Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Whitmore Lake Results - Every vote counts

Frequent commenter Jim Pratt posted this on the Argus boards. Thanks Jim for finding the results. Anyone who thinks their vote doesn't matter can look at the results. Proposal C won by 2 votes.


Whitmore Lake Proposal B (Schools, renewal)
# Proposition B is a 10-year renewal of the 18-mill nonhomestead levy which expired in 2006. The nonhomestead does not apply to primary residences. If a district fails to levy the full 18 mills, the state reduces the district's per-pupil foundation grant.

YES 508 65.38%
NO 269 34.62%



Whitmore Lake Proposal C (Headlee Override)

Proposition C would raise the authorized nonhomestead millage to 20 mills, although under state law, the district can only collect 18 mills. The proposal is aimed at combating the effects of the state constitution's Headlee Amendment.

YES 391 50.13%
NO 389 49.87%



Whitmore Lake Proposal D (Headlee Override, Recreation)

Proposition D also is designed to combat the Headlee Amendment. It asks for a maximum of 0.10 mill to restore the district's 0.62-mill public recreation and playgrounds millage that has been decreased through Headlee.


YES 330 42.36%
NO 449 57.64%

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lapeer auctioning off M-16

I wish I had about $17000 right now.

From the Free Press

You, too, could be the proud owner of an automatic weapon -- courtesy of the Lapeer County Sheriff's Office.

Via its Web site, www.county.lapeer.org/sheriff, the department is auctioning off a fully automatic M16, dating to the mid-1970s and capable of firing about 700 rounds a minute. The only requirement is that bidders have a machine gun permit -- available to any adult who doesn't have a criminal record.

Purchased by the department for $500 in the '70s, the weapon, which Lapeer's law enforcers thought might be needed in the event of an emergency like a hostage crisis, has never been fired outside of a shooting range. Undersheriff Robert Rapson said Monday he thinks it may be worth as much as $17,000 now.


Of course the Free Press got it wrong in their reporting, which is typical of the leftist media when it comes to firearms related stories. Class III NFA permits are NOT available to any adult who doesn't have a criminal record. You need to pass a background check, and need to cough up $200 - but you also need to get chief law enforcement in your community to sign off on the BATF's Form 4 as well. That's not mentioning having enough money to afford the firearm.

One thing that needs to be mentioned as well. One crime in 50 years by legal NFA holders, and it was from a cop. There's nothing to fear here, folks.

Election Today - Whitmore Lake and Webberville schools

There is an election today - 2-27-07 - in the Webberville and Whitmore Lake school districts.

In Webberville, there is only one issue on the ballot. They want to borrow $6.5 million for furningshing and refurnishing equipment. Estimated milliage required to retire the bond debt is 2.15 mills.

In Whitmore Lake, there are three issues on the ballot.

1. Operating Millage Renewal Proposal - 18 mills.

2. Operating Millage Proposal - ANOTHER 18 mills. This is a seperate issue, and got my guard up and then some.

3. .10 mill increase for recreation

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Howell controversey - Is there a case?

Update from Last Howell update

Is there a case of prosecution? From what I have seen, looking at it as objectively as possible, probably not. A surprise to me is that there is little to no precident that I have found. I MAY find some if I did more digging through my Westlaw access, but I don't have ten hours of free time to devote to this.

There are two series of statutes which may fit.

750.142 and 750.143: are one section of statutes

750.142 Furnishing obscene publications or criminal news to minors.

Sec. 142.

A person who sells, gives away or in any way furnishes to a person under the age of 18 years a book, pamphlet, or other printed paper or other thing, containing obscene language, or obscene prints, pictures, figures or descriptions tending to corrupt the morals of youth, or any newspapers, pamphlets or other printed paper devoted to the publication of criminal news, police reports, or criminal deeds, and a person who shall in any manner hire, use or employ a person under the age of 18 years to sell, give away, or in any manner distribute such books, pamphlets or printed papers, and any person having the care, custody or control of a person under the age of 18 years, who permits him or her to engage in any such employment, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.


History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;-- CL 1948, 750.142 ;-- Am. 1972, Act 14, Imd. Eff. Feb. 19, 1972


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750.143 Children; exhibition of obscene matter.

Sec. 143.

Exhibition of obscene matter within view of children—Any person who shall exhibit upon any public street or highway, or in any other place within the view of children passing on any public street or highway, any book, pamphlet or other printed paper or thing containing obscene language or obscene prints, figures, or descriptions, tending to the corruption of the morals of youth, or any newspapers, pamphlets, or other printed paper or thing devoted to the publication of criminal news, police reports or criminal deeds, shall on conviction thereof be guilty of a misdemeanor.


History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;-- CL 1948, 750.143

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There has only been one case I found that covered those two statutes. Butler v. State of Mich. (352 U.S. 380), (77 S.Ct. 524) This was a Supreme Court Case from Feb 25, 1957. Due to copyrights, I can not reprint the whole decision unless it is found in the public record. An individual was convicted under this statute (sold a book to a cop, not a kid) and the conviction was overturned on 14th Amendment and Due Process grounds. It's not an exact precidence, but I suspect that charges under these two statutes would be dismissed based on the only precidence so far - the Butler decision.

-------------

The other statute section refers to 722.675.

However, Section 5 of 722.675 has an exception spelled out in 722.676. The question is this. Does it comply with the the revised school code and is part of a "school program permitted by law?"

While there is precidence of 722.675, not that I have found related to school programs. Cyberspace Communications, Inc. v. Engler however declared the internet and cyberspace portion (1999 amendments) of that statute unconstitutional on 1st Amendment Grounds.

--------------

Disclaimer - I'm not yet an attorney, nor did I spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express. This is not legal advice. However, based on what I have read by statute and precident, as well as common law principles of vagueness in how stautes can be read, I don't expect to see a final conviction against school officials for these books. That said, I'm not the prosecutor, nor a judge or juror. Those three elements make the final decisions on this matter unless there's a change in statute.

Friday, February 23, 2007

RECALL GRANHOLM! - Yet more tax/fee increases

It flat out amazes me that the Matt Millen and Gary Bettman of governors was re-elected. Obviously, this wasn't proposed before the election. Anyone want to take out the recall petitions? I'll circulate them. California of all places got rid of the inept Gray Davis. It can be done here too.

The worst part of this so-called plan is that it hurts the strength of Michigan. The growing part of the state (services) are targets for taxes. The outdoors and skilled trades are also hit. Here's the latest from your governor.

From the Detroit News

LANSING -- Hunting fees would double and fishing licenses would cost 43 percent more under a $115 million package of fee increases proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm as part of her budget balancing plan.

The proposed fee hikes, detailed this week in budget analyses, are in addition to Granholm's call this month for a new, 2 percent tax on services, and higher taxes on liquor and cigarettes. The tax and fee increases are intended to balance the 2007-08 state budget, which goes into effect Oct. 1.


Liquor and Ciggarettes - pay up
Deer Licenses - From $15 to $30
All species fishing - from $28 to $40 (I doubt I'll be flyfishing this year)
Air emissions permits - pay more $$$
Waste disposal and other servies - $$$$
Electricians pay more in licenses (Ridiculous)
Liquor licenses - triple in costs
Senior Fishing Licenses - $11 to $32


Here's a sampling of $115 million in fee increases in Gov. Jennifer Granholm's budget plan for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1:
Liquor license -- $21.9 million
Commercial mobile radio system -- $18.6 million
Hunting and fishing license -- $16.9 million
Air emissions -- $16.6 million
Corporation fees -- $6.5 million
Land and water permits -- $6.2 million
Solid waste surcharge -- $6 million
Securities fees -- $4.2 million
Groundwater discharge permit -- $3.1 million
License and regulation fees -- $2.6 million
Hazardous waste user fees -- $2.5 million
Pollution prevention program fees -- $2.4 million
Local judiciary user fees -- $1.7 million
Teacher certification fees -- $1.5 million
State police fingerprint fees -- $1.5 million
Source: Senate Fiscal Agency

Tom Vilsack drops out of 08 race

This is good news for the GOP. Vilsack could have played the outsider card effectively as a governor (4 of our last 5 presidents) and had some appeal in the Midwest. I think he could have been a strong candidate down the road. Luckily for us and unfortunately for him, he's back in the pack behind a couple of senators (a sitting senator hasn't won since 1960). The interesting part about this is that with Iowa's momentum, who will the Vilsack supports now support? Hillary "Socialize health care" Clinton? "No guts" award winner Barack Obama? Or another darkhorse such as John Edwards or Bill Richardson.

From reuters/Wa. Post

Democrat Vilsack drops White House bid

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Democrat Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, dropped his longshot 2008 White House bid on Friday because he could not keep pace with his big-name rivals in raising funds.

"It's really about money," Vilsack said at his Des Moines headquarters as he shut down a 3-month-old campaign operation.

Vilsack faced an uphill struggle competing in the Democratic presidential race against a heavyweight field led by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, the former first lady, and rising star Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Latest from Howell Schools

The fight over the books in Howell Schools (mostly found at Board member Wendy Day's Blog) has taken another twist. Vicki Fyke, leader of the LOVE Group, has asked Prosecutor David Morse investigate whether the law was broken.

From the Argus

Prosecutors still have not responded to Vicki Fyke's initial allegations that the Howell school system's use of several controversial books in a high school class may violate state laws against the distribution of pornography to minors, and now Fyke and her group are raising additional issues about the texts.
Fyke and the Livingston Organization for Values in Education have asked Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse to look into more aspects of the books' assignments in the high school, including whether support staffers — bus drivers or janitors, for example — could be breaking any laws if they give the books to students.

"It's very possible that a student might leave a book on a bus, and they might pick it up and hand it back," Fyke said. "They're actually passing out stuff that no other person could."

Fyke has also asked Morse to see whether any laws on racial slurs or violent material may apply.


I'm glad to hear that Dave Morse is reading the books in question before making a prosecuting decision.

There are five possible scenarios that may happen here.
1. No laws were violated.
2. There's a grey area, and Mr. Morse decides to prosecute.
3. There's a grey area, and Mr. Morse declines to prosecute.
4. Laws were violated, and Mr. Morse decides to prosecute.
5. Laws were violated, and Mr. Morse declines to prosecute.

I'm going to do some digging on any precedent, if there is any. There are two aspects to look at here. The first is statutes. The second is any previous court cases. Criminal law is traditionally narrowly defined. We'll see what happens here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Update

I haven't been able to post in awhile as things have gotten extremely busy. Quick update for those who do not know.

Chris Ward has endorsed McCain for 08.
Joe Hune and Valde Garcia have endorsed Mitt Romney for 08
Mike Rogers has not endorsed anyone at this time.

There's also an election February 27 for some school measures. In Livingston County, it only affects those in the Webberville and Whitmore Lake School districts. I posted on it at the link above.

I already voted absentee.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bipartisanship = bigger government and less freedom

At least that's how it appears to me today. Two new pushes for big government leftism is on the way. One deals with smoking, and the other deals in censorship.

First - Smoking. Ted "drive off the bridge" Kennedy and the king of fascists himself, Henry Waxman, along with Tom Davis and John Cornyn are pushing to increase the power of unelected bureaucrats over tobacco.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced legislation Thursday that would give the FDA the same authority over cigarettes and other tobacco products that it already has over countless other consumer products.

"Congress cannot in good conscience allow the federal agency most responsible for protecting the public health to remain powerless to deal with the enormous risks of tobacco, the most deadly of all consumer products," Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., said in introducing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act with Sen. John Cornyn (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, and Reps. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., and Tom Davis, R-Va.



This is a horse manure measure. It has no positive benefits whatsoever. We all know that smoking is dangerous. It is illegal for minors to smoke. There are warning labels on ciggy packs. It has been known for 40 years that smoking has a strong coorelation to cancer. This is no secret. People still make the choice to smoke or not smoke based on that information. How is increasing more government regulations going to help? If tobacco is so bad - ban it (at the state level to conform with the 10th amendment). Until then, shut the hell up with the grandstanding and chicken@##@ measures. Put up or shut up.

The other bipartisan measure is big government censorship being pushed by one democrat and one republican at the FCC - home of unelected bureaucrats.

"In general, what the commission's report says is that there is strong evidence that shows violent media can have an impact on children's behavior and there are some things that can be done about it," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Thursday.

The issue is bipartisan. Martin, a Republican, gave a joint interview to The Associated Press with Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps.

"The pressure to do something on this is building right now," Copps said, noting that TV violence comes up regularly during media ownership hearings he conducts across the country. "People really feel strongly about this issue all across this land. This is not a red state or a blue state issue."

The report also suggests that cable and satellite TV could be subjected to an "a la carte" regime that would let viewers choose their channels, a measure long supported by Martin.

"We can't just deal with the three or four broadcast channels — we have to be looking at what's on cable as well" Martin said.


It's called an on/off switch. Let's use it.

Are hockey games going to be censored? They have fights and people hitting each other with sticks. What about the UFC? John McCain tried to ban it once. Boxing? Kickboxing? What about the A-Team? They have (gasp) shootings on that show. This is a major can of worms.

I have a better idea. Disband the FCC's content regulation division.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

From the "you gotta be s#@*ing me" file

Well it's been less than three month into the new session and one member of Congress (or his staff) called the cops on another congressman....for get this..smoking a cigar in his own office.

From "The Hill"
This is how it all went down. On Wednesday evening, around 6 p.m., Tancredo was preparing for his trip to Mississippi. And as he so often does, he was unwinding with a cigar.

Soon enough, however, a police officer walked in to check on the smoke. The officer told Tancredo that the officer came because he was required to do so and not because the officer wanted to. The officer had already told Ellison that Tancredo was permitted to smoke in his office. The visit was more a formality.

Tancredo said he would not stop smoking in his office. “Heck, no!” he said. “If he [Ellison] would have [had] the courtesy to say something I’m sure I would have been more accommodating to his wishes.”

To help keep his office free of impurities, Tancredo has three air purifiers. And he has no plans to meet Ellison anytime soon. “I’m sure we will, but I’m not going to make a point [of it],” the presidential hopeful said, adding that he supported Ellison’s right to be sworn in with the Quran.


Excuse the language, but Keith Ellison and Rick Jauert are a couple of weak, whiny, little bitches. I'm sure the capitol police had much better things to do on their time than to be forced to deal with a case of (GASP) cigar smoking. If it was a problem, does it take any effort to go the office next door instead of calling the cops?

No wonder DC is such a mess.

Barack Obama - Winner of the "No Guts" Award

The Wall Street Journal shows Obama's unwillingness to make a decision and his creative voting. Due to that, we make him our first winner of the "No Guts" award.

Finally and officially, Barack Obama is running for president. His symbolic announcement, in the Land of Lincoln, called for a new era in politics. Obama downplayed his thin federal experience while championing his record on the state and local level, and he talked about the need to change Washington, set priorities, and "make hard choices."

"What's stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics--the ease with which we're distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions," Obama said in his announcement speech


But then we have this.....

While some conservatives and Republicans surely will harp on what they call his "liberal record," highlighting applicable votes to support their case, it's Obama's history of voting "present" in Springfield--even on some of the most controversial and politically explosive issues of the day--that raises questions that he will need to answer. Voting "present" is one of three options in the Illinois Legislature (along with "yes" and "no"), but it's almost never an option for the occupant of the Oval Office.





We aren't talking about a "present" vote on whether to name a state office building after a deceased state official, but rather about votes that reflect an officeholder's core values.
For example, in 1997, Obama voted "present" on two bills (HB 382 and SB 230) that would have prohibited a procedure often referred to as partial birth abortion. He also voted "present" on SB 71, which lowered the first offense of carrying a concealed weapon from a felony to a misdemeanor and raised the penalty of subsequent offenses.

In 1999, Obama voted "present" on SB 759, a bill that required mandatory adult prosecution for firing a gun on or near school grounds. The bill passed the state Senate 52-1. Also in 1999, Obama voted "present" on HB 854 that protected the privacy of sex-abuse victims by allowing petitions to have the trial records sealed. He was the only member to not support the bill.

In 2001, Obama voted "present" on two parental notification abortion bills (HB 1900 and SB 562), and he voted "present" on a series of bills (SB 1093, 1094, 1095) that sought to protect a child if it survived a failed abortion. In his book, the "Audacity of Hope," on page 132, Obama explained his problems with the "born alive" bills, specifically arguing that they would overturn Roe v. Wade. But he failed to mention that he only felt strongly enough to vote "present" on the bills instead of "no."


I should mention that a present vote is a way of voting no in result, without having that on your record. For that reason, Barack Obama is our first recepient of the "No Guts" award.

Congratulations on your award, Mr. Obama.

Filing Deadline Passed - Who's in?

The filing deadline is passed and the school board lists are in. There were a couple of last minute filings.

Howell - no changes. These are in: Roger Dresden is not listed.
Dan Fondriest
Bill Harvey
Edwin Literski
Doug Moore
Jeannine Pratt

Brighton - Eight candidates are in. The two last minute filings are Beth Minert and Keith Van Hentenryck. Miles Vieau is NOT listed.

Wesley Armbruster
Irene Besancon
Patti Bradley
Winnie Garrett
Jared Geist
Beth Minert
Greg Rassel
Keith Van Hentenryck

Hartland:
We will have a contest here. Elsie McPherson-Brown is facing Dennis Tierney, who had a close race last year.

Fowlerville is uncontested.

I need to double check Pinckney to see if it is contested or not. The Argus says there are two openings. I thought there was two openings for full seats, and one opening on a partial seat making three openings. Anne Colone and Michelle Crampo are in, and Jason Reifschneider is also running.

Candidates have three days to withdraw. After that, the ballots are final.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Howell Schools to slay the MESSA dragon?

With all the hype about the LOVE Group and books controversey dominating the schools picture, this surprise was in the Argus.

From the Argus

In a surprise move, the Howell school board on Monday approved a resolution aimed at weakening or eliminating the influence that a union-affiliated association called MESSA has on the cost of health-care benefits for teachers and other union employees.

(snip)

By a 7-0 vote with virtually no comment or explanation, the board voted to name the Howell Public Schools as the policyholder for employees represented by the Howell Education Association and HESPA, which represents support personnel.

Such a move would replace MESSA as the policyholder for both groups. MESSA, which stands for the Michigan Educational Special Services Association, is affiliated with the statewide Michigan Education Association union, and has been targeted by some as unnecessarily expensive.


If this is true, this is a great start. We'll see what happens in the final contract however, as that is the real key in all of this. The 7-0 vote is the most shocking part of this, especially before a school board election. MESSA and their overhead costs and lobbying kickbacks need to go. This is a key issue that will be followed closely here.

As for "Booksgate", no surprises there. The board is generally split 4-1-1 (With Westmoreland as an independent vote) and the battle between the LOVE Group and School administrators is personal. It's not about policy anymore but personalities. There was no way that LOVE's proposals would go anywhere but down under the current setup.

The one thing really dissapointing me on the books issue is that there is no change in the vetting process for the books. All the checks and balances are within school officials and the whole "Ivory Tower" and doesn't go out to Joe/Jane public. There are two different settings, and some don't understand what goes on in the other setting. That could have ended future erputions on this and lead to an acceptable solution.

Lastly - The school board filing deadline is today. 4PM

Monday, February 12, 2007

Livingston County - School Board Preview

On May 8, all of the Livingston County based School Districts (Brighton, Howell, Hartland, Pinckney, and Fowlerville) will be having school board elections.

So far, we have 16 official candidates for all the different positions for the May 8 School elections. Tomorrow, February 13 is the deadline for filing. We'll see if there are any last minute candidates.

So far, the people running are as follows.

Brighton: (2 openings) - Incumbents are Miles Vieau and Dawn Boss. Miles has not filed yet, and Boss is no longer in the district.
Candidates filed:
Wesley Armbruster
Irene Besancon
Patti Bradley
Winnie Garrett
Jared Geist
Greg Rassel

Howell: (2 openings) - Incumbents are Jeannine Pratt and Ted Parsons. Pratt has filed for re-election and Parsons is not running again
Candidates filed:
Dan Fondriest
Bill Harvey
Edwin Literski (running as a team with Jeannine Pratt - Prattandliterski.com
Doug Moore
Jeannine Pratt - Incumbent (No relation to Jim Pratt)

Pinckney: (3 openings) - Incumbents are Anne Colone and Mike Hendy for full terms, and Michelle Crampo for a partial term. Colone and Crampo are running again. Hendy has not filed last I checked.
Candidates filed:
Anne Colone - Incumbent
Michelle Crampo - Incumbent (Appointed?)

Fowlerville: (2 openings) - Incumbents are Mike Brown and Elaine Esch. Brown is running again. Esch has not filed last I checked.
Candidates filed:
Mike Brown - Incumbent
Sheila Burkhardt

Hartland: (1 opening) - Incumbent Elsie McPherson-Brown is running again and is the only person to file so far.

Howell and Brighton are going to certainly have contested elections. The others may or may not be a battle. We'll see what happens coming up here. There's still another day before filing, and a couple of incumbents may run again. I've heard Roger Dresden in Howell and Miles Vieau are running, but they have not filed yet.

It'll be interesting to see which interest groups involved make endorsements and get involved in these race. Between the Concerned Taxpayers Group, MEA, political parties, LOVE PAC, the Argus, and Right to Life, things will be interesting. Let's just hope voters are informed and vote after they are informed on the candidates.

Gore again?

Speaking of gun grabbers - From the AP

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 8, 10:21 PM ET



CONCORD, N.H. - Veterans of Al Gore's past are quietly assembling a campaign to draft the former vice president into the 2008 presidential race — despite his repeated statements that he's not running.

ADVERTISEMENT


His top policy adviser from his 2000 presidential campaign and other key supporters met Thursday in Boston to mull a potential Gore campaign. The participants and Gore's Nashville office both said Gore, who is in London, is not involved.

Elaine Kamarck, a veteran of the Clinton White House and Gore's policy guru in 2000, said the meeting was informal and shouldn't be taken as a sign there will be a Gore 2008 campaign.

Chris Mackin, a Boston consultant and Gore supporter, called it "an early stage conversation." But he added: "We're very serious about exploring this."



On one hand, I hope he runs since it would be fun to see him, Obama, and Hillary beat the tar out of each other. On the other, I'd hate to see this joker as president.

Note to Rudy - The 2nd amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting

If there is one thing that irks me about politicians, it is those who claim that the 2nd amendment is about hunting or that they are pro-2nd Amendment, and go on some BS hunting trip like John Kerry did (and he didn't even do that right). While I am supportive of hunting, as well as a hunter myself, it has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment.

From the AP

Rudy Giuliani addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters, saying his policies as mayor to get handguns off the street helped reduce crime in New York.

"I used gun control as mayor," he said at a news conference Saturday during a swing through California. But "I understand the Second Amendment. I understand the right to bear arms."

He said what he did as mayor would have no effect on hunting.


Rudy (who should know better as an attorney) either doesn't understand the 2nd amendment or is playing from the DLC's gun grabbing playbook in an attept to split "Elmer Fudds" (hunters who support gun grabs and think their guns are safe - after their ammo was targeted for a ban) and other gun owners.

My biggest 2a problem with Rudy is the fact that he tried to bankrupt firearm manufacturers as mayor by litigation. That loses any chance of my vote. This gamesmanship just reinforces it. If Rudy said that he was representing New Yorkers (who are overall very anti 2nd amendment) as mayor and said he would not support any new gun laws as Americans as a whole disagree with New Yorkers on this issue, I could respect that as opposed to this gamesmanship. With "support" like Rudy's, gun owners do not need opposition.

Border Security Resolution approved at GOP Convention

I received a copy of the immigration/border security resolution from one of the advocates. Some format changes came from the copy/paste.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

RESOLUTION DEMANDING SECURE BORDERS & ENFORCEMENT OF LAW

WHEREAS, Border security and immigration enforcement are critical elements in America’s national security, and

WHEREAS, The Republican Party supports legal immigration to our country and acknowledges the tremendous contributions made by legal immigrants throughout our history to our economy and society, and

WHEREAS, Strengthening the capacity of law enforcement to apprehend foreign terrorists, illegal aliens and other criminals entering our country illegally is essential to protecting America and reducing crime in our cities, and

WHEREAS, Immigration enforcement training needs to be provided to state and local law enforcement to strengthen interior enforcement of immigration laws, and

WHEREAS, automatic U.S. citizenship should not be given to children born in the United States by illegal alien parents as it provides inducement to sneak into our country, and

WHEREAS, Worker eligibility verification should be mandatory for all employers in the state of Michigan and employers held responsible for hiring illegal aliens as employees and be subject to substantial fines, and

WHEREAS, Working or residing illegally in Michigan must not establish rights or financial benefits of any kind for illegal aliens, and

WHEREAS, Any guest worker plan that allows illegal aliens to remain and work in our country will only result in more illegal immigration and increased crime in our country, and

WHEREAS, Respect for the rule of law is a bedrock principle of our country, our culture and our posterity, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, The Michigan Republican Party calls for the immediate securing of our border with all available means and the enforcement of existing immigration laws in the workplace, and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The Michigan Republican Party calls for all state and federal funds to be withheld from any city or local jurisdiction that acts as a sanctuary for illegal aliens by advocating policies, written or understood, that prohibit or otherwise thwart cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, and be it

FINALLY RESOLVED, The Michigan Republican Party calls upon the Congress to pass and the President to sign a bill enacting laws to secure our borders and end employment of illegal aliens in the workplace at the earliest possible opportunity and to immediately commence enforcement.

Respectfully submitted,

____________________________________ ____________
Christian Chojnowski, Kalamazoo County Republican Party Executive Committee Member

The Honorable David Agema, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Fran Amos, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Jack Brandenburg, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Kevin Green, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Jack Hoogendyk, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Marty Knollenberg, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Jim Marleau, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Arlan Meekhof, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Kim Meltzer, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Chuck Moss, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Paul Opsommer, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Brian Palmer, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable John Pastor, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable David Robertson, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Rick Shaffer, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Fulton Sheen, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable John Stahl, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable John Stakoe, Michigan State Representative

The Honorable Glenn Steil Jr, Michigan State Representative

Mr. Gerry Hildenbrand, Allegan County Chairman

Mr. Glenn Clark, 9th Congressional District Chairman

Ms. Deborah DeBacker, 9th District State Committeewoman

Mr. Robert McCoy, 9th District State Committeeman

Mrs. Barbara Harrell, 9th District Committeewoman

Mr. Earle Vandyke, 9th District Committeeman

Mr. Bruce Henderson, MD 9th District Committeeman

Mr. Al Lucas, 9th District Committeeman

Mr. Larry Ward, 8th District Chairman

Mr. Jeff Wiggins, Chairman, MSU College Republicans

Mr. John Knowles, Ingham County Republican Party Executive Committee Member

Mr. Jason C. Miller, President, Secure Michigan PAC




Pros: Arguments “For” Illegal Immigration Resolution
America has the most generous legal immigration policy of any nation on earth. There are millions of people all over the world who wait patiently for years to come here legally. Illegal immigrants make a mockery of that process.

We all understand and empathize with the reasons why people come here illegally. However, in a world in which billions of people could improve their lives by illegally immigrating, we have no choice but to enforce our laws.

Some employers and consumers do benefit from the presence of illegal aliens in the work force. However, these savings are more than offset by social costs. And even if we strictly barred illegal aliens from receiving any social benefits, exploiting their labor still could not be justified on moral grounds.

The best remedy to illegal immigration is to deter prospective illegal immigrants from coming in the first place and to convince those already here to go home. A combination of better border security, effective employer sanctions, and elimination of non-emergency benefits will send a message that illegal immigration will not be tolerated.

The American people granted amnesty to some three million illegal aliens in 1986 in what was promised to be a one-time-only program. The government has not fulfilled its commitment to the American public to enforce laws against further illegal immigration. A new amnesty program would be a betrayal of a deal and would only encourage a new wave of illegal immigration, as people around the world would correctly perceive that coming to the United States illegally is ultimately rewarded.

The largest population of illegal immigrants in the US comes from Mexico. Mexico last year was ranked fifteen (15) in the world for gross domestic product. Governments such as Mexico should take care of their own citizens instead of actively encouraging them to enter illegally into the United States.

Cons: Arguments “Against” Illegal Immigration Resolution
Our police officers are already overworked and do not need the extra burden of reporting illegal aliens.

Lower wages paid to illegal aliens reduce the cost of living for Americans.

The United States needs illegal aliens to do the jobs that Americans don’t want to do.

It is cruel to send these poor people back to their country where they will have to live in poverty.

Our country was founded by immigrants. We shouldn’t change that.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

GOP Convention Report

This weekend, I was a delegate to the State GOP Convention in Grand Rapids. At this convention, the party chose its state committee members, district committee members, state chair, and vice chair positions. There weren't a lot of surprises at the State GOP Convention. The 8th District caucuses were uneventful, which is a good thing.

The big battle was for youth chair between Matt Hall and Trevor Pittsley. Matt was heavily backed by some of McCain's major backers. Pittsley is backed by many of Romney's major backers. There's a proxy war going on between John McCain's people and Mitt Romney's people. (For the record, I'm a free agent) That aside, neither have officially endorsed any candidate, and there were several overlaps. After several counts/possible vote flips in one particular district, and a close fight with some controversey, Hall won by 8 votes. That's part of convention politics at times. I think either one of them would do a good job for the party and was a fencesitter till it was vote time. Matt Hall did an excellent job at WMU. Trevor Pittsley did an excellent job for state party and also worked with the Teenage Republicans at one of their events. Unfortunately, the battle ended in the manner it did with the controversey. That said, Matt's a good guy and should do a good job for us. Congratulations to him.

One of the major issues at the convention was Granholm's tax increase proposal. In response to that, former state rep Leon Drolet was passing out stickers for the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. The message on it was "RECALL 1983" in response to the Blanchard tax increases that lead to Democrat loss in the state senate after two recalled politicians who voted for it. The Concerned Taxpayers Group here was enacted in response to a 3 mill school tax proposal on the county level. It's high time to see a taxpayers group on the state level ready to do batter with Granholm. We are naysayers to her tax increase, and damn proud of it!

State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk and some others snuck though a border security resolution to the convention floor. I'm pleasantly surprised that this was able to reach the floor. This was pure grass roots success, much to the chagrin I'm sure of some Washington establishment types. Once it reached the floor, it passed easily - 3-1 at least.

On the 2008 front, I arrived at the convention as a free agent in my presidential choice. I leave also as a free agent. Four campaigns were represented there. Sam Brownback and Mitt Romney were there themselves. John McCain was represented by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Rudy Giuliani was represented by Candice Miller.
Brownback did a good job appealing to the social conservative base without any of the fire/brimstone type of rhetoric that turns off most of the mainstream. His goal of eliminating cancer in ten years is a laudible one. Mitt Romney is a very good speaker who talked about experience and fiscal principles. Candace Miller did a good job attempting to sell Rudy by emphasing his mayoral record. I'm no McCain fan at all, but Pawlenty did a very good job for him. I wish he was the candidate running instead.

I can't speak for other districts, but the 8th district had a rather cold reception to Mr McCain. Can he get the base back? Brownback had some support, but many have doubts about his ability to win. I think his chances increase greatly if people think he has a good chance to win. The crowd seemed to favor Romney, but was more a lean that way rather than hard core support. Overall - it's still way early and no one has run away with the nomination.

I arrived and still am an undecided free agent on the 08 race. I did not wear any presidential stickers there, just my Recall 1983 sticker.

John McCain - You sir, are no President Reagan

I was at our state's GOP convention in Grand Rapids and several campaigns were there. One of the tactics by a campaign is enough to merit a special post. John McCain's campaign had T-shirts with Reagan on them, and he is reinventing himself to be of all things, a less government and pro-2a conservative and the "heir" to President Reagan.

One of President Reagan's most famous quotes is this:
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?


Unfortunately, Mr. McCain views government as the solution to the problem.

The McCain/Feingold law censors political speech with the ban on issue ads
He opposes the 2nd amendment with his attempt to ban gun shows.
He talked about tax cuts - he voted against them.
He pushed to ban the UFC and pushed for hearings on steroids in baseball
He wants government to more heavily regulate cars.

That doesn't sound very Reaganesque to me. John McCain may be a big fan of President Reagan, but despite his reinventions - he ain't it. McCain - "You sir, are no Ronald Reagan"

More on the convention later.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Granholm - "Pay up!"

From GONGWER via Saul's email. This is flat out unacceptable.


GOVERNOR SEEKS QUICK ACTION ON 2% SERVICES TAX PLAN

Governor Jennifer Granholm will seek quick action Thursday on her tax proposals, including a 2 percent tax on services, to erase deficits this year and next by raising $1 billion in net revenues and cutting spending by $400 million. The governor wants the new sales tax to be effective June 1 so the state can forestall a cut in school aid and otherwise help address an $800 million current-year deficit.

The current year cuts include $160 million in Executive Order cuts that the administration will outline in more detail on Thursday.

State officials confirmed the sales tax proposal first disclosed Tuesday by Gongwer News Service (See Gongwer Michigan Report, February 6, 2007), and provided additional details of what will be included in the tax and budget plan.



The officials, who provided background information to reporters, called it a “two-penny plan” to allow the state to invest in education, health care and other priorities laid out by Ms. Granholm in her State of the State address.



The officials said the entire package is designed to fill a $3 billion hole in the budget, including $1.9 billion that will be lost December 31 when the Single Business Tax is killed, and will raise additional revenues as well. They said it would once and for all fix a broken tax system.



The 2 percent sales tax on services would exclude government purchases, health care and educational services as well as advertising and college sports events, though professional sports would be taxed. Much of the detail will not be released until Thursday, but officials said things such as day care would be considered exempt health care, as would a number of transactions related to business like agriculture production and mineral extraction.



The Michigan Business Tax, worth about $1.4 billion, would replace the $1.9 billion Single Business Tax and would be identical in basic points to what was proposed in December with the same rate and same base, but including a new tax credit for large companies headquartered in the state. It would retain as well the cut in personal property taxes.



The administration calculates that a family of four earning $57,300 annually would pay $67 a year more on the tax on services, which would embrace things like hair cuts, lawn mowing services, legal and accounting services and professional entertainment.



The revenue from the new tax on services would not be subject to the Constitution’s provisions dividing up the revenue from the 6 percent tax on goods – such as the 75 percent going to the school aid fund – but officials said the law would have its own earmarking provisions.



The officials are calling for the Legislature to complete work on the tax plan by March 31, the date members begin a two-week spring break, largely to make sure schools will not suffer a $224 per pupil cut in the current fiscal year. They also said an increase will be included in the 2007-08 budget recommendations.



The general fund is facing a $605 million deficit in this fiscal year, along with current year spending pressures of $158 million for increased caseloads for services within the Department of Human Services and a rise in prison population.



The state will also not be able to carry over an expected $110 million from 2006, mainly due to unanticipated spending pressures within DHS, Corrections and State Police over the last year.



Administration officials expect opposition to the plan, but said this represents leadership by the governor on the chronic fiscal issues faced by the state.



Granholm press secretary Liz Boyd said, “The Governor’s tax plan is simple and fair. We believe it is worth two pennies to invest in Michigan’s future by protecting health care, education, and public safety.”



The proposal did, in fact, draw immediate barbs from Republicans and some businesses, but many others said they crave more detail before they could provide a better assessment.



G.O.P. LEADS SKEPTICAL OPPOSITION TO TAX PLAN



Prospects for a consensus – let alone quick action – on Governor Jennifer Granholm’s proposed tax on services appeared dim given the comments from Republicans who control the Senate and whose support in both houses would be crucial politically to the success of the plan.



Ms. Granholm began her effort to round up support as she provided details of her tax and budget proposals to Democratic caucuses late Wednesday afternoon.



Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) said he would not consider any new taxes until the state first seriously focused on restructuring government to save taxpayer funds. And he said it would be irresponsible to promise new investments in education and worker training with money the state does not have and which will build a bigger government.



“From the perspective of long-term budgeting, we must determine what government services are essential for the safety and well-being of Michigan citizens, then we determine the revenue necessary for those service,” Mr. Bishop said. “Tax increases only penalize Michigan residents and businesses already struggling to make ends meet.”



Senate Finance Committee chair Sen. Nancy Cassis (R-Novi) said she would be concerned if the proposal is an “additional tax on businesses on services as well as on individuals”, especially “for those citizens holding on to their wallets when there is so little in the wallets.”



Legislators in other states where sales taxes on services were proposed ran from the idea, Ms. Cassis said. She worried that it would hurt lower and middle class residents. And if the proposal would be enacted without a vote of the people, Ms. Cassis said that could hurt its credibility with the public.



But she said the goal of enacting the tax by March 31 “is not doable,” and that the best way to promote development in the state is by cutting taxes.



Some Democrats found more to like, though House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford) declined to comment until the full package is made public on Thursday. He did say that the sales tax on goods is only bringing in half of what it once was and that services are a growing area where taxes could be applied.



Mr. Dillon said in terms of Ms. Granholm’s March deadline on implementing any increase in revenues that he would be willing to work on that schedule. Although he also said that he has asked for a tax model to be run on some of his recommendations, which he did not elaborate on, but that Democrats would be working off of Ms. Granholm’s proposal.



Rep. Steve Bieda (D-Warren), chair of the House Tax Policy Committee, also declined to comment on the overall tax plan from Ms. Granholm, but added that he intends to begin hearings on all of the SBT replacement plans next week and that everyone is approaching the situation with clear slates and open minds.



Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek) said, “You are going to hear a lot of ‘sky is falling’ rhetoric on this plan, but look at the facts. Everyone agrees we are in a fiscal crisis, this is a comprehensive plan that includes cuts, reforms, and revenue, and it makes sense to invest in our long-term success.”



The governor is expected to issue an executive order requiring departments to cut a total of more than $160 million from their current year budgets. That would be nearly half of what Ms. Granholm is expected to order in cuts over the next two years, however it was not clear where those cuts would be directed or if whether that would encompass an across-the-board reduction.



Asked whether the $400 million in cuts over two years the governor is expected to propose is enough, Mr. Dillon said it was considering the overall budget of the state, but that if Republicans find a cut that was left unturned that he would be willing to review it.



While Mr. Dillon said he was still waiting for House Republicans to ship him over a list of cuts for the budget they say is too fat, a spokesperson for Minority Leader Craig DeRoche (R-Novi) said Democrats should simply look at the House-passed version of the past two budgets to see what areas they would want to target.



Matt Resch, spokesperson for Mr. DeRoche, said that the budget cuts proposed by the Republican-controlled House over the past two years is where the caucus would like to go in terms of trimming government spending. Last year, the cuts proposed by House Republicans included $30 million from the Department of Corrections budget, $45 million from the Department of Human Services by implementing further welfare reforms, hundreds of millions from the Department of Community Health with increased co-pays and premiums for Medicaid and a ban on Medicaid eligibility for most 19- and 20-year-olds and for noncitizens.



Mr. Resch said he found it interesting that the governor had said during her re-election campaign she did not want to balance the budget on the backs of citizens, but by applying a 2 percent sales tax on services, which would affect everyone, it appeared she believed that residents hadn’t been paying their fair share all along. The middle-class in this state has suffered enough in the lagging economy and the governor’s proposal doesn’t help that any, Mr. Resch said.



In terms of having the Michigan Business Tax with a net cut of $450 million, Mr. Resch said that should have been what the governor proposed in the first place.

Tax/Budget By the Numbers

Sales tax:

· $1.47 billion in new revenue from 2 percent tax on services

· $1.028 billion on business services

· $450 million on individuals

· $180 million cut by providing tax on difference between vehicle trade-in and new car price



Michigan Business Tax:

· $450 million net cut in business taxes compared to Single Business Tax ($250 million of that for small businesses)

· $550 million net cut for Michigan-based businesses.

· $100 million increase for out of state businesses.



Other taxes:

· Cigarette tax increase of 5 cents per pack to $2.05 and increase in other tobacco taxes.

· Liquor tax increase.

· Estate tax when value exceeds $250 million.

· Variety of “loophole” closings



Budget impact:

· $576 million in higher revenue in fiscal year 2007.

· $1.1 billion in higher revenue in fiscal year 2008.

· $400 million cuts combined in fiscal year 2007 and 2008.

Argus preview of School Board 07

From the Argus
School elections taking political bent
By Dan Meisler
DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

The days when school board elections were barely noticed may be in the past, as pressure from state budget cuts, political parties and community groups are raising the profile of the campaigns and injecting a partisan atmosphere


Miles Vieau said it best.
"It's always been political; it's just been kind of a quiet politics,"


For years there was an old boys/old girls club that controlled things. Elections were run by the schools. The election dates were set by the schools. We had 3-10% turnout most years, largely by MEA affiliates and their supporters. It was a great setup for them.

Some rumblings really started to occur around 03 and 04. Chuck Breiner was involved in a bidding war between Rochester and Howell and received a big raise. At the same time, the school asked for a Headlee override to raise taxes on businesses. Write in candidates for the school board nearly won, and the override lost. It did pass later on a September election.

One key was Chris Ward's bill to limit elections to four days in a year. One in February, May, August (primary), and November (general).

Then came the enhancement millage. Four of the five school districts based in this county supported a property tax increase due to the inability of the districts living within their means in this rough economy. The Concerned Taxpayers Group was born out of this. Despite being outspent 4-1, the enhancement millage failed 2-1, losing in every district. Turnout was about 25-30% - 3-7 times a normal turnout. The old boys club did not control the election.

At the same time, there was a controversey over the rainbow flag raised in Howell schools. That's been covered enough and I don't wish to rehash the controversey. However, I do believe that was a factor in the millage's defeat.

The County GOP took a stand for fiscal discipline and joined the Concerned Taxpayers Group in opposing the tax increase. This brave move was a shot at the old boys club.

After the enchancement millage's defeat, people thought it was important to stay active in the schools. That's why the Concerned Taxpayers Group formed a PAC to make sure our school board members are fiscally responsible. The LOVE Group also formed a PAC to address their concerned about the values issues in their schools. Both PAC's made endorsements, as well as the County GOP. The MEA affiliates made their endorsements as well (as usual). The turnout was 20%, much higher than the customary 3-10%.

That brings us to today. The Concerned Taxpayers Group will be back. I assume the LOVE group will be as well. The MEA will be back. I'm not sure what the GOP or Democrats will do. We'll wait and see there.

The best news about this is that the voters will be informed and that the old boys club can not control everything. While the old boys network will have their say, so will the rest of the voters in the districts. People will have a choice this election, and there won't be the blind voting and few choices which was common in the past.

Thursday - Granholm's budget proposal

The state of the state was a bunch of fluff. The real plan will come on Thursday. Heads up, since there will be some tax increases proposed. I think it's time to get the recall petitions ready circa 1983 if any tax increases pass.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Granholm's "Committee" pushes for tax increase

In other news, bears dump in the woods, the Pope is still Catholic, and Matt Millen is a loser.

This was hardly a surprise after the cast of clowns appointed for her panel. Jim Blanchard, Frank Kelley, and Bill Milliken. This "bipartisan" panel is bipartisanship as its worst - when both parties agree to screw over the citizens.

From Booth Newspapers

The report from the bipartisan group, co-chaired by former Govs. William Milliken and James Blanchard, recommends closing what has been a years-long structural budget deficit through a mixture of new tax revenue, spending cuts and government reforms. Granholm was to receive the report this morning.


Lansing fouled it up by spending too much. It's time to make the tough decisions and make the cuts instead of having us bail out the mess they put us in.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More bad news - Home Sale prices drop

From the Detroit News

The best that can be said about the Metro Detroit housing market is that some of the worst may be over.

And the worst that can be said is that the rest of the worst is yet to come.

Year-end numbers for 2006 show home prices across the region fell by 7.1 percent, their biggest drop since 1989. Home sales dropped, too, down 11.2 percent, according to the multiple listing service Realcomp.

The only number that went up wasn't a good one. That's the number of homes listed for sale, and it soared across southeast Michigan by a staggering 41.2 percent.

Even after all that, home prices haven't bottomed out yet, real estate experts say, but probably will sometime this year. The only good news is that buyers seem to be coming off the sidelines after years of waiting out job uncertainty in our troubled auto-dependent economy.

Median sales prices dropped about 5 percent in Macomb and Oakland counties, almost 7 percent in Livingston County and more than 13 percent in Wayne County. That means the owner of a $200,000 home lost $10,000 to $26,000 in value.