Saturday, April 28, 2007

First announced candidate for one of Livingston County's state house seats

From the Argus

County Commissioner Steve Williams announced his candidacy for the state House of Representatives on Friday.

Williams, who represents Putnam Township and parts of Marion, Genoa and Hamburg townships on the county board, will run in 2008 for the seat in Lansing currently held by Rep. Chris Ward, R-Brighton. Ward won't be able to run again because of term limits.

Williams ran for the seat in 2002, but dropped out in the primary because he was mobilized into the armed forces.

He emphasized his ability to solve problems and work together with other lawmakers.

"I'm a conservative, pro-life, pro-defense, pro-Second Amendment candidate," he said. "But I recognize there is a need for services."


This is an open seat and also my district (66th). This district covers most of the Brighton area and two 1/2 municipalities of the Howell Area. Brighton City/Township, Green Oak, Genoa Township, Marion Township (Steve's home), and Oceola Township. The rest of the county is in Joe Hune's district (47th), which is also an open seat in 2008. Milford Township in Oakland County is also in the 66th District. There are plenty of rumored candidates for both districts, and Steve was one of the most mentioned.

Steve's a strong candidate and made a smart decision by announcing this early. He nearly beat then-incumbent Judie Scranton back in 2000 almost solely on the life issue. He ran again for 2002, but dropped out after 9/11 as he was a reservist called up for active duty. He has a track record and has walked the walk on the 2nd Amendment and life issues.

Steve's a good guy, although I am not making any endorsements for this race at this time. He's one candidate I will consider voting for when the time comes. However, the primary is still 15 months away and I'd like to see who else is running before jumping into the fire.

Detroit Lions draft yet another receiver

For the 4th time under the Matt Millen era, The Detroit Lions drafted a wide receiver. This time it is Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech. Johnson had a great college career, but will he be a Roy Williams or will he be a Mike Williams? I really hope he's a Roy Williams type player, and also hope someone is capable of getting him the football. I wish they picked a lineman or defensive player instead as the Chicago Bears have shown that defenses and the trenches are the basis of a team. We'll see what happens.

As incompetent as Granholm has been being "The Matt Millen of governors", there's only one real Matt Millen. With Millen's record of incompetence at the draft, player personnel, and coach selection (Jury is out on Marinelli, but at least he's not a West Coast offense guy), not to mention his win-loss record, he sets a standard of losing that rivals the Darryl Rogers years. I'd never thought I'd miss Wayne Fontes and mediocrity.

It takes work being a Lions fan.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law - Campaign Finance Violation in Howell Schools election

Folks, we have a campaign finance violation in Howell.

Last year, I got an MEA postcard in the mail for the Howell elections. It was green, with a return address from East Lansing, and mentioned their endorsed candidates.

This year, the postcards are back. They are Green, and have these two messages on them. "Howell teachers support Edwin J Literski & Dan Fondriest for Howell School Board" and "Please remember to vote for Edwin J Literski and Dan Fondriest on Tuesday, May 8."

On that postcard, there is NO MENTION of a "PAID FOR BY..." or even a return address. There is no mention of the organization behind the postcard. That is bigtime illegal. Someone is breaking our campaign finance laws. I do not know who has done so, but I do have some strong suspicions. I do know that it was the MEA (in East Lansing) who gave out postcards last year, of the same color. This year, the MEA has endorsed Fondriest and Literski.

I do not believe this came from the campaigns themselves of Literski and Fondriest. Literski is running with Jeannine Pratt and not Fondriest. The campaign finance reports of Pratt and Literski are out and everything there looks above board as far as I can see. (FYI - their top backers are Howell attorney Tim Livingston, Former board member Mike Hall, Leader of 2005 enhancement millage Bonnie White, Brighton attorney Mike Hatty, and Judge David Reader who is Pratt's boss). While the campaigns of Literski and Fondriest are beneficiaries of the illegal conduct, more likely than not, they did not do it themselves, and probably did not know about it. Those two have no motive for an ad like that.

The MEA has all the motive in the world for this. They are based in East Lansing, not Livingston County. In today's economy, union leadership is not popular in Livingston County. The 2005 millage and higher taxes are not popular either. They are probably guessing that mailing with their logo on it are counterproductive. That gives them a reason to simply say "Howell teachers" and not "MEA-PAC", which is their proper name.

Did they do it? I'm not 100% sure, but I am sure enough to place a bet on it if I was a betting man.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Brighton School Board Debates

Brighton School Debates
I was just at the Brighton School Board Debates. The biggest contrast I saw compared to Howell is the level of tension in the atmosphere. It was a lot more relaxed and businesslike in Brighton than it was in Howell. The level of animosity in the room was much lower here.

The debate format was 2 minutes for opening/closing statements with 1.5 minute answers. The debate was recorded and will be on local public access stations. I typed as quick as I could on the answers and they are as close to verbatum as possible, although as with Howell, much of this was shorthand and I apologize for the difficulty in reading this. I did my best.

Overall, while I think all of the candidates would do a good job on the school board, I hope that Irene Besancon and Greg Rassel win. I don't think anyone needs to vote "against" any of the candidates here as none of these candidates have shown poor judgment, have axes to grind, or bad decision making ability. There are no incumbents running here either so there will be new people on the board, no matter who wins.

Opening Statement (2min)
Irene Besancon – 13 years in Brighton. Daughter teacher. Grandchildren in Brighton Schools. We need to educate our children so they can take care of the world. Unique skills with Mathematics background. Balanced books and treasured many orgs. Teaches at Schoolcraft/Eastern.

Patti Bradley – 22 years in Brighton. Reporter Children in Brighton. PTO President at formerly, Spencer, now Scranton. Small business owner. Public schools educate 90% of schoolchildren in states. We need more than inadequate funding from state. We let Lansing decide with budget cuts.

Winnie Garrett – Livingston County resident 17 years. Training in human relations. Director of Human resources. Lifelong commitment to community service. Passion for quality schools, Brighton has excellent reputation. Use good skills to maintain and enhance schools. Concerned about funding equity.

Jared Geist – Make community better. Born and raised in Brighton. K-12 product of Brighton schools. Whole life involved in Brighton community.

Beth Minert – Moved to Livingston County in 1972, 1980 in Brighton. Teacher in Brighton 31 years. Retired. Been on several negotiation teams. Been on two school redistrict committee and one other (missed it). Went to Lansing in 2005 for school equity rally. Believe in public education system. Time for another educator on school board.

Greg Rassel – Director of Public Service, Royal Oak. Marine Corps. 13? Years in Brighton. Kids in system. Frustrated at boards kick the can approach currently. Need to take responsibility. Live within our means, not fund balance. Don’t bow to single issue groups. Maintain high level of excellence in school. We need to make community decisions based on long term. State level is important, but don’t expect much short term.

Keith VanHentenryck – Moved to Livingston in 1988. Self-employed and run business. Too much of adversial relationship with all parties. Compromiser. Stay within budget. Enhancing revenue good idea, but unrealistic goal right now.

Q1 – If you had one change, what would it be.
Irene Besancon – Agree with Bradley with planning long haul and with technology. Was involved in Dearborn Schools Engineering program. Taught students to think for themselves with original ideas and manufacturing. Apply tech as well as learn it. Need finances to do that.

Patti Bradley – Lack of future planning. Had to work on year/year basis. Need to look 3 years ahead. Cirriculum – not enough staff to accolplish updates. Tech needs updating.

Winnie Garrett – Lack of equity in funding. Optimistic it can happen. Control of state leglisature. Education not getting enough recognition that it needs. Need to focus on that. Brighton has excellent schools, but we can not be complacent.

Jared Geist – Strengthen and better and find better ways to communicate with district. The rest comes from that, including funding, etc. We need to inform public. Public relations. Public must be on same page as board. One of two candidates with website. It’s important and set up in FAQ format with questions. Phone number and email on website for all communications.

Beth Minert – Wants to piggyback off of Geist’s interest. Former Super Dennis McMahon had partners in education program. Wants to bring that back. New state required curriculum. Needs to make it relevant for students to business community. Arizona has radio program each week related to schools. Need to publicize more.

Greg Rassel – 1. Balancing the budget. 2. Look at upgrading facilities including technology. More reliant on schools of choice and need to compete with South Lyon, Howell, Walled Lake. Facilities must compete.

Keith VanHentenryck – Everything hinges on money. Budget is number one issue. Number of items not well capped.

Q2 – Would you support request for millage increase or headlee override for budget.

Irene Besancon – No. Moving companies having problem and can not get trucks back. Doesn’t seem fair to put more tax burden on residents here. However, we can use school of choice to get revenue. Keep good curriculum to keep students here and attract students. Can bring 1 million to our districts by filling slots.

Patti Bradley – Proposal A flawed due to millage. Need to get other districts to agree to seek money. Millage was defeated two years ago when we tried. Would not support millage at time.

Winnie Garrett – not tax raiser . Local districts not allowed to have millage so puzzled by question. Continue for advocate of funding equite. County does not support taxes.

Jared Geist – Short answer – no. Worst thing can do right now is millage. Looking at it wrong way. Do better with money we have right now. Amazing amount of for sale signs right now. Economy not greatest right now. Defecit right now. Not spend more money than have. Control spending and not ask for money since no guarantee money won’t get spent same way as current.

Beth Minert – not asking for headlee override right now. Would support it. Millage – reviewing Super Craig’s review. Increase of 500K in special ed budget. All these programs mandates, but not funded. Need to help these students.

Greg Rassel – Short answer no. Not right now. We must restructure first. That never happens.

Keith VanHentenryck – Short answer no. State can’t resolve it, not addressing next years. Too many foreclosures right now.

Q3 – Opinion of MESSA

Irene Besancon – I have advantage to live under teacher benefits. Teachers deserve good benefits, but we need to look at all options and truly feel Board has to say “We can afford to pay so much, not more than that. What’s best you can find for teachers under that dollar amount” We don’t know what budget will be, but prepare for worst case so we don’t cut what kids need.

Patti Bradley – Be careful. Insurance is part of collective bargaining agreement. Everything up for grabs with contract.

Winnie Garrett – Labor relations background. I don’t have enough information right now. Not familiar with what costs are. Not equipped to make decision.

Jared Geist – Referred to Howell declaring selves policy hold. We need to wait and see how that plays out. If we can provide benefits at cheaper costs, no reason not to do so. It may backfire, so we need to watch Howell first. Can’t spend more money than we have. If there’s other companies not affiliated with MEA, we need to look at it.

Beth Minert – Unlike Howell, brighton paid to keep MESSA. Will look at others and save money, but be careful. Do not let people go by wayside with pre-existing conditions. Look at history of company and premiums to see they do low cost first and double them within a year.

Greg Rassel Part of Structural change. We can’t prove we get best costs. In private sector, premiums are changing all time. Need to bid out competitive.

Keith VanHentenryck – Has to be looked at. Many school districts dropped MESSA, which is 3rd party admin, not provider. Lakeview, saved 500K. Blue Cross/Blue Shield repackaged, easily less expensive with same benefits.

Q4 – Regarding Brew haha relating to literature at Howell.

Irene Besancon – Policy establishment sounds good. Is the material best to deliver for curriculum?

Patti Bradley – We hire on teachers expertise for this. Parents had access to AP list. Availible to all parents in Brighton. Shouldn’t be issue.

Winnie Garrett – We need processes to avoid it and up to date and followed. Staff needs training. Committees – need to include different views so all are listened to. Chain of command needs to be followed. We need good conflict resolution skills, need to be respectful, return phone calls, etc. Total package will make it work.

Jared Geist – I don’t have lit or teacher degree but law, poly sciece, . Teachers need to do their jobs. We go down slippery road if we micromanage. Good policy right now.

Beth Minert – Brighton has way to deal with this. In HS, Teachers choose book, work with dept heads, discuss it, vote, give it to super and board. Look at other districts and goes to committee. Committee can read, discuss, and vote. May use as pilot or right away. Parents bring it to treacher, may offer alternative, and if more challenge, can go to board. AP – requested by college board. Different criteria.

Greg Rassel – Satisfied with Brighton process. We haven’t had that controversy,. Knock on wood. Fall back on Supreme Court statement. I know it when I see it.

Keith VanHentenryck – Works well now. Always be some book that pushes someone’s button, but right now no changes.

Q5 – Labor relations good, adequate, bad, at Brighton schools.

Irene Besancon – Adequate. Don’t like to see disagreements in last year or two, comes from mutual respect. At least people are courteous to each other. Need healthier respect for one another. We have good people and need to remember we are negotiation with good people and in best interest. That gets lost in conference. Both sides need to know what’s needed going in and be able to articulate it. Communication.

Patti Bradley – Adequate, need work. Super said 2.5 million. Head of union doesn’t believe it says Cried wolf. More communications needed.

Winnie Garrett “Traditional” – lose opportunities for win/win outcomes.

Jared Geist – Inadequate. We have to look at end result of what we have – budget defecit.End result needs to be good. Part of process did not work to good result, which is not adequate for me. It’s harsh, but we need to be tough with end result.

Beth Minert – Are adequate. Yes, tough times and some layoffs. Teachers are problem solvers and want to solve problems facing district.

Greg Rassel – Adequate. Contact to contract for a couple of years. Work to be done. Can’t go out until long term contracts are in place. We aren’t doing all we can to keep house in order fiscally.

Keith VanHentenryck – Adequate. Issues in past lead to situation where both parties unsatisfied. More compromise necessary. Conflicting interests.

Q6 – Have you been endorsed by PACS, unions, etc?

Irene Besancon – If you ask me to come, you are part of community. Endorsed by Taxpayers Group and Right to Life. I said things I concurred with their point of view, but it’s MY point of view. I did not say what they wished to hear. I’ve not received contributions outsides of people putting signs out. All money my own.

Patti Bradley – No. No endorsements. I did received contribution from graphic artist. Else, my own money. Not spending $1000 (Waiver)

Winnie Garrett – No endorsements or financial contributions.

Jared Geist – Piggyback on what Irene said. All of this is community service. Invited by RTL, Teachers Union, Argus, and Taxpayers. I’ll tell them what I say. I have beenendorsed by RTL. No contributions from PACs/Special interests. Campaign contributions from family and friends. I’m in debt. I’ll take that. Am under $1000 (waiver).

Beth Minert – Not seeking endorsements. Neutral. Nonpartisan. Checks from friends for yard signs. $100-175 range. Spent under $400

Greg Rassel – Interviewed with same groups. Endorsement of Taxpayers Group. Spend my own money.

Keith VanHentenryck – No. No endorsements. Low impact approach with low spending. Not taking contributions.

Q7 – Should negotiaton team have board member on it.

Irene Besancon – I’m surprised we don’t have one. Should have one there.

Patti Bradley – Board should have one there. We’re responsible for approving contracts.

Winnie Garrett – No. What happens, Board sets parameters for management with support of super on what issues are. Financial/non financial. Board has closed meeting as a group.

Jared Geist – Critical to have board member or two members. Board has duty to do
best we can. If most important is financial, need proactive approach and have members in process.

Beth Minert – On each negotiation team I was on, board was there.

Greg Rassel – No. Code of silence. Too many biases of individual. Hire admin for reason. More important financial advisor there.

Keith VanHentenryck – No as well. Board designed to run business of district in overview fashion. Micromagement – too many hands in pot and spoil the stew. Agree with Greg.


Q8 – Selcra relationship

Irene Besancon – They do outstanding job. Grandkids involved. Don’t incur costs because of them, maintains good facilities for community.

Patti Bradley – Should continues. Don’t know fee schedule, but need fee to use schools or soccer fields. Relationship should continue.

Winnie Garrett – Tradional. Agreed, but needs to know fee structure.

Jared Geist – Absolutely. Community theme. Selcra great for community. Well balanced education critical. Biased – as I’m soccer referee from selcra at one point. A lot of people see Selcra as postitive. Could factor through school of choice.

Beth Minert – Agree. Something should be paid toward.

Greg Rassel – Selcra does great job. Report to board several weeks ago. 80% self-funded. Bounced number to management he uses at Royal Oak. Great numbers. Facilities are heavily overused and needed upgrade to lower maintence costs.

Keith VanHentenryck – Good program. If it doesn’t cost too much, and needs to be close to self-sustaining.

CQ9 – Abscincence – support? (State requirement)
Irene Besancon – Follow mandate

Patti Bradley – Follow mandate.

Winnie Garrett – Support being in complice with state guidelines.

Jared Geist – Agreed with Garrett due to mandates. School board job isn’t to change mandate but to manage school. Not my job to alter what mandate is on that level. I have my own beliefs. Own believes sometimes best, sometimes not. Will be professional. Need to follow mandate.

Beth Minert – Follow mandate.

Greg Rassel – Parent of 17 year old. Great policy.

Keith VanHentenryck – Can’t follow Greg. Have to follow mandate. Need to teach well rounded course.

Closing Statement (2 min)

Irene Besancon – I’ve had experience in Livonia on school board advisory. Strong curriculum provider. I’ve been and produced two teachers. Want to be positive image for Brighton schools. Great community. Need to balance budget to grow, equity to staff, accountability to those paying bills.

Patti Bradley – I’m running for schools since I have kids that had good education in Brighton. So caught up in budget cuts that forget what the cuts affect. Has 6th? Grader.

Winnie Garrett – 17 years in community. I have expertise regarding community in Leadership Livingston, BHS volunteer. Part of BHS planning committees. Strong set of skills in leadership. Brings plaque of leadership award to confirm what she said.

Jared Geist – Communication is what this is all about. Anyone has more questions, I’ll stay and answer them afterward. I’ll talk to TV watchers. Gives Cell number - 810-210-9192 – will answer questions from public. I have fresh perspective, BHS graduate K-12. I have brothers in school as well.

Beth Minert – School is a foundation of community. Brings history of district, contracts to board.

Greg Rassel – 3 legged approach. Revenue. Reductions. Restructure. In reverse order. We need to look at what they’ve done in lansing. Unfunded mandates need to be addressed. Don’t need people at top of hill telling us to teach our children.

Keith VanHentenryck – I have a lot to offer to community whose board is supposed to look at business to district. I can do good job, but others here can do so as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another debate Thursday, Geist cleaning up in online poll

With all the hype about Howell schools, let's not forget about the others. Brighton is having a debate as well this Thursday, April 26 at Green Oak Township Hall which is at US-23 and Silver Lake Road. 7:30 is the time.

As far as the online poll goes, Jared Geist is cleaning up so far with almost 100 votes already - in less than a day. I've also had the most hits on this site since mid November 2006 when the post election was covered. That's not a coinicidence. Now, I know this is not a scientific poll, nor intended to be. However, schools are a low turnout election. If enough of those online posters are from Brighton and show up to vote on the 8th, who knows what will happen. In six way and eight way races, usually the most organized candidates win, even with little funding. Joe Hune proved this in 2002 shocking most people with his win.

Some of the contested Brighton elections I've voted in had 3% turnout. Most were about 8%. The turnouts have been higher lately overall 15-25% in different municipalities thanks to millages, contracts and other issues. Turnout is going to be the biggest key in this race. That's as close of a prediction as you'll get from me. I'm not going to call this one since I think any of the five on the ballot could win in Howell, and so far I think five possible candidates could win in Brighton. It just depends on who shows up.

LOVE Group stays out

From the Argus

The Livingston Organization for Values in Education’s political action committee has decided not to endorse any candidate in the campaign for the Howell Public Schools Board of Education.

Vicki Fyke, founding member and spokeswoman for LOVE, said Monday that the group decided not to endorse any of the candidates because “we don’t know any of them.”


Interesting timing. Vicki was at the debate last night, and this release of "no endorsement" is out the day after all the candidates distanced themselves from LOVE. Maybe they did not care for what was said at the debate.

I've also heard rumors of new write in candidates as well, but apparently that was either not the case, or abandoned due to an unlikely chance to win.

Hopefully, whoever wins, the controversies will end with an acceptable solution.

FCC wants to censor more content, including cable

It's called a remote, use it. And don't even think about messing with 24 or the UFC.
From the Post

Federal regulators, concerned about the effect of television violence on children, will recommend that Congress enact legislation to give the government unprecedented powers to curb violence in entertainment programming, according to government and TV industry sources.

The Federal Communications Commission has concluded that regulating TV violence is in the public interest, particularly during times when children are likely to be viewers -- typically between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., FCC sources say.

(snip)

The report -- commissioned by members of Congress in 2004 and based on hundreds of comments from parents, industry officials, academic experts and others -- concludes that Congress has the authority to regulate "excessive violence" and to extend its reach for the first time into basic-cable TV channels that consumers pay to receive.


I have a better idea. Disband most of the powers of the FCC, limiting them to regulating signal interference. We have remotes. We have V chips. We have plugs. Let's use them. The last thing I want to see is government once again going after the Ultimate Fighter and 24.

One other thing, what's next. "Offensive Speech?" We're now seeing government pushing to stick his fat head into cable. These censorship goons are no different than the gun grabbers.

Argus story and audio from Howel debates

From the Argus

Howell Public Schools Board of Education candidates sounded off Monday about the district's financial situation, teachers' contract, special interest groups and the superintendent at a forum held at the Paul Bennett Recreation Center in Howell.
All the candidates — incumbent Jeannine Pratt, Dan Fondriest, Bill Harvey, attorney Edwin Literski, Doug Moore and high school student Phillip Nichols — agreed that settling the teachers' contract is a top priority and that the district needs to work within a budget.


The audio from the debates are also posted online at the same page of the article.

New Poll

I updated the poll for two of the School Board Races.

Monday, April 23, 2007

School Board Debate in Howell

I was at the school board debate (actually candidate forum) in Howell. All six candidates were there. In my opinion, they all brought something to the table.

I thought Bill Harvey won. He had a strong presence, displayed his experience, and did the best overall job.
Doug Moore had the strongest answers in and of themselves. His answers were all substance. I am biased as I support Bill Harvey and Doug Moore, as do the Concerned Taxpayers Group.
I thought Ed Literski had some good comments on negotiations.
I hope Jeannine Pratt does not get any heat for her answer regarding MESSA. The board is in negotiation and considering that fact, she gave a professional answer that was needed for someone in her position.
I thought Fondriest had a couple of good answers, particulary with the bond and Parker High. It was a good counterpoint based on another answer and shows he has ability to think on his feet.
Phil Nichols is gutsy and determined. He got a raw deal by the election laws as he turned 18 after the filing deadline in early February. He could not file to be on the ballot, but can run as a write in. It would have been easy for him to pack it in and quit, but he's still running and is running a legit campaign as well. I wish him well.

These are shorthand notes and are as close to accuracy as I can come based on constant typing during the speaking. I'll warn you that they are hard to understand. The actual audio will be on the Argus website. I recommend the primary sources themselves when they are open to the public. I'll admit it's a lot better than what I've written here.

Opening Statement
Bill Harvey – Coach, Father of kids in school (valedictorian), good overshadowed with needless controversy. Won’t wait for state to bail out. 2.1 million increase by simply increasing students. Will listen to teachers.
Doug Moore – 25 years of global engineering experience. Parent of students. Taxpayer. Respect for everyone blueprint of success. Asking right Qs. Gathering information. Bring them to table. Discuss and come up with solutions.
Jeannine Pratt – Incumbent. District needs experience and consistency. Served on committees including PTO and bond committees.
Ed Literski – Taught before coming at attorney. Kids in schools. Long time resident. Special interests in schools. Teachers without contact. Immediate problem. No board member negotiating. Lobby lansing for funding.
Dan Fondriest – Everyone should vote. Father of 4, were in Howell. Take a careful ponder and decide.
Phil Nichols – Write in candidate (deadline). Teacher tudored him in math. Young perspective needed. Nervous. A+ for guts.

Q1 - End of school need, state not decided revenue cuts. Given state budget not in school fund. How does board address issues.
Bill Harvey - Somebody smarter than any one of us is all of us. Open up books. Opprotunities for community input and innovative solutions. Schools of choice $7000 to bring in. 1 student per classroom. No overhead costs. 300 students – 2.1 million. Losing students to Horning elementary (Brighton) – gifted students. Bring revenue in this way.

Doug Moore – Schools are business, but more than cuts. Revenue. Evaluate every expendidure. Ask community to do same. Amazing what light can be done. Information why students leaving – know to get students and revenue back. Contingency plan NOW to address budget cuts. No good negotiating with gun. Ask right Questions.

Jeannine Pratt – Know what has to be done. Has cut. Eliminated 73 staff positions. Several insurance. Did not add programming. Hands cuffed by state. Fought for answers and stonewalled by Lansing.

Ed Literski – Prop a objective. Worked for few years, fell apart. Long term equity in funding. 80% budget staff. First, contract and MESSA insurance. I’m attorney and mediator. Settle MESSA. Not complicated. Teachers offer pay difference. Acceptable solution.

Dan Fondriest – Michigan was mecca of manufacturing. Changed. Be awhile before additional funds. Work and continue to work to leverage lansing to get funding change. Long solution. Short term, run like company. Not easy. Tighten belts. Get contract settled. Been in contracts. Not acceptable.

Phil Nichols – With stare cuts, created problem with budget. Teachers need contract. Bring best teachers in so people want to go to school. School of choice.


Q2: - Compensation package – reason Howell worked without new contract. Board is district policy. MESSA coverage. Trade wage for benefits. How do you get both together.

Bill Harvey - Shocked that board member is not part of committee. I’ll do it if no one else available. I’m here to support education. Stability is needed. Don’t care who provides insurance. Different amounts for different benefits. Power to individual teachers. Bring revenue to schools. 290-400 students leave districts. Some willing to come back if we put controversy behind us. Replace students we lost. We do what more money from state but won’t happen soon. Bring students. We need change of board and image.

Doug Moore – I’m not privlidge to info. It IS board responsible to set amount of compensation. From there is negotiation. Board Concerned of total costs. Happy to offer compensation within framework to suit needs. Should be choice offered. Proposal for insurance pooling from state. Bipartisan.Where Lansing can help. What teachers see as their preference within that should be fine.

Jeannine Pratt – Board doesn’t want power over district. Same coverage under different carrier. Can’t say what I want due to unfair labor practice complaint. Board member can not be negotiatior due to full time jobs.

Ed Literski – establish budget. Not. How far apart are we? T side $600 per year? If taxpayers aren’t paying it, who cares. Other side $1000? Believe these are good faith negotiations. Do not believe this is bad faith on every side. Board member part of team. Everyone part of this. It’s the kids crisis.

Dan Fondriest - Everyone seen public comment. Internet blog sites. A lot of people complaining about teachers. 10 years ago. UAW Things changed. Some will come back. Some won’t. Must balance budget. Should be negotiatiable. Insistent that HEA wants MESSA, then we negotiate it. I wonder if board calls something win-win. All of board should be more involved in this. No contract, that’s awful we’re talking about this.

Phil Nichols – Teachers will help pay to keep health care. Schools are coming to say “this is numbers we produce. Take it or leave it. Both sides need to negotiate. If elected I will work to get contract, either with MESSA or program to save money and comparable in services to MESSA.

Q3: - Controversial issues – books, flag, etc. How has it been handled.

Bill Harvey – I observed change when I came back from Japan. I worked as consumer relation manager. Learned training. Complaints like cockroaches. Take them seriously. If you listen, you can learn. Greatest acclomplishments contributed by critics with opposing ideas. We discuss. “This can’t work.” I don’t have all answers, but I have open mind. If you come here with complaint, must be part of solution. Part of draw is great community we have. Once we go to board meeting, community disapeares. Education important, (Validictorian). Listen to what’s saying. Then we can improve schools.

Doug Moore – Other questions. Look at these decisions. Is quality better or worst? More costs to district? Opt out working? Unintended consequences? Good bad. Could handled better? Answer is how do we do this in future. Perception is problem. Critic more than happy to tell us that we are failure. Real and perceived problems. Future.

Jeannine Pratt – Handled as best as possible. Special interest group likes to stir pot. Diversity flag. Students put it up, not board or admin. Book issue. Special interest group against…has own beliefs…”appreciate that” but in long run, have committees in school. 82 teachers certified curriculum in education. What they do best. Addressed each issue. Many don’t believe board handled things appropriate. Not involved in day to day running of district. Things happen in individual schools, schools responsible. Info ends up in board room. We have been working on that.

Ed Literski – What’s best for the kids. Media is not best. They are here for controversy. When KKK rally came to Howell, that’s a shame. Community dragged down. Need board in business of educating children. Spending hour after hour defending this while we have no contract. Wasted time on special interest. “Isn’t that group that took education away from education.” Let them do their job.

Dan Fondriest – Issue got me fired up to get signatures. Not happy to see social engineering with LOVE group with other issues out there. Financial issues. School on line. Flex schedule, balance budget. MUST be done on time. We can’t be dragged down on social issues. Get votes right away. Keep papers out of issues.

Phil Nichols – Controversy. Good and bad. Makes you think and evaluate where stance is. Most give semi-bad look on schools. Me running for school board controversy so I have contributed a little bit (Referring to write in). Board job to make public school do best for public. All must be heard and find middle group. Make as many happy, not all will be. Too long for some decisions. Distraction. I won’t use time to use something that could be done in one meeting, that’s been done in four.


Q4: - Two part Q – Bond issue past, two HS opened this fall. Parker will be, Howell closed for renovation. 1. Admin thoughts. 2. Intention both open in fall of 08, how.

Bill Harvey – Tough Question. I’d hesitate to put blame on public as board’s responsibily. Reign super in. Needed new classroom space. Growth rate high, then changed. We should re-evaluate decidions due to changing environments. Where are we financially. What will we do with unsupervised students during day. Look at ALL of the situation, look at what we afford . When we have plan is right time to open Parker. No plan is jumping off cliff without measuring water at bottom.

Doug Moore – As bond goes, believe schools put in place for reason. Growth. Work towards plan to open both. Work on all part. Two parts. Revenue needed and costs. Revenue addressed by schools of choice. Costs – first looked at – do we need it? If we needed it, we should, work towards plan to open both. With facts on table. Idea how to get were we are today, and go where we need to go.

Jeannine Pratt – No blame here. On bond committee. District doesn’t say “We want to build a school” Plan is good plan. Flex schedule is forward thinking of this district. Not losing students, gained 1000 to Howell in 9 years. Have both open.. I’m optimistic. I hope it’s open. Board will work to educate the students in the district. Saved money by cutting renovation time.

Ed Literski – You are folks that decided and voted to it. Easy to say mistake. I don’t think it is mistake. We need them both open. It has to open. Less students than old school, then flex schedule. Challenge reopening 2nd school. Bond in 03. Economy doesn’t resemble It was then. I don’t what I’ll do about it as I don’t know revenues. Lansing cuts. That’s challenge. Resourceful board. Fiscally responsbilble.

Dan Fondriest – It’s a good thing and still a good thing (bond). Schools of choice – Parker is good magnate for it. 2008-2009 – both schools have to open. Can’t put plan together and say things change. Make it happen. Renovate HHS and open them both. No if’s and’s buts.

Phil Nichols – Unique perspective on this problem. I walk halls of Howell High. Congested. Opening up new school is good idea. Howell needs to be renovated as its older school. Athletes traditional. Both should open to minimalize stress. Both buildings used less. No point building and not using them.


Q5: - How do you assess performance of Breiner.

Bill Harvey – I’ve been manager. I’m manged ambition. Had to be responsible for direction they took. If they took wrong direction, I need to take responsible for that. If we look at school management. School board runs school. Super reports to board. I notice Breiner gives comments, sets agenda. It’s backwards. I can’t assess him. He’s not been given direction and guildlines. We need to give him guidelines to measure him so we know how he’s doing. We can take advantage of his vision, but curb autonomy.

Doug Moore – Most recent – inconsistency. One answer on different days. Must be improved. One school, one answer. What’s his job description from board. He’s leaving in next couple years. Has not asked for renewal of contract. What happens with this board is goals of NEXT super with goals and guidelines. Management.

Jeannine Pratt – Two jobs he’s interviewed for solicited by different school districts. Saginaw and Oakland ISD. Super isn’t easy job. I sit alongside him. He spends countless hours in this district. He can’t make everyone happy. District lost 5 admin positions, must be fulled. Breiner doing just as good as he possibly can do, not make everyone happy.

Ed Literski – I know Chuck. Not well. He’s creative intelligent man. Vision commended by all. Concerned with interview process as I see it ongoing. Involved in expansion which was his vision. He was helpful and instrumental. I’d like to see his. I am disappointed with interview elsewhere. Show must go on. Board committed, I’ll be committed. Wouldn’t matter who super is. Office here before and after. He’s been very good, but we’ll get through it.

Dan Fondriest – I wish I could say he’s root of all evils. He’s CEO. He needs to run day to day. Board needs to step up to plate too. Plenty of blame. Mentioned the state as well. Chuck is guy that needs to be guy to do it. Has contract. Prases MEAP, Flex schecule, Freshman. Chuck’s done this and that, but done a lot of good too.

Phil Nichols – Chuck Breiner has done his job. I’m not fan of fact that he’s looked for other jobs. He’s in charge of looking after schools. Why is he looking for job if he has Howell’s best interest. I’d like to see him be here and have chance to work for him. I think he’s done his job.

Q6 – HEA, MEA, LOVE, Right to Life, Taxpayers endorsement. Would you accept

Bill Harvey – I’ve been contacted by all groups. I have same position. Here’s my position. If you like my position, you can endorsement. I’ve not sought endorsements. I’ve been endorsed by taxpayers and right to life because they liked what I had to say. Coaching is where you look to individual. In board meeting, and someone talks to me, I treat person as individual , listen, make decision.

Fondriest – I run as indy, but may not vote that way due to social issues. I’ve been contacted by these PAC’s. I haven’t responded in most cases. I did meet with HEA. They are supporting me. Local organization. Taxpayers – political group. I did meet with Press/Argus. Not seeking endorsement but if it comes, fine. Board must be neutral, independent.

Nichols – I was contacted by two groups. Taxpayers by letter. Many questions did not help. Did not contact due to scheduling problem. Homework. Contacted by HEA. Track practice, but did talk to them. Love teachers. Not gotten endorsements. Nonpartisan, keep it that way.

Pratt – All new to me. Ran 4 years ago, no contact. Press/Argus did. Contacted, by taxpayers and HEA and did meet with them. Literski – joint campaign. We did. I did not received endorsement from HEA or Taxpayers Groups. Not at all contacted by LOVE Group. Contacted by RTL and did not return survey – does not belong in school issue.

Moore – I’m running to represent everyone. Interviewed by all. Taxpayers gave endorsement. Some think that since I won’t trash certain group, I belong to that group. Not true. If member can’t have civil discussion with someone disagree, shouldn’t be on board. Funding? I’m it.

Literski – Interviewed. Taxpayers stopped listening over Parker. Right to Life did contract. Agreed with Pratt on that. Love did not contact me. HEA – we interviewed with them. They will be endorsing me.

Closing remarks
Literski – should be exciting times. New school. Program.With Channel 6 here for that story. How public schools manage to come up with innovative creative. Asked about love, books, diversity, and Ku Klux Klan. Not about school system surviving economy. That’s why I’m here. Get teachers in contract. And school open. No agenda. Many say open minded. I too AM open minded. Need Howell on positive map, not negative map,

Moore – Indy outside voice to board. Financial district. Make sure ask questions. Focus on what we can control and not worry about cannot control. Schools work for parents and taxpayers. Employees should be proud to work there. Think about their ideas will be supported. No one has monopoly on good ideas. Engineering experience and leadership experiences. Know what’s needed for global economy.

Pratt – district involved staff, community with budget setting. I encourage you all to be part of that. Not attending and are public meetings. Encourage each of you to be part of it. I listen to people because I care. In end, this is pivotal election for HPS. Need focus of individuals without personal agendas and those who want best for our district.

Nichols – I’m student now. Create better learning environment. I bring new perspective to board. I know what works and what doesn’t since I’ve been there in hallways. I’m running since well rounded group of people representing is good. Well rounded group of people have ideas and compromise for what’s best for community.

Fondriest – Running as independent. Of the people, for the people, by the people. Outside of political orgs and be grass roots. Board of trustees that oversee finances of school. Admin and super are CEO and management staff. Board must be decisive. Priorities. Settling contract, budget, Parker, open HS, School of Choice and market, develop long term plans. Growth will come back. May 8 vote – two open seats. Two more LOVE would have censored freedom of speech.

Harvey – I’m an optimist and visionary and see a lot of good in school. I work with kids as coach and with boy scouts. These are good kids with much potential. Financial issues. Need to be addressed. Then we have three more years. Want to work WITH teachers and parents to bring Howell to the good headlings – high achievement. I want to model proper behavior to kids by showing respect to members of community. Starts at top, and I’m winning to do that.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Gun Law?

Article

A Reuters news story today reports that Congress is considering a law to beef up the NICS check (instant gun purchase background check) so that it will have better access to records on mental illness:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prompted by the Virginia Tech massacre, a U.S. Congress reluctant to tackle gun control may pass limited legislation to help keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, lawmakers and aides said on Sunday. "

This is probably the most intelligent thing I've seen printed in the aftermath of the VA shootings last week, a proposal that addresses what actually went wrong. However, the devil is in the details. How will they get the information? What will they include? Will there be an appeals process to get inaccurate information cleared? They don't give many details in the article:

"Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech student, took his own life after fatally shooting 32 others. He had bought two handguns in Virginia but his mental health had not made it to a federal registry. The proposed bill would provide money to the states to help update the national instant-check background system with mental-health adjudications, which ban firearm purchases."

Anyone who reads my posts knows that I oppose most gun control laws, but I can support this IF it is done right, as nobody wants psychos similar to Cho to get their hands on dangerous weapons. I do have a BIG concern that gun grabbers may try to make an overly broad interpretation of what mental illness is and restrict the rights of citizens who are not dangerous or ill but who may have gone through counseling for one reason or another. As an example, a friend of mine went through counseling a few years ago after his mother passed away to help deal with the grief. He went to a few sessions and then stopped once he was over it. Would this new law make him ineligible? I will watch this proposal carefully. Lets hope that Congress genuinely creates this measure to keep guns away from certified mentally ill individuals without trying to turn this into a back door gun control scheme.

School Board Endorsement Roundup - So far

The School Board Elections in Livingston County based districts are on May 8. The Concerned Taxpayers Group of Livingston County was the first organization to endorse candidates and lead the way. Right to Life and the MEA have now endorsed as well. The endorsements by the PACs are as follows.

Brighton Schools
Concerned Taxpayers Group - Irene Besancon and Greg Rassel.
Right to Life - Irene Besancon and Jared Geist
MEA - None listed. There are rumors, but until then that's just it. Rumors.
Argus has not endorsed yet.

Howell Schools
Concerned Taxpayers Group - Bill Harvey and Doug Moore
Right to Life - Bill Harvey and Doug Moore
MEA - Ed Literski and Dan Fondriest
LOVE Group - I haven't heard anything about endorsements yet. I've heard a zillion rumors including future write in candidates, but that's just it. Rumors.
Argus has not endorsed yet

Pinckney Schools
Concerned Taxpayers Group - Jason Reifschneider
Right to Life - Jason Reifschneider
MEA - none listed
Argus has not endorsed yet.

Hartland and Fowlerville - no endorsements listed so far.

A few interesting developments. The major one is the MEA "splitting teams" in Howell. Ed Literski is running as a team with Jeannine Pratt who is an incumbent. However, Pratt didn't get an endorsement by them. Fondreist and Literski (non-incumbent) did. Howell Super Chuck Breiner is being triple flanked right now. The fiscal conservatives are not supportive of him. The social conservatives can not stand him. The teachers union is not happy with him either. The latest fiasco with the debate also throws some fuel on the fire. Breiner losing support from the left and the right.

I'm surprised the MEA did not endorse, at least publicly, in Brighton and Pinckney. Pinckney especially since they have historicaly been strong there.

There are two upcoming debates.
Debate for Howell is on Monday at the Howell Rec Center at 7PM. There is limited seating there.
Debate for Brighton is on Thursday at Green Oak Township hall at 7:30PM

Saturday, April 21, 2007

YouTube - Coverage of anti-tax rally in Michigan

Click here

In other news, apparently the Mackinac Center sold out taxpayers on the gasoline tax. Saul Anuzis is standing his ground and it continuting to call out the stupid idea for what it is.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Notice

It has come to my attention that some posters are having trouble with the newer format from blogger (it's free, and we get what we pay for). Some may need a google account to post here as the old format isn't working for some. Google accounts are not that hard to get, and I had one even with my sbc email addy.

Howell Super Breiner shuts down school board's (his boss) candidate forum

So the "executive director" of the organization is shutting down a forum where two of his bosses will be elected. That's not right, folks, and Chuck Breiner did just that. From the Argus

The Howell school district is refusing to let the Daily Press & Argus use a building for a school board election candidate forum, even though officials had already given permission to use its facilities. Superintendent Chuck Breiner said the forum violates a policy that prohibits political campaigns in schools.
The decision was made even though the newspaper has hosted political debates at the Howell High School auditorium since 1998 — including four in 2006 — and had received permission to host a school candidate forum Monday at Hutchings Elementary School.


Campaigning? That's the biggest pile of horse manure that I've seen in a long long time. First off, Howell High School auditorum, which last I checked was part of a school on Howell grounds, has had candidate forums for various offices for years and years. I've seen many of those firsthand. Now all of a sudden, when it involves Breiner's own job, it's now banned on "campaigning?"

Secondly, this is not campaigning in the legal sense. This is an education opprotunity for the voters to learns more information about the candidates. If Breiner wants to ban "campaigning", then he could just say that no literature for the candidates, nor signs, are to be allowed on school grounds. Case closed. That is a much better decision that could have been made rather than flat out censorship of political speech.

Too bad for Howell that Chuck Breiner did not get the job in Saginaw.

There is good news however, the candidate forum has been rescheduled. Also from the Argus

The location for Monday’s Daily Press & Argus candidate forum for the Howell Public Schools Board of Education has been changed to the Howell Recreation Center at 925 W. Grand River Ave., just a couple blocks east of Howell High School.

The decision to change locations for the forum will stand, despite a press release issued by Howell Superintendent Chuck Breiner Thursday morning saying he would reverse his decision and allow use of Hutchings Elementary for the candidate forum.

Press & Argus editors explained they cannot risk having Howell Public Schools withdraw approval for use of the facility again.

The forum was originally set for Hutchings Elementary School. Permission for the event was withdrawn Wednesday by Breiner, who said the forum did not comply with the district’s policy against the use of school facilities for political campaigns.

The Daily Press & Argus has been holding candidate forums in the district for nearly a decade.

The event is set for 7-9 p.m. Monday. The Daily Press & Argus is soliciting questions for the candidates at elections@livingstondaily.com.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dennis Kucinich proposes ban on guns except for government

Straight from the Congressional record, the latest from Dennis the Menace.


A THREE-POINT PLAN FOR RESCUING THE NATION FROM VIOLENCE -- (House of Representatives - April 17, 2007)


[Page: H3440] GPO's PDF
--- (Mr. KUCINICH asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, in the aftermath of the tragedy at Blacksburg, Virginia, it is becoming painfully obvious that the easy availability of handguns constitutes a growing national crisis of public health and safety, one that calls for a powerful, wide-ranging response from this Congress.

I am urging Members to support H.R. 676, the Conyers-Kucinich bill, which establishes a universal, not-for-profit health care system, which provides full and comprehensive mental health care.

Second, support H.R. 808, a bill establishing a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, which directly addresses the issues of domestic violence, gang violence, and violence in the schools which is reflected in our current homicide rates.

And third, the 33 deaths at Blacksburg constitute a national tragedy. So, too, does the fact that an average of 32 people each and every day in the United States perish in handgun-related incidents. Accordingly, I am drafting a bill to ban the purchase, sale, transfer or possession of handguns by civilians. A gun buy-back provision will be provided in the bill.

It's time for us to rescue this Nation from the violence which is engulfing it, and I have just articulated a three-point plan to do so.


Heads up.

US Supreme Court upholds ban on partial birth abortion

This one was closely watched. From Reuters

A closely divided U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld for the first time a nationwide ban on a specific abortion procedure, a ruling critics denounced as undermining 30 years of precedent protecting women's health.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that President George W. Bush signed into law in 2003 after its approval by the Republican-led U.S. Congress does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

The ruling could open the door to further abortion restrictions and it came in the first full term of Bush's two Supreme Court appointees, signaling a possible new direction on a divisive social issue that could continue long after Bush leaves office.

ADVERTISEMENT (article continues below)

The decision by the conservative majority that included both of Bush's appointees marked the first federal ban on an abortion procedure to be upheld since the court's landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that women have a basic constitutional right to abortion.

The majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected the argument the law must be struck down because it imposed an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion, that it was too vague or broad and it failed to provide an exception for abortions to protect the health of a pregnant woman.

"The government has a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life," Kennedy wrote in the 39-page opinion. He said the law would reduce the number of late-term abortions.


I haven't read the decision yet and will refrain comment on this, but I will say that Planned Parenthood v Casey (the worst of the them all), Doe v Bolton, and Roe V Wade all need to get overturned.

I do wish that this was simply a state level ban, and not federal however due to 10th Amendment concerns. Abortion issues should be decided at the state level. (And each state should ban it)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Media jackals and guns

As the whole country knows, there was a large scale shooting in Virginia Tech yesterday. First off prayers to all of the students and families of the students and others in Blacksburg, VA.

That said; leave it to a shooting to bring the worst out in the media. Almost immediately, the gun grabbers in the media were dancing and celebrating this shooting and the jackals were released. That is how they operate. They insert their agenda, and I have no choice but to defend my safety, the safety of others, and my way of life against these jackals, even if it may be considered bad taste. They are starting this fight to take away our freedoms. As part of the gun lobby, I’m going to give them one. While the NRA is staying quiet currently and understandably so, they are more patient than I am.

In the beginning, the talking heads on TV were talking about “AK-47’s” and “M-16’s” I’m not a gun expert, but I do know the difference between a rifle and a pistol and the sound difference between them. But since AK-47 sounds sinister, they used that as much as possible. This shows the willful ignorance of the media in firearms measures.

Next, CBS comes out and speculates as fact that it was due to “easy access to guns” with this hit piece.

From CBS

Virginia Tech Killer Used Easy-To-Get Guns

“(CBS) A well-placed law enforcement source tells CBS News the weapons used in the massacre were a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun (Glock) and .22-caliber pistol.

Both are readily available in gun shops across the United States and particularly accessible in the commonwealth of Virginia, which recently earned a C-minus rating by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.””


9mm semi-automatics and .22 pistols (probably also semi-auto) are two of the most common types of firearms in this country. Semi-auto firearms sound scary, but they are no different than any other pistol. One pull of the trigger, one bullet is discharged. Glocks are one of the favorites of pistol shooters in general. They aren’t cheap.

“””That’s in part because there's no gun registration, no mandatory waiting period to purchase weapons. The only major restriction: a limit of one gun purchase per month.”””


Registration doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked in Detroit where there has been registration (“Safety inspection”) for 80 years.

“””But CBS News discovered there was a gun show just 25 miles from Blacksburg last weekend where 405 guns were sold. “”””


This is agenda “journalism” at its worst. What the F(udge) does that have to do with anything? CBS (BS is right) is renewing the media’s crusade against those “evil” gun shows. I’ve been to gun shows. I’ve bought at gun shows. Here’s the real facts. Anyone who buys a gun from a dealer must go through a background check, just as someone who buys at the local gun shop. There is no “gun show loophole.”

“”The magazine containing ammunition for the 9 mm handgun can carry between eight and 24 bullets, rapidly fired, and quickly reloaded.””


“Rapid Fire?” Just as any other pistol which is not class III, these “rapid fire” pistols work the same. One pull of the trigger, equals one bullet discharged for a gun. That goes for semi-automatics AND revolvers. “Rapid Fire” is another agenda term by the gun grabbers in the media.

ABC now gives us this gem as cited here. From Washington Times

“”For Brian Ross of ABC News, however, the Blacksburg massacre was an opportunity to promote irrelevant propaganda about the expiration of the so-called “assault weapons” ban:

High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons.

Web sites now advertise overnight UPS delivery of the clips, which carry up to 40 rounds for both semi-automatic rifles and handguns. …

[G]un experts say the number of shots fired indicate, at the very least, that the gunman had large quantities of ammunition.

“When you have a weapon that can shoot off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you’re going to have a lot more injuries,” said Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence””.


-----
First off, you could get pre-ban magazines even when the ugly gun ban was in effect. I can change magazines (or speedloaders in revolvers) in under two seconds. Push button, eject magazine, enter new magazine. This goes whether it holds the basic 7 rounds in a 1911. Secondly, I have no idea what magazine was used. Most are 7 (1911) or 10 (Glocks).

Lastly, since the media and gun grabbers are making this a gun control thing, I’m going to counterclaim with the fact that while conceal carry is allowed in Virginia, it is not allowed on campus.

From Roanoke Times

“”A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1572 didn't get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill's defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."””


If there was ONE CPL holder there, maybe, just maybe, we would not have had this disaster yesterday. We don’t know, but there would have been at least a chance.

EDITED - Apparently he was able to pass the background check as a resident alien (13 years in US) I edited that out of the post. I stand by the rest of the post. BATF form 4473 - background check form has the list. Permanant residing immigrants can buy firearms, non-resident aliens can not.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

April 18 - Anti-tax rally in Lansing

I can't make it there (damnit), but we need as many people at the capitol as possible to send a message to the big spenders and tax hikers out there. Between the Matt Millen of Governors and her services tax, Andy Dillon's energy tax, and Hopgood/DeRoche's(I still can't believe he proposed that) bipartisan gas tax turkey, we need to send a message to Lansing in a big way.

From former State Rep Leon Drolet and the Michigan Taxpayers.
------

Tax spenders spend a lot of time in Lansing meeting with politicians. Through lobbyists, government department heads, and union leaders, they wine and dine elected officials while making their cases for more of your tax money.

Now its your turn to be heard! Its time for you to join the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance on the lawn of the State Capitol Building in Lansing at 11:00am (get there by 10:30) on April 18 to deliver YOUR message to state lawmakers: "Michigan citizens are suffering, NO NEW TAXES!"

Lansing's fiscal crisis is because state politicians can't agree how to cut $2 billion out of a $43 billion state budget. But these same people are flush with new tax ideas:

Governor Granholm prefers a new tax on most every service you use.
House Speaker Dillion wants to hide a $700 million tax hike in your electric bill.
Now there is bi-partisan support for jacking up the gas tax nine cents, making Michigan's combined federal, state and local gas tax burden the third highest in the nation!
All these planned attacks on your family budget are happening because Lansing politicians are not afraid of you, the taxpayer!

They ARE afraid of the tax spenders, who contribute to their campaigns, closely watch every vote, and buy them dinner.

Its time to make Lansing politicians more fearful of tax hikes than spending cuts.

Get to Lansing on April 18th and bring your friends and family. Bring tea bags that we will deliver to Governor Granholm's office. Get to Lansing early (you will need to park and walk the short distance to the Capitol lawn). Bring a poster or sign and make some noise! Let them know that taxpayers are now paying attention and demand fiscal restraint.

If you believe that you make better spending decisions with YOUR money than Lansing does, GET TO THIS RALLY!

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Governor and Taxspenders to Taxpayers: GAME ON!

Last week, a Lansing reporter informed me that a Governor's staffer had told him that the Gov was aware of the April 18 Taxpayer Teabag protest planned at the Capitol - and was preparing a "surprise" for protesters.

What "surprise"?

Turns out that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have moved up their lobby day in Lansing to coincide with our tax protest. They support Granholm's plan to mandate government preschool for all children. And they are not alone. An organization called "Artserve", which supports more tax dollars being spent on art, has also changed the day and time of their lobby day to April 18.

It appears those that demand more and more spending and higher taxes will try to outdo taxpayers that day. According to the AFT Michigan website, they are planning to bus public school teachers in from around the state.

It is now even more important than ever to spread the word to all taxpayers about the Taxpayer Protest Rally! Everyday taxpayers need to show up at the Capitol in Lansing on April 18, bring a teabag that we will deliver to the Governor, and tell Lansing politicians to balance their budget by cutting spending and enacting reforms; NOT BY RAISING TAXES ON CITIZENS! Get to the Capitol around 10:00am. Rally starts at 11:00am, but you will need time to park.

Taxspenders are planning to hijack this rally, and demand more and more of YOUR money. We cannot allow the voices of everyday taxpayers to be drowned out. Take the day off work, clear the calendar, gather your family and friends, and head to Lansing on April 18!

Leon Drolet

Michigan Taxpayers Alliance

Saturday, April 14, 2007

County/District updates will resume soon

The Secretary of State recently released the results of the 2006 elections by city/township/precinct.

Once the semester is over and I'm done with exams, the county and district updates will resume and hopefully be finished by this fall. The updates will include 06 results and an early speculation of 2008 chances in the county.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Q&A in Class with Judge Bork

During this week in class, Judge Robert Bork was one of the lecturers in the Moral Foundations of the Law class.

Friday's class is a Q&A session where the students are able to ask questions to Judge Bork. One of the questions were as follows:

Student Question - Who is the most dangerous person threatening the Constitution in America? - Who is the best person in terms of National Security? (Parapharasing the second part)

Judge Bork responded ""The most dangerous person in terms of the constitution is Senator McCain"" and then stated that the strongest protector of national security is Senator McCain and referred to the McCain/Feingold prior restraint of the constitution, specificly mentioned the 30 day and 60 day references to political ads. He referred to the war on national security with McCain.

-----------------------
From a personal staindpoint, I'm not sure if Mr. McCain is the most dangerous compared to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or even Rudolph Giuliani. However, Mr. McCain is no friend of the 1st amendment, and is not a real friend of the 2nd Amendment either.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Detroit Media shows extreme ignorance on guns - AGAIN

We all probably have heard about the guy going postal in Troy. Anytime a white guy in the suburbs goes postal, it's big news, since it doesn't happen that often. For those who don't know, an employee was fired, got a shotgun, and shot up his workplace. There's a ton of coverage in the Detroit papers over this, some of it misleading.

We get this gem from John Wisely the Detroit Free Press.

LaCalamita had suffered from bipolar disorder for years and recently from depression, Fanego said. In the past two months, LaCalamita sought unsuccessfully to purchase a pistol permit. He was denied because of his previous mental condition, Fanego said.

Michigan law prohibits anyone from obtaining a license to buy a pistol if they have been deemed mentally ill and committed by a court, said State Police Sgt. Tom Deasy. A license is not needed to buy a shotgun.


That's extremely misleading. They made it sound like there is no background check which is BS. While a "license" is not required to buy a shotgun, I can not go to Target Sports (Where the shotgun was bought) and buy a shotgun without going through hoops. Anyone who buys from a gun dealer (FFL) must go through the hoops. I have first hand experience here.

1. This is BATF form 4473. Anyone who buys a rifle or shotgun must fill out this form. In most states, pistols use this form too. Look at line number 12f in particular. That disqualifies the perp.

2. After I fill out the form, the dealer then calls the FBI which runs a background check. After I was checked and cleared, I was able to legally buy the shotgun.

That's to spread a little reality upon the misleading article (either ignorance or intentional misleading) from the Free Press.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Change in bar hours

Sorry for the long break in posts. I was bunkered up for the last few days dealing with law school stuff.

I rarely agree with democrats nowadays, and that goes double for white democrats from big cities or affluent suburbs whose views are usually 100% opposite mine. So I was shocked when there was something from Steve Tobocman which I actually for the most part agreed with.

From booth
LANSING -- With local approval, bars and stores could sell alcohol after 7 a.m. on Sundays and until 4 a.m. every other day, under legislation the House could take up next week.

Details are still being worked out, but the plan calls for allowing Michigan liquor licensees to apply for extended-hours permits from their local units of government -- and pay the state for the privilege.

"It would be a shot in the arm for the entertainment industry and it would be a shot in the arm for the state budget," said Rep. Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit, the bill's sponsor.

Last call is now 2 a.m. in Michigan. On Sunday, shoppers can't purchase beer, wine or distilled spirits before noon.

Retailers have unsuccessfully sought for years to move up the time on Sunday sales. Extending bar hours to 4 a.m., the standard in Chicago or New York, is a newer idea that died in the last legislative session.

The measure was reported out of a House committee Tuesday on a bipartisan vote. As it's taking shape, a bar, restaurant or retail outlet could ask the local city, township or village for a special permit to sell alcohol during the early morning or between 7 a.m. and noon on Sunday.
(snip)


I don't agree with the special permit and fee from the state for extended hours as this should be a local issue 100% that Lansing should not be involved in, but there is enough of a starting point here to work with. Personally, I'm almost never in a bar at 2AM anymore, but there are times I have been frustrated at pre-12 noon ban on Sundays. Sometimes it take a lot of beer to get through a Lions game.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

More on the DeRoche-Hopgood tax increase

This one is worse than I thought. I'm flat out shocked that DeRoche is one of the ones behind this turkey of a proposal.


From Booth Newspapers

The package proposed Tuesday by a coalition of business, labor and government groups represents one of the biggest tax hikes in recent Michigan history. Its fate could be tied to an overall package of budget cuts and tax increases Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers have been wrestling over for weeks.

The road measures would:


Raise the 19-cents-per-gallon state gas tax to 22 cents when the bill is passed. Two additional annual increases of 3 cents per gallon would follow, taking the rate up to 28 cents a gallon in 2009.


Boost the 15-cents-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel to 28 cents over three years.


Hike annual vehicle registration fees by 50 percent. The current $103 fee on a vehicle worth $20,000 would jump to $155. Registration fees, moreover, would automatically grow each year by the inflation rate.

The package represents the first tax hike since 2004's cigarette tax increase to garner Republican support. Rep. Craig DeRoche of Novi, the GOP leader in the House, said new local road and state highway funding is critical to the state's struggling economy.

A "key component to turning the economy around in Michigan is the infrastructure.," said DeRoche, arguing that other states that have invested in roads and infrastructure are winning the battle for jobs.


50% increase in registration fees as well? That's another tax. Here's the thing. We have regular sales tax on gasoline, the regular gas tax, as well as some of the higher gas prices in the country year in and year out. Why the hell aren't we working with what we have for the roads?

Secondly, government's "creative accounting" has shown that it is not trustworthy with our money to begin with. How do we know this so called "road money" won't be tossed into the general fund. Remember the promises for the lottery?

I am real sick and tired of governments fouling up the budget and then demanding us taxpayers bail them out. That goes for individuals in both parties.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kudos to these 9 candidates for agreeing to May 3 debate

From the Politico

Nine GOP White House hopefuls will participate in a May 3 debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, an event hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, in conjunction with MSNBC and The Politico.

Accepting former first lady Nancy Reagan's invitation are Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Wisconsin governor Tommy G. Thompson.


I got to give the frontrunners some credit. Rudy, McCain, and Romney could have dodged this if they chose to take the safest route. Instead they are going up against not only each other, but many of the lesser known candidates. There are many diverse views among this crowd, and with Ron Paul involved, it will be a very interesting debate. I only wish Tom Tancredo was there as well. This should be interesting.

Set the VCR's and TIVO machines up for this one.

Rudy flips on guns?

I caught this small blurb in the Manchester Union Leader.

Giuliani supports the Second Amendment, and he said there should be no additions to current federal firearms controls. "There should only be restrictions (on the right-to-bear arms) that are constitutionally reasonable and that should be largely determined on a state-by-state basis." He said current federal restrictions strike an "adequate" balance


I find his stance hard to believe. If he was simply enforcing NYC gun laws as mayor, that's one thing. However, he initiated frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. That's unacceptable and then some.

He's going to have a show a lot more than this to gain the trust of gun owners.

Hillary Clinton - Tax funded campaigns for you, not me

First off, the last thing I want my tax money to go towards is campaign ads. Secondly, it's real easy for a canidate to support public funding of campaigns when it doesn't apply to that person. This is the case with Hillary Clinton whose Hollywood friends give her a ton of money.

From the ap
ELIZABETH, N.J. – A day after her campaign announced a record breaking fundraising haul, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday she would support public funding of campaigns if elected president next year.

At an event where she picked up the endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, the New York senator said she would continue the fundraising pace that helped bring in $26 million for her presidential bid between January 1 and March 31. But, Clinton said, she hoped a different system could one day be enacted.

"I believe we have to move, eventually in our country, toward a system of public financing that really works for candidates running for federal office. I will support that as president," she said.

In fact, Clinton's campaign was the first to completely opt out of the public funding system that has existed for more than 30 years. Her advisers believe she can raise more money on her own - both in the primary and in the general election if she becomes her party's nominee - than she would have been eligible to receive under the current system.


Typical Clinton - a flat out hypocrite.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bipartisanship at its worst - Gas Tax

It seems whenever there has been bipartisanship, I get reminded of a scene from the movie Animal House. "Assume the position" followed by "Thank you sir, may I have another!" The Free Press tells us the latest bad news.

In other words, hold on to your wallets. The latest push is for the worst type of tax around - the gasoline tax. It's proposed in the name of road construction, but who is to say that this is where the money is going to go. General Fund? That's not counting the fact that our gas prices are high enough as it is.

Fuel tax picks up steam
2 lawmakers to offer plan
April 3, 2007

BY DAWSON BELL

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

A new push to fix Michigan roads and transportation infrastructure by raising fuel taxes is expected to be announced at the Capitol today.

State Reps. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, and Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, have scheduled a news conference this afternoon to launch the proposal that would, among other things, raise the state's gas tax by 9 cents over three years. The current state tax is 19 cents per gallon.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tommy Thompson runs - official

From the Washington Post

Former Wisconsin governor Tommy G. Thompson (R) announced yesterday that he is running for president and is betting that he will best the Republican field's well-financed front-runners in Iowa, the neighboring state where he has been campaigning nonstop for months.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Thompson said he is confident he will win in January's Iowa caucus, where the first votes of the 2008 campaign will be cast, despite polls that show he remains in the low single digits.

snip

He also showcased one of the principal themes of his campaign -- that he is a Washington outsider -- by criticizing Congress for out-of-control spending under Republican rule.

"People feel the Republicans lost their way in Washington," he said. "They believe that they're trying to spend as much money as the Democrats. And I tell people, you know, if you're going to elect a spender, you might as well elect the professionals, the Democrats, instead of the amateurs, the Republicans, and that is what's taking place."


I really don't know that much about him outside of his welfare reform efforts in Wisconsin. I'd like to find out more about his campaign, especially as he's an ex-governor and that all except one president over the last 30 years was a governor.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Choice C for President

The April Fools joke on us is the attempted coronation by the media and establishments types of our next president about 3 months away from the Iowa Straw Poll, and 10 months before the first primary and caucuses.

If you listen to "conventional wisdom", the establishment, and "big media," the choices are as follows. If you are a Republican, "Maverick" John McCain, "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney (more in Michigan) with occasional talk of Newt Gingrich (who hasn't declared). If you are a democrat, "The inevitable nominee" Hillary Clinton and "Rock star" Barack Obama, with occasional talk of John Edwards. As most know, I'm not sold on any of them. The other candidates supposedly "can't win." Ronald Reagan couldn't win either in 1980. For that matter, John Kerry was "the electable" candidate, as was Bob Dole for that matter.

The bottom line is that we have more choices than those we hear about in "big media" and from the establishment. On the GOP side, ten candidates with elected political experience are running. On the democrat side, eight candidates with elected political experience are running. That does not count those who are considering a run but have not declared, like Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson. There are also no incumbents. Bush is barred from a 3rd term. Dick Cheney is not running for president either so we have no "it's his turn" nominee either. This is a new start and a new beginning. I'm not jumping on a bandwagon 10 months before the first primaries, and 4 months before the Iowa Straw Poll. I probably won't make any decision (unless Pence or Sanford runs) before Michigan's Mackinac Leadership Conference this fall.

The other candidates running are what I'm referring to as "Choice C." These candidates are ignored by the media, and much of the establishment. They include governors (3 of our last 4 presidents), senators, and congressmen. They have won elective office in the past, some of them in tough districts. These candidates are not of a sacrificial lamb caliber.

On the GOP side, these candidates are in besides the three we all hear about.
Duncan Hunter
Sam Brownback
Tom Tancredo
Jim Gilmore
Tommy Thompson
Mike Huckabee
Ron Paul

Other big names considering a run are Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, Talk Show host Michael Savage, and Chuck Hagel.

On the Democrat side, these candidates are in besides the two we all hear about.
John Edwards
Chris Dodd
Joe Biden
Mike Gravel
Dennis Kucinich
Bill Richardson

Other big names considering are Wes Clark and Al Sharpton.

All those names I mentioned are getting screwed in coverage, especially by Big Media. I don't happen to care for a lot of the candidates I just listed mentioned on both sides, but they are also running, and are on as many ballots currently as the favored candidates. They should receive the same coverage as the favored candidates. One of the lesser known candidates I do like was Duncan Hunter who just came to Michigan. Trade issues are major here and he addressed those issues. Where was this covered? Only on a couple of blogs. His visit did not even get a blurb in the Oakland County area papers. The Howell Schools controversies received more coverage in the Detroit area papers than a visit by a presidential candidate.

The good news on this is that we now have the internet and do not need our news filtered by "Big media" as much as it used to be. The rest of the world is starting to catch up with us gun owners when it comes to internet political sauvy. There is plenty of coverage of Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, and others on the net. The bad news is that "conventional wisdom", the establishment, and big media is still a major driving force in the pre-primaries. The worst thing a candidate can be tagged with is "can't win.", even if there is nothing (outside current funding) that can be said why the candidate "can't win."

I really think people are getting tired of so-called "rock star" candidates. Van Halen is a great band. It doesn't mean Eddie Van Halen would be a great president, even if he was elgible. I think people are really getting tired of the mealy mouth platitudes, double speak, BS, and lack of plans. Yes, it's time for a new direction, but:
1. What do you plan to actually do?
2. How are you going to do it?
3. Where do you really stand on these issues?
4. Who are you going to appoint for the important positions?

So what does it take to beat "conventional wisdom" in the upcoming primaries and to give the "can't win" candidates a shot at increasing their name recognition so they have a real chance to win? The answer is simple. An active and large grassroots which is not afraid to buck the establishment. It takes a lot of work, coordination, elbow grease, and time. The grass roots need to make sure this is not going to be a top down primary, but a bottom up primary. We all need to be as active as the gun owners are when there is an anti-freedom measure on the horizon.

We all have to remember one thing. This is OUR primary, OUR decision, and OUR vote. Not the media's. Not the establishment's.

I have no problem with voting for "Choice C."

Howell Schools Super Chuck Breiner to Saginaw?

This could be significant with contract disputes and school board elections on the horizon.

From the Argus
An intermediate school district that covers 13 school systems in the Saginaw area is courting Howell Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Breiner for its top job.
Breiner, who has headed up Livingston County's largest district since 1999, is one of four finalists for the superintendent position with the Saginaw Intermediate School District.



"I think it's an opportunity for growth and, working in an ISD, I think (it) gives you a larger view of education," Breiner said. "In this case, it's over a dozen school districts that would be connected to the ISD there.


"There's diversity there, across lots of different lines — economically, socially and in many other ways and I think that would be a wonderful challenge."

(snip)

The regional district, which encompasses 38,000 students, 13 school districts and several community education programs and buildings, is looking to pay a base salary between $130,000 and $150,000.

According to the district's 2005-2006 annual report, the superintendent also receives an expense account, leased vehicle and supplemental compensation of $15,000.

Breiner currently makes a base salary of $140,000 as the top administrator in the Howell district, which has more than 8,500 students.


$140,000 base salary? That's damn good money. Leased car as well? I'm sure it wasn't a used car or a Ford Pinto, not there is anything wrong with a Pinto. For $140,000+ a year, the super can drive his own wheels. Even our congressman, state reps and state senators drive their own cars.

I would not be saddened to see him take the Saginaw job. I remember when he was job hunting and used Rochester to get himself a big raise here in 04. I don't have a problem with him doing that, but I do not support the board doing that, and then at the same time asking for a Headlee Override tax increase. The tax failed to pass. Breiner called the voters uneducated and then a second election was scheduled, this time on a Monday in September which passed thanks to a 10% turnout.

There's also all the social issues disputes. I won't mention those any further as that horse has been beaten to death. All I will say is that a good leader would have ended these issues when they started two years ago. Besides the tax cheerleading and the social issue blunders (due to bad leadership), how can the board have a major moral ground in contract negotiations with the teachers' union when the topheavy admins get major raises?

Personally, I'd let Breiner go to Saginaw, promote one of the more responsible assistant admins there from within, (Rick Terres or Lynn Parrish), and eliminate at least one of the assistant super positions.

We have Parker High opening, Howell High renovations, and a contract dispute going in full force, and the lack of funds for operation. These are pressing issues for the largest school district here in Livingston County. There's a school board election this May, and we need to elect two fiscaly responsible individuals who will bring new leadership to Howell Schools. Bill Harvey and Doug Moore have earned the endorsement of the Concerned Taxpayers Group PAC, and will bring fiscal responsibilty to the board.

It's time for Howell to move forward in a new direction.