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E-M:/ Michigan Land Use Institute Replies...

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

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Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 17:27:15 -0400
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
From: "Alicia Harrison, Michigan Land Use Institute" <members@mlui.org>
Subject: MLUI Replies
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<bold><underline><bigger><bigger>MLUI Replies

A question was submitted to Enviro-Mich about whether the change of
leadership at the Michigan Land Use Institute is a result of a
misunderstanding concerning our membership program. The answer is no.

The change in leadership at the Institute is the culmination of a
planning process that began more than two years ago, and is part of a
carefully orchestrated transition that will make the Institute a stronger
and more effective organization. Keith Schneider, the Institute's
founding Executive Director will focus on what he does best:
conceptualizing projects, developing solutions-oriented strategies,
journalism and public speaking. After coordinating the Institute's oil
and gas policy reform project for three years and serving as Managing
Director for two years, I will be the Executive Director. Arlin
Wasserman, who served as the Institute's founding Board President and who
has been a key staff member in the Policy Specialist position for three
years, will step into the role of Policy Director. These changes, along
with the fact that the Institute has built and maintained a talented and
committed staff, creates a positive opportunity for the Institute to
advance its mission and continue to be a resource in the vital land use
discussion in Michigan.

The question about the Institute's membership program is simple. Like
many other non-profit membership organizations, the Institute has a gift
program for current members to purchase memberships for other people.
Many do this during the holidays. Historically the gifts have been very
well received.

Last year a member of the Institute made a donation in her will asking
that it be used in full for gift memberships. To satisfy the request, we
thought of people in the community who might be interested in becoming
members, and sent a letter to each notifying them of the gift.

In the midst of a controversial local land use issue, a handful of gift
membership recipients notified us that they did not wish to be members.
The proposal - a 610-unit development on a 522-acre piece of farmland
that is zoned to allow a maximum of 104 units - has spurred an active
local discussion about whether this type of development is in the best
interest of Benzie County. The Institute has taken a position that the
development can succeed if the developer reduces the density, allows more
open space, and demonstrates that taxpayers will not carry the burden of
increased public costs associated with the project.

We have, of course, removed each of the people who declined the gift
memberships from our membership and mailing lists, and we have apologized
to each of them for not first confirming that they accepted the gift.

Not confirming whether each recipient accepted the gift membership was a
mistake on our part, for which we take full responsibility. It was in no
way an attempt to inflate our membership rolls or make people members
against their wishes.

I encourage anyone who has any further questions about the Institute's
transition of leadership or about this misunderstanding with the
Institute's gift membership program to contact me directly at
hans@mlui.org or 231-882-4723. This invitation includes "Professor John
Frink" who raised the initial question to Enviro-Mich and who
coincidentally shares the same name as a character in the Simpson's TV
Again, please feel free to contact me if you would like more information.


Hans Voss
Executive Director

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