GP Woods Truth: Nero Novitke stonewalls Town Hall

Dozens jam Woods' community center, get told to sit down and shut up.

By Pete Waldmeir

It's official! The mayor, council and administration of Grosse Pointe Woods are a joke!

Permit me to refine that. They are an obscene joke.

I cannot believe how badly this arrogant group of so-called "public officials" mistreated a community center full of citizen-taxpayers who came to a phoney Town Hall meeting Monday evening (Sept. 24).

The citizens came seeking explanations from their elected and appointed hirelings, who have brazenly asked residents to hike their property taxes 4 mills ($20 million) over the legally mandated Headlee tax cap limit for the next 10 years with less than convincing evidence of where the money will go.

I thought that I'd seen it all during my many years of covering dozens of in-your-face politicians and legislative groups at the local, state and national levels for The Detroit News. But this one took the cake.

   (Note: If you want to get the full flavor sound and video of the bizarre events at the Monday night (Sept. 24) meeting, go to www.Grossepointewoodstruth.com or check my site at www.Facebook.com/petewaldmeir. Shades of Jerry Springer!)

Talk about train wreck! What was billed as a traditional citizen-centered "Town Hall meeting," where taxpayers were told that they could come and get answers to a lot of nagging questions, turned into a high-profile propaganda show with city treasurer Deeann Irby as the only presenter.

Then, when Irby's illegal heavy-handed video pitch for "Yes" votes concluded, citzens incredibly were told by city administrator Al "Skip" Fincham - in so many words - to shut up and sit down.

No public comment or answers were permitted. Feel free to button-hole anyone you wanted to talk to, but no PA system allowed. Gotta control that unruly crowd!

Where was Mayor-for-Life Robert Novitke? Where was the council to answer questions? This is where it really got infuriating.

Six of the seven council members were seated at long tables at one side of the meeting room, along with a lot of useless department heads who couldn't answer anything correctly except, maybe, what time it was. Mayor Pro Tem Vickie Granger as usual was absent when there was a contentious issue to be discussed.

Residents and others were grumbling and growling, fast growing sullen and rebellious.

Mayor Novitke sat stone-faced, like Budda, surrounded by 5 of his 6 high priests and acolytes, literally daring anyone to come over and ask a question about where all this hard-earned money is supposed to go. Hey, it was a tough meeting for the mayor. He hadn't had a smoke break in an hour and he couldn't call one.

Novitke barricaded like that reminded me of comedian Mel Brooks, puffing his cigar and partying while Rome burned in the classic send-up movie, "Nero." At the height of an outdoor street riot, a Roman messenger rushes into the scene, shouting, "The people are revolting! The people are revolting!"

To which "Emperor" Brooks responds in a thick New York accent, "They coitingly are!"

Make no mistake. Emperor Novitke's performance Monday night wasn't the least bit funny. It was sad and insulting. He may stonewall and diss us citizens as "revoltingly" bothersome to his preferred status quo. But WE pay his bills.

We have a proud city. We've bought and paid for it. We've earned it. We deserve the respect of our elected and appointed officials.

Monday night people got disgusted and walked out of the meeting, hopefully to vote NO and NO on the two blank check bailout Headlee Override millage increases. But I couldn't resist visiting one table to ask ONE question of our top 4 non-elected, non-resident administrators.

The quartet: city treasurer DeeAnn Irby, who lives in St. Clair Shores; city administrator Al Fincham, who lives in Grosse Pointe City; City Clerk Lisa (Halfaday) Hathaway, who lives in Macomb County; and assistant city attorney Charles "Chippy" Berschback, who lives in Grosse Pointe Farms. My question to each:

"How much taxes, property or otherwise, do you pay to the City of Grosse Pointe Woods?"

Each stumbled for an answer or tried to laugh it off and avoid answering. Hathaway even mumbled something unintelligible, then spoke up when I peristed that she answer out loud. Finally, she and the others each gave me the same response.


Each non-resident administrator is paid upwards of $100,000 a year Some get more. Three of the incomes include or add on big vacations, expense accounts, full health care, pensions, whatever else the city can dream up.

That's your money  They don't pay a nickel in taxes toward their own salaries and perks. Yet they want YOU to raise YOUR taxes to make their lives easy.

Vote NO and NO on Nov. 6.

Make them come back after they lose, reduce their "wish" list to a reasonable number, cut their perks and pleasures and, above all, treat citizens with respect.


Follow Pete Waldmeir on www.facebook.com/petewaldmeir and www.facebook.com/grossepointewoodstruth.

Check our website at www.grossepointewoodstruth.com to get lawn signs. Volunteer or donate to Citizens for Better Government, 730 S. Oxford, GP WOods 48236.













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Erwin M. Fletcher September 26, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Why not tell the truth Pete? You parlayed a medicore sportswriting career into an even more medicore term on the GPW Council. Now that you were voted out you are going on a vendetta against those you served with. It's sad that in your twilight years you have to be so negative, this is usually a time when people try to make peace. Instead you are going out with both barells blazing and you simpy lack the ability to understand they are pointed at you.
christopher September 26, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Gloria, my only vandetta is against the lies and hate this individual spreads. I was at the meeting and NEVER did Mr.Fincham tell anyone to shut up and sit down in any sense of the form. Thats just typical pete trying to put a false spin on things. There are no $100,000 salaries, huge vacation packages. I find it interesting that the only person to have such a salary was Mr.Wollenwebber who was here during Petes failed years in council with Petes blessings.
Erwin M. Fletcher September 26, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Christopher, as the second best poster (after myself) on the Patch I want to thank you for standing up to the increasingly senile Pete Waldmeir. His endless rants against the council and mayor only remind us all of why he was shown the door at the Detroit News, likely with a small pension if you have you seen how he dresses. Pete Waldmeir is a quitter, and who is more gutless than that? His bullying tactics against anyone who disagrees with him are reprehensible. this man is as gutless a coward as there is in this city. We don't need people like that here, people who are too poor or too cheap don't belong in this city I for one would be happy to pick up the tab to move Pete out of here once and for all. How much can it cost to move a closet full of velour suits, a 9" black and white TV and some old newspapers of Pete when he was "somebody" and transport them to Warren?
DDPIII September 26, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Wow, I was gone on a delightful vacation and returned only to see the waldmeir crazy train is still desperately in need of a conductor! Arent there any papers we can file to gain control of this deranged fossil? I think the only way pete will quit his deplorable behavior is if hospice takes laptops out of their rooms. All kidding aside, I cannot believe how only he can spew hate, disrespect, as well as report bogus information. Things DID NOT happen the way he says they did at that meeting, I have had seven NON-sociopaths tell me the truth first hand, as they were there in my absence and recorded it. . waldmeir wouldnt know the truth if it was tattooed to his fivehead. His fiction has no merit and is provided without any provocation. Furthermore, should he REALLY be concerned about an issue that will take 10 years to mature?
Erwin M. Fletcher September 26, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Pete, nice to know that your advanced age has not dimmed your incoherence. Are you implying through your idiotic arguements only people that live in a city should be allowed to work for a city? So people that live in GPC, GPF and horrors St. Clair Shores are not qualified to work in/for the city of GPW? Pete, let's be honest here, you no longer have the financial capcity to live in GPW so you are feining outrage over $300 a year in taxes to distract people form your own financial woes. I will be more than happy to pay your share if it will get you to shut up and stop your pathetic character assasinations of people that are merely trying to keep GPW a desireable place to live.
Nancy Hames September 26, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Who were the frat boys slouched in the chairs in the back row at the meeting?
Erwin M. Fletcher September 26, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Pete, one more thing...Why did you vote in favor of the city budgets all four years that you were on the council? So back then all of these "abuses" were fine, but now that you are not part of the "club" any longer they are bad? I doubt you can give me a good answer and I won't hold my breath waiting for one. Pete this city is not for you any longer. As I said earlier, I will pay the moving expenses, any realtors that will list Pete's house for free so we can get rid of this cancer once and for all?
Jane Elizabeth Brown September 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Grosse Pointe Shores is fortunate to have you as a resident Mr. Lee. Good for you and your contribution changing the political landscape for the Shores. Let's hope Woods residents send a message at the polls on November 6 that we aren't far behind the Shores in seeking change. Time for Mayor Forever Novitke to go.
Jane Elizabeth Brown September 26, 2012 at 11:48 PM
What grade are you in?
Jane Elizabeth Brown September 26, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Thanks for the article Pete. It is about time that the Novitke machine be exposed for what they are. I'm laughing at the posts from the opposition. Instead of defending their position they take aim at you personally. Sticks and stones people. You better save your energy and figure out how Forever Mayor Novitke is going to curb his future spending because your not getting your payload on November 6.
Gloria September 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Thanks Jane... you are correct... the sticks and stones people just do not want to hear the truth! The officials were arrogant and totally disregarded the TAX paying residents who requested an open forum. That was the least they should do when they are trying to shove a TEN YEAR $20 Million dollar tax burden on us. What Pete said was accurate... - "public officials" mistreated a community - No public comment or answers were permitted. - Residents and others were grumbling and growling, fast growing sullen and rebellious. I guess the truth hurts!
christopher September 27, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Is this the same Jane Brown who admitted under oath that she was the creator of a blog a few years back that referred and promoted Mr.Waldmeir as a ":drunk", "geezer", "grape neck", "nazi" etc...????? sticks and stones? my gosh woman, you literally went and gathered the sticks and stones and personally handed them out to defame and belittle him back then.....kinda the pot calling the kettle black wouldnt you say?
DDPIII September 27, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Jane, you ignorant - - - - oh wait--thats not original lol. But Jane, instead of wasting your time posting here and trying to grasp any situation with real consequence, might I tempt you to learn all about using possessive adjectives and contractions? http://www.youryoure.com/ I hasten to think you were edumacated in the GPPSS...
expoleece September 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM
First of all Erwin, Warren does not want Pete living in their fine city...they have enough common sense to realize the state of the economy and the need for increased taxes. Warren has passed their millages. Also was not Pete on the council that voted to hire Ms Irby even though she did not live in GPW? I believe that the meetings were advertised as "Informational Meetings" Not town hall meetings, therefore, the only purpose of the meeting was to give information. Also why does Pete's video only show the malcontents ranting, it does not show Ms. Irby providing everyone with the correct information. And why does Pete attack everyone personally? Feeling threatened Pete? "Useless" Department Heads? Do you know any of the Department Heads Pete? Did you go to each one and have then explain the budget cuts that Lisa Pinkos-Howell proposes and how they are unrealistic? No I don't think so and hey why did Lisa slither out of the community center like a snake instead of standing up and owning her budget cuts? Why, because she knows that the information she put out is FALSE!
christopher September 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM
If anyone wants a look into the character, morals and credibilty of some of these people spreading lies check out this link http://grossepointetoday.com/news/comment/00350-column-woods-recall-campaign-zxzignites-battle-tweets. Here you will find Mr.Waldmeir quoted as saying "council works for peanuts, Art Bryant is my friend, a millage is not a tax increase etc." and of course some famous quotes of his hate rhetoric. You will also find info on Jane Elizabeth Brown admitting it was her blog calling Pete a Nazi and other fun names along with some other famous posters on this blog that are now BFF's of Petes. You get a real grasp of how credible these people really are, total hypocrites with zero morals....just google "grosse pointe woods undiapered" and read the full article from 2009...It speaks volumes of those involved.
expoleece September 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I think that Pete spent so much time writing for a newspaper, that he wouldn,t know the truth if it bit him on the a@@....simple as that.
Gloria September 27, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Wow - not a Town Hall? Then WHY did the city not correct the title of the article on the Patch which was posted on Sept. 4th '2 Town Halls Scheduled for Woods Tax Millages'. Clearly they should have alerted the Patch to misrepresentation of the meeting intent... yet, they DID NOT! Looks like a feeble attempt to back pedal to me!
MRSPirateLarz September 27, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I have an email from the city of GPW that labels the meetings as Town Halls. I did not even bother to attend the meeting since I did my own research on the topic and have made an educated decision for myself on this issue. HOWEVER, what is the problem with so many of you? Are we back in MIDDLE SCHOOL? Look, I am no fan of Mr. Waldmeir, his bully tactics are pathetic and beneath a man, well of ANY AGE. HOWEVER, so many of you are right there at that same line that is usually reserved for playground students that it is a sad commentary on the age in which we live in. Please people, GROW UP.
MRSPirateLarz September 27, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Oh and Pete, although I do not agree with the name calling in your blog, it was well written and entertaining.
Pete Waldmeir, GP Woods September 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Chill out, Vickie. You're exposing your real self here. Gotta be careful or people will find out who you really are.
Funpete September 27, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Guess again grape neck
Chris K September 27, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Gloria: Thanks for slowing down the name calling by pointing out the facts about how the meeting was characterized to the residents of Grosse Pointe Woods. You ever think of running for mayor? Looks like you believe in a government in the sunshine!
Gloria September 27, 2012 at 09:49 PM
MRSPirateLarz thank you for pointing out the truth! I just do not understand in a community of educated people why a debate can not just be about the facts and not personality assassination. Love your analogy to middle school... got a chuckle out of me!
Gloria September 27, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Chris K, My skin is WAY to thin to run for office. Thanks for the vote of confidence!
Gary M. Wilson, Esq. September 29, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Nice work, Pete. So good to see the response from citizens who may be FINALLY be willing to look at the damage the corruption has wrought during Mayor-for-Life Novitke's corrupt zand arrogant reign. It's been two years since the Mack Avenue neon sign fiasco and yet nothing has changed. The council is still just a rubber stamp for Novitke, and if an issue doesn't personally benefit Bob then it doesn't happen With respect to business policy, the Woods continues to chase away new business. Novitke led the council by the nose in rejecting Tom Robertson's long-time and well-respected Blackstar Construction from relocating his business to the Woods. Thanks, Bob! Although you screwed Mr. Robinson and the building's owner/hopeful seller John Bohn over by selectively citing only a SMALL part of the ordinance as you instructed your council to reject approval of this fine business, we're very happy that the Farms council welcomed Blackstar with open arms And tell us, Bob, why you and your own personal urinal-flusher/Building "inspector" Gene Tutag allowed Robusto's to operate WITHOUT a business license for all those years??? Had your greasy fingers in someone else's wallet again, eh? Does your constituency realize that as the rest of your instruction to Tutag to "let the business ride" and not inspect it that the place is now a hazmat site that has enough toxic mold that it will be amazing if the place doesn't have to be razed?
paul October 01, 2012 at 04:54 PM
So right!Won't happen though.Banks and salons seem to be the fave.At least as long as citizens refuse to step up and vote nothing will change.Well actually things will continue to get worse.
paul October 01, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Pete was a great writer and still is.Who said after a certain age you can't have an opinion?I like the guy.He left the council because he saw how silly it is.Do you actually think the woods is a growing,booming place?Have you ever gone past 8 mile?Keep up the great work Pete.These mean comments are set up by you know who.That's how they work.
Gloria October 01, 2012 at 06:09 PM
The Woods is the highest of all the Pointes! See attached chart posted.
Jane Elizabeth Brown October 04, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Yes, I sued Vicky Granger and I proudly admitted under oath that I had a blog. However, let me enlighten you. I wrote the postings but the comments you refer to were posted by the readers. Some of the nasty ones were from relatives of the GPW forever Mayor. Additionally, I worked at City Hall for 10 years and I saw the wasteful spending that continues until this day. Sending the City Clerk to the Great Wolf Lodge, this past summer, for a week long convention at the taxpayers expense is an example of how they blow money at a time they should be cutting back. NO NEW TAXES - NO BLANK CHECK.
Jane Elizabeth Brown October 04, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Laugh now, you won't be laughing on November 6th. P.S. No guts to use your real name?


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