with
a significant intermixing of provable facts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

repost from 5/28/2000


The following is a partial repost of an article
I put on the internet on 5/28/2000. Recent events
in Europe, including today's terrorism in
Brussels, made me realize it is time to bring
this information to attention once again although
it isn't exclusively Iron County, Michigan relevant.

=======================================

I hold as responsible for the modern disinterest in the well
being of our fellow human all those who demand that no
value systems be taught in schools because such things
might be seen as government promotion of a religious
viewpoint.

In the meantime churches around the world ring bells at
noon in response to Bulla Oratorium issued by Rome on
29 June 1456 intent on driving the heathens from sacred
European soil, while Uncle Sam spends millions, perhaps
billions, to stop the same continuing process some 500+
years later.

Yet the bells ring relentlessly, with very few understanding
why they ring.

If there is a real danger, it is that "heathen culture" you better
watch out for, not the imagined American or European ones.
They put a million dollar price on the head of an individual
who merely wrote a book about them. They are religious
zealots who proactively believe in giving their life for their
cause and beliefs.

What do we have to counter such?

I think a bunch of you are barking up the wrong tree. I'll be
over here by this other tree, the one with the real threat up it.

=======================================

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

In case you were wondering

In case you were wondering, and even if you weren't,
what's been going on is a lot of study of the legal
system and the preparation of the next pleading in
my lawsuit against the City of Iron River and Iron
County.

A copy of the resulting document can be found
at bill-vajk.angelfire.com/motion-complete.pdf

And so it goes.

Bill Vajk

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2015 Government Awards

The selection for awards wasn't easy this time
around. We sought out positive things done by
Iron County local governments and couldn't
find any that exemplified excellence. We
did mull over the shortcomings and were
surprised to discover that it wasn't a city or
village this time, but the Iron County Board
of Commissioners that deserves this year's
Lump of Coal Award.

Almost a year ago I brought the issue of
inadequate, at times, ambulance service here
in Iron County. That was based on a personal
experience. But then, how many times does
it take for inadequate ambulance service
to be deemed a problem?

Actually, just once. This is one of those
essential services that's supposed to be seen
to by local government without failure!

And last year it failed to be timely in our case.

So I wrote a letter published by the Iron County
Reporter. Then I posted an article here. I met
with the responsible Hospital personnel on the
topic, and I met with an Iron County official,
and exchanged email on this topic with a
member of the County Board.

Yet here we are approximately a year later with
absolutely no visible progress. In the United
States, "police power" is defined as, "capacity of
the states to regulate behavior and enforce order
within their territory for the betterment of the
health,  safety, morals, and general welfare of
their inhabitants."

While there are no minimum legal
requirements that states, and their local
municipal extensions, provide any particular
service, there are ethical and moral,
requirements that services be provided. When
I moved here in 2003, the hospital at Iron River
was called the "Iron County Community
Hospital" having been established by the Iron
County Board of Commissioners. Eventually
the county board divested itself of the
responsibility, including the embedded
ambulance service.

But with the failure of the hospital to provide
reliable 24/7/365 service at all times and under
all conditions, the time arrived no later than a
year ago that the Iron County Board needed to
reassert responsibility for managing the
ambulance service. And that is specifically
authorized under state law

In a similar vein, in the past few years it came
to be recognized that the county's nursing
home needed a new pharmacy. With the
number of municipal employees with medical
insurance here in Iron County, it made sense
to remove the drug aspects of the insurance
that the county provides, and to establish a
non-profit pharmacy to provide for all the
municipal employees in Iron County. It sure
would help stretch our tax dollars if
medications were provided at cost with no
profit to outside parties

But the laziness of the members of the Board
of Commissioners to do anything beyond
the bare essentials, for a very nice annual
stipend I hastily add, has prevented any real
progress from being made in Iron County.
In fact, I'd be willing to wager that Board
members, for relatively few hours a month,
earn well above the median wage for full
time employees in Iron County. And for
what??????

I have reason to believe that if any member
of the County Board had taken an essential
personal interest in establishing the
management of an adequate and reliable
ambulance service in Iron County, that could
easily have been achieved in 3 months, and
positively within 6 months without anyone
having to break a sweat.

I think it is time to start naming names:
  • Timothy Aho, Chair
  • James Brennan, Vice-Chair
  • Patti Peretto, Finance Chair
  • Ray Coates, Commissioner
  • Sharon Leonoff, Commissioner
So county board, enjoy your lump of coal award,
and let's see if you decide to make it 2 for 2 by
doing nothing to improve government services
for the people once again in 2016.

The above are the opinions of:

Bill Vajk

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year, Same Old Story

One of our experiences as parents (most of us
anyway) is the discovery that children don’t
give much thought to the difference between
“want” and “ought to.” Children are children
mostly because they lack the judgment
required to make rational decisions. Addicts
are adults who never lose that childlike
propensity to decide what they do based on
want while they abandon any semblance of
common sense in arriving at decisions.

A former friend of mine purchased 25
pounds of lobster a while back and ate
nothing but lobster till it was all gone. That
was an addict’s whim with no permanent
detrimental consequences. On the other hand,
we read from time to time of parents whose
children are taken away by the state because
they spent their entire income on their
personal pleasures like alcohol, drugs,
tobacco, and gambling while providing all
too meager rations to their children to the
point where damage is obvious enough for
intervention. So some people never seem to
grow into adulthood, with personal “wants”
getting in the way of rational decision making.

I started moving to Iron County in September
of 2003. In looking at the decisions made by
those charged with managing the City of Iron
River and Iron County I hate to admit that the
two political entities have generally been run
as though by children, or even worse, by
addicts who put their personal wants before
the needs of those they have promised, by
oath of office, to serve.

A few months ago in an Iron River city
council meeting there was some discussion
by unnamed (in the newspaper) citizens
condemning the city council’s propensity to
donate public funds to private not for profit
initiatives. The public had every expectation
that the issue was resolved and that the
practice would stop, until the December 16,
2015 meeting. Here, once again, a decision was
made to donate $3750 to the IronLine sled dog
and fatbike races, The recently hired city
manager was quick enough to display his “yes
man” colors in stating that the races “have
created a community event that preserves our
heritage and promotes our culture for many
generations to come.”  To me, an ordinary
citizen and Iron River taxpayer, that not only
rings false by sounds more like a preacher
man than it sounds like someone charged
with looking after the city’s money and
interests on behalf of the taxpayers.

Lets take the statement one piece at a time.
Iron River’s heritage has no connection to
sled dogs. Railroads were built in the UP early
on. The first railroad in the UP, the Iron
Mountain Railroad, preceded the land grants
and was built by private funds between 1851
and 1857. With the land grant act of 1856,
railroad building took off at an unprecedented
pace. And of course this region was settled in
order to take advantage of the plentiful iron ore
that was discovered in 1846.

You just cannot transport iron ore or timber in
commercial quantities by dog sled, so that
important part of the city manager’s statement
was an abject lie, now committed to history by
the Iron County Reporter’s cover page article
of December 30, 2015 and this publication.

Iron County’s heritage is in iron ore and timber.
This presents us with lie number 2 in the short
statement. And there has been nothing in the
Iron County “culture” since 1846 that has lasted
for generations. This community has never seen
devotion to a “way of life” for more than a
generation or two and just doesn’t carry on
that way.

So with the support of the city manager, the
Iron River city council, in the presence of the
auditor (who knows better) voted as addicts
or children would to enable their “want” as
opposed to doing what is best for the
taxpayers of the city by simply saying “no.”

Here we have a city that within the last few
years was deciding which street lights to shut
off in order to save money. Are those lights
off now so that the money saved can be
misspent on recreational endeavors?

Are you guys completely insane?

You can’t even repair streets that are
beginning to fail in large numbers. Does
Blossom Street ring a bell? I’ve written
before about the alley behind my house at
413 Plum Street, similarly failing. How
many more are right behind these failures?
Have you performed and audit of failing
pavements? Where was that audit during
the meeting of December 16 when you
made the decision to spend money on
entertainment rather than fixing our
essential infrastructure? Is the City
Council's short term memory failing at
something on the order of 15 years old?

So the one adult in the room stood up
and objected. Marilynn Peterson spoke
for all of us who do not attend these
meetings. For her trouble she was
lectured by the city attorney. Is it any
wonder that the citizenry steers clear of
attending the meetings? I suppose that
plays into the hands of these
addicts/children who have been elected a
nd appointed to the positions of trust that
they shortchange, but it is not in the best
interest of the community.

I no can no longer trust statements like
“it is legal” from any aspect of Iron River
 City government. If it were legal, it
would be legal in the same context that
parents can legally spend most of their
income on alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and
gambling, so long as any injury to their
children, their charges, their responsibility,
isn’t obvious.

But it is NOT legal, and the city attorney
knows it isn’t, because the City of Iron River
charter is invalid. Michigan’s Constitution,
article 7 § 22 governs the authority of a city
to enact a charter:

“Under general laws the electors of each city
and village shall have the power and authority
to frame, adopt and amend its charter…”

As it actually happened, the electors of the
new City of Iron River in the year 2000 did
not have the opportunity to vote whether or
not to adopt the city charter. No approval by
the electorate, no legally enacted charter.
I will not argue the case here, but suffice to
say that all laws, including the Michigan
Constitution, must be read as written without
adding anything like unwritten provisions to
them.

In the same article in the Iron County
Reporter cover story in the December 30,
2015 issue, the auditor announced a surplus
(positive balance) of $280, 759 in the
Genesee street improvements fund. Clearly
this over funding of that project is a
classical modus operandi for the city.  

The city council doubtless sees this as
money that can be spent at will on all sorts
of nonsense that suits their “wants.” But what
about the $150,000 that was illegally
transferred from water savings accounts
just a few years ago in order to fund the
under payments to the employee pension
fund?  That should be reimbursed. And what
about the present shortfall to the pension
funding, with the last correction made within
the past few years? Excess funds acquired for
one purpose but used to supplement shortfalls
in revenue that is limited by the Headlee
Amendment are an end run around constitutional
mandates that the City of Iron River has been
playing fiscal Russian Roulette with for some
time. The consolidation of 2000 was designed
to correct fiscal shortfalls, but the “corporate
culture”, that is the mindset of local politicians
who are children/addicts after all, has killed
any possible advantage that the consolidation
promised.

Citizens and taxpayers of the City of Iron
River, do you have any idea what you’ve done
in permitting these children/addicts to manage
your city and money without adult supervision?

If this behavior continues unabated, the city will
completely fail financially. Tearing down buildings
is not a solution. The problems are much larger
than anyone related to city government admits.

Welcome to your New Year! This publication is
only a messenger. We don't make the facts, but
it appears we are the only one willing to publish
it.

The above is the opinion of:

Bill Vajk



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pixie Dust


For those of you who are receiving this by mail,
please be advised at the outset of several things.
1) This is a different take from the discussion I
sent to you earlier. Some parts are, of necessity,
repetitious, but the principles underlying this
essay are new and different. 2)  THIS IS NOT 
A REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE OR 
INTERVENTION OF ANY SORT. 3) The
reason for writing this essay is to get people
thinking about Michigan’s political and economic
problems in a way that can lead to change resulting
in prosperity and economic success that has been
unavailable in this state for quite some time while
other regions are progressing very nicely. The
broader the base of this discussion the better the
outcome is likely to be. 4) This essay is concurrently
being published on the internet at Iron County Doings.
5) This is one of many discussions on this topic.

In the case of Vajk v. City of Iron River, Michigan
Supreme Court Docket No. 150015, the Court of
Appeals had rendered in its opinion that:

“Plaintiff provides no authority from which it may be
inferred that, by turning off the water at the curbstop,
the City is released from its continuing obligation to
maintain capacity to provide water and sewer services
to the Plum Street property should plaintiff or a
successor owner request resumption of the water
supply. Under such circumstances, plaintiff receives
the benefit of the use of the municipal water distribution
and sanitary systems, albeit to a lesser degree than
other users of these systems, and the City’s allocation
of maintenance costs to those like plaintiff who are
connected to those systems constitute a fee for
service for the purposes of the Headlee Amendment.”

What then Court of Appeals stated, albeit indirectly,
is that my current activities are permissibly regulated,
under the guise of police powers of the City of Iron
River, based on my prophesied future activity, or
that of some unknown future owner of my property
on Plum Street. Regulation, in this instance, is charging
me the same as any consumer of water in Iron River
although I am shut off, by the city, at the curbstop.

It doesn’t seem to matter to Michigan Courts that
the US Supreme Court disagrees, Michigan hasn’t
been carrying through with its promises for some
time. So why start now despite the fact that this
failure helps drive the economic failure of the State?

“The proposition that Congress may dictate the
conduct of an individual today because of prophesied
future activity finds no support in our precedent.”
Nat. Fedn. of Indep. Business v. Sebelius, 
132 S. Ct. 2566, 2590, 2012.

No sane person who grew up in the western world
needs to have this explained to them. Would you bring
a new business to Michigan if the state can regulate your
activities today based on what they think you might do
in the future? No one but a fool would consider such
a possibility. The Court of Appeals appears to be using
pixie dust in order to try to save, and validate Iron River’s
ordinances that collect money for providing no services
whatsoever as a police regulation. United States Courts
have instilled in them to try to validate laws passed by
governing bodies. The principle is sound, but the practice
isn’t when the governing body is not working on behalf
of the public it is sworn to serve, but corruptly relies
instead on parlor games to sidestep constitutions.

We’re not going to be able to legitimately succeed or fail
as a state until the Headlee Amendment is enforced as it
was intended and written. It isn’t so much Headlee itself,
but the behavior of Michigan governments that comes into
play. Right now, the kludge that’s holding it all together is
a system of lies and corruption extending from the lowest
municipal levels of government through every level of all
three branches of state government.

When government promises certain things, then delivers
only what they feel like doing, investment flees. So talk
with your peers about this simple problem that Michigan
does not deliver what the state promises, and lets all
work together to change how this state does business
so we can progress together. Are we part of the United
States or not? When a state court system defies the US
Supreme Court, it sure doesn’t seem like we are.

Bill Vajk    July 15, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Here We Go Again!

Here we go again! The City of Iron River proves itself
incapable of obeying its own ordinances. Is the city
council so stupid that they can never learn anything?

Right now it sure seems that way. The capacity for
shameful behavior by Iron River politicos knows
no bounds.

Ordinance 51.09(f) reads as follows:

“If a premises has been destroyed or is rendered
unsuitable for use as a result of fire, windstorm,
or otherwise, and is not being used because of the
catastrophe, or if a premises has not been used 
for any residential or commercial purposes for 
a period of 6 consecutive months or more, the 
premises shall not thereafter during the period 
of non-use be charged a fee for the availability 
of solid waste and garbage disposal services.  In
the case of non-use of a premises, the determination
of non-use shall be made by the City Council upon
recommendation of the City Manager; however,
abatement of the fee shall not be retroactive to the
first date of non-use.  Abatement of the fee for solid
waste and garbage disposal services shall not be
granted to any owner or occupant of a premises who
is absent from the City of Iron River on a seasonal
basis or where non-use is due, in whole or in part,
to the inability to find a tenant for the premises.”

A house I own at 413 Plum Street has not been
put to any residential or commercial uses since
Gloria and I bought it at the end of December
2005. So I asked for abatement of the garbage
collection fees, that the city council refused, in
accordance with Mr. Perry Franzoi’s “
recommendation” on May 20, 2015. 

I received Franzoi’s letter dated June 2, 2015,
that states in part, “Based on a thorough review
of Section f, it was determined that the request
did not meet the criteria necessary to receive the
exemption and was subsequently denied.”

My response of June 12 is below. Whenever local
government brings trouble to my door, it will be
resolved. I am entitled to an abatement of this charge
and since the city knowingly imposed the charge on
a property they knew to be in a state of “non-use” I
am entitled to a refund of all charges extracted from
me for garbage collection for the entire period.

My letter to Franzoi follows. Stay tuned fop the next chapter.

                                William J. Vajk
                                Iron River  MI  49935
                                12 June 2015

Perry Franzoi, City Manager
106 W. Genesee Street
Iron River  MI  49935

REF: Your letter dated 2 June 2015

By Personal Service

Thank you for the above referenced reply.

One of the dangers in using a municipal attorney for “all”
advice is that they have a very obvious conflict of interest
under some conditions. As a taxpayer I find it unacceptable.
It was clear from listening to the meeting of May 20,
instant, that you were prompted by Iron River’s municipal
attorney to provide the particular “recommendation” that
you gave to the city council. The absence of discussion
raises the specter of prior sub-quorum proceedings. I have
chosen this formal mode of communication because, in the
end, the City of Iron River has, as regards charging me for
solid waste collection for 413 Plum Street, violated your
own ordinance and thereby consequentially violated my
civil rights. I am therefore putting you on notice of that fact
and asking you politely to abate charges and return that
which was paid for solid waste collection. Your letter of
June 2, 2015 failed to provide any specifics explaining
“did not meet the criteria” yielding the only available
understanding that there is no describable valid failure
for meeting those conditions described in Section 51.09(f).
I refuse to play word games in any regards.

The following conditions must be met in reading and
enforcing statutes and ordinances:

In ONEIDA TWP. v. Grand Ledge, 766 NW 2d 291,
295-296 (2009)

“We must not consider the statute's language in isolation;
rather, we must consider each word and phrase in light
of its placement and purpose within the statutory
scheme. Herman v. Berrien Co., 481 Mich. 352,
366, 750 N.W.2d 570 (2008). Subsections of a statute
are not to be read discretely, but as part of a whole.
Lansing Mayor v. Pub. Service Comm., 470 Mich.
154, 167-168, 680 N.W.2d 840 (2004). ‘[T]he entire
act must be read, and the interpretation to be given to
a particular word in one section arrived at after due
consideration of every other section so as to produce,
if possible, a harmonious and consistent enactment
as a whole.’ Grand Rapids v. Crocker, 219 Mich.
178, 182-183, 189 N.W. 221 (1922); see also
Macomb Co. Prosecutor v. Murphy, 464 Mich.
149, 159, 627 N.W.2d 247 (2001) (provisions
must be read in the context of the entire statute).”

And in Echelon Homes, LLC v. Carter Lumber Co.,
694 NW 2d 544, 547 (2005)

“’We begin by examining the plain language of the
statute; where that language is unambiguous, we
presume that the Legislature intended the meaning
clearly expressed — no further judicial construction
is required or permitted, and the statute must be
enforced as written.’ People v. Morey, 461 Mich.
325, 329-330, 330; 603 N.W.2d 250 (1999) ‘We
must give the words of a statute their plain and
ordinary meaning....’ Id. The plain and ordinary
meaning of words can be ascertained by looking at
dictionary definitions. Koontz v. Ameritech Services, 
Inc., 466 Mich. 304, 312, 645 N.W.2d 34 (2002).”

The pertinent part of Iron River Ordinance § 51.09(f)
states:

“…or if a premises has not been used for any residential
or commercial purposes for a period of 6 consecutive
months or more, the premises shall not thereafter during
the period of non-use be charged a fee for the availability
of solid waste and garbage disposal services.”

The balance of subsection (f) is purely procedural
designed to prevent the sort of miscarriage under the
color of law that was evident in the May 20 meeting.
Clearly the city council is not intended to merely be a
rubber stamp for whatever recommendation you chose
to make that obviously falls outside the ordinance
established parameters.

The City of Iron River has been abundantly aware for
several years that the residence at 413 Plum Street has
not been used for any residential or commercial
purposes. Evidence of this knowledge by the City was
presented to the Federal District Court several years
ago in that lawsuit. Without a doubt either your
municipal attorney or the MML funded lawyer
assigned to that case has those details readily
available for review.

I demand the City’s obedience to the plain meaning
of its own ordinance. I present this  demand for return
of all illegally collected exactions, including “late charges”
and county fees under the solid waste ordinance
retroactive to that first collected and a continuing
abatement so long as the property continues in its
present state of “non-use.”  I have never asked for
anything more than obedience by the City of Iron
River to all pertinent laws and I fail to understand why
the City finds that so difficult. Time is of the essence.

Please take notice that this property has not been
used for any residential or commercial purpose since
Gloria and I purchased it in the final days of 2005,
therefore the 6 month period of non-use mentioned
above was met at the end of June, 2006 and remains
intact.

Under these circumstances with an better understanding
of the ongoing conditions I urge you to present the issue
to the City Council once again while providing them with
this letter in addition to your recommendation, whatever
that might be this time. Based on the City’s recent
conduct, I fear that you and the city council have lost
sight of your mission and duty to the citizens of Iron River.
Please take care that you and the city council comply with
your ordinances and all statutes as they are written.

                Best regards,


Monday, June 1, 2015

Promises -- Promises

For those of you who are receiving this by mail, please
be advised at the outset of 4 things. 1)  THIS IS NOT 
A REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE OR 
INTERVENTION OF ANY SORT. 2) The reason for
writing this essay is to get people thinking about Michigan’s
political and economic problems in a way that can lead to
change resulting in prosperity and economic success that
has been unavailable in this state for quite some time while
other regions are progressing very nicely. The broader the
base of this discussion the better the outcome is likely to
be. 3) This essay is concurrently being published on the
internet at Iron County Doings. 4) This is the first of
many discussions on this topic.

A few years ago, I had a brilliant experience, some
89 days at Wilson Jones, an office supply manufacturer.
They “invented” the loose leaf binder long ago, but as
with many such businesses they fell victim to the
computer age and the shift to paperless records that
hurt them financially as much as their decrepit obsolete
practices.

For example, the carts they used in the warehouse for
gathering materials to fill orders had industrial wheels.
They kept a supply of those on hand, not new, but
sticky hard to turn wheels that had been removed
from the carts over the years. The premise was that
when the maintenance people had a few spare
moments, they should pull one out of the old wheel
pile, disassemble the axle and bearings, clean and
lubricate, and reassemble them. During the time I
was at Wilson Jones, standard new wheels cost
about $25 each. The space allocated to storage,
solvent cleaners, rags used in the process, grease,
and the labor to make an old wheel usable again
ran the company about $40 per refurbished wheel.
Not only was it more expensive, but you still had an
old wheel more prone to failures.

Management at Wilson Jones apparently had
blinders on. This was the way things were done
from the inception of the company till the end of
its life as free standing manufacturing entity. I was
one of a few hired to help wind down / shut down
the company. 89 days represented the maximum
time available as a probationary employee leaving
the company with no additional financial impact
once I was finished. Today the place where their
factory stood is a strip mall with a good sized
parking lot on Touhy Avenue just east of the
Leaning Tower, a landmark in suburban Chicago.

The other “awakening” I experienced at Wilson
Jones had to do with some wind down management
experiments that ACCO Fasteners (the corporate
parent) ran to resolve some issues they had trying
to get a better handle on manning production
departments, as they were apparently experiencing
such problems elsewhere. One of those experiments
was to cut the production workers in each department
to see what the reduction in output would result. I was
friendly with the supervisor of their electroplating line
where the raw metal products that were to be
assembled into the clip section of loose leaf binders
were plated to make them rust resistant.

He was a fine young man who had started with
Wilson Jones on that plating line as a production
worker. He was very success oriented, the reason
for his successful climb out of production work into
supervision. But his limited education (high school
graduate) and absence of vision driving an inability
to see the bigger picture came into play. The
production that management demanded from every
department was not reduced with the culling of
personnel.

In order to maintain the demanded production
output, he put on a protective suit that line workers
in his department wore, and went back to work on
the production line along side those he was
supervising. It was a true miracle that the union
workers didn’t file a grievance against him. At the
end of the production day, he put in overtime (he
was salaried and didn’t get paid for this) to catch
up on the paperwork for his department. In short,
he was working two full time jobs for a single job
paycheck.

I saw what he was doing and spoke to him early one
evening after the line was shut down and the production
workers were gone for the day. I explained that
management expected production to drop when they
culled people, and now that he was fully engaged in
production as he was, what did he think he could do
when they cut personnel again, because he had given
management every reason to believe his department
had been overstaffed.

So I had two pertinent experiences in one brief
employment period, with different outcomes, a beautiful
experience for someone capable of observing and
understanding all that was going on around him. I really
enjoyed my time at Wilson Jones and have other
experiences to recount at some other time, but these two
are appropriate to this article which is really about why
Michigan is failing politically and economically as a state.

In the first instance, management failed to see that
reworking wheels cost them a lot more than new ones.
This is a variation on the famous story about Henry Ford
discovering it was cheaper to cut the string off incoming
packages and throw it away rather than saving and reusing
string. Wilson Jones management was blind to the costs of
their practice for about a hundred years. I thought everyone
got this memo!

In the second instance, trying to fix a perceived problem
by working around it illicitly destroyed the value of the
experiment. In short, by “preventing” the manning problem
from festering as it was intended it should, the eventual

outcome was useless because the particular failure that was
supposed to result never had a chance to occur. Evolution,
and society is merely an evolutionary social experiment, in
nature, politics, and business, relies on the consequences of
failures as much as it does on successes.

These two problems, and plenty of others are evident in
Michigan.

When the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution
was enacted and became the law of the land in 1978, all three
branches of government thought they were throwing up
roadblocks because they didn’t much like the simple fact
that the people (whose government this is, after all) took
charge and told our political leeches how to do their jobs.
The people simply wanted to have a say in how our
governments spend our money.

Of course input by “the people” is crucial in a democratic
form of government, and not only have state politicians
since 1978 ignored that importance, they’ve done
everything in their power to thwart the consequences.
What we have had in these regards since 1978 is a nasty
form of an oligarchy supporting misconduct by local
government officials who regularly ignore the state
constitution and do as they damn well please because
there are no consequences. And whenever (except for
the 1997-1999 Bolt case) the government’s misconduct
comes before the courts, the courts play a strong
supporting role for that misconduct at the expense of
upholding the Michigan Constitution, something they took
an oath to do. You have only to look at the record of
Headlee Amendment cases to see how the court decisions
have often been political rather than legal.

The legislature, quite early on, established a one year
statute of limitations for Headlee Amendment complaints.
What a horrible thing to do and then they clearly indicated
their displeasure at the very thought of “the people” exerting
control beyond ordinary well spaced periodic elections.

Justice Weaver, in Taxpayers Alliance v. Wayne County
(1995) entered a dissent They labeled it “concurring in the
result only.” Justice Weaver wrote, “I would find the
one-year period of limitation to be unconstitutional
because it curtails the guaranteed right to no taxes
without a vote of the people and places undue burdens
on the people by its limiting nature.” But the court
reporter followed the “politically correct” labels in their
misguided efforts by not labeling it a dissent. So much
for honest reporting.

For their part, the Michigan Courts have found all
sorts of inane and insane excuses for avoiding the
effects intended by the people when we enacted the
Headlee Amendment. My case is currently found on
the Supreme Court docket as case no. 150015. You
can find it at http://tinyurl.com/ng33mjw . The
nonsense I’m talking about continues unabated there.

The only case I have been able to locate in which the
Michigan Constitution was upheld as was intended by
the framers is the famous Bolt v. Lansing. The case that
took several years to wind its way through the courts.
And it took a substantial seven page dissent by Judge
(now a justice on the Supreme Court) Markman at the
Court of Appeals (COA,) as opposed to a 5 page
order by the other two Court of Appeals judges, to
drive the case into a proper review by the Michigan
Supreme Court (MSC.) 

In reading the 1997 original COA verdict in the Bolt
case it is rife with statements this writer considers
pretentious nonsense. The Court of Appeals blames
the Headlee Amendment itself for failing to distinguish
between a fee and a tax and relied on a 1954 case,
Ripperger, for direction. But the Ripperger case had
altogether different circumstances, and a different state
constitution underlying it, so misusing it as a precedent
for Bolt was a serious abuse of the Court’s discretion.
Despite the COA protestations, the fee – tax decision
had already been resolved and nicely defined by the
US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in National Cable
Television v. United States (1974). SCOTUS simplified
matters tremendously in saying, “The public agency
performing those services normally may exact a fee
for a grant which, presumably, bestows a benefit on the
applicant, not shared by other members of society”

How simple and how elegant!

But MSC, when it decided the Bolt case, introduced
unnecessary complexity that doomed all future cases
to judicial review, saying in effect that only the
Michigan judiciary is qualified to decide what is a fee,
and what is a tax. Nonsense! Everyone can fully
understand the definition SCOTUS provided in 1974,
and in a minor fashion MSC included that definition as
a “by the way” sort of statement.

MSC gave instructions to the court below when it
decided the Bolt case. Isn’t it interesting that as quickly
as the Bolt case was resolved and laid to rest, the lower
courts immediately ignored everything MSC had
directed them to do/consider in Headlee Amendment
cases and fell back into the same old rather stupid
games they originally played in the initial findings for
Alexander Bolt. What, are we, the public stupid that
we can’t see what is happening? I’ll bet that poor
man is spinning in his grave. In fact, if you would
care to read my motion for reconsideration at
http://tinyurl.com/px7zme8. You can see exactly
the same insultingly inane arguments that have been
provided by CO A over the years repeated in their
full glory.

We’re not going to be able to legitimately succeed
or fail as a state until the Headlee Amendment is
enforced as it was intended and written. It isn’t so
much Headlee itself, but the behavior of Michigan
governments that comes into play. All local
governments have to do is ask the people to provide
the taxation necessary for their cities, towns,
townships, and counties to be successful. If the
people don’t like it, then local government needs
to go back to the drawing board and devise
political and economic solutions at the local level
that actually work. Right now, the kludge that’s
holding it all together is a system of lies and
corruption extending from the lowest municipal
 levels of government through every level of all
three branches of state government.

You doubtless already know that before large
entrepreneurs invest money to undertake a new
business in a region they learn literally everything
 about that region. They are averse to taking
unnecessary risks such as they’ll face trying to do
business in a region that has a proven unpredictable
government. When government promises certain
things, then delivers only what they feel like doing,
investment flees. Unless you deliver what you
promise to your citizens, your word in making
promises to big money investment is clearly
worthless. These people didn’t manage to
accumulate massive investment funds by being
stupid.

So talk with your peers about this simple problem
that Michigan does not deliver what the state
promises, and lets all work together to change
 how this state does business so we can progress
together.

Bill Vajk    31 May 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

E911 In Iron County Michigan

On January 12, 2015, I was awakened by my
spouse, Gloria, in the small hours of the morning,
“I feel terrible. I need to go to the hospital, please
call for an ambulance,” she said.

I did. But it took a very long time for the ambulance
to arrive. Investigation disclosed that the one ambulance
on duty was engaged in the transport of a patient out
of the county, and another crew had to be awakened in
order to put another ambulance into service.

Is this what passes as acceptable in Iron County in 2015?

As far as I know, there are three ambulances attached
to Aspirus/Northstar Hospital here in Iron County. It
should be standard practice that as soon as the on
duty ambulance is assigned to transport duty, another
should immediately be placed in service, no? How can
we have a 911 service in Iron County and then leave
gaps in the emergency services coverage backing it
up? This is unacceptable!

On June 10, 1969, my wife at that time, Earline,
was enroute to her mother’s home in Georgia. She
was involved in an auto accident, of her own making,
and was ejected from the car (seat belts were not
standard issue as yet). The state police were on
scene fairly quickly, and a call was made to the
nearest hospital to dispatch an ambulance. The time
of day was approximately 2PM, just past lunch. Then
began a mad hunt for the ambulance driver who was
not on station and could not be found. He had the keys
to the ambulance in his pocket. It took more than an
hour to find him, drunk and passed out at a girlfriend’s
apartment, and another hour or so to sober him up to
drive because he was, according to reports, the only
one trained and insured to drive the rig.

In the meantime our three daughters, aged 6, 4, and
2 were in the car watching as their mother died
alongside the road. I was at work at Farmingdale,
New York, at the time. So North Carolina of 1969
meets Iron County, Michigan, 2015 in the inability to
provide speedy emergency services. Fortunately this
time no one died. But that’s a disaster waiting to
happen, and now you've been warned that the
problem exists.

While they were getting the crew assembled in
January 12, 2015, I asked the 911 dispatcher if
she couldn't send me a police car so I could have
help getting Gloria into the car so I could take her
to the hospital. No assistance ever came, and all the
time Gloria, on blood thinners for atrial fib, was (as
I suspected) bleeding internally. No thanks to an
ineffective emergency system that’s at work here
in Iron County, Gloria survived the ordeal and will
be coming home from rehab and recovering at
ICMCF tomorrow, 13 February. I have only nice
things to write about ICMCF. If Iron County can
get that service so right, the capacity is there to
repeat such success in other essential services. So
what's keeping you from it, Iron County Board?

Why isn't the Iron County Board aware of this
apparently regular lapse of service here in Iron
County? What about someone bleeding to death
from an auto accident? The entire premise of
having a 911 service is to save time, and
property or lives, by having rapid response that
does not exist despite the County Board's
promise that such service is available.

When the Iron County Hospital was created, the
county operated that entity and provided ambulance
service. The hospital was spun off as a separate
not-for-profit entity, and the ambulance service
with it. So long as the hospital and ambulances
were operated on a not-for-profit basis, ambulance
service was available on a 24/7/365 basis. In this
lightly populated region with an aging population it
is no surprise that the hospital had to be turned
over to a for-profit entity, in this case Aspirus.
No one can blame Aspirus for trying to get costs
under control after years of the same sorts of bad
practices by the Board of Directors as has been
destroying local governments, practices that were
financially destroying the hospital to the tune of
perhaps a million dollars (or more) per year.

But emergency services is NOT a profit center,
nor can they be treated as one, while maintaining
the levels of service that are necessary in this aging
community. So since Aspirus/Northstar cannot
provide the ambulance service, then Iron County
needs to step up and take over the service once
again. I would hate to see Northstar and Iron
County as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit,
especially once they have both been warned that
when you claim to fill the emergency services
niche, you better follow through or step aside to
allow someone else to provide the service.

This is not an item that can withstand delay.
Wait and someone, sooner or later, will
unnecessarily die. A profit vs. death case is
not going to be looked at favorably by any jury.

I attended the County Board meeting on
February 10, 2015 because the public comments
minutes was placed near the beginning of the
meeting. But that was illegally changed by the
Chair during the meeting (it should have been
changed when other aspects of the agenda were
modified.) I was not willing to sit through a long
meeting (it ended up being and hour and 45
minutes) as one of the three unpaid individuals
present.

So congratulations to the County Board on two
fronts for failing to provide the best service to
those who elected them. First you fail to provide
an effective and necessary emergency services
while cashing in on the E911 taxes, income, and
governmental advantages of the paternalism it
imbues.

Then you structure meetings in a way least
advantageous to those the meeting is supposed to
benefit. You’ve also taught me to avoid meetings
like the plague. I was hopeful that this county
board would be more prepared to benefit the
public, I had more important things to do than to
sit through a lengthy meeting that offered little to
interest me. As it was, I didn’t arrive home till
8 PM, and had I played the little games of “public
comment comes last” it would have been an
hour later yet.

So wake up, board members, and stop this failure
to provide emergency services promptly. Either
assure that we, the taxpayers, either have a timely
ambulance service provided by Aspirus/Northstar,
or provide the service yourselves, probably the
only way to assure compliance. This notification,
personally delivered to County offices tomorrow,
terminates any plausible deniability you may have
had about this problem.

Bill Vajk



Mayor Tarsi’s Management Style

Terry Tarsi, Mayor of the City of Iron River, provided
a letter published by the Iron County Reporter in the
February 4, 2015, issue.  Two things emerged as a
result of this letter. First, close to a half million dollars
of tax money paid by Iron River property owners
went to improving the old Central School that has
subsequently been converted into apartments in
private ownership. Considering that it had been owned
by the State of Michigan, we, the public, would have
been better served had the state dealt with the property.
Certainly we would not have been on the hook for
close to half a million dollars. In all reality, it should
have been demolished by its owner, the school district,
back in the 1970’s when the population was larger and
the economic impact would have been much smaller.
Buildings here in the US have a relatively short viable
economic life. How much tax revenue is the converted
central school providing to the community? How long
will it take for the citizens to “break even,” if ever, on this
project? Mayor Tarsi says he believes that the Apple
Blossom Apartments project was in the best interests of
the city and the taxpayers, but he offers nothing to back
up what he clearly states is his opinion. Is it any surprise
that we wonder about this? The 1960’s expression
“lip service” comes to mind once again.

Now Mayor Tarsi wants to spend another half a million
taxpayer dollars to demolish the Coast to Coast building,
a property and problem that the current city
administration rather stupidly purchased from the State
of Michigan. It should have been left to the state to deal
with this problem but oh no, the elected officials, while
claiming to want the best for the citizens, insist on
misspending funds that should be expended to maintain
streets and other municipal infrastructure, but instead
rather turn street lights off and streets “temporarily”
closed to traffic because they’re too deteriorated to use,
while creating a small city owned half-million vacant lot
downtown. Temporarily closed, my foot.

And what’s a few thousand spent to sponsor dog
races lasting a weekend while the city is shutting off
street lights to save money! The dog race expenditure
was challenged by a citizen in a city council meeting.
She was promptly dismissed by Mayor Tarsi stating
the city attorney deemed the expenditure legal.
Unfortunately, it seems to this writer, that Tarsi and
the city council apparently didn't rely on any “smart
or stupid” paradigm in this decision making process.

And la crème de la crème was Tarsi’s statement in
the February 4th letter, “I will not get into an editorial
debate, but I am available for a live discussion on
ther city-owned properties.”

The simple question, Mayor Tarsi, is who died and
left you the position of emperor of Iron River. You
are a servant of the people, not vice versa. We’re
not finished discussing the Apple Blossom Apartments
let alone the Coast to Coast building. Perhaps nothing
can be done about the building and contracts, but that
doesn't mean the discussion is over by your say so. The
entire matter of city planning for the future is wide open
because of any number of stupidities undertaken in the
name of the people. For example, the city has
complained for years about the jut-outs on Genesee
Street and the difficulties they create for snow plowing.
After about thirty years of experience with the problem
layout, last year the city rebuilt Genesee Street using the
same, complained about, layout. Don’t you people learn
from past mistakes?

For a recorded example of Mayor Tarsi’s management
style we need only refer to a meeting where he was running
a city council meeting:

http://bill-vajk.angelfire.com/IR-is-this-the-way.mp3

It appears to this writer that if it isn’t going the way
Tarsi wants, he’ll threaten to have the citizen legitimately
expressing his opinion removed by force. It is this writer’s
opinion that Tarsi’s demand to take discussions to a
personal level is because he has every advantage in
such a forum.  Before witnesses Mayor Tarsi bragged
to your humble correspondent that he doesn't read
anything, rather he has his wife decide what is worth
his time to deal with.

Given the illiteracy rate in Iron County, we are led to
wonder at what grade level does Mayor Tarsi read.
This is not intended as an insult to the Mayor (not
that I have any objection to insulting him when
deserved,) but rather a call for recognizing another
reason why this community isn't thriving as it should,
possibly including city government, making the
question, under the circumstances, valid. On the
surface, a well read person generally makes a
better public official in a community if all other
considerations are equal. It is clear that Mayor
Tarsi is not well read.

Given all the above, perhaps a literacy test
requirement before running for public office
ought to be imposed in Iron County. I am
reminded that Marci Vess, who voluntarily
helped a number of local high school graduates
learn to read, died last year. I hope that someone
else has or will step up to close this void left by
Marci’s demise. The task requires willingness,
kindness, and lots of patience. The community
is just that much poorer for her absence, and
I write this as someone who had his share of
disagreements with Marci on other matters.

The shame resulting from illiteracy generates a
very high price imposed on all of society.

As usual, all the above is the opinion of:

Bill Vajk

Monday, January 19, 2015

Downtown Proposed Demolition

Ben Smith and I stand opposed to the current plan that
involves tearing down the Coast to Coast building at
public expense. Iron River does not need another vacant
lot downtown, we have plenty of those already.

We recommend repairs at the least expense necessary
to stabilize the building over a long term. To that end,
Ben and I will be circulating a petition requiring the
proposed bond be approved by the voters.

Half a million dollars, or more, could go a long ways for
the city to provide services and infrastructure we actually
need, like street and alleyway repairs Please sign the
petition to take the proposed half million dollar bond to
the voters for approval. You must be registered to vote
in Iron River for your signature to count.

Bill Vajk

Monday, January 12, 2015

Computer Hacking

A little over two decades ago, before Glen Roberts
completely lost his mind and renounced his US
citizenship, the two of us published an article in
Full Disclosure, a newspaper of that era, about
computer hacking. Centcom's breaches today
are a stark reminder of the risks warned of decades
ago.

That period was known for teen aged hackers
breaking into sensitive telephone company sites
and reading or downloading materials that the phone
companies would have preferred to keep private.

Instead of securing the computer networks, as we
suggested in that day, the companies affected, along
with providers of networking software, chose to rely
on law enforcement to do the bidding of computer
network users by prosecuting the hackers. Craig
Neidorf was wrongly prosecuted by the federal
government, and fortunately for Craig and his family,
the costs were picked up through Mitch Kapor's
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Mitch was also the
founder of the Lotus Corporation. In the end, Craig
was found not guilty, and the federal judge presiding
over that case severely criticized the US Secret Service
that was charged in those days with investigating and
litigating computer crimes. As a direct result, jurisdiction
was taken away from the Secret Service and
transferred to the FBI.

Unfortunately, over the decades, the publishers of the
software the internet relies on for security have failed
to do their very best to hackerproof their software,
continuing instead to rely on law enforcement to strike
terror in the hearts of would-be hackers and others
with nefarious intent.

What we as a nation rediscovered of late is that the FBI's
reach and the authority of the federal courts is ineffective
beyond US borders. Surprise surprise!

So we've lost several decades during which development
of better strategies for internet software have been lost,
and suddenly it is too late to secure this Goliath of an
internet that we rely on for so very much. Heck, we, as a
nation, couldn't even get a failure proof federal web page
on line for Obamacare.

What, you may well ask, does this have to do with local
politics. Everything. We each rely on the internet for
communications, control of our  power grid, and the safety
and security of US pipeline companies, including those
that deliver natural gas for residential heating to much of the
nation, and our financial systems. Why on earth would
anyone thing for a second that such computer
communications could be maintained as 100% secure?

As can easily be seen, you don't have to own a computer
to be significantly affected. Others are exposing us all
to unwanted risks.

What Glen and I warned of so long ago has come to be
the new reality. I'll say it again, the purveyors of software
must build in hackerproof protection. In addition it would
be prudent to create a second internet, limited to national in
scope, that is secured and under permanent 24/7/365
security scrutiny, for those functions we must have as a nation
while removing all sensitive sites from the hum-drum of
the international wild-west internet that everyone can access.

Better we do something now instead of never.

Bill Vajk

2014 Local Government Awards

Unfortunately there were no positive 
outstanding achievements by local 
governments in Iron County during 
2014 deserving of notice and award.

On the other hand, the Iron County 
Board, the City of Iron River 
council, and Iron County Treasurer 
have earned the Lump of Coal award 
for the year 2014 for the illegal 
collection, under the threat of 
foreclosure, of unlawful property 
taxes. Tax documents that are required 
under law to be certified were not, and 
in the case of delinquent water bills 
and unpaid noxious weeds mowing 
invoices have not been certified for 
more than a decade by the 
city. 

The County Board is required to 
certify the taxes for collection by the 
treasurer has failed in their duty to 
the public to provide more than a rubber 
stamp approval for whatever infractions 
of laws local municipal governments 
under this jurisdiction commit. The state 
has required the county board to provide
checks and balances sufficient to 
demonstrate compliance by municipalities
to state laws. This they failed to do. See
Vajk v. City of Iron River, Michigan 
Supreme Court docket # 150015.

It is the duty, in compliance with their 
oaths of office, for each of the people 
singled out by these awards to comply
with the laws and thus to enforce 
compliance by local governments to the 
laws, and they have failed to do their 
sworn duty.

Each deserves this lump of coal award
for failing their sworn duties.

Bill Vajk

Monday, January 5, 2015

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A New Local Tax

If you own or rent property in the City of Iron River
please beware of the city’s new ordinances enacted
on October 15th. I have posted them to the internet
at: http://tinyurl.com/o2rxnew  You can also read them
at City Hall.

These ordinances infringe on your rights as property
owners and unnecessarily increase housing costs to all
of us, especially renters. There’s enough at stake here
to warrant a recall of the entire city council. This isn't
simply “regulation,” it is a new taxing measure disguised
with intent to fool the citizen.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Recent Hit Parade


The following articles along with date of publication are
listed in the order of most recent interest:

Ne Nantium Necare 9/14/2008

Harbingers of Our Future 8/28/2011

The Ordinary Audit Is Not Good Enough 9/2/2014

Without A Tax Limitation 9/2/2-14

A Civics Catechism - Lesson First 5/1/2014

Over the longer term, it seems to me that the Harbingers
article has received the most readers, and probably has
the largest international readership as well. It is a bit of a
surprise to me that older articles are the most popular,
let alone to international readers.

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Ordinary Audit Is Not Good Enough

Every Michigan municipality must be audited annually
by an independent auditor. But what we've found
should make the hairs on your neck stand up. The
audits fail to address the legitimacy of what local
governments must do with and about money to be
remain in accord with the laws.

For the first example, the City of Iron River spent
$150,000 of water system funds to pay down the
employee pensions that are supposed to be paid
out of taxes. If the reader chooses, you can find
the event memorialized in the minutes of the city
council meetings. The City Attorney, Tousignant,
referred the matter to the independent (are they
really? Really???) auditor who said there was
nothing wrong with it.

Technically, so far as the local ordinances and state
statutes are concerned, nothing speaks out against
the commingling of funds that way. And she's right,
so far as making excuses goes. But there are legal
considerations that will be addressed later in this
publication, after the Michigan Supreme Court
decides the issues that your humble correspondent
has placed before it that was delivered to the Court
this morning.

There is, however, another bee in my bonnet that
should aggravate everyone in Iron County. It
starts with late payments for water/sewer/garbage
bills. Under Iron River ordinances 52.70, 51.10,
and 50.077 they can be converted to taxes and
attached to your property tax bill, along with a
10% per month compounded (some 214%
annualized.) The ordinances each say that the
amount must be certified as part of that process.

You can find the Iron River ordinances on the
internet:

http://tinyurl.com/p4wvq24

State law, in MCL 141.121(3) says in part:

"The time and manner of certification and other details 
in respect to the collection of the charges and the 
enforcement of the lien shall be prescribed by the 
ordinance adopted by the governing body of the 
public corporation."

None of the three ordinances, let alone any of the
Iron River ordinances, complies with the MCL
quoted verbatim above.

But it doesn't stop there.....

take a look at:

http://bill-vajk.angelfire.com/unsigned-documents.pdf

When I first asked Iron River for a copy of the
certification I first received the page marked "A".
Some time later, I pressed the issue and received "B",
"C", and "D". I had earlier acquired a copy of "D"
from the County Treasurer.

If you look at the notes in the margin of "A" and "B"
you'll notice they are identical, although in the copying
process a bit of the scribbling has vanished on "B."
What that means is that "A" is the physical parent of
"B" and that when I first received "A", in February of
2014 (when I went in and paid my property taxes) the
signature and date that later appeared on "B" weren't
actually there. Given that when first approached on the
topic, city employees maintained that certification was
not required, only the transfer to taxes per the
ordinances. Either they didn't know or didn't care, and
it doesn't much matter which is true, the outcome is the
same.

When pressed, the City Manager produced the pages
for "B", "C", and "D". I already had a copy of "D"
that I got from the Iron County Treasurer in February.

A signature might pass for a certification if the state
statute had been obeyed and the ordinance described a
signature alone as being a valid certification, AND if the
copy I received in February had that certification on it.

But it didn't.

Then the situation got even worse.

MCL 211.10(d)(7) requires that the tax roll be certified:

"Every lawful assessment roll shall have a certificate 
attached signed by the certified assessor who prepared or 
supervised the preparation of the roll. The certificate shall 
be in the form prescribed by the state tax commission. If 
after completing the assessment roll the certified assessor 
for the local assessing district dies or otherwise becomes 
incapable of certifying the assessment roll, the county 
equalization director or the state tax commission shall 
certify the completed assessment roll at no cost to the local 
assessing district."

And as the reader can clearly see, the tax roll in "D"
is not certified, and is therefore unlawful. But Iron 
County treasurer collected anyway, and took those who
didn't pay up to the Circuit Court and foreclosed those
properties.

Look at all the opportunities they missed to get the 
document signed as required by law. Perhaps no one
else would sign it? There are cover ups within cover ups,
who knows how long that queue is? The ordinary audit
of  Iron River and Iron County doesn't turn up such
illegal performance by two of our municipalities.

What should be done to prevent a repeat anywhere else? 
Our local governments are now embarrassed, and so 
long as I'm alive I'll be checking these, and any other
items I can think of. But what of the rest of this state?

As you might suspect, the "noxious weeds" bills, for 
mowing by the City of Iron River whenever they don't
like the look of your grass, that people don't pay in a
timely fashion are also converted to property taxes.
There too, the bills must be certified, actually "sworn
to" in this case, and that wasn't done either.

We need a committee of some sort to go through
every governmental function and to compare those
activities to state laws regulating them along with
ordinances.

Is it a shock that Iron River can't comply with state
laws even in how the ordinances are written? Someone
needs to hold our elected representatives collective feet
to the fire!




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