Friday, September 12, 2008

No money for Train to Nowhere, Hamburg election developments (EDITED and UPDATED 9/13)

The latest from the Argus shows that there is no money for the train.

The chairman of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners says the county will neither fund a proposed commuter rail line nor be a part of any taxing authority.

Bill Rogers said county officials have told Washtenaw Livingston Line (WALLY) coalition members that the board cannot afford to finance the project, which would connect Howell to Ann Arbor. Officials have previously estimated annual funding from each county ranging from $75,000-$150,000.

“Not that we’re not in favor of mass transit or participating, but I just don’t think it’s economically feasible today,” said Rogers, who anticipates the county still being involved in WALLY talks. “We’re just not going to have the cash.”

Anticipated startup costs for the proposed 27-mile route came in at $32.4 million in a recent feasibility study. Meanwhile, Rogers and other commissioners were busy trimming 1.7 percent from all departments financed by general fund monies and are currently trying to deal with additional anticipated cuts in coming years.

Good move guys.

Also from the Argus,
Joanna Hardesty is running as a write-in for the Hamburg Township Clerks position. In a rather bitter primary election battle, Matt Skiba defeated her in the primary. There's some hard feeling there, and not just because of the election results.

Her comments followed Skiba's accusations that she and her supporters stole or tampered with his campaign signs; attempted to flatten one of his tires in the township municipal campus parking lot; and abused authority in overseeing the Hamburg Family Fun Fest.

Skiba also lobbed barbs at Hardesty for a lawsuit filed by her husband and son against the township Police Department alleging illegal entry to the family's home.

Hardesty said Skiba, who won the primary with less than 20 percent of registered township voters casting ballots, ran a "malicious campaign" that distracted voters from his lack of experience and own personal issues, including a bankruptcy filing.

"Mr. Skiba, you were not held accountable for your false allegations," Hardesty said, eyeing Skiba, who sat in the back row of the board room.

"I will be running a very vigorous campaign in the November election. Write in Hardesty, please," she added.

I can't say I'm surprised here. From a partisan standpoint, it hurts the Republicans in a bad way seeing two of them battle in a general election. I think the winner here is Debby Buckland.

EDIT/UPDATE (After Michael's comment)

I hesitate to take sides with these Hamburg contests, but it's time for me to do so. In this race with the information I had, I would have voted for Hardesty in the primary. Most of that was based on the debate between her and Skiba. I don't know either of them very well and don't have any personal dogs in that fight. I also would have voted for Michael Zelegelski and Bill Hahn. I know and like both Pat Evon and Bobbi Vaughan and I'm glad I did not have to make a decision there. Pat Evon will do a good job, I'm not worried about that. I don't vote based on slates, and I hope those who read this know that about me. I've always gone my own way with endorsements, voting decisions, and issues. I don't get into the grudge matches and personal contests out here. I've been there and done that with a different organization. It's not fun, and I avoid that stuff unless I have one hell of a dog in the fight.

That said, it's time for the Livingston County GOP to get behind Matt Skiba. The primary is over and the voters who showed up clearly made the decision. I trust the voters of Hamburg as they know their township better than I do. They made the decision to pick the candidates who run under my banner in that township.

Back on August 15, I posted this:

The question is whether with the house cleaning in Hamburg, is the infighting over. If the winner was all three incumbents, all winning by 50 votes, then I would have bet on the democrats. That was not the case, and all incumbents are gone. The primary I think made things tougher for the dems. However, do Pat Hohl (unopposed), Matt Skiba, and Pat Evon realize what happened and work to put this behind them? Do the outgoing incumbents provide a smooth transition? If the answer is yes, then I think we hold these seats. If not, then the papers will have a big story about an "upset" in November. Nobody wants to read about their township in the paper every day. Two of the newcomers I think are real strong candidates in Pat Evon and Bill Hahn. I'm not worried about them. One other candidate however concerns me. I won't say who it is in public, but I wasn't that impressed with that individual in the candidate forum. With the current situation, none of these are gimmes, but one of these actually scares me a bit.

We don't have a smooth transition, and commenter Michael's comment here was right on.
"It is time for an intervention, perhaps from a county and state level." I agree. County level. I missed the last meeting, and I know something is in the works. I hope this race is covered and covered well. It is now our most difficult race in the county, and while the McCain/Palin race is important, the Livingston County Republican Party can not forget the first two words in its name either. I had an eye on this race anyway, but now Skiba will need a lot of help. The Bucklands (both Dave and Debby) are experienced campaigners and need to be taken seriously. I have no doubt that Debby will run ahead of Obama (who I expect to get John Kerry percentages around here) to begin with due to the township politics. Skiba also now has an independent challenger as well who will take some GOP votes. John Kerry got 41% and Gore 42%. With a third party, that's enough to sometimes win.

There's an old saying used about rough language and profanity and I think it applies to politics as well. Time, place, and manner. This I do not believe is the proper time, place, and manner for the challenge. I think the best way for a defeated candidate who is unhappy with the campaign is to be a team player for a contested general election, and then run again four years later in the next primary. That is the proper time, place and manner.


Flatus Maximus said...

Let's set the record straight, okay? Skiba's complaint was about threats and intimidating phone calls made to business owners who were hosting his campaign signs, yes, there were more than one incident. As far as stealing or tampering Skiba denied making any such allegations against Joanna. He did, at no time, accuse Joanna, but does her supporters. One of those being her son Joe who called a business in Hamburg village.

Another reality is that an allen wrench was the cause of a flat tire that was noticed minutes after leaving the campus parking lot. The tire was repaired the next day by a local business. What a thrill this past Tuesday night when a group of Hamburg Twp's FD finest (Chief and Deputy Chief) was overheard chortling, "Hey Skiba, I need my Allen wrench back!" Yuck, Yuck!

Skiba did challenge Hardesty's loyalty to the Twp in supporting her family members taking the legal challenge to the max. The point being, was it a necessary expense to put upon the township.

Was this a malicious campaign? Of course Ms. Hardesty believes so, no surprise, she has to construct some reason for her upset defeat. In reality, it was rather tepid. With respect, Hardesty, was a strong incumbent. The customary strategy for challengers is to focus on any negatives. Skiba kept his challenges to Hardesty in her role at the Twp, and trust me there was a whole lot of personal dirt that was deemed untouchable.

The true maliciousness came at the eleventh hour when Hardesty punked Skiba with the personal bankruptcy bombshell, which, in my opinion, created the a voter backlash which was the major contributor to her metoric crash and burn!

The real false allegations is Hardesty's accusaton of Skiba's "false allegations." The sadness here is that she and her supporters believe that the voters were deceived and believed "the lies." The fact remains that on August 5th, the voters of Hamburg Twp spoke! I trust the voters! I don't think that they are stupid or easily misled.

It could be that they weighed Joanna's considerable experience against the drama and trauma she created at the Twp and in the lifes of many and wanted her gone. The problem is, she refuses to accept that sad reality and is willing to trash the Twp and very likely will deliver the position of Clerk to an undeserving democrat write-in candidate.

Unfortunately, Hardesty is her own party, not a Republican in the Reagan sense of the word. It is time for an intervention, perhaps from a county and state level.

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