Man blames feud with mayor for new Dodge Park stage noise

- Loud music coming from a newly-built bandstand in Sterling Heights is hitting a sour note with at least one man. A former city councilman says the new stage was built as an act of vengeance against him by his long-time nemesis, Mayor Michael Taylor. 

Paul Smith tells us the stage used to be off towards the southeast corner of town, when the city was under the leadership of Mayor Richard Notte. But now, under Mayor Taylor, Smith says the stage is pointed right at him. 

FOX 2's Taryn Asher asked Smith if he thinks that was on purpose. 

"Who can tell what evil lurks in the hearts of men -- and that goes double for Taylor."

Taylor was amused by the claim.

"It's pretty common behavior from Paul Smith," Taylor said. "I rolled my eyes and got a laugh out of it."

Apparently, Smith thinks Mayor Taylor has an axe to grind. Last Thursday Smith called 911 complaining about the loud noise coming from live music being played at the new Dodge Park.

But that's not all. According to the police report, Smith believes Mayor Taylor spent $1 million to remove the old stage and build a new one that directs the music toward his home. He says it was intentional because he ran against Taylor for mayor in 2015. But Smith lost. By a lot.

We asked Taylor if he had anything to do with the redirection of the stage at Dodge Park.

"Of course not," he said. "I didn't have anything to do with design of Dodge Park, although I think it's turned out absolutely wonderful. We've had a great turnout and success with Dodge Park over the last four weeks since it's been done. I think we've got one complaint about it, and it's from Paul Smith."

"I ran against him five years ago and I ran against him three years ago; he doesn't bury the hatchet on that stuff," Smith says. 

Smith, who is a Republican running for Macomb County commissioner, may look familiar. Over the last decade he has been at the center of several controversial protests, and made racist and derogatory comments and complaints while unsuccessfully running for office.

Officers responded to his complaint last Thursday and visited his backyard, but didn't feel the noise was excessive.

"Police came over, took the complaint ... and said, 'Oh, it doesn't sound too bad to me,'" Smith said. "And I go, 'Well, at work it may not, but I'm at home.'"

"What do you want them to do, rip out the whole park and re-direct it?" FOX 2 asked Smith.

"I would love if they tear down the whole park, actually."

Smith lives about a half mile from the stage, which was part of a $45 million renovation that includes a splash pad, farmers market and much more. And Smith told us he doesn't like that either. But, he contends he won't be moving.

"Paul has a had a long history of bizarre behavior over the last 8 or 9 years. I don't know; he feels like he is being targeted by us, by the administration," Taylor said. "He has one of the nicest houses in Sterling Heights and he's here for long haul. I don't think it is all bad."

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