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Marine City Mayor calls for end to negative rhetoric in the city

Photo by Barb Pert Templeton for Blue Water Healthy Living Positive things happening in Marine City include properties being cleaned up, outdated ordinances being rewritten, new ordinances have been established and more business are seeking to relocate to the city.

Says social media posts and endless emails hurting progress

By Barb Pert Templeton

“If I tell you that the sky is green the sky is green, the sky is green and if I keep saying it, will you start beliveing it?”

Those are the words Marine City Mayor Cheryl Vercammen shared at the start of a six-minute monologue she shared during the “commissioner’s privilege” section of a regular city commission meeting agenda on Sept. 15. 

“Even though we see the fact that the sky is blue if you’re being told something over and over again, we start to question the truth and doubt the facts,” Vercammen continued. “This is exactly what is happening in our city, you are being told untruthful statements over and over and over again.”

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She said untrue statements are being posted on social media as well and it’s wrong. The commission is in place to look at the factual information that comes before them and make a decision, making those decisions based on what’s best for the taxpayers and the city.

Photo courtesy of CTV Community Television
Marine City Mayor Cheryl Vercammen speaks out about negative vibe in the city despite lots of positive changes.

“Social media used to be a nice place to catch up with family and friends but some social media sites have turned into a den of hate and deception, Facebook is now known as Fakebook,” Vercammen said.

She warned that there are many people posting information on social media that are actually scammers, not only is the content of the post false but so are the identities of the posters. 

“Do you know how easy it is to create a fake person on social media? Make up a name, get a fake email address and they are in business to scam you into beliveing that they are real, but they are not, please be cautious,” Vercammen said. 

She said the city staff and the commission are there to help and there to answer questions and concerns but currently the city is being inundated with email requests from a select few citizens. They are seeking information about subjects that aren’t public information, repeating complaints that have been previously addressed or the mail denotes the senders’ personal opinion related to community leaders, Vercammen said.

“While every individual is entitled to their opinion and every individual is entitled to send emails, what they are not entitled to do is a constant repetative response,” Vercammen said. “No matter how demanding the tone, no resident should ever have a direct line to information before it is presented to the commission (or made available to the public).” 

“And residents should not be making any threats to our city employees regardless of how subtle,” she added. 

As city leaders, Vercammen said they want open lines of communication, they want to help and want to know what they can do better but excessive daily emails are making productivity in the city offices challenging. 

Encouraging a more positive look at what’s going on in the city, Vercammen said properties are being cleaned up, outdated ordinances are being rewritten, new ordinances are being established and more business are seeking to relocate to the city. She said they are seeking out more grants than they have in decades, a new marina is on the horizon and they are involving the next generation in beautification projects around the city.

“These are things the city is working on, on a day-to-day business, if our time was not being spent on the negative narrative of the few, image how much more the city could accomplish for our community as a whole,” Vercammen said.

She then suggested instead of using time on negative emails and social media postings the few naysayers volunteer to clean-up the parks or spread the word about new businesses to fill empty buildings in the city.

All ideas, no matter how big or small, are welcome and will be considered by city leaders, Vercammen said. 

“These are the interactions we should strive for; dirty water doesn’t stop plants from growing so don’t let negative words stop your progress,” Vercammen concluded.

First elected to a four-year term on the city commission in 2018, she stepped down and ran for mayor in 2020, which is a two-year term that will conclude this November.

Vercammen is not seeking re-election to the city’s top spot this fall but it’s not due to unrest that has clouded commission meetings over the last year. Instead, Vercammen is moving to a new retirement home in Cottrellville Township and will no longer be a resident of the city. She will however, retain ownership of her business in the city, The Little Bar Restaurant on Chartier Road. 

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