Sunday, June 29, 2008

Livingston Officers Step Down to Focus on Their Campaigns

Two leaders of the Livingston County Democratic Party are turning over the reins of party leadership in order to concentrate on their campaigns for state and local races.

Party Chair Matt Evans and Vice Chair Donna Anderson announced at the party’s monthly meeting on Thursday (June 26, 2008) that they wished to relinquish their duties. Evans is a write-in candidate on the Aug. 5 primary ballot for supervisor of Green Oak Township. Anderson is seeking the party’s nomination to replace term-limited Republican Chris Ward as state representative from the 66th District, which includes the city of Brighton, Milford and a portion of western Oakland County.

"I have a busy law practice, a wonderful wife, and a growing son that I want to see more of. And I want to campaign hard in Green Oak Township. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I thought I could go without sleep, but I’m a mere mortal, and I can't," Evans said.

Anderson said continuing leadership of the busy county party would cut down on the time she would have to get to know voters in her legislative race.

"I've enjoyed my time as vice chair. Our party is growing so rapidly that being an officer takes a tremendous amount of time. It’s just not possible to take on two heavy responsibilities at the same time and still have time to see my grandchildren," Anderson said.

Under the leadership of Evans and Anderson, the party has been aggressive in scheduling fund-raisers and other events. It has held movie nights to show films such as Michael Moore's "Sicko," hosted information forums on stem cell research and the Michigan Supreme Court, and landed prestigious speakers such as UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer.

The new chair and vice chair said they plan to continue those programs, while putting together a get-out-the-vote program to maximize Democratic turnout in November.

Judy Daubenmier, who was unanimously elected party chair, said she expects a smooth transition. "We want to pick up right where Matt and Donna left off. As Democrats, we are focused on the fall," she said.

Daubenmier, 58, of Genoa Township, has lived in Livingston County since 1989 and has been a member of the party executive committee since January 2007. She worked as a volunteer for the local party in the 2004 election. She has a doctorate in history from the University of Michigan and teaches part-time in the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is a member of the Lecturers' Employee Organization, Local 6244 of the American Federation of Teachers, at the University of Michigan and of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Brighton. She and her husband, Michael, have one grown daughter.

Dave Buckland, 59, of Hamburg Township, was unanimously elected vice chair. Buckland and his wife, Debby, have lived in Livingston County since 1977 and raised three sons here. A graduate of Ohio State University, he is a quality engineer with ACH-LLC, (automotive components holding). Dave has been committed to the community, coaching 19 years for his children's youth soccer, baseball, and basketball teams, including 5 years as HCAA Youth Soccer Commissioner. He served three years on the Hamburg Parks and Recreation Committee and is in the 13th year on the Strawberry Lakes Joint Parks Committee and is currently the Treasurer.

Buckland has been on the party’s executive committee since January 2007 and ran for the Livingston County Commission for the 8th district in 2006.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Feel the Energy!

Wow, what a great organizational meeting for Barack Obama we had on Saturday (June 28, 2008)!

More than 60 people showed up at Livingston County Democratic Party headquarters to learn how they can help make Barack Obama our next president. Some had worked for John Kerry four years ago. Most had not. Some admitted to having been Republicans. We welcome them. We know Barack is a magnetic candidate with a powerful message of hope and change, and that people from all across the political spectrum will find that combination irresistible.

This was my first exposure to the power of Obama's grassroots appeal since because of the Michigan primary situation he did not campaign here. I have to say I came away awed. People did not have to be persuaded. They believe they have the power to bring about change, one voter at a time. They are anxious to start.

People did not just sign up for yard signs. They checked four or five boxes on the volunteer sign-up forms.

And they even came up with their own ideas. I must say, I like the idea of "Drinking Liberally"! (As long as there is a designated driver, of course.) We'll keep you posted on when and where these get-togethers are planned so check back here.

If you missed today's organizational meeting, it's not too late to get involved. Call party headquarters (810) 229-4212 or email to find out what activities are available.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Brighton Obama Unite for Change Event Features Former Clinton Activist

Supporters of Barack Obama are getting organized in Livingston County -- with the help of a former supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Debby Buckland, who was the state field director for Clinton in two states, is co-hosting the Obama Unite for Change event at 1 p.m. Saturday (June 28, 2008) at Livingston County Democratic Party headquarters, 10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600 of the Fonda office park, in Brighton.

No political experience is necessary. Come and find out how you can help elect Barack Obama right here in Livingston County, simply by talking to other people. Call (810) 229-4212 for more information.

The event will take about an hour. Refreshments and Obama bumper stickers and buttons will be available (for a donation). Call (810) 229-4212 for more information.

Having Debby working as a volunteer for this campaign shows how serious we are about finding every possible Obama vote in our county.

Debby worked in West Virginia and Minnesota as the state field director for Clinton, but now is enthusiastic to be volunteering for Obama.

"My candidate didn't win, but we're all Democrats and after the primaries are over, we shake hands and go back to work for the winner," she said.

Debby has significant campaign experience. She was campaign manager for Edward Woods III for Lansing Community College Trustee in Lansing in 2007; worked for the Bill Richardson for President campaign in Linn County, Iowa, during 2007 as lead field organizer; was field director for the Christine Jennings Recount Campaign in Sarasota, Florida,in 2006; was regional field director for the 2006 Michigan Coordinated Campaign in Lansing, and was lead field organizer for the 2004 Michigan Coordinated Campaign in Livingston County.

Come Saturday and learn from Debby how we can help elect Barack Obama right here in Livingston County!

300 People for a President--Now That's a 'Small' Crowd!

When Livingston County Democrats attracted about 75 people on a weeknight to see former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, the Livingston Press and Argus labeled it a "small" crowd, in its otherwise balanced account of the event.

Today (June 26, 2008), the Detroit Free Press reports that George Bush attracted "more than 300 people" to a fund-raiser in Livonia.

Generally, readers are better served with the Free Press approach -- just stating the number of people who attended and letting the readers decide for themselves how to characterize the size -- small, medium, large, or just right. Or the news organization might provide some sort of comparative information, such as the number at a similar event recently, to help the readers form their own judgments.

But since I write for a blog and not a newspaper, I'll go ahead and characterize the Bush crowd -- 300 is a mighty small crowd for a sitting president in a community the size of metro Detroit and its suburbs.

Regardless of Livingston GOP Chair Allan Filip's comment in the article that there "are a lot of people out here who support him," there apparently weren't a lot willing to plunk down serious money for the privilege of listening to him.

And that can only be good news for Democrats this fall.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To a Livingston Crowd, Archer Sounds Gubernatorial

Is Dennis Archer running for governor of Michigan?

Let's just say, actions speak louder than words.

The former associate justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and former mayor of Detroit spent almost 90 minutes with a crowd of 75 Democrats in the historical courtroom of the Livingston County Courthouse in Howell on Tuesday night talking about the need for better schools, a new approach to solving problems in Michigan, and the need for all regions of the state to work together.

"I want to raise the bar. I'm not making a secret of what I'm doing. I'm looking at the governor's office out of respect of those who have asked me to," Archer told the audience, which burst into applause at the remark.

Archer stopped short of saying he definitely will run, but he said he wants Michigan voters to make sure that whoever does run for governor has done the hard work of understanding the problems and complexities of the state's problems. That, he said, is more important than offering a litany of personal achievements as qualifications for governor.

"This state cannot afford to have somebody who needs on the job training," he said.

Archer had praise for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is term-limited out of her office in 2010. He said her efforts to create jobs, such as the 46 percent tax break for filmmakers, are paying off, adding he loved the fact that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in California is trying to figure out how to catch up with Michigan.

And he said she has put forth reasonable solutions to the state's spiralling prison costs by releasing non-violent offenders, but groups such as the sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys have stood in the way.

Agreeing with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, Archer said, "We need to change the way we do politics. Once we get elected, we need to work together. Right now, it's gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. You can't do that and serve the people. You've got to put the people first. When you put the people first, the people win."

Regarding education, Archer said the state needs a cultural change on the part of many parents to demand children do well in school and plan for higher education. "Bill Cosby's absolutely right," he said, referring to the comedian's talks urging more efforts by families.

Archer remained an optimist about Michigan's future, noting that current economic conditions are nowhere near as bad as the Great Depression. "It will turn around. ... Yes, I'm very much optimistic about the future," he said.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Archer Event Moved to Downtown Howell Courthouse

The Honorable Dennis Archer will speak next Tuesday (June 24, 2008) at 7 p.m. in Howell in a location where he should feel right at home -- a courtroom.

Archer's appearance is sponsored by the Livingston County Democratic Party. Vice Chair Donna Anderson says the site was moved to the Livingston County Courthouse, 200 E. Grand River, Howell, due to road construction near party headquarters and the desire to accommodate a larger audience. The event will be in the historical courtroom on the second floor. Since the event is after hours, only the rear entrance to the courthouse, off Clinton Street, will be open.

Archer should be right at home in a courtroom. Archer served as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court before being elected mayor of Detroit.

Archer, who spent his youth in the small town of Cassopolis, will speak on the interrelations between Michigan’s urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Archer is chair of the Detroit law firm of Dickinson Wright. He served on the Michigan Supreme Court from 1986 to 1990 and as mayor of Detroit from 1994 to 2001. While mayor of Detroit, Mr. Archer served as president of the National League of Cities and was picked by Newsweek magazine as one of the "25 most dynamic mayors in the country."

Since leaving public office, he has served as the first African American president of the prestigious American Bar Association from 2003 to 2004 and as chairman of the board of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2007.

A donation of $10 for the event is suggested.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Republicans -- The Party That Shoots Together ...

Are Livingston County Republicans in training for the Michigan Militia? Are they planning a military coup for the fall? Or are they all getting ready to volunteer for a George Bush "October surprise" attack on Iran?

Why else are they planning a "shooting clinic" for women members?

Livingston County Republican Party Chair Allan Filip reminded members in a recent email (sent to me by a friend who wishes not to be named) of the July 12 shooting clinic.

There's nothing wrong with a clinic on how to shoot guns. It's perfectly legal, and many people enjoy shooting guns.

It just seems like a bizarre way for a political party to spend its monthly meeting.

At our meetings, Livingston County Democrats like to screen important documentaries, invite in interesting speakers, or learn about potential ballot issues. Afterward, we can discuss the ins and outs of the issue over a cup of coffee and a piece of cake.

I imagine that's a much more interesting conversation than bragging about how many times you hit the bull's eye or the figure's heart.

But that's just me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sick, Sick, Sick System

America's health system is sick, sick, sick, according to a Livingston Democrat running for county commissioner from Hartland.

Adrian Campbell Montgomery, who was featured in Michael Moore's film on American health care Sicko, appeared in a recent edition of Laura Flanders' Show on GritTV to talk about comparisons between the American system and the Canadian one.

Adrian does a fine job in this clip of explaining how, without health care coverage from her employer, she went to Canade for health care when her daughter was sick. (There is no direct link to the clip. Scroll down to the episode for May 22. The discussion of health care begins about 26 and a half minutes in.)

But Adrian isn't through with the health care issue.

She is the Michigan organizer for a National Day of Health Insurance Protest on Thursday (June 19, 2006) at 3 p.m. outside the Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan Building, 500 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit. The goal is to bring attention to legislation for a single payer health care system, HR 676, or Medicare for All.

"It is time to end profits on people's lives!" Adrian says.

For more information, please contact Adrian via E-mail at

"We do need a megaphone, if anyone who would like to come can bring one, we would greatly appreciate it, as we plan on making some noise," she said.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Alexander Campaign Getting Attention

Bob Alexander isn't the only person who thinks he can beat Republican Mike Rogers in Michigan's 8th Congressional District.

The Michigan Messenger is touting Bob's chances in a post for Friday (June 13, 2008).

Says the post: "If Alexander, whose only other attempt at elected office was an unsuccessful run against Rogers in 2004, did manage to tilt even 1 percent of his district away from voting again for Rogers, it would make his an inspirational story: The longtime Democratic activist in the trenches winning against a long-serving Republican with massive name recognition -- and having it be for national office. In these tough economic and global times, and if the success of the Obama campaign is any indicator, voters might not automatically pull the lever for 'experience' come November."

If You Drive a Car, Eat in Restaurants, Have a Job -- Don't Overlook this Race

Which race on the November 2008 election ballot has the potential to most directly affect your life? Most people might say it's the race at the top of the ticket -- the presidential battle between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

But the most important race for Michigan residents might be one of those at the bottom of the ballot -- the contest on the Michigan Supreme Court. Chief Justice Clifford Taylor -- first appointed to the bench by Republican Gov. John Engler -- is seeking another eight-year term. And a speaker for the Justice Caucus Supreme Challenge 2008 told Livingston County Democrats Thursday (June 12, 2008) that Taylor -- with the help of the rest of his "Gang of Four" -- has wiped out many long-held rights of Michigan residents regarding the work place, the environment, and the ability to collect on the insurance policies they pay for.

"They mock the notion of justice. ... They literally have said in their opinions that it is not the job of this court to do justice," Said Doug Shapiro, an Ann Arbor attorney.

Taylor, along with fellow Republicans Stephen Markman, Bob Young, and Maura Corrigan, have decided every case they've handled in favor of insurance companies regardless of the facts before them, Shapiro said.

"What they have done is make the Supreme Court a seven-person Legislature and four of them are Republican. It's all politics. They are politicians in black robes," Shapiro said.

Taylor was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by Engler and then the Supreme Court, based on the fact that his wife, Lucille Taylor, was Engler's lawyer. He narrowly won re-election last time. "He didn't exactly rise to the top through merit," Shapiro said.

"From 1999 to the present, they have radically changed Michigan's courts. Environmentalists, unions, insureds -- so many groups have had the doors of justice closed to them under this court. Insurance companies have had the doors thrown open. They have been able to get everything they want," he said.

In the last 10 years, Shapiro said, every case between insureds and insurance companies has been won by the insurance company. The court, he said, has said that since insurabnce companies have a duty to build up reserves to they can pay claims to their customers, it is the best interests of customers to deny claims.

Shapiro said Taylor's court also has:

--Shortened the time to bring a lawsuit against an insurance company for failing to pay claims to one year from the date the claim was filed, allowing companies to drag their feet on paying claims until it is impossible for the consumer to sue.
--Made it harder for family members to be paid for providing care to someone injured in a car accident, requiring that they have a contact to provide care.
--Required injured people to pay for medical care upfront and then be reimbursed by the auto insurer, meaning people with limited means can get no coverage because they can't afford to pay for care up front.
--Made it harder to sue government for actions of their employees, except in the unlikely event that the government workers were the sole cause of the injury.
--Limited lawsuits over roads to pot holes, banning lawsuits over the design of roads or non-functioning traffic signals.
--Barring citizens from suing to protect the environment, a right clearly spelled out in Michigan law.
--Removed the requirement that owners of establishments clean up spills on floors in restaurants, salt their roads, plow snow or fix potholes.

And that's just the start. Imagine what another eight years of Taylor rule would do.

Shapiro said Taylor has an enormous advantage since the ballot will list him as the incumbent and because 30 to 40 percent of voters don't vote in the judicial contests.

"This race is about education" of voters as to what the court has done and the need to vote in the race, he said.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Granholm Makes Splash in Livingston County

Don't miss the Livingston Press and Argus' coverage of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's visit to Brighton on Wednesday (June 11, 2008).

"Standing-room only crowd" says a lot about the state of the Livingston County Democratic Party.

Come Meet Our 8th District Candidate!

Bob Alexander's campaign to oust the do-nothing Republican Mike Rogers from Congress is off to a fast start.

In the last few weeks, Alexander has found office space, hired staff, and put together a website that will soon go live.

And now he has a fund-raiser coming up.

The event will be Tuesday (June 17, 2008) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1790 Schoolcraft Street, Holt. Please RSVP at 517-694-3754.

If you cannot attend, you can still be part of Bob's campaign by sending a contribution to: Bob Alexander for Congress, 1429 Somerset, East Lansing, MI 48823.