Friday, December 31, 2010

Crystal Ball-Gazing for 2011

It's time to get out the crystal ball and project what's ahead for Michigan and Livingston County in 2011. (Hint: It's not pretty.)

10. With Republicans in control in Lansing, the GOP will go after poor and working people with a vengeance, wacking programs such as health care for the poor, pensions for teachers, salaries of prison guards, and so on.

9. Republicans will look for someone to blame for their problems in balancing the state budget while giving huge tax breaks. They will turn to scape-goating
immigrants, passing anti-immigrant measures like Arizona's which will never save the hundreds of millions of dollars they claim but will burden everyone with having to carry papers to prove our citizenship over and over again.

8. Michigan's economy will continue to improve as out-going Gov. Jennifer Granholm's priorities for diversifying the economy continue to take hold and the reborn auto industry sees on-going growth. Republican Rick Snyder will take credit for the upswing and the news media will let him get away with it.

7. Michigan's film industry tax credts will survive any Republican repeal effort, but lawmakers will impose new reporting requirements that they would claim were burdensome and job-stifling if Democrats had imposed them on any other industry. Nevertheless, the new reports will let the news media write hard-hitting stories on topics such as how much money was spent on George Clooney's make-up for "Up in the Air." Rep. Cindy Denby will faux express outrage at the expense.

6. Republicans will attempt to override the will of the people by passing legislation repealing voter-approved measures allowing stem-cell research and medical marijuana.

5. Republicans will do their best to gerry-mander legislative and congressional districts so that more safe Republican districts are created, diminishing real voter choice at the polls. But redistricting at the congressional level in a way that protects all GOP incumbents will prove harder than they anticipate and create GOP in-fighting.

4. Rick Snyder will turn out to be far more conservative than the news media portrayed him during the campaign as the Engler administration appointees he brings in and the ultra-right Republican Party dictate policy on key issues.

3. The Howell school district will be embroiled in a new controversy that involves the right of Christians to be mean to anybody they want to because that's what they say their religion means, but really boils down to the administration wanting to beat up on teachers.

2. Livingston County will continue to shovel county responsibilities, such as law enforcement and road maintenance, onto local townships, requiring them to raise taxes so that Republican county commissioners can crow about their low tax rates. Services will continue to deteriorate, as wait times for 911 response go up and road conditions go down.

1. Townships such as Handy in Livingston County will have difficulty making their payments to the county for the $100 million spent for water and sewer systems built for private developers. Some townships will begin exploring naming an emergency financial manager, but the development will be concealed from the public for months.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Envelope, Please

We've been through the list of top political stories in Livingston County, counting down on Wednesday (Dec. 29, 2010) from Number 10 to Number 2. I've been feeling the suspense building the last 24 hours, and now it's time to reveal the top political story in Livingston County during 2010.

Drum roll, please. The top political story in Livingston County during 2010 was:

--The Livingston County Commission's debt management subcommittee was revealed to have failed to approve minutes of its meetings for ten of its meetings going back to August 2009.

The maneuver was discovered when a Freedom of Information Act request was filed for the minutes and the subcommittee had no actual minutes to release, only "drafts." At its next meeting, the debt management subcommittee suddenly decided to approve its back minutes.

The failure to approve minutes was an example of the way the all-Republican county commission tried to keep secret for months the depths of the problems that the county and many of its townships face from their decision to build water and sewer systems for developers without requiring adequate security, even as Michigan was losing jobs in its major industry throughout the decade.

The secrecy was destroyed when Bloomberg News singled out Livingston County as the center of the problem in Michigan.

County commissioners and former official, such as former chair Rep. Bill Rogers and former Handy Township Supervisor and now state Rep. Cindy Denby, continued to cover up their role in causing the crisis. They insisted there was no way to foresee slowing demand for housing in Livingston County, even as figures show Michigan lost jobs from 2001 on and even as they approved more and more subdivisions while others remained unfilled.

That's what passes for leadership in Livingston County.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010's Top 10 Livingston County Political Stories

The nation's news media is engaging in its annual "Top 10 news stories" ritual right now, but there is no reason to let them have all the fun -- or to believe their judgment is the only one that matters.

So here's a top 10 political news list for Livingston County, from a Democratic point of view.

10. Lance Enderle nominated to run last minute campaign against Mike Rogers in 8th District.

9. Democrat Annette Koeble runs for Hamburg Township treasurer, is named to planning commission by all Republican board in recognition of her qualifications.

8. Livingston County Democrats launch first-ever pot-hole contest, revealing sorry state of county roads under GOP management.

7. Incumbent County Commission Chair Maggie Jones squeaks out primary win over an unknown, earns nickname “Landslide Maggie.”

6. Incumbent County Commissioner Carol Griffith gets special treatment from Secretary of State’s office after failing to file campaign spending reports for years.

5. Nearly full slate of seven Democratic county commission candidates issue comprehensive, coordinated platform pledging “Smart Leadership, Smart Growth” for county in contrast to Republican drift.

4. State Senate candidate Chuck Fellows beats the crap out of Joe Hune in every forum and joint appearance they have and House District 66 candidate Jim Delcamp runs great grass-roots campaign.

3. House Districdt 47 candidate Garry Post wages aggressive campaign and puts incumbent Cindy Denby on the defensive for her do-nothing record.

2. Livingston County revealed to be $100 million in debt due to foolish real estate speculation by the county commissioners and townships, leading to Republican demands for a $5 million bailout from state taxpayers to prevent financial disaster in some townships. Commission Chair Maggie Jones and commissioners Jack LaBelle and Steve Williams along with county staff march into Livingston County Press and Argus offices and overwhelm editorial staff with their "It's not our fault" explanation for their fiscal incompetence.

And the top political story of 2010 is... Well, you'll have to wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GOP Mishandling of Hamburg Not Forgotten

A year ago at this time, Hamburg Township was gearing up for a special election -- one made necessary by Republican bungling and intra-party bickering. Clerk Matt Skiba had been recalled and the township residents had to pay the cost of a special election to replace him.

Meanwhile, the trainwreck of a treasurer -- another Republican put in office after GOP infighting -- was playing out, with Patrick Evon finally resigning in May. And later in the year, the lawsuits over the matter started piling up. They will keep the matter fresh in our minds in coming months.

In both cases, Skiba and Evon were the weaker candidates for office. The credentials of Democrats Debby Buckland for Clerk and Linda Taylor for treasurer were far superior. But Republicans blindly pulled the lever and Buckland and Taylor narrowly lost.

Months of public fighting could have been avoided with less partisanship in the voting booth.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Government Job for a Government Hater

There's nothing like having the best of both worlds, especially if you're Allan Filip.

Filip was chair of the Livingston County Republican Party a few years back -- you know, the party that hates government and wants to drown it in a bathtub.

But the ink on the 2010 election results was barely dry before Filip landed a new job -- working for state government. Filip will be director of "external affairs" for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

So now Filip, who worked for a party that hates government, has got a job in government.

"I'm happy to receive the appointment," the Livingston Press and Argus quoted Filip as saying.

Of course he is. Most professional government-haters can't wait to land a job feeding at the public trough.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Making Michigan a World Health Care Leader

It's not news to me that Michigan attracts people from all over the world because of the quality of its health care. Unfortunately, in the last few years, I've had to learn more about the quality of Michigan health care and the way it stacks up against the rest of the world than I ever wanted to.

While studying health care options, time and again people would recommend Mayo Clinic or specialists in California, but research into the statistics always pointed to Michigan doctors and facilities being the best for the problem at hand. Friends from other states were surprised and made borderline racist comments about the quality of nursing care and other problems they imagined we would encounter. They couldn't imagine that a city from the rust belt would be leading in anything, but they were wrong.

But all the homework on health care in Michigan vs. elsewhere got me thinking about how Michigan was able to build up expertise in these fields. And I came to the conclusion that in many ways the outstanding hospitals and programs we have are houses that organized labor built.

The men and women who bargained for health care coverage in lieu of other compensation for their labor created a demand for health care and a way to pay for it that otherwise would not have existed. Union employees with health care coverage paid for the care they got instead of depending on charity. And when hospitals and doctors are being paid, they can take risks with new treatments and specialists. And the demand and the payment stream were secure, guaranteed by union contracts, rather than depending on the largesse of some philanthropist.

It's one of the ways that organized labor benefited everybody in this state, whether they were members of a union or not. It's one of the ways that organized labor is part of the fabric of this state.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cutting Our Way to Prosperity?

Rick Snyder is a number cruncher, not an economist.

He thinks if state government would only cut everybody's wages, we'd all be better off, according to an interview in the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday (Dec. 22, 2010).

Let's review how that will work. Snyder waves his magic calculator and all the teachers in the state take a 10 percent wage cut, or maybe just 5 percent. They will all celebrate by going out to eat at one of the restaurants in downtown Brighton, right? Or maybe they'll head to the mall and buy some bling for themselves.

And the retired state employees whose benefits Snyder wants to cut? They'll react to smaller pension checks by playing more golf, eating breakfast every morning at one of our county's great breakfast spots. buying a little extra for their grandchildren at Christmas, which will make the cash registers ring, ring, ring.

Actually, no, they won't. They'll cut back what they spend. The economy will get smaller, not bigger.

What our economy needs right now is more consumer demand, more people willing to spend money rather than save it, so that businesses must restock their shelves, and their suppliers must add more people to produce what the businesses are ordering.

Snyder and all the Republicans who want to cut, cut, cut, are taking Michigan and other states in exactly the wrong direction. The sad thing is, they probably really do understand the economics of it, but just want to hurt public employees.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mike Rogers Opposed 9/11 Health Care, Too

Sen. Mitch McConnell shouldn't get all the "credit" for blocking health care for 9/11first responders.

What he and the Senate Republicans have done is heartless and cruel, of course. But they weren't the first.

Long before McConnell got into the act, our own Mike Rogers was voting against health care for 9/11 first responders. Here's the vote from the House on Sept. 29.

Rogers will make a great show of being patriotic and standing tough against terrorism, but when it comes to showing compassion for the people who actually put their lives on the line when terrorism came to our shores, Rogers refused.

The next time our first responders are asked to rush into a collapsing building to save American lives, they shouldn't have to wonder if Americans will return the favor when they get sick.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Health Care Reform Even a Child Can Follow

Opponents of health care reform have tried to make the issue unnecessarily complex, figuring that Americans would automatically be scared off if they said the bill was 1,000 pages long and therefore must be full of nasty stuff nobody is telling us about.

It's only one of the scare tactics that Republicans have come up with justify their opposition. But the Kaiser Foundation has come up with an easy way to explain the bill -- a cartoon.

The cartoon explains problems with the current system and the provisions of the bill -- requiring companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions (starting first with children), the end of coverage caps, allowing young people to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26, high-risk pools for people needing costly treatment, more coverage of preventive care, and yes, the individual mandate.

And it makes that the point that the law saves money over the next 10 years. It doesn't add to the deficit, which people supposedly were so worried out. It reduces the deficit.

So take a look at the video here. Pass it on, and strike a blow against ignorance.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wonder How He Feels About Mitt Romney?

It's pretty clear Rep. Mike Rogers won't be supporting Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. And if Romney gets the nomination, it's pretty clear Rogers will not lift a finger to help him.

How can he? After all, as governor, Romney supported the Massachusetts law that requires people to buy health insurance -- the same kind of requirement that Rogers says is so wrong in President Obama's health care reform measure.

And also the same kind of requirement that Republicans proposed in the 1990s when President Bill Clinton was trying to reform health care.

But that was then. This is now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not So Pure Michigan Purely Funny

The fantastic, jobs-creating "Pure Michigan" ad campaign did get an extension from the Michigan Legislature. And I'll bet the creators of this spoof are glad

Clever, but I disagree with the part about the salt truck. In my experience, Michigan uses LOTS of salt. But I'll grant them poetic license.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Monopoly' Game Is Where We're Headed

When I was a kid, "Monopoly" was all the rage in my neighborhood. A group of neighbor kids, as we called ourselves, would gather in someone's basement and play. Games would go on all day, with a break to run home for lunch. Although we each started with the same amount of money, one by one we would lose our money and drop out and have to sit on the sidelines and watch. Eventually, somebody would end up with all the money. And then the game would be over.

That's the problem with the American economy today. Too few people have too much of the money. The rest of the people have nothing to play with. They have to sit on the sidelines of the economy, unable to buy things that other people make and sell. According to The New York Times, 1 percent of Americans have more than a third of the nation's wealth. Eighty percent of Americans have just 16 percent of the wealth. And no, it hasn't always been that way. Tax policies in the last few decades have increased the concentration of wealth at the top.

And Republicans think the answer is to give those few people even more of the money, which they cannot possibly spend. And no, they won't use it to "create jobs" because there is nobody to buy anything.

The end game is just like "Monopoloy."

P.S. I mean "Monopoly."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Was the Michigan Economy Bad Early in Last Decade?

Democratic candidates for Livingston County Commission rightly made this county's $100 million debt for overbuilding subdivisions an issue in the last campaign. But defenders of the Republican regime insisted that the multiple special assessment districts that were approved by townships, and then backed by county taxpayers, were not foolish investments. Nobody could see economic problems coming in Michigan, taxpayers were told over and over, so it was perfectly logical to keep approving more and more subdivisions that remain unfilled.

But now, when it comes time to assess the performance of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, people have changed their tune. Turns out, the economy was lousy all through the last decade and Granholm should have recognized it.

According to a Livingston Press and Argus editorial on Sunday (Dec. 12, 2010):

"While Michigan's economy has long bounced up and down with the domestic auto industry, there was no reason to believe that was going to be the case with the slump that greeted Granholm. There was plenty of reason to think otherwise.

"Michigan, as Comerica Bank economist Dana Johnson said early in the decade, had the most to lose because it, by far, had the highest percentage of manufacturing jobs. The state was not enduring a cyclical fluctuation, but instead enduring a fundamental shift.

"Over the last decade, Michigan has been suffering greatly while the rest of the country was doing well or at least limping by. That all changed by the end of 2008, when the rest of the nation's fortunes crashed. But Michigan had been in those economic throes for up to eight years by then."

So, according to the editorial, Granholm should have recognized the state's fundamental economic problems earlier, but county leaders like Maggie Jones, Dave Domas, Carol Griffith, and Jack LaBelle, (and state Rep. Cindy Denby) could not be expected to have reached the same conclusions and stopped putting taxpayers on the hook for subdivisions that are near ghost towns.

Granholm should have seen it coming, but Republicans here in Livingston County shouldn't be held to the same standard.

That's a double standard if there ever was one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Leaving a Clean Slate

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has been the right wing's favorite punching bag for the last eight years, but she is doing something her predecessor, their beloved John Engler, never did.

According to the Detroit Free Press on Saturday (Dec. 10, 2010):

"Granholm said that unlike three previous governors, she will leave her successor with a balanced budget and a $400-million surplus."

Engler left Granholm a budget mess from the previous year, which she had to immediately tackle while putting together the next year's budget. With all the state's problems the last decade, Granholm left the new guy a clean slate. He won't have to clean up after Granholm and even has $400 million to work with.

The tough cuts Granholm did on the budget year after year has been vastly under-appreciated.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Drawing the Lines

With the 2010 elections behind us, we can start to think about redistricting. All across the country, boundaries will be shifting and the politically-influenced contortions will begin.

The Sunlight Foundation makes no bones about some of the more ridiculously-drawn districts:
One day, there will be a brilliant, easy-to-use tool that enlightens our citizenry on the intricacies of gerrymandering and the political machinations therein. But that day is not today. Today we launch the crude, far-from-serious, yet very fun Better Draw a District – a project originating from the Labs Olympics. Built on the spirit of the 1812 origins of ‘Gerrymandering’, Better Draw a District thumbs its nose at other redistricting tools and encourages you to add graffiti to any and all congressional districts.
Do these districts surprise you? Do they make you wonder how democracy can really be representative if the shapes are so gnarled? Maybe they should. Before you write or call your congressman, please take a can of virtual graffiti and deface a few congressional districts.
Check out the Better Draw A District page, and try it on MI-08. It can't get any worse...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

(Un)Common Sense

South Lyon resident Chuck Fellows is a thoughtful, well-informed guy. Unlike many people, Chuck takes the time to learn about an issue before offering an opinion -- and he can always back it up with facts.

This is why I pay attention when he says something (it's also why I voted for him when he ran for state Senate this year).

In yesterday's Press & Argus, Chuck had a letter to the editor taking on Joe Hune's ridiculous stance on Michigan's "illegal immigrant problem."

Very calmly, Chuck pointed out Hune's (willful?) ignorance of existing law
Rather than create new law, Mr. Hune should educate himself on existing federal law and pending state legislation (SB 1372 of 2010, the same language as HB 4355 co-sponsored by Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Genoa Township.)
and the likely reasons for the grandstanding
There is no good reason why any legitimate company employing legitimate people would not want to participate in this [E-Verify] program. [skip] Compliance would end the secret subsidy these [non-compliant] employers currently receive from the honest working people in this state.
Ah, but Mr. Hune has never let fact get in the way of a good rant.

We'll see where that leads us in the 2011 legislative year...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Same Old, Same Old

Comparing Apples and Oranges on 'Pure Michigan'

Would anyone compare the purchasing power of General Motors to that of a local diner or the local gas station?

Of course not. They're not the same. Yet that's what the Livingston Press and Argus did in its story on an imagined "debate" over the merits of the Pure Michigan ad campaign.

The story features no real debate at all in terms of the campaign. How could it? The program is a winner for the state, returning $2.33 in sales tax revenue for each $1 spent in advertising Michigan as a tourism attraction nationwide. The only debate is in the reporter's mind, who tries to create controversy by encouraging readers to be "outraged" over non-existent state advertising for General Motors products after failing to find anyone to make that statement for him.

At its heart, the story shows a basic inability or refusal to understand the nature of the tourism industry. Michigan's tourism industry is not made up of two or three huge companies fully capable of financing national advertising. It's made up of thousands of small enterprises that benefit whenever people from outside the local community come and spend money -- local restaurants, gas stations, campgrounds, motels, golf courses, gift shops, local museums, and so on. Individually, they simply cannot afford to advertise nationally the way General Motors and Ford can. Yet they all pay taxes to the state of Michigan in one way or another and provide jobs. The state benefits from their existence. It seems entirely reasonable that the state would help them thrive by doing something they cannot possibly do on their own -- advertising on their behalf nationally. Especially when it doesn't cost the state in the long run to do this.

The comparison to the beef industry check-off program also is misguided. That's a national program -- cattle raisers all over the nation contribute to that, not just those from one state. And of course, the beef check-off program is a government program, overseen by the USDA, even though the money comes from $1 a head from the producers. You can read about it here. Another off-the-mark comparison.

Instead of manufacturing outrage over non-existent state advertising for GM, the newspaper out to be reflecting disgust for the job-killing Republican State Senate.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Careful What You Wish For

You have to wonder if the Press & Argus is regretting its endorsement of Joe Hune for State Senate and Cindy Denby for State House.

Denby, whose P&A endorsement was lukewarm at best (to paraphrase, "Well, she hasn't done much but at least we don't think she'll raise taxes"), has been busy working to give her fellow politicians some wiggle room on term limits. She's also "picking up the torch" for Nancy Cassis on the issue of film credits, a crusade which elicits yawns from a majority of the state Legislature.

Hune actually got a wrist slap from the P&A on his recent claim that eliminating welfare benefits for undocumented immigrants is a "top priority":

Problem is, there are no figures that indicate that there are such payments going to undocumented aliens. Further, laws in this area already exist.

Michigan League for Human Services spokeswoman Judy Putnam said Hune's proposal sounds like "a solution in search of a problem."

Actually, it's a sound bite in search of a constituency. It's unnecessary because Hune already owns the state Senate seat and is a lock to keep it for the next eight years. He should use this position not to make cheap points, but to show that conservative Republicans can govern effectively.

To put all this hot air into context:
It's clear that our elected officials are focusing on the things that matter... to them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

They Beg to Differ

Republicans can tell us that everything is perfect in Livingston County all they want. But anybody who drives a car knows that's not true. And people are starting to get the message that the Livingston County Commission has something to say about that.

Two letters to the editor this week from people pointing out that our roads are in poor condition and that the Livingston County Commission could do something about it and in fact is responsible for doing something about it.

Asks one letter writer, where is the accountability?

With the all-Republican county commission.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Polls open this morning at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Vote. It's your right! It's your future!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fellows vs. Hune in State Senate Debate

Chuck Fellows shows why he's the best choice for state Senate District 22 in this debate against "Just Say No Joe" Hune held in Lansing.

Watch the video here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Here's What Our Low Taxes Get You -- Dangerous Roads

Want to know what low taxes in Livingston County gets for you?

Take a look.

This stretch of Rushton Road between 9 Mile and Ten Mile won the "worst of the worst" pothole contest sponsored by the Livingston County Democrats. The stretch of road was nominated by Karen Hamp of South Lyon.

Traveled by nearly 5,000 motorists each day, the road has ruts along the edge that could cause a motorist to lose control if their vehicle left the road. Other stretches of pavement are so deteriorated that motorists frequently drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid them.

Livingston County's incumbent Republican commissioners could do something about the state of roads if they wanted to. Instead, they keep shoveling money into an airport that none of us uses.

To fix the roads, we need to fix the commission first. Vote Democratic on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Livingston Dems on the Radio!

Livingston County Dems are on the air!

The first ad in support of Democratic candidates for county commission focuses on the county's misplaced priorities -- millions for an airport nobody uses but nothing for the roads we all drive on.

Listen here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Potholes, Potholes, Potholes

They're everywhere, and the Livingston County Commission could do something about them, if the Republicans wanted to.

Instead, they are shoveling our tax dollars in to an airport nobody uses. Democrats running for county commission will put your tax dollars towards things that you use -- the roads we drive on every day.

Some 37 percent of Livingston County roads are rated "poor" by a recent study of the Michigan Infrasture and Transportation Association, almost double the percentage in Detroit.

Bad roads cost us money in car repairs and lost time stuck in traffic. Livingston County Democrats are offering to help defray some of that cost, with a $50 prize for the person who sends us a photo of the worst pothole in Livingston County.

Send your entry to Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton, MI 48116. Give the name of the road, approximate location, your name, address, phone number, and email if available. You also can email us a photo or video at Entry deadline is next Wednesday.

We want to see the "worst of the worst!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Better Late Than Never, I Guess

The all-Republican Livingston County Commission likes to pretend that it is on top of everything, that it knows everything about government and things run absolutely perfectly inside the courthouse. So there's no need for anyone to ever be looking over their shoulders.

But when people do look over their shoulders, they find lots of little problems. Like Carol Griffith never filing a campaign finance report. Like David Domas handing out his business cards at polling places.

And like sloppy minute-keeping from the commission's debt management subcommittee -- you know, the body you never read about that's looking into the county's looming $100 million debt that we are all on the hook for but you also never read about.

Recently, someone filed a freedom of information act request for minutes going back to August of 2009. What they got were ten sets of minutes all labeled "draft" because the panel had never gotten around to approving them.

Immediately after the FOIA and the release of the draft minutes, the panel met again this week. First order of business was adopt all ten sets of minutes.

Of course, the minutes themselves are inadequate -- misspellings of words such as the names of townships, only phrases in many cases rather than complete sentences, and a total lack of detail. For example, "Option 1" with no information on what "Option 1" meant.

The county's debt is a looming problem and one thing is clear from the minutes -- this crew isn't equipped to handle it.

The county and some of its townships may well be headed to appointment of an emergency financial manager to dig us out of this mess.

I hope somebody is taking notes somewhere.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Join Livingston Dems for Debate Watch Party!

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero will take on the "Chief Executive Out-Sourcer" in a debate this coming Sunday (Oct. 10, 2010).

Come watch it with other Democrats at Memories Lounge and Restaurant, 1840 S. Old U.S. 23, Brighton.

We will gather at 6 p.m. and order off the menu, then watch the debate at 7 p.m. There is no charge except for the food and beverages you order.

Come out and cheer on Virg!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Enderle on the Airwaves in Lansing

Lansing voters are getting a chance to know 8th Congressional District candidate Lance Enderle after a recent WILX-TV interview.

Enderle tells viewers he wants to keep higher education affordable and put people to work with green energy jobs.

He is undaunted by the challenge of running a grass-roots campaign against PAC-man Republican Mike Rogers.

Livingston County Democrats will be canvassing for Enderle, and gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero, on Saturday (Oct. 2, 2010). Meet at party headquarters, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton, MI, at 10:30 a.m. and help us knock on doors and talk to voters about Lance and Virg.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is Longevity All that Matters?

You can tell when a politican has no accomplishments to run on. That's when they talk about where they were born.

So it is with Carol Griffith, Republican incumbent for Livingston County Commissioner from District 7. The pitch in the campaign literature she mailed to voters says "A lifetime resident. A lifetime of leaderhsip in Livingston County!" That's it. Nothing about what that leadership amounted to, just the fact that she's never lived any place else.

How persuasive can that be considering that Livingston County likes to brag about being the fastest growing county in the state, meaning that lots of people have moved here from someplace else as opposed to living here their entire lives? Griffith apparently thinks these people are lesser human beings.

On top of that, she's made plenty of money selling homes to those carpetbaggers who have dared to move into her home county. But now she thinks they're good enough to vote for her, but not good enough to serve themselves.

What does Griffith's "I've never lived anywhere else so I deserve to be elected" pitch mean for people like Griffith's fellow commissioners Maggie Jones or Jim Mantey, who are not native to the county? Guess they don't deserve to be on the county commission either.

Anybody who has moved into this county in the last 20 years is bound to find Griffith's pitch insulting. And there's a ton of those folks out there. Democrat Kelly Raskauskas should be able to capitalize on the resentment that Griffith's insulting campaign mailing will engender.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Enderle: No Spill Baby Spill in Our Great Lakes

Lance Enderle, the Democratic nominee for the 8th Congressional District, is making it clear how he differs from Republican Mike Rogers. Enderle isn't about to let the Great Lakes be ruined by Big Oil.

Check out his first youtube ad on Mike Rogers, the big oily.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Newest Michigan Justice Joining Dems Friday Night!

The newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court will join Livingston County Democrats at their Campaign Countdown 2010 on Friday (Sept. 24, 2010).

Justice Alton T. Davis, appointed to the high court in August by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, will speak at the event at Barnstormers Banquet Center, Whitmore Lake. Davis is running for a full-term on the court in the November election.

Also speaking will be Judge Denise Langford Morris. She is opposing Robert Young, a current justice who has been rated the worst justice on Michigan's high court.

Both Davis and Morris run on the non-partisan portion of the ballot. Voters who opt for a straight-party ticket will not vote for the judges unless they flip the ballot over and vote the non-partisan area.

David Leyton, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, also will speak at the event.

The event also is a great time to hear Lance Enderle, the 8th Congressional District nominee running against Republican Mike Rogers, as well as Democratic candidates for state Senate, state House, and Livingston County Commission.

Campaign Countdown will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $25 per person. Tickets are available at the door. Call (810) 229-4212 or email for more information.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tweets | Peace Week

Tweets Peace Week: "Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the spirit. -Napoleon #peace"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Snyder 'Proud' of Gateway Record'

Republican Rick Snyder says he's "proud" of his record at Gateway Computers. Take a look at the latest ad from the Michigan Democratic Party on what that record really is.

You can view it here.

Yet another reason to come Saturday (Sept. 18, 2010) to an organizational meeting for Virg Bernero for Governor. We'll meet at 10 a.m. at party headquarters, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton, MI 48116, and hear from Deputy Campaign Manager Farhad Bhatti, and then head out to do some canvassing for Bernero.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bernero Tells WHMI: Tough People Don't Run from a Challenge

Virg Bernero is standing up to his Republican opponent over his refusal to hold public debates.

In an interview with WHMI on Tuesday (Sept. 14, 2010), Bernero says if Rick Snyder is so tough, he should stop running away from an agreement to hold debates. "Tough people don't run from a challenge," Bernero said.

"If he's not careful, he's going to get a nickname of 'Bubble Boy,'" Bernero said, referring to Snyder's isolation from the electorate.

Bernero also contrasted himself with Snyder. As mayor of Lansing, Bernero said he balanced five straight budgets, brought jobs to Lansing, and led by cutting his own pay and benefits and giving up his city car. In contrast, Bernero said, Snyder shipped jobs to China while at Gateway, with the company eventually being sold to Chinese owners.

Bernero was sharp and smooth during the interview. No wonder Chicken Rick is running from him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sign Up for Campaign Countdown 2010!

Join other Democrats at Barnstormers Banquet Center on Friday, Sept. 24, for our Campaign Countdown 2010!

All statewide Democratic candidates -- from gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero and his running mate Brenda Lawrence on down the ticket -- have been invited to tell us about their campaigns for November.

This is a great chance to hear from our local candidates, too -- State Senate candidate Chuck Fellows, state House candidates Jim Delcamp and Garry Post, and county commission candidates Thomas Bell of Oceola Township, Dane Morris of Hartland Township, David Berry of Conway Township, Keith Tianen of Putname Township, Kelly Raskauskas of Genoa Township, Amir Baghdadchi of Hamburg Township, and Barry McBride of Green Oak Township.

The event, at 9411 E. M-36, Whitmore Lake, will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and includes free appetizers and a cash bar. Suggested donation is just $25 per person. Proceeds benefit our local candidates.

Reserve by sending a check made out to Livingston County Democrats to 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton, MI 48116. Or pay at the door (checks only, no cash). Call (810) 229-4212 or email for more information.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So Is This How He'll Govern--By Ultimatum?

Republican Rick Snyder is starting to show his true colors -- rather than an outsider who will bring reforms to state government, he promises more of the same hyper-partisan gridlock.

Snyder recently called off negotiations on setting up gubernatorial debates with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero. Snyder wanted to call all the shots -- only three debates instead of the eight around the state that Bernero wanted, all in October, etc., etc. When Bernero opened a discussion on the moderators, Snyder walked away.

His way or the highway. Remind you of anybody? How about John Engler, Snyder's old boss? That sort of arrogant inflexibility is not what we need in Lansing. We need bipartisan cooperation to get things done, not high-handed ultimatums from CEOs who think they are the only elected official in the state whose opinion matters.

Snyder, of course, doesn't want debates because he doesn't do well in them and Bernero does. And Snyder doesn't want to tell the public what he really stands for -- shipping jobs to China while collecting $14 million in stock options for himself.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Volunteer for Bernero for Governor!

The Virg Bernero for Goveror campaign will begin organizing in Livingston County and next week is your chance to learn how you can be involved.

An organizational meeting for volunteers is set for Saturday, Sept. 18, at 10 a.m. at Livingston County Democratic Party headquarters, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton, MI.

Farhan Bhatti, deputy campaign manager for the Bernero campaign, will be on hand to talk about the campaign and train volunteers. No experience is necessary. We will teach you what you need to know in order to carry Virg's message to voters.

Virg has a plan for making Michigan work again. Come out and learn how you can be involved.

Call (810) 229-4212 or email for more information.

Friday Funnies

Friday, August 20, 2010

NOW They Think of This?

Green Oak Township may start requiring developers to post a bond if they want the township to issue bonds to pay for infrastructure in new developments and then pay off the bonds with special assessments collected in the future.

Now that these special assesment aren't being paid and townships are having trouble making payments to the county for onds, isn't it a little late to start this policy? Republican incumbents on the Livingston County Commission insist there's nothing they could have done to prevent this crisis, which has led to proposed legislation seeking a state bailout for the county. Previous press accounts have said as many as half of Livingston County's townships may have trouble making payments on their bonds. Since the county backed the bonds, county taxpayers are on the hook.

But it appears there is something the Livingston County Commission could have done -- not backed the bonds unless the townships required developers to post a bond.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Can You Shoot?

Is there a lot of violence in the United States today?

There certainly seems to be the perception that there is, when a newspaper in a community like Livinston County asks the question, Who can citizens legally shoot?

One possible answer is another question -- Who Would Jesus Shoot?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Leaders in Action!

The Democratic candidates for Livingston County Commission presented their platform, "Smart Leadership, Smart Growth," an agenda for getting Livingston County moving again, at their news conference Monday (Aug. 16, 2010).

These are fresh faces, not tired old incumbents.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Watch Democratic Candidates for County Commission!

Livingston County Democrats' candidates for county commission laid out their agenda for "Smart Leadership, Smart Growth" on Monday (August 16, 2010) and now you can watch the news conference yourself!

Video will be coming soon!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles--Plus Perks!

The seven Democrats for Livingston County Commission laid out an agenda for the county Monday (August 16, 2010) built around the framework of "Smart Leadership, Smart Growth."

The philosophy is simple -- leadership that is transparent, inclusive, and proactive will give us growth that stresses the local economy first, has a vision for the future that addresses transportation needs, and that enhances the quality of life for all citizens.

The candidates -- Thomas Bell of Oceola Township for District 2; Dane Morris of Hartland Township for District 3; Dave Berry of Conway Township for District 5; Keith Tianen of Putnam Township for District 6; Kelly Raskauskas of Genoa Township for District 7; Amir Baghdadchi of Hamburg Township for Distirct 8, and Barry McBride of Green Oak Township for District 9 -- spent nearly all of the news conference laying out proposals for meeting the county's transportation needs, attracting jobs, and protecting veterans. (David Berry was called out of town at the last minute and could not attend.)

The commissioner candiates' platform called for stopping the multi-million-dollar bailout of the money-losing Spencer J. Hardy Airport in Livingston County. The facility has lost $4.7 million over the last decade and has received $2.7 million in public funds instead of being expected to at least break even. Money spent at the airport, the candidates argued, could have been used for improving roads, or meeting other needs.

The candidates also called for more attention to county roads, 41 percent of which have been rated in "poor" condition by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.

And they urged the county commisison to at least study the proposed WALLY commuter rail line between Howell and Ann Arbor -- a project supported by chambers of commerce in Brighton and Howell, as well as by the city of Howell and Hamburg Township.

The candidates also questioned why the part-time commissioners, who receive salaries from $15,325 a year, should also received perks such as health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, and a pension for part-time work. They vowed to end the excessive perks for part-time work.

They also called for:
--Greater transparency on the part of the commission.
--A promise by the county commission not to back any more bonds for speculative real estate developments. The county commission has discussed a bailout from the state because developers have failed to pay assessments for infrastructure in real estate developments built in many townships in recent years.
--Making the county more welcoming to business with a one-stop shop for new businesses starting up in Livingston County, a county website that welcomes business, more emphasis on local business, including helping them link up with each other.
--An active parks and recreation commission that would develop hundreds of acres of land given to the county for park use but never developed, but instead has been rented out to private interests and posted with no-trespassing signs.
--A promise to continue levying the small millage for veterans relief, a levy that costs the owner of a $300,000 house a maximum of $7 a year. The levy, required by an 1899 state law, was not levied by the county commission for years and it only reluctantly agreed to do so when county veterans pointed it out to them.

It's a complete agenda -- and it shows where the current bunch has fallen short.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Livingston County Dems' Convention Saturday

Livingston County Democrats will meet for their August convention this Saturday, Aug. 14.

The convention will be held at party headquarters, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton, MI 48116.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the convention will open at 10 a.m.

The main business of the convention is to select delegates to standing committees of the Michigan Democratic Party's Aug. 28-29 convention at Cobo Hall in Detroit, and to consider resolutions for the platform commission.

Precinct delegates elected at the Aug. 3 primary and members of the party for 30 days are eligible to vote at the convention. Precinct delegates must be party members, but may join the day of the convention.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How to Campaign as an Incumbent County Commissioner

If you had been on the Livingston County Commission for 14 years, having won election seven times, you could be expected to know a little about campaigning.

You might even know that you should have a flyer that explains who you are that you could hand out to potential voters.

But if you are Dave Domas, the long-term Republican incumbent from Livingston County's 3rd Commission District, that would be expecting a lot.

You see, Republican incumbent Dave Domas showed up at the polls in Hartland Township on Tuesday (Aug 3, 2010) for the primary. Democrat Dane Morris was there greeting
voters, handing out literature he paid for through his campaign account. But Domas had no literature so instead he handed out business cards bearing the county seal. There was no indication that he paid for these himself. There was no political disclaimer indicating who paid for them. Did the taxpayers pay for these?

Surely not. Surely those fiscal conservative Republicans on the Livingston County Commission would not take advantage of their official position to campaign for re-election.

I just would be utterly shocked if that were the case. And so, I imagine, would be the tea party group members in Hartland.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Today's Press & Argus has a front-page article on Livingston County's liability for township debt.

If you haven't seen it, here are a few key points:
  • Eight LivCo townships are in danger of defaulting on over $100 million in assessment-backed bond debt.
  • The county commission chose to guarantee the township bonds -- they weren't legally obligated to do so.
  • Things are bad enough here in LivCo that a national news agency wrote about us; the MI House has put together a bipartisan package of bills to address the problem of township bond repayment.
  • We need to have an open discussion about the extent of the problem and how we can fix it.
Thanks to the story's, ah, interesting slant, though, the average reader might come away with the impression that County Democratic Chair Judy Daubenmier is raising the issue for purely partisan reasons. ("Chairwoman upset over assessments backing by county" "Party chair slams county board).

Why blame Daubenmier for talking about an issue that affects ALL LivCo residents -- even the ones who don't live in a township that borrowed during the boom years? She's not the first to raise the subject, either: Bloomberg News and even the P&A have written about our toxic debt problem.

Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, it seems to me that everyone should be concerned about elected officials giving the OK to speculate with taxpayer money.

Shooting the messenger won't solve our problems.

Monday, August 2, 2010

VOTE Tuesday! It's Your Right

Remember to vote in the Democratic primary on Tuesday (Aug. 3, 2010). Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. but if you will be out of your precinct on Tuesday you can still vote absentee on Monday at your city or township clerk's office.

The exciting race between Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and House Speaker Andy Dillon is the highlight of the Democratic primary statewide. Don't miss this chance to have your say on who will lead the Democratic ticket in November!

And remember to write in Lance Enderle for the 8th Congressional District. The previous candidate's name will be on the ballot, but he has dropped out of the race. To ensure Democrats have an active candidate in November, Lance is waging a write-in campaign. Remember to both fill in the oval and write in Lance's name. Visit Lance's website for full details on how to write in his name.

Exercise your rights -- vote Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Domas: Not Much to Do About the Economy

David Domas made one statement in a recent Livingston Press and Argus interview that shows he doesn't deserve re-election to the County Commission.

"While he see jobs as a big issue for the county, he said there's not a lot the county can do to get people working."

Domas advocates throwing up our hands and walking away from the problem, apparently. After 16 years on the board, he can't come up with a single idea to build the local economy.

How about a one-stop shop for new businesses? How about a strategy to promote local businesses? How about letting businesses know about programs that are available to help? Remember the $24 million in bonding available for local businesses that was made available under the federal recovery act that the commission didn't tell anybody about for weeks? And with Livingston County having the second highest foreclosure rate in southeast Michigan (behind only Wayne County), shouldn't the county have a program to help homeowners facing foreclosure? Did Domas participate in the New Economy Summit that the area Chambers of Commerce put together or did he decide that the situation is hopeless and stay home? How about improving our county website so it makes our county look like an attractive place to live and work, instead or presenting a website that looks like the inside of a phone book?

Dane Morris, the Democratic candidate who will face the winner of the GOP primary, has more ideas than either Domas or his primary opponent put together. When times are tough, voters look for alternatives and Dane is top-notch.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chuck Fellows Answers the Questions Others Haven't

Chuck Fellows, the Democratic candidate for the 22nd State Senate seat, tells poeple who is in special column by Rochelle Riley in the Detroit Free Press for Sunday (July 24, 2010).

Chuck talks about his early life, working at Ford Motor Co., raising kids, schools, and life.

Check it out!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Senate Candidate Fellows Shines in MIVote Interview

Effectiveness, balance, and common sense. That's what businessman and non-incumbent Chuck Fellows wants to bring to state government. Fellows is the Democratic nominee for the 22nd State Senate seat, which includes all of Livingston as well as Shiawassee counties and part of Ingham County.

Fellows has been on the sidelines while Republican extremist Joe Hune battles conservative Paul Rogers for the Republican nomination. Local media and debates have generally excluded Fellows from participation. But MIVote, a project of University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Detroit Public Television, believes voters should be informed about all the candidates and has offered each of them a chance to answer questions about key issues in the 2010 campaign in a 5-minute video.

Fellows lays out his views on the state's economy, education, and the state budget in his video, stressing that he would bring common sense and effectiveness to state government. Watch the video to see what he means by that:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Can't Buy Me Love

Today's Political Wire has a story about the RNC's money troubles and its impact on the November elections:
The chaos at the Republican National Committee threatens to cost Republicans the chance to take control of the House of Representatives, Republican strategists fear. [skip] The RNC, at the moment, is barely fulfilling the second function and has less than $10 million on hand, so it cannot help much with House races."
We learned about some of the RNC's wheeling and dealing right here in Michigan just a few months ago.

The good news is that Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-08), chair of the RNCC's Incumbent Retention Program, has been fighting to reverse this trend.
The NRCC will receive more than $1.8M in member pledges over the next month, the first infusion of an effort aimed at bringing in $20M for the midterms.
That's not good news for those of us who live in MI-08.

All the time Mr. Rogers spends raising $$ for his incumbent pals means less time spent taking care of constituents.

... then again, he hasn't really taken care of us since 2000.

Bottom line: money doesn't buy happiness -- or votes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meet Garry Post at Fund-Raiser, Meet-and-Greets

The campaign of Garry Post for the 47th State House seat swings into high gear this week with three chances to get to know the Hamburg Township Democrat.

Supporters of Garry Post will host a fund-raiser for him on Sunday (July 25, 2010) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the home of Mary Evergreen, 6065 Winans Dr., Hamburg Township. Suggested donation is $50. Come meet Garry, pick up a yard sign, and donate for a tee-shirt so you can be a walking billboard for Garry throughout the district!

Garry also will meet the public in two casual settings next week. On Wednesday (July 28, 2010), Garry will be at the All Star Coney Island, 934 S. Michigan Ave., Howell, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. And on Thursday (July 29, 2010), he will be at the Bloated Goat Saloon, 141 E. Grand River, Fowlerville, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

These are great chances to meet Garry and visit with him about his campaign as a political newcomer and businessman with 30 years' experience running against a Republican incumbent and political insider.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Should Either of These be Next State Senator? No, No, No Absolutely Not

Joe Hune will tell everybody that he's a social and fiscal conservative, but people have been telling me that Paul Rogers is a "moderate."

Don't believe it. Both these guys seeking the Republican nomination for the 22nd State Senate Senate are far to the right, based on their two appearances in forums this week -- one Tuesday (July 13, 2010) in Hamburg and one Thursday (July 15, 2010). Hune just panders more shamelessly than Rogers does.

Hune, for example, told the audience he had "heard" that the United Nations is preparing to take away Americans' Second Amendment rights. Rogers didn't go that far, but he matched Hune pander for pander on issues. For example:

--Both would vote for legislation to effectively overturn the voter-approved ballot measure allowing stem cell research.
--Both want Michigan to opt out of federal health care reform.
--Both oppose the smoking ban in bars and restaurants.

That's why the Democratic nominee, Chuck Fellows of Green Oak Township, is far and away the better candidate.

Hune set himself apart from Rogers by insisting he would shut down state government again rather than vote to raise taxes, while Rogers said raising taxes should be a last resort after looking for cuts.

Hune comes across as the type of inflexible ideologue who makes compromise -- and bipartisan cooperation -- impossible. For example, he calls taxes "stealing." Laws passed by a duly elected legislature and signed by a duly elected governor are not "stealing." And if taxes were "stealing," doesn't that mean that the nearly $80,000 salary Hune hopes to collect as a lawmaker is paid for with "stolen" money? Not to mention the money his mother was paid as a public school teacher for 30 years. And why is that OK?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hune Family on the 'Dole'?

Does Joe Hune think his family has been on the "dole"?

If you listened carefully to him during the candidate forum in Hamburg Township for candidates for the Republican nomination for the 22nd state Senate seat, it sure sounds like it.

At one point, Hune referred to public employees as being "on the dole," which actually is defined as a handout to the needy. At another point, he said that his mother was a teacher for 30 years in the Fowlerville schools and that his family members all worked for the local school system. So does that mean Hune thinks his mother's employment amounted to welfare payments?

And how about Hune himself? It's unclear what jobs he has had other than being a legislator, which of course means he himself was on the "dole," according to his definition.

And now he is anxious to get back on to the "dole," which he professes to hate.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You--Garry Post

Garry Post of Hamburg Township is bringing his campaign for State Rep for the 47th District to a place near you soon!

Post will meet and greet residents at Cleary's Pub, 117 E. Grand River Ave., in downtown Howell on Wednesday (July 14, 2010)) from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. And on Thursday (July 15, 2010), Garry will meet and greet voters at Docusen's Cafe in downtown Fowlerville, 141 S. Grand Ave., Fowlerville, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

This is a chance for voters to meet Garry, ask questions, and learn more about his campaign as a businessman with 30 years of experience who wants to shake up the politicians in Lansing. Garry is unopposed for the Democratic nomination for the 47th House seat.

For more information, visit Garry's website.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Livingston Leads -- In Foreclosures!

Livingston County Commissioners will probably try to keep this a secret, but the all-Republilcan board has presided over a county that is second-highest in the region in foreclosures.

According to a report from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, one in every 39 houses in Livingston County is in foreclosure. That's second only to Wayne County, where the ratio is one out of 34. WHMI had the story on Saturday (July 10, 2010). WHMI doesn't provide links to individual stories, but here is the link to the raw data from SEMCOG.

SEMCOG said while Wayne County's foreclosures likely were due to the decline in the state's manufacturing base. But in Livingston County, SEMCO blamed "overdevelopment."
Livingston County bragged about being the fastest growing county in the state from 2000 to 2009. And the Republicans on the county commission helped finance much of that overdevelopment, borrowing millions of dollars for improvements in new subdivisions that now sit half empty or worse. And guess who gets to pay the bill (now at $111 million) for all that "overdevelopment"?

The taxpayers, that's who.

That's Republican conservative values in action.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hartland Job Shuffle Looks Fishy

The way the Hartland Township trustees have filled the clerk's job without even taking applications looks pretty fishy.

Township Clerk Ann Ulrich resigned from the post after a dispute over a cemetery plot in which her mother was buried, although the plot actually belonged to someone else. A recall was in the works against her, so Ulrich threw in the towel.

So on the same day that Ulrich resigned, the board of trustees gave her job to fellow trustee Larry Hopkins. No temporary appointment, no applications from any one interested, just a $40,000 a year job handed over to one of their buddies on the board.

Democracy at work, at the hands of Republicans in Livingston County.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Garry Post for State House Yard Signs Now Available!

Be the first in your neighborhood to show your support for Garry Post's campaign for State House District 47!

Yard signs for Garry's campaign are now available at the office of the Livingston County Democratic Party, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600 of the Fonda Office Park, Brighton. Stop by after 10 a.m. Thursday or Friday this week to pick one up. Call (810) 229-4212 for weekly hours.

Garry is a businessman with 30 years' experience making his first run for public office. He promises to bring his business common sense to Lansing to help create a business-friendly environment in the state and to address the state's structural budget deficit.

The 47th district includes the townships of Cohoctah, Conway, Deerfield, Hamburg, Handy, Hartland, Howell, Iosco, Putnam, Tyrone, and Unadilla, most of the city of Howell, and that portion of Marion Township included within the city limits of Howell.

Visit Garry's website to find out more about his positions!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

County Passing the Buck on Lake Patrols

The Livingston County Commissioners brag a lot about having a low tax rate, but they don't tell you how they get that -- by passing the buck to the townships for services the county used to provide but doesn't any more.

Take lake patrols for example. The Livingston County sheriff's department used to patrol the county's many lakes, but this year it decided it couldn't do that anymore.

As WHMI reported recently (July 3, 2010), Hamburg Township has had to take over patrolling lakes because the Livingston County Sheriff's Department said it didn't have the money for it. Voters in the township approved a millage for expanded police protection awhile back, but now instead of expanding service, some of that money has to go to picking up the work that used to be done by the county.

Until the county commission passed the buck, so the Republican incumbents could brag about their low tax rate.

And it's not like lake patrols don't matter. People die on Michigan lakes every summer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Real Choice

In a post at The Hill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has a great summary of the differences between Democrats and Republicans.
Throughout the 111th Congress, Republicans have opposed every effort to help Main Street Americans, while supporting those corporate interests that wreaked havoc on Wall Street and unleashed disaster in the Gulf. When it comes to the best interests of the American people, the contrast is clear: Democrats are taking serious action on important issues, such as Wall Street reform, the economy, healthcare and fiscal responsibility; Republicans are trying to block progress and change, hoping that this will be to their advantage in the November election.

Hoyer neatly sums up the real choice for voters this fall. Here's a sample of his points on Wall Street reform:

Democrats fought to protect American taxpayers by proposing fair rules of the road that put the referee back on the field.

Republicans fought for big Wall Street banks and maintaining the same failed system that resulted in the financial crisis.

Definitely worth a read!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Come March with Livingston Dems on Monday!

The 4th of July is a great time to show your patriotism -- not just with fireworks and barbecues but my marching in a 4th of July parade!

Join Livingston County Democrats on Monday, July 5, for the Brighton 4th of July parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m., but we will begin assembling at 9:30 a.m. at the Brighton Education and Community Center, Main and Church Streets, in downtown Brighton. Look for our mechanical donkey float, "Chicago." Wear a blue shirt or one with patriotic colors.

Many of our candidates for state and county offices will be joining us. This will be a great time to meet some of them. And we'll have candy to hand out to the kids, too.

See you there!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sudden Change of Heart for Commissioners

Livingston County Commissioners all of a sudden are taking an interest in trying to get the county's economy moving again.

Livingston County Commission Chair Maggie Jones participated last Friday (June 18, 2010) in a planning session for developing a county strategic plan in which county leaders tried to envision what they would like the county to look like in the future.

That in itself is interesting, since Republican Party Chair Mike Murphy said recently the county doesn't need no stinkin' vision because everything is perfect in Livingston County. Never mind the 10 deaths in the Pinckney area from heroin overdoses in the last three years. Forgot the millions in debt the county has taken on for subdivisions that were never finished. And let's not talk about the miles of dirt roads we still have in this county.

Apparently, Jones doesn't agree with Murphy. She finally has gotten off her duff to take an interest in something besides paying the electric bill at the courthouse and expanding an airport that taxpayers pay for but most don't even know exists. That's a switch from a few months ago when the commission never even got around to telling the public that $24 million in bonds were available for local businesses under the federal economic recovery act.

Could it be the county commissioners don't like the looks of seven Democrats running against them in November?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GOP Communication Strategy

Let's Be Done With Bob Young

Bob Young has been as big a disaster on the Michigan Supreme Court as the "sleeping judge" Cliff Taylor was. In fact, the two were ideological twins. Voters showed Cliff Taylor the door in 2008 once they learned about his decision against a woman whose children died in a house fire due to faulty wiring.

Young voted with Taylor on that case, and that's bad enough. But Young also has voted against Michigan citizens and in favor of big oil companies.

The Michigan Democratic Party has produced a video laying out Young's decisions favoring corporations over citizens who want to protect the environment, and it's powerful. If enough voters see this, come November there will be a lot of voters making sure they flip their ballot over and vote the non-partisan judicial section -- against Bob Young.

You can view the video here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father-less Father's Day

How do you spend your first Father's Day without a father?

Whom do you call to hear how he is spending his day, to find out if the card you picked out specially for him got there in time?

Maybe you call your siblings, to see how they're doing, and to wish them a Happy Father's Day instead.

But mostly, you spend the day with your memories -- memories of how having had a father for decades shaped your life.

Some of the memories are cliches -- examples of working hard rubbing off on you, for instance.

But some are unique and special, like the advice offered as you were contemplating college, "No matter what you do, get a good education because that's one thing no one can ever take away from you." All the more meaningful because it came from a child of the Depression who watched his family home and all their possessions -- including his own BB gun -- auctioned off, and who never got a chance at college and the English degree he had hoped for.

And dozens more.

So you spend the day with your memories, and try to understand why memories once so wonderful inflict such pain and hope for the day they just go back to being wonderful.

Happy Father's Day. May this one be the best ever!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Michigan Film Credt Critics Foiled Again

More bad news for those who love to hate the Michigan film credit program.

ABC will begin filming a weekly crime drama in Detroit, "Detroit 1-8-7." Producers say the series, which focuses on the officers in a homicide unit, will bring millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs to the city. A studio and stage sets are being constructed in Highland Park.

The Detroit Free Press has the details. And ABC has scenes and more info on its website.

Good news for our struggling economy. Bad news for those who love to hate the film credit program. Anyone heard from Nancy Cassis?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Democrat Party defending Israel against US citizens?

Stephen Zunes: Democratic Party Defends Israeli Attack

This article names Democratic leaders who are defending the Israeli Attack on the flotilla. Chuck and I heard former Ambassodor Edward Peck and Joe Meadors-Survivor of the USS Liberty- speak in Livonia on June 5th and they spoke because they were on the flotilla and knew that Israel would paint the humanitarians on board as terrorists and they want the American public to know that that was not the case.

In the photo:
Chuck& Mares Hirchert, Joe Meadors-Survivor of the USS Liberty, Diane& Larry Cooper, Edward Peck-Former US Ambassador. link to cover up of killing of US Sailors by Israeli Navy in 1967.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blame the Hamburg Voters? Not So Fast

How quickly we forget.

There's a suggestion that the mess in Hamburg should be blamed on the "voters."

Have we forgotten what led up to the 2008 election? It wasn't the "voters" who sat on the Hamburg Township board of trustees in 2008 and engaged in intra-party fighting over the duties of the supervisor and other matters. It was local Republican leaders who were fighting with each other. Some members of the current board -- trustee Bill Hahn comes to mind -- even promoted the candidacy of former treasurer Patrick Evon before he proved to be such a disaster.

No, this wasn't the voters fault. This train wreck was brought to the people of Hamburg via the local Republican Party leadership. Voters will remember that.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Who Do You Remember?

Take some time out from the grilling and socializing today to remember what Memorial Day is all about -- remembering those who sacrificed to protect our freedom.

I have a list of people I'm thinking about today -- people who never made the history books for their valiant deeds but who are close to my heart and who served their country when asked. Family members who fought in the Civil War, served in the cavalry on the plains of South Dakota, saw the horror of World War I trench warfare, or suffered months of cold and starvation as a German prisoner of war. Even one who never came home and is buried in France.

This is their day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Delcamp -- Saving the State Money Would be His Passion

Saving money and living within his means has been Jim Delcamp's lifelong mantra. Growing up, he watched his father devise ways to save Ford Motor Co. millions of dollars over a 40-year career. As a result, Delcamp adopted a super-saving mind-set in his own life.

Now Delcamp, a Genoa Township man, wants to bring his passion for saving money to stat government and is making it a cornerstone of his campaign for the 66th House seat.

"I believe in austerity rather than living beyond my means. I will take that passion for thrift to state government. As a token of my passion for frugality, I will accept only half of the regular $80,000 salary paid to a state representative, returning the other half to the state coffers," he said.

"The lifestyle and tastes of my family and I make it possible for us to maintain a comfortable lifestyle on the half that I will keep. In fact, I expect to be able to save part of it towards college for my children."

Delcamp is the only Democrat to file for the House seat. The district includes the townships of Oceola, Marion, Genoa, Brighton, and Green Oak, the city of Brighton, and a portion of the city of Howell in Livingston County and Milford Township in Oakland County.

Delcamp, a resident of the district for 15 years, has a varied background, having worked as an urban planner, an energy efficiency auditor, a computer-assisted designer for the auto industry, a real estate redeveloper, and an author. In 2009, he published, "Zero Cost Living: Exploring Extreme Frugality."

Delcamp demonstrated his own frugality by working as an energy efficiency auditor and designing and building three energy efficient homes.

He said that as a legislator he will make reducing state government’s energy consumption a priority, but would look for savings in all areas of state government, including spending for health care. For example, people who now go to emergency rooms because they can’t pay for their care or have no insurance could at lower cost be treated in outpatient clinics. In Livingston County, for example, the facility cost for an in hospital procedure such as a colonoscopy is $2,500, and as an outpatient procedure $650. Statewide, such savings would be significant, he said.

While Delcamp said he has many more ideas of his own for saving money, "My ears are open and I will listen to and consider any and all ideas that can help solve our complicated, seemingly insoluble economic and financial problems," he said.

He has seen the impact of globalization on the American economy first-hand, watching his CAD career disappear as jobs were out-sourced overseas, but doesn’t believe out-sourcing and corporate cuts mean the end for Michigan jobs. "As a small-scale entrepreneur myself, I believe that Michigan needs to – and can – reignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who put America on wheels," he said.

Stabilizing funding for education and law enforcement will be top priorities, he said, adding that Michigan needs to control the costs of state prisons without endangering public safety.

"I will work to assure that all of these institutions operate with the maximum of efficiency while delivering fully to the best of their ability the services and tasks they have been called upon to accomplish," he said.

"I will look carefully to see if it is possible for all of them to do more with less."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Banking Crisis, Derivatives -- How Funny Is That?

Confused about credit default swaps? Can you define a derivative? Do you know why the global financial system collapsed under George Bush?

Come to Livingston County Dems' next movie night and learn the answers to those questions -- in a movie that will have you laughing out loud!

Livingston Dems will show a special movie on capitalism on Friday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at party headquarters, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton.

An ice cream social -- featuring ice cream and all the trimmings -- will follow. Suggested donation is $10 per person or $15 for two. Call (810) 229-4212 for more information.

Don't miss out on this fun time!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Geniuses at Work?

The Republicans who run Livingston County are trying to give themselves lots of credit for cutting staff in the last four years without cutting services.

But if you look at what the Livingston County Commissioners cut, you realize it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do it.

The biggest chunk of the 160 jobs eliminated since since 2006 were in the building department and the Department of Public Health environmental division responsible for septic tanks. If new construction has dropped to nothing, why wouldn't you cut the building department? This is just common sense.

And of course if there is no new construction, who is going to complain about the building department being cut?

But with seven Democrats running against them in the 2010 election, the do-nothing caretakers who run the county commission have to do something to make themselves look good.

And eliminating building department employees when there is no building going on anyway is the best they can point to when it comes to leadership.