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Letter to the Editor: Ehman's Attacks on Dexter Township Candidates Not Accurate

Dexter Township supervisor candidate Jim Drolett responds to allegations about his leadership.

Well, I have tried to keep the upcoming elections in Dexter Township on a positive note, relying on my previous experience and past dedication to the residents of Dexter Township and the area, but now comes a letter from Mr. Ehman which at best is confusing and at worse is typical of him.

At the time I took office as supervisor in 1984, Mr. Ehman was sitting as the chairman of both the Zoning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Because of onerous decisions made by those boards, at least three members of the five-member township board voted not to reappoint him to those positions and it's been sour grapes for him every since.

In 1988, the good people of Portage Lake came to me to ask if the township would do a sewer project for them as many were having six-month deed restrictions placed on their properties and they could not remodel or rebuild. I took on the project even to the detriment sometimes to my family life. It was nothing to work until midnight to keep the project moving forward. We were not without our antagonists, as many simply didn't want to pay or wanted some special treatment which could not be offered.

The township board did put Mr. Ehman on the Sewer Authority Board but it certainly did not get rid of the detractors.

When the Multi-Lakes project came along, I agreed to take on that project and the same detractors followed the crowd to North Lake. They made the same negative comments, but thankfully for the residents of North, Half-Moon, Silver and Blind Lakes, we went forward and completed the much needed sewer project.

It is true that I was not appointed to the Multi-Lakes Sewer Authority Board. I did not seek to be appointed to it as my plate was overflowing. I don't know where Mr. Ehman gets his information that the Multi-Lakes Board is struggling, but if it is, it is because the current supervisor loaded the board with her followers, refused to give even a 50-cent per hour pay raise to the employees after no raises in three years, and the director who was doing all the managing, bookkeeping, billing, scheduling, etc. retired in disgust.

The board lead by Ms. (Patricia) Kelly then proceded to hire a new director at 50 percent higher wages than the former director. The new director worked only four days a week, and the board has farmed out the billing, bookkeeping, accounting to others, so now the people in the sewer district are paying twice as much in wages.

With Kelly it's not about good government, it's about control. Had Mr. Ehman checked his facts he would have known this.

Mr. Ehman then goes on to criticize Libby Brushaber for voting yes on the 2003 zoning ordinance and saying in her literature that she “wants revisions." Ms. Brushaber said that at the time the ordinance was passed but it was Supervisor Kelly who pushed it through saying we can fix it later. Sounds like (former U.S. House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, doesn't it? Isn't it funny that Mr. Ehman can so easily criticize Libby Brushaber for a single vote in 2003, but 227 zoning amendments and nine years later and it's still not fixed. He says, “Give Ms. Kelly more string because she's honest.”

Change is needed in Dexter

The most condescending comment by Mr. Ehman is calling the congregation of North Lake Methodist Church “steeple people." No doubt he got that comment from Supervisor Kelly, because that's the way she talks about township residents behind their backs. Even Mr. Ehman's back. Just ask the clerical people at the township hall. The people at the North Lake Church were rightly angry because of the way they were treated and the fact that the zoning ordinance was so obviously out of touch with Dexter Township's community needs.

But Mr. Ehman wants to give Kelly four more years. Maybe if she didn't get the ordinance fixed in the first nine years, 13 will be the magic number. Ms Kelly has good reason to keep the zoning ordinance as restrictive as it is because that gives her more control over you and your property rights.

Marriage should not be a ballot issue

Mr. Ehman also mentions the fact that Libby Brushaber and I are married, therefore, it may not be democratic representation. Where was Mr. Ehman's concern when Warren Eisenbeiser was supervisor and Bill, his son, was clerk? And where was his concern when Earl Doletzky was trustee and his daughter Julie was treasurer?

Mr. Ehman has never run for elective office nor has he served in an elective position. Ms. Brushaber has served as an elective township trustee for 12 years and has always voted for the good of the community. To insinuate that just because she is now married she is no longer an independent thinking human being is degrading to women and to the state of matrimony.

Shame on you, Mr. Ehman.

I had the unfortunate experience of losing my wife of 40 years to cancer in 2009 and after recovering, I had the extremely good fortune of finding someone to spend my life with. And I can assure you Mr. Ehman, that neither one of us consider each other as “baggage."

Mr. Ehman recommends that Dana Bullen is “easily qualified” to be treasurer. Here is another one of Mr. Ehman's great selections. She has lived in the township for six months, has no accounting or bookkeeping experience, holds another full-time job, and she is going to collect and manage millions of dollars at the township? I'll bet Mr. Ehman wouldn't hire her to do his books and investing.

Mr. Ehman backed a 30-year-old renter for township supervisor in 1996, the renter won by four votes and lasted seven months before leaving with his tail between his legs. So much for Mr. Ehman's ability to pick good candidates. Now he wants you to follow him to the trough, drink the Kool-Aid, and vote for Kelly and Bullen. Better think twice!

James Drolett

Dexter Township Supervisor Candidate

Dana Bullen November 02, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Dear Mr. Drolette, I would suggest that you also check your facts before writing about the experience of others. I am Dana Bullen, one of the candidates for Treasurer, and as a matter of fact I DO have several years of accounting and bookkeeping experience. I actually do this currently at my full time job. In regards to having a full time job, yes, this is true. If not for my job, I would not have been able to move to Dexter Township. I chose to live here because this is a wonderful place to live, and I believe I can work for the good of the community. This is where I plan to spend my life and raise my children. If I win the election, the Township will come first. I managed to work on two master's degrees and hold a job at the University of Michigan. The number of years that one spends living in the Township has no bearing on their ability to do a good job. I sincerely hope that I will get elected for the Treasurer position; I can't wait to put my skills and experience to use for the better of the community! Dana Bullen
Barbara Fike November 02, 2012 at 07:03 PM
WOW! Very distasteful letter by Mr. Drolett right before an election.
Laura Jones November 02, 2012 at 09:33 PM
As opposed to the letter by Mr. Ehman? I think its reasonable to defend himself having read the first letter. More interesting to me has been the complete silence from Pat Kelly here.
David Benoit November 02, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Dana- You have my vote! On November 6th, I will fill in the bubble next to your name!
David Benoit November 02, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I would like to share my disgust for this response to Tom Ehman's letter. Mr. Ehman did not attack your wife, rather he questioned her decisions (as he did yours). Also he did not mention or insinuate that she is incapable of independent thought. I am appalled with your choice to spend your time attacking him rather than refuting the content of his original letter. While his political endorsement history is not particularly relevant, the decisions of you and your wife while in public positions are. My comment is not fueled by political support but rather in objection to your behavior. It is unbecoming of a public official, past or future, to conduct themselves in this manner. Election season is the time to reflect upon and question the decisions of our elected officials... The claim that neither you or Libby view each other as baggage, is not supported in this letter. To the contrary you have just proven that you are incapable of listening to criticism by one of your constituents on either your or your wife's behalf. For anyone interested, here is easy access to the original letter: http://chelsea.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-learn-from-history-to-direct-your-vot
Laura Jones November 02, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Seriously? We must be on different planets. I found Mr. Ehman's letter to be rude & insulting to Mr. Drolett. And the Methodist Church community. "so the miffed Mr. Drolett let those inexperienced folks twist in the wind and screw up the startup of that authority. And that authority is still struggling in part because of that." "I am aware the “steeple people” feel Dexter Township gave the Methodist Church a hard time over zoning fees, but they were only treating the church like any other applicant and apparently the church folks didn’t think that should be" (That much may be true - they treat everyone poorly, have changed nothing and should be gone) It's insulting & full of innuendo. It even made me start to wonder. Until I read this reply. What is he doing if not refuting the charges laid by Ehman? The attack on his wife was actually made by a comment, not Mr. Ehman. I find it completely forgivable that someone is defensive about their wife. Vita Riders endorsement is what really put me over the top, however - if Kelly cannot create a harmonious and respectful environment in her own office, why in the world should we give her another term? http://dexter.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-jim-drolett-libby-brushaber-right-choice-for-dexter-township
David Benoit November 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Ms. Jones, First of all Democrats and Republicans are rarely harmonious during election season. Just like congress, local government tends reach a "lame duck" period. I don't know where the comment came from but it's not relevant. The tone in this letter insinuates that it was directed at Mr. Ehman. It comes across attacking him over reference to his wife. Tom may have issues personally with Jim but the questions were directed almost entirely towards his actions when representing the township. (I even went back to re-read it, to make sure I wasn't confused, I wasn't) I never said that Mr. Ehmans letter was perfect. I never said that he was 100% right. I can accept you animosity about the Methodist Church comment. BUT MY COMMENT has nothing to do with that. MY COMMENT has to deal with Jim's inability to refute evidence like an adult, a professional, and as a public servant. In that he has failed, Ms. Jones. Since we're talking about it and your constant bashing of Pat Kelly in the patch, she treated the Methodist Church just as she would have treated everyone else. Supervisor Kelly's actions maintained the equity of the township in its ability to make decisions and to govern. Your Comment, "they treat everyone poorly, have changed nothing and should be gone" is not always possible. Jim helped to create those ordinances that as you say, treat everyone poorly. Overhauls take alot of resources and money, Jim is a fiscal conservative, yet he'll spend to fix it AGAIN.
Laura Jones November 03, 2012 at 12:11 AM
We can agree to disagree then, since I do not at all find a disagreeable tone in this letter, rather a defensive one that addressed the specifics raised by Mr. Ehman. I find it very plain spoken and direct. I do find it odd that the constant discussion is about people and not issues. I do have a real problem with the lack of any - and I do mean any - changes to zoning in the 9 years Ms Kelly has been in office. It seems the discussion is constantly about people's tone or actions or who caused this mess - not about what has been done in the last nine years to fix it. I do have a real problem with the lack of action over these issues and I am alarmed over people who find this acceptable or who even claim it is fiction. Treating any member of the township poorly and failing to take action to change unreasonable regulations is bad government. That Pat Kelly has treated everyone poorly is hardly a reason to keep her. I want change - changes that is both reasonable and pragmatic. The alternative is what? I apologize if it's offensive to you, it is not meant to be. I am simply completely fed up with the zoning law changes that have had a tremendous affect on my family and very small changes we wished to make to our property. We have been harassed, publicly insulted at a meeting and I will not stand by quietly and pretend like everything is fine. I want a return to common sense in the township including common decency.
David Benoit November 03, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Your opinions are not offensive to me. We can agree to disagree about the content of both letters. I do believe however that the blame placed for the zoning ordinances does not rest on one person. The fact is that there are 7 members that vote on all changes, decisions to change and decisions within the scope current regulations. I'm sure that I don't have to remind you that Libby has also served on the township board with Supervisor Kelly and has not successfully made changes either. She is in a position to steer the actions of the board, but it takes a collective to change. The lack of action may be contrasted to that of disagreements within congress or the state legislature. The change you speak of will not be achieved by solely through the outcome of this election. I'm sorry that you have had these sort of troubles and wish you well in the future. I honestly appreciate the discussion, even if we can't seem to agree. Let's go vote!
Laura Jones November 03, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Thanks for your reply David. I do agree that one person is not responsible for the problems. Only one candidate has vowed to take them on and change them, so that is what's driving my vote. I realize as well the best thing would probably be new people all the way around, but none are running, so here we are. I am not sure why there is no movement on these issues, I wish I did know why. In any case, I appreciate your wanting civility in our government, I agree with you that it is important. having been on the other side of a zoning board that made some rude remarks to us, I believe it's of great value. I second your sentiment to get out and vote. It's going to be a long process, I hear, given the length of the ballot. All the best to you and yours.
Concerned Citizen November 03, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Dana you have my vote - but Jim D. is not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth - he was DRIVEN out of Dexter Township! Has anyone verified how many pubic service pensions Jim D. and Libby B. hold between the two already and if they are elected they will get two more!!!
Amos Walker November 05, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Mr. Drolett has offered no reason for a change in leadership. His statements typically are missing key facts. He complains that MLSW board members did not get a $.50 raise. I think people who serve are not in it for the money. Then in regard to a new director getting a 50% pay increase, he fails to give the figure, an important fact to me. I do believe it is wholly inappropriate for two board members to be married/ live in the same home. That puts a lot of power in one address. They have different last names, which is, in my opinion misleading to residents who do not know them personally. Finally, his main issue is zoning, however he fails to be specific about his intentions to change zoning ordinances and I will not support a candidate who does not tell us what he perceives to be problems. What he prefers mays not be good for Dexter Twp. Finally it appears he has lied or simply made up his comments on Ms Bullen. That and the use of terms like, "left with his tail between his legs," indicates a lack of ethics necessary to hold any office. Pat Kelly deserves re-election. Even though she is a democrat, she has more Republican values than Mr & Mrs Drolett/ Brushaber

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