At the March 25th meeting of the Ludington City Council, Fifth Ward Councilor Wally Cain delivered a prepared statement for about five minutes whose purpose seems evident to those paying attention to what is happening in the city of Ludington.  

Wally's other job happens to be the "Director of Information Technology" at Floracraft's Ludington branch.  One question we should ask is whether Wally Cain was speaking for himself, the City of Ludington, Floracraft, or even the school board where his fellow Floracraft bigwig, CEO Steve Carlson has chaired over the years.  Recent articles here criticizing the school's abuse of due process in going after students, parents, and teachers cannot make one ignore that metric.

The message he hawked on the Monday of Holy Week contained a lot of information, but most of it was not totally honest as we will see.  The title and theme of his comment indicates that this reporter (XLFD, aka Tom Rotta) is trying to "define Ludington" in some way.  While I may remind councilors of who they represent at times when they are doing something averse to the citizens of Ludington, I never have tried to do the impossible task of defining Ludington.  Nor do I ever speak for others unless they request me to do so because they are scared to do so or are being ignored by officials.

Wally's perspective, however, just shows how out of touch with the average Ludington citizen he actually is, as few of us are running a department of one of Ludington's biggest industries and moonlighting as a city councilor.  No, Wally's target here was not the informed citizens who see this reporter trying to make various public bodies around Mason County more transparent, accountable, and self-aware of their limitations, then report on their success or failure.  It was to pick off those who won't take the time to check out his assertions and those who are afraid that the "single voice" referenced is sounding a lot like that tiny voice in their heads that we call a conscience.  

Wally seems to be the most upset with this reporter because of the lack of respect he assigns to my behavior, he mentions the term twice.  The problem with that is that this reporter respects the laws, the rules, and the people of this city, and when officials break any of those three, they will be told about it, and told their role in doing so.  Wally will see my corrections and rebuttals of his statement as disrespect, because he disrespects the full truth. 

But here they are, along with Wally's full statement delivered on Monday evening, asked for via FOIA by me on Tuesday morning, published in MCP on Wednesday, and still not produced to me by FOIA on Thursday.  Corrections and rebuttals are in normal script following sections of Wally's message in italics.  Video from the meeting is also included, where Wally's comments are at 1:12;10.  

A Single Voice Does Not Define Ludington

The City of Ludington appealed the trial court’s ruling against the city charter rewrite.  On February 6, 2024, the appellate court heard oral arguments in the case of Rotta versus the City of Ludington.  A tape of this proceeding is available online and can be found at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DNvVMvsjmw. The appellate court ruled in the city’s favor.

I transcribed one interaction between the judge and the claimant from that hearing.

Judge Christopher Murray to Mr. Rotta: “How many other voters, other than yourself, signed an affidavit or anything that was submitted to the trial court indicating that this would change their vote, or could have changed their vote?  Anyone other than you?”

Mr. Rotta: “Just myself.”

Judge Murray: “So, to set aside an election based on one voter’s belief about how it would have impacted the election; it’s a very drastic step, you may not think so, but it is, under the law.”

What struck me about this interaction was the phrase “to set aside an election based on one voter’s belief”.

The lawsuit was filed to address voter disenfranchisement which occurred when Wally and his peers failed to do two statutory duties which left the voters in Ludington totally ignorant of what the cost of doing a charter revision would be before their vote.  A judge with four decades of experience heard both sides of this case and agreed, noting that city councils do nothing officially without making motions, resolutions, or ordinances.  Their lack in this case led to the voters thinking a revision would be done without costs, rather than nearly $100,000. 

Multiple court cases have indicated that when a ballot question is unclear, the best remedy is to void it and hold a new election.  Had that been done here and the question posed this November following required statutes, not only would the City of Ludington have saved thousands of dollars, but they would have had a legitimate result to work off of.  But they feared informed voters would reject spending $100K to revise a charter there have been no issues with. 

Judge Wickens wisely indicted this was a material error, in that it could have affected the election's outcome, accepting the legal theory that voters make judgment on ballot issues due to value.  Appellate Judge Murray adopted a higher standard for materiality than the law allowed, requiring proof that it would have changed the election.  The city took great pains to make sure they didn't tell the voters how much the exercise would cost.  The overall result was that our city attorney, who made the original error of omission, profited by around $30,000 defending his error, finally being successful in appeals court.  His inaction has been defended by the city officials throughout.

In November 2022, the council seats for wards 2, 4, and 6 were on the ballot.  Councilors Winczewski, Stibitz, and Bulger ran for reelection.  All three councilors ran unopposed.  That same individual who the appellate judge was talking to orchestrated recall petitions for these three councilors simply for doing their job.  This individual does not even live in wards 2 or 4.

in late 2022, the three councilors mentioned were for the most part doing their job by representing the people.  The recall process looks at what you have done since that election, the petition itself has four reasons they failed, a petition handout has two more.  Citizens do not like their taxes being raised during high inflation, do not like corrupt dealings with state legislators who win contracts over more qualified bidders for projects, do not like subsidizing public campgrounds and marinas with general fund money, do not like the city fraudulently representing a playground as a commercial area just so the council can give away more tax breaks than is prudent. 

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the current city council, the recalls are a manifestation of that disapproval of their actions.  Wally fails to mention any of the four reasons for the recall, because he not only knows they are true, but that he is also guilty of the same and may pay dearly for it since he is currently being challenged by declared candidate Mike Shaw.  Shaw would be smart if he channeled that discontent rather than play it 'safe' and lose. 

Two weeks ago, because of a billing dispute regarding FOIA chargebacks, this individual filed a criminal complaint alleging extortion against the Ludington chief of police and the city attorney.  And just recently, this individual has made disparaging comments about the city manager.

Wally's timing is way off, I filed a criminal complaint on February 14th, about six weeks ago, and that was relayed to the public here.  This wasn't a "billing dispute", it was the city attorney with complicity of the Police Chief Christopher Jones, using a FOIA Fee Estimation Worksheet which was never before used and charging about $230 for records that the City had been releasing for free.  When I paid the deposit, the elements of public extortion was achieved, and Mr. Hammersley will not only see the MSP look into this issue, he will have to explain it to the Attorney's Grievance Commission at some point.  

While Wally doesn't clarify what the disparaging comments against the city manager is, one has to presume it was the time the city manager failed to disclose his friendship with the owner of a consulting firm he helped direct the council toward by showing only her proposal to the councilors rather than the proposals of two qualified bidders who submitted lower bids for the service.  Last I heard, when city manager act improperly the First Amendment allows you to point that out in public, as I did at the last meeting in a respectful manner.  

I have been told many times that ‘every village has one’; a ‘disrupter’. And at times it serves the greater good of a community to have one.  I have known about this individual years before I became a councilor.  I have also been the subject in a few of his postings.

This individual comes before this body consistently.  This individual has every right to voice his opinions.  I personally wish he would be more respectful.  But every time he talks, it reminds me that we live in a great country, a great state, and a great city where people can speak their minds freely.

Occasionally, I need to remind myself that this individual does not define me, my fellow councilors nor my city.

Wally proves one thing here.  He defines this reporter as a disrespectful disruptor, then claims that I define councilors and the city.  I do neither, I report to the best of my ability the truth about policy and official actions.  What he proves is that every village not only has a disruptor, but they also have an idiot.  But there I go obliquely defining one councilor.  Just this once.  

I say to my fellow councilors, do not let this single voice define us.  Cheri, I find you to be a hard-working, honest representative of the 4th ward.  We may not always agree, but I respect you and the job you do.   Working with my fellow councilors and the mayor, in my opinion, they all do the best they can to make decisions that are in the best interests of the city and faithfully represent the people they have been elected to serve.    

I say to the employees of this city, do not let this single voice define you.  Mitch, you have exceeded my expectations in the job you are doing as city manager.   Ross, you have a tough job, but you do it well and with integrity.    Chris, since you have come to lead our Ludington Police Department, you have brought changes that have improved many areas of law enforcement here.

I say to the citizens of Ludington, do not let this single voice define you.  We live in a great city run by honest, hard-working citizens trying to do their best.  Sitting up here week after week, I am privileged and humbled by all the people who work so hard, either through employment or volunteer efforts, to make this city better.

We live in a great city.    If someone feels differently, and that changes need to be made, I would hope they would go about it in a way that shows the respect that our city and its residents deserve.

–Wally Cain, 5th Ward City Councilor, City of Ludington

Wally had expected me to bring up Cheri's latest indiscretion, a photo post on Facebook where she was posing next to guy with an obscene T-shirt with others in the picture flipping the bird to the photographer.  I made the point that the city council would have sanctioned former Councilor Angela Serna had she been in the picture, but because Cheri is solidly on Team COL rather than actually concerned about the citizens like Angela was, she will feel no repercussions.  Wally illustrated that point perfectly.  

Note that Wally makes the distinction that he and his peers make decisions based on the best interests of the city, not the citizens who elect them.  He then runs down the list of officials who have recently did very bad things already mentioned (the city manager, the city attorney and the police chief) aberrant to their core duties.  The city council only defends those bad actions, as once again, Wally shows.  

The rest of his presentation is political word salad.  If this reporter defines anything, I define the sin, but I don't define the sinner.  I have defended and assisted, either overtly or completely behind the scenes, citizens of this city, the school district, and the rest of the county against public officials and organizations who have acted and overacted against those individuals.  Rarely do they need any help in defining what corrupt acts actually are, they see it firsthand and know it.  And that's one reason why the recall efforts we have are bearing fruit. 

This sometimes-personal attack by a city official during a televised official proceeding and later published in a website created by former Scottville City Commissioner Rob Alway, who recently abdicated his position rather than be defined as the illegitimate official he was (as defined by law, not by me), should be taken for the political tripe it is.  One last political message by yours truly:  when the friendly petitioner comes to your door in your even-numbered ward, define your own future by signing it with the hope of having a better choice in November; there will be a choice this time.

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   X, has anyone on the city council  ever said to you that what you are saying isn't true and then explain the reason why? or do they just go along with the criticism and continue on not even trying to be informed 

They just deflect with accusations of misbehavior. It seems to be a common theme in this town. People that have authority are so proud of themselves they wont stop and comprehend any chance of wrongdoing. They think they got where they are because they are so smart and everyone else is stupid. Throw in a “team” atmosphere and it’s easy for Wally to peer review his teammates in a positive light. Admitting anything else doesn’t fit within the game-plan of denial. Stump had a great question, “have they ever once admitted they were wrong?” Reminds me of that Orange character running for office. Local “elites” that do everything “perfect”.

Stump, earlier in this very meeting, Councilor John Terzano was given the task to refute the allegations I had made at a previous meeting and at the Ludington Torch regarding the hiring of consultant Allyson Brunette.   The minutes of the 3-25 meeting already published has his narrative starting on page 6.  I heard it, read it, and it doesn't address the core issues, but it's probably been the best attempt over the last 13 years to refute me.  At least five city councilors (a super quorum) and the public at large saw only one proposal and it was not from the low qualified bid or even the second lowest qualified bid.  Only that one proposal was ever considered, and Mitch Foster never disclosed in his memo recommending Brunette, that Brunette and he were close friends from his time in Wisconsin, nor has he ever until after the fact and he was busted for it (but not by his peers, alas, they only celebrate his cunning and deceit).  If I was one of those five councilors, I would publicly be livid, not only over what happened, but at the lame defense of Foster's impropriety, given by perhaps the most respected councilor.

AnxiousGuy, speaking of Trump, was Wally Cain trying to connect me to Donald Trump when he inferred that I was the village disruptor?  He said that every village had a disruptor, but I do not see anything in literature or memes that suggests that's the case.  I don't mind the inference, since what the country needs right now is a disruption back to its senses, but was this his idea, since Cain fashions himself as one of the city team's ruling class elites?

Thanks X for that clear rebuttal to Mr. Cain's attack on you. You were putting into practice our First Amendment rights. I agree with stump and I was thinking the same thing. Why didn't Cain address your concerns by bringing forth facts regarding your claims instead of publicly chastising you. He didn't because he and the other officials have acted badly and they cannot defend what they have done without attaching themselves to those corrupt actions. Please Mr. Cain, lay out your case and defend what you have done instead of hiding behind your influence at City Hall. I would love to hear you explain your reasoning behind your actions and why you were not being honest with the voters.
Mr. Cain says he has been told many times that every village has a disruptor. Mr. Cain, have you ever considered you and your fellow politicians as being the real disruptors?

https://ludingtoncitizen.ning.com/photo/the-disruption-eruption?con...
Wally Cain appears as a vitriolic brown-noser boosting his ego backslapping the corruption of the City of Ludington employees and councilors and seems to ooze with hatred of anyone who questions him or the city in the midst of wrongdoings and proven illegality toward the residents of the city. Thanks X for standing up and pointing out the truth, the corruption and disproving the public flailing in this holy week.

Thank you for considering the facts rather than the sociopolitical status of those involved, FS.  Wally was the perfect vessel for a speech like this, an elected official, peer of the councilors involved (but not one of them, so it doesn't look vindictive), experienced (unlike Ms. Oakes), untainted by the overall deer cull issue (unlike the mayor and Mr. May), and a person capable of telling a bunch of whoppers without blushing (unlike Councilor Terzano, whose defense of the Brunette scandal fell flat because of his unsaid underlying unbelief of it.

I cannot ever forget that Wally said this back when he was a sycophant currying favor from the council back during the bathroom camera issue back in 2013, this is recorded in the video of the meeting he said it:  "As far as cameras in the bathroom, I support 'em… I do not expect, there is no expectation of privacy in the bathrooms.  If you don't want to use them, you don't have to; it's your choice." 

Watch out for this guy, he was one ticket away from Epstein's Island.

In response to the latest "Tale of two Cities" Wally Cain "disruptor" comments:

He is blind to see the truth, ignorant of the issues XLFD has pointed out through the years, or lacking the acuity to understand. If he was really benevolent as he appears to be at the end of the commentary, he might understand the wrongs the city has perpetuated through the years: not involving citizens in decision making at any level (violations of FOIA), spending foolishly which has nearly tripled citizens taxes (in some cases), water has almost tripled in 10 years, services have been reduced (leaf pickup for instance). Very little has been added for year-round residents but the city development bends over backward to spend for and cater to the tourists.

What XLFD has dedicated his time to is bringing justice to the residents of the city and to get the city to follow the laws of state and country. Get one hole of corruption plugged and two more spring up in city hall's boat and they buy themselves a bigger and better boat.

Wally seems to play big shot acting like he cares for residents, but it seems all he's listening to are the voices at city hall that slap his back. His 10 minute diatribe is disrespectful, disgusting and full of himself. His sweet gang of city hallers pushing their wages and benefits higher while the average year-round citizens are more heavily oppressed.

If LDN prints such lying smut by Wally Cain, they should allow a rebuttal by XLFD when he is pointedly called a "disrupter." Wally Cain, you are sinking in all aspects of deserving respect as a Councilor.

Wally Cain is defiling the chair that had the most citizen-conscientious councilor that I've ever seen in Ludington (Angela Serna) and the second best (Pete Engblade).  I challenge anyone to find a vote of his that had him think about the citizens first rather than his image and/or the corporation.  You've heard of Citizen Kane, this is Anti-citizen Cain, and he can grab all my imagery and descriptive language I use that point out the ugly truths behind the city's actions and policies and claim it as an undesirable view of the city, but he refuses to believe the truth that he has played an instrumental part in making that undesirable view of the city by his votes and support of corruption.  

FS, you may have noticed that beyond the mention of the appellate case featuring my last name, Cain seems to intentionally leave out my name and assign me the name of "disruptor", for about the last 15 minutes of his commentary.  Truly, his ambivalence to ethical conduct over the last two years has helped lead to the infamy that has three councilors being recalled for six good reasons, and the administrative staff going way off track since the end of 2022.  If you don't like the epithet Anti-Citizen Cain, we could just call him the "corruptor".

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