Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tyrone Township Primary

Russ Spencer of the Suburban Voice has a very good write up on the local politics in Tyrone Township and the primary election. It's the type of coverage only an active local can bring.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Primary updates - campaign finance

I need to issue a correction. Charlie Aberasturi turned his primary statement in on time. It just wasn't posted on the Secretary of state website during the weekend and the due date was Friday. I think part of that was a typo on the part of the state misspelling Aberasturi's name in his committee. With a tough to spell last name myself, I understand that. Kudos to all Republican candidates for following the law and turning it in on time. He turned it the day before it was due.

Two of the three democrats though, Donna Anderson and Scott Lucas (Tom Crawford clicked the waiver wire), do not have their reports listed on Secretary of State's website. Maybe they turned it in, but normally the Sec of State is quick on showing who did and who didn't. It doesn't look good, as neither of them clicked the waiver wire.

We have a full disclosure system here in Michigan, and it needs to be followed.

UPDATE - Anderson's statement was turned in on time with a day to spare. SOS seems to have changed their system. Before they announced that it was turned in with "data unavailible" and the reports themselves were posted afterward.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

SAFR-PAC releases primary election endorsements and ratings

Taking off my partisan hat. Full Disclosure, I am the "Republican" representative on SAFR-PAC. We have Democrat and Independents as well on our PAC.

The Shooters Alliance for Firearms Rights PAC, the premier state level 2nd Amendment Organization, has released their ratings.

The PAC was bi-partisan and had a mix of Republicans, Democrats, and independents. We do not ask the party affiliation of any candidate who sends in a survey, and the only time it becomes an issue is in some primary races where a Republican and Democrat both warrant an endorsement. We do not "dual-endorse" outside of the primary elections where there are two races for the nominee. The 7th District race and the 33rd state house races are an example. In the 7th, Tim Walberg (R) and Sharon Renier (D) were both endorsed in the primary (over Mark Schauer). In the 33rd, both Kim Meltzer (R) and Scott Mazey (D) have excellent records on this issue. Melzer as a rep, and Mazey as an activist.

Surveys, statements, and records are have distinct grades of acceptable, unacceptable, and mixed, as they were graded in 04 and 06. It is possible (rare) to get a unacceptable survey and acceptable record and vice versa. As in years past, it is very difficult to get an endorsement and records, statements, and surveys both carry a lot of weight in that decision. No survey means no endorsement, so some good incumbents were not endorsed for that reason.

The grades for 06 can be found here

Write-in Candidates

These are the write in candidates for Livingston County positions. Their goal is to get enough write in votes in the primary so they can be on the ballot as a regular candidate in November.

Livingston County Board of Commissioners:

Dave Buckland is running again for the Hamburg district. He ran well in 06 getting 44% of the vote. To put that in perspective, Al Gore and John Kerry got 42% and 41%. Don't count him out.

Hamburg Township
Shannon Piper is running for trustee. Linda Taylor is running for treasurer. Debby Buckland is running for clerk. All are democrats.

I'm quite concerned about Hamburg right now with the brutal primary out there and personal vendettas that seem to go on. Straight party tickets (as much as I hate the straight party lever) may save the day here, but if they are on the November ballot, we're going to have a battle.

Green Oak Township Board of Trustees:
Matt Evans and John Mogelnicki are both still running as write-ins after getting knocked off the ballot for not enough valid petition signatures.

Mary Pieragostini is running for trustee as a Republican.

Putnam Township Board of Trustees:
Michael Porath is running for supervisor as a Democrat. Clement Charboneau and Rick Bianchi are running for trustee as Democrats.

Putnam's a swing township with a lot of ticket splitters who go democrat local and republicans state/federal.

Livingston County Election Developments

There are several stories in the Argus on this. First off, the Argus endorsed Bill Rogers and Donna Anderson in their primaries for the 66th District, and Cindy Denby in the 47th. Joe Hune also wrote a letter to the editor showing his support for Cindy, which is a break from his usual policy of not endorsing anybody in primary races. While it is not a shocker considering how long Cindy worked for Joe, it is significant as one of his opponents, Carl Konopaska, also mentioned that he interned at Joe's office.

The other shows the campaign finance race. Some of the candidates are going back and forth on this.

Aberasturi criticized Denby for accepting so much PAC money.

"I think that she's going to be needing to follow what the PACs ask her to do if she gets elected because she's accepting all their money," said Aberasturi, who ponied up $5,000 of his own money in his campaign. " I won't have any PACs I plan to follow. I think it's a waste ... to have spent all that money on mailings and stuff like that."

Denby rebuked the claims that she would "follow" PACs if elected, noting she has memberships with several organizations that donated to her campaign.

"No vote is for sale, and, at the end of the day, my approach to when I vote is what's best locally, for the community," Denby said. "At the state level, it would be first what is best for our district and, secondly, what is best for the state of Michigan."

The district covers Fowlerville, Howell, Pinckney and the townships of Hartland, Tyrone, Deerfield, Cohoctah, Conway, Handy, Howell, Iosco, Unadilla, Putnam and Hamburg.

Portelli defended the seriousness of what he called his "bare-bones campaign."

"I have campaigned — I have talked to as many people as I could," Portelli said. "Spending a lot of money on postcards and marketing, I've found to be quiet ineffective in the past, for business purposes."

Konopaska could not be reached for comment.

The words "Political Action Committee" (PAC) and "special interests" gets tossed around like it is a bad thing. They are very misunderstood by much of the public. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing is dependent on every person's interest. A PAC is nothing more than a group of citizens which support an issue unite to get involved with the goal of electing candidates. PACs are also hard money and tightly regulated and in Michigan, have to submit reports if they raise $1000 or more. I've worked with PACs for years. The implication by some is that PAC's write a check to a candidate in order to get their vote. That is not the case in the PACs I've worked with. The PACs I've worked with want to support the candidates who already have those views. The one I'm now with doesn't write checks to candidates, nor did the last one I worked with. Those PACs educate voters and supporters about the stances of the candidates and need a PAC in order to endorse candidates. 2nd Amendment groups have PACS. Pro-Abortion and Pro-life groups have PACs. Taxpayers groups have PACS. Business and Labor have PACS.

Do I think Cindy will follow Farm Bureau? No. I think she agrees with much of Farm Bureau and is supported because of that. Same goes for Builders and Contractors and the Restaurant Organization (Smoking bill?). One candidate for rep in Farmington Hills, Richard Lerner, has a long list of PAC Surveys and questionaires and you can see most of the questions. He's not a fan of PAC's and ratted out those who sent him a survey by posting the questions. It's a good read and you can find where they stand on a lot of issues.

Speaking of campaign finance, the secretary of state's reports are out. In the 47th, Frank Portelli and Carl Konopaska are running low-budget campaigns and disclosed their reports despite being under the waiver wire (if chosen). Don't laugh at them, Joe Hune did not spend much money either, and neither do the Concerned Taxpayer's Group. Charlie Aberasturi (he's also treasurer) needs to get his report in unless it was sent in the mail and postmarked on time. The Democrat Scott Lucas and his treasurer also does not have his pre-primary. He may not have opposition in the primary, but his name is on the ballot and he is up for election in August as his name is on the ballot. He did not click the waiver wire. These are preventable mistakes where candidates hurt themselves for no good reason. Hopefully for both of them, it was sent in. If not, the fine clock is ticking.

On the 66th Race, from the Argus

Republicans Bill Rogers raised more than $27,000, and Jason Corosanite amassed almost $18,000 total. One-third of Rogers' money came from PACs, with the biggest contributions — $2,500 — coming from each the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers and Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Corosanite accepted no PAC money and said one can tell where a candidate's "loyalties are going to be" by the amount of such contributions.

Rogers refuted that claim, stating it's necessary to run a campaign and that Corosanite shouldn't complain since he is with the Michigan Association of Chiropractors.

"What's interesting is his focus, from what I've heard before with his experience in Lansing is working with his PAC — his chiropractor PAC — so I guess I'm a little confused with why PACs are so bad if he works with one."

Corosanite said he serves in an advocacy position with his association and neither accepts funds from nor donates to the political action committee.

"If anything, it's been eye-opening for me to see everything that's going on," Corosanite said.

"I catch a lot of grief because I don't contribute to their PAC."

Jason's right, and so is Bill. You can often tell loyalties by PAC contributions or endorsements. Not always, but it is a good indicator. The State Chamber contribution shows that Bill likely won't vote for a tax increase. A look at Jason's campaign report shows a lot of contributions, almost exclusively from chriopractors (which he is). That isn't a PAC, but really not much different that support from the "Chriopractors PAC."

Donna Anderson (also treasurer) needs to get her report in if it wasn't mailed in already. She hasn't filed and did not click the waiver wire. Tom Crawford clicked the waiver wire. Bill and Jason's reports are in.

Maybe the reports are in for Aberasturi, Lucan, and Anderson, but if they are, why make it look bad when they are not on the Sec of State site after the due date? It looks sloppy and looks like they aren't in. If they aren't in, then they got fines to pay.

UPDATE - Aberasturi turned in his report on time with a day to spare. It just was not posted on the secretary of state site. Apologies to Aberasturi for implying that he didn't turn it in.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Report on Argus Candidate Forum for State House candidates

I was at the 47th and 66th District candidate forum put on by the Argus. All candidates in the 47th PRIMARY were there. Scott Lucas and Phillip Johnson were not there. Lucas is the only democrat running and Phillip Johnson is the US Taxpayers (Constitution Party in most states) candidate. In the 66th District, both the democrats and the Republicans had a primary. All of the Republicans show up. That wasn’t true with the democrats. Donna Anderson was there, but one of the first notable things there was an empty chair to the right on the 66th side. Tom Crawford, a candidate, no showed. I talked to one of the prominent democrats in the county and asked her “Who’s Tom Crawford?” She didn’t know. That’s the great mystery of this campaign right now. I never heard of him, and on his website’s guestbook, it’s clear other democrats didn’t know either. That primary should be a route, and I expect to see Donna Anderson as the democrat’s nominee.

Like the other event, I tried to keep things as verbatim as possible, limited by my typing speed. The Argus has most of this on video at their website – http://www.livingstondaily.com

One thing I was most impressed with was that Bill Rogers mentioned a five year plan. He talked to me about that on several occasions before one on one, but it is the first time I heard him really mention that in public. Lansing doesn’t budget property. I think the stem cell question was dumb since it is out of the legislature’s hands. The smoking question shows who supports the right of property owners and those who supported bigger government. The rest were the economy related for the most part as that's the big issue. There isn’t a LOT of differences (mostly emphasis over ideology) , except with Donna Anderson, which you’d expect since she’s a democrat.

(Seated left to right)
47th – Charlie Aberstauri, Cindy Denby, Carl Konopaska, Frank Portelli (GOP primary)
Winner faces Scott Lucas (Dem) and Phillip Johnson (US Taxpayers/Constitution) who weren’t there because they do not have a primary.
66th – Donna Anderson, Jason Corosanite, Bill Rogers, empty seat (Tom Crawford is not here). (Both party primaries)

Opening Statement.

Charlie – Married 19 years, children attend Hartland. God has been good to me, and I’ve attempted to give back to the community. Lansing needs leg with experience to solve problems and education to understand them. 33 years experience TRW, EMU MBA and facalty. 11 years hartland school board. CCD teacher. Tells TRW Story about being one of 7 to walk into an empty building and how that is one of the largest employers in the county. He wants to apply what he learned so more people have jobs.

Cindy – Pro-life conservative republican. Lifelong county resident. Married 32 years. Legislative aid for Joe Hune. Handled constituent matters, worked with other reps. immediately can address concerns while others find way around Lansing. Takes a conservative approach to budgets. Can work with neighboring municipalities. Economic climate is issue number one. Taxes and fees not answers. Endorsed by Hune, Ward, Green. Website is Cindydenby.com

Carl – Grad of Howell High 99, married 3 years, 2 degrees at LCC (General assoc, lib arts), pursuing education at EMU. Put himself through college 2 years as carpenter, 5 years heating/cooling. Roots in community. Good leader in Lansing. Youth will help be able to work with younger people. Sub teacher and what he sees is disheartening. The future is kids. Look at website to see ideas to help economic problems.

Frank – Resident of Hartland/Deerfield/tyrone 12 years. Married 16 years. Hartland School. Builder, Small time farmer. 20 years in ops management. Do things better, faster, cheaper. 6 years in auto industry. Launched plants and hired a lot of people. 41 yrs old. Mix of public/private experience. Dealt with municipalities. Lansing is not dealing with priority issues. Endorsed by Right to Life and Citizens for Traditional Values.

Donna – Running because I love state of Michigan, children, grandchildren. Good paying jobs, best education possible, clean environment, affordable health care. 7 years experience as teacher, 25 years business - Overture. Have integrity and not out to build prosperous career. Michigan first.

Jason – Values, faith, politics. First and foremost a Christrian. Life begins with conception. Parents need to educate the way they see fit among private, public, home school. Fiscal Conservative and return to Reagans low takes, less government, less spending. Started two businesses. Experience in biotech and IT field. Lansing experience as well. Had to deal with lobbyists there. Challenges everyone not to accept PAC money.

Bill Rogers – Leadership and Experience puts me above rest. Graduated from Howell and Michigan State. Owns building company. 10 years experience as Board of Commissioners, current chair. Vote August 5.

Q1. – Economy in trouble. What can state do to improve economy?

Cindy - Economy number one agenda. Would like to bring back 1980’s program. Marketing state/local companies – share information with sites ready for development. Discretionary funds. No taxing businesses, and encourage to keep states here. Tax incentives – Abatement works well.

Carl – Invest in 21st century ides people are skeptical about. Factory knowedge to geothermal plants, wind turbines, 2nd best in country for that, give a little incentive to employers. Middle class forgotten. Keep them here, and bring more people here for more tax revenue. No need to raise taxes or think way outside box. These are easy ideas.

Frank – Economy number one on most agenda. Problem is legislature divided unable to move agenda forward. Partisanship problem. Restructure the legislature. Structural problems. Fire – but noone saying get out of the house. Getting things done priority. 3000 tool/die shops. Manufacturing good future in Michigan, but state needs to get out of the way. Small businesses are the main economy. Amazing what happens with Tax breaks (look at movie filming). Cut spending/taxes.

Donna – True we lost jobs, but had some success bringing jobs to Michigan. Glad someone talking about alternative fues. Solar/wind. Bill in House passed, stalled in senate to address that. Cleaning up environment and educating kids, and tax credits, but encourageing – low cost loans. Microloans help in 3rd world as example. Health care off back of employers will help – attractive to entrepreneurs.

Jason – New jobs. Low taxes, less government. Highest unenmployment. 14th highest tax burden in country. Do something about it. MBT and surcharge – need to repeal 22% surcharge. High regulatory – costs and red tape with permits. Streamline. Hostile labor environment. VW to Tennessee, and GM losing job. Right to Work needed. 22 other states have it. Cost of living lower on other states.

Bill – Economy and jobs. Entitlement state and need to get over it. Manufacturing thriving in South, but tax abatement for movie. 13 new movings. Not asking for handout but why am I lowly business in state (referring to tax rates and regulations outside the state). Do have problems with MBT, regulation and govt spending. Spending problem. Government needs to get out of the way. Structural problem in Michigan that other states don’t have. Best signs on borders (Indiana/Ohio). Welcoming small business town. South – larger business. Why can’t we see that. Manufacuting won’t come back if we don’t wake up.
Charlie – State must learn from my TRW experience. Reduce burdensome regulation. Govt must walk side by side or follow, not lead business. Govt does not know what business needs. Government ideas usually don’t help outside of enriching PAC donors. Govt Must learn to be bi-partisan. Must work with rep/dem together. Think out of box. Work to come up with new solutions. Livingston donor county. Bring state funding to schools/roads.

Q2 – Petition drive easy stem cell research. Support/Oppose.

Carl – As pro-life, against stem cell research through embryos. Treatments possible out of embilical cords and spinal embryos. Can not support this.

Frank – ESCR contrary to life begins at conception. 13wks Can not arbitrary make that . Decision. Slippery slope. Unfortunately legislature wrestles with this question as wedge issue. Political hot potato and does not get job done.

Donna – It will go forward and must go forward. Can do certain research with adult and embilitcal. People need to understand where they come from. IV clinics. 40 embroyos created there. Couble may use 3-456. What to do? May give over to research. If not that, medical waste. Would you like to help juvi diabeties, and parkinsons. Losing jobs because of this. We need to go on with this at research at UM.

Jason – Pro-life Christian. All life needs to be protected at any state. Proponents say that it is a great hope. Truth is that 0 procedures created because of this. 0 procedures. BUT 70 in effect with adult stem cells. Numbers don’t add up. Not as much hope as might believe. UM ALREADY using them with existing lines. Core blood stem cell bank used. MI can be leader by promoting this.

Bill – Answer is no. Research is conducted, and has been conducted and defer to comments my opponent (Jason) has made. Talking to researches and medical folks, they are necessary supportive of this research. Unnecessary and will vote no.

Charlie – No surprise I’m against this also. Adult stem cell proven to find cures. No reason to kill person to guess that we may have cure. In 40’s, concentration camps. History will look at this same way. Life doesn’t begin at conception, then when? If conception, we are killing them.

Cindy – I’m also opposed. Unfortunate issue brought up time and time again.

Q3 – Reforms for legislature proposed over years. Do you support any?

Frank – Supported term limits, but proven ineffective. Broken legislature crippled state. Unable to move forward. Part time good idea. Less time focuses legislature on agenda. Can’t be kicked around. Budget in May – set in May, not October with haggling. Pay reduction good idea – small drop though. Part time reduced hundreds of laws and saves millions of dollars.

Donna – Term limits did not serve state well. Reduces knowledge. We have term limits. They are called elections. Part time? Not sure. Might be good, but part-time or not will work. Reduce pay? No problem. Will give 5% to state with defecits. Legislature gets a lot of bennies that we don’t have at regular people. Lifetime health care at 55+= nice package.

Jason – Extend term limits, not sure with abolishing. Time frame does not allow experience for relationships. Start cutting budget – cut pay 5% if not more. Work towards part-time. 39 states have it. Addicted to full time. Uses doctor strike/example in Europe. Ridiculous lifetime benefits with 6 years. Should get nothing, make it 20/more.

Bill – Term limits – I admit making a mistake (voting for it). Tactical error. Part time – do not believe in. Voting is part time legislative body. People need to do their job (vote). Only way to consider is have to be cautious of special interest – could eliminate businessmen. Look at Right to work. Staffers will still be there. Toss out the bad ones and don’t throw others out of the bus.

Charlie – Part time just reduces those who can participate. Only felxicable, wealthy, and retired could be on legislature. 9-5 can not participate. I couldn’t do it since I’m not wealthy. Reduce pay for no-shows. Term limits abolished. Legislation brought in to reduce benefits – they should be similar to others. Legacy costs. (GM example get rid of) Current AND past legislators.

Cindy – Understand the support of them then. Now, doesn’t work well. Should be 14 years, and apply to bost house/senate. Can support part-time, bt what does part time mean? Still staff full time? Needs place to call to get assistance. As far as pay – adjusted several times. Have made some reductions.

Carl – Last summer intern for Hune. Some insight on how it worked. Blown away. Right now we have part time since they work fewer as school teacher (not against that as I am). Michigan 2nd highest pay behind California and with the cost of living difference, could be number one - Michigan too high. Reduce staff in offices. As far as that goes, leaning towards it. Show people Lansing will cut selves.

Q4 – Will you support workplace smoking including bars, rest, casinos.

Donna – Yes, I support ban in all public places including those. Reason – We have a lot of laws that protect health. I expect dishes washed at proper temp. Expect fresh food, no poison. In casino – like to be able to spend $25 on slots without health. Why do we have right to these laws and not clean air in these places? Ok, just let owners decide, if not patronize business. If like me, I don’t patronize. No reason why any public buildings or others. We aren’t doing it? I don’t know.

Jason – As doctor, health important to us, and smoking is bad. We have strict regulations, and it is up to business/public to decide. Don’t have to force people. Against te ban.

Bill – As SBO, opposed to adding another unfunded mandate. I do have office with non smoking sign. my prerogative, your prerogative to attend these functions. If enough of you decided, people change. Many play converted to non-smoking. How does state balance budget? Tobacco fund! (pointing out hypocracy) Don’t play around. Go after culprit. Instead, we balance budget with it.

Charlie – Everyone’s lungs important. Personal.. 7 weeks in respiratory unit from legionaries disease. Smoking should be banned where people are forced to attend. Government, education, and job reasons. Opposed in businesses. Govt needs to stay out of regulations. Let businesses decide.

Cindy – Businesses in Michigan pay taxes and follow regulations. This is just one more. Biz owners should decide smoke free. I’m not smoker, but don’t impose on those who own business.

Carl – Agree with most of what I’m hearing. Red tape bureaucracy and telling business. McDonalds with kids, yes. Bennigans/Applebees no. Choice of biz owner.

Frank – Clean air and health important. Smoking is bad. It says on package. People do it by choice. For state to tell business is mistake. Market should decide. Ban fries, music, planes, and other things not good for public health. Must draw line where govt. People choose to go to bar, restaurant, casinos Windsor/Detroit. Patronizing business is choice. Mandates – mistake. Always loophole.
Q5 – Last Question – School Funding.

Jason – My kids are in Howell schools so it is important. Our district not funded equal. Up to legislature to make sure we get same amount as others. 2x funding not far enough. Need parity. Apart from that, it’s tough right now. 1% increase. Schools need to better job consolidating, reducing costs, etc. They need to tighten up. Do they need more money? More in our district to bring up to statewide level. Last thing that should be cut, but need to live within means.

Bill – Equitable funding critical. Tragic kids are inferior dollar/cents to other. 2x is start. Work towards stabling funding. We need to come up with new ideas. Funds need to go to classrooms. 8k-12k – I don’t have magic number. Not 12K, and never will believe it, but disparency needs to be tightened up. Can’t answer specific number, but equitable funding.

Charlie – Been on board 11 years, and paper highlights fiscal policy in positive lights. New contract with less turmoil. Somehow our district figured it out. State says with finding that we are 7/8 of a person. Legislature let us down and it is not fair. We need to stand up and push to make sure we get our fair share.

Cindy – Need to work towards equitable funding. Limited funds. 2x step in right direction, but bandaid. Bill introduced to funds from charter school students who take class or two at public. Reform funding. Not good enough right now. Use money wisely, work towards equal funding, econ development, state aid fund. Approved by house. $110 more per student. Big issue for several years.

Carl – Difference between County and eastern district. $7200-12K. Money out there, but need to look at district and what it needs. Howell 130 Sq miles and 7,000 students, and bus them everywhere compared to City with fewer area, fewer busses, and more money. Need to plan before throwing money at problem and fixing it. 2x, not going to show how each district on money. Band-aid

Frank – Is funding enough? Not sure. Need to line item. Can’t do that unless FOIA we right now. Transparency will help as we will know how it is being spent. Educational is a profitable business for a lot of suppliers. $7800 a lot, not compared to other district. Hard to say what gets to classroom. We have failure districts, state needs to take action. State Prison budget is where to look at education dollars. $10000 per inmate more than other state.s

Donna – Equitable funding important. Unfortunately Prop A – richer districts had head start and maintained by held harmless. More money at same time does not ever catch up. 2x – 10 years to catch up. Like to see more money go for education one way or the other. Agree with Portelli is to look at prison budget. $30-35k to lock someone up, but can’t fund schools.

Closing Statements.

Bill – Honesty, integrity, common sense, safety welfare residents, fiscal responsibility, balance budget, come from county government as chair that has accomplished the above. Taught to be part of the solution, not problem. Strong desire to bring this to state level which needs help. Top 5 bond rating in state. Only AAA is Oakland, we’ll get them. Lowest millage rate – here – and proud of it. We reduced budget by 5%. Reduction in dept – because we have a five year plan, a novel approach. Detroit schools is the example of what not to be like.

Charlie – Lead manager which got 1000 jobs in Livco. Worked with billion dollar budgets. Earned MBA. Finance gut on Hartland board. Supported youth as coach. In church, served 3 pastors. 15 years CCD. Skills to help Livingston county get fair share. Succeeded in business, education, politics, serving youth, and church.

Cindy – Experience and Knowledge. Worked on legislative issues. Localgovernment experience. Economic development. www.cindydenby.com.

Carl – Christrian, conservative, pro-life, and working class. Education system must be best. Someone paid for me/you to go to school. Why should future be less? Issues not mentioned. Veterans. They do not get enough recognition and need help funding jobs.

Frank – People say all pols are crooked. Not at all the case. Most are good people. Not fun campaigning, but legislature becomes ineffective. Structural problems holding people back. Moved to Livingston County since it is a great place to raise family. Hartland schools great district. State level – floundering. Needs to set agenda, and sticking to it. Revolving door at term limits. No personal relationships to reach out to other areas. Common sense. Strength is continue to plow forward against brick walls until plowed over. Frankforrep.com

Donna – Hope today and bright tomorrow. People resources to fulfill needs. Stop Canadian trash. Stop polluting. Fund early child education. Provide health care. Tired of Michigan critics. MI will turn on lights city on hill. Glittering diamond in lakes.

Jason – Addressed a lot of issues. Promise to be more available and accountable elected official. I do believe we need to change atmosphere in Lansing. 6 years for life benefits is ridiculous (life benefits) Pay for actual days work. Shows who committed to the state.

Harry Reid's spending - Pork on steroids

Remember when before 06 when the democrats talked about fiscal responsibility and spending? Remember when they bashed earmarks. What do they do when they get into power? The same thing they have always done. They make the George W Bush era Republicans look like Leon Drolet. Here's the latest from the Washington Times. 11 Billion dollars in PORK. Coburn v Reid

The Senate will soon consider legislation with an impressive-sounding name — Advancing America's Priorities Act. But the bill being pushed by Democratic leaders includes lots of lawmakers' pet priorities, such as a commission on the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the War of 1812, $1.5 billion for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and $5 million for a museum in Poland.

The legislation lumps nearly 40 separate bills into one and authorizes numerous "earmarks," the targeted spending for projects that Democrats often ridiculed as pork-barrel when they swept into power 18 months ago.

Critics are even more concerned about the way all this spending might be approved. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is threatening to use a parliamentary tactic known as "filling the tree," which would preclude amendments and make it difficult for lawmakers and the White House to block projects they consider wasteful.

The bill is an example of government's inclination "to throw money and create a credit card and charge it to our kids," said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, who is leading efforts to thwart a vote on the legislation.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Democrats need to consider such a tactic to counter Mr. Coburn's "unprecedented obstructionism" in placing a hold on many of the individual bills so they could not be rushed through the Senate.

This SHOULD be obstructed. $11 billion in pork needs to be stopped and destroyed and the GOP needs to go around the country and let the rest of the people know what a piss poor job Reid's doing for this country.

The two sides are headed for a legislative showdown as early as Saturday. As leaders in both parties plotted strategy, Mr. Coburn published a 72-page summary of all the spending he either opposes or wants to offset by cuts elsewhere.

The laundry list of spending totals more than $11 billion.

Mr. Coburn said his motive has been to force transparency in the way Congress spends money and allow for lawmakers to have vigorous debate on the merits of such spending.

One of the biggest items in the legislation is $1.5 billion for Washington's Metrorail system, which the conservative Heritage Foundation calls the "biggest earmark in history." The think tank notes that the project is seven times more expensive than the so-called "bridge to nowhere" that became a symbol of excessive spending in the last Republican-led Congress.

Other earmarks listed in the bill include $24 million for the United Nations and $5 million for a museum in Poland. The legislation also reauthorizes a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that spent $51 million last year on 95 earmarks.

The names of many of the bills that were merged into the omnibus legislation have a "mom and the American flag" sentiment to them. In fact, the title of one of the bills is Mothers Act, and another is called the "Star-Spangled Banner" and War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Act. That may make it harder for some Republicans to vote against it.

"Senator Reid has packed this bill with things Republicans will have difficulty opposing," Sen. Jim DeMint, a Republican ally of Mr. Coburn from South Carolina, said Wednesday. Mr. Manley agreed, saying the bills had "broad bipartisan support" and at least one Republican co-sponsor.

The Republican's name isn't Ted Stevens is it? Not to mention that 83 senators supported the bridge to nowhere including Stabenow and Levin. They;ll probably vote for this as well.

If we want to avoid another asskicking in the 08 Congressional elections, we need to take this opening, tell the beltway and pork types to perform unatural acts on themselves, and stop this damn thing. Period. Fillibuster it. Veto it (Bush? yeah right....). PR campaign to back it up. To the GOP house and senate staffers and reps reading this, Your job is on the line here. You are looking at losing at least 5, maybe 9-10 senate seats if you do not do something fast. The house doesn't look much better. Get the base back. Get the libertarian leanings back in the party. Get the fiscal conservatives and social liberals to look again at the GOP. This is a good start right here. Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint are stepping up to the plate as they always do, but they need a LOT of help.

McCain's been good on pork. Here's a good opening for him to be a hero among conservatives with an issue he's been consistent. Here's the opening. Take it.

The Open Carry debate in Michigan

Barry County has had its share of 2a political battles over the years before CPL's were approved. Now things are heating up again. This is the latest one here. from the Free Press

HASTINGS -- Most of us probably don't know it, but Michigan is among the 44 states where it's legal to carry a gun in public without a permit.

To make that point, about 40 gun advocates walked out of Richie's Koffee Shop Inc. late Thursday afternoon with handguns holstered at their sides, part of a small but growing national movement to stand up for the constitutional right to bear arms. They strolled down this tidy west Michigan town's main street, barely causing a stir among passing motorists and pedestrians.

When they finished, the group -- mostly white men -- gathered around a fountain at the Barry County Courthouse and heard a red-meat, pro-Second Amendment speech by organizer Skip Coryell, 50, who wore his .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun openly for the first time and extolled the virtues of carrying a weapon.

"Look at all the people around you carrying guns and not a criminal in sight," said Coryell, a gun instructor and self-styled publisher who lives near Holland. "Quite frankly, I don't feel criminals would feel comfortable among us right now." He said educating people about their right to carry guns openly is the "next wave of the Second Amendment."

The event, tinged with local gun politics, was the latest statement from gun advocates around the country to promote and defend the open toting of handguns.

Personally, I'm not a fan of open carry. Do I think it should be illegal? No. Do I think it's smart? Depends on the circumstance. Will you see me do it in the middle of Brighton? Not going to happen. The reason I won't do it is that I don't want to draw attention to myself. I don't want to scare people, and have to deal with the police. Open carry is no longer an popular custom in this state.

I can see an originalist argument for the 2nd Amendment allowing OPEN carry (not concealed.) This is based on the old custom of the 1700's and 1800's that it was acceptable for a man to carry his firearm in public. Back then, it was also considered very unacceptable to carry concealed. Law abiding citizens then open carried, and the criminals carried concealed. Today, open carry is much more frowned upon these days, while concealed carry is much more accepted.

Now I'm not 100% sure open carry is legal. That's based on a couple of pro-2a lawyers I know who drilled a few of us against open carry. Sometimed it translates to "Brandishing" (state law) and/or "Disturbing the peace." (usually a city/township ordinance) That goes along with another saying among many gun owners - "Concealed means concealed."

Now I need to wait about a month to get my full Westlaw access back to see any case law history on this, but these are current laws.

It's a midemeanor to brandish a firearm in public. I couldn't find in the two minutes I took to look it what the definition of "brandish" is by statute (outside of being defined as brandishing) The Free Press's Chris Christoff said "defined as waving or pointing menacingly." That's the dictionary definition. I don't know if legalese is the same or not.

FEDERAL LAW defines Brandishing (during a drug offense) as
(4) For purposes of this subsection, the term ``brandish'' means,
with respect to a firearm, to display all or part of the firearm, or
otherwise make the presence of the firearm known to another person, in
order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the firearm is
directly visible to that person.

Is open carry "Brandishing?" That depends if it is menacing or intimidating. In this Barry County case, these were activists out to make a point. Cops knew what was going on. They aren't going to arrest them. Too much paperwork, and too much of a headache. Many of them there probably wanted to be an open carry test case. My concern is that some well intentioned but uninformed pro-gun individual now going out and open carrying based on this article. If I open carried out in most parts of this state, I would not be shocked if at some point I would be stopped by the police. Someone unfamiliar with guns, gun laws, and some gun subcultures would be scared and call the cops. Even if you did nothing wrong, you may still be charged with something like brandishing or disturbing the peace, and be shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars to lawyers trying to defend yourself in court - a headache most people want to avoid.

All in all, be very careful with this and be prepared if you want to go through with this.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jim Mantey over Josiah Goyt for County Commissioner

Goyt has dropped out, but due to election law, his name is still on the ballot.
As the Argus says

Josiah Goyt didn't submit his withdrawal request until almost eight weeks after the withdrawal date had passed. Therefore, his name will be on the ballot, regardless of his withdrawal announcement.

Incumbent Jim Mantey is now the only active candidate on the Republican side for the 2nd District, which covers all of Deerfield and Oceola townships, as well as parts of Howell and Genoa townships.

"I have received a job offer with the Department of Homeland Security (FEMA) and I will be gone six months at a time," Goyt said in an e-mail to the Daily Press & Argus. "If elected, I would not be able to apply the time required for the position. I would like to see somebody in the seat that will devote the time necessary as I would have."

It goes into more detail. It will be a real pain in the rear end for everyone to deal with if Goyt becomes the nominee assuming he is unable to serve as commissioner. If you're in that district, don't skip that race if you are a Republican.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Democrats in Washington want to RAISE GAS TAX

From the AP. I mentioned a long time ago that democrats like higher gas prices. Here's more proof, at least in Oberstar's case.

Senate Democrats in May tried to add $5 billion to an aviation overhaul bill to replenish the highway trust fund next year; Republicans objected. Democrats tried again in June, but this time for $8 billion; Republicans objected to that, too.

Congress should first reduce spending on pet projects, known as earmarks, argued Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. "I'm not going to let the Senate spend all this money when nobody is looking, especially when we refuse to stop wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on earmarks."

Oberstar, D-Minn., said his committee is working on the next long-term highway bill. He estimated it will take between $450 billion and $500 billion over six years to address safety and congestion issues with highways, bridges and transit systems.

"We'll put all things on the table," Oberstar said, but the gas tax "is the cornerstone. Nothing else will work without the underpinning of the higher user fee gas tax."

At the very least, the gas tax should be indexed to construction cost inflation, DeFazio said.

Among other revenue-raising possibilities, the commission recommended gradually increasing the current federal fuel taxes to 40 cents a gallon.

Other ideas that will be on the table when lawmakers write a bill next year including more toll roads and public-private partnerships, congestion pricing and user fees where drivers pay a tax based on how many miles they drive.

I'd had to put the computer down and walk away a bit to cool off after those two comments. The GOP needs to hammer this hard and the comments by Oberstar and DeFazio, especially if it is on camera. Right now high prices are rightly or wrongly placed mostly on Bush, not those two jagoffs and others who think like them.

It's Both Ways Barack!!!

Video of Barack batting both ways on everything.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Report from Hamburg/Pinckney Chamber Candidate Forum

Hamburg Twp/Pinckney Chamber – Candidate Forum

Yesterday, I was at a candidate forum which had the contested primary races for the 47th district candidates and local candidates for Hamburg and Putnam Township offices. I didn’t have the time to stay for the Putnam races , but I was able to catch the races for the 47th and Hamburg positions. The 66th district candidates were not there. This was a Hamburg/Pinckney based forum.

What shocked me was the high turnout. That’s extremely rare at candidate forums as the Argus will attest to. I think most of the people there were on a candidate’s team, it may not necessarily be the case.

I was typing as the candidates were speaking and tried to get the comments as verbatim as possible. The grammar would get me an automatic F grade by my professors, so apologies in advance. The comments are paraphrases and near quotes of the candidate’s words themselves. The speeches are on public access cable in Hamburg, and probably Pinckney areas.

As far as my impressions, I think the 47th district will have a good replacement for Joe Hune. Joe has done a good job for us holding the line with taxes and spending (when others have not), but he is termed out. I am supporting Cindy Denby for this race, but not because the other candidates are bad. They aren’t. My reasons for supporting her is largely based on the job Joe has done and the job Cindy’s done as Hune’s Chief of Staff. She has experience and she’s got a longer record than the other candidates. Right now with 45 termed out legislatures is key. With her connections, it is likely she would get good committee seats. My 2nd choice would be Frank Portelli. Frank is a businessman and builder and I liked many of his comments in the two candidate forums I’ve seen. My favorite line from him is that less laws mean the state runs better. He’s a very straightforward candidate. Charlie Aberasturi has a business background and is a school board member. Carl Konopaska is a substitute teacher and interned at Joe’s office for a period.

As far as Hamburg goes, I’m staying far away from this. I know a lot of the people running including some candidates running against each other. A lot of the political battles there have become personal instead of strictly political contests. I do not live there, and do not want to be drawn into these personal battles by making endorsements there this year. My writing here with the Hamburg race is strictly as many of the words taken from the comments as possible and an attempt to be as unbiased as possible. These are their words and not my opinion of them.

47th District race

Charlie Aberasturi – Experience in financial problems needed, dedication, education. Worked with TRW, lived in 3 Liv co locations. One of 6 walked into empty building in Tyrone. TRW become largest employer in Livingston Co. MBA – EMU. Married 19yrs. Teaches Religious Ed. Pro-life. Coach. Member of Hartland board Reached agreement with teachers within budget. Don’t claim to have all the answers but will get all info.

Cindy Denby – 52, married for 32 years. Two grown children. Served Joe Hune as legislative aid for 5 years. Current Handy Twp Supervisor. 16 years(?) as twp super. . Owned business for 10 years. Pro-life. On exec board Livingston GOP. Experience advantage. Have the Professional relationships in Lansing to be effective. Goal - Economic changes, transaprncy in government. Visit her website. Cindydenby.com Endorsed by Hune and Ward.

Carl Konopaska. – 1999 grad, Howell High. Lived in County all my life outside of college. Two degrees, looking at EMU teaching degree. Intered in Hune’s office. Lives in Fowlerville. Substitute teacher in Howell and Fowlerville district. Working class. Understands living by paycheck week to week. www.carlkonopaska.com

Frank Portelli – 11 years in Livingston County. MSU grad. Married 16 years, 4 kids. Custom home builder. Business owner, not politician, and underdog. 20 years as ops manager. Always looks to do things Better, faster, cheaper. 9 years VP construction. 3 years president. Tier 1 auto. Worked for Johnson Control. Legislature is broken. Ineffective – partisanship lack of statewide agenda. Needs to be penalties for non-performance. If Bugdet set for May, complete it in May. Prison budget ½ billion higher. Education system - some well, some failing. Frankforrep.com

1. What can you do in Lansing to help Business in there tough times.
Frank – Tax cuts record is clear. Any time taxes cut stimulates response. Small Business Owners create jobs. Exploit new opprotunities. State needs to back off of small businesses on taxes and regulations. Get out of the way. Encourage existing businesses.

Charlie – Thank you Frank for reading mind. Allow market and taxes gained by increased employment, not rates. State out of the way.

Cindy – Along with reducing regs, revisit MBT – Big misstake and surcharge additional mistake. Redo and make it fair. Many taken by surprise. Hune got a lot of angry calls over MBT. New program by foundations to encourage entrepreneur. $75mill in new programs to encourage business.

Carl – Regulate less, and MBT is effective a little bit or not at all due to little profit in a few years. Tax isn’t only thing. Cost of insurance. Huge costs for them. Make it affordable. Encourage small business. Middle class/small business trampled. Let it go its own cost. Plenty of rules/regs already.

Q2 – State funding of schools. (Low end finding, and attracting students)
Charlie – Current funding is immoral. Particulary within Livingston County. Bottom end funding. Other districts 11,000. Ours Avg 7800. State considers Livingston children 7/8 person. 2x funding is a start. Legislation let us down.

Cindy – Need to equalize funding. 2x funding a band-aid. Higher funded schools campaign for more dollars so it is struggle. Short term help SB486?(or 786?) Have some work ahead of us and need several reforms.

Carl – Before problem, evaluate district. Each has own size and population. For populations in Howell/Pinckney, larger – getting $7204 per student. But up north with same mileage, getting more and more. They don’t have busses/fuel. Before equal, must evaluate so each gets right amount. 2x step in right direction. Not closing the gap fast enough.

Frank – Equality is only way to make it fair for whole state. Problem is funding districts that fail to provide education. As long as continues, won’t build prisons fast enough. Structure is failing. Two much partisanship and debate. Priority issues not brought up. Things that make difference does not get past committee.

Q3 – Term limits what they should/shouldn’t be.

Cindy – Opposed to term limits. Preference to chamber plan. 14 years combined house/senate. Less turnover that way. 45 members will change. Lose historical memory and education by leaving.

Carl – Agree with Cindy, and adds. Double edged sword. Better to eliminate, but make it part time legislature. Eliminate costs for salary, benefits, and expenditures.

Frank – Supported term limits when proposed. They proved to be a failure. Revolving door who turned over running state to staff and special pacs and special interest groups. Personal relationships that need to be grown take time. Caused less consensus and bitter partisanship

Charlie – Term Limits should be abolished. Let voters decided if they want to elect someone 100 years. When government jumps in to decide what is good for people, it is usually bad idea.

Q4 - Fiscal responsibility. Taxes/cut.

Carl – Won’t raise taxes. Always way to cut fat out of the budget. Our legislature can start by taking a pay cut. Show leadership for state. Go back to giving mileage back to inspectors instead of twp cars. Way to save money. Leaders in Lansing/Twp/Cities need to set example for state using new ideas, products efficient, green (hate term but use it), ways to cut fat out of budget without taxes.

Frank – Raising taxes off table. Michigan can not bear additional taxes. Granholm said she cut budget to bone. Don’t agree. $10000 per inmate spent more than other states. Can make cut there. 39 states part time legislature. Cut salaries/benny, but multiplier of staff/overhead. Additional laws/regulations cut – real savings. Less laws mean state runs better.

Charlie – Need adequate info first. Have 33 years results organization, working church/youth. Think out of the box. No specifics. Reason why doesn’t work. Live within the budget.

Cindy – No budget problem, but there is a spending problem. 37 billion six years ago, now 44 billion. There is less people in state. Frank touched on corrections. Community health – fund programs for illegal aliens. Pork projects. Need to be eliminated. All departments can make some adjustments.

Q5 – What changes in state law for townships?
Frank – In addition to holding legislatures to fire, encourage regional cooperation with townships. Owns rental house in Tyrone that burned down. Knows more about Hartland-Deerfield authority works, and Tyrone opting out. Poor service provided. Regionalism over turf battles. Difficult, can be forced.

Charlie – Need to be proactive, what happens when property reduced and revenues decrease. Prepare for addressing that.

Cindy – Forclosures escalating. Significant number. Freezing taxable value of homes.

Carl – Don’t know a lot about township, but what observed from Handy twp – township boards aren’t involved enough in regular community. Same as legislatures. What happens with builders? Need more regulations. Homes built 4 years ago, sold 40,000 less. Gouging? Wants to be honest. Doesn’t know about it.

Q6 – Foreclosures.
Charlie – Solution is finding jobs for people so they can afford homes. Job creations, small businesses.

Cindy – Encourage state/local financial institutions to restructure loans. Not free money, but larger interest only payments. If foreclosured home – months to sell. Value lost in winter with damage.

Carl – Agree with Charlie. Not just min wage and $10 job. Skill trade jobs, and higher education kobs. Hi-tech jobs. Bring more people and keep in homes. It’s like credit card now. Nino loans – regulate.

Frank – State’s response needs to be economic opportunity. Primary job state should be working on. Townships – Deal with townships across SE MI as well as cities – Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, etc) Dealt with all. Some run very efficient ship. Easy to work with. Other are lacking. Help those that need to to run efficiently.

30 second closing.
Cindy – Thanks everyone. Website – cindydenby.com.
Carl – Thanks all. Conservative Christian pro-life working class candidate. Website.
Frank – Vote August 5. These issues that need to be addressed and not kicked down for a couple of years. Some employers are facing bankruptcy. Get legislature in order.
Charlie – 33 years financial experience and billion dollar budgets. MBA. Worked in manufacturing plants. TRW. Started 7 employeed. Left thousands employed.

Candidate forum, August 5 primary. – Break.

Hamburg Township offices. Contested Races – Super, Clerk, Treasurer.
Treasurer – Roberta Balon-Vaughn , Patrick Evon
Clerk – Matt Skiba, Joanna Hardesty.
Supervisor – Don Burtaw, Pat Hohl, Cindy Pine

Don – Remember gas 19 cents. 35 years county/township government. Started Alpena County, Alpena township assessor. Code enforcement, building inspector. Then went to Washtenaw County. 19 years with them. Worked with county commissioners, supers, every township in Washtenaw. Currently, enforcement office in Hamburg. Good relationship with current officials and employees. Can work as team to get township forward.

Pat Hohl – Most know me as balding bearded party store guy. Cut beard. Raised on Indiana farm. Lassie, way I grew up. First in family to go to school. BA at Indiana State. Got MBA, worked at Dow chemical for 6 years, various states. Settled down here
. Been here since 1984. Two terms as planning commissional. Worked with 6 supervisors. Been through growth, knows what it needs. Financial issues need to be dealth with. General Fund draining. Can not do that. Sewer fund.

Cindy Pine - Not at forum due to family committment. Statement was read by Brian Jonckheere. Apologized for missing family commitment. Listed accomplishments. Paved Lakeland trail, created water district to pay debt, collective bargaining agreement. Get along better with neighbors. Less lawsuits. Bond rating increased to AA-. Protect lake/waterways. Biggest challenge, declining revenues. Cannot raise taxes. Need to be pro-active. Look 5 years down the road for planning. Efficient services needed. More professional work environment needed. No conflicts in business.. Committed to transparency.

Skiba – Been in Hamburg since 2002. Politics can get ugly. I ran as my tax dollars improperly spent. Formal business education and 10 years real world business experience. Government accountable to people.. Transparency needed. Should be dozens of accountants reviewing expenditures (referring to residents).

Hardesty – 12 years as clerk. Married for 35 years. 3 children and grandchildren. Worked hard for Hamburg. Responsible record on fiscal issues. Responsible for accounting functions, elections, oversee human resources. Appointed rep for DBA, and several committees. Work hard to deliever services while keep spending in check. Organized Hamburg Family Fun Fest. Community entitled to representation without political games.

Evon – Challenge, and what treasurer should be doing about it. Was easy for years with grown, but now it is stopped. Taxable values dropping. 2010 likely major trouble. Must be engaged in cash flow projections. Software can be used to translate to values. ID problem now, magnitute, and when it will hit. Take appropriate measures now, not over/under reaction. Won’t get that with incumbent. No planning, do not know when bond payments due. # board members voted against something? (Dan – I think that was referring to the vote on non-statutory duties) Won’t happen again if elected. Working at least 20 hours week, present 5 year plan of cash flow.

Balon-Vaughn – Running for 3rd term. 11 year resident. Brings experience, leadership, commitment, dedication. Built network of professional relationship with leaders and elected officials. Maximized investment of millions of dollars under township’s care. Active member of community and local organizations. Responding to Allegations of opponent. – does not understand office. Bond payments responsibilities of super’s office and accounting deparment, with treasurer’s assistance. Tax bills on time. County each year. Prompt service. Public Act 20. Tracked all investments on monthly basis. Info on institution, CD’s, etc. Reports at office. All due dates on calander.

Questions – Why should you vote for me?
Hohl – Challenger to Super. Serious problem. No long term perspective. Defecit in sewer enterprise. General fund problems. Not critical, yet. $750,000 depleation in 4 years. Must operate from tax collection to tax collections. 3 balanced budgets that were not real balanced budgets – general fund. Sewer infrastructure. Needs upkeep in enterprise fund. Wastewater treatmentplant problems. Threatened with 201 sanctions. Must be proactive and get DEQ off our back. Hartland was sanctioned. Do not need that in Hamburg.

Burtaw – What he said is true, but he’s on the board. Things are divided. Not working as a team. If trustee, dept head. All need to be involved. Can’t be done by one infividual. Team effort. If elected, we will work as a team.

Hardesty – Incumbent clerk. 12 years. Experienced and knowledge of general law government. Professional leadership and will continue to do so.

Skiba – Not as experienced. What was she doing prior to this? Was secretary from Green Oak. I have proven myself with some experiences. Can take on any challenges, statutory/non statutory duties. Two degrees and accreditations.

Evon – Worked for Chevy central office and retired from EDS. Experience to bring efficiency to the office. Will use treasurer numbers to look at cash flow. Will be transparent and effective.

Balon-Vaugn – Transparent – Anyone can come up to the window. Reports available. 8 years, and I still do not know everything. Takes a long time to learn issues. More than tax bills. Up until last couple of months, no negative press. No drama on staff. Nothing perfect, will listen to changes needed for township and treasurer office.

Q – Recent changes for employees. – Employees responsibilities reporting to. Morale, working together.

Burtaw – Right now, the zoning dept is a 2 man department. I report to Pat Hagman. We have great working relationship. I work well with employees and elected officials. Helped in other departments. I won’t say it is down, better than has been, can get better.

Hardesty – Board took action. Reasons because of current admin and way it was handled. Morale of employees great up until 3 months ago with public bashing of employees themselves and admins. Concerning. Reading about themselves in public forum. Needs to be fixed. Get nasty politics behind us. Pay levels – Compensation study and pay grades established. Competitive with similar departments. Not adhered to. 3 year plan, but participated in 1 year plan. Working hard to keep employees. As far as board goes. I’m board member. Open communication with employees.

Matt – I really had opp to go door to door. Leaning more and more about township run and board. Seen it myself. Learned that lot of stories that I don’t think taxpayers are aware of. Uestions – Don’t know as much as I’m not incumbent. Pay levels. Needs to be one. Why taken so long? I’ve been here since 02 and already upset with things run. If elected, I have 0 tolerance of a few things in Press and Argus. Take personality out of situation. Need someone in charge that can be good decision. Too many relationships formed past 8 to 12 years.

Pat – Not aware of morale problems. Only seen what is in meetings. Employees report direct super. What I know.

Balon-Vaughn – Change of reporting – reason is because Joanna and I were not informed of all situations. Needed more tranparence. Since changes, zoning gives daily emails. Most I’ve known in long time. Address the problems in real time, not catchup work. Morale – have been problems. Prior admin. Changed some. Drama is in last 4 months debilitating to morale. Countdown to election since people can’t stand it. Board – We always don’t agree and agree to disagree some ways. Don’t vote same way as all, I vote my mind. Don’t want rubber stamp board. If elected, will listen to concerns and vote accordingly.

Hohl – 7 people on board. Reason set up this way. 7-0 vote is wasting money. Nothing wrong with disagreement, but retribution. Not happened as much as in past. Report – needed open communication. Reiteration what heard, but not occurring. Water issue is threatening to township. 7 people on board. 5 in favor. There’s reason. Not game. Staff morale good. It is the season and goofy things happen. It’s a shame, and takes away from the board. 18 days and we’ll be back to work. Board has to address benefits issue, and pay issue.

Joanna – Property taxes do increase by cost of living. Not at issue of pass based on SEV’s With values decreasing, how handled. Services for general law – get tremendous pay for buck. Police, fire, rec. Have sewers, bringing water to township. Relatively small budget compared to others and give city services to community. 5 year projection. Working on that. Ask for that when budget prepared.

Matt – It’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Hamburg has challenges. How are we handling this? Less revenue to work with. As real estate agent 10 years ago, agree we were in best seller’s market. Now best buyer’s market. How effects? Did prior not forcast this? Who knows how long recession will last? Some expected levels of service may be too high. Will look at it if elected. Need to focus on essential costs, and what necessary to run township. In time of decline property, not time to take two officers off street. Need them back in Hamburg.

Evon – Things are tough and need cutbacks, but certain level of services. Cash flow assessments needed to know what provide.

Balon Vaughn – Many communities operating in red. Many can not seem to function. 8 years ago, board put away money to build fund up. Still have 2.2 fund balanced. Need to maintain services within budget constraints. We will do so. Should have new cop on street.

Pat Hohl – Property values will be back inbalance. Sales taking place below SEV. That will filter through system and people will go to board of review. Adjustment will me made. Need to keep general fund balance. Nobody been on end of 1-6 vote balance as much as I have. We need to address this long term.

Burtaw – Agree to some degree with Pat. Spent 30 years as accessor. Counties dictate what will happen. They do studies – all classes of property. Mandated by law. If nothing done at local level, then county will make adjuctments needed to make. No getting away from it. In 80’s 11% interest. Poor risk 15%. Feds lowered rates, but it’s going to come back. Was against proposal A. Part of problem lending institutions – Countrywide. Interest only loans – can’t qualified – and own property. Market will turn around, but takes time. Funding balance June 07 – 2.435 million. July 08 – 2.079164. I think we’re OK.

Negitivity questions. – Positives.

Skiba – With a lot of changes in officials, the side effect will go away. Right people in place, and bickering will stop. What can happen positive? Great place in Hamburg. Got the lakes. Was vacation spot in 1800’s still Hamburg. It will come through.

Evon – Been here 34 years, will be another 34. People will come together and make it great place to live no matter who wins.

Balon Vaugn – Most part we get along. I have not engaged in neg campaign, will continue to do that and will campaign on my record. No problems in office until minor issues since corrected. No problem at any cost to twp. Open communication with residences and manage funds effectively. Can deposit checks same day to get day/2 of interest – every bit counts. Stretch dollars and make it work. Institutes passports since first elected. Need to find new sources of income.

Hohl – One of 5 safest areas in Michigan. Two jewels Huron Rivers and Brighton Rec Area in north. There’s a reason this place will hold people here. Gas prices problem, but very upscale community. Work together cooperate, and share benefits of community. Make township as good as can while we are here.

Burtaw- Moved here 22 years ago. Love this community and made commitment to what can to move this forward. FEMA audit (Flood insurance). Rating came in at one of the highest. Commend dept for that. Work hard to see those rates of those that need it kept at low rate. Rating fails, we are in trouble. Current admin makr sure it does function. Talked to 1000 people. Hands on. Knows what people want and are looking for.

Joanna – Hamburg awesome community to be part of. Positive of community is services offered – police/fire/library, erc. Efficent and friendly service of office on daily basis. Working with residences of community. Reduction in ISO rating saved thousands of dollars in fire insurance. Outstanding community. We heard challengers say when things settle down, we’ll work together. The challengers are creating it. We’re responding in defensive mode.

Hamburg Trustees:

Howard Dillman (not here)
Michael Dolan (Not here)

Bill Hahn – Best candidate for these reasons. 30 year resident. 30 years at Ford Motor. Senior management. 3 degress. BS (Purdue), MBA, Econ (UD). Flood prevention committee organized after 2004. Tells things like it is.Running for two reasons. 1. Turmoil on board. Gaming has to stop. Clear back in end of March when group of 4 voted to take away Cindy Pine’s non statutory duties. Decided because of that. 2nd reason – Spending v revenue. Agreed with a lot of what Pat Hohl talked about. Address those issues.

Jason Negri – Treating this job interview. Peacemaker. Training – Lawyer who asks tough questions. Both are critical qualities. Debate is good, but need to move in same direction. On Board of Review. Values decrease, assessments up. Prop A issue. Be prepared for challenges. Millages, business friendly community, environment, etc. Fiscal conservative.

Phillip Sempenivo – Wonderful quality of life here. Needs to be enhanced. Difficult economic times here. Problems with us for years to come. Services costs and economy issue. Education and experience is to id solutions to problems. Done that in boom and tough times. Problems not solved by things, but people. Conflict without resolution helps nobody. If you want more creative ideas, broaden audience. Techniques need to be different in boom time different than down time.

Kevin Wiley – Married 28 years, lived in Hamburg for 10 years. Education – Assoc engineering. BA Industral tech, MBA. Worked at GM. Member of board 2000-2004 trustee. Make sure spend less than receive. Avoid debt. Essential services funded. Police/Funding.

Michael Ziegeleski (sp) - Resident for 12 years. Working knowledge of government, functions, and powers. Excellent impersonal skills. Ethical manner with fosters trust. Manage adversity and hostility. Use consensus building abilities. Leaning policies, laws, contracts, and intergovernmental. Need change on board. Put end of turf wars, petty politics, and petty pickering. Put checkbook online. Best interest of people of township and bring change we need to bring effective township administration and government.

Chuck Menzies – Incumbent. Experienced. 8 years on board, and have knowledge and know which way it is going. Technical and admin knowledge. Running for right reasons. 21 years in township, married 38 years. Have no slate or political agenda. Vote conscience, do research and respond. Planning commission 18 years, appeals prior to this. Things are hard and changed, and running bare bones, but .(timed out)

Q1. Growth – positive and negative. What should/shouldn’t be done.

Michael – Hamburg one of fastest growing township. Issue adequately addressed in master plan. Growth for sake of growth can have downside, but anti-growth is not appropriate either. Well managed growth.

Chuck – Bone of contention since here. Can’t stop growth and development. Can control it. Master plan in place, still working on it. Residential is here. Won awards with open space. Have CVS/Kroger – not in overnight. Chilson commons, has character.

Jason – Demographic of business is changing. Failed to diversify economy. Not done until last two years. Smaller community. Livingston is still growth. Controlled growth is the entrepreneualrship. Livingston wireless. Does not need to compromise family friendly and rural character and quality of life.

Phil – When experienced it, worry out of hand. If not have it, worry about it. Balanced approach. Economic challenges. We want to curtail unchecked growth, but need to stimulate growth right now in this economy.

Bill – 30 years. Then cottages. Seen changes. Trails, open spaces. Lakes cleaner. Maintain those pluses. Problems. Traffic flow increase. 2nd issue flood prevention. Huron River water increasing. Effective flood prevetion committee, plan to keep working on it.

Kevin – Growth dependent on economy. Go back to Pat Hohl said earlier. Looks more like late 70’s/80’s with growth. Draw more commercial business to community to bring revenue. Lost industry in area.

Q2 – New Fire station. HQ not substation.
Chuck - First, people voted a millage for new fire station. Old one 100 yrs old. Need one in East part of township. Some closed sessions were on land. Voted by people. Needed it. Bidded. Is it Taj Mahal? No. Big? Yes. Plan for the future. Contractors were at their bidding on costs. 5-10 years, would be more. Doesn’t have stained glass or Italian tile. No dorms, etc. Needed to be bricked by master plan requirements. Better build now, than add on.

Jason – When voted on, people thought growth. Now second guessed. Running 2/3 complain. 1/3 coming around now and thinks it is needed. Echo Chuck on costs. Not going to be Monday Morning QB. In a couple of years, will probably think good decision.

Phillip – Wasn’t there for discussion. Did not see anyone saying that wasn’t future need of something to be done. Taxpayers said same. Some question (Pat Hohl dissent) and alternative strategy needed. Difficult to Monday QB. No sound argument not needed for future.

Bill – Less government, less spending. Never voted for millage until I voted for this fire millage. Downside, had I been onboard, would have voted for smaller substation concept building that 3 board members supported, but would protected or added some future plan to expand in most efficient lowest cost matter. Consistent message on door to door – Taj Mahal. Hopefully things work out, but I would have voted for less expensive building.

Kevin – It’s done. Voted no, but it’s there now, and we have it and need to keep it operating. Sided with Hohl on this.

Michael – Live on NE Quadrant. Problem with direct access to fire service. When millage came first time, in favor. Did research and benefited for it. Not aware of how much spent. 11,000 sq ft impression. Substation. Also not thrilled about renewing millage going with large building. Have money, doesn’t have to necessary be spent. Bad taste – move from volunteer dept to new department.

Q – Different personalities on board and opinions. How do you see yourself to bring working together of township. Loss of revenue, etc.
Jason – No illusions. Whoever realizes with scrutiny that expectation is on us to work together no matter what. No comment on current politics. Served on two boards with difficult situations. Was president on one, and they will say that I acted in professional matter. We’re supposed to be for the good of Hamburg. Would like to be voice of reason.

Phillip – Conflict not bad thing. Couple of members say nothing wrong with points of view. Reality with clashing – if managed right, can end up with better 3rd idea. I’m an effective facilitator. Can help people work through difficult situations and bring good group solutions. Whole greater than some of parts.

Bill – Turmoil at present board is bad. That’s reason I’m running as trustee. Help board get back to teamwork and cooperation. Adversity before decision is good. Different views need to be discussed. Leads to better decisions. Once decision made, needs to be supported and moved on. Have to get back to teamwork, cooperation in Hamburg. Period. New Clerk, Treasurer, four new trustees. That’s his vision.

Kevin – Challenging board members in meetings is good. Board did what needed to do and get business taken care of. He’ll do his part as he did 2000-2004 to make place better to us.

Michael – Here to serve people of Hamburg twp. See distinct differences in personality and viewpoint and not functioning in way cooperative. I don’t see being on winning side of all votes, but it’s best to move on after a vote when decision is made. Not about me or my agenda. We need to have some cooperation and stop not communicating and be about interest serving and not ourselves.

Chuck – Incumbent. Running for one seat. Cooperaiton – Can disagree without being disagreeable. Not turmoil. Disagreements. We all vote together, why have 7 man board. Some diversity. Some disagreements. We all can get along. 21 years active in township government on different commissions. Friends with 5 of 6 supers. No problem debating them, but will feel good at home. Situation with super - It’s too long to get into. I’m not running for super or clerk, but trustee. Will keep train on track.

Q. Can you talk about 1 specific change you will accomplish in four years

Phillip – Better understanding of what real costs are? When we look at service provided, what are component parts of cost. Not just total cost, but what goes into that. Modeling of services to understand what getting. Worst thing inbudget is 2% across board. That’s dumb. Need to look at components.

Bill – Look back after 4 years and be part of board that got costs under control with no property tax increase.

Kevin – Township reassess at whole where at with individual budgets and look for more efficient ways to do what they do today. Engage with those doing work.

Michael – I would like to see everything revenue/expenditure online so all citizens can see where money is spent and how (without FOIA). Transparency. Brighton Township does that.

Chuck – See big projects completed and under budget. Water project down M-36. We get water, we get business, and can pay it off. Brighton/Green Oak has it done, we’re still finishing.

Jason – We’re all concerned about budget. Target specific spending cuts. Chuck spot on with businesses coming in. Need there here, not another community. Need to look back at balanced budget and growth mode.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obama Judges - a preview? (Chemerinsky?)

Arguably the number one star lawyer for the left just released a book. Erwin Chemerinsky just released a book called Enhancing Government

It was reviewed in the WSJ.

The relation between the federal government and the governments of the various states is a chestnut of constitutional theory, a perennial cause of angst and a gauge of American politics generally. In antebellum America, Southern states claimed the right to ignore federal law, presaging the Civil War. In the past century, Progressive arguments for the federal -- rather than the state -- regulation of labor set in motion the centralized administrative juggernaut that became Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. More recently, the Rehnquist's Court's restrictions on federal authority, in favor of state autonomy, captured the Reagan Revolution's enthusiasm for decentralizing governmental power.

In "Enhancing Government," Erwin Chemerinsky provides a kind of holograph of what federalism -- as the federal-state relation is confusingly called -- would resemble if the U.S. were to enter a period of liberal ascendancy. His timing could not be better, since the chance of such an ascendancy is not exactly remote: A Barack Obama presidency seems possible, together with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Mr. Chemerinsky sketches a vision of federalism that would empower government at all levels and delight civil plaintiffs and criminal defense lawyers of every description. The great virtue of Mr. Chemerinsky's book is that it serves as a blueprint for the Obama administration and a fair warning to its opponents.

Mr. Chemerinsky argues that no constitutional principle prevents the federal government from regulating any matter. Accordingly, he sharply criticizes the decision in United States v. Lopez, where the Rehnquist Court held that the federal government lacked the authority to prohibit carrying guns near a school. Second, he solves one of the great federalism controversies -- whether state or federal courts are more competent to adjudicate federal legal claims -- by allowing civil plaintiffs and criminal defendants to choose whichever court that they prefer: presumably the one that, in their view, will most likely vindicate their rights. Finally, he argues that state law should yield only to an express federal directive contradicting it. Thus, in his view, the Supreme Court was wrong to hold that the Food and Drug Administration's approval of a medical device precluded state tort suits impugning the device's safety.

Mr. Chemerinsky's brand of federalism expresses an enthusiasm for regulation and a distrust of the market. Fair enough, if that is one's (Democratic) sense of things, although businesses should beware. But are his ideas defensible on other grounds? Take his claim that the court's decision in Lopez had no basis in the constitutional text. You can arrive at such a conclusion only if you throw out the hallowed principle that the federal government possesses only enumerated powers. Congress passed its ban on carrying guns near schools under its authority to "regulate commerce among the several states," but carrying a gun is not a commercial act and affects only the state where the school is located. Thus the court's decision on behalf of local law.


So how probable is it that Mr. Chemerinsky's ideas will make their way into American law? It is hard to say. He is a prominent legal scholar -- now the dean of the new law school at the University of California at Irvine. If elected, Mr. Obama, himself a former teacher of constitutional law, may well choose federal judges -- or Supreme Court justices -- who know of Mr. Chemerinsky's work and the work of like-minded scholars. The legal theorizing of today is the judicial opinion of tomorrow. Still, we can hope that prudence will trump politics. To obliterate constitutional federalism -- because "yes, we can" -- would return us to the orthodoxies of an era of centralized power, something Mr. Obama professes to have left behind. We'll see.

Clinton wanted to nominate him in the 1990's, and was told by the GOP that he was DOA in committee. With the dems in charge of the senate, that might not be the case if Obama wins.

Speculators and drilling

Larry Kudkow at the National Review has a good piece about Bush's push for drilling. As I said in my last post, I wish this was done when gas hit $2 a gallon, but this here is a start. Congress is in the way as usual.

In a dramatic move yesterday President Bush removed the executive-branch moratorium on offshore drilling. Today, at a news conference, Bush repeated his new position, and slammed the Democratic Congress for not removing the congressional moratorium on the Outer Continental Shelf and elsewhere. Crude-oil futures for August delivery plunged $9.26, or 6.3 percent, almost immediately as Bush was speaking, bringing the barrel price down to $136.

Now isn’t this interesting?

Democrats keep saying that it will take 10 years or longer to produce oil from the offshore areas. And they say that oil prices won’t decline for at least that long. And they, along with Obama and McCain, bash so-called oil speculators. And today we had a real-world example as to why they are wrong. All of them. Reid, Pelosi, Obama, McCain — all of them.

Traders took a look at a feisty and aggressive George Bush and started selling the market well before a single new drop of oil has been lifted. What does this tell us? Well, if Congress moves to seal the deal, oil prices will probably keep on falling. That’s the way traders work. They discount the future. Psychology and expectations can turn on a dime.

The congressional ban on offshore drilling expires September 30, so that becomes a key date. A new report from Wall Street research house Sanford C. Bernstein says that California actually could start producing new oil within one year if the moratorium were lifted. The California oil is under shallow water and already has been explored. Drilling platforms have been in place since before the moratorium. They’re talking about 10 billion barrels worth off the coast of California.

There’s also a “gang of 10” in the Senate, five Republicans and five Democrats, that is trying to work a compromise deal on lifting the moratorium. So it’s possible a lot of action on this front could occur much sooner than people seem to think.

Democrats are whining about this won't help short term. Maybe it will. Even if it is only long term, it is high time we start thinking both short and long term with our energy policies. I support nuclear energy and alternative energy as well as drilling. I also support energy independence from the Middle East so those country there stop having us by the nuts.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where was this when gas hit $2.00 a gallon?

I was going to title this $3 a gallon, but make it $2, since I was mad when that happened. Bush is finally lifting the executive order ban on offshore drilling. I'm glad he's doing this, but this needed to be done a long time ago.

From Bloomberg

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said today he's lifting a presidential ban on drilling for oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, setting up a showdown with Congress over a separate ban it put in place in the 1980s.

``Today I've taken every step within my power to allow offshore exploration of the OCS,'' Bush said in a statement at the White House. ``This means the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action by the U.S. Congress.''

Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress rejected the president's call, saying the move to end the moratorium would have no effect on prices and better options are available.

Pressure to permit drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean coastlines and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has been building as oil and gasoline prices have surged to records.

About 17.8 billion barrels and 76 trillion cubic feet of gas are off-limits to drilling as a result of congressional and presidential moratoria, according to the Minerals Management Service, an agency of the U.S. Interior Department.

The oil available would amount to just over two years of U.S. consumption. Bush today said the potential reserve from the restricted areas would last almost 10 years.

Democrats have blocked congressional efforts to lift the ban, arguing that Republican estimates of available energy resources are overstated and doing so would have no short-term effect. Democrats in both chambers are pushing legislation to force oil companies to start drilling on 68 million acres where they already hold leases.

I don't give a damn about short-term effect. Does this help long term? Yes it does. It increases the supply as the demand increases. Everyone knows about supply and demand.

Now drilling is not the only solution, but it is ONE IMPORTANT aspect of the solution as it helps dillute the power of countries that hate us, and also helps bridge an eventual transition away from oil.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Livingston County Millage Proposals on August Ballot

Kudo's to the Argus for listing them. I only knew of the Hamburg one. Most of these are renewals, but Hamburg's is a new one.

Conway Township: Renewal of 2-mill tax for road improvement, maintenance and dust control projects that would run Sept. 30, 2008-Dec. 31, 2011. The tax would raise $254,900 in its first year.

Deerfield Township: The rolled back 0.9630 mill rate for dust control and road maintenance would be pushed up to 1 mill and last from Sept. 30, 2008-Dec. 31, 2011. The increase will bring in an additional $1,223 in the first year, resulting in a total of $17,295.

Fowlerville Area Fire Authority: Renewal of 1.1 mill for capital equipment, operation, facilities and improvements that would run from December 2008-December 2012. Tax would raise $618,320 in its first year.

Hamburg Township: A 10-year 1 mill tax for operation of the Hamburg Township Fire Department, which would replace an expired 10-year 1 mill tax. In it’s first year, the tax would raise approximately $1.04 million.

• Renewal of 0.4418 mill for operation and equipment cost of the Hamburg Township Library. The tax would run from 2009-2013 and bring in $438,000 in its first year.

Howell Area Fire Authority: Renewal of 1.1 mill for operation, capital equipment, facilities and improvements for authority that would run from December 2008-December 2012. Tax would raise $1.97 million in its first year.

Pinckney Community Public Library: Renewal of 0.9562 mill that would run 2009-2014 and bring in $338,800 in its first year.

Gas companies which don't import from Middle East?

I've been trying to find out for a long time which companies import from the Middle East or is owned Hugo Chavez (Citgo). I hope this is accurate.

Terror-Free Oil is a website which among other things, list companies which do not import oil from the Middle East - and some that do.

Ones in Michigan that do not import from the Middle East, according to this site are:

Cenex (Which has stores in the UP)
Holiday (North Michigan)
Flying J - Usually cheaper - Benton Harbor, Saginaw, and Lansing/Grand Ledge area.

They also list those that DO import from the Middle East. The three that surprised me are BP (I thought it was British and Canadian), Shell (Dutch), and Marathon. I remember Marathon ads bragging about "Made in America."

If you have any accurate (not chain email) information about which oil is home or at least not from the Middle East or from people like Hugo Chavez, let us know. I'd rather not pay money to places that finance people like Osama Bin Laden.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Michigan does not need a constitutional convention

Over on Right Michigan, there is a debate over whether Michigan should have a constitutional convention. Dennis Lennox, most known for being a thorn in the side of Gary Peters, eloquently makes a case that Michigan should have a constiutitonal convention and sited term limits and the snake oil "reform" proposal by the democrats for support of the con-con. Despite sharing his opinion of term limits and the snake oil ballot proposal by the democrats, I could not disagree with him more strongly for several reasons.

First off, too many elitist types will hijack a constitutional convention to get rid of our top safeguards against tax increases - the Headlee Amendment and Proposal A. If the constitution is opened up, that is fair game, as is our version of the 2nd Amendment (Article 1, sec 6) and a host of other issues.

The main pushers of this group pushing for the conbention is the current bunch at "Citizens for Michigan" lead by elitist democrats and liberal republicans. People like newspaper publisher and former UM trustee Phil Power (D), tax hike supporter Joe Schwarz and his buddy Harry Gast, Former AG Frank Kelley, Debbie Dingell, John Hertel, and Dan DeGrow. That gets my guard up if there ever was one. Most of those legislators were not exactly the epidomy of greatness while in Lansing. Anyone in Southeast Michigan who reads the Brighton Argus, Livingston County Press, and Observor and Eccentric Newspapers know the leanings of Mr. Power.

Back in late 2006, they had a study with several recommendations to change our constitution. Their recommendations are as follows.

1. Increase Term Limits

I do not have a problem with that. I oppose term limits at the state level. Thanks to term limits, we had our fee increases by Rick Johnson and company back in the end of 2004 - which I think is part of the reasons we lost the state house in 2006.

2. Make it harder for constitutional amendments to be passed here.

This was in response to the holy grail of the elite and the Richard Florida crowd - affirmative action. That's a large part of what spun this into action. Now the left is trying to gore our ox on the ballot initative. Maybe so, but that's not a good reason to throw this out.

3. - Eliminating the state Natural Resources and the Agriculture commissions and allowing the governor to appoint her entire cabinet

Why should Granholm have all the power? We need checks and balances in this state.

4. Allowing the governor to appoint members of the State Board of Education and the governing boards of the state's three largest universities, subject to advice and consent of the State Senate and a partisan balance. Currently, members of the State Board of Education, regents of the University of Michigan, trustees of Michigan State University and governors of Wayne State University are elected.

Again, why should Granholm have this power? While I'm not a fan of the convention nomination system and prefer old fashion primaries, I at least have SOME say with that system. I'd rather let people have the say as opposed to the elite. Maybe it's just my Jeffersonian roots. If this is going to be changed, let there be primaries.

5. Allow the governor to appoint Supreme Court Justices to a single 10-year term with partisan balance on the high court.

HELL NO! Dealbreaker right off the bat. Partisan balance does not exist and will not as long as there are appointments. The most powerful branch of government needs to be balanced by the people and not by politicians. While I do not agree with a convention nomination system, anything that takes away the checks and balances away from the people is damn wrong. If Stephen Reinhardt is appointed under this new proposal, I have no say whatsoever in opposing his disregard for the constitution. Under the current system, I can vote him out.

6. - Levy an additional statewide mill to fund school district building programs that over time would reduce bonding mills at the local level

A tax increase. No way.

7. Eliminate super-majority voting requirements spelled out in the constitution. Banking code amendments were one example of voting requirements.

Why? Why was there a supermajority in the first place?

8. - Eliminate restrictions on local taxation, particularly for transportation

No. I remember the days of the runaway millages back in the late 80's. People were taxed out of their homes. We need fiscal responsibility instead and less taxes. I don't have Phil Power's money.

9. - Eliminate the Headlee rollback provision in Article IX, Section 31

That is the number one goal of the leftists who want to have a constitutional convention. Eliminate the barriers so our taxes go up.

10. Alter language regarding local elected official recalls so that the only reason for recall would be malfeasance or misfeasance

The democrats are still mad about losing the state senate after the 1983 tax increase. Tax increases are a damn good reason for a recall. It's another check and balance the leftists and the elitists want to take away from us since they believe they know better.

11. Allow the governor the option of a "pocket-veto"

We do not need to give the executive any more powers. We have the veto and override. That's good enough.

There's a reason why we do not have a lot of constitutional conventions. People are rightly suspicious when it comes to changing it. I really would not want to see the elimination of Headlee or the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, ex post facto laws, or tax safeguards in this state. They were enacted for a good reason. Government abused its power, and people moved to limit it. With a constitutional convention, all these safeguards are on the table to be removed. That is unacceptable.

I will say this. If there will be a constitutional convention, I will run for constitutional delegate and will knock on 15,000+ doors and try and raise $50,000+ if I have to win that delegate spot in an election. Freedom will be attacked, and it must be defended with absolute vigilance.

In the Right Michigan post, I also missed one reason more than any other why it needs to be opposed. Outside Lansing and Oakland Politics blogger Chetly Zarko pointed it out. He said this.

I agree with RM here, with this addition, copied from my response to DL on his item.
The RMGN debacle is evidence of what bad can come from convention.

Special interests will own the delegates, particularly since the Dems are sitting on the reform Marty Knollenberg proposed in Oct. 2007 that I pointed out to him last year. The Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1977 forgot - understandably due to the rareness of conventions - to include delegates in reporting category defintions. And limit definitions.

Democrats - I'm calling Ward Connerly if there's a convention and there no law to say he can't give me one giant donation, which I'd never have to report. And I will run if there is a Con-Con, despite my hatred for it - largely to protect MCRI, but also to protect the initiative process, Headlee, and all that the people have earned in the last 40 years in at least marginally checking government excess.

Republicans - Stryker nightmare.

It's not individual candidates that evade the radar - its the potential for competing blocs of "sponsored" candidates. A Herculean battle would occur.

You think the raw costs of a convention in terms of administrative costs, staff, space, etc. are high. The political costs, and the subtle changes that can only ultimately favor the elite power interests since they are best positioned, are huge.

Fight both the Con RMGN and the Con of the Con-Con.

That is something I missed completely and is why it the word assume makes an ass of "u" and me. I assumed these are covered by the campaign finance laws. Nope. Billionire radical Jon Stryker can dump his billions into these races without anyone knowing. He can also call his sister out of state so she can dump her billions. All the Lansing and DC interests can dump their money, and George Soros himself could dump money in there, without any one of us knowing about that. All those that want to increase our taxes, earmark spending, grab our guns, criminalize certain speech (Colorado just did it), and do whatever they can think of can get their people in there.

If "Hell No" was an option on this constitutional convention, I would vote for it. I'll have to settle for "no." The prospects of what can happen at the constutional convention are about as frightening as facing the business end of a gun.