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Government

Profiles in arrogance

Drain commissioners act out by mocking the public they serve.

 

Published 2/23/2000

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As part of their 1997 summer conference at Shanty Creek golf resort, the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners — a private organization made up of elected drain commissioners and drain work contractors — portrayed citizens at a public meeting using the following character profiles (constituents who know about the skit and are fighting drain projects locally don't think it's very funny. Nor are they laughing at legislation proposed by MACDC, which they say hurts citizens even more than the current law):

IMA DOGOODER
Ms. Dogooder is a family doctor that works at the Free Clinic in the nearby Big City. Ms. Dogooder is married to Mr. Ciara Club. They have 2 children ages 2 1/2 and 4 years old. When Ms Dogooder is not busy with the articles for the Greenpeace newsletter and macrame, she keeps a close eye on the evil doings of the Drain Commissioner. The Dogooder family moved from the Big City in order to provide a country living for their kids. They own 10 acres that is traversed by the MacLoud Drain. The Dogooder/Clubs do not want their trees removed from the property. They did not see that there was a Right of Way across the property even though the Drain is an open drain. They have an attorney whose name is Mr. Will Soo.

Despite the desire to enjoy the country life, the Dogooder family hates the smell and the runoff from their neighbor the Teets Farm a long established Dairy operation run by Mr. Pullan Teets and his family.

CIARA CLUB
Mr. Club is married to Ms.Dogooder. He is a philosopher who stays at home and cares for the children and carves furniture. Mr. Club is most proud of his college days when he was involved in the protesting ofjust about anything involving the Government. He cannot help but be mad that even though he has secured his little piece of heaven he doesn't want any more development in the area. He is from New York and inherited a lot of money from his uncle's sale of his Chemitrol stock.

PULLAN TEETS / TEETS DAIRY FARM
The Teets family has been farming in the MacLoud Drain District since the 1930's. They currently are involved in a large dairy operation. In the last 15 years they have averaged about 100 head of the finest, dirtiest, dairy cows in the County. Other than the several RIGHT TO FARM violations and those pesky manure management regulations the farm has been very,very good to them. The Teets do get aggravated with the newcomers from the Big City, especially those hippie Dogooders who live just down stream on the Drain.

The Teets are one of the Petitioners for this project. The Teets cattle like to cool off in the Drain and it seems to be getting filled in all the time so it needs to be cleaned and deepened. Also in a big rain the water from the Drain gets up into their barns,feedlots and manure piles.

CONSTANCE WHINER
Her name tells it all. She doesn't have any drain problems; She doesn't know why she even got a notice; She doesn't know why all those things are in the Petition if not all of it is going to be done. Ms. Whiner doesn't want anymore development even though she lives in a new subdivision. What about an environmental impact statement? She has read in the Reader's Digest that those are required. Why don't the farmers and the developers have to pay for it all? How can you decide if this necessary until you know how much it is going to cost?

RUSH DEVELOPER
Just bought 80 acres from a retiring farmer. Plans for a 160 unit residential development are sitting in the Township offices for approval. He doesn't like the terms of the 433 Agreement that the Drain Commissioner uses. Feels that he should only be required to pay his fair share. Doesn't understand why all these bumpkins do not realize that development is going to happen and that he has a right to make a living.

The one development that Rush did several years ago went pretty well, except for theMDEQ issues. This development will be better if he can get around that "low area" in the back. Soil Erosion plans are a pain.

I.S.AND IZZY FARMIN (HUS&WIFE)
I.M. FARMIN
I.B. AND IDA FARMIN (HUS&WIFE)

The Fannin brothers and their wives and kids have been fanning @240 acres for many years. The farm has been in the family for 113 years. The Farmins have lived on the farm all of their lives. They don't cotton to much to schoolin' and they know more than any dang engineer. The Farmins are a very CLOSE family. The family apples have truly never fallen too far from the tree. The Farmins are liked by most the other farmers except for Mr. Cash Cropa. Mr. Cropa is one of them MSU learned farmers.

The Farmins are Petitioners on the Drain, all 5 signed. The Farmins are having trouble because of the new neighbors moving in. The Fannin's are having trouble getting enough freeboard on their tile outlets. The Farmins haven't done any maintenance on the Drain on their property and use no conservation practices.

HILL DWELLER
Lives on the hill and has no problems. All his water flows away and he doesn't understand why there is a necessity to do drain work that he might have to pay for.How much is this going to cost him?

ARDEN SUPPORTER
Arden has lived in the area for many years and is willing to help out just to be cooperative. He signed the petition for one of the Farmin boys because he was told at the Coffee Shop that it was just to get a hearing. He didn't realize that it may mean that there was going to be an assessment and that the other neighbors were going to be mad at him. He wants to have his name taken off the Petition. Arden is suggesting over and over and over that the Board of Determination take a vote to see if the crowd thinks that it is necessary.

DICK MORER
Dick represents the Michigan Conversation Group, an association that likes to talk about environmental issues. Dick thinks that the MacLoud Drain could be a world class trout stream and that if the project was found necessary that the public trust would be denied the benefits. Dick doesn't like to think that this project could be done without a permit from the MDEQ. Even so, Dick knows more about environmental issues than the MDEQ. He is very out spoken about the things wrong about the Michigan Drain Code and one day he is going to read it. He is from Big City and doesn't own land in the District, he is at the meeting because he wants to give the process some credibility.

CASH CROPA
Mr. Cropa has an Ag degree from MSU. Cash is actively involved in the Soil Conservation District. Cash doesn't oppose the project, but he would like to see farmers like the Farmin Bros. and Teets get squeezed a little more to keep their ditches cleaned. Cropa doesn't like developers; doesn't want the engineers to design a CADILLAC because they get paid based on the size of the job; he'll pay his fair share but didn't sign the Petition.

DON STREAM
You guessed it he lives down stream in this district. It is ok to do a job so long as he doesn't get any more water dumped on him. Wants to know if the Drain Commissioner is going to do all the things mentioned in the Petition. Why would the Drain need to be straightened, it pretty dam straight now? What is the cost? Are we writing a blank check to the Drain Commissioner?

MILO MARSH
Used to farm until they stopped the good farm subsidies. Has some low ground and a pond. Milo is concerned that the project is going to drain his wetland(which is more valuable as a wetland than the upland) and his pond will get lowered and kill all the bluegills he planted in there for his grandkids. Wants to develop some day, but thinks that a wildlife perserve is a better idea to get some funding from the Michigan Wildlife Habitat Foundation.

MARCUS TERRITORY
Member of the Michigan Militia. Government SUCKS and no one is going to enter on to his property without a fight. He doesn't recognize the legality of the Right of Way. There will be dead chickens on the contractor's equipment if we go on his land.

LANDON WATER
Employed by the MDEQ. Owns land in the District. Good Friends with the Dogooder/Club family(they make tofu together). PERMITS, PERMITS, PERMITS.

Landon is sure that there is wetlands which are subject to regulation in the District, but he is not sure where. He also thinks that an Inland Lakes and Streams permit is necessary because it seems that it should and he hadn't got any memos from Lansing that an exemption applies. The only way that he can be sure if a permit is needed is if the Drain Commissioner files an application. He wants to make sure that it isn't going to be another one of those Huron County situations.

BEN DOVER
Ben is a perpetual victim; he never wins the lottery; he is always second in raffle ticket sales at the Moose Lodge; he is tired of paying taxes for something he doesn't want. He is not registered to vote. Spent lots of money to improve his landscaping along the Drain and doesn't want it destroyed. He has the area's largest collection of lawn ornaments all along the Drain and wants to know who is going to move the cement mexican boy with cart and the bathtub Mary? What is the assessment formula? Why not just find that a clean up is enough?

The Metro Times copied the above descriptions verbatim from text prepared by the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners for their 1997 summer conference -- we're aware that there are uncorrected grammatical and typographical errors contained therein.

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