The Livingston County Board of Commissioners is in the process of making an appointment to the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Board. Livingston County Commissioners will be selecting a Livingston County citizen to represent our county for a 4-year term.
I am supporting Tami Carlone for this appointment. Ms. Carlone has the business and financial acumen required to oversee the $50 million budget. But perhaps more importantly, she has the steadfast values and courage of her convictions to push back against troubling, left-wing, racist changes which have recently been implemented by the current Metroparks Board.
Rather than focusing on it core mission of providing recreation and leisure, the Metroparks Board has expanded into the arena of social justice. The Metroparks board is following the lead of more well-known entertainment entities such as the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Entities such as the NFL and the NBA have seen huge declines in customers as these entertainment giants continue to mix a “woke” ideology with their recreational product. For example, after embracing left-wing politics, NBA ratings have declined 45% since 2012. Ratings are at an all-time low because customers do not want to mix politics and entertainment.
It is not unreasonable to expect a decline in Metropark customers as they choose alternative recreational venues that focus upon recreation and leisure without “woke” political ideology. Any decline in customers will be devasting for the Metroparks budget as revenue from operations has been flat for the last five years.
Because the terms “social justice” and “woke” may mean different things to different people, it is best to review the specific actions taken by the Metroparks Board.
- Approved by the Metroparks Board on 3/13/20, their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan (DEI) includes racially hostile terms such as “white privilege,” and “institutionalized racism.” This divisive language has demoralized many Metroparks employees. In fact, an employee wrote me saying:
“Thank you for speaking out and questioning the necessity of the expensive and overreaching Metroparks DEI program. While director McMillian states that the intention is to create a “diverse, inclusive and equitable organization”, what is happening is employee engagement and overall work satisfaction is dismal. Employees in the field see their numbers decrease, and watch as administration cost and staffing skyrocket, and then see nearly half a million dollars spent on training (or as some refer to it as “indoctrination”) that has no impact on their work. As a 20+ year employee I’m insulted to be told all the worlds racial problems are caused by me, my family and my ancestry.”
- In November 2020 the Metroparks Board approved giving $6 million to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, a private entity. As described in Metroparks Board Meeting Minutes, this expenditure was done as a means of providing additional support for social justice. It is unacceptable that hard-earned taxpayer dollars should be used in this manner.
- The Metroparks Board approved nearly $500,000 for DEI in their 2021 budget. Just two years ago the budget for DEI was $0. This sizeable expenditure takes funding away from Metroparks’ mission of providing recreation and leisure. This expenditure is even more disturbing when one considers that since 2016 administrative expenditures, such as DEI, have grown by 50.24%, while park operations expenditures have grown by 12.25%. Based upon budget growth, it appears that Metroparks has made a conscious decision to de-emphasize its core mission of providing recreation and leisure.
It is not surprising that Board Members appointed by Washtenaw and Wayne Counties voted for these social justice expenditures. What is surprising is the current Livingston County appointee also voted in support of these expenditures.
It is time for a change. Our citizens deserve representation that is more in tune with the values of our county. This is why I am supporting Tami Carlone for Huron Clinton Metroparks Board. Ms. Carlone will spend your money wisely and she will be vigilant in pushing back against taxpayer-funded racist indoctrination. (Some of you may know Ms. Carlone as a Vice-Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Elected by grassroots conservatives, Ms. Carlone is the Vice-Chair for Outreach.)