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Fun In The Common Council

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Last jUonday erening's session of the commoii couucil was worth a paid admission. There was more fun, hilarity and excitement than the iisual Sunday school picnic affords. The fun was mostly furnished by the street committee aud by Aldermau Butterfield, who fll'jd a lengthy statistical objection to a statement which he said Alderinan Coou had fonnerly made in council, to the effect that 'he council had earned the reputatiou of being the most extravagant council that the city had ever had." The report of the street committee came first, at least chronologically. It concerned the grading of S. University avenue, to which diveise and su'idry objections have been made by some residents of that avenue. The report was a brilliant rhetorical display, coutained some sound sense, some nonsense and is worthy a place in literature along with other volumes of American hurnor. Here it is : i "Your corninittee on streets, upon whose reeoininendation a grade was adopted for S. L'niversity ave., and tlie board of public works directed to improve the Street in accordance with such grade, beg leave to report that after the work of improving said street was in part coinpleted, various and sundry protests carne to the knowledge of your eominittee from persons living in the vicinity who claimed that a great and irreparable injury had been and -was being perpetrated in and upon their private property. "That your committee promptly and courteously waited upon the aforesaid indignant persons and bore their criticisnis, some of which were not a little unreasonable, like men of chivalry; that they found upon S. Univerity ave. a mass of earth piled high in ihe middle of the street; and from six to eight inches above the grade reconiniended by your committee, and adopted by the council; that they were informed that the inhabitants living along the line of the street had been instructed by the membevs of the board of public works, that the street committee, the humble body which now addresses you, was doing the work at that point, that, it, your committee was rèsponsible for the whole matter, including the grievances of which eomplaint was made, and that it was the inexcusable incompetence and blundering efforts of your commijt tee which constituted the instrument of this monstrous persecution of the innocents. "That all this they endured without flinching, together with the irony, sarcasm, invective and even insult amounting to a literal tnreat of violence of a certa in ex-offlcial, who oceupies the iosition of mere spectator passing along in the road, treating the latter, however, with becoming disdain. "Tour committee would further report that they have since been informed by the city engineer that the grade stakes for the improvement upon the western portion of said avenue were by mistake set six inches too high, tlms accounting fully for the excess of earth that had been placed upon the street. "Your committee would further report that no member heard a eomplaint in reference to this work until the same was almost completed, that the attention of certain members of the board of public works, as your committee is informed, was called to it, at a stage when it would appear to the most casual observer that something must. be the matter, and that they, instead of notifying the street committee or investigating for themselves and coiuparing the work with the drawings on file in the office of the engineer, from which it is perfectly apparent that an error had been made, simply informed the people that the street committee had' done the work and that the same was under the supervisión of that organization. "Your committee would further report that it has made no mistake in relation to S. University ave. and has nothing for which to offer an apology and that it does not onderstand that any of the work upon the streets is done under its supervisión. "That the engineer admits that the error was his and that the grade stakes have been lowered to correspond with the grade as recommended by your committee in the first instance. "Your committee would further report that the extra earth which now lies upon S. University ave. is all needed to perfect the parking along the center of the avenue, and they recominend that the same be moved off the street and placed upon said park at the expense of the engineer." Alderman Brown thought there was a "nigger in the fenoe" somewhere, in connection with that grading, and he had heard the avenue was to be turned into a driviug course for Ann Arbor's'fast borses. Alderman Taylor said the street had been graded because i the people along it had been petitioning for years to get the trees in the middle of the avenue parked. Alderman tyman knew all the time that it would í make a fine driving course and he was glad the city was getting on a level with the other enterprising citiesof the ] 3tate in that particular. Major Sonle, of South University avenue, said he was perfectly satisfled with the new grade and if people yanted to ruake a driving street out of it ho would be alad of it. There the matter dropped and Alderman Butterfleld took the floor. ReferJ ring to Alcemian Coon's statement, as given above, ho thought it called for denial in the shape of a resolntion. He had it figured out that the monies appropriated by the counoil itself this year, irrespeotive of sums voted directly by the people, were less than in 1893 and 1894. Therefore he proposed the following resolution : "Whereas, au alderman has stated in open session that this council has earned the reputation of being the mos extravagant council the city has ever had, and ' Whereas, the f act is that the tota appropriation for the year 1895 for which this council is responsible is less tahn it was in 1893 or 1894, therefore "Resolved, Tbat this council do anc hereby does record its emphatic denia! of the charge. ' ' The resolution was unanhnously adopted. The usual routine council business was disposed of. A communication from State Railroad Commissioner S. R. Billings said that he had received official notice regarding the location of a flagman at the Fuller street crossing of the Michigan Central, and that the matter would be attended to.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News