Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hamburg - Deputy Clerk files compaint over his $0 salary

I think Hamburg Township is going to have to open its pocketbook. From the Argus.

Hamburg Township Deputy Clerk Mike Zeglevski has filed a complaint against Hamburg Township through the Wage and Hour division of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.

The complaint alleges Zeglevski is owed wages from Dec. 17 through Aug. 2 in the amount of $23,066.58.

Hamburg Township Trustee Phil Semprevivo said the township received notice of the complaint Wednesday, though it was postmarked Aug. 20.

The Hamburg Township Board of Trustees has 10 days from the sending date to respond.

On Dec. 16, the board of trustees voted to make Zeglevski's salary zero, effectively making him a volunteer.

Zeglevski was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but Clerk Matt Skiba — who appointed Zeglevski after taking office on Nov. 20 — said Zeglevski deserved to be paid.

"My opinion is I made an appointment, and my deputy should be paid," Skiba said. "I think anybody would expect to be paid for it."

According to Hamburg Township Supervisor Pat Hohl, the statutes are very clear regarding this matter. The clerk can hire whomever he or she wishes without board approval, but the board will determine that appointment's salary.

"The statute is very clear that the board sets the pay," Hohl said. "We've stated this several times publicly."

Mike's salary was first set at $50K, then $30K, then $0 when the board was all in a snit over a famous video. I'm pretty sure that townships are not exempt from minimum wage laws. I'm sure they can set it at minimum wage, but setting it at $0 encroaches on statutory duties of the clerk to appoint his deputies, and also is less than minimum wage. An attorney I know who understands local government very well also thinks that is illegal, and said that when the decision was made. He's doesn't have a dog in Hamburg's fight either. The statutes I read awhile back also coincide with that attorney's. John Drury, Hamburg's attorney, thinks otherwise.

This is out of county hands now, so this will be interesting to see. If I was a betting man, my money is on Mike and it is rather clear.

If I have to follow campaign finance laws, you should too

The Argus hit the nail on the head with this editorial.

From the Argus

One of life's most difficult challenges is to select the dumbest idea to come out of the Michigan Legislature. There are just so many worthy contenders.

But it may be hard to top the proposed law that would allow a time payment plan of up to a year for state lawmakers who couldn't be bothered to comply with state campaign-finance laws that were passed by ... well, by state lawmakers.

That's what is in the bill package introduced by state Rep. Fred Durhal Jr., D-Detroit. House Bills 4713 and 4714 were introduced in March. Thankfully, nothing has come of them since then.

Here's the deal. People running for office are supposed to file campaign reports that detail what they spend, where they spend it and who contributed to their campaign. There is a deadline. If the deadline isn't met, the candidate is fined.

Current law also says that you can't be sworn in as a state lawmaker if you have outstanding fines. That apparently is what motivated Durhal. He said a colleague faced a hurdle when asked to pay $4,000 in fines before taking office.

He said that was a "flaw in the law" and now wants the secretary of state to allow payments of late filing and other fees and fines for up to 12 months.

But it's not a flaw in the law. It's a flaw with the state lawmaker who failed to follow the law. If he or she — Durhal won't identify the offender — had filed on time (which is to say, obeyed the law) — then there wouldn't be a problem. There wouldn't have been any fines.

The bills are crap. If I have to follow the law, you should too.

Who's the culprit? Durhal's campaign has a few fines. Durhal's campaign finance sheet is here. He coughed up $200 in fines. Maybe the offender is Durhal, who ironically, I believe is an ex-cop. Durhal was also the treasurer in addition to the candidate. No excuses.

I have over eight and almost nine years of experience as a treasurer, and have dealt with both the FEC and the Secretary of State's office. It's a pain in the arse at times to deal with the requirements and the deadlines. Candidates are overwhelmed by it and hate the campaign finance requirements with a passion. Most I know do not want to deal with the mess. All of them must deal with it and need to make sure they have a competent treasurer. Many do not, and simply pass this along as just another volunteer job. Well, you get what you pay for then, and that can lead to bad press, fines, and trouble. One Livingston County candidate who lost his state rep election in 2004 owes thousands of dollars in fines. He still owes them. Failure to file.

I'm going to brag a bit here. Out of the eight organizations/committees I've treasured, I have never been fined, and have not had a fix-it since 2002. That's not because of luck. That's because I leave things airtight and don't leave openings for fines.

Train to nowhere authority seek $32.4 million

The latest in the WALLY train saga is this. They are seeking $32.4 million from federal tax money. This is now a seeking of federal Jurassic Pork from the stimulus of government package. The other day, I wrote about the lack of fiscal responsibility among the feds and the $11 trillion deficit. This is not a good way to add to it. There isn't a good way to add to it, but this is one of the worse ideas. I have no problem with WALLY if it pays for itself or uses all private money. Supporting fiscal responsibility in government begins at home.

From the Argus

The proposed Washtenaw and Livingston Line, or WALLY, commuter rail line will soon be in the running for $32.4 million in federal dollars that would put the project on track for completion by 2012.

If granted, the federal stimulus funding would cover all of the project's capital costs, including stations, signals, crossings and track improvements for the line, which would extend train service from Howell to Ann Arbor.

The money would also fund a "layover facility," where the train cars would be maintained and stored when not in use.

Funds to operate the system would still be needed.

This doesn't even account for operations. Now why is WALLY a bad idea? I wrote about this in depth back in 2007 under the titles People mover part II and Jurassic Pork

The 07 proposed budget, which I think was extremely low stated this.

The tentative budget presented to the county board predicted a capital outlay of $2.9 million and an operating budget of $4.9 million in the first year.

The budget also predicts that the rail service will prevent the need for city of Ann Arbor to build 800 parking spaces, at a cost savings of $35,000 for each spot. Commissioner Jack LaBelle asked Cicchella if those figures were correct, and on hearing they were, calculated that the city would save more than $28 million.

Later, they said that 32.4 million was needed in startup. That's what they are seeking there. My reasoning for that was as follows.

What I said on July 10, 2007:

"4.9 million will cover what? You have salaries, security, normal wear and tear, energy costs, and runs. 2.9 for startup? Between the trains, parking lot construction, training, etc? I'm skeptical. Even using that number, will you get a profit on that. 15,000 people (estimated number of commuters from Livingston to Ann Arbor at $225 a month (rumored price) will get you 3.37 Million a month - that's if EVERY commuter in the county uses it and pays that amount. I'm guessing most of the commuters to Ann Arbor are in Brighton, Hartland, and Hamburg. Hamburg has 20,000 people. I'll guess that 4000 of them commute to Ann Arbor, with 1000 in Howell (city has 10000 people) commuting. That'll give 5000 of the areas covered from the train. 5000 * 225 - 1.125 million a month - if all commute on the train. Anyone familiar with Hamburg knows how spread out it is. Part of it is "Brighton", most of it is "Pinckney", part of it is "Lakeland", and part of it is "Whitmore Lake". I'll be shocked if most of the commuters are going to drive a few miles to wait for the train. This area is spread out. Howell is denser, but has much less population - and it too is spread out a bit in its eastern and northern most areas near 59 - and forget about getting much help from Genoa (even with the Chilson stop - that area is flat out country), Marion, Howell Twp, and Oceola.

In order to cover the estimated operation costs from regular commuters - you need 408,334 a month - 1814 commuters a day (including weekends, so weekend warriors are very important). That leaves 2.9 million in debt from startup costs which can be paid for over a few years with good profit.

Can you get 15-20% of county's Ann Arbor commuters to use the train EVERY DAY - despite cutting out Brighton and Hartland from the route? If you can, then I'll cook up some fried crow.""

My opinion from 2007 has not changed one bit. WALLY is banking on a line that does not go to Brighton or Hartland, banking on last I heard a 4 Million operating cost, banking on stops away from downtown Ann Arbor, and banking on people driving their cars to the train. This is feel good impracticability that should not be supported by tax dollars.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Conyers in trouble?

I'll believe it when I see it, but I don't think Monica Conyers has done John Conyers any favors.

From the Hill

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) could face a tough reelection race in 2010, according to a new, independent poll released this weekend.

40 percent of Conyers's constituents said he deserved reelection, according to a poll conducted earlier this month by the Lansing, Mich.-based Deno Noor Polling, in conjunction with the Rossman Group and Perricone Group.

44 percent of Detroiters represented by Conyers said they would prefer to elect someone else. 15 percent were unsure or didn't know.

The 80-year-old Conyers has served in Congress since 1965, making him one of the longest-serving members of Congress still in office. He could face a challenging reelection, though, due to the conviction of his wife, Monica Conyers, for bribery charges incurred while she served as President Pro Tempore of the Detroit City Council.

Let's remember Detroit's record of electing incumbents. 99.9999% it seems. Carolyn Kilpatrick won a three way race last November at the height of Kwame's disasters. Unless there's an insanely lucky turnout like Joseph Cao's election in a New Orelans special election that went 75% for Obama, this will stay democrat. All of Downriver would have to ticket split, and most of Detroit would have to stay home with all the republicans showing up. I don't expect it. If Conyers loses, it will likely be in the primary.

Where's this fiscal responsibility the dems promised us?

Where's this fiscal responsibility Pelosi, Reid, and Obama promised us? It turned out to be absolute f'ing bullshit to be blunt. If you thought the Bush deficits were bad - and they were, they are nothing compared to what Mr. Obama is giving us. It's four times worse. That's not to mention omnibus bills, cap and trade, the stimulus. And let's not forget that the major banks bailout was as much of an Obama bailout as it was the Bush bailout. He VOTED FOR IT as one of the class of screw ups known as the US Senate.

From the AP

WASHINGTON – The federal government faces exploding deficits and mounting debt over the next decade, White House and congressional budget officials projected Tuesday in competing but similar economic forecasts.

Both the White House Office of Management and Budget and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted the budget deficit this year would swell to nearly $1.6 trillion, a record, and far above the then-record 2008 budget deficit of $455 billion.

But while figures released by the White House foresee a cumulative $9 trillion deficit from 2010-2019, $2 trillion more than the administration estimated in May, congressional budget analysts put the 10-year figure at a lower $7.14 trillion.

One reason for the difference: The CBO projection is based on an assumption that all the tax cuts put into place in the administration of former President George W. Bush will expire on schedule by 2011 as dictated by current law. President Barack Obama's budget baseline, however, hews to his proposal to keep the tax cuts in place for families earning less than $250,000 a year.

Beyond the 10-year forecast, the nation will face further challenges posed by rising health care costs and the aging of the population, the CBO said. "The budget remains on an unsustainable path" over the long-term and will require some combination of lower spending and higher tax revenues, it said.

Both forecasts see unemployment rising to 10 percent before falling and both suggest growth will return to the economy later this year but that recovery will be slow after the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s

Oh, and the national debt will double too. This doesn't even account for any government health care takeovers, new "stimulus" packages, new bailouts, or other pork and future budget bills that Mr. Obama wants to shove down our throats.

The 2010 Republicans need to run on a balanced budget without taxes promise. If they get the majority, they need to promise a balanced budget bill, and pass it, and put the ball into the court of the idiot senators and the wee-wee head Obama.

Oh yeah, wee-wee. I don't think I've heard that term since pre-school, and it was in reference to a dick. I never expected a 48 year old to use that term. What a childish....well dickhead.

"“There is something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee weed up!”"

I suppose that means pissed-off, which is what Obama is causing most of the country to be.

Ben Bernanke gets four more years

I'm not a fan of this decision. I think in hindsight that Bush made a big mistake four years ago with Bernanke and Paulson. Obama repeated the mistake with Bernanke and Geithner.

Desmond Lachman of Forbes magazine said it best:

Despite Bernanke's many egregious errors of judgment during his first term, which have cost the nation so dearly, President Obama is choosing to give him a second chance. And the president is doing so at the very time that the Federal Reserve will be facing extraordinarily difficult challenges of meeting its twin goals of maintaining price stability and promoting economic growth, which will require the exercise of the soundest degree of judgment.

In deciding to stick with Ben Bernanke, President Obama is exercising the most selective of memories. Indeed, the president is choosing to remember only Bernanke's valiant role over the past nine months in pulling the economy from the brink and from preventing the country's worst economic and financial crisis from morphing into a second Great Depression. What the president is blithely choosing to forget, however, is the role that Bernanke might have played during his first two years as chairman in creating the very economic and financial conditions that got us into the mess in the first place. He is also choosing to forget Bernanke's role in the Lehman Brothers ( LEHMQ - news - people ) debacle that was the trigger for the Great Panic of 2008.
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Being charitable, President Obama's decision to reappoint Bernanke is perhaps understandable given how Bernanke's aggressive and innovative policy response helped prevent our financial system from literally imploding following the Lehman bankruptcy debacle last fall. It is also perhaps understandable given how relatively well Bernanke has performed during President Obama's short term in office this year in calming financial markets and in helping to lay the basis for a sustainable economic recovery.

However, in a more sober state of mind, what is difficult to understand is why at the very time that the Federal Reserve is going to need the most judicious of leaderships, President Obama is choosing to turn a blind eye to Bernanke's all too many errors of judgment in 2006 and 2007. The president is choosing to forget that it was on Bernanke's watch as Fed chairman that the worst of the subprime mortgage lending was made and that the worst excesses of the housing market and credit market bubbles occurred without as much as an expression of concern from the Fed. The president is also choosing to forget how slow Bernanke was to comprehend the seriousness of the bursting of the housing market bubble and how slow he was to start cutting interest rates to provide much-needed support to the economy.

I hope I'm wrong about this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The cult is shattering

I told you so.

From the Hill

New polling indicates that the debate over President Barack Obama's healthcare reform effort might be hurting the administration as a whole to a point where it might not recover.

Obama's first term in office now revolves around his top domestic agenda item, and if it fails, his administration will likely be considered a failure heading into next year's midterms and beyond.

An ABC/Washington Post poll out Friday morning showed that 49 percent of the country is confident Obama "will make the right decisions for the country." At the 100-day mark of the Obama administration, that number was at 60 percent in the same poll, according to the poll.

Along those lines, the survey showed that 49 percent "now say they think he will be able to spearhead significant improvements in the system, down nearly 20 percentage points from before he took office."

Obama's right-track-wrong-track numbers are also going the same way even as the president has visibly gone on offense to try to sell his healthcare policy by doing more town halls.

People are starting to find out that there's no substance to the hype. As Bush is fading from memory, they are finding out that Obama is just another arrogant politician. The hope is fading. The change is either nonexistent or for the worse. More big government. Now I could have told you that a long time ago, but people all learn at different times. Buyer's remorse.

The dems have left a big opening. The GOP needs to capitalize, and it can start by running on a balanced budget (repudiate Bush's spending as well), less government, and more freedom.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

One of my favorite sayings is "Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance." Mr. Obama ran his mouth and said Gitmo was being closed. Now regardless of you being for/against closing Gitmo, where are these people going to be placed? We don't know yet.

Mr. Obama wants Michigan to bail his sorry arse out. From the Politico

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said today that he's not aware of federal officials having visited any potential sites for Guantanamo detainees other than a Standish, Mich., state prison slated for closure if it doesn't find new business.

"I've no information that — that we have done a site visit or an evaluation anywhere other than the facility at Standish," Gibbs said at the daily White House briefing for reporters.

There has been speculation that the White House'task force has also considered putting Guantanamo prisoners and perhaps a special military court, too, at the Army's jail in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., the Navy's brig in Charleston, S.C., or a federal supermax prison in Florence, Colo. Standish is the only locally run facility on that list. Officials at the federal sites referred questions to the White House.

Standish is a small town in Michigan about 30 miles north of Bay City near Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron). Some consider it part of the Bay City area. Some consider it North Michigan. It's a rural area.

Standish Prison Information.

The level V perimeter is protected by 16-foot high double chain link fences topped with razor-ribbon wire, which are monitored with state-of-the-art electronic detection systems. There are five gun towers that overlook the interior of the facility and provide perimeter security. A patrol vehicle with armed personnel constantly patrols the prison perimeter.

Is that good enough for the worst prisoners in Gitmo? The other argument is jobs. If the feds are put in charge, are they going to hire local prison guards, or move their people to the area?

I don't like this for several reasons.

1. Logistics. Easy access to Lake Huron and from there, Canada, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland.

2. Not heavily defended.

3. Too close to home.

4. Bails out Obama's rash decision.

5. It's not a Supermax prison.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Here we go again

Heads up - from the AP

'Ticket tax' again surfaces in Mich. budget talks

(AP) — LANSING, Mich. - Entertainment and sports organizations are on guard in case a proposal to put a 6 percent sales tax on tickets is revived during Michigan's budget talks.

A proposal to tax entertainment tickets was pitched in 2007 but never happened after a coalition of fans and owners of sports and entertainment complexes lobbied against the idea. A spokesman said Friday the coalition would be revived if the plan resurfaces.

Media reports say Gov. Jennifer Granholm is considering an entertainment tax as one of several options to eliminate part of the $2.8 billion shortfall in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

It's budget season, and once again government can not live within its means. Just as all of us have to cut back, big government needs to do the same. These taxes need to be defeated.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ken Sikkema pushing for gas tax

I was never a big fan of Ken Sikkema's policies. He was a fiscal liberal republican who gave Granholm most, if not all of what she wanted from 02 to 06.

Before the 07 tax increases, we had a period of big spending and "fee" increases, "tax shifts" and the like, and Ken Sikkema was a major player in this as the Senate majority leader. Rick Johnson and Ken Sikkema worked well with Granholm's fiscal liberalism against the more rank and file republicans. The fee increases were in 04. The "Tax shift" was in 06. The tax increase was in 07. These were all cases of taxpayers paying more money to the government who blows it like Tony Montana blew cocaine in Scarface.

I agree with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce more often than I disagree. I personally like a lot of the folks there, including Rich Studley who is usually right on the issues, including taxes. 8 out of 10 times I agree. This is one of the two. I also am well aware that Road Builders are part of the chamber membership and this is influencing some of the policy. On the gas tax increase push that has been going on 4+years, I could not disagree more.

Republicans need to take a lesson from Sikkema. The lesson is one year. 2006. Thanks to his policies which were even worse than Bush on fiscal issues, too many thought of republicans as democrat lite. It's time for less government and more freedom, and the gas tax is the worst tax of them all.

From the Chamber and MIRS

Supporters Try To Spark Idled Road Funding Issue
Former Senate Majority Leader Ken SIKKEMA and Michigan Chamber of Commerce President Rich STUDLEY held a "press roundtable" where they emphasized that Republicans have a long history of distinguishing between general tax hikes and user fees.

The context of the discussion was the ongoing effort to get Michigan officials to raise the revenues required to get the state's roads back into some semblance of good repair. A push for a hike in the state's 19-cent gas tax has been going on for at least four and a half years.

Sikkema, as Senior Policy Fellow for Public Sector Consultants, has issued a white paper to demonstrate that anti-tax Republicans have traditionally supported Gas Tax hikes.

"Over the past 12 years, 15 states have raised their Gas Tax," Sikkema told reporters. "Of those, 11 had Republican governors."

Mr. Sikkema, how many governors have we lost in the last 12 years? I don't give a damn what party raised the gas tax, it's wrong, especially as we have one of the highest gas taxes in the country, and one of the highest gas prices in the country. The deathblow to this economy was the high gas prices in 08. People's budgets were not ready for that, the cost of everything went up due to shipping, and it was a matter of time before the foreclosures cames in, the businesses folded, the jobs were lost, and the Republicans got their ass kicked. Now Sikkema wants to increase the price of gas again, and bring the money to this clustermuck of a government. I'm glad he's a former senator. Mark Jansen was a big improvement.

Mike Cox for governor

It's been almost ten years since we had a good governor. Pre-2000 John Engler. The last eight years of Granholm has been a disaster. For most of those eight years, she was able to get everything she wanted due to either mostly democrat control, or willing Republicans who fiscally acted too much like democrats (Rick Johnson and Ken Sikkema with their support for tax shifts, fee increases, and high spending). Yes, there is blame on all sides to a degree for the past eight years and economic disaster, but the common factors in the recent problems of this state are Granholm, Cherry, Mark Schauer, Gretchen Whitmer, and Andy Dillon.

A lot of people are running for governor this term.

On the democrat side we have as follows:

John Cherry. I actually met Cherry a couple of times at gun rights events. Personally, I like the guy, and he was generally pro-2a before it was cool, so I'll give him a little credit. However, I couldn't disagree with him more on economic policies right now. Granholm/Cherry's policies are bad news for this state which is moving towards 20% unemployment.

John Freeman - Former Oakland County State Rep from Madison Heights near Royal Oak. I don't know much about this guy.

George Perles. Thanks to the tussle between Perles and DiBaggio, we got probation, rough times in the early 90's right after a Big 10 title, and a lawsuit. Perles was a good coach, but not good with the double duty of AD and coach at the same time.

Alma Wheeler Smith - Current state rep, former State Senator and Lt Governor Candidate (running with Bonior). Planned Parenthood's best friend. Also a major supporter of anti-2nd Amendment measures, tax increases, and big spending, as you would expect from an Ann Arbor/Ypsi area democrat.

Don Williamson - You gotta be kidding. He's the worst choice out of anyone running. He did not do Flint any favors.

On the GOP side:

Mike Bouchard - Bouchard is a good guy who should be in the US Senate right now. That's the problem, he SHOULD be in the senate, but he was clobbered against Stabenow in 06 and could not win his home county. Not all of that is his fault as he had Jack and Squat for support from NRSC, but he should have at least gotten it within 10%. 58%-42%? Can he get that extra 8%? I don't know. I do think he should instead run against Gary Peters in the 9th district, which would be a better matchup. I'd back Bouchard for that seat. Bouchard for Congress, not governor.

Tom George - State Senator from Kalamazoo. He's a more moderate (not liberal or RINO, actual moderate) candidate who was a state rep and senator in Kalamazoo county. He's won in tough areas, but it not well known statewide.

Pete Hoekstra - Congressman representing the Lake Michigan shoreline. Hoekstra's from Ottawa County, and is one of the better congressman from this state. I do worry however about anyone from Washington winning statewide, and Hoekstra has one vote that has left a real nasty taste in my mouth. The bailout. The banks bailout. Hoekstra voted against the bailout the first time, but when push came to shove on that second vote, he flipped. That one hurts, and I think he will be beaten over the head for that bailout vote.

Tim Rujan. I never heard of him before his announcement. He's up from the thumb in Huron County. He says some good things to the website, and I think can bring some ideas to the debates. Name recognition is his biggest obstacle.

Rick Snyder. There's only one republican running that I am really against, and that's Snyder. The "non-politician" who gives the most political answers in his statements and answers to question. If Snyder is the nominee, 57-40% loss, and Cherry is governor. Mark it down. I'll have another post on this guy soon. Right Michigan has several threads about Snyder. I commended on Snyder here. Gateway has its outsourcing issues as well.

That leaves Mike Cox. I first heard of him in 2001. I was actually skeptical of him at first because he is from Wayne County and worked at the time for Mike Duggan. As someone active in the 2nd Amendment movement, there's nobody that was worse than Duggan. At the time, Cox was running against an establishment backed opponent. Cox went and campaigned in our area several times and I talked with him on several occasions. I then backed him for AG after he promised CPL reciprocity with other states in a clear manner without politicalese statements. Cox won by 5000 votes in an upset. Within a few months, Cox kept his promise. Since then, he's not only continued to kept his promise, but came through with an amicus brief several times in support for the 2nd Amendment. While it is great that he's pro-2nd Amendment, what is MORE importantly is that he made a clear promise, kept it, and even when above and beyond what he promised.

Mike Cox is not afraid to take a stand, no matter what the establishment thinks. When it came to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative banning government sponsored racial preferences, the political class in both parties was against it or silent. Mike Cox supported it. Mike Cox is active in taking a stand against the runaway tax and spending. He was the only candidate to take a no tax pledge. He has consistently been pro-life. He's stood up to the giant bureaucracy, Blue Cross.

Mike Cox is a winner. He won statewide twice, by 5000 votes in 02 against a strong candidate in Gary Peters, and despite the 2006 disaster for Republicans statewide and nationally, he won again, this time, by 330,000+ votes. He only lost Alger, Genesee, Gogebic, Ingham (barely), Iron, Marquette, Ontonagon, Schoolcraft, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties. He won Oakland. Big. He won Macomb. Big. More impressively, he won Kalamazoo, Bay, Saginaw, Alpena, and Muskegon counties. All those lean democrat. Some are blue collar union areas, and Kalamazoo is social liberal and university area. He won both types of areas.

Because of his promises kept, political philosophy on my major issues, and his history of winning statewide elections, I will be voting for Mike Cox in the 2010 primary election.

(Disclaimer - I'm speaking only for myself and not any organization of which I have ties or am in a position of leadership.)

Brighton Schools candidates filed

The Argus mentioned that seven candidates filed for the Brighton School Board. There are two positions that are open, with one incumbent and two former members running.

In fact, the Nov. 3 election is almost like a board reunion since two former board members — Bill E. Anderson and Miles Vieau — will be running.

A total of seven residents filed to run for the seven-member board, which has two open seats in the Nov. 3 general election. The deadline to file was 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The candidates are incumbent Joe Carney; former school board members Anderson and Vieau; and Randy Swain, Muriel Kaier, Keith Van Hentenryck and Frank Lucas.

Brighton schools has a deficit problem, and the big spending in the past is leading to the tough decisions that need to be made right now.

Carney is former chair of the Democrats in Livingston County, and is a leader of the fiscal liberals on the board. Bill Anderson got double flanked the same year Carney ran. The liberals got out the vote for Carney, and some of the conservatives turned a bit on Anderson for his support of the enhancement millage a few years back. Miles Vieau is a conservative, and was the only vote against the enhancement millage while he was on the board.

Van Hentenryck ran in 2007. Here's a transcript of the 07 debate that lists some of his answers.

I don't know a lot about Swain, Lucas, and Kaier offhand and need to do some research on those people.

In other news, Howell Schools appointed Michael Yenshaw to replace Phil Westmoreland who resigned. Yenshaw was on the board until he lost his election last November.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Rick Snyder - Outsourcing at Gateway

One of the biggest issues in Michigan is the outsourcing of jobs out of the United States to Mexico and China. NAFTA and GATT were bipartisan screwings of our manufacturing base, as well as to our sovereignty as GATT placed the US under WTO jurisdiction. When it comes to those issues, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, David Bonior, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Jesse Helms were right. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, George W Bush, and Bob Dole were wrong. I do not oppose TRUE free trade, but I support this type of governmental managed trade that puts our manufacturers at a disadvantage to other countries whose manufacturing is propped up by our government.

Here in Michigan, being tagged as an outsourcer is political death. It was what hurt Dick DeVos, even though his goods made in China were for use by the Chinese. That did not matter. Rick Snyder was at Gateway from 1991-1997. In 1991, he was Executive Vice-President. In 1996, he was the President. While Snyder was in a leadership position, Gateway outsourced the computer components. This is not a shocker as almost all computers are made outside the US, for better or worse. It's also done extreme harm to our manufacturing base. This is Michigan. Our backbone is manufacturing, and for all this talk about diversifying the economy, all the talk of the cookie cutter new urbanism and creative class claptrap that Richard Florida types say is our future, we can not throw manufacturing under the bus. Diversifying the economy must include manufacturing.

I found an old Gateway 2000 manufactured in 1995, right before be became President, and while he was Executive Vice President. I planned on opening up the Computer and checking and seeing where the Gateway brand products were made. I didn't have to. I just saw the mouse and the keyboard.

Gateway Mouse Pictures

This mouse was made in China, most likely subcontracted to Microsoft (Democrats who love outsourcing) under the Gateway 2000 brand name. You can bet that this will go out to every union hall in the country. More damning however is this.

Gateway 2000 Keyboard Picture

This is not even a subcontract under another brand name like the Microsoft mouse. This was strictly a Gateway Brand keyboard made in Mexico, likely at a maquiladora which is solely made to move manufacturing outside of the original county, in this case, the USofA. Yes, it is a common business practice, but it sure has not been beneficial to us, especially here in Michigan.

Mark this down - If Rick Snyder is the Republican nominee for governor, we will lose this race 57%-40% in another massacre. Social conservatives will stay home (race preferences, Prop 2) or in fact vote for Cherry because of the outsourcing issue if they are Buchanan conservatives. Union independents and Reagan Democrats will vote for the democrat because of the outsourcing. Those with ties to the auto industry will cool on him because of outsourcing. Snyder will not win. Even is you personally support outsourcing, it's no secret what the opinion of it is in this state. Most think like I do on it. It sucks.

Congress and their fiscal "responsibility"

It's like Democrat Jim Blanchard's helicopter all over again.

These jerks on Capitol Hill ripped the Big 3 a new one on national television for flying in private jets to their meetings in Washington. Leave it to Congress to say one thing in a snobbish haughty matter to private citizens while they do another themselves, as they are the "important people."

From Roll Call

But apparently Congress is not philosophically averse to private air travel: At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.

The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet (price tag: about $65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service.

But the House Appropriations Committee, at its own initiative, added to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill another $132 million for two more airplanes and specified that they be assigned to the D.C.-area units that carry Members of Congress, military brass and top government officials.

Because the Appropriations Committee viewed the additional aircraft as an expansion of an existing Defense Department program, it did not treat the money for two more planes as an earmark, and the legislation does not disclose which Member had requested the additional money.

This country has a $132 Million to spend on congresscritters. Here's a better suggestion for Congress. Fly coach like I do.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Michigan system on torts regarding FDA approved drugs

A friend of mine, Jason Miller, has an interesting article in the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review. One of the big issues in Michigan is the limitations of tort lawsuits against pharmecuticals whose drugs have been approved by the FDA.

It's a good read on the issue, which is a major one in Michigan politics and the court system.

Click here

August Update

Let's get back rolling here.

Several things in the news.

1. We will have a special election this November for a key state senate seat, the 19th. The primary was yesterday. Mike Nofs, a former state rep from Battle Creek won for the GOP and Marty Griffin, a state rep from Jackson city, won for the dems. They face off in November. This is an interest race, as two seats are in play here. The Griffin seat is winnable by either party, as is the state senate district.

2. Lansing Mayor race. I haven't followed this at all, but Virg Bernero, the incumbent, won with less than 50% in the primary against Carol Wood and two others. Wood and Bernero will be facing each other in November. If Wood wins, watch for Virg to take a possible run against Rogers. He's very ambitious as he was a State Rep and a State Senator before taking the Mayor gig.

3. Detroit. Dave Bing faces Tom Barrow, who lost twice to Coleman Young in the 80's. Most of the incumbents are back. TV anchor Charlie Pugh is the leader for the city council, and is a newcomer. Monica Conyers got sent home. Results there

4. Closer to home, the Howell School Board recall won't be on the November ballot. It does not look like this would pass. I have mixed views on this as there are a few shades of gray. I would not have voted for the firing after a year, but if contracts were in danger of being breached due to executive policies, then that's a major issue and something that needs to be considered. I do not often agree with union leadership outside of trade issues, but I am no fan at all of breaching existing contracts. Contracts are legal promises, and promises ought to be kept. Those that break a lot of promises are not trustworthy. To be fair to Gardella, the scores have improved in his tenure. I think a case can be made either way for the firing decision, and that is why I would not support a recall for that particular decision. If I still lived in the district, I would not vote for Literski or Pratt, but I'd wait till election time to do that. Recall elections cost money, and they should be saved for complete Granholm (and Stabenow, Levin, and Obama if the feds were not immune).

5. Hamburg Recalls - What a clusterbleep. That's all I have to say about that. My feelings are known. If the democrats take over there, which I expect WILL happen sooner than later, there are only a few individuals to blame, and that is the Hamburg Board and their cliques. It makes the entire county, township, and party look bad though.

One interesting sidenote. If the Hamburg Recalls for Skiba or Evon are successful, there's a different way of picking replacements. There will be a special election, but the COUNTY POLITICAL PARTIES will select the nominees in that special election. That means that the Livingston County Republicans and Democrats choose the nominees for the election. There is no primary. On a side note, those reading should not try and influence me on this. I'm not on this executive committee. I'm on the district committee instead. We aren't involved here.