Oh Ypsi, Ypsi….

Well, this is kind of a bummer.  This morning I read in annarbor.com “Ypsilanti voters reject Water Street deb retirement milage and income tax,” and by a wide margin.  In my view, it’s a sad day because what it says is that voters in the city aren’t willing to invest in it.  Granted, I’m not crazy about raising taxes either, but given the situation the city is in, it’s difficult to see what other choice we have.  The “no taxes” crowd certainly don’t have an answer.

I suppose these issues are not related, but I can’t but help make the connection with the proposal that is floating around where EMU (along with DTE and Washtenaw County) would give loan incentives to employees who want to live in Ypsilanti.  A loyal reader sent me that article, but I’m also reminded of the piece in annabor.com from last week, “New program could offer EMU employees up to $10,000 to purchase homes in Ypsilanti.”   As is the case with the “no taxes” article, the comments here are negative both about EMU and Ypsilanti.

It’s depressing, really.  I mean, I don’t have any specific or deeply-felt personal loyalty to EMU or to Ypsilanti.  I work at EMU and it’s a fantastic job, but as my Dad told me many years ago, you can love your job but your job will never love you.  I live in Ypsi and have lived in the Normal Park neighborhood for 13 years now.  It’s a great neighborhood and I love living close enough to work to walk or ride my bike.  But I’m not really an “Ypsi proud” kind of guy, largely because even after living in Michigan for as long as I’ve lived anywhere else, I’m not really from here, and if I were buying a house right now– even with the EMU incentive– I’d probably buy in Ann Arbor.

That said, I grow weary of the bashing and even self-loathing of both EMU and Ypsilanti.  The comments on the annabor.com story on incentives to buy a house in Ypsilanti are quite disgusting, and it’s sad that a majority of Ypsilanti citizens would rather drive the city further into the ditch and/or into the hands of an emergency manager than to pitch in to pay the bills to keep the community going.  Sad indeed.


3 thoughts on “Oh Ypsi, Ypsi….

  1. Having lived off and on in Ypsi for more than 20 years, the perception issues facing Ypsi and EMU mirror each other and are intertwined. I am not an Ypsi “apologist” but I have pride for my community. It is what it is and I like it here. I like there is a downtown, historic district, a lake, a river, country roads, train tracks, farms and a rural feel. I like I can ride my mountain bike and in 10 minutes be out in the sticks. There is a university and many historic neighborhoods. The sum of Ypsi is much greater than its individual parts, as they say. It’s not for everyone, but so what.

    There are also crack houses, prostitutes, crime, and plenty of undesirables. In short, Ypsi really does have the feel of major metro area with all of its diversity and all of its negatives as well.

    There are plenty of “Ypsi snobs” too – the ones that claim they live in the “township” to differentiate themselves from Ypsi proper. These people live south of Textile and spend most of their time west of US-23. Which is fine – do what you want but do not pretend you do not live in Ypsilanti – it is all one big place and we all know it. From Willis to Geddes and Rawsonville to Carpenter – this is one big place.

    But the self-loathing site-dad mentions is always present in Ypsi and I don’t know if it will ever go away. EMU has the same issue with its alums and staff and faculty. Alums simply do not have the pride other school grads have and many hide the fact they went here for some reason. Of course there are those who adopt the school down the street and convince themselves they are a part of that family because they spend 2-3 Saturdays in the fall drinking beer before a football game.

    In many ways Ypsi and EMU have the same balance sheet. Many good things and some things that need work. EMU has made many mistakes in the last 20 or so years and unfortunately for it, nearly all have been self-inflicted wounds. This issue with the dismissal emails, while in my opinion is a small hiccup on the road of life for these students, nonetheless gave ammunition to the haters to pile on. of course that is the downside to social media – everyone has an opinion these days. For many to embrace EMU the school simply needs to stop making these mistakes (easier said than done sometimes) and the recent overcompensation for its efforts towards transparency reeks of insecurity for past deeds. People notice these things.

    EMU and Ypsi are one place to many, and EMU often suffers guilt by association. I am not sure I have the answers on how to solve this image question but for better or worse, the two are stuck with eachother. Bashing them does not help nor is it constructive. If you want to make a difference get involved. Ypsi Pride is coming up soon – start there. Then volunteer at the Heritage Festival. Then go to Depot Town on a Thursday night. And so on …


  2. Yes! I have always noticed the self loathing and I don’t agree with it. I try to make a difference at EMU by speaking up, which is somethi ng they don’t like. I could actually care less what the suits think when I bring up a problem or when I give them the phone number of some student they have inadvertantly screwed. I’ve learned from experience to not bother with any service desk at admissions or registration. Go to right to the top and call the President’s office.


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