Monday, December 23, 2013

Don't Fubar the Constitution - No deals with Glenn Beck's con-con.

Don't Fubar the Constitution.

Anything you want to make significant changes to something, you have to prepare for unintended consequences. One of the most frustrating things I deal with in politics is when people with good intentions fail to see things coming that even a bat should see. 

There's a push from Mark Levin and Glenn Beck and some of their allies for what some call an Article V Convention of the States. While I respect Mark Levin as an attorney, (don't have much use for Glenn Beck), I can not disagree more with this push. My disagreement is to the point where it may significantly impact my vote in the primary if a state rep or state senator supports this extremely dangerous project.

Convention of States is the main site pushing for this. 


First off, this is Article V of the Constitution.

Article V
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. 
 

That is the original text. As far as conventions go, there isn't any history there under the current government. Anything Levin or Beck say is pure conjecture at best. That's the biggest danger. Anything could be on the table, just like what would happen with a full con-con. If 3/4 of the convention supports it, we could be in a bad way.

The original constitution came from a con-con that was supposed to "amend" the Articles of Confederation. Instead behind closed doors, they wrote a new constitution. That didn't just happen. That was the plan, at least by some like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. That's the only history we have in the US with anything close to a con-con. It was a whole new constitution.

The proponents of this "convention of states" say that there's four reasons why we need this project.

1. Spending and debt.
2. Regulatory issues.
3. Attacks on State Sovernity
4. Federal Takeovers.

There's a solution to all of these problems. Good elected officials. Get a new senate and president. The problems with government are caused by people. Any system is as good or bad as the people there. This group points at the federal agencies being a gigantic problem with regulations. They are right. They are. The problem is due to Nixon era congresses giving that power to these agencies. Congress gave the power away. It never took back the power of these admins to stop the regulations. That's the problem in the first place.

They close on that page by saying this.

This is not a partisan issue. Washington, D.C., will never voluntarily relinquish meaningful power—no matter who is elected.
We have elections for a reason. That's an assumption. A con-con won't change that assumption, because by their logic, these amendments won't change because they will be in DC (or DC will go to them). 

The only rational conclusion is this: unless some political force outside of Washington, D.C., intervenes, the federal government will continue to bankrupt this nation, embezzle the legitimate authority of the states, and destroy the liberty of the people. Rather than securing the blessings of liberty for future generations, Washington, D.C., is on a path that will enslave our children and grandchildren to the debts of the past.
There is a political force out of DC. Voters. That's the rational conclusion. DC has the power because people put them there. What difference will con-con representatives do when they draft these so called "amendments?" You're still dealing with a government class selected likely by politicians. Do you trust them?

They SAY that they can have a Article 5 Convention on a 'subject' and assume it would be limited to a subject.

1. We want to call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment. Instead of calling a convention for a balanced budget amendment (though we are entirely supportive of such an amendment), we want to call a convention for the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.

That can mean anything.  The key word is "purpose." Laws in Congress state a "purpose" all the time and do not always limit themselves to that purpose. Sometimes, it doesn't go near the supposed "purpose". Go back to Article V actual text, not what they think it is.

shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress

Valid to ALL intents and purposes. Once again, anything is on the table.

What Sorts of Amendments Could be Passed?
The following are examples of amendment topics that could be discussed at a convention of states:
  • A balanced budget amendment
  • A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)
  • A redefinition of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines--not all the economic activity of the nation)
  • A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States
  • A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)
  • Imposing term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court
  • Placing an upper limit on federal taxation
  • Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes

Of course, these are merely examples of what would be up for discussion. The convention of states itself would determine which ideas deserve serious consideration, and it will take a majority of votes from the states to formally propose any amendments.

I'll add these proposed amendments:

1. The Second Amendment shall be repealed and firearms shall be banned. (reduce BATF paperwork would "reduce government.")
2. Abortion is a fundamental right and all regulations against it shall be repealed.
3. With the passage of ACA/Obamacare and obesity being a major problem, harmful substances such as alcohol, soft drinks, and red meat shall be taxed at 50% to reduce costs. 

I can argue about any of those with the "purpose to limit government." It's not what this group has in mind.

The biggest problem however is this, and even their group admits it.

How Do States Choose Their Delegates?
States are free to develop their own selection process for choosing their delegates—properly called “commissioners.” Historically, the most common method used was an election by a joint session of both houses of the state legislature. 

That's the biggest problem of all. Who is actually going to vote on the amendments? Nobody has any idea.

This thing needs to be DOA. There are too many unintended consequences and too much potential for bad actors to destroy the constitution. Even if this succeeds, the results will always be as good as the people elected to office. The constitution as it is now should constrain bad reps. It doesn't. Why would this be different. Get rid of the bad reps, and you solve the problem. 





Thursday, December 12, 2013

School Searches in Howell

I'll start with this. I hate drugs. I hate the War on (some) Drugs more. The price to pay in the War on Drugs isn't worth the cost. 

It's a different era of school security since I was a student. We didn't have lockdown drills in my day. Things changed heavily after Columbine. Today there is an era of zero sense, I mean zero tolerance, students being arrested for pointing fingers like a gun, police involvement and criminal charges for everything, and comparisons to prison. I'd hate to be a student these days. I'd be lucky to avoid expulsion and spent enough time in the principal's office back in the day as it was. I've never been good with authority. It's why I'm not a democrat. Too many authoritarians.

One thing we all need to remember with the public school system is that these are government officials, and they all have direct lines to the police. If you are a student reading this and are accused of something that could in ANY way be a police matter, don't cooperate with the administration. You have rights, and should use them in a respectful manner. Treat them as cops, and use your 5th Amendment rights. TALK TO A LAWYER. You do not want to end up with a felony or misdemeanor on your record and following you for the rest of your life affecting your future. If it costs you a suspension for insubordination, it's a smaller price to pay than a criminal record. This is a great video here on why you don't talk to the police.







Now this story has my guard up. I don't know all the facts, so I'm admitting to speculation. From the Argus

Some Howell High School students are protesting recent lockdown drills at their school, calling them little more than random drug searches in disguise.
“The big issue is that the school is telling us something that really isn’t true,” said senior Cassie Bondie, who sent an email detailing the concerns to school officials as well as the Daily Press & Argus.
“They should just be honest,” said recent graduate Renee Augustyn of the purpose behind the lockdown drills.
But school officials say they are being as honest as they can.
During the drills, students place their backpacks in a common area for inspection.
“They are lockdown drills but we have brought drug-sniffing dogs in based on information we’ve received,” Howell Public Schools Superintendent Ron Wilson said. “Obviously, we can’t tip our hand.”
Lockdown drills are conducted to practice the procedures to be used should an intruder attempt to enter the building.
Dogs from the Michigan State Police were twice brought in this semester, Wilson said.
“A cache of marijuana” was discovered during one of the searches, he said.
“We have had searches, as have other school districts in our area,” Wilson said, adding that, other than Bondie’s letter, the searches have been conducted without criticism from students or the public.
There was not a search when there was an actual lockdown this semester when a man attempted to enter the high school after trying to enter Hartland High School.
The issue prompted a lively discussion on student Facebook pages.
Bondie and others quoted in her email say they aren’t defending illegal drug use but say the procedure violates school policy and breaks the trust between administrators and students.
Students said they were concerned that randomly searching their personal property, rather than searching suspected school lockers, was a step too far.
“I know that if it happens again, some students won’t be putting their bags out,” Bondie said.
But Wilson said the searches were well within district policies and procedures.

First off, don't do drugs or bring them into school. That said, courts have rules that dog sniffs are not a violation of the 4th Amendment as they aren't considered searches. They can lead to probable cause and a search if the German Shepherd gets a hit.

"I don't do drugs. I have nothing to hide."

If some druggie gets rid of the drugs by sticking them in your bag without you knowing, you have plenty to hide. Why would he do that? He's panicking and needs to discard evidence. Anywhere possible.


I recommend keeping the bags on you at all times in these drills or leaving them in the locker (or vehicle). If the bags are being opened up, refuse. This isn't about safety, but control.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SB661 - My own thoughts

I'm not speaking for this as LCRC chair, but as someone who works in this field. 

There's some controversy about State Senate Bill 661. I think there's some good and bad with it. My own stance overall is that I support full disclosure and unlimited contributions. If someone wants to donate $25000, that's their choice. It should be fully disclosed, and voters need to make up their own mind if they have a problem with it or not in the primary or general elections.

I have discussed this issue with my reps and a few others. I'll put things in good, bad, or needs clarification categories.

Good:
A. Raises food contribution limit reporting requirement to $1000 (from $100). - This is one of those areas hard to track. When people donate pizza, drinks, etc for other volunteers, it adds up. In higher level campaigns, it can be a pain to track down all the receipts. 

B. Codifies "Issue ads" as not election ads. This follows the current case law, and stops "McCain Feingold" chilling of free speech. I don't always like issue ads, but I like censoring the mention of candidates and voting records even less.

C. Raising donation limits - Besides my "full disclosure" and "unlimited contribution" stances, This limits the money towards "issue ads" because candidate committees are more apt to talk about their own records instead of the opponents (usually done by friends of the program and not candidate committees). 

D. Cost of living increase for requiring reporting of employment information. Frankly, I think the requirement of reporting employment information should be gone anyway. Name and address alone should suffice.

Needs Clarification:
This text was hard to follow and should be cleaned up because I didn't know the reference until I called (nor did some others). Apparently it is substituting any communications for user unfriendly MERTS if there's a bunch of $5 donations.
For contributions of $5.00 or less by an individual to a

political committee or independent committee, the secretary of

state shall accept for filing any written communication from the

political committee or independent committee that contains the

information otherwise required under this subsection. Any such

written communication does not need to contain an original

signature.
 
Neutral:
Reports in non election year in July/October.  More work, but understand the reasoning.

Bad:
This language is removed. Caucus groups would not be able to get involved in primaries. That is a Pandora's Box waiting to happen.

(a) A house political party caucus committee or a senate

political party caucus committee shall not pay a debt incurred by a

candidate if that debt was incurred while the candidate was seeking

nomination at a primary election and the candidate was opposed at

that primary.

     (b) A house political party caucus committee or a senate

political party caucus committee shall not make a contribution to

or make an expenditure on behalf of a candidate if that candidate

is seeking nomination at a primary election and the candidate is

opposed at that primary.

I understand in some cases where one candidate in the primary would be significantly better than the other. I don't want to see a Sharron Angle nominated any more than the rest of the party. I also don't want to see another Pete Hoekstra (frankly non-existent) campaign either, and he was the favorite of many within the establishment. I've also seen absolute disasters on the federal level with the NRSC and to a lesser extent, NRCC.

Some good people that might get help will be tea party targets just because of "leadership" picking the candidates. This could make things harder for them. Some pet candidates who are bad news could get support due to being buddies with the right people, solely being an incumbent, or voting a certain way. Charlie Crist was originally supported by the NRSC. So was Arlen Specter before he switched parties.

The job of caucus is to increase the majority of Republicans. Money spent in primaries can be spent in general instead. The best way is to stay neutral in primaries, and support the winner. That's the fair way and best way to go.

A lot of this bill is good. The right amendment should solve the issues. 

EDITED TO ADD:
Amended bill passed the house - The caucus provisions regarding primaries is removed. Good to see that. Thank you state house. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

And another one bites the dust

As the old theme song of the Detroit Lions back in the 80's goes. Another one bites the dust!

In honor of the 2nd Amendment movement, a third democrat senator who voted against freedom is now out of office.

From a Colorado news station. KDVR-Denver


DENVER — State Sen. Evie Hudak has decided to resign rather than risk facing a recall election that, should she lose, would flip control of the senate to Republicans, FOX31 Denver was first to report Wednesday.
Later Wednesday morning, Hudak made her resignation letter public.
“In the interest of preserving the progress made over the last year, I am resigning as State Senator for District 19, effective immediately,” Hudak wrote.
Hudak, D-Westminster, could have been the third Democratic lawmaker to face a recall over a package of gun control bills they helped pass earlier this year.
Sens. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, both decided to fight recall elections against them, but were ousted in September in favor of Republican replacements.
Knowing that Morse and Giron lost every legal challenge in the run-up to those elections, Hudak and Democrats generally appear to recognize the likelihood of the third recall’s success — as long as the group of gun rights activists behind the recall effort got enough signatures to put it on the ballot.

The lesson here is simple. Don't vote against freedom. Don't vote against the 2nd Amendment. It's cause for dismissal. She resigned instead of being fired.  The last two recalls weren't in Republican parts of Colorado. Pueblo is strongly democrat, and while Colorado Springs is republican, John Morse's district was 58% Obama (Pueblo's district about the same). For a Michigan partisan level comparison, think Muskegon County.

Hudak's district was much closer, along with a few others.

Don't vote against the 2nd Amendment if you want to keep your job. It's not a threat. It's a promise.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A tale of two road millage proposals

Hamburg Township is strongly considering putting a road millage on the ballot. That got my attention because half of Cunningham Lake road is in Hamburg Township. Protect Genoa Township Neighborhoods will be keeping an eye out to see what the plans are regarding the road list.

I am cautiously optimistic however that we won't see the same mistakes made by Hamburg Township as we had in Genoa. Smart officials learn from the past. Hamburg has had its share of drama over the years, but things have been much quieter there the past couple of years. That's a very good thing. They also saw what happened in Genoa Township just recently. I don't think they want a "Protect Hamburg Township Neighborhoods" committee to be formed there.

I'm not going to argue here whether Townships should jump in and fix county roads here in their area. That's up to the voters. Whether taxes in Hamburg should be increased for roads in Hamburg to be fixed is also up to the voters there. Whether about 1/2 of the people in Protect Genoa Township Neighborhoods gets involved with a highly organized campaign will be based on the road list. What I am going to do here is compare the process that I've seen so far.

Three differences I've seen are timing, community involvement, and road list.

Timing - This is being discussed now in different focus groups. If Hamburg is going to go through with the millage, it will be in November 2014 according to their Supervisor Pat Hohl. This isn't a rush job, or something pushed under the radar by Gary McCririe. There's been three meetings already, and there's more meetings scheduled. This is one year before the election, and it's not going to be in a (usually) low turnout off year. Hamburg's so far doing this right.

Community Involvement. -  In Genoa, all involvement I saw was after the road list was picked. There were three meetings after the fact, with at least one (probably two)  of them well after the absentee voters were out. The attitude from Genoa Township was "all or nothing" regarding the road list. They got their wish. Nothing. I attended the last meeting (3rd) in Hamburg. Hamburg is prepared for a Genoa situation (as something to avoid). County Road Commissioner Mike Craine was there. That got my attention as he wasn't at any of the Genoa meetings I attended. Craine gave his presentation and it was informative. He didn't try and steer anyone in a direction, although his presentation focused on repairing paved roads instead of new projects on gravel roads. There was also a packet to inform the attendees with estimated costs of repairs of each segment and traffic counts on most roads. There were ideas for a road list that varied but all were fixing currently paved roads. There was a little talk about gravel roads, but only maintenance and not paving.

Road List - The three most important factors in a road millage are in reverse order, how long, how much, and the road list (where is the money going). In the Genoa Township plan, there were several questions to the manager in how the road list was picked. The manager said he picked the list. We can't unelect a manager, but his boss can be fired. Most thought that list didn't make any sense and the results showed election time. Hamburg doesn't have a road list yet. That will be largely picked by people at the meetings. The preliminary ideas there tend to be towards main roads you would expect. While Genoa strongly implied that Hamburg would pave Bauer road if Genoa paved their side, that turned out to be wishful thinking at best, and lying at worst. The road list in Genoa sealed the fate of the millage proposal. Hamburg is being careful in the road list, and it's a smart move learning from the bad decisions from the powers that be in Genoa.

I don't know whether a Hamburg millage will pass, but based on the process I'm seeing, it has a better chance than Genoa's did. There's certainly plenty of arguments on tax issues length of the millage, but I haven't seen the gamesmanship there so far that I saw with Genoa. Granted, I've been at one meeting there (compared to 3 with Genoa) but the process seems much better in Hamburg.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Howell Mayor Phil Campbell jumps into 47th District race

Phil Campbell is the 5th candidate to jump into the 47th District race. He's currently mayor of Howell and recently was unopposed for a 2nd term.

From WHMI:

11/11/13 - Howell Mayor Phil Campbell has announced that he plans to run for the 47th District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2014. The seat is currently held by Cindy Denby, who is term-limited. Campbell says along with continuing his business-focused policies at the state level, he wants to promote limited government and give more power to local municipalities. He joins a growing list of local Republicans interested in the position, including Handy Township Supervisor Hank Vaupel, former Howell School Board Trustee Wendy Day, Hartland School Board Treasurer Charlie Aberasturi, and local business owner Karl Kling. The only Democrat to seek the position so far has been Jordan Genso, who is a member of the FlexTech High School Board of Directors. Campbell was first elected Mayor of Howell in 2011, and this month he ran unopposed for his second term. The 47th House District includes eleven townships in Livingston County as well as the City of Howell. (TD)

Kling dropped out to become head baseball coach of Cleary University. Harold Melton wasn't mentioned and he's running.

I'll have to confirm this, but I'm fairly certain that if Phil wins,  Mayor Pro Tem Allen Schlittler will be the next mayor of Howell and there will be an appointment by the current council for the remaining spot on the city council. There won't be any May/August special election, as there was for county commissioner.

In a 5+ candidate race, anything can happen. Usually the most organized campaign wins. One good thing about this many candidates is that there are plenty of choices in the primary. Hopefully everything stays clean and positive this primary as we have some good candidates.





Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Elections Report - Livingston County 2013

I didn't follow out county closely, so I'll just mention the winners of those. 


South Lyon Millage Renewal passed easily.
Webberville School millage renewal passed easily.
Byron Schools proposal failed.
Mott Community College Bond passed (lost in Livingston)
Fenton Schools Headlee Override passed.

The other elections went as follows:

Howell Mayor - Phil Campbell was unopposed.

Howell City Council Member (Top 3 win)
Daria W. Devantier 183
Richard Grimes 241
Jeff Hansen 378 
Nikolas Hertrich 264
Scott Niblock 437 
Nick Proctor 384 
Write-in Votes 4

Both incumbents win, along with Nick Proctor who ran probably the most active campaign of the challengers. 

Howell City Board of Review (Top 2 win)
William J. Flattery 378 
Bob Parker 309
David Teggerdine 529 
Write-in Votes 2

Incumbents win there as well. 

Brighton City Council Member  (Top 4 win)
Ricci Bandkau 795 
Shawn Pipoly 791 
Kristoffer L. Tobbe 811 
Susan L. Walters-Steinaker 469
Shanda Willis 738
Write-in Votes 10

Both incumbents win there, along with newcomers Tobbe and Willis. Willis is a democrat (replacing another dem) so we'll have to keep an eye out there if she wants to run for another office in the future. I'd rather not deal with another Tipton situation.

Brighton City Proposal 13-01
Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of improvement, repair and maintenance of public streets, public sidewalks and public storm drainage facilities, levy up to 1.2500 mills ($1.2500 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $487,061.21.

YES 541
NO 736

Brighton City Proposal 13-02
Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of purchasing and maintaining public safety equipment, which may include patrol vehicles, body armor, weapons and law enforcement-related technology, levy up to 0.3800 mills ($0.3800 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $148,066.61.
YES 690
NO 590

Brighton City Proposal 13-03
Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of improvement, repair and maintenance of public buildings and public parks, levy up to 0.3700 mills ($0.3700 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $144,170.12.
YES 452
NO 825

Brighton City Proposal 13-04
Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of replacing the existing residential rubbish collection fee, levy up to 1.1580 mills ($1.1580 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $451,213.51.
YES 562
NO 708

Lastly, the Genoa Township Millage. Protect Genoa Township Neighborhoods has the whole run down there. Here's the results.


Turnout Yes No Total Yes% No%
Genoa 1 & 9 17.71% 186 378 564 32.98% 67.02%
Genoa 2 & 10 16.82% 117 249 366 31.97% 68.03%
Genoa 3 & 11 19.58% 92 374 466 19.74% 80.26%
Genoa 4 & 8 33.91% 181 698 879 20.59% 79.41%
Genoa 5 & 12 31.62% 161 417 578 27.85% 72.15%
Genoa 6 & 7 36.14% 291 778 1069 27.22% 72.78%
Total 25.93% 1028 2894 3922 26.21% 73.79%


I got involved in this for family reasons. I didn't ask the GOP to get involved in this partly because of family, and partly because I didn't want to be a distraction and didn't want this to turn into R vs D, especially as County Dems aren't the problem with this turkey of a proposal and its master plan. I was a consultant and the blogger. I was not and am not the face of the group. Others can wear that hat better than I can there. .  Protect Genoa Township Neighborhoods had support from Republicans, Democrats, Independents, non-political, establishments, tea parties, and all those in between. The 73.79% results with higher turnout than an August primary election showed that.

This was an old school grass roots campaign. It didn't have a lot of money, but enough for a campaign if it wasn't wasted and smart decisions were made. The committee knew if people had the facts and saw through the company line horse manure that this would lose. The postcards came out, as did the stories in the Argus, Brighton Patch, and WHMI. Word of mouth and old fashion small town and neighborhood politics did the rest and the people went out to vote. The Southern half of the township (South of Crooked Lake) all had 30%+ turnout. They all not only were impacted by taxes, but by the roads to be widened and paved. They didn't want to pay for it. They didn't want the property tax increase, increased assessments (and more taxes), reduced property from the widening of the roads, trees cut down, infringement of rural character, more speeding cars, and the waste of tax money.

If there's a massive projects plan, it would be more prudent to run these by the people in those neighborhoods long before putting this on the ballot and then claiming public support based on a survey of 450 people. If you claim that Mountain, and Prairie View want to widen and pave Cunningham Lake, you better be damn sure that's the case. That was either a bad read or an outright lie, I don't know which. Precincts 7 and 8 sure didn't support this or even run close to 50-50. A couple of outspoken individuals does not make a majority.

This goes beyond Cunningham Lake as well. Most didn't want southern Bauer, Beck, Conrad or Herbst roads widened and paved either. Crooked Lake was mixed, but a lot of people didn't want that widened and paved either. There was also jurisdictional issues between the road commission and the township. The roundabout wasn't popular either. Most important of all, this millage didn't fix the main roads.
 
This roads millage was bad all around, and the results showed that. Other things are in the works as well, but that's down the road. 

Elections Report - Outside the County

There are lots to cover with elections. First outside the county.

1. Detroit Mayor. Mike Duggan is the first whitey to be mayor there since Roman Gribbs. As far as my opinion on Duggan. This song from The Who comes to mind.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." I have very little expectations for Ed McNamara cronies, white or black. Napoleon was the lesser of two evils.

2. Virginia. Wasn't surprised. Dems won a close race for governor 48-45-7. There's plenty of blame on all sides. This was decided when the cowardly consultant class didn't contest the race and conceded this before a late push. There was too many unforced errors and too much infighting with the Republicans, along with more and more government workers in Northern Virginia. There has long been a "primary" vs "convention" debate regarding nominations in different states. The "Vote for me I'm a true conservative which automatically qualifies me" crowd got an unelectable LG (lost by 10 pts) which dragged down the ticket. That wing gets blame too. That one wasn't on the establishment.  Ken Cuccinelli was a flawed candidate, but he didn't quit and almost pulled off the upset despite dealing with a fractured party over the convention. Virginia used to have primaries for governor. This year it was a convention. The current LG, Bolling didn't have a chance in the convention. On the same note, he wasn't a team player when the results were in and kept threatening to run as an independent (so screw him too). The biggest lesson here is to be careful with conventions and which candidate you nominate. It has to be electable. That doesn't mean moderate. That doesn't mean liberal. that doesn't mean conservative. Electable is who can win. Which candidate limits unforced errors (foot in mouth disease, laziness), inspires people to go to the polls, is competent and can appeal to independents, and doesn't kick the base in the teeth. It's not an easy decision and doesn't have an easy answer.

3. New Jersey. Chris Christie was uncontested and won big. I think he's good to have in a place like Jersey, but I'd have a tough time voting for him for president. 2nd Amendment concerns, along with a bit of an ego streak that reminds me a bit of Graham. I don't put him in that category yet. Pragmatism is good. Look at me egoism is not good. Does he want to be the guy that gets things done, or does he want to be the guy that goes on TV and bash Republicans to make himself look good.

There isn't a lot of coattails. The media is spinning this as conservative vs moderate crap, but it is and was way more complicated than that as it always is.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Livingston County Elections - Nov 5th



The November 5, 2013 Ballot:
Here is a list of the following races on the ballot. We encourage all of our readers to find out as much information about the ballot measure or people running and make an informed decision.
City of Brighton:
City Council: (Vote for up to FOUR)
Ricci Bandkau
Shawn Pipoly
Kristoffer L. Tobbe
Susan L Walters-Steinaker
Shanda Willis
Note - Shanda Willis ran against Rep. Bill Rogers in 2012 as a democrat.

Ballot Proposals:

CITY OF BRIGHTON
PROPOSAL 13-01

Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of improvement, repair and maintenance of public streets, public sidewalks and public storm drainage facilities, levy up to 1.2500 mills ($1.2500 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $487,061.21.

CITY OF BRIGHTON
PROPOSAL 13-02

Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of purchasing and maintaining public safety equipment, which may include patrol vehicles, body armor, weapons and law enforcement-related technology, levy up to 0.3800 mills ($0.3800 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $148,066.61.


CITY OF BRIGHTON
PROPOSAL 13-03

Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of improvement, repair and maintenance of public buildings and public parks, levy up to 0.3700 mills ($0.3700 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $144,170.12.

CITY OF BRIGHTON
PROPOSAL 13-04

Shall the City of Brighton, for the purpose of replacing the existing residential rubbish collection fee, levy up to 1.1580 mills ($1.1580 per thousand dollars of taxable value on all real and personal property) for a period of ten (10) years, 2014-2023, inclusive?  If this new millage is approved and levied in December 2013, the estimated amount of revenue that would be collected in the first year would be approximately $451,213.51.



City of Howell:

Mayor:

Phillip Campbell (Unopposed)

City Council: (Vote for up to THREE)

Daria W. Devantier (Note - SEIU Democrat)

Richard Grimes

Jeff Hansen

Nikolas Hertrich

Scott Niblock

Nick Proctor

Board of Review (Vote for up to TWO)
William J Flattery

Bob Parker

David Teggerdine
Genoa Township Road Millage

GENOA CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ROAD IMPROVEMENT MILLAGE PROPOSAL

Shall the limitation upon the amount of taxes which may be levied by Genoa Charter Township on all property within the Township be increased by 1.5 mills ($1.50 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of fifteen (15) years, for the years 2013 through 2027 inclusive, for the purpose of raising funds for road improvement projects in Genoa Charter Township, including paying debt service on bonds to be issued for the purpose of financing road improvement projects.  If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated $1,492,003 in the first year the millage is levied.

Byron Area Schools
(Covers parts of Cohoctah, Conway, and Deerfield Townshipa)


BONDING PROPOSAL

Shall Byron Area Schools, Shiawassee, Livingston and Genesee Counties, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Five Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($5,350,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, for the purpose of:

partially remodeling, furnishing and refurnishing, equipping and re-equipping school facilities; acquiring, installing and equipping educational technology for school facilities; resurfacing and re-equipping the existing running track; purchasing school buses; and developing and improving sites?

The following is for informational purposes only:

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2014, under current law, is 1.87 mills ($1.87 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).  The maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty-five (25) years.  The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 1.84 mills ($1.84 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).

The school district does not expect to borrow from the State to pay debt service on the bonds.  The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $-0-.  The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is $-0-.  The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.

(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)

Mott Community College
Covers parts of Deerfield and Tyrone Townships

Shall Charles Stewart Mott Community College, Genesee County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000) and issue its bonds therefor in one or more series for the purpose of making permanent improvements to, renovating, remodeling, improving, equipping and reequipping College buildings and sites and other buildings to be used by the College for instructional purposes; acquiring buildings and sites for buildings; and constructing buildings and additions to buildings?

The maximum number of years each series of bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of refunding, is 20 years; the estimated millage that will be levied to pay the proposed bonds in the first year that the levy is authorized is 0.08 mills (which is equal to 08 cents per $1,000.00 of taxable value of real and tangible personal property in the College District); and the estimated simple average annual millage that will be required to retire the bonds is 0.25 mills (which is equal to 25 cents per $1,000.00 of taxable value of real and tangible personal property in the College District).


Fenton Area Public Schools
Covers part of Tyrone Township


This proposal will allow the school district to levy the statutory rate of 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews millage that will expire with the 2014 tax levy.

Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 21 mills ($21.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Fenton Area Public Schools, Genesee, Livingston and Oakland Counties, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 7 years, 2015 to 2021, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2015 is approximately $4,269,734 (this is a renewal of millage which will expire with the 2014 tax levy and will be levied only to the extent necessary for the school district to receive its full revenue per pupil foundation allowance)?


 South Lyon Community Schools
Covers part of Green Oak Township

This proposal will allow the school district to levy the statutory rate of 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews millage that will expire with the 2014 tax levy.

Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 19.9720 mills ($19.9720 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in South Lyon Community Schools, Oakland, Washtenaw and Livingston Counties, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 10 years, 2015 to 2024, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2015 is approximately $7,617,568 (this is a renewal of millage which will expire with the 2014 tax levy)?

Webberville Community Schools
Covers part of Handy and Conway Townships

Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of .9807 mill ($0.9807 on each $1000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Webberville Community Schools, Ingham and Livingston Counties, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 10 years, 2014 to 2023, inclusive, to continue to provide for a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings and all other purposes authorized by law; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2014 is approximately $111,483 (this is a renewal of millage which will expire with the 2013 levy)?