Anyone who's been reading my stories knows that I always find a way to tie in exclusionary zoning to most of my stories. That will be the case here. I graduated from Whiteford Agricultural High School in 1967. I played football for all four years. I was on the junior varsity team my freshman year and then I was on the varsity team for my sophomore, junior and senior years. By the way freshman football was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. We were league champs in both my sophomore and junior years. We had a 23 game winning streak that finally ended in my senior year. Well after a 50 year drought the Whiteford Bobcats will be competing in the Michigan division 8 state finals held at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, 11-25-2016, the day after Thanksgiving. By the way, Whiteford is located close to Toledo, Ohio and is just a few miles from the Ohio/Michigan border. When I attended I think the enrollment was about 320 and that included grades 7-12. Now the enrollment is about 280 so it is smaller now. But we know the world population has more than tripled. Well the way Whiteford has remained pretty constant is with exclusionary zoning. I think you need to buy 4 acres and then put a nice size house on those acres. It's a rural area mainly so a lot of the kids inherit their parent's farm. But change happens and there is less open farm land now for sure and more houses on 4 acres. Our house was on 8 acres. It was an old farm house that my dad remodeled. He sold it and moved after my youngest sister graduated from high school. She was the youngest, 5 years my junior and was born after we acquired that property. So she spent her whole life there until she graduated from Whiteford. We all went to Whiteford. My oldest brother is 5 years my senior. So I'm right in the middle with two step brothers, one a year older and one 2 years younger. I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters so yeah, there were 9 kids in total including myself.
The people of Ottawa Lake like their little community and aren't eager to see it change so they cling to their exclusionary zoning and see it as a way to preserve their quality of life. One of my Facebook friends who still lives there drives a truck to supplement his income while his wife retired as a teacher from the Toledo public schools. So I think they had at least two kids and now have a few grandkids. And more than a few such as myself have totally moved away. And I'll tell you what. I don't begrudge the citizens of Ottawa Lake, Michigan a little happiness in life. The only way we can preserve little patches of paradise such as this is to do what I've been saying all along. We can't act like cats and dogs when it comes to population. However I know for a fact that some of the farmers used migrant labor to pick their tomatoes. I worked for a farmer for about two months during the summer between my junior and senior year. He used migrant labor to pick his tomatoes. There was a little shack on the property where they stayed while harvesting. I was hoeing around the young tomato plants along with three other high school friends in the early summer. My brother-in-law's dad had migrant labor pick the tomatoes on his farm too. I picked green beans one afternoon when I was younger for about six hours and I think I made close to $5 total. We got 3 cents a pound. A bushel of green beans weighs about 26 pounds. There were a couple of Latino men also in the field picking too. When I was even younger my brothers and I even tried picking peppers for another farmer. I can tell you that picking anything is a hard way to make any money. All things considered is it any wonder some of these Latinos probably just stayed in the US instead of going back at the end of the season?
I just watched a recorded speech that Bernie Sanders gave after the election of Donald Trump. He didn't talk at all about overpopulation. He did say he was not in favor of breaking up families and deporting people. We really need comprehensive immigration reform to address this issue. Yes we are a nation of immigrants but this is no longer the 1800s. Globalization is here and that isn't going away. Corporations can manufacture anywhere and sell everywhere and Trump won't be able to stop that any more than he'll be able to stop or ignore climate change. This is all happening and we need to come up with solutions.
We all hear about the shootings in Chicago. Well Detroit has had its share of violence. Every Halloween used to be an arson fest for many years. So I'll be watching the game on my computer instead of heading out to Ford field to watch the Ottawa Lake Whiteford bobcats go for the division 8 state title. It would've been about a 5 hour drive for me just one way so that alone was discouragement enough. But I used to live only 17 miles away. I lived in a mobile home park near Eight Mile and Middlebelt for 18 years. I rode my bicycle to down town Detroit one Thanksgiving day to watch the Thanksgiving day parade that they have down Woodward Avenue. There are sidewalks all the way there. I rode east on Eight Mile and took a right on Grand River Avenue straight into downtown Detroit. It was probably 2004 and there were still many burned out buildings left over from the 1967 riots. As I rode past a club on the way out in the early morning there was a guy just standing out in front of the club on the sidewalk. I rode right by him. I'm guessing he was a drug dealer. On my way home while I was stopped for a red light a kid rode his bicycle toward me from one of the residential side streets. He had a shirt wrapped around his head like an Arab and he said to me "So you're going shirtless?" When he got closer and saw I was not from the neighborhood he just headed on toward downtown on Grand River in the opposite direction I was headed. I'm guessing he was a gang member and wearing a shirt on his head was perhaps the gang identification. I wore a disposable diaper so I didn't have to worry about finding some place to go while on my epic Detroit Grand River Avenue bicycle tour. On my way home the wind was against me. I stopped in front of a store to take a drink from my canteen and relaxed while I just peed into my diaper. There were bars on the door and on the windows of this store. I had only been there a few minutes when some guys rode by in a car and gave me the finger. In hindsight I'm guessing that there was probably a motion detector pointing toward the sidewalk and these guys might have thought someone was trying to break into their store. So that was an adventure that I only did just this once.
I get it. People think that by having exclusionary zoning and making it expensive to live some place that they will protect themselves from crime and violence from poor people. But that doesn't explain why Detroit still has exclusionary zoning. By making housing more expensive that just exacerbates poverty. In this case exclusionary zoning creates the very thing people are hoping to protect themselves from. In the case of Ottawa Lake, Michigan exclusionary zoning discourages people from moving back or remaining there. I only recognized one last name on the Bobcat roster. Jesse Kiefer is the great nephew of Barrie Kiefer. Barrie was a senior my sophomore year. He was the quarterback of the team that went undefeated, were league champs and started the 23 game winning streak 50 years ago. Jesse Kiefer is a senior this year and has set records for yards gained and touch downs. They run the wing-T. The coach is in his fifth year. He replaced a guy who was also on the team that won 23 straight. He was a senior when I was a junior. We were league champs for a second year in a row. This current team is better than we were. They went as far as the semi-finals in division 8 last year. So they are hungry. The community is really supporting them. They even have their own Facebook site. The coach told the announcer of the semi-final game that the community support is what is so gratifying to him. He's not some young kid but has been in 4 or 5 other programs, including as head coach. He knows that the prior coach was able to keep coaching his entire career at Whiteford even without a winning record. So he knows that his job is secure and maybe that is what sold him on the job. Winning is just frosting on the cake. He told the announcer that the wing-T has been around since the 1920's so you'd think people would've come up with a way to defend against it by now. I'm sure Muskegon Catholic Central, their opponent this Friday, has given it some thought. I'll be watching along with a lot of other people. Go Bobcats.