A single voice does not define Ludington

March 27, 2024

Letters to the editor are opinion editorials submitted by readers. Letters to the editor are a long tradition in American journalism. The views and opinions of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of Mason County Press, its staff or its parent company. For more information, please refer to MCP’s Op/Ed policy.

Dear Editor,

I submit this as read by myself during the March 25, 2024 City of Ludington Council Meeting.

The City of Ludington appealed the trial court’s ruling against the city charter rewrite.  On February 6, 2024, the appellate court heard oral arguments in the case of Rotta versus the City of Ludington.  A tape of this proceeding is available online and can be found at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DNvVMvsjmw. The appellate court ruled in the city’s favor.

I transcribed one interaction between the judge and the claimant from that hearing.

Judge Christopher Murray to Mr. Rotta: “How many other voters, other than yourself, signed an affidavit or anything that was submitted to the trial court indicating that this would change their vote, or could have changed their vote?  Anyone other than you?”

Mr. Rotta: “Just myself.”

Judge Murray: “So, to set aside an election based on one voter’s belief about how it would have impacted the election; it’s a very drastic step, you may not think so, but it is, under the law.”

What struck me about this interaction was the phrase “to set aside an election based on one voter’s belief”.

In November 2022, the council seats for wards 2, 4, and 6 were on the ballot.  Councilors Winczewski, Stibitz, and Bulger ran for reelection.  All three councilors ran unopposed.  That same individual who the appellate judge was talking to orchestrated recall petitions for these three councilors simply for doing their job.  This individual does not even live in wards 2 or 4.

Two weeks ago, because of a billing dispute regarding FOIA chargebacks, this individual filed a criminal complaint alleging extortion against the Ludington chief of police and the city attorney.  And just recently, this individual has made disparaging comments about the city manager.

I have been told many times that ‘every village has one’; a ‘disrupter’. And at times it serves the greater good of a community to have one.  I have known about this individual years before I became a councilor.  I have also been the subject in a few of his postings.

This individual comes before this body consistently.  This individual has every right to voice his opinions.  I personally wish he would be more respectful.  But every time he talks, it reminds me that we live in a great country, a great state, and a great city where people can speak their minds freely.

Occasionally, I need to remind myself that this individual does not define me, my fellow councilors nor my city.

I say to my fellow councilors, do not let this single voice define us.  Cheri, I find you to be a hard-working, honest representative of the 4th ward.  We may not always agree, but I respect you and the job you do.   Working with my fellow councilors and the mayor, in my opinion, they all do the best they can to make decisions that are in the best interests of the city and faithfully represent the people they have been elected to serve.    

I say to the employees of this city, do not let this single voice define you.  Mitch, you have exceeded my expectations in the job you are doing as city manager.   Ross, you have a tough job, but you do it well and with integrity.    Chris, since you have come to lead our Ludington Police Department, you have brought changes that have improved many areas of law enforcement here.

I say to the citizens of Ludington, do not let this single voice define you.  We live in a great city run by honest, hard-working citizens trying to do their best.  Sitting up here week after week, I am privileged and humbled by all the people who work so hard, either through employment or volunteer efforts, to make this city better.

We live in a great city.    If someone feels differently, and that changes need to be made, I would hope they would go about it in a way that shows the respect that our city and its residents deserve.

–Wally Cain, 5th Ward City Councilor, City of Ludington

Area Churches