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Song Parodies -> "Like a Relative Unknown"

Original Song Title:

"Like a Rolling Stone"

Original Performer:

Bob Dylan

Parody Song Title:

"Like a Relative Unknown"

Parody Written by:


The Lyrics

In the fall of 2001, after months of secret negotiations, the city administration of Novi, Michigan announced a deal to settle a substantial lawsuit brought against the city by Sandstone Associates. The deal involved the city giving Sandstone about 100 acres of prime parkland for a strip mall/residential development. A small group of angry residents formed a "Friends of Novi Parks" group (FONP) to stop the deal and sued the city on the grounds that selling parkland without voter approval violated state law.FONP sought public support by sending letters to the editor of the local newspaper. One resident, "Tim Gordy" (not his real name), replied with a letter of his own in which he chided one FONP member for being "a relative unknown" and another for not owning "a personal phone." Those two phrases reminded me of the refrain from Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and inspired me to write a parody about the whole Sandstone saga.Because this was a very local issue it is necessary to explain some of the things referred to in the song. The explanations appear below the song and are keyed to the corresponding footnote numbers within the text.
Once upon a time the park was so fine
But the mayor was a slime, you thought it was a crime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Don't fight City Hall, we'd rather have a mall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to hike about
Use the park for hangin' out
Riding with the Mountain bike crowd [1]
Now the Friends group feels so proud
About having to be fighting to stop The Deal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To not own a home
Or a personal phone
Like you're all alone
Like a relative unknown?

You've gone to the Council meetings, and all the proceedings [2]
But you know you only used to get dissed at them
Nobody ever thought you'd rock the boat, so 7-0 was the vote [3]
And now you're gonna have to get pissed at them
The City tries to tell you lies
They say it's not a sale, but now you realize [4]
You're not buying any alibis
You know it's time to organize
And say, "Do you want to fight The Deal?"


You've sent a ton of emails to save the trails [5]
From the jokers and the snails
When they all failed to keep you in the dark
They never understood that it ain't no good
You wouldn't let other people try to steal the park
The mayor's on his high horse, in his campaign hat
Says the land must be denuded and leveled flat [6]
Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really was a dirty rat
After he hid from you everything he could conceal?


It's not 550 acres and all the lawmakers [7]
They're all winking, thinking they've got it made
Spouting the Gospel according to Clark [8]
Change the Master Plan; say the park's not a park [9]
You've been betrayed
You wrote to the Novi News
So did Tim Gordy, but he's confused
Save the park from Sandstone, you can't refuse
Sue the City, you've got nothing to lose
It's not frivolous now, you've got big secrets to reveal.

[1] Some FONP members also belonged to The Michigan Mountain Bike Association, which assisted in creating and maintaining hiking and biking trails in the park.[2] Novi City Council meetings.[3] On October 15, 2001 the Novi City Council voted 7-0 to approve the Sandstone settlement.[4] The City claimed that the settlement did not constitute a "sale" because they were merely "conveying" the land to Sandstone (conveniently ignoring the fact that it was being done instead of paying off a $70,000,000 judgement).[5] As FONP organized their efforts, much of the communication was carried out via e-mail.[6] Arsenic was detected in some areas of the park. The levels were below the legal limit set for parkland, but above the limit for residential. So, if the land remained a park it would not require remediation but if it became residential, it would first have to be cleaned up. Part of the settlement was that the City would pay for the remediation. The mayor insisted the City would have done this anyway, had the land remained a park (even though it would not have been legally necessary). Yes, he actually used the word "denuded."[7] In various documents and statements, the City continually inflated the size of the park to 550 acres. The true size was closer to 430 acres. The City was doing this to make the 100-acre settlement parcel seem to be a smaller percentage of the park than it really was.[8] Clark is the Mayor's last name.[9] The settlement parcel clearly appeared on the City's Master Plan as parkland. Mayor Clark and the city council had to stack the Planning Commission with their hand-picked stooges, who then voted to change the Master Plan so the land was no longer "required as a park."

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Total Votes: 2

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