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:  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

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:

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

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

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

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!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Without A Tax Limitation

Here's what happens in other states, like Georgia. Forsyth
County is north of Atlanta within commuting distance. It
looks like every interaction with government gets hit with
some sort of tax.

In this instance, they've added a "library impact fee," note
how it is always a fee, tacked on to a building permit charge.
That's designed to make the individual paying the tax as
though they're personally getting something out it.

It might not sound like much, but at 5.8 cents per
square foot, a rather ordinary 1400 square foot home
is hit with a $81.20 tax to support the local library.

Is this our future in Michigan as well?

Please note that one of the best library systems in 
the world is the New York City Public Library. And 
since the beginning, not one penny of public money
has gone into funding it. Government doesn't belong 
in anything where their impact isn't necessary.

Newark, Illinois, also has a privately endowed public
library. Current population of the village is estimated
to be about 1000 souls. If they could do it decades
ago when they were much smaller, anyone can.

Bill Vajk

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rumor Has It

Rumor has it that there is a large business interested in buying all the
closed Michigan prisons on the UP.

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So What Is Proposal 1? Vote NO!

An anonymous response (I get some now and again) gave me
a location for finding the contents of Proposal 1, a text that is
purposely as misleading as the flyer that came in the mail a
few days back.

In effect, what Proposal 1 does is to create a new "local tax"
in an end run around the Headlee Amendment while promising
to eliminate part of the state sales and use tax. In order to do
that, the state is setting up a new "Local Community Stabilization
Authority" to oversee the new local tax, and prohibits that
"Authority" from increasing the tax above 6%.

But of course there's nothing preventing the state from increasing
the sales and use tax at any time in the future. It could be next week,
it could be next year, but we know it will happen.

The proposal is terrible, and the lies used to promote it are even
worse. I will vote against it and urge everyone to vote NO on
this measure. If the intentions were honorable, the state would have
gone out of its way to providing information that the voters can
understand. Every time government does something "for your
own good" you better look more closely at what they are
proposing. It is a "local tax" that's supposed to get voter approval
by the local region, like a small taxing entity like a city or a county.

By doing this as they have framed it, statewide voter approval will
replace local approval that the Headlee Amendment intended. A
one vote majority out of the millions in the state will pass the measure.
If it were left to Iron County, that would be a one vote majority in
11,000 or so, and your vote would count for more than it does the
way they're doing it. Why should a voter in Detroit have any say in a
tax that the state says is an Iron County local tax?

Please don't be their fool. Vote NO.

Bill Vajk

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Proposal 1 - August Elections

A couple of days ago I received a 1 page flyer in the
mail urging me to vote for Proposal 1 that promises
to eliminate a business tax and increase jobs by 15,000.


No where in the flyer does it give me the text of
Proposal 1. In short, it screams "trust me."


It does reference

Nice of them to do that. So I went and looked,
and sure enough,, it was more of the same sort
of hype that's in the flyer, and there's no text
of the proposal to be found anywhere.

I don't believe a word of it, simply because
they're not coming clean with what the text
of the proposal is.

Too bad. Guys, you've screwed up despite
the fact you've had every opportunity to get
this right. If you're ashamed to advertise
what it is you're doing then how dare you
even think about asking for my vote.

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

value to the recipient

In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote:

"The phrase 'value to the recipient' is, 
we believe, the measure of the authorized 

When the water is shut off at the curbstop 
by the provider, what "value" does a
person receive? 

It is a simple question with a simple answer
that the City of Iron River evades.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Ultimate Evil – An Insult to All Americans

This news outlet has been silent for a 
while since your editor has been busy 
suing the City of Iron River and Iron 
County under the Headlee Amendment. 
Original jurisdiction lies with the Court 
of Appeals. In my opinion, the court's 
finding does not comply with Michigan 
laws , any system of morality and ethics, 
or any modern laws.

The ultimate evil, I think, is to hold a 
person responsible today for what some 
random unknown stranger may do in 
the future. Avoiding all religious 
trappings normally associated with the 
word “evil,” I only contemplate ethical 
and moral meanings devoid of any 
organized religion. There is no historical 
ethic, let along a formal legal system 
since the classical Greeks that allowed 
one person to be punished for the acts of 
another. So far as I know, the last one to 
permit such injustice was Hammurabi in 
about 1750 B.C. That's more than 3,700 
years ago! Yet here we are today, in 
Michigan, reverting to ancient forms that 
have long been abandoned as unjust.

Still, the Michigan Court of Appeals 
found it provident to impose the City 
of Iron River's financial interests over 
those of its citizens, and make that 
citizen financially responsible for what 
someone might do in the future. How 
far in the future? They didn't say. It 
could be next month, or a hundred years 
from now, but your humble 
correspondent is financially responsible 
for such speculative people performing 
such speculative acts as asking that the 
water be turned on.

As if that isn't bad enough, there's a 
kicker. It isn't just me, but if you read 
the water ordinances for Iron River, and 
it is found in just about all towns and 
cities, anyone who owns property near a 
water main can be held responsible to pay 
for water they don't use on their vacant lot 
because the city is required to provide water 
to you in 48 hours after request! It's right 
there in ordinance § 52.18, “Written notice 
given not less than 48 hours in advance 
shall be made to the city by the property 
owner and/or occupant of the premises when 
water service is desired.” You don't have to 
have a house or any other structure!

Here's what the Court of Appeals, at the 
instigation of the City of Iron River, wrote:

Plaintiff provides no authority from which 
it may be inferred that, by turning off the 
water at curbstop, the City is released from 
its continuing obligation to maintain the 
capacity to provide water and sewer 
services to the Plum Street property 
should plaintiff or a successor owner 
request a resumption of the water 
supply. Under such circumstances, 
plaintiff receives the benefit of use of 
the municipal water distribution and 
sanitary sewer 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 these systems constitute a 
fee for service for purposes of the Headlee 

As the cornerstone for the Court of 
Appeals finding, it is morally, ethically, 
and legally bankrupt in my opinion. I 
filed my motion for reconsideration. 
Anyone with access to a computer has 
only to ask for a copy and I'll gladly 
provide it since all court documents 
are public unless a judge issues an 
order privatizing it in some form or 

You can find the court's complete 
order at:

Another significance of what happened 
here is what will this do to our future? 
How long will it be before this mindset, 
that government can do simply anything 
to us that they want, finds its way into the 
criminal laws? Hammurabi's code 
authorized the killing of an innocent 
child of a builder whose shoddy 
construction collapsed and killed the 
child of the homeowner. Is that what we 
want? No sir!

Like it or not, that's where this thing is 
headed unless I manage to stop it.
Please join me by pestering the city 
fathers with your objections, all in the 
legal way, of course, by writing letters 
and speaking at City Council meetings.

Iron River, you're back on the map again. 
But sorry, it isn't for any reason we should 
be proud of. 

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Another Illegal Tax?

The agenda for the Iron County Board of Commissioners on 
13 May 2014 contains the following item: “Discussion and 
Possible Action on the Iron County Construction Code's 
Request to Increase House Numbering Fee”

During last month's meeting, the board reversed an earlier 
increase of the FOIA per page charge of 30 cents because, 
as attorney Tinti pointed out to Commissioner Patti Peretto 
before the meeting, “You can't do it that way.” But the 30 cent 
“fee” had been in effect for some time and is one of the counts 
in the lawsuit brought by the undersigned against Iron River and 
Iron County.

Now here we are, with another department asking for an 
increase in a fee, this time for something as simple as “house 
numbering.” Why? Because “fee for service” is one place 
where a local government can gin up some extra income. The 
entire principle of collecting fees is to help offset the cost of a 
governmental department existing. Back in the 1970's the 
Federal Communications Commission tried it and were sued 
by the National Cable TV Association[1] which handily won 
the case with the Supreme Court establishing the credo that 
The phrase "value to the recipient" is, we believe, the 
measure of the authorized fee. The words 'public policy or 
interest served, and other pertinent facts' would not seem 
relevant to the present case, whatever may be their ultimate 
reach. “

Since this was a Supreme Court case it applies universally 
to every jurisdiction in the USA. In the famous Michigan 
Bolt v. Lansing case[2], our Supreme Court (repeating from 
an earlier case) stated that, “"Exactions which are imposed 
primarily for public rather than private purposes are taxes. 
Revenue from taxes, therefore, must inure to the benefit of 
all, as opposed to exactions from a few for benefits that will 
inure to the persons or group assessed."

Applying the Court's reasoning, for whose benefit is “house 
numbering” generated and applied? It seems to the 
undersigned that significant thought ought to be given to this 
topic before changes are applied, with consideration 
given to the possibility that this exaction should be eliminated 
since the service being provided is to the community as a 
whole, not to the person whose property gets a number. 
Once the consequence of the exaction benefits the entire 
community, it is a tax prohibited by the Michigan 
Constitution rather than a fee for service unless it was 
permitted as a tax prior to the enactment of the Headlee 
Amendment to the constitution.

Because local governments in Michigan are so careless 
in applying their power, it seems to the undersigned that 
an initiative needs to be undertaken by the citizens to 
assure that we are not being taxed inappropriately. The 
system that is currently in place encourages inefficiency 
on the part of government employees because they can 
simply improve their lot by applying to the county board 
or equivalent governing body at lower levels for a “fee” 
increase every few years. In the meanwhile the entire 
premise of the Headlee Amendment is defeated with 
the exception of an occasional whimper by someone 
paying an illegal tax. The only way to stop this is for 
citizens to band together and study the problem, 
bringing lawsuits whenever and wherever necessary 
to enforce the law that citizens enacted by voting for 

So as soon as the lawsuit in which the undersigned is 
presently engaged is completed, this describes the new 
initiative I will undertake. All local government bodies 
keep saying that they welcome greater participation by 
the public. Here's a chance for everyone to participate 
without actually attending those generally boring meetings 
where the public knows little, and usually understands 
even less, of what happens during those meetings. Here 
is a chance for the public to sink their teeth into how 
government functions where it is significant and 

We will make a difference!

[1] National Cable TV Association v. United States, 
    415 US 336, 1974
[2] Bolt v. City of Lansing, 587 NW 2d 264, 1998

Bill Vajk

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Civics Catechism - Lesson First

A Civics Catechism – Lesson First

Question: What is civilization and why have it?


Civilization is the organization of human beings into 
artificial groups for the purpose of eliminating internal and 
external predation. Today we have nothing to fear from 
the animal kingdom killing and eating us. Living outside 
the footprint of civilization, for example in the Alaskan 
bush, continues to provide such risks.

Here in Iron County our predators today are local 
governments subjecting us to economic destruction; 
sometimes they nickle and dime us, sometimes a heavier 
hand is evident such as in charging $870 a year for 
municipal utilities we cannot use, or overcharging $10 
for a few pages of a court docket. Such economic 
predation has no legitimacy.

Our governments have been around so long they think 
they are like people, especially here in Michigan. They 
forget their reason for existing, to provide safety and 
services for every citizen as a servant of the people, 
not as an organism on equal footing with human beings. 
Government is artificial, it has no life of its own! Our 
laws are designed to have governments work for us, 
not the other way around.

Michigan is worthy of mention because there is 
absolutely no oversight or control of local governments 
by those who give them limited powers, the state. We 
have to look no further than Detroit to see a worse 
case example. Or how about 13 local governments 
serving, on average, less than 1000 souls each in Iron 
County. Why two school districts, just to make a few 
jobs at the expense of providing the best education 

The model for what our governments are supposed 
to be is completely defined in our constitutions and laws. 
We must not permit failed civilizations, like Putin and 
the Ukraine, to detract from the high standards we 
have established. But sadly we haven't been living up 
to those standards.

Bill Vajk

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Community Conversation 2014

Editor's note: I can't help but think that the people who attend functions like this one are the ones who have it in their power to help advance this community and get Iron County out of the economic depression we've been experiencing for decades. Two things happen: First nobody is willing to ask them to assume leadership roles and secondly no one is willing to apply the pressure necessary to get such an initiative going. In the end it doesn't matter what these folks think so long as they're not willing to do anything about anything/ 

Bill Vajk


Please join us for a Community Conversation to help set the agenda for Michigan in 2014, sponsored by The Center for Michigan.

WHERE: West Iron District Library
WHEN: Monday, March 24, 2014-4PM
RSVP: Sara Basso at 906-250-0416 or

Community meetings just like this are happening all over Michigan. Make sure your voice is heard.

For more information, call 734-769-4625, or visit
Community Conversations are presented by The Center for Michigan, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, non-partisan organization working throughout the state to amplify the voices of ordinary citizens and find common ground solutions for a more prosperous future. Please visit for more information.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What It Looks Like

This is what the bill for not using water, with the valve
shut off at the curbstop, looks like. This edition arrived
in today's mail.

The famous case Bolt v. Lansing says that no one can
be compelled to take water. I'm pretty sure that the
Court also meant that no one can be billed for water
they cannot be compelled to take! Otherwise their
statement would be nonsensical, and I'm certain that
the Michigan Supreme Court never publishes any
nonsensical decisions.

So the nonsense must come from the City of Iron River.

Anyway, the lawsuit should, if nothing else, prove

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Piece of the Case Summary

The summons and complaints were served today on the
City of Iron River and Iron County, and the entire package
mailed to the Court of Appeals with the filing fee. A "case
summary" was included, part of which I reproduce below.

Although this case is about the violations of the Headlee
Amendment, Michigan Constitution Article IX § 31, in the
interests of understanding how we came to be at this
juncture, the case is significantly assisted by knowing a
bit if the history of the mainstream lawlessness that began
with the earliest days of Iron County and persists almost
unabated through the modern day.
It began with the “stolen courthouse” from which
history the county clerk republished the events of  1885,
see Exhibit “R”.

(editor's note- this is a segment of the Iron County Directory
of 2013)

The next major event occurred  in 1920 during Prohibition
with the Scalcucci brothers commercially making and selling
wine in Iron River. When federal officers were dispatched
from Chicago to put a stop to the illegal practice, local
officials were ordered to fire on anyone attempting to
enforce prohibition, and in the end were driven out of the
area. The event is a matter for an annual local three day
celebration. See the last page of Exhibit “R”.
Without delving into the details of this case too heavily at
this juncture, Plaintiff must here point out that the July 31,
2013 acts of amending Iron River ordinances in order to
allow the city council to establish new utility rates by
resolution instead of by ordinance directly violates the
alleged charter’s § 2.11(e). Please see Exhibit “B”. The
charter that Defendant City is allegedly obeying says an
ordinance is required to regulate the rate charged by a
public utility for its services. It is clear, in this act, and
others too numerous to discuss here, that Defendant City,
just like Defendant County, ignores the laws that govern
them unless and until someone like Plaintiff calls them to
task in court.
In Exhibit “S” Defendant City acknowledges no provision
of utilities to Plaintiff, but charges for them anyway,
knowingly violating the laws of this state and forcing the
situation to this Court for resolution that already exists in
the laws of the state.
As part of the election in November 2013, Defendant City
included a measure requesting the elimination of “conflict of
interest” by elected officials from the Iron River City Charter.
The deciding vote in the city council for the resolution to get
this measure on the ballot was cast by an individual who, at
that time, was knowingly in the very conflict he was trying to
get removed. Subsequently, after your Plaintiff complained to
the governor and the attorney general, the county prosecutor
investigated and asked two members of Iron River’s city
council to resolve the conflict issue by resigning one post or
the other. The city council, itself, did nothing while all the
members were knowledgeable about the conflicts that should
have been sufficient to keep the two from being sworn into
office and seated.
Unfortunately, both City and County defendants are so
deeply entrenched in their illegal activities that they seem to
have no way of stopping because once the first lie is told,
and then another to cover that up, the entire scheme just
spirals out of control and the lies can never stop. In
Exhibit “Q” Defendant County acknowledges it know the
source for the bills it will attempt to collect by undertaking
a foreclosure action, and ignores the illegality in Plaintiff’s
That is why we are here, in order to get a fair hearing and
to break the cycle of lies, subterfuge, and deception, by
local governments who are thus damaging the Plaintiff, and
many others, financially.

It is well past time for municipalities to stop charging for
public utilities that are not delivered to citizens.

Bill Vajk

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Is Futility our Hallmark?

This evening I posted Iron County's Strategic Plan for
the year 2000 at:

I note that not one single goal in that plan has been
achieved. This particular strategic plan was put
together by the team that included Ruth Briney, John
MacPherson, Kenneth Phillips, Bette Premo, Thomas
Rorabaugh, and J. Cyrus Warmanen.

I have to wonder why they put forth the effort to put
together this plan, and then simply disappear into the
background noise of Iron County.

Is futility the hallmark of Iron County?

Bill Vajk

Friday, February 14, 2014

Common Sense

Why is there such a shortage of common sense in Iron
River? The following is a letter to the editor submitted to
the Reporter.


To the Editor:

Last summer the Iron River City Council all but
announced their intention to permanently close
Blossom Street that has a failed pavement because
they lack funds to make repairs. Unfortunately there
is only one way to fund street repairs, taxes. Of
course once properly fixed, the street would be fine
for decades.

Then, in January, the same city was approached and
asked for help by funding the Iron Line Dog Race
through sponsorship, and they agreed. The level of
funding was more than half of what it would take to
fix Blossom Street. The city did this while finding
street lights to shut off because they’re trying to save
money. What for, in case there’s another dog race
asking for money? What about the requests of citizens
for street repairs?

How many sources are there for money to sponsor a
dog race? Thousands. How long does a dog race last? A
few days.

Perhaps if Blossom Street were made part of a dog race
route the City Council might see fit to fix it. But they
can’t seem to fix it for humans. Hmmm!


Yesterday I became involved in a discussion with a local
business owner whose philosophy is that if no one is living
on a street it shouldn't be repaired, just close it. That's
another exhibition of a lack of common sense. After all,
nobody lives on the Mackinac Bridge, or any of the
arteries in the US, but we don't close them because they're
important routes for others. The myopic views held by the
clique I keep talking about are killing this region.

There's no justification whatever for any Michigan municipal
government to fund a dog race and every justification for
keeping the streets in good repair.

What's wrong with you people?

Bill Vajk

Monday, January 13, 2014

Moving Right Along...

In my travels, and having lived and worked in different places,
one of the things I became acutely aware of is the difference
in some of the local cultures here in the USA. For example,
business in the NYC region relies heavily on social networks
where it comes to making agreements and generally doing
business with one another. The exception, that’s to be
expected, was in aerospace/defense where many suppliers
and the customer weren't part of the region, socially or
economically, in which the manufacturer functioned. To be
sure, all the people who worked there, from the CEO or local
equivalent, down to the guy who swept the parking lot, were
all part of the local social structure. But once at work, from a
business standpoint, local considerations didn't make it past the
front door.

I found Chicago to be very open and accepting. If anyone is
starting a new business, make sure your customers are either in
Chicago or some other region that’s similarly open to new
business relationships. And that’s the crux of the matter
explaining the failure of midwestern transplants to the New York
region. I saw many of them come and go when I lived at
Princeton. Typically they would last about a year, then they went
home. I don’t think they caught on to the way business is done in
the NY area. The few I talked to in what might be considered an
“exit survey” had no idea why they failed, but in the end, the
reason was that they didn't manage to break into the right social
circles in time to make a difference in their business strategies.
Migration to the west coast, on the other hand, proved a great
advantage to most transplants from the midwest. On the west
coast, midwesterners are the “go-getters.” Having heard plenty
on the topic from a  daughter and son-in-law in California
extended my knowledge base on this issue.

Because we have such a small population here in Iron County, a
set of circumstances similar to the NYC region exists here. If
you’re not enjoyed by the “in crowd” (and there’s only one here
in Iron County) you might as well whistle Dixie and look for
friendships wherever it is you go as a snowbird, you’re not
finding any meaningful socialization here.

Now that might sound as though I’m jealous or have hurt feelings.
Let me assure all readers that isn't the case at all. I have friends
up and down the east coast where I worked for decades, as well
as in the Chicago region, some overseas, and a few locally too. I
don’t need the local snobs in my life. My mother volunteered in
her community in her day, and found that the lasting friendships
were few and far between while some accused her of “social
climbing” at their expense. Now that, my friends, was jealousy
and hurt feelings arising out of their own failures to progress as
well as the best of them were able to. I am fortunate to be a
whole lot more  pragmatic than that and my world is a lot larger
than that of the majority of the local population. On the other
hand, there’s nothing wrong with living in a smaller world if
that’s what’s available to you and that’s what you want.

Moving right along, what this region needs badly is someone
somewhat like me, probably a lot better at business than I ever
was, who doesn't want to get caught up in/with local social
considerations, and is a lot younger than I am. Hire that
someone, and let that person or group run with their visions for
progress and the financial success of this county and region.
And for heavens sakes, don’t get this sort of initiative get
mixed up with adjoining counties, or we’ll end up with the short
straw again.

Sit down with that person and decide on a set of parameters
that are in stone. Which do we need, a railroad spur or a locally
based trucking company that can haul local products to a nearby
railway spur and load trains. Given the infrastructure we presently
have, including availability of utilities, roads, proximity to
railheads, and any other important considerations too numerous
to list here, where would the proposed heavy or light
manufacturing complex be best placed? Then let them run with
their mission. Don’t forget that we’re competing with New York
State that offers 10 years with no taxes for new businesses.

But I can hear the clique clamoring already, “I have this piece of

Forget it! The decision must be made by the individual we
(that’s right, all of us is “we”) hire for this position without
any consideration other than what’s best for all of us. And
that is going to be the problem with every decision, and that
impoverished mindset contributes heavily to the depressed
economy we live in today. Heaven forbid someone in the
clique get ahead while others, similarly situated, tread water.

Join me, come stand in God’s sunshine for a while, you’ll feel
better. And then realize that even someone else’s gain opens
new opportunities for you! They’re done, and you’re just

Well you now have the gist of what my current letter to the
editor intended for publication in this week’s Reporter is
about, above and beyond what I was able to provide in the
300 allotted words. Whether or not it ends up in the paper,
you were able to read it all here, so you have an advantage
already that’s denied to the others.

Letter to the editor follows:


The hospital is being taken over by Aspirus after losing about
$1.2 million in 2012. The clique that runs Iron County has
failed to run the hospital efficiently. While that group contains
most successful people in the county, their management and
entrepreneurial skill set is size-limited to the small businesses
they run well. Needless to say, it’s a subset of the same clique
that’s similarly run the EDC for decades.

Yes, we've had outsiders move into Iron County and
become part of that group. But they've done so at the
expense of abandoning the principles of success they
learned elsewhere in exchange for local social

The hospital is being taken over by a group that has no
apparent intention of becoming similarly localized. They
will eventually get our hospital back to supporting itself.
So the lesson is that if we are to get this county
economically viable again, we need to bring in people
with the necessary skills and give them a free hand to
achieve the sort of success this region had in earlier

How can we achieve that given a non-existent budget?

1) Combine school districts, saving at least $ half-million
annually. Plow that money back into courses teaching
manufacturing skills beginning with welding, the most
needed trade in this region today. 2) Eliminate all
redundant municipalities, saving $1 to $2 million (or
more) annually, and spend that on hiring people who
can get industries to move here, assuring employment
and the economic growth that’s needed.

Of course nothing will happen if the single-issue
folks remain couch potatoes instead of holding our
elected officials’ feet to the fire every month at
meetings. Giving the EDC “another year” to waste
time and money is a well practiced decision to
procrastinate yet again.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Citizens Have No Voice In Michigan State Government

It is no wonder that citizens in Michigan don't assert
their rights more often. Governments in Michigan,
including the state, turn a blind eye to anything that's
inconvenient to the games that officials play with one
another and the tricks they play on citizens. The
corporate culture has run amock to the point that
just like the president of AMOCO discovered a
few decades ago, executives are shoving paper at
one another while providing nothing of substance
towards producing the product they were intended
to provide.

What are the basic precepts that state government
is supposed to provide? Honesty and a fair playing
ground for the citizens and for business.

For some decades Michigan has done neither, and
is hell bent on continuing, as much as possible, just
as they have for a long time now.

On Friday, October 18, 2013, I sent a complaint to
the City of Iron River and to the Michigan Attorney
General about the irregularities on the upcoming ballot
to delete paragraph 2.05(a) from the Iron River City
Charter. The motion was knowingly illegally passed by
the Iron River City Council, and subsequently illegally
put on the ballot, with the knowledge illegality by all the
involved Iron River city officials including the clerk and
city manager.

The Attorney General ignored the request for corrective
action  for more than two months, providing one of two
standard responses we know are all we can ever get out
of Michigan state government. Those two are 1) no
response whatsoever (by far the most common way that
Michigan deals with citizen interaction.) or 2) "We can't
do anything for private individuals."

Ladies and Gentlemen (I use the terms loosely,) just why
in the hell do you think you're there?

You are there to serve the public. That's me, and every
other individual who finds themselves within the borders
of the state!

The email I received today says, in essence, "You're just a
private citizen, I'm not here to do anything for you!"


My complaint was about violation of state laws. Part of the
problem had previously been dealt with when Al Perlongo
received a letter from the county prosecutor telling him
he could chose one or the other of the official positions he
held, but could not serve in two conflicting positions at
the same time.

But he had already cast the deciding vote on deleting
paragraph 2.05(a) from the charter. But the measure
had no place on the ballot because his vote was illegally
cast in the first place.

No, Attorney General Bill Schuette, you are the chief
law enforcement officer in Michigan and I take severe
umbrage at your refusal to perform the duties to which
you took an oath when you assumed office. Apparently
I have to remind you what those were. You swore to
uphold the constitution and the laws of the state of
Michigan. In the letter below you have denied the
responsibilities you took an oath to perform. A man is
only as good as his word.

Email follows:


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 by ([::1]) with mapi; Thu, 2 Jan 2014
 10:26:42 -0500
From: Michigan Attorney General
To: Bill Vajk
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2014 10:26:40 -0500
Subject: Citizen Response
Thread-Topic: Citizen Response
Thread-Index: Ac8HzwkDHgA3bbJhT7OJUWtmyalg6w==
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Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

January 2, 2014
To: William J. Vajk
Citizen Inquiry No. 2013-0058282-A

Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked me to respond to
your e-mail concerning a proposed amendment to the Iron
River city charter.  I regret the delay in responding.  This
Department receives hundreds of letters and e-mails each
week, making some delays inevitable.

In your e-mail, which you also sent to the Iron River city
manager, you attach a document that is identified as a
"Complaint."  In the document, you indicate that you object
to the amendment to section 2.05(a) of the city charter that
removes the prohibition on council members holding certain
appointive offices during their elected terms.  You ask that
legal action be taken to remove the amendments from the
November ballot. Based upon information received from
the November election, the amendment to the city charter
did not pass.

For future reference, the Attorney General may provide legal
advice, opinions, or representation to governmental entities
and designated public officers within the State of Michigan.
The law does not permit the Attorney General to provide legal
services to individuals.

On behalf of Attorney General Bill Schuette, thank you for
taking the time to share your concerns with this Department.

Denise C. Barton
Division Chief
Public Employment, Elections & Tort Division

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Vajk
Sent: Friday, October 18, 2013 11:46 PM
To: Michigan Attorney General;>
Subject: Complaint regarding pending election

Attached please find my signed complaint and supporting documentation.

William J. Vajk


Denise Barton's final 2 paragraphs, restated correctly, say, "don't
bother me in future."

So how do we, the citizens of the State of Michigan, get our public
officials to do the jobs they have sworn, under oath, to do? Beg?
You know that doesn't work either.

Is a reform party hiding around the corner? Come Out, Come Out,
wherever you are!

Bill Vajk

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