Letter to the Editor: A Letter to the Board of Vergennes Twp

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A Letter to the Vergennes Township Board,

As a resident of Vergennes Township for the past 27 years, I would like to express my frustration, disappointment, and now lack of trust in our elected officials after the November 21, 2022 regular board meeting. As elected officials you are to act in the best interest of all township residents and be our voice on matters that come before you. At the November 21, 2022 regular board meeting you failed to do that.

It is my belief that you acted with great haste to adopt Resolution 2022-14 “Resolution of support for law enforcement and to protect the health, safety and welfare of Vergennes Township children.” One board member spoke out against the resolution, questioning what the purpose was and stated it was confusing and did not correlate with the language in Proposal 3. The board sat silent and never answered the question nor did you address the concern. When asked about public comment, it was as if the board was unaware of the public comment rules stated on the back of the meeting agenda. Six residents of the Township and surrounding areas stood up with very little preparation, due to the lack of transparency from the board, and spoke out against Resolution 2022-14. The residents stated concerns of correlation between the language in Proposal 3 and the language in the resolution. The questions directed to the board by the residents were either refused or simply went unanswered, much like the question and concern from your fellow board member.

The fear-mongering in the resolution’s language made its way into the comments made by board members during public comment and the lack of board discussion, stating more than once that you were in support of “protecting the children”, something that the language of Proposal 3 does not even touch on. The resolution states “the broad language of Proposal 3 ‘arguably invalidates age of consent laws (relating to ‘reproductive freedom’) currently protecting minors.” Proposal 3 did not change the age of consent in the State of Michigan, which is still 16, an answer most board members were unable or simply unwilling to state. The resolution also states, “Proposal 3 makes it virtually impossible to enforce or enact a statute prohibiting certain sexual activity, including pedophilia, as long as the child ‘consents’, or is pressured into saying they gave their consent.” Again, the age of consent in the State of Michigan is still 16, regardless of what ‘consent’ the child gives or is persuaded to give. The subject of age of consent has been covered in the news, written about in online articles and newspapers, and addressed by our Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, more times than necessary for the average person to grasp this concept. I expect my elected officials to come to meetings educated on the agenda items, especially if you are the board member who brought the item to the table. Copies of the Proposal 3 language should have been provided along with the provided resolution and the views and opinions sheet of the County Prosecutors behind this resolution, to ensure that board members made educated unbiased decisions based on facts and not other people’s opinions.

The views and opinions of the 11 Michigan County Prosecutors outlined in this fear-mongering and deceitful resolution are not the views and opinions of the 57% of Michigan voters that voted in favor of Proposal 3 on November 8, 2022. You took the views and opinions of 11 of the 83 or 13% of the Michigan County Prosecutors and adopted a resolution that stated “the Township Board expresses its official disagreement with such an application of the provisions of Proposal 3 and affirms our support for law enforcement in the protection of its children from what were serious criminal offenses prior to November 8, 2022” or in so many words, Vergennes Township disagrees with the results of the fair and honest election on November 8, 2022 that passed Proposal 3. The 11 Michigan County Prosecutors, specifically calling out our own Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, standing behind this resolution push should resign from their positions if they are unable to make sound decisions based off-of the cases facts and findings without running to other government officials for validation.

It is my opinion that the Vergennes Township Board members came to the November 21, 2022 regular board meeting under educated on the contents of Proposal 3 and hastily voted on a resolution that should have been tabled for a later meeting until they could answer their fellow board members questions as well as the questions of the general public. You as elected officials, acting in the best interest and as the voice for the residents of Vergennes Township, deliberately voted on Resolution 2022-14 based on your own biased views and opinions and the biased views and opinions of 13% of the States County Prosecutors.

I am a longtime resident, tax payer, registered voter, and as a female… a vulnerable Vergennes Township Adult impacted directly by your hasty and uninformed decisions. I am embarrassed by the unprofessionalism exhibited by our board members. I will be thinking twice when it comes time to re-elect the officials currently holding positions in this township and I will urge other residents to do the same.

Please take some time to review the language of Proposal 3 and reflect on the hasty uninformed decision resulting in the adoption of a resolution that states a blanket opinion of disapproval of Proposal 3 for all Vergennes Township residents that clearly had voices and opinions but ultimately no say.

Respectfully,

Kirsten Mork
Vergennes Township

2 Comments

  1. I was also there and it was pretty clear that most of the board hadn’t read Proposal 3 and probably didn’t even read the resolution in advance. I wonder if the person that put it on the agenda even knows who wrote it or if it just appeared in someone’s inbox and seemed to fit a personal agenda so they went for it. It was stated that the township attorney approved the resolution (weird, since the attorney didn’t approve the one made by the fire chief?) but I have my doubts. The board couldn’t defend their positions, didn’t understand how the meeting should be run and were fairly disrespectful. The resolution changes nothing but it certainly tells us that those folks are governing for themselves. Janine Mork, Treasurer, did the right thing by questioning the resolution and then voting against it because it couldn’t be supported with information. I work and worship in Vergennes Township I expected a higher level of professionalism and decency than what they demonstrated by pulling this stunt. I hope to see more people at meetings.

  2. I was there. The writers description of the evening is quite accurate. I might add that the Twp Supervisor expressed surprise when PEOPLE ACTUALLY SHOWED UP AT THE MEETING. I, as well as others, will continue to show up to ensure this kind of deceitful activity doesn’t happen again.

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