Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Dear Ypsi

I like where I live. Not necessarily the house, though it is fine, but rather the town. This little city is pretty diverse and has lots of character (and characters). There are at least a couple of decent restaurants, better coffee shops than surrounding towns, lots of festivals, a lovely community pool and, of course, a brewery. The schools have their issues, but they are decent overall and my kids do well in them. The city is pretty liberal overall and a couple of fine social service/justice and environmental community organizations call the place home. I'm feeling very pro-Ypsi these days.

This is why it is strange to yet again witness a somewhat contentious political issue grip the city while I sit 100 yards from being able to participate. Yep, as Ypsi as I am, I actually live just over the line in the township. As was the case for the highly contested mayoral campaign last year, proper-Ypsians struggled to figure out what to do with a city in severe financial straits. The city long ago slashed such "luxuries" such as the recreation department (which is why there is a "community" pool instead of a "city" pool -- local folks raised money and found grants to take over what is so clearly a "public" function). Eastern takes up a huge chunk of city land and pays no taxes. The city is hurting. Not surprisingly, someone came up with the idea of the city income tax.

The issue itself is dead for the moment -- defeated at the polls yesterday by a clear 2/3 majority. Since I couldn't vote on it anyway, I choose to not invest the effort to decide if I am happy or disappointed. What I am reflecting on this morning is how much some of my friends struggled to decide how to vote on both the tax and the mayor, how mixed and numerous the yard signs were in many neighborhoods, how thoughtful some of the blog posts were... I guess it all leaves me with the feeling that even if the budget for the place sucks at the moment (oh, and it does), it is a pretty politically healthy city.

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