Ferndale Views – Oct. 15, 2010

Ferndale Views

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Ferndale is Wonderful

(Julia Music)

When I come home from an absolutely awful day I am proud to remember that I am a Ferndalian. My neighbor helped rake my yard; a bunch of kids came over and jumped in the leaves. Without Justin Merchant knowing that I had a bad day, he crossed the street put a beer in my hand. AND it is coming out week, a week for celebration not humiliation.—why do I ever leave this place?

West Side Story Reviewed

(Sherry A. Wells)

What a difference a director makes.

Of course, I saw the movie, West Side Story. And recently, for the first time for me, as a play, done on a smaller stage, at Stratford , Ontario . It is now at the Fisher Theatre, until October 16.

The dancing honors Jerome Robbins’ choreography. The three lead singers—in the roles of Maria, Tony and Anita also do very well.There was considerable Spanish being spoken by the Sharks, and Tony stumbled well in his attempts to use his love’s native tongue.

The acting is, on the whole, acceptable. However, I caught Nathan Keen, as Jet gang member Big Deal, so in character, in the drugstore huddle after the death of Riff, that his jaw muscles spasmed with the rage his clenched jaw was expressing. He was the understudy for Action and I could better see him in that role instead.

Now, for the direction. Staying within the choreography and songs still gives much room for a director’s vision. And in his, this is most definitely not a family show. Beyond the gang story and the love story, “obscene” gestures and language heightened the intensity from the other versions.

Yet look also for the dreamy sequence around Somewhere and his finishing touch to the final scene. Not my favorite one, but eloquent nevertheless.

There’s a Visa Commercial in Hazel Park… Somewhere

(Thomas Gagne, reprinted from http://tggagne.blogspot.com/2010/10/theres-visa-commercial-in-hazel-park.html)

Well, we know how Hazel Park will try balancing its budget–it’s charging $35 for copies of its 2010-2011 budget.  I half-expect mine to be mimeographed.  If they could just sell 25,713 more copies they might balance their 2011-2012 budget.

I wonder if they mail-order office supplies from Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop?

Meanwhile, Ferndale’s 2010-2011 budget may be downloaded for free, without wasting gas on a trip to the clerk’s office, without wasting paper, and without missing work.  Priceless—really!

Responding to Criticism from Letter to the Editor

(Craig Covey, reprinted from http://coveys-corner.blogspot.com/)

Rather than spend the 44 cents for a stamp, I will respond here to a another critical letter to the editor printed in last week’s Woodward Talk from Ferndale resident Ann Warner. This time she takes me to task for celebrating the arrival of a brand new company locating in Ferndale from San Diego California that is expected to eventually bring in several hundred new jobs.

In choosing to locate in Ferndale, Michigan, Search Optics Inc. officials told city leaders they were impressed with our progressive attitude, our “walkability”, our embracing of diversity, and the attraction to Ferndale of “millenials” and young educated persons. Since this kind of development is exactly what many of us have been striving for the past two decades, it is with some “head-scratching” that many of us try and decipher Ms. Warner’s criticism. Everyone knows that I have based my entire career on the promotion and celebration of diversity. That includes diversity in age…we want kids, teens, young adults, boomers, seniors, and all.

Of course we understand that companies’ may not discriminate in hiring based on age, and no one has challenged that important law. In fact, many older workers are in demand, as employers understand that such employees often work hard, are mature and “seasoned”, and can be loyal and efficient. But civic leaders also know that a city or region that fails to keep or attract young talent is a place that is doomed to fail to thrive. Companies today base themselves in areas that are prized as “livable” and sustainable. They want diversity, along with an educated work-force.

Leave it to Ann to make a lemon out of lemonade. We manage to attract a new company – from San Diego of all places, because of the new way we have charted in Ferndale….in a state that is crying out for new jobs, and Ms. Warner challenges the mayor for heralding that fact. A guy, she acknowledges, who worked for a dozen years to pass our human rights ordinance.

She says that it is worrisome that her mayor still seems to not know the laws on this subject. Let me reassure her that I do. She can worry about other things now, such as global warming, industrial farming and pollution, or nuclear proliferation.

Her final comment asks if, now that I am over 50, am I planning on leaving to make room for a younger person. Well, hello? I guess maybe so. I may leave the office of mayor soon, depending on how my bid for Oakland County Commissioner goes next month. Whether the next mayor is younger or older than me will depend on the current City Council, and ultimately, the voters.

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