Monday, May 26, 2008

Livingston Democratic Candidates Shine in Spotlight

Livingston County-area media are finding Democratic candidates to be notable and quotable. At least two candidates have been featured in area newspapers within the last week.

Anna Ernst, a candidate for trustee in Green Oak Township, was quoted in the Livingston Press and Argus on Thursday (May 22, 2008) about the land deal that has been making headlines in that township for months. Ernst pointed out that the current crop of trustees has been far too secretive about the process, making it impossible for the public to trust them.

And Adrian Campbell Montgomery of Hartland, a candidate for county commissioner in District 3, was featured in the Flint Journal on Saturday (May 24, 2008). The focus of the article was her brief role in the Michael Moore film on health care, Sicko, and decision by Meijer's to fire her because of it. Adrian explains how the experience has politicized her. Adrian recently returned from New York, where she taped a segment for the Laura Flanders TV show.

Congratulations to both candidates for their showing!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Livingston Dems to Focus on Fairness of Michigan High Court

Does the average person get a fair shake when his or her case comes before the Michigan Supreme Court? Or are the justices so bought-and-paid-for by big corporations that the facts of the case no longer matter?

Livingston Democrats will hear a discussion of those issues during a special forum next month titled "Justice No More: What the Michigan Supreme Court Majority Is Doing to Our Legal System."

The event, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 12, is co-sponsored by the Michigan Justice Caucus and will feature Amos Williams, a former candidate for Michigan attorney general.

Donna Anderson, vice chair of the Livington County Democratic Party, is helping organize the forum. Anderson, a candidate for the Michigan House from the 66th District, said judicial matters are key to our democracy.

"Too often, working people think legal issues are too complicated for them or that they don’t matter, so they tend to ignore them. But anyone can understand the basic principle of fairness that underlies our justice system. And it is precisely that principle of fairness that is being lost in our court system today," she said.

"Fortunately, voters will have a chance to try to correct this problem in November, when Chief Justice Clifford Taylor must stand for re-election."

Anderson said that while she looks forward to working on progressive legislation as a member of the Michigan House, the intent of that legislation can easily be undermined by justices who are willing to decide cases based on political ideology rather than the law and facts before them.

And that can affect all aspects of life in Michigan -- from workers' rights on the job, to the health care they are eligible for, to protection of the environment, and beyond.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held at Livingston County Democratic Party Headquarters, 10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600, Brighton. Admission is a suggested donation of $10, plus an item for the Gleaners Food Bank.
People wishing more information may call (810) 229-4212 or email

Pitch in for Alexander for Congress on Memorial Day

This Memorial Day is a good time to stay close to home, and not just because of high gas prices.

With the nation in the sixth year (i.e., Mission Accomplished plus six) of another war, it's a good time to remind ourselves that the original purpose of Memorial Day was to honor military veterans -- specifically veterans of the Civil War.

And what better way to do that than to take in a Memorial Day Parade on Monday (May 26, 2008).

While you're at it, why not engage in one of the privileges veterans have protected for us -- the right to participate in free elections? Bob Alexander's campaign for the 8th District Congressional District in Michigan will be leafletting and collecting petition signatures from 11 a.m. to noon before the Hartland Memorial Day Parade.

The parade starts at Ore Creek Middle School, which is on Hartland Road and past Dunham Road, and ends at the Don Epley Community Park.

Call Nancy at (517) 404-2979 for more information.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Justice Taylor's State Tour Mighty Convenient

In case there was any doubt about Cliff Taylor's ties to the Michigan Republican Party, the latest email from the state party makes it pretty clear that Taylor is a party hack rather than an impartial justice.

The latest "Victory Update" from the Michigan Republicans (sent to me by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous) is shilling for Taylor, the chief justice who is up for re-election this November.

The "Victory Update" notes that "Justice Clifford Taylor continues to travel Michigan meeting citizens from all walks of life. Last week he presided over a Supreme Court Session held in Hastings, Michigan. Members of the community and students from local schools were all able to see the Supreme Court in action in the local courthouse.

"Justice Taylor also attended the Manistee County Lincoln Day event in Onekema, and spoke to the Young Lawyers Section in Mt. Pleasant.

"If you have an event in your area that you would like Chief Justice Taylor to attend, please contact Colleen Pero at or call her at (517) 675-7323."

How convenient that "Justice No More" Taylor is so anxious to meet Michigan citizens from all walks of life, right before the election. I wonder, are taxpayers paying for the high court to hold sessions all around the state so that Taylor can campaign for re-election?

The high court's press releaes on the Barry County event mentions it is the second such event in the "Court Community Connections." Are more planned? If so, why this year?

The former boss of Taylor's wife, John Engler, made plenty of hay over former Gov. Jim Blanchard allegedly campaigning on the state dime. Surely Taylor himself wouldn't be doing the same, would he?

Livingston Dems Showing Film on Electoral Abuse

Are high gas prices keeping you home this Memorial Day weekend? If so, that doesn't mean you can't have some fun.

How about joining Livingston Democrats for a Show and a Sundae, on Sunday (May 25, 2008)? The party will be screening American Blackout, a film on vote suppression and electoral abuse which was shown at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Journalist Greg Palast says the film blew him away with its expose of voting problems in this country.

The screening will begin at 5 p.m. at Livingston County Democratic Party headquarters, 10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600, Brighton, Michigan. An ice cream social -- with all the trimmings -- will follow.

Bring the kids. A children's film will be shown simultaneously in an adjoining room.

Admission is a suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 for the family, plus an item for Gleaners Food Bank.

For more information, call (810) 229-4212 or email

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Local 'Sicko' Figure and County Candidate to Be on Talk Show

Democratic County Commissioner Candidate Adrian Campbell Montgomery is headed to New York!

Montgomery, of Hartland, already is well-known for being featured in Michigan native Michael Moore's film on health care, Sicko, in which she said she goes to Canada to get health care. She was fired from her job at Meijer's as a result.

But when it comes to getting out the message about the need for health care, Montgomery has not been intimidated.

This Thursday (May 22, 2008), Montgomery heads to New York for a taping of the Laura Flanders talk show on Grit TV, which airs on DishTV.

LivingBlue will keep you posted on the date of the show and round up a link for those of you who don't have access to the Free Speech Network through DishTV.

Good luck, Adrian!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Democratic Primaries Will Liven Livingston House Races

Congratulations to all our Democratic candidates who filed for office on Tuesday (May 13, 2008) in order to try to make Livingston County a better place to live!

Things will definitely be interesting, with primary races for both House seats that are open in November due to term limits.

In the 47th House District, John Lazo Sr. and Scott F. Lucas are competing for the Democratic nomination to replace Republican Joe Hune.

In the 66th House District, Donna Anderson, vice chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party, will face Tommy Crawford for the Democratic nomination to replace Republican Chris Ward.

At the County Commissioner level, Adrian Campbell Montgomery of Hartland Township will run against Republican incumbent Dave Domas. Montgomery was featured in Michael Moore's 2007 film on health-care, "Sicko."

And Pam Green is running against Republican incumbent Maggie Green.

All these candidates will need your help in the coming months. Right now, they deserve our thanks for making the sacrifices involved in running for office.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alexander Makes It Official!

After days of knocking on doors in the small towns of Ingham County, Bob Alexander finished with more than enough signatuares on his nominating petitions to file Tuesday (May 13, 2008) for Congress.

Michigan Messenger has a nice piece on Alexander's campaign for 8th District Congress. As the sole candidate, Alexander wins the right to challenge Republican Mike "Recession" Rogers.

Has a nice ring, doesn't it? "Recession" Rogers.

Now that the election is getting close, "Recession" Rogers sent out an email bragging about voting for a measure to provide relief for homeowners who have been foreclosed upon.

Several weeks ago, "Recession" Rogers thought it was good enough to hold a radio town hall meeting and hand out the phone number of a private organization to help people in such straits.

Bet "Recession" Rogers changes a few more things between now and November.

Monday, May 12, 2008

People Power

Enjoy the Photos!

Michigan Policy Summit 5-10-08

Dear Dan Farough of Progress Michigan, (e-mail sent 5-12-08 - today)

Many people came up to me at the Michigan Policy Summit Meeting on Sat. May 10, 2008 and wanted to know how to get a sign: "War is Not the Answer." Could you send out to the group the following link that tells them how to get a sign?

I also was given permission to take a picture of Amy Goodman and Jim Hightower with that sign as well as my Pinwheels for Peace ( to help save a kindergarten and the village of Al Aqabah in the West Bank. The website just above explains the Pinwheels for Peace.

I'm having to multitask these days with all my signs whereever I go! Please pass on whatever information you deem relevant. I do think the message of both Amy and Jim was to empower the agitators to speak truth to power.
I'm a peace agitator representing myself! I also like to do back up dancing to the Motown Sound! :))


Mares Hirchert
2641 Sun Terrace
Hartland, MI 48353

P.S. Thank you for all the time and energy in organizing the Summit: "Rebuilding Michigan."
Building, rebuilding, using our energy for positive change-acting together we can have a just and peaceful world. "The times they are a changin." -Bob Dylan, I think, from "Blowin in the Wind"

Will Dennis Archer Reveal Political Plans to Livingston Dems?

The buzz is for the 2010 elections in Michigan is already starting, and one of the most interesting questions is whether former Supreme Court Justice Dennis Archer will step back into the political arena.

You might get some hints about that when the Honorable Dennis Archer speaks to Livingston County Democrats on Tuesday, June 24, at Livingston County Democratic Party Headquarters, 10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600, Brighton.

Mr. Archer, who served two terms as mayor of Detroit before declining to run for a third term in 2001, told news organizations in February that he has been thinking about running for governor in 2010, when Democrat Jennifer Granholm leaves office because of term limits.

Mr. Archer will speak on the interrelations between Michigan's urban, suburban, and rural areas, but no doubt other topics will come up. A native of Detroit, Mr. Archer grew up in the small town of Cassopolis so he is familiar with small-town Michigan living.

The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by coffee and dessert. The suggested donation is $10 per person and an item for Gleaners' Food Bank, but no one will be turned away.

Mr. Archer is one of Michigan's most distinguished Democrats. Don't miss him!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let's Celebrate Mother's Day the Way It Was Intended

Happy Mother's Day!

As you take Mom out for an expensive brunch, present her with gift cards for a spa treatment, or call her from across the miles, why not think about the real meaning of Mother's Day?

Yeah, just like Christmas, the original meaning of Mother's Day has been buried under an avalanche of commercialization. And this is a good time to revive the day's original focus.

Originally, Mother's Day in the U.S. was an anti-war idea.

In the post-Civil War era, Julia Ward Howe came up with the idea of a Mother's Day for Peace. Howe had seen the ravages of war and wanted women around the world to unite against war and to work to find way to resolve disagreements peacefully. She wrote a declaration urging a world-wide congress of women to work for peace, and Mother's Day for Peace celebrations were held in numerous cities during the 1870s and 1880s. Howe, however, never succeeded in getting Mother's Day for Peace formally recognized.

That was left to Anna Jarvis, who started a Mother's Day at a West Virginia church in honor of her mother, who had worked to improve sanitation for soldiers during the Civil War. The idea spread to 45 states before President Wilson signed a measure establishing Mother's Day in 1914. The measure said nothing about peace.

But Jarvis quickly became annoyed about the way American business took over Mother's Day and protested the selling of flowers and cards to observe the day.

Jarvis probably would be appalled with today's focus, to say nothing of Howe.

So besides taking Mom to lunch today, how about doing something to honor the original intent? Resolve to do something on behalf of peace, including:

Sign a petition urging China to stop the sale of arms to the Sudan.

Urge world leaders to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in protest of China's repression of Tibet.

Call Rep. Mike Rogers and urge him to bring American troops home from Iraq. His D.C. office number is (202) 225-4872. His toll-free number in Michigan's 8th District office in Lansing is (877) 333-6453.

Make Mom proud. Do something for peace!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rogers' Foot-Dragging Leaves Livingston Without Mass Transit as Gas Prices Soar

As gas prices soar, mass transit use is doing the same, according to The New York Times' editions on Saturday (May 10, 2008).

Wouldn't it be nice to have the WALLY commuter train between Howell and Ann Arbor up and running so that Livingston County residents could get to work and actually have some money left over from their paychecks after filling up their gas tanks?

The proposed commuter train has been in the works for months, but Livingston County Commissioner Bill Rogers helped delay it, as the county commission dragged its feet by asking for more and more information on the proposal.

Meanwhile, the price of oil has been skyrocketing. It was only $94 a barrel in November, when Rogers was throwing up one roadblock after another to participating in the project. Livingston County has finally agreed to participate in a WALLY study, but in the meantime, the price of oil is over $122.

Every $1 that Michigan residents spend to fill up their gas tanks is $1 less that they have to spend at area restaurants and stores.

So when Republican Bill Rogers comes asking for your vote for the Michigan House's 66th District, be sure to ask him what he's going to do for YOU, rather than what he will do for OPEC.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Lessenberry: Term Limits Helping Lobbyists Run Rampant

In his appearance Thursday night (May 8, 2008) at the Howell Opera House, well-known Michigan journalist Jack Lessenberry pulled no punches in describing the problems facing our state and placing the blame for them.

Term limits, lobbyists, and certain Republican policies are harming the state, Lessenberry said.

As Lessenberry explained it, term limits have caused gridlock and excessive partisanship in the Michigan Legislature by assuring that our state is run by people who know little and have their eye on the next job. Term limits are the delight of lobbyists because inexperienced legislators are dependent on lobbyists who know how the system works.

Last year's budget boondoggle hurt both parties, he said. That's the bright spot, in Lessenberry's view, because it's unlikely that members of either party will be willing to look so bad again.

As an example of the effect of term limits and lobbyists, Lessenberry pointed to the service tax, which was proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2007 to help balance the budget. The Legislature responded by placing the tax on every business that didn’t have a lobbyist. That left small businesses like ski lift operations, phrenologists, masseuses, and fortune tellers (no sympathy here, they should have seen it coming) to be taxed. The unfairness of this caused the Legislature to repeal the tax.

Lessenberry also cited the case of using the tobacco settlement funds to plug the hole in the budget. The state lost a half billion dollars because the Legislature didn’t have the courage to raise the income tax. To a Republican legislature, all tax increases are bad and all tax cuts are good.

Furthermore, Lessenberry said, Michigan prisons are overflowing because of the Republican idea of punishing criminals for minor drug crimes with a policy of "put them in and throw away the key." The result is a prison population that has skyrocketed to 51,000 today from 13,000 in 1982. Worse, it costs more to incarcerate a person than it would to send them to Harvard. Michigan spends more than any other state on incarceration while it cuts funds to higher education.

Lessenberry predicted that the year 2010 will be a year of great change. Not only will 31 out of 38 state senators be term limited out, as well as the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and others, but the ballot will ask the voters of Michigan if a new Constitutional Convention should be summoned.

Usually, LivingBlue likes to link to media coverage of events, but the Livingston Press and Argus didn't bother to cover Lessenberry.

State GOP Puts the 'Partisan' into 'Non-Partisan' School Board Race

School board races in Michigan are supposed to be non-partisan -- and for good reason. Michigan residents think the education of their children should not be subject to political machinations.

But the Michigan Republican Party is bragging about undermining that tradition in last week's Brighton school board election, in which Cheryl Leach and Jonathan Krause, who ran as team, defeated Winnie Garrett for the two open seats on the board.

In his regular email message (forwarded to me by a friend who doesn't wish to be named, for obvious reasons), Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis brags:

"LIVINGSTON COUNTY GOP WIN SCHOOL BOARD RACES as Republicans and taxpayers groups teamed up to challenge the MEA backed candidate for the Brighton School Board, both non-MEA, non-partisan, candidates defeated the MEA, union backed candidate. Yes they used Voter Vault walking lists!!! Congratulations."

In other words, Leach and Krause used state Republican Party resources (that's what voter vault working lists are) in a non-partisan election.

That's not illegal, since no doubt those lists are used in other non-partisan races such as judicial contests. But it is a break with the past.

For example, when Joe Carney, former chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party, ran for the school board two years ago, he received no help from the party -- state or local. He did not use party lists, but purchased his own voter list.

So the question now is, who are Leach and Krause responsible to -- local residents or the Michigan Republican Party, which helped elect them?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

McCain Changes His Tune About Michigan Jobs

Funny how things change in just a few months.

Back in January, John McCain was pessimistic about the future of Michigan jobs. Maybe it was the effect of Michigan winter weather on this guy from the Valley of the Sun, but prior to the Michigan primary in January, McCain said the Michigan auto worker jobs were gone forever.

But now that he hopes to carry Michigan in November, McCain is much more optimistic about Michigan's future. At a campaign stop on Wednesday (May 7, 2008),instead of telling people basically to suck it up, McCain was full of ideas about how to create jobs in the auto industry, according to the Detroit News.

The newspaper reported:

"'You have to care for displaced workers, give them education and training that works so they have another chance to be part of the economy,'" McCain said.

"'And you invest in the cradle of the auto industry, new technologies, such as the battery that lets you take a car 100 miles before you have to plug it in. We have to provide all the incentives, for investment in pure R&D as well as R&D tax breaks, worker retraining and education and reduction in any taxes that may give other areas an unfair advantage.'"

What changed from January to May, besides the fact that now McCain is competing not for the the narrow Republican primary vote, but in the field of the much broader electorate which includes many blue collar workers?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gettelfinger at Winans Dinner on Video

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger gave a rousing speech at the Livingston County Democrats' 25th annual Winans Dinner last month.

Now everybody in Michigan can see Gettelfinger for themselves, thanks to the magic of youtube.

Click on our link to youtube on the right of the page. There are several videos of the evening to choose from.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

America Depressed? Gee, Whose Fault Is That?

It's kind of funny, actually.

A bunch of Republicans sitting around moaning about how depressed Americans are with the state of their country and actually professing shock, yes, shock, at that.

I'm talking about the Livingston County Republicans' annual fund-raiser over the weekend.

Michigan's 8th District Rep. Mike Rogers actually claimed that he was surprised to hear high school students sound "dejected with the state of the country," according to the Livingston Press and Argus story in editions for Sunday (May 4, 2008).

After eight years of George Bush, with the lowest presidential approval ratings on record, Republicans claim to be surprised that people are "dejected"? Where have they been?

According to the newspaper, "Rogers stressed the importance of getting Americans to believe in America again...."

Rogers and his fellow Republicans are misreading the situation. People haven't given up on the country. They've given up on Republicans.

And it's about time.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Michigan Dems Storing Up Cash for Fall

Michigan Democrats are laying a solid financial foundation for the fall election campaigns, while Republicans have been digging themselves out of a hole, judging from campaign finance reports.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network has compiled a list of the top 150 PACs in Michigan and its news release shows Democrats are well-positioned to defend their House majority.

"As usual, the legislative caucuses’ PACs top the list. The House Democratic Fund is the pacesetter, having raised $1,685,900 and having $1.15 million in cash on hand.

"The Senate Republicans and House Republicans are second and third, but most of what they have raised this cycle has gone to retire debts from the 2006 cycle. The Senate Republicans have raised $1,497,128 and have $375,000 in cash on hand; and the House Republicans have raised $1,259,491 and have $251,000 on hand. The Senate Democrats are eighth in fundraising at $640,009 but their cash balance is competitive with their Republican counterparts at $333,000."

So after paying their bills, House Democrats have $1.15 million left and House Republicans have $251,000.

Votes win elections, not dollars, but dollars sure help.

The network also has a list of the performance of the top 150 PACs.

Friday, May 2, 2008

President Clinton Planning Detroit Fund-Raiser for Hillary

Former President Clinton will be hosting a fund-raiser for Sen. Hillary Clinton on Thursday, May 22, in Detroit.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. Debbie Stabenow are co-hosting the $500 a person luncheon, which will be held at Opus One.

For more information, contact Matthew Felan at 202-531-7197 or To RSVP, go to

If anyone has info on any Michigan events for Sen. Barack Obama, please let us know so we can publicize them as well.

GM Board -- Whose Side Is It On?

I feel sorry for General Motors. I really do. It's a crucial employer in our state and our nation and has provided comfortable livings for its hard-working employees. I own two GM cars, both of which I love and both of which the company in its wisdom (?) decided to stop making. I'm sorry that the company is still hemorrhaging money. But sometimes, the company just digs its own grave.

Take a look at Blue Collar Heart's latest post and you'll see what I mean.

Blue Collar Heart notes that at its annual stockholders' meeting, the company's board of directors recommended voting against several proposed items including:

"3) Disclosure of Political Contributions, 4) More disclosure of Political Contributions, 5) Health Care Reform Principles, 6) Stockholder Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation, 7) Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 8)Cumulative Voting, 9) special stockholder meetings and 10) Performance-Based Equity Compensation."

Health care reform principles? Hasn't the company figured out yet that companies who do the right thing and provide health care for their employees are getting stuck with the bill from all those companies that won't provide it, or can't afford to?

Probably has nothing to do with the fact that two of its board members came from the drug industry, does it?

Makes you wonder whose interests those board members are looking out for.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Michigan Beaten by Iowa -- Again!

This is getting ridiculous.

Iowa has beaten Michigan again.

First, there was the whole first-in-the-nation presidential caucus thing. Then the windpower thing, which we wrote about recently.

And now this -- Iowa has cleared the air in restaurants and bars while Michigan is still stuck in its smelly haze of smoke. The Conservative Media has the news here.

What will it take to get through to Michigan senators on these issues?

We'd better get this Iowa beats Michigan thing straighted out before the college football season opens.