Ann Arbor News makes elitist remarks about blue-collar workers

Dear Ann Arbor News,

In your editorial about Ypsilanti’s Charter amendment (October 14, 2002), your newspaper seems to be implying that before the non-discrimination ordinance was passed in 1997, Ypsilanti was, to use your words, “a scruffy little blue-collar town.”

What is wrong with being blue-collar? Are you saying that people who are blue-collar are bad for a community or some how don’t deserve to live in Ypsilanti? How is this remark any different from the sort of racism and discrimination you say you abhor?

I have lived in Ypsilanti for three years and the only people that I hear consistently denigrate Ypsilanti are the folks at the Ann Arbor News. The people I talk to inside and outside the community think that Ypsilanti is a charming town with lots of things to do. Most people that live and work here will tell you that Ypsilanti is a great place to raise a family and be a part of a diverse and vibrant community.

You say in your editorial, and again I quote, “Ypsilanti struggles every day to shake off the perception that it is filled with broken-down houses and crime.” You then go on to say that if the ordinance is overturned, this perception will become a reality.

What an elitist bunch of drivel. If you think you can change a community by passing or overturning a single ordinance, you clearly don’t understand what makes a community a desirable place to live. It is the people, not an ordinance, which is the true measure of a community.

Worse, you imply that all the hard work that everyone, from Mayor Farmer recruiting new businesses to the area to neighbors getting together on a Saturday to clean up a vacant lot is all pointless. You imply that if this ordinance is overturned, that we might as well stop investing in our community and pack our bags, because according to you, our community is doomed.

No matter what happens on November 5th, Ypsilanti will continue to have, again to use your words, “a thriving entertainment district, a downtown on the rebound, a historic district to rival that of any small city and a significant near-downtown neighborhood being developed.”

Perhaps if the editors did more then just plant a couple of plants on Pride Day and make an appearance at the Heritage Festival Kick-off Party, you would have a better sense of what is really going on in Ypsilanti. Of course, that is my perception.

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