Monday. October 25, 2021

Government

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The City Commission agenda for Monday, April 1, includes a resolution regarding the Historic Preservation Commissions' (HPC) effort to establish downtown's Church Square and the Nazareth College site as Historic Districts. The resolution directs the HPC to "suspend and undertake no further action toward the possible establishment of a either a Bronson Park or Nazareth Campus Local Historic District." Committee members will be deciding between those advocating for the preservation of historic buildings and the non-profit or ecclesiastical corporations who own the properties, and who have different plans for them.

Published: March 30, 2019

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In December, 2018, the City halted all development of currently undeveloped land in the city, pending the creation of guidelines regarding the preservation of natural features, such as trees, slopes, streams, and wildlife habitats. For example, development of an area that is 75-100% wooded would have to preserve 25% of the trees, while an area that is 25%-50% wooded would have to preserve 75% . The last chance for community input will be April 9.

Published: March 30, 2019

Read more
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz6O9bAW4WU&feature=youtu.be
https://kalamazoocomi.civicclerk.com/web/home.aspx
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Video
Agenda

As always, County Board Chair Julie Rogers and another commissioner - this week, Mike Quinn, representing Portage – have provided a very helpful overview of what the Commission has been up to and what's on the agenda for the next meeting. Among other things, the Commission will be interviewing candidates for four open spots on County citizen committees. These videos, along with the agendas themselves, are a quick way to catch up with County government and an easy way to determine if you want to attend the meeting or get involved in an issue that's on the table.

Published: March 30, 2019

Video Agenda
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Lansing news this week includes adoption rights for LGBTQ parents, new laws taking effect on the minimum wage, sick leave, and cyber-bullying, more budget for safe drinking water, efforts to stop reallocation of the school aid fund, moves to subject state officials to the Freedom of Information Act and required financial disclosures, and impairment standards for blood alcohol and blood THC (cannabis) levels. You’ll find nine stories at the link, and more in our State Environment News Roundup.

Published: March 29, 2019

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https://kalamazoo.novusagenda.com/Agendapublic/
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Minutes

The City Commission met at the Foundry on Saturday, March 23, to discuss implementation of Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, projects for 2020, and additional strategic objectives. Imagine Kalamazoo involves many local initiatives flowing from the Master Plan, including changes to streets, protection of natural features, long-range neighborhood plans, and approaches to development and gentrification. Awareness of the meeting was limited, as it was exclusively announced in the previous week's Commission agenda packet. It does not appear to have been videotaped by PMN, as regular meetings are. We look forward to the City publishing detailed minutes, at the link below, so the public can learn what the Commission is thinking about Imagine Kalamazoo. 

Published: March 25, 2019

Minutes
https://kalamazoonewsmonitor.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=edit
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City

As KNM has noted, there are many citizen vacancies on City of Kalamazoo boards and committees. The City has now put out a formal call for applicants for one of them: "The City of Kalamazoo is booming with development and it's an exciting time to be a part of the City's growth! The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority is a huge contributor to economic development and there are two seats opening on the board. The goal of the BRA is to redevelop areas that are environmentally contaminated, severely blighted, or functionally obsolete, while also creating sustainable jobs and housing opportunities. The Brownfield Board prioritizes these properties and provides incentives for their redevelopment, turning them into something beautiful for our community."

Published: March 25, 2019

City
http://www.wmuk.org/post/kalamazoo-commissioners-deny-foia-appeal-documents-treasurer-investigation
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WMUK

The Kalamazoo County Board has denied a Freedom of Information Act appeal that could have revealed the names of witnesses in an ongoing investigation of the Treasurer’s office. Commissioners voted 7-2 on Tuesday (two commissioners were absent) to deny an appeal filed by Ted Seitz of the Dykema Gossett law firm, which represents Treasurer Mary Balkema. Seitz filed a FOIA request for a wide range of records related to an ongoing Michigan State Police investigation of alleged financial irregularities within Balkema’s office. Kalamazoo County Corporation Counsel Beth White granted that request in part and denied it in part, arguing that internal correspondence between county staff and in some cases commissioners was exempt from FOIA because of attorney-client privilege.

Published: March 21, 2019

WMUK
https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2019/03/drug-tests-proposed-for-county-employees-suspected-to-be-under-the-influence.html
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MLive

In the months after Michigan residents voted to legalize marijuana for adult use, Kalamazoo County is looking at a new policy that would allow testing of employees suspected of being under the influence. The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners heard a recommendation at its Tuesday, March 19, meeting to update a policy to test non-union employees for the presence of marijuana in their bodies if use is suspected, in some cases. Refusal to submit to such testing may result in immediate dismissal. The board voted Tuesday to table the issue for consideration at a later time. Commissioners asked a variety of questions, such as the impact on employees with commercial drivers licenses, the reliability of the tests, and how the policy would be executed.

Published: March 21, 2019

MLive
http://www.wmuk.org/post/local-id-program-has-exceeded-expectations-kalamazoo-county-report-finds
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WMUK

As Kalamazoo County’s identification program approaches its first birthday, 1755 people have signed up for a card - a total far ahead of what the ID Advisory Board had anticipated, says Chair Francisco Villegas. As Villegas told County Commissioners, the program is intended to make sure that all Kalamazoo County residents have access to identification. Not everyone can get the papers needed for a state ID, but many essential services - from banking to picking up a prescription - require people to identify themselves. While Villegas said that the Advisory Board considers the program to be a "major success" overall, he added that the county would like to see more participation from youth under 18, the elderly and veterans.

Published: March 21, 2019

WMUK
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Eight governmental bodies meet this week, including the City Commission, all of them open to the public. Click through for the full list and links to times and places, what these groups do, and opportunities to serve on some of them.

Monday:

  • Downtown Development Authority 3pm
  • City Commission 7pm

Published: March 18, 2019

Read more
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcG47EBxOMI&feature=youtu.be
https://www.kalcounty.com/board/meetings/
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Video
Agenda

Kalamazoo County Board Chair Julie Rogers discusses agenda items and topics for the upcoming Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting and Board of Commissioners meetings for March 19, 2019. Items to be discussed include the County ID and raising the age at which a criminal defendent is charged as an adult. Rogers provides a video preview of those items, while the County site will provide an agenda, closer to the meeting date. 

 

Published: March 12, 2019

Video Agenda
https://www.kalamazoocity.org/calendar
https://www.kalamazoocity.org/boards
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Calendar
What they do

The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission will meet Tuesday, 7-8 pm at City Hall. Three other groups meet Thursday: The Traffic Board, 2-3 pm, at 415 E. Stockbridge; the Community Development Act Advisory Board, 6:30-7:30 pm, at City Hall; and the Zoning Board of Appeals, 7-8 pm, at City Hall.

Published: March 10, 2019

Calendar What they do
http://www.publicmedianet.org/protecting-our-natural-features/
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PMN

As KNM has previously noted, public input is currently being sought on the city's draft Natural Features Protection (NFP) draft ordinance. This plan will establish how future development impacts land that the city has designated as an NFP area in its Master Plan. Public Media Network has created a short video providing a great introduction to what this is all about, as well as a link to the plan itself.

Published: March 09, 2019

PMN
https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/03/michigan-democrats-call-to-repeal-legislative-changes-to-voter-initiated-minimum-wage-law.html
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MLive

House and Senate Democrats are pushing to revert Michigan’s minimum wage back to what it would have been under a voter initiative before heavy amendments were signed into law late last year. Sponsored by Rep. Bill Sowerby, D-Clinton Twp., and Sen. Betty Jean Alexander, D-Detroit, House Bill 4299 and Senate Bill 168 would bring tipped employees into the regular minimum wage rules and raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2022. Under controversial legislative changes signed into law during the legislative lame duck session, the new minimum wage requirement leaves tipped workers separate and raises the general minimum wage to $12.05 by 2030.

Published: March 09, 2019

MLive
https://wwmt.com/news/local/us-rep-fred-upton-speaks-against-the-houses-for-the-people-act
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WWMT

Republican U.S. Representative Fred Upton spoke out against the first bill proposed in the House this year, called HR 1 or the "For The People Act," while speaking on the house floor on Wednesday. The "For the People Act" aims "to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants," according to the current text of the bill. More specifically, HR 1 would remove the power from state legislatures to draw congressional districts, appointing independent commissions to do the job instead. The bill would also streamline the voter registration process, increase transparency in campaign funding, and outline a code of ethics for all presidents to follow, including elements such as mandatory disclosure of tax returns.

Published: March 09, 2019

WWMT