Letter to the Editor: Vote Bill Soule At Large – Restore Residents’ Voice on Council

It’s not often that we can say that candidate’s campaign promises are fulfilled, but I think that’s mostly the case for Councilman Mark Tisdel. Indeed, let’s take a look at some of his achievements during his four years on City Council.

Tisdel was a vocal and vehement opponent to the resident driven 2011 city charter amendment –ensuring a prior public vote for ANY city parks lease, sale or conversion to non-conservation, non-recreation use. At a League of Women Voters Forum in 2011, he states: – ‘’The parks amendment not only adds another step of requiring a [PUBLIC] vote, it will add time for any opportunity to creatively use parks for added revenues in the future.” In 2012 he introduced and actively ushered passage of the city parks/cemetery oil lease next to schools and in residential areas without a public vote as required by the now amended Charter, thus “creatively” using our public parks for revenues.  There is a voting rights lawsuit against the city actively pending in the Michigan Court of Appeals regarding this lease.

Here is Tisdel in a June 2011 Rochester Patch interview: “There will be some unhappy residents because some of the quality of life things — the nicer things in life — will have to take a back seat to public safety and infrastructure.” At a June 2013 Council meeting Tisdel threatened civil litigation against an HOA Board reluctant to relinquish its right of way to HOA road frontage for a city proposed project. Tisdel claimed litigation against the HOA Board would be based on “public safety issues”, however, actual data from authorities did not support his claims.

Then some promises not so fulfilled –

In 2011 campaign literature Tisdel states: “My primary objective is to preserve and enhance individual rights.” In December 2014, after a full year of sustained protest during open public comment at Council meetings from residents seeking vote on the city parks oil lease ensured in our Charter– Tisdel Introduced and helped pass a major overhaul to the Council Rules of Procedure for Council meetings that makes resident input more difficult– moving public comment to much later in the evening and removing all opportunity for dialogue or follow up questions for residents. It would appear that honoring citizens’ voting rights and encouraging Free Speech would not be included in his idea of “enhancing individual rights”.

It is unclear as to whether or not Mr. Tisdel felt he could sustain all of his election promises once in office. But it is clear that his style of unchecked representative government is not a good fit for residents concerned about maintaining their voice and vote- especially on key public property decisions that affect our residential and school areas.

Bill Soule, At Large Council candidate is a longtime resident and attorney with exceptional  qualifications dedicated to maintaining our city’s residential character, honoring our charter, and restoring resident voices in our city.

Erin Howlett

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