Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wearing a bag over your head

Many, many moons ago, a fellow board member said to me that they felt like bringing a paper bag to board meetings so that they could just put it over their head when the craziness started.  And they did not mean so they could hyper-ventilate.  Think embarrassment.

I thought about the comment this week after a resident said to me that pretty soon West Bloomfield will have to change its name.  They said there is so much bad publicity that no one will want to move here.  I asked if they felt we were in the position of the former East Detroit, now Eastpointe, and they said 'yes'.

The subdivision to my south had so much bad publicity over shoddy construction in the late 70's, that they indeed changed their name.

As I thought back about this I remembered that several years ago West Bloomfield was assigned three different zip codes: 48322, 48323, and 48324.  When the date was entered into the tax base files, we had people using Orchard Lake and Union Lake designations with the new zip codes.  I had my staff go into the database and change everyone to 'West Bloomfield'.

When the next round of tax bills were sent, OMG.    Let the phones ring off the hook.  I never heard from so many angry people informing me that they did not live in West Bloomfield.  And no amount of explaining could convince them otherwise.  I told them that they could use whatever address they wanted as long as their mail was delivered, but for our purposes, we were using 'West Bloomfield'.

I also remember my former secretary coming back from the front counter and telling me of a conversation she had with a home buyer.  They wanted to be sure that the house they were purchasing was really in Orchard Lake with West Bloomfield Schools and not IN West Bloomfield.  It was.

This latest round of controversy hits home every time I am out in public.  Just this past week while having lunch, someone walked over to my table and said 'Hey, who is being sued now?'  He said everyone is suing everyone else and that West Bloomfield is a joke.  Other diners over-hearing the question nodded in agreement. 

Unfortunately, for those of us who have homes to sell and those who continue to live here, it is no laughing matter.

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