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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Big, Bad Government Saving Hartland $12.9 Million

The big, bad federal government led by President Barack Obama has struck again in Livingston County.

The latest victims are the taxpayers in the Hartland Consolidated School District. The dreaded 2009 federal recovery act is going to save taxpayers of that district $12.9 million in interest costs on a recent bond issue by allowing the district to borrow the money at tax-exempt rates.

According to the Livingston Press and Argus, the interest rate on the bonds will drop from 4.53 percent to 2.61 percent, thus saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest.

I expect a Tea Party protest any day. How dare the federal government help a local school district save money on interest. Positively un-American.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hartland Doing a Hamburg Imitation?

More Republican in-fighting is breaking out in Livingston County.

Hamburg Township, of course, has distinguished itself on that front over the last two years. It is in a class by itself after the turmoil of the board that began in the 2008 primary with the defeat of the incumbent clerk and treasurer and the subsequent election of their primary opponents. The result was board infighting, incompetence, a successful and expensive recall of clerk Matt Skiba and now a board petition begging Gov. Jennifer Granholm to clean up the township's mess by removing the treasurer, Patrick Evon. But if that doesn't work, some township residents are ready to recall Evon, too.

But while Hamburg Township seems to take the honors for most screwed up township, don't count out Hartland Township. The Republicans on that board can't seem to get along either.

Citizens there have started a recall against Clerk Ann Ulrich over a dispute involving lots in the township cemetery. Ulrich's late mother was buried in a lot that had been sold to someone else in 1953. For some reason, the matter took months -- and $20,000 in legal fees -- for the township to settle.

According to the Livingston Press and Argus, Ulrich blames the board for inflaming the issue by passing a resolution censuring her for "'violating township policy, creating a conflict of interest and engaging in self-dealing.' according to Trustee Joe Colaianne."

Another attempt to recall Ulrich failed in 2002.

So while the Republicans in Hartland have a lot of ground to make up to catch the Republicans in Hamburg, they have a good start.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kande Coming to Livingston County!

Democrat Kande Ngalamulume of Lansing will bring his campaign for 8th District Congress to Livingston County on Saturday.

The Michigan State University grad will hold a coffee in Brighton on Saturday, May 22, to meet and greet people who want to know more about him and his campaign. The event will be at 9 a.m. at Bagels and Bites, 5757 Whitmore Lake Rd., in Brighton.

Kande is working to unseat Republican Mike Rogers, who now represents Michigan's 8th Congressional District.

Stop by for a cup of coffee and some conversation with Kande!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where Is the 'No Big Government' Crowd on Rogers and 'Show Your Papers' Law?

If you fear big government, as so many people claim to do when the issue is health care reform, this should be a no-brainer. There should be a big rally down at the Brighton millpond any day now protesting the fact that Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, wants to let big government stop people and demand that they prove they are citizens.

Somehow, I don't think the big rally protesting big government intrustion is going to happen.

Rogers has jumped on the Michigan far-right's proposal to enact an Arizona-type law that allows police to stop anyone they suspect of being in this country illegally and demand that they prove they have a right to be here. This law has been grossly misrepresented as only requiring immigrants to carry documentation, but if an officer stops you because you "look" illegal, you will need to prove, somehow, that you are a citizen and not an immigrant. And nobody has defined what grounds amount to a reasonable suspicion that someone is here illegally.

I don't typically carry my passport or my birth certificate. Am I now going to be expected to do so, in the event a police officer decides I look illegal?

This law is so extreme that Republicans like Jeb Bush, former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, and even Karl Rove, have disavowed it, but not Bill Rogers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dem Senate Candidate Has Long Record of Service

People running for office for the first time often face a paradox. Voters often want a new face, but they still expect the newcomer to have some track record of public service, of having contributed to something bigger than their own personal interests.

Chuck Fellows, the Democratic candidate for the 22nd state Senate seat, fills the bill. The long-time Green Oak Township resident is making his first run for elected office. But he has a long record of public service and volunteer work in the community. He has served on homeowners associations, the Green Oak Township Board of Review, the Green Oak Planning Commission, and Michigan Department of Community Health board. He has worked on behalf of millage campaigns for Green Oak's police department and served as their Friends Committee Treasurer for 15 years and served on planning committees for the Brighton and Salem-South Lyon District Libraries.

Fellows is in his second term as an appointee to the Green Oak Charter Township Planning Commission and is an appointed Public Member to the Michigan Department of Community Health Boards.

Now he is setting his sights higher.

"I am running to bring common sense policies to state government that will improve our schools, jump start our economy, and make sure government listens to the people," said Fellows. Common sense, effectiveness, balance and responsiveness are guiding principles.

Fellows worked for the Ford Motor Co. for more than 30 years, moving from the plant floor to the corporate staff. After retiring in 2000, Fellows began substitute teaching in the South Lyon Community Schools and then accepted a position with their alternative high school program teaching academic and life skills to adults and adolescents.

Fellows is seeking the seat now held by Republican Valde Garcia, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election. The seat includes all of Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and four townships in southern Ingham County. He is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Republican Joe Hune, who already has served six years in the Michigan House, and Paul Rogers, former mayor of Howell, are fighting each other for the Republican nomination.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In the 47th, Dem Candidate Means Business

Republicans like to think they have a corner on the market when it comes to having people with business experience in their party. And they like to paint Democrats as a bunch of professional politicians with no understanding of how to meet a payroll or turn a profit.

Well, Republicans won't be able to use that false perception this year in the race for the 47th District House seat. This time, it's the Democrat who has the business experience and the Republican who is the politician.

Garry Post of Hamburg Township, who filed papers on Monday for the Democratic nomination, has owned and operated a manufacturing business and managed real estate. The incumbent, Republican Cindy Denby, has been in the job two years and before that was chief of staff for the Republican who held the job before that, Joe Hune. 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.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Post also has a law degree from Detroit College of Law, and a degree from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business’ "mini-MBA" program. He established a law firm in Michigan before moving to North Carolina in 1988 to pursue a career in manufacturing, becoming president and chief operating officer of Athol Manufacturing Corporation. Athol supplied vinyl coated fabrics for cars, truck and buses including major mid-level automotive companies.

"I know what it is like to create a product and to create jobs in the business world. I want to bring that perspective to Lansing as the next representative for our district," Post said in his announcement.

After the company was sold in 2000, Post began a career in real estate management and development in Ann Arbor with a focus on serving students.

You can read more about Post's background by visiting his website.

In the 47th House race, it's clear which candidate has the best resume for what Michigan needs right now.