As regards the Copeyon Park Splash Pad in Ludington, the public always seems to be the last to know.  

The idea of having a splash pad in Ludington evolved as early as 2012, with some talk by private groups but no apparent involvement by city hall.  Community Development Director Heather Tykoski (in the yellow pants) put the development of a splash pad as a footnote in the 2015 Five-year Recreation Plan, and unbeknownst to the general public, she became a very active member of a 'grassroots' group called the Ludington Splash Pad Committee (LSPC).  

Rather than have the general public know of or being involved in any discussions on splash pads, this group, made up of city officials including the aforementioned CDD, held not only their own secret meetings, but had multiple meetings with city standing committees.  These committees then could hold a meeting on a moment's notice and not have to even appear as if they were abiding by the Open Meetings Act.  Several citizens including myself were quite involved with Ludington politics and it was totally under our radar until it went to council for rubber stamping.

In at least three meetings with the Building & Licenses Committee and at least three more with the Parks Committee, over a dozen decisions were made that would eventually find its way before the Ludington City Council on August 22, 2016, where all of those already-made decisions figured out with the approval of a majority (quorum) of city councilors in the secret committees they allowed then were approved without further meaningful deliberations in front of the public.   

The level of secrecy was bad enough so that a lawsuit against the City was filed in 2017 to remedy their system of secret committee meetings and to bring light to the political process.  To their credit, the City has slowly cured many of the issues after settling the suit, and they have had to bring the issue up openly at meetings where the public properly questioned their process and decisions made without their prior consultation.

Fast forward to late morning on July 2nd, 2020: a ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at the splash pad, attended by members of the secret society known as the LSPC, their kids, and other specially invited guests with their kids, where they usher in the splash pad.

The general public was once again ignored because this ceremony's mention is nowhere to be found, even in social media, until after the ceremony was done.  

On the LSPC Facebook page, the grand opening of the 'Pad' was never announced.  In October 2019, they shared a picture of it in an early stage of construction, and on May 5th, they expressed regret that the facility was not going to be done in time for their planned opening in the spring due to the pandemic.  They finally put up pictures of the 'grand opening' ceremonies, after the fact, on July 2nd.

Which beat the local newspapers first reminder to the public that there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony and that the Pad was open, which was done finally on July 3rd, the next day.  The MCP 'scooped' them by putting out a video (likely made before the ceremony) out after the ceremony.  While the City's Facebook page offered their coverage a half hour later:

But wait, there's more.  

Let's suppose they never mentioned this to the public for a reasonable reason, such as they were worried about parking spaces, as they should be, or that they wanted a special photo opportunity of those who made this all possible without a bunch of kids running around and a bunch of parents yelling.  That could explain their secrecy, but explain this when we blow up that lower middle picture a little more:

The five councilors pictured above were all summoned to appear at this secretly arranged gathering, they had the picture taken above (sans lettering).  This was a quorum of city councilors, this was not a chance, social gathering, this was not a conference, so why isn't this a meeting of the Ludington City Council, and why wasn't notice posted of it?  Are we blithely supposed to believe that they didn't discuss any aspect of Ludington's public policies, when they were waiting for their group photo-op, and/or afterwards?    

Three of these councilors (Bourgette, Rozelle, and Miller) are currently being sued for alleged intentional violations of the Open Meetings Act by going into closed session on December 7, 2019 without any rationale existing or stated, this occurred the meeting after they had voted to go into closed session without a proper quorum.  Secret, shady stuff continues in Ludington.

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Truly funny pictures, "let's put one hand on our hips" in defiance that we've accomplished a coup breaking the OMA laws and didn't even get a slap on the hands or what?  Plus we did what "we want" letting all negative comments from the citizens of the city, against the location and costs, flow off our backs like the pissy water that will flow into Pere Marquette Lake from the splash pad. We work for what we want, not our constituents. Now let's not bring up anything controversial.

Recognizing trends among officials is what I do for a living, so thanks for noticing that trend among our powerful women city leaders.  The 'teapot stance' was actually a common theatrical stance for men back in classical times, The actor would stand, one foot slightly forward, one arm forming the handle, and the other arm gesturing to communicate emotions and attitudes.

Placing one’s feet slightly apart helped him move his body backward and forward gracefully. The practice dated far back, even to Elizabethans. You can see Laurence Olivier imitate a teapot in the film Henry V, where he emulated Shakespearean practice. 

One might expect Heather to assume this position from her thespian skills performed at LACA and her domineering attitude that exudes a certain amount of masculinity.  But it's interesting to see the two women councilors in that position, maybe they've been doing some acting on the side (like every two weeks).

Not only the defiance of breaking the OMA laws, but look who "contributes" to the projects and then get a much bigger city contract, or a position in government.

what was the rush to open this splashpad, with surface discharge hose into PM Lake, garden hoses tangled in a mess with electrical extension cords. Stinky ponds at the border of the silt fences, no benches except those sitting in the stagnant stink ponds.  These people should be hanging their heads in shame rather than puffing up chests like proud peacocks.

Good point Lake Lady. Plus the long skinny sidewalk leading to the pad doesnt appear to allow for safe social distancing. When an accident happens, the taxpayer will have to pay for in insurance. The pad is small and has some shiny toys, but what they left in scum ponds at the old fishing spot where you could hang out in quiet at the lakefront on benches under the shade trees is a disgrace. Gone. Fishing docks gone. Quiet relaxation taken from those that don't care for the hype of tourist attractions. Unusable because they screwed up any natural drainage, apparently. The peaceful relaxation taken away by a secret group, in secret meetings who powered their way through. Hands on hips.

What's worse than that, imo, is that greater needs are neglected, our water bills continue to rise every year, along with tax valuations and there is major infrastructure neglected in the city--water, sewer, sidewalks and roads. Our city debt is what in millions now? Ignored. Yet if you have a certain name or position, you can push a pet project through with no regard to considering citizen input, other locations for a splash pad, more important projects or overall debt load.

And for what? Will a few more businesses in the forth ward really increase our tax base to pay for all this? Probably not Taxes are being paid already on every building there is. Will increasing tourists pay for it? No. But decreasing our debt load, imo, will help the residents and the city forever.

Who is asking, where's the money coming from now? Those in charge are narrowly-focused and lacking long term vision for the temporary pleasures of a splashpad. Imo, this project should not have proceeded until our infrastructure was in order, our debt was manageable, and we could afford it without putting more fees and taxes on the residents year after year.

Ludington's political elite regroup under their new name.

Good one Willy! But it should also say, "ONLY our lives matter!"  And how many of that group are City residents?

So I guess my question regarding the splash pad is this... is anyone using it? So far I haven't seen very many pictures of it at all and the pictures I have seen there is hardly anyone using it. I don't get to Ludington much these days but I know some of you live in the city and I suspect a few of you have been down to where the splash pad is at.. when you are there are you seeing a lot of people using it?

I went there on July 4th between 1 PM and about 3 PM, because if you recall I had predicted last year that if this July 4th (on a Saturday) was hot and the splash pad was operational, that there was a good possibility that Copeyon's parking limitations would fail.  

But it didn't, it was at worst about 60% full of vehicles, including about 8 for boat trailers, 8 for day users (fisherfolk mainly, and a few in the wood pavilion), and up to 20 for the splash pad at a time.  The pad itself wasn't overwhelmed with kids, but I think the Covid scare forced several to drive thru.  As noted, 20 carloads of people made it look crowded because the spaces for parents are limited and at this point at least not shaded well.  

I've visited it two other times, hot conditions, and I haven't seen more than a dozen people (kids and adults) in the pad area.

It appears that this young elite group pushing this splashpad through couldn't care less on how they butchered and left the lakeshore unusable. At least some councilors don't have their hands on hips, perhaps they are at least a little cognizant of how they've allowed a beautiful shady park and natural lakeshore be destroyed for a special interest group. And when the budget hits the fan especially in the covid crisis, and the maintenance and repairs, maybe they will realize even more that pushing a poorly thought out project against the comments of many people is like stealing--you always have to look over your shoulder to see if the cops are coming.

I don't usually get religious on this forum and I hope it doesn't get me kicked off, but when there is no other official to turn to, the Great Judge above is always there and I am reminded of great lessons written in the Bible.

For those who may believe in some version of another Karma or philosophy which may have similar lessons, please abide my quoting a great philosopher, a preacher, in regard to a corrupt government.

When one googles "God's judgment on corrupt government officials," Ecclesiastes 5:8 arises. It is guessed that King Solomon, son of David, king of ancient Israel authored Ecclesiastes.

I include a link to Ecclesiastes:

In summary, for those depressed and dejected by corrupt government, there is a greater Judge of those who profit by their position in government, that oppress and despise its constituents.

"Do not be surprised", says Solomon, "one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are higher still."

The entire book of Ecclesiastes is encouraging that there will be an end to oppressive governments, and Solomon goes on to summarize his experiences and wisdom. Some I find incredibly encouraging are:

"Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city."

"A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth." (Now that seems far-fetched and a downer, but I think it couples with the concept that it doesnt matter how rich or corruptly powerful one gets, it's what we take with us in character that is important.) Not that we shouldn't strive in righteousness to enjoy this life.

But like Enron corporation in the late 1990s, worth $100 billion, 7th largest corporation in the USA at the time--they cooked their books, now where are they? Extortion turns a wise person into a fool and a bribe corrupts the heart. Sharon Watkins, an accountant at Enron, was a whistle blower that corrected Enron.

Solomon goes on to say that having money is not bad, but wisdom preserves those who become wise. But then there is a caution to "not be over righteous, or over wise."

So how does this all tie into this article on the splashpad? It's the concept that a government who oppresses its people, through power or corruption, for their own special interest desires over the greater needs of the greater amount of constituents, shall be judged by Another. Does that mean we should put our heads in the sand and let a greater Judge take care of it? No, I encourage all to speak up, here, there, everywhere, and in person to improve this government, for there is balance of justice that can be returned.

Thanks Lake Lady! I've been out of town, thanks for the reminder on the 14th.


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