In approaching Ludington City Hall on the evening of April 9th for the city council meeting, I was perplexed by the amount of cars parked around the building and the presence of a TV 9&10 van, a sign that something big may have been going down this night. The meeting's agenda did not have any major clue as to why this meeting would warrant a news team and more than usual attendance.
The news coverage turned out to be for the council financing the new fire station. This involves the razing of the old fire barn and the erection of new housing units in its place. "We have a pretty significant housing shortage so this will help address that portion,” says Ludington city manager John Shay.
The housing shortage myth. A fabrication sowed so that more townhouses and courtyard apartments can be built utilizing the same unsustainable big government schemes the developer is using downtown (TIFs, PILOTs, LIHTCs etc.) to construct 'low rental' housing at $266,667 per unit. The problem Ludington has is actually a housing surplus as noted here and in the chart below.
The vacancy rate for Ludington is significantly higher than the US, and while our leaders may say that the high vacancy rate is due to all the seasonal homes, that's only true in about a seventh of the vacancies (see the same source above), making the non-seasonal vacancy rate at just under 20%. Over the last 40 years the population in Ludington has steadily declined while the amount of housing units has steadily continued to rise. Seems the housing shortage was a lot worse back in 1970 by Shay's estimation.
Of course, with any housing shortage one would have to believe that the houses being sold would be going for a lot more than usual, and surely, if it was so severe they would likely be selling way above the national average. Wrong
The median price of home sales at the last recorded interval is under $70,000. That was well under the national home sale price in 2014. The trend appears to be holding steady or declining.
But these aren't the stats our elitist leaders use, the ones who declare we have a housing shortage-- they're the same people who proposed and imposed a rental inspection ordinance which decimated the existing low-income housing units in the city. They are the tyranny team.
Why would they do such a thing if they think we have a housing shortage? Greed. Attracting developers. Qualifying for grants to pay their greed and developers. If the average rental rate in the area is low, developers won't build government-subsidized housing, since the return would be minimal and the government grantors will be less likely to approve it-- especially when each unit built is over a quarter of a million dollars.
How can you do better to increase the area's average rent so as to make such projects feasible than a rental inspection ordinance? Landlords of all types raise their rents to cover the requisite bother and the perceived improvements needed to be fully compliant with the often odd requirements of the United Nations-drafted housing rules.
Landlords of lower quality housing will either get out of the business due to the additional hassle, the fear of failure, or the costs needed to bring the unit(s) up to the standards. If they do fix the place up, much higher rents will be imposed to recover the costs and reflect that it's a nicer place.
Low-income renters displaced find there is no place to go in Ludington that they can afford. Some do not like the government intrusion into their home and voluntarily go outside the city limits where there aren't intrusive inspections. Those landlords who have not raised their rates see shoddy rentals now commanding higher rents than them and adjust theirs upwards.
With just one action, a (low-income) housing shortage is created, the need for 'middle-sized' housing units is created, per-capita income rates for Ludington rise, homeownership rates increase, and the big government incentives for developers increase dramatically. Positives for officials. With that same action, many poor and middle class folks are forced out of their homes and city, many small businesses reduce or go out of business, and more housing units become vacant. Negatives for society.
The negatives of the rental inspection ordinance and the subsequent rush by developers to take advantage of the new landscape is very telling. The above quote by John Wilson is from a MCGA Residential Development trifold. If John Wilson's name is new to you, he is not only the chairman/CEO of Western Land Services, but is also at the helm of several other locally based endeavors, including charity Pennies from Heaven, charter school Gateway to Success, and the West Shore Bank.
He was also credited with getting the Jacobson brothers to develop the bowling alley block, undoubtedly by using his position on the board at the bank to buy off any Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) at a discount rate from Jacobsons' non-profit LLC developing company, whatever name it goes by this week. Here's the basic process, consider "Scooter" as Bob Jacobson, Juanita as John Wilson.
It all looks like great for everyone, until you determine that all the seed money comes from public sources, and that we are all subsidizing 'affordable housing' developers, to the detriment of all the other non-subsidized landlords and hoteliers in the area, who are paying more to put in this competition through tax increment financing and paying regular taxes rather than the much smaller Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). Those poor guys at the bank get richer too, and better CRA ratings to boot.
Continuing through the trifold, they display our local team, and it's a doozy of a team. You may recall Mason County Growth Alliance director Spence Riggs as the guy who brought some property, and wanted to build a couple of small residences on either side of his house in Ludington. When he was told this wasn't allowable, he decided he would change that by joining the Planning Commission and changing the rules.
You will recall Chamber of Commerce President Kathy MacLean by her repeated fraud of state programs to better her private business. The extent of her ethical problems is hard to quantify, but it's substantial.
I haven't 'attacked' Heather Tykoski since the recent meeting where she admitted to using the money from a charity run where the proceeds were all earmarked for the Shop with a Cop program for a non-charitable cause of padding her race fund. Her history of soliciting fraud for her team members and others is quite substantial too.
All this team is missing is the orange jumpsuits and leg irons, so let's trust these guys with the facts. Not. The data they use throughout the trifold comes from a Target Market Analysis created by a consultant that used Detroit as a model for what they wanted to do in Ludington. Because Detroit is what Ludington aspires to become, I guess.
The same team was part of the housing task force, along with John Wilson and Shay, where they covertly wasted your tax dollars for this consultant's report-- much of which is condensed in this trifold. It reads as if it is a fantasy novel, and this trifold tries to make it more fantastic:
If you can make sense of this awfully confusing diagram (good luck), you see the amusing range of $145K-360K as the median home value sought, when actually median home sales are below $70,000, a missing middle that one might say is missing because of the demand for such housing in our declining population being low, and celebrating mixed use property downtown, which is an insignificant portion of city housing and generally undesired unless you like the lack of parking, no back yards, no barbecuing, lack of natural light (windows), street noise, plus the ongoing task of hiking groceries, supplies and furniture up flights of stairs.
Not my cup of tea, but some people actually pay to get flogged, so I won't judge your views. The lie behind the lack of housing in Ludington fallacy is properly the lack of housing affordable to the population. The people we have to thank for that is all the members of the Tyranny Team who continue to set the table for Ludington to become the next Detroit, while they collect all that grant money along the way.
Thanks for that update X, looking very Shystery again at best. It's simply amazing how large and out of control that egotist's deceit and lies to the general public has become over the last 15 years. Now it's even on TV, and they are eating it up too. And the whole scheme mirrors to landlords just what the city marina and Harbor View marina's mirror to private marina owners locally, irresponsible and completely unfair competition of state vs. private sector. Unparalleled corruption at it's finest, and going into other sectors now of the local economy.
Thanks for the observation which leads up to what I actually said during the second public comment at last night's meeting. Government is running everything else so great (^sarcasm*) why don't we let them spend a lot of fees and taxes taken under threat of authoritative force and use that money to compete with a lot of private businessmen and businesswomen thriving with their private businesses.
Let's also throw salt on the wound and boost up those business' taxes and fees to help pay for their government competition who pay neither.
I'd be too tempted to mispronounce Schuette if I ran for governor. State legislative-wise, I would tick off too many Democrat and Republican voters with my common sense libertarianism to be more than a fringe candidate polling in the single digits.
As Bernard Shaw might say: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, go into government."
Shoot. That's hilarious. And good point! Thanks for your wit. Shoe-tay. Skoot. Shute ... Maybe he comes from Cop-en-haagen.
Excellent article X. The information you have brought together and made public should be mirrored by local media which of course never happens. That's why the departure of Klevorn and her cub reporter barely raises an eyebrow. All those years of wasting paper and ink in order to lie and deceive the public makes their last day at LDN meaningless and gets a huge yawn from the public. Just one of your articles has more factual information than 10 years of daily drivel put out by the LDN and it's agenda driven leftists.
I'd be willing to bet that 9&10 News got called by Shyster Shay to attend. They surely have better things to report on these days than this stuff. Of course it doesn't hurt to get Statewide exposure too, so someone watching might be encouraged to hire the Shyster away from the COL. That would be gooooood too!