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E-M:/ All My Communities:The Grinch who stole Meridian

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

The Grinch Who Stole Meridian
(with apologies to Clement Moore and Dr. Seuss)
T'was three days before Christmas, and Meridian Twp. Hall 
Was packed with citizens heeding the call.
They had come through the snow, one hundred souls strong, 
To tell DEQ something here is dreadfully wrong.
Meridian, a place of neighborhoods and beauty
Is being lost to officials not doing their duty.
The Township, they say, is being lost 
Acre by acre to those for whom cost
Is just a modest and temporary glitch
That stands in the way of becoming quite rich. 
And helping the developers achieve their pursuit 
Are Trustees who clearly don't give a hoot.
The citizens had come festooned and adorned 
With hints of holidays temporarily forsworn
As they sought, with all of their hearts and their minds 
To win back their hometown, once peaceful and fine. 
These people were wishing and begging and pleading
That the DEQ staff do what the township is needing.
"Paving is covering our township, and lots of big boxes 
are driving out greenspace for wildlife like foxes. 
Soon we know that floodwaters will be unimpeded
As stores and development, largely unneeded,
Cover most of the ground, and block off the recharge
of groundwater for wells in a township now grown large.
"And what of the traffic, 10K trucks and cars? 
And what of pollution that blocks out the stars? 
The sounds and smells of a worsening lifestyle
that is destroying what has made Meridian worthwhile. 
We know that our township won't stay just the same 
But where is the balance that must be reclaimed?"
The developer's spokesman, a Grinch of a man, 
Intoned in words both patronizing and bland
That these issues are simple, and can't be denied 
The Company he works for, the one that's called Eyde 
Will have what they want, its a foregone conclusion
So stop all the complaining, and forget your illusions.
His words, though striking our hearts like a dagger 
Held a truth that makes our democracy stagger.
For the battle fought was engaged long ago
When none of the citizens were at all in the know. 
Seems the developers of every stripe and condition 
Helped finance the campaigns that won the election.
The DEQ staff, well-meaning and candid
Gave the crowd a chance that let them expand 
upon their concerns, to document and admonish 
A Board that has done much to astonish
The people of Meridian with their disregard so deep 
For the public trust we thought them elected to keep.
But in the end these state officials explained
That the limits of their power left them quite pained. 
They have authority only to deal with the wetlands
And floodways, and that most of the demands
Of the citizens, though all thoughtful and well-founded 
Are by weak state laws fundamentally confounded.
The decision's not made, but the message was clear 
The DEQ cannot right the wrongs occurring here. 
The Board that has voted without a concern
For any citizens (other than those who have earned 
Their support and attention by buying it outright)
Must be changed if this Township is ever to be set right.
So Meridian citizens, as this hearing's memory fades fast 
Make a commitment to not repeat the past.
The time has come to reclaim our Township's soul 
And reverse the damage by turning out at the polls 
Next November, and before then to build a demand 
For leaders that respect our people and land.

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