Abuse of Power by the Muskegon City Commission

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

Josh Eldenbrady recently wrote in the Daily KOS that he has been targeted by the City of Muskegon with unfair rules enforcement.

I appreciate his indignation and his testimony, but I wonder if he’s too new here to know how regularly the City Commissioners abuse their position.

Their absolute disregard for the voter’s will regarding Senior Transit, for example, or the clear directive from every precinct to rezone the former Sappi waterfront, make it doubtful that they would even leave office if voted out. To be consistent, they would just step up the double-talk and to stall while continuing with business as usual. You could bet that M-Live would back them in this.

For a more closely related example of the City’s incoherence, let’s consider the two buildings below. One is an occupied 150 year old Queen Anne residence; the other is the crumbling remains of a 2010 fire.
Which building was razed, do you suppose, through the determined resolve of the Muskegon City Commission?

If you picked the house, you were right. The charred wreckage that was General Plumbing is still dropping bricks and wood onto the public sidewalk below, in plain sight of visitors to Bike Week, Fisherman’s Landing, and all of our other lakeside guests.

Nobody at City Hall or at M-Live seem to notice.
Below, you see the overgrown city sidewalk, the falling hazard above, and some recently decended brick and wood. These images are screen shots from a soon to be released video taken during Bike Week.
For a more complete account of the way that Scott Sieradzki and his family were targeted by the City and by M-Live, I will write another article. In that piece, I will list Mr. Sieradzki‘s considerable contributions to the City, and the events that prompted retribution by the City and by M-Live. I will limit the scope here to the selective enforcement and creative Interpretation of ordinances used to justify the demolition of his uncle’s historic home.

This is the house that stood at 487 W. Clay; one of the last Queen Anne types left in Muskegon.

The City claimed that it was beyond repair.
In a desperate attempt to get his uncle out of the building before demolition, and to salvage family heirlooms that included a pink diamond and valuable china, Mr. Sieradzki rushed to the site and entered the home. The details of his acquisition of the property shortly before its destruction, his valiant attempts to save it, finally by signing it over to a church, the belligerent actions by the City Commission, and what finally became of the pink diamond, the fireplace mantle, crystal chandeliers, and other treasures are worth considering, especially since the major players for the City are still with us.
These include Mayor Gawron , Commissioner Spataro , and City Manager Mazade.
This is an example of what could have happened at 487 W. Clay. It is the Hovey House, at Fourth and Houston; one of many deteriorated structures that were restored by Mills Construction in the eighties. My family reclaimed commercial and residential buildings that were in much worse condition than was Sieradzki’s home.

The claim that urine and animal odors prevented renovation was wrong. It was made by people who were unqualified to make such statements; people who were more interested in conquering Mr. Sieradzki’s personality than in preserving Muskegon’s heritage.

Through persistent effort, they achieved their goal.
Against incredible odds, the will of Muskegon residents, and against reason, the City pressed on with its vindictive plan.

And they prevailed! The 87 year old uncle was forced out. Homeless, he began living with his dog In his truck. Four years later he was dead.

Now, only a sign that says "For Sale" looms in tribute to Muskegon’s poor leadership; childish temper and short-sightedness.
Ask yourselves why our City Manager and Commissioners worked so hard to destroy Mr. Sieradzki’s historically significant buildings, while leaving alone the examples seen below. These houses stand in the 1900 block of Park St. in Muskegon. Park St. is a major north-south thoroughfare. These houses are in worse shape than Mr. Sieradzki’s buildings, and they offer nothing historically. But like many other dilapidated buildings in Muskegon, they go totally undetected by City officials.

Also please ask yourselves, why should you allow this injustice?


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