Sunday, July 13, 2014

Road taxes shows differences in 42nd District race

The Argus has a story about the roads, gas taxes and the candidates for the 42nd District here in Livingston County.

Not surprisingly, I highly disagree with one of them regarding the gas tax. There's been a militant push among many in the media and political class supporting the gas tax going back to 2007. It has taken seven years and luckily it still had not increased over the 36-40 cents it is currently (depending on price at the pump).

Perlberg said the state must address two decades of neglect of Michigan’s roads.
Lawmakers continue to seek another $1.2 billion in annual road funding.
“I would achieve that with a combination of increased gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. That could be tempered in the future if we have sustained economic growth, which will produce additional dollars into our general fund,” he said at the recent forum.

I'll give Rich Perlberg credit for being out and open about his support for this. It's certainly not going to be a popular answer. Considering we have the 6th highest gas tax in the country, it shouldn't be a popular answer.

Lana Theis had this.

Brighton Township Treasurer Lana Theis, also a GOP contender for the House seat, said capturing 25 percent of annual state budget increases could fill the funding gap.Theis said her idea would have captured a total of roughly $1 billion between the 2010 and 2014 budget years.

“The problem is not that we’re not taking enough money. It’s that we’re not spending the money in the right place,” Theis said at the Daily Press & Argus candidate forum.“Until they prove to me that they’re spending all of the money that we take at the pump on the roads, I don’t even want to discuss a tax increase,” Theis added.

Nick Fiani had this

Nick Fiani, president of the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education and a GOP House candidate, said the state should strictly dedicate gas taxes, the state’s sales tax on gas, and vehicle registration fees to roads.
Dedicating the sales tax on gasoline to roads would involve voter approval because it would require a constitutional amendment. Without increasing the sales tax, it also would mean schools and local governments would lose funding they currently rely on.
Fiani said road funding could also receive a boost through repealing Michigan’s prevailing-wage law on public construction projects and through more competitive bidding on projects.
He said his overall plan would create between $750 million and nearly $1 billion each year in extra road funding.
“There is absolutely no need to raise taxes to fix Michigan roads. If the state and the government would utilize the proper and appropriate streams of revenue toward the appropriate expenditures, a solution could be (found),” he said.

Dale Rogers had this

GOP House candidate Dale Rogers, a Novi High School vocational teacher, called for a bipartisan commission to review state spending.
Rogers said a starting point could be axing tax-incentive programs.
For the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the state’s economic development incentives will be funded at $130 million, and the state’s filmmaking incentives at $50 million, according to state figures.
If the appropriated $180 million in incentives went to roads, that would still be $1.02 billion short of Snyder’s figure.
Most of the business incentives are scheduled to expire, but with program dollars intended to fill a revenue gap created by ending the personal-property tax on business equipment.
Rogers said the panel also could consider slashing a portion of state Department of Corrections funding, set at $2.04 billion for 2015.

I also saw this quote which tells me many of the same problems at the heart of every budget issue is still around.  

But only about $10 billion of next year’s $52 billion budget is state money. The remaining $42 billion is federal money, none of which can be redirected for other uses, explained David Murray, Snyder’s deputy press secretary.Murray said state general fund revenue increased about $1.1 billion from 2012 to next year’s budget, however.

I have a hard time believing that the $42 billion is federal money. He's confusing "state money" with earmarked money.  Some money is earmarked due to federal strings attached (matching funds, etc) and some is due to the State Constitution provision. It would take an amendment to change some of those. It's also something that needs to be looked at. If 82% of the budget can't be touched, than the legislature and governor has a real hard time doing its job properly. Until more than 8-10 billion can be adjusted, we'll always have budgetary problems in this state.  It's a structural issue that goes back to before Engler. Open up the whole damn thing and fix it. Don't give us another tax.


Doberman Watchdog said...

Go to the source! For the fiscal year 2013, about $17.2 billion came from grants, mostly from the federal government. This means that $29.4 billion was state revenue from taxes, fees, interest, and such. 28.1%, or $13.09 billion, was unrestricted and available for general use.

From the 2013 SOM fiscal report:

"Revenues to fund governmental activities totaled $46.6 billion for fiscal year 2013. As shown in the accompanying chart,
36.9 percent of the governmental activities’ revenue came from operating grants, primarily from the federal government, and were
earmarked for specific uses, such as highway construction and health and human services programs. In addition, the State
Constitution and other statutory restrictions earmarked 27.3 percent for educational and transportation purposes. Only 28.1 percent
of the revenues were available for general use"

Doberman Watchdog said...

Perlberg is much like Snyder, an independent who is running as a Republican. Like Snyder, he will be unpredictable and support Democrats on some issues and Republicans on others, and will probably end up making everyone hate him.

Perlberg is rich, well known, and well connected. The other 3 candidates in the Republican Party are average citizens with limited name recognition and resources. Joe Hune proved it is possible for an average guy to win a state level seat, but Joe is an exceptional campaigner who spends a lot of time going door to door and meeting with people in the district.

I think all 4 candidates are well qualified to serve in the House. In terms of issues I don't know much about Rogers other than what I've read in the paper. I'm most comfortable with Theis because I've talked to her and have a good idea where she stands on things. I've not met Fiani, but he has been around for a while and I'm satisfied with what I've seen so far. Perlberg has written a few opinion pieces for the paper over the years and I disagreed with him at least half the time, so he is the candidate I will be least likely to support. I'm especially concerned that Perlberg seems to like tax increases. He may be running as a Republican, but he comes across as a tax and spend guy that loves big government.

john ewing said...

For people who think Lana Theis is fiscally responsible, take a look at her budgets for every year she has been Treasurer - big spender, higher than predecessor, lots of money on outside consultants while predecessor spent zero there.

More troubling, you will notice that suddenly, in an election year, Lana pulled the "outside consultant professional fees" from her budget. It has the appearance of deceit...Lana wants people to look at the election year budget and hopes people won't notice the item which she removed in an election year.

Issue of character and respect for the people. Thinks she can fool 'em all with this type of abuse of the budgeting process during an election year. Didn't fool me, I hope nobody else is fooled.

john ewing said...

Lana Theis's Right To Life stance is also highly questionable. She brags that she is the one endorsed by Right To Life non-profit.

With the possible exception of Perlberg, none of the candidates seem to support killing human embryos.

But notice that Lana Theis supports killing swan embryos by painting their delicate eggs with poison - as BT Trustee she supported a death warrant for swans on Woodland Lake despite the objections of the majority of residents.

This is a bizarre inconsistency with her supposed stance of respecting life and God's creatures.

The sad thing is that Lana was just mindlessly voting yes...couldn't even fathom the inconsistency with her supposed political view on human abortion. I really don't think Lana supports killing swans, but she voted to do it anyway. Tells you something about her, in my opinion.

When confronted, her buddy Supervisor Murphy explained it as a matter of "State Policy". The truth is it was a matter of local vote, not State Policy. Somebody close to Lana should simply ask her how she reconciles poisoning swan eggs or snapping the necks of adult swans (one of several approved methods of killing, along with carbon dioxide suffocation) with her supposed view on life's sanctity.

It is in the moments that follow such a question that you will truly learn about her.

John Ewing

john ewing said...

The Perlberg questions are simple:

1. Are you Canadian ?

2. Why are running in a Republican Primary ?

3. Did Mike Rogers purchase any favorable news coverage from you in 2002 when played rubby cheeks with you, by entering this suspiciously glowing report of your credentials for newspaper sainthood into the Congressional Record ?

Personally, if Perlberg can run as a Democrat and still get elected in Livingston County apparently based only on ties to the Rogers clan, it will be a strong message that these elections have nothing to do with beliefs, and everything to do with cronyism.

John Ewing

john ewing said...

For what its worth, I think election of some Democrats in Livingston County would be a sign of a healthier system. Shari Pollesch looks especially credible and trustworthy.

But to elect Perlberg, as a Democrat running as a Republican would just be a laughable farce...really a stain on the whole system. Could have some respect for the guy if he would have at least run as an independent...but this whole "I am the Rogers boy" thing is just too much to take.

John Ewing

john ewing said...

Questions to Contemplate:

Can somebody willing to dispatch people to paint swan eggs with vegetable oil, in order to weaken the protective shell over the embryo of god's life, be trusted to care for a human baby ?

What did the baby swan ever do to Lana Theis to deserve such cowardly brutality ?

Is it enough to blame your action documented by yes vote on others, or are your actions your own responsibility ?

I think Lana Theis has dodged, and will forever dodge these questions, but in the end (at the Gates of St. Peter) the connection between a yes vote and a suffocating unprotected swanling whose potential for life is destroyed by a bottle of Wesson oil and paintbrush on its egg shell will be on the docket. The guy isn't going to be fooled by Lana Theis - many are, but he won't be.

john ewing said...

One can only marvel at the Lana Theis fairy tale:

Claims fiscal responsibility, but is actually much bigger spender than predecessor, and tries to dupe the people by creating an election year budget that omits a spending category she spent massively in every prior year.

Claims to respect life, but hates and kills swan embryos.

And now the latest...asking people for $100 for a July 30 Downtown Fundraiser ! 5 days before the election - what could this greedy woman possibly need people's money for, five days ahead of the primary ? It really is rich to see this fairy tale in to be "Tea Party" but wants to swindle $100 from people's pocketbooks five days before the primary ! Hilarious.

Lana Theis...leading by example!

And how is it that the supposed "Tea Party" lady has and endorsement list that makes her look like she's in the back pocket of insurance companies and the Chamber of Commerce ?

People of this county need to look somewhere other than Brighton Township for leadership. Between Perlberg and Theis, its pretty much Crony vs. Phony. We'll see how it plays out.

Communications guru said...

Wow. I was stunned by some of the comments. Rich Perlberg is rich? How? The only wealthy journalists I know are national anchors. That is just ridiculous. No community journalist is wealthy. I am no fan of Rich Perlberg because I worked for Hometown Newspapers for more than six years, and I was not treated fairly. To say Rich is anything but a Republican is ridiculous. Granted, he is rare; a moderate Republican, but still a Republican. I found that out when I covered the Mike Rogers/Diane Byrum race back in 2000.

To say that Mike Rogers purchases favorable news coverage in 2002 is utterly ridiculous because I covered politics for the Press & Argus in 2002. I will admit I was too deferential in my coverage of Rogers, but it had more to do with my military background and respect for authority.

john ewing said...

Sometimes it's not the man of the house who has the money. I agree that whatever money his wife has is unlikely to have been earned from his skills and effort.

Rogers didn't put that nonsense in the Congressional Record without expecting to mold a local crony.

One man's opinion.

john ewing said...

By the way, a local crook who just happens to be a Congressman has no authority over the press. Supposed to work the other way around.

John Ewing.

Communications guru said...

Like I said, I don't think Rich is wealthy. You can have an opinion, but generally they are based on fact.

john ewing said...

By the way, I don't refer to Mike Rogers and his family as crooks lightly. One of the greatest American swindles in history occurred around 2002 - the same time Rogers was flattering Perlberg and the local Prsss in the Congressional Record.

With the help of Mike Rogers, a man name George Bacalis misrepresented his land as having some kind of miracle water find underneath it. In reality, it was just the water table that any land in the area could access by digging a well. He got a contract worth $30 million - $3 million up front from Brighton, Green Oak, and Hamburg Township and a royalty that ran 30 years. Bacalis indicated that Rogers made it happen for him. When the matter went before the Board in Brighton, it did so without having been actually on the agenda.

Feel free to call me at (805) 252-1725 if you want more information. Even today, the Liv Cty Press won't report on it. Bought and paid for in my opinion.

It is likely to eventually be in an episode of CNBC's American Greed - Rogers and Perlberg will be highlighted.

Before Rogers was pushed out of Congress - encouraged to not run again....Former Federal Prosecutor, Joe DiGenova berated Rogers in a local D.C. radio program, calling him "a very interesting fella". Indeed. Within weeks Rogers decided not to run again. Takes time for the whole story to emerge.

John Ewing.

john ewing said...

Let's just agree that whatever joint wealth exists in the Perlberg household is unlikely to have been earned by Rich.

John Ewing

john ewing said...

Guru: If opinions are generally based on fact, and your opinion is that the Perlberg's are not wealthy, what fact is your opinion based upon ?

John Ewing

P.S. I don't think its relevant to the primary, but when a guy claims other people's opinions (keeping in mind it was Wholihan's opinion, not mine) must be based on fact, but has none of his own, it gets a little silly.

My problem with Perlberg is the Rogers crony connection, the inherent deceit of a Democrat running in a Republican primary, the abuse of the local paper trying to imply his call for tax increases is a "call to action" to which the other candidates must respond, and the failure of the local paper through Rich's term of control to overlook massive local corruption and influence peddling.

If you read Rogers discussion of the importance of local media, it is partly correct, but it requires honorable people in charge. I don't think Rich Perlberg even remotely qualifies.

Today, the local paper is deceitfully trying to paint Perlberg as the leader to whom the other candidates must respond. Its truly a disgrace, and part-and-parcel of who Rich Perlberg really is - not the toiling newspaper man concerned about the community, as the Rogers Congressional Record nonsense would have you believe.

john ewing said...

The nonsense article in the LCPA is just run-of-the-mill attempt to rig the election for a crony - nothing more, nothing less. Make it look like its not biased by quoting the candidates you are trying to smear, but create an overall narrative that Rich Perlberg is an action figure of some sort. He's not, more like an aging, metrosexualized Ken Doll than Captain America if you ask me.

Just a subtle form of brainwashing by the Liv Cty Press - what else is new ? We'll see if it helps Perlberg. I have my doubts.

Some crony called him one day - after calling ten other folks who turned it down - and said "we need you to run, the network is losing control". Rich agreed, spent ten days trying to figure out some baloney issue to hinge his campaign upon...decided it would be roads. Yeah, that's it...who's against better roads ? Nobody.

Does he have a clue as to the crux of the road funding problem ? I doubt it. Does he have a solution ? I doubt it. But in the world of newspaper control, it really doesn't matter...Rich Perlberg issued a "call to action". All hail the action figure, Rich Perlberg, a man of action who only knows action, action is Rich Perlberg's middle name...Perlberg is actually Yiddish for action...just a bunch of nonsense...people who think higher taxes are an answer in government are not to be taken seriously.

Communications guru said...

Of course you refer to Mike Rogers and his family as crooks lightly because have zero proof of your ridiculous claim. I don’t know how honoring a man for his good work as a community journalist means there is graft involved.

I know George Bacalis from my days covering Green Oak Township for the South Lyon Herald. I know for a fact you are wrong when you say “Even today, the Liv Cty Press won't report on it” because I wrote stories on it. The process was above board ad conducted in public.

I have never voted for Mike Rogers, but there is no proof of anything you say. Exactly how was he forced out of Congress? There may be some ethics problems and a conflict of interest with his lobbyist wife, but Rich Perlberg is not involved.

Communications guru said...

I don’t agree with anything you say. My opinion is based on the fact that I have known Rich Perlberg personally for 14 years.

Perlberg is a friend of the Rogers family, no doubt. Let me make this clear: Rich Perlberg is a Republican, not a Democrat. Granted, the Republican Party is so extreme today he looks like a Democrat, but he’s a Republican. There are still a few moderate Republicans around, and we need more of them. There is no abuse by the local paper, and the position the paper is taking is the same position as the Republican leadership in Lansing. The paper has never overlooked massive local corruption and influence peddling.

Rich Perlberg is committed to his community. I have seen it with my own eyes.

Communications guru said...

The nonsense is your claim that the newspaper is attempting to rig the election for Perlberg or anyone else. I know many of the staff personally, and they are dedicated professionals. You are 100 percent wrong.

Really? People who think higher taxes are an answer in government are not to be taken seriously? Then I guess you don’t support Rick Snyder, the Michigan Senate Majority Leader or the Michigan Speaker of the House.

john ewing said...

OK. John Ewing.

john ewing said...

Guru, with all due respect, the idea that you've known Rich Perlberg for 14 years, while possibly true, does not make your opinion of him a fact.

With respect to the LCWA and LCWC $30 million fraud, I am glad you brought up the South Lyon Herald because it offered no facts with respect to Bacalis's claims about his property and the water underneath it.

For example, The South Lyon Herald reported that George Bacalis stated "it's like a river underneath my land". That was simply a statement from a guy who got a contract worth $30 million at the time - not a fact, just a statement from a salesman.

There was no evidence that the Herald did any fact-checking.

I did, though. Just a couple of months ago. I contacted a hydrogeologist at MSU. I did so in order to obtain facts from a man who didn't get a $30 million contract and who was a nerdy scientist. A guy who cares about facts.

Here's what he explained to me, while we sat in front of his database showing the geology of all the land in SE Livingston County and adjacent Oakland County, as well as the well data of every single well in the area, including the LCWA well.

1. First, he laughed at the newspaper statement about a "river" under the land. Then he explained...

2. The LCWA well is above a a very large open aquifer. It is commonly referred to as the water table.

3. Its water is accessible from any number of pieces of land in the area.

4. It is not the highest producing water table in the area, he pointed to well called Milford Sands as the highest.

After having the fact-based conversation with him, I understood the the "stories" in the local paper about George Bacalis having some miracle "river" under his property were just "stories", not facts, and the story bilked the public out of $3 million up front, a water royalty for 30 years, and then, if you can believe it, the land returns to Bacalis's heirs for another round of bilking the public using the fantastic story of a miracle "river underneath my land".

No, the facts call it just tapping into the local water table.

I hope the facts aren't is amazing to me that people fell for it in 2002, but I guess all those folks dedicated to facts and truth either just didn't have time to check facts or were afraid of Mike Rogers and George Bacalis.

John Ewing.

john ewing said...

Just to tie it to Perlberg...realize that he's a Rogers crony...apparently former roommate of Bill Rogers. So in 2002 you have Mike Rogers entering into the Congressional Record some drippy tribute to Perlberg - his brother's roomie...around the same time Rogers is helping Bacalis bilk millions from the residents of Brighton, Green Oak, and Hamburg townships. Do you really think Perlberg - the toiling newspaper man who started as a floor sweeper and proof reader - was going to ask serious questions about the Bacalis/LCWA/LCWC fraud ? How much did this man - a cornerstone and pillar of the community - want to look into his buddy Rogers adventures with Water King Bacalis ?

As I have said - one of the greatest swindles of public money in American History, and its still going on.

Communications guru said...

So, with all due respect you are calling me a liar? “While possibly true?” Perhaps the fact, and it is a fact, I have known him for 14 years does not make my opinion of him fact, but it means I know him better than you, and you are way off base. Your opinion is based on emotion. Believe me, the way I left the P & A would not make me a fan of Mr. Perlberg.

I wrote those stories for the South Lyon Herald. They are factual, and I stand by them. I reported the facts as I knew them. You are the first and only person I know of who shares that opinion of the project.

Yes, for example, The South Lyon Herald reported that George Bacalis stated "it's like a river underneath my land.” That is an accurate quote, and there is nothing to cast doubt on it.

Who exactly is your unnamed “hydrogeologist at MSU?” What is his name, what are his qualifications and where is his report? I can guarantee that before the Township built their water system they had the property investigated. I’m sure you can subunit a FOIA request to get any reports. I will also guarantee the engineers did not get $30 million, if that figure is even accurate. Everything with regard to that project was done properly and with due diligence, to the best of my knowledge, and you have not presented any proof to the contrary. You have zero evidence to back up your wild claims.

Wait, 2002? That was done well before 2002. You have also failed to explain what Mike Rogers or Rich Perlberg has to do with your wild tale.

Communications guru said...

No one is disputing Perlberg and the Rogers family is friendly. There is nothing unusual about Congressmen honoring a constituent who was named the president of the Michigan Press Association. There is zero evidence that Rogers or Perlberg “is helping Bacalis bilk millions from the residents of Brighton, Green Oak, and Hamburg townships.” First, I wrote the stories on the water project when it was in front of the Green Oak Township Board and PC. At no time did Rich Perlberg ever tell me what to ask or what not to ask.

If this is “one of the greatest swindles of public money in American History” you should have a ton of evidence, yet you have zero.

john ewing said...

Fraud was consummated between 2000-2002.

Well is on ordinary piece of land with no unique access to water table. No reason other than corruption and influence peddling to pay Bacalis more than 50K for the land. He got 3 million and a perpetual royalty on public water. Fraud, pure and simple.

Well could have been dug on township owned property in the area for no additional cost, no royalty, no fraud.

If you wrote the stories in the SL Herald, I hope they treated you as well as the Press Argus did - complete garbage, if not assisted fraud.

For a supposed disgruntled former Argus employee, you sure work hard to protect Perlberg. You did know "Perlberg" is Yiddish for "action". I suppose his call for higher taxes may have seduced you back into his arms ?

Not going to give you the name of the Hydrogeologist, but it is very easy to learn the basics of the geology in SE Livingston County...unconfined glacial outwash aquifers (not rivers that only lucky leprechauns find under their land) - just the water table.

It's terrific that you know Perlberg and think he's swell, but saying over and over about what a guy he is, does not make your points any stronger.

As to your claim that he is a Republican - pure nonsense...he's a Rogers crony who happens to be a Democrat. In the crony network, crony trumps party, and if you can influence news coverage it really trumps party.

If you don't think the article in which the LCPA claims Perlberg made a "call to action" was not intentionally architected to make it look like the other candidates were somehow either not action people, or were subordinate to Rich Perlberg, that's fine too...silly, but fine.

Perlberg's a weird case...Democrats like you are working hard to prop up a Rogers crony...stranger than fiction, but I guess the Dems are desperate to make their mark. My advice to the Dems: Shari Pollesch looks solid and trustworthy, why stray into the weenie world with Perlberg ?

john ewing said...


It's too late for you to do your job, but here's what a reporter does when someone tells him he found a "river" beneath is land:

1. Express surprise. It's a shocking discovery.

2. Ask him "Sir, how fast is the river flowing ?"

3. Ask him "Given the unusual discovery of a river beneath your land, in an area which all geologists believe to contain unconfined aquifers (i.e. water table), please tell us about the unique requirements of your well into this "river".

4. Moving water, like that found in rivers, will undoubtedly put some unique stresses on your water collection devices...what kind of custom equipment will be required to tap this river ?

5. Do you have any plans to reinforce the well house ? It is likely the vibrations from this river may be transmitted upward through your equipment ?

6. Have you alerted the scientific community to this river found in an area known to be unconfined aquifer ?

7. Did you, at any time, Sir, detect any River Unicorns surfing this river beneath your land.

It's a great "story" but you could have made it even more entertaining.

John Ewing

Communications guru said...

Again, where is your proof of this alleged “fraud?” I did not work for the SL Herald in 2000-2002. I did, however, work for the Press & Argus from 2000-2004, and I can guarantee you the paper did not assist in any fraud.

I’m not protecting anyone, but I have a fondness for truth. I’m also not a “disgruntled former Argus employee.” That’s behind me, and I got a better job and career. No, I had no idea "Perlberg" is Yiddish for "action.” His “call for higher taxes” is the same position as the Republican leaders in Lansing and the Governor, and I can guarantee I would never support or vote for a Republican.

Gee, why am I not surprised you are not going to give me the name of the alleged hydrogeologist. Fine, post his report and redact his name. I never said Perlberg is “swell,” but I know him enough to know you are completely wrong.

Again, I knew he was a Republican back in 2000. I guess the GOP is so extreme that a moderate Republican appears to be a Democrat, but he is a Republican.

I’m not propping anyone up. That’s a slim field, and I have not been following the 42nd because I live in the 47th. Still, Fiani is a jerk, and Theis is an extremist. Who else is running? Among those two, Perlberg is the best candidate. I support Shari Pollesch 100 percent, and I agree she is solid and trustworthy. However, she is running for Senate. I support Tim Johnson in this Housie race.

john ewing said...

I know its a fraud because I read the statute under which Bacalis incorporated LCWC - it requires him to run a water company, a risk taking enterprise. Instead, he turned it into a shell company with no assets, a 3 million up front payment of public funds, and a perpetual royalty on public water. It is a complete fraud.

I did not commission a report from the Hydrogeologist, nor did he authorize me to share his name. That said, it is a simple matter for you to determine that the area contains unconfined aquifers, not rivers. I happen to know what rivers beneath land do to well equipment - I had a well into a real river beneath land in the foothills of a volcano...flowing water is a powerful force...apparently not as powerful as fanciful stories of rivers beneath Rickett Road when the goal is to justify millions of dollars of public money.

Lana Theis is a phony, not an extremist - she is trying to create a fairy tale about being some kind of grass roots organizer...her words are vapor..just playing to whoever she thinks will vote for her.

I don't know much about Fiani, but it says something that he was willing and able to step into a difficult financial situation at BAS. Board members have said good things about him and his work ethic. Making powerful union interests pissy is a badge of honor for true Republicans...he'd probably have to adjust if you didn't think he was a jerk.

Communications guru said...

What you claim to happen to know does carry much weight, nor should it allow you to throw around as the kind of baseless accusations you are spinning.

Lana Theis may be a phony, but is also an extremist. I think the bulk of the credit for Brighton’s coming out of a deficit situation rests with Dr. Gray and the sacrifices made by employees and the unions. If Fianai is so great perhaps he could finish the term he was elect to. Really, “Making powerful union interests pissy is a badge of honor for true Republicans?” Funny, unions endorse Republicans and Republicans supported working people not so long ago. I guess it must be the democracy in the workplace that pisses Republicans off so much,. Workers cant have

john ewing said...

"What you claim to happen to know does carry much weight"

Thank you. JE.

Communications guru said...

Right, let me correct that: What you claim to happen to know does not carry much weight, nor should it allow you to throw around the kind of baseless accusations you are spinning.

john ewing said...


One of the problems with arguing with people like you and Perlberg is you've got everything backwards:

1. Not getting a raise becomes a "sacrifice". If you get your head straight, you will realize it is simply a reality of a school district with deficit and debt, and the folks that pay for it having their own financial stresses. Teachers are great, they are paid well. Controversy where none exists, except for a union nothing is ever enough.

2. Perlberg claims the Argus as running a business. Yes, technically true, but it is a monopoly business...a one paper town. But that could not be sustained and it had to become a one paper county. Consolidation is not business success, just the opposite. It's a monopoly, not competition - Comcast on wood pulp, but without the long term viability. A world of spin where the focus is on advertising and the "stories" are the bait.

3. My identification of the LCWC fraud as a fraud is objective analysis: man has piece of land worth $50K at best, man has buddy congressman, man's buddy congressman arranges for public dollars to pay $30 million contract for $50,000 piece of land, man needs good story to justify fraud, local reporters report fabulous discovery of "river" beneath man's land, local reporters don't ask "why not drill on land next door which you already own ?", "is the "river" under the land vertical to the center of the earth so only George Bacalis can get to this water ?, etc.

4. Again, arguing with a guy who didn't ask the right questions ten years ago is by its nature going to meet misguided resistance. I could tell you, for example, that no appraisal was obtained to justify the value of Bacalis land as being a $30 million contract. You'd have some misguided nonsense explaining that there is nothing fishy about a $30 million public contract for which no appraisal exists.....

Honestly, I prefer a sincere Democrat (Shari Pollesch) to a phony Republican (Rich Perlberg), but even if you are sincere, could you at least say something which makes sense occasionally ?

Let me give you a shot: Tell me if you think a multimillion dollar public land contract should have an appraisal ? Just a simple yes or no will do.

John Ewing

Communications guru said...

1. I think getting less money is a sacrifice for anyone, including well paid teachers. The job of a union is to advocate for its members.

2. Not true. There have been many newspapers in Livingston County with so-called Livingston editions, such as the Ann Arbor News and the Detroit News, which had a Livingston County page and bureau in Howell; I know I worked for them, and I’m sure there have been more. Guess what? They are long gone.

3. Your identification of the LCWC “fraud” as an alleged fraud is not based on fact, and I have no idea what it’s based on. You have not presented a scrap of evidence to back up your ridiculous claim. The paper and I accurately quoted a person. If the township, actually townships, based spending money based on a newspaper story, then they need to be recalled. But we both know that’s not the case, don’t we?

4. Again, I reported what occurred. Why didn’t Mark St. Charles, Jan Plas or Pat Hohl ask the allegedly “right questions 10 years ago?” The fact is they did their due diligence, and you have no case.

I’m glad you are voting for Shari Polleschh for Senate, but Rich Perlberg is a Republican. Let me see if I got this straight, nothing I say makes sense, but you, who make charges with zero evidence, make sense? Give me a break.

Communications guru said...
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john ewing said...

Sorry, I missed your answer to whether a public land contract worth $30 million to a local developer who had 50K (at most) into the land in question should have an appraisal to back up the payment of public funds ?

I requested an appraisal and was told that no such document exists. Due diligence includes an appraisal, so why do you believe they "did their due diligence" ?

There is no effective way to do due diligence on a fraud - doing so defeats the purpose of moving money from public hands to private pockets.

You say you are fond of the truth, so, find the truth...ten years late...but truth is a dangerous is patient and relentless.

It would take you one hour to find out that the land is over an unconfined aquifer (water table) not a "river". Hiding behind the idea that Bacalis was quoted accurately in claiming a "river" beneath his land is not enough. The most basic duty of a reporter would be to ask questions about the supposed "river". Where does this river come from and where does it go. Is the "river" underneath the Green Oak Township Hall too ? If so, why don't we tap the river there ?

Is there a "river" underneath the water tower at Quadrants too ? Maybe we should tap the river next to where the water is going to be stored....

Oh, what's that you say...George Bacalis doesn't own the Quadrants land, so the river must not be over there too ? Oh, I see, only lucky George Bacalis has a river underneath his land worth $30 million contract.

Honestly, you can lead a horse to water...

john ewing said...

For what its worth, Pat Hohl voted against the fraud. He later identfied the whole thing as a "fiasco". He's a soiid guy all the way around, even if constrained by local politics.

It was much worse than a fiasco. For example, the then Supervisor of Hamburg claimed publicly to the people of Hamburg that they didn't have to worry that they might have to pay for the fiasco...that it would be isolated to a small area of the township and only those who get the water would pay.

Reality: Hamburg bonded a couple of million for their portion of certain costs (Bacalis plus storage, etc.). People who get no benefit and were told they wouldn't pay are paying, and with interest.

Again, I am sure you are a bang-up reporter, but how did this get missed ?

John Ewing

john ewing said...


I am sure you learned all the details as a reporter, so here's a quiz:

1. How many users of LCWA water are there in Hamburg, for which the Hamburg residents are paying a couple million with interest ?

a) 2

b) 2


c) 2

I've tried to make it easy.

John Ewing

john ewing said...

If you prefer a lazier approach to the matter, avoiding the nitty gritty facts, here's the big picture:

LCWA is in a flood zone. There is no scarcity of water. George Bacalis, the Water King, is a creation of ice-cubes-to-Eskimo salesmen. Well, that's the charitable description of stealing public money.

It is not a surprise that Hamburg has only 2 customers for LCWA...the place is awash in water...In fact, it has too much water...

That's why I call it one of the greatest swindles in American History...the guy got a $30 million contract for a piece of land worth $50,000 in order to sell water in a flood zone...

I hear he's in Abu Dhabi working on a deal to sell sand as we speak.

John Ewing

john ewing said...

I should clarify:

He has indicated to reporters in Abu Dhabi that he has discovered a river of sand beneath his land and that he's willing to sell it to the government for $3,000,000 up front, in the interest of public service.

Communications guru said...
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Communications guru said...

All your posts and snide remarks can be summed up in one sentence: you can't back up a single word you wrote. Not one.

john ewing said...

Not sure what more I can do for you to back up my words. You could call Hamburg and ask them how many LCWA users they have. They will tell you: 2. At least that would be a starting point for you.

You could ask around as to whether there is a river under Bacalis land, or whether its just the run-of-the-mill water table (unconfined aquifer) any one of the well drillers in the area, they will tell you its just the water table. That would get you a bit further in your understanding.

You could FOIA an appraisal backing up the Bacalis contract. I assume you would get the same response I did: no such document exists.

You could read the statute under which LCWC was incorporated and see whether Bacalis is in compliance. No better way than to read it yourself...nothing I say will apparently get through.

I can certainly understand why a reporter who was supposedly reporting on the fraud as though it were legitimate would be a little defensive. I think I've put enough on the table for you...feel free to find out for yourself. Or not.

John Ewing

Communications guru said...

Or you could, but we both know you can't because you're lying.

john ewing said...

Lying ? Ridiculous.

You claim to be a reporter.

You tell me "due diligence" was performed.

I tell you they didn't obtain an appraisal, the most basic form of due diligence in any property transaction, most especially one which spends the public's money.

You tell me "I am lying". Seriously, its ridiculous.

You tell me you "deferred" to Mike Rogers because you were in the military.

I tell you a reporter doesn't have to be deferential to public officials...that's not a reporter.

You tell me Rich Perlberg is a Republican. I tell you he pretty much campaigned for Obama as well as the nationalized health care plan. And his idea of supposed "action" is tax increases. That's not Republican. That's a day in the life of a Democrat.

Honestly, you don't sound like much of a reporter...or actually, I should say sadly you seem to be what your supposed profession has become: whimpering liberal ninnies who wouldn't know a fact if it bit 'em in the ass, punched them in the nose, and put a sock in their mouths.

John Ewing

john ewing said...


More power to Rich Perlberg if he can get people like you to convince Republicans that he's not a Democrat.

In the end, its pretty simple...the Dems want to steal the election, and they are so depraved that they are willing to play nuzzle nose with a Rogers crony to make it happen.

Truth is really stranger than fiction on this one. Perlberg is like some kind of Frankenstein monster, born out years of Livingston County Dem frustration. It's a really bad idea. Have you seen the movie ?

Dems need to stick with Dems running as Dems. Pollesch has a good chance of winning. Perlberg puppetry is a bridge too far for the Dems.

John Ewing

Communications guru said...

I have not worked as a reporter for more than seven years. The bottom line is you can't prove a single word of your wild tale. You would think a charge that big you could back something up. Hell, the system's audits are on line.

Communications guru said...

You do know that Perlberg and Pollesch are not running for the same seat, right?

john ewing said...

Yes. My general point is that sincerity and authenticity are important qualities which are important to the electorate.

Perlberg - phony Republican

Pollesch - real Democrat

When you start from a point of sincerity, you have a good shot to win. When you start from a point of deceit, its a disadvantage. Yes, people can be fooled and sometimes its a matter of who else is running, but there is no shortage of True Republicans running against Democrat Perlberg in the Republican primary.

LCWA's audit is a joke. I hate to burden you with facts but LCWC is a private company (Bacalis) which effectively controls LCWA, a supposed public entity. Despite LCWC being private, the same public auditor, Pfeffer, audits LCWA and private LCWC. In fact, LCWC's mailing address is Pfeffer's office. Honestly, its a sick joke - complete violation of auditor independence. Beyond that, the audits filed with the State are not reviewed with any seriousness. I know this is "lie" in your mind, but I actually know how it works at Treasury....audit gets filed electronically...anyone who complains about problems is told to sue the municipality, along with consolation statement "yeah, we used to have investigators for those kinds of things, but those days are gone."

John EWing

john ewing said...

May I suppose you also believe that Perlberg was being sincere when he said he was surprised by the MEA endorsement ?

Surprise, yeah right. Gambling in Casablanca ?

Pure deceit intended to dupe the electorate...replete with nonsense about believing they had his photo on a dartboard. That was really the tell...couldn't just say he was surprised - a deceit which might have played better on its own - had to throw in the dart board just to emphasize how shocked he was.

NOT. Democrat in bed with Democrat. No surprise on part of either lover. Planned in advance, just like the nonsense article trying to make it look like he was above the other candidates - the actual Republicans. A "call to action" by Rich Perlberg. Laughable, except to the degree in which people are deceived by it all.

John Ewing

John Ewing

john ewing said...


Feb. 12, 2002, Mike Rogers enters glowing tribute to Rich Perlberg into the Congressional Record:

Feb. 28, 2002, Mike Rogers and George Bacalis pull off one the greatest swindles of public money in American History. Bacalis gets a $30 million contract for tapping the water table by claiming there was a river beneath his land.

John Ewing

P.S. George Bacalis is the first member of the public to contribute to Mike Rogers public office career. Second contribution overall, preceded only by Rogers father or mother, can't remember which.