Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Rick Snyder for governor. Anybody in the primary but Rick Michigan.

It's no secret who I've voted for this primary. Mike Cox. I have my positives and negatives on all the candidates who are running, except there is one candidate who I hope loses this August. Rick Snyder. I'm not sure I can even support him in November. That is how much I am against Rick Snyder. I will have a real tough time being able to vote for him due to his economic liberal ties, social liberalism, failure to answer questions without being evasive, and most of all his outsourcing of jobs away from America. I won't vote for Dillon or Bernero, nor any BSTP candidate, but Rick hasn't earned a general election vote from me, even by lesser of two evil standards. I don't like Bernero or Dillon's politics, but I don't have the same personal dislike for them that I did with John Kerry or Barack Obama and their uber arrogance and elitism. Personally, I like Dillon from the few times I've met him. I never met Bernero, but I like how he's unafraid to take a stand. I respect that, even if I disagree. Dillon's at least somewhat pro-life and somewhat pro-2nd Amendment. That gives me more of a conscience to leave the race blank since I don't find much difference between Rick Michigan and Dillon on other issues. Bernero's to his left, but at least he's against outsourcing. Rick's got work to do to earn my general election vote.

Normally, Rick Michigan would not be a threat. However, with a five way primary, we could have a repeat of Joe Schwarz. If one of the conservative campaign ran away with this in the primary, this would not be a problem. The main reason RTL and the Chamber endorsed Mike Cox is likely because Cox won statewide twice, was a conservative, is not afraid to make tough decisions, and was leading in many of the polls. The other reason is to stop Rick Michigan. It's close, and here's the latest poll from WXYZ.


An exclusive WXYZ – Detroit Free Press poll conducted by EPIC MRA for its statewide media partners has Snyder ahead by 2 points with 26 percent of the vote. Cox is in second place with 24 percent followed by Hoekstra with 23 percent. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard is in fourth place with 10 percent and State Senator Tom George of Kalamazoo is last with 1 percent. Fourteen percent are undecided.

I don't know accurate that poll is, but I've seen the large split before. 2004. Schwarz, DeWeese (now a democrat), Bisbee, Walberg, DeRossett, and Smith. That was my concern then, and that's my concern now with Rick Michigan taking the role of Joe Schwarz and Cox, Bouchard, Hoekstra, and George taking the spots of the rest of them.

Unfortunately, I don't think Rick Snyder has been effectively vetted. If he was, this wouldn't be close, even with the five way split. These are the reasons why I can not support Rick Michigan, who as far as I'm concerned is more of the mealy mouthed Jennifer Granholm, Ken Sikkema, Rick Johnson establishment type of Lansing problem running as an outsider.


Outsourcing. Rick Snyder is an outsourcer. This is Michigan. This is a manufacturing state. I know that we need to diversify our economy, but that does not mean we throw manufacturing under the bus. Our jobs belong here and not China. Gateway Computers, under Rick Snyder's leadership at Chairman, sent jobs to China and Mexico. That's an indisputable fact. I have picture proof of the outsourcing from a 1996 or 1997 Gateway, which was created during the time of Rick Snyder being the president. I go into more details of his outsourcing here which also has the pictures.

Even if you are a supporter of outsourcing, something I despise, you do not want to support Rick Snyder. Outsourcers do not do well in Michigan. It is the ultimate sin in politics. NAFTA, GATT, and Most favored nation trade status in China. Just the rumor of outsourcing was a major factor in the defeat of Dick DeVos. With Rick Michigan, it's not rumor, it's fact, and combine that with social conservatives not liking him very much. Rick Snyder will lose in November. I know what the poll says now, but who will vote for a jobs-killer? Virg Bernero will have a field day against this guy.

Life - That's a big issue to me. Rick Snyder is not pro-life. He dumped $20,000 supporting proposition 2 which promotes research of human embryoes, and outlaws discouraging of it, whichever that means.

Rick Michigan did not sign a no tax pledge.

Rick Michigan supports racial preferences and opposed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Questionable supporters - Joe Schwarz is well known for being pro-abortion, pro-embryo research, a gun grabber, and a RINO (supporting Mark Schauer, a yesman for Obama in Congress). Bill Milliken, another RINO, supported Obama, Granholm, and John Kerry, and is the most pro-abortion (tax funded), anti-hunting, and anti-2nd Amendment governor in Michigan history. I rarely use the term RINO anymore and safe it for those who support democrats. Schwarz and Milliken qualify. Milliken gave us the Single Business Tax and lead Michigan through its last exodus. No thanks.

Center for Michigan - That was created as opposition to the fiscal conservative Mackinac Center. Phil Power, former owner of the Livingston County Press/Hometown Newspapers runs the show. Power's a longtime democrat (although supported Joe Schwarz republicans too) and supported several tax increases in his editorials. Others at the Center for Michigan include fiscal liberals and ex-politicians like Bill Milliken, Doug Ross, Paul Hillegonds, (Detroit Renaissance/Business Leaders for Michigan - and its services tax), and Joe Schwarz.

Snyder was the first MEDC chair. Government picking winners and losers. Snyder's company received millions from MEDC.

What plan? Most of his plan presented was powerpoint style fluff. It's good for talking points, but does not have details. That contrasts to Mike Cox who has detailed plans on his website.

Lemons - Last but not least, my 1998 Gateway was an expensive piece of junk that went through three motherboards and two hard drives. I haven't gone back to them and do not plan to do so.

We need to stop Rick Snyder during this primary. Right now if the polls are to be believed, Mike Cox has the best chance to stop him. One thing I can say is that I know what Mike's going to do. He made his promises to me as AG regarding 2nd Amendment issues and kept them. He was not afraid to take a stand on MCRI or life issues. He was not afraid to take a stand on economic issues regarding taxes and spending. He's walked the walk besides talking the talk and has my support.

Yet More on the BS tea party. (BSTP)

Besides the ongoing research done on my site here, many others are exposing the fake tea party, the BSTP, for what it is.

Kudos to Right Michigan, Classical Values, Michigan Capitol Confidential, and theblogprof, as well as the late Chet Zarko for first catching this.

Blogprof - Confirmed: Michigan 'Tea Party' A Democrat Hoax To Trick Voters At Ballot Box

Classical Values - Fake "Tea Party" Democratic operatives fail my smell test!

Michigan Capitol Confidential - Democratic Party Political Director Linked to Mysterious Tea Party Political Party

Along with tons of stuff at Right Michigan

Know the tricks. Know the enemy. Neutralize them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Michigan Capitol Chronicle finds another smoking gun on the BS "Tea Party" (BSTP)

Yesterday, I posted some smoking guns on the BSTP. There's plenty more.

Here's the latest:

Democratic Party Political Director Linked to Mysterious Tea Party Political Party
A tea party organizer says he has found the smoking gun that links the Democratic Party to the controversial "Tea Party" that is running candidates and seeking official ballot status in Michigan.

A "Jason Bauer" is listed on recent federal election documents and state campaign donation documents as the "political director" of the Oakland County Democratic Party. A "Jason H. Bauer" signed the affidavits as the notary on nine of the mysterious Tea Party Political candidates' paperwork turned in to the state of Michigan.

A "Jason H. Bauer" has registered twice to run for office in Oakland County, once as a Democrat in May of this year. Both times, the Auburn Hills home address given by "Jason H. Bauer" is the same as the "Jason Bauer" who is identified as the Oakland County Democratic Party political director on the state and federal campaign documents.

The "Jason H. Bauer" signature on the Oakland County document also appears substantially similar to the notary signatures on the Tea Party political party candidate filings revealed this week.

Now we have a Jason Bauer to go with these four clowns:

Mark Steffek. Steffek is the chair and treasurer of the BSTP. Steffek's political donations include David Bonior for Governor and the UAW's PAC. The UAW leadership and Bonior? Far leftist democrats. Check the donation reports, which are all online at the Secretary of State's website

Thomas Murdock. He and his wife Joyce donated $100 to Andy Dillon. Joyce also supports anti-hunting committees. No real tea party supporter would donate to Dillon or anti-hunters, but the BSTP does. Source - Secretary of State

Frantt Whitehall. Frantt donated to Garnet Lewis, Sharon Tillman, Mike Huckleberry. Robert Whitehall of the same address gave to Clinton County Democrats. Source - Secretary of State.

David Polzin. He donated to Bart Stupak. No real tea party supporter would donate to Stupak, but the BSTP is another story. If that's not good enough. David Polzin of Menominee gave $10 to Grand Traverse Democrats, and $55 to Granholm, and $50 to Michigan House Democrats fund.

There's more on Bauer:

On the Oakland County Democratic Party website, Jason Bauer was listed as the contact and a member of the Host Committee for the party for Mike McGuinness, the chairman of the party.

The Detroit Democratic Party Meetup Group has a Jason Bauer page. On that page, Jason Bauer introduces himself as a member of the Oakland County Democratic Party and as a candidate for the Auburn Hills City Council. When Bauer filed paperwork to run for the Auburn Hills City Council, he identified himself as Jason H. Bauer.

On the Federal Elections Commission website, Congressman Gary Peters itemized his donations. A May 4, 2009, donation of $200 lists Jason Bauer as the contributor and lists his employer as the Oakland County Democratic Party and his occupation as "Political Director."

Don't be fooled by the BSTP.

Primary Predictions 2010

I'm going to throw up a few predictions in the primaries with less than a week to go here.

GOP - Too close to call. I'm afraid Snyder may pull this off. You have three candidates running as conservatives. One liberal, and Tom George. I have not seen any of the conservatives get up and run away with this. Hoekstra is the higher up establishment choice (regardless of what is said). Cox is the conservative PAC's endorsement choice and has a lot of the gun owner support. Bouchard has a lot of the local activist support, at least in Livingston County. Snyder is one of the most opposed by all these camps. My concern is a split vote between all of them with Snyder's money taking the win with the help of Joe Schwarz types of crossovers. I don't know who's going to take this, but I think Snyder loses the general by 10-20%, to either Dillon or Bernero. So if you don't want a candidate who is not pro-life, who is unknown on most issues, who outsourced jobs to China, and who is tied with the economic liberal Center for Michigan with Phil Power, get out and vote, and not for Snyder. Vote for Mike Cox.

Dem - Virg Bernero will win. I predicted this as soon as he ran. Virg isn't that well known, but he can campaign very well and has won difficult elections in the past. The UAW is also behind him and is spending a ton of money. Three days in a row. Three Virg mailings.

Congress 1 - I think Dan Benishek will win this. Yooper geography will make the difference over Allen.
Congress 2 - I haven't followed this much, but I think Jay Riemersma may pull off the semi-upset. Outsider with name recognition from his football days. Watch the darkhorse Reichardt. He's running as the liberal Republican, and is trying to do a Joe Schwarz circa 2004 and win with 20-30%. It may be enough.
Congress 3 - Hardiman in a close battle, although Amash can win with the right turnout. I wouldn't count out Heathcock either.
Congress 7 - Walberg in a not as close as expected race. Walberg always has had the ability to get his people out to the polls.
Congress 8 - Kande the ghost beats his write-in opponent. It would take probably $300,000 for his write-in opponent to get on the ballot.
Congress 9 - Rocky's won three times in his democrat leaning state rep seat, even beating Aldo Vagnozzi there. He's a tough campaigner and will probably win.

State Senate 22 - Joe Hune should win this one 67/33. I'd say 80/20 if his opponent was named Roger Paulson instead of Paul Rogers. Joe has an almost insane campaign work ethic and fair warning to anyone, especially with a famous last name who wants to run against him. You're going to get outworked. I think Joe's hit 20,000+ doors. He's on to repeats now. The Paul Rogers campaign isn't bad against most opponents. Joe isn't most opponents, and he's sending a message to all potential opponents in what they are going to be up against if they challenge him. Best for Joe, he's sent the message without going negative, concentrating on what Joe has done and will do, not what Paul may or may not be.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SAFR-PAC ratings are released, as is some NRA ratings

I'm wearing a non-partisan for this post. The ratings for the Shooters Alliance for Firearms Rights (SAFR-PAC) has released their ratings for the 2010 primary. Some of the endorsements are out and have been in the press releases, most notably Mike Cox. Cox got the endorsement because of his record. That's not an attack on Bouchard or George (The others wern't considered because of no surveys) who have good records, but it was a case of good vs best on this issue. There is a typo that needs to be fixed. Tim Walberg was endorsed in the primary for 7th District congress.

I did not grade any surveys, records, or statements from any district where I have a client. I stayed out of those decisions due to conflicts of interest. That includes the 22nd District here in Livingston County.

SAFR-PAC is nonpartisan. It does not even ask party affiliation on its surveys and the only time it matters is in primaries where there is one democrat and one republican both worthy of an endorsement. This happened in a couple of races, most notably the 1st congressional, where Jason Allen and Gary McDowell both received endorsements in their primary, and in the 31st Senate District where both Jeff Mayes and Mike Green have received endorsements in the primary. McDowell and Mayes are unopposed, but those will be automatic general election endorsements if Allen and Green don't win. More and more democrats have received acceptable ratings and endorsements than in the past, and a lot of that has to do with the votes taken, and committee decisions. Believe it or not, Andy Dillon and Joel Sheltrown on natural resources did more for gun owners than the senate. Note to Republicans. Don't take gun owners for granted, especially on the state level. Virg Bernero, Steve Bieda and the Levin brothers are beyond unacceptable, but not all are like them.

If we get a matchup say between Dillon and Rick Michigan, I think there will be a large number of defections on this issue. Rick Michigan was given an unknown rating. It's very accurate, and that goes for most issues, outside of life and outsourcing. We know where he stands there, and it isn't good.

Close to home, Joe Hune and Cindy Denby have been endorsed. Bill Rogers received an acceptable rating. Paul Rogers received a mixed rating on his survey, and Chuck Fellows received an unacceptable rating (which means he supports more gun control). James Delcamp and Garry Post didn't turn in surveys. Paul Rogers was even more harshly graded by the NRA and got a D which translates to an unacceptable rating with SAFR-PAC. Ouch. Don't blame my ties to Joe for that one (or either of them really - since I didn't grade Paul))

The NRA ratings are similar, but there is one major difference. The NRA endorsed Fred Upton. SAFR-PAC rated him mixed (about equivalent to a C) and endorsed Jack Hoogendyk. Casperson was endorsed by the NRA, while SAFR-PAC solely endorsed Mike Lahti. Upton had a large number of bad votes in the past and his record with SAFR reflects that. It's gotten better, and that's why it was a mixed and not unacceptable rating, but it's not good enough for acceptable.

Interesting enough, gun control is not always a partisan issue in Michigan, and not just up North. The worst survey of anybody was by a Republican on the west side of the state. I won't say who, the NRA also rated him an F, and we rated him unacceptable. That's a good enough reference for someone that looks hard enough to figure out. This is particularly true in West Michigan, where there are more anti-gun republican politicians than one cares to admit. It's gotten better, but Schwarz, Byl, Steil Sr, Gast, Hollinrake, and Jellema all came from there.

The Second Amendment protects the rest, and those that don't support that safeguard are unworthy of our votes.

The Bullshit "Tea Party" (BSTP) releases their candidate list. Several are open democrats

The actual tea party movement isn't a real political party. It's a loose-knit group of conservative and libertarian activists who are irate at the spending, taxes, TARP, and other big government leftism that has gone on for the past six years.

However, the left is trying to create a bullshit "tea party" to try and siphon 2-3% of the vote to keep power with the democrats. How do we know it's the left? I'll give you four reasons later.

Here's their list of candidates.

State Senate
District 7: Shelley Niles
District 12: John Young
District 13: Thomas Murdock
District 15: Heather Sartorius
District 26: Andrew Nicholls
District 36: Frantt Whitehall

State House
District 1: Jameson Canto
District 26: Susan Quashat
District 43: Matthew Quinn
District 51: William Guethner
District 64: Sara Summerfelt
District 65: Christopher Dickinson
District 107: Tony Matthews
District 108: David Polzin

Notice where they are. Those are almost all competitive or swing districts. They aren't based in Detroit (except 1), Flint, or Southfield, nor Livingston County.

State Senate:
District 7 - Bruce Patterson's seat. Downriver west to Belleville and north to Northville. Close district for years.
District 12 - Mike Bishop's district. Democrat Pontiac and Republican Northern Oakland. Leans Republican, but nothing with Pontiac is safe.
District 13 - John Pappageorge Central Oakland. One of the three closest districts in the state in 06
District 15 - West Oakland. One of the few safe or almost safe districts. It still has West Bloomfield though.
District 26 - Part of Genesee and Oakland Counties. Treading Republican, but not there yet.
District 36 - Midland and the Lake Huron Coast. Swing district.

State House:
District 1 - Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods and part of Detroit. Swings.
District 26 - Leans Democrat. Royal Oak and Madison Heights.
District 43 - Slightly Republican. Waterford, part of West Bloomfield (not the most democrat part)
District 51 - Southern Genesee County - Slightly Republican, but Pat Lockwood held this seat in the 90's.
Districts 64 and 65 - Jackson County, swings.
District 107 - Eastern UP, Northern Lower Penninsula - Swings
District 108 - Central/Southern UP - Swings.

Why aren't they running in ANY non-competitive districts? Simple. Because they are leftists who want the democrats to win. We know this for four reasons.

Reason 1 - Mark Steffek. Steffek is the chair and treasurer of the Bullshit Tea Party (hereafter reffered to as BSTP. Steffek's political donations include David Bonior for Governor and the UAW's PAC. The UAW leadership and Bonior? Far leftist democrats. Check the donation reports, which are all online at the Secretary of State's website

Reason 2 - Thomas Murdock. He and his wife Joyce donated $100 to Andy Dillon. Joyce also supports anti-hunting committees. No real tea party supporter would donate to Dillon, but the BSTP does. Source - Secretary of State

Reason 3 - Frantt Whitehall. Frantt donated to Garnet Lewis, Sharon Tillman, Mike Huckleberry. Robert Whitehall of the same address gave to Clinton County Democrats. Source - Secretary of State.

Reason 4 - David Polzin. He donated to Bart Stupak. No real tea party supporter would donate to Stupak, but the BSTP is another story. f that's not good enough. David Polzin of Menominee gave $10 to Grand Traverse Democrats, and $55 to Granholm, and $50 to Michigan House Democrats fund.

Granholm? Caucus? That's what the BSTP supports.

We as conservatives need to make sure that the BSTP is exposed, is not a real tea party, and is just another arm of the democrats. A vote for the BSTP is a vote for more of the same from the left which is running this state into the ground.

Right Michigan is also doing research on this.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The debate (Joe Hune v Paul Rogers)

Full Disclosure: Joe has my vote.

You can find the Argus article there and the debate.

I was at the Joe Hune v Paul Rogers debate last night. It was a different format than usual, and I thought it was a good format. Mike Mallot and Rich Perlberg asked a bunch of questions and then followed up on questions with opportunity for rebuttal or comments from the other candidate. It was a more loose format than usual debates.

It was generally peaceful with few attacks. Joe dug at Paul's conservatism at the end, and Paul dug at Joe being part of the legislature, but that's the only thing that some would consider negative. Both candidates mostly concentrated on the issues and what they said they were going to do, or what they have done.

The debate was a contrast of styles. One thing you can say about Joe Hune. You know where he stands. I've known Joe for years, and he has a very low tolerance of bullshit. He says what he means and means what he says. He'll also say where he screwed up, and he did on the film credit bill. Paul Rogers on the other hand was tougher to pin down on issues, especially fiscal issues. I've heard the tax answer of "last resort" one too many times. Jim Blanchard said that and raised them. Jennifer Granholm "did not want" to raise taxes. We know what happened. They went up. Paul supported the tax increase for Howell Cityscape.

Joe's big comment. Reign in Spending. Private sector creates jobs, not government. Government needs to get out of the way.

Paul campaigned heavily on his leadership and not being recently in Lansing.

On the governor's race, Joe is leaning towards Bouchard. Paul is deciding between Hoekstra or Snyder.

With the WALLY train, Paul supports the concepts (and did on City Council). Joe doesn't support the subsidies. Paul talked about concerns of subsidies.

Both oppose the big government smoking ban. Both oppose gay marriage.

Paul mentioned the 10th Amendment prominently referring to the health care bill which both Paul and Joe oppose.

Joe mentioned his support of the 2nd Amendment, referring to threats from the UN Small Arms treaty proposals. The previous version of the treaty had registration concerns as registration leads to confiscation. What Joe should have mentioned more is that it takes only one more judge and enough senators to ratify a bad treaty. That's the threat.

The biggest reason I support Joe is that I know where he stands, especially on fiscal issues. I don't have to worry about Joe caving on tax votes or fee increases if a Granholm or Rick Johnson pressures him.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Campaign Finance Statements almost due - heads up

It's almost campaign finance season. The due date for candidates in the August Primary to turn in the reports is July 23rd. This is for ALL candidates appearing on the ballot. That includes those unopposed in the primary. That includes those unopposed in the general election. That includes local as well as state level candidates.

I've on several occasions why one needs a good treasurer when running a campaign. Today we have another example in the papers close to home. This was an honest mistake, and the fines were waved by county. However, it still brings bad press, and former leftist AP reporter and County Dems chair Judy Daubenmier is going to make sure of it. From the Argus:

he Livingston County Democrats said incumbent Republican County Commissioner Carol Griffith should have been fined "thousands" of dollars for not filing campaign-spending reports for the 2008 election cycle.

Griffith — who ran unchallenged that year and said this week the document error was an honest mistake — didn't seek waivers to filing the documents, which are normally granted for candidates who spend less than $1,000, as Griffith did, said County Clerk Margaret Dunleavy.

County Democratic Party Chairwoman Judy Daubenmier issued a press release Tuesday claiming Griffith received special treatment because Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is also a Republican.

Uhhh, Judy, did you have that illegal 50/50 fundraiser during the same period as Carol's campaign? You know what they say about people in glass houses. If you want to play gotcha politics on campaign finance issues with my county, you better have a clean house, because we will find your campaign finance skeletons.

However, all of us need to take this as a learning experience. Carol admits her mistakes.

Griffith said she didn't exceed the $1,000 spending mark in 2008 and didn't need to because she was running unopposed for Board of Commissioners District 7, which covers all of the city of Brighton and part of Genoa Township.
She learned of the document error by the county Democrats, and said she has since corrected what she called an "honest mistake."

"It has been corrected. I am in compliance," Griffith said.

"I am moving on from this," she added.

I agree that it was an honest mistake, and one that is easy to make. Carol was a first time candidate.  I suspect Carol thought she was originally going to run a competitive campaign, and was surprised to find at the 2008 filing deadline that she was unopposed both in the primary and general elections. She probably either A, forgot to amend her S&O to check the waiver wire or B, thought she didn't have to file if she didn't spend money or didn't have an opponent. It doesn't matter in the eyes of the campaign finance laws. They look at things differently.

She was lucky. This could have been another Edmund Senkowski if it wasn't caught when it was. That would be bad news, embarrassing for all of us, and cost her a lot of money. She still made the papers, and that's something that should be avoided if possible for things like this.

We all need to take this as a learning experience. One thing that our local party needs to do, especially in 2010 for the township offices, is to teach our candidates what they need to know about campaign finance procedures. It is extremely easy to screw up. State rep candidates do that all the time. I have a side business that handles these matters so there are no screw ups and candidates have less worries. If you don't want to use my business, then make sure whoever handles these matters is good. Else, you run a higher risk of bad press, fines, and having your campaign put on defense.

July 23rd, folks. Remember that date.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Candidate Forum July 15th

For those like me in the 22nd District state senate district, there's a candidate forum at 7:30 pm, July 15th. The 22nd district covers all of Livingston and Shiawassee Counties, and parts of Southern Ingham County.

From the Argus

The forum will begin at 7:30 p.m. July 15 at the Community of Howell Theatre in the Howell High School Freshman Campus at the northeastern corner of West Grand River Avenue and Highlander Way in Howell.

The event is co-hosted by the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Hartland Area Chamber of Commerce.
Doors will open at 7 p.m. There is no charge

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Looks like the Richard Floridas and New Urbanists are wrong

Another strong argument is made against the New Urbanists in the latest from "New Geography." The Myth of the Back-to-the-City Migration.

One of the reasons I always bring back this topic is because so many of the bad points of the most influential leftists rear their head here.

Remember Granholm's Cool Cities? This is what he was referring to. Richard Florida's thesis. It's not working, but it's still being pushed,
even here in Livingston County. The real key to attracting workers is simple. Work. Right now of the cities, Houston is king.

Are people moving back to the city? Nope. From New Geography

Pundits, planners and urban visionaries—citing everything from changing demographics, soaring energy prices, the rise of the so-called "creative class," and the need to battle global warming—have been predicting for years that America's love affair with the suburbs will soon be over. Their voices have grown louder since the onset of the housing crisis. Suburban neighborhoods, as the Atlantic magazine put it in March 2008, would morph into "the new slums" as people trek back to dense urban spaces.

But the great migration back to the city hasn't occurred.

That's obvious. The census numbers keep showing that with one or two exceptions like New York.

Housing prices in and around the nation's urban cores is clear evidence that the back-to-the-city movement is wishful thinking. Despite cheerleading from individuals such as University of Toronto Professor Richard Florida, and Carole Coletta, president of CEOs for Cities and the Urban Land Institute, this movement has crashed in ways that match—and in some cases exceed—the losses suffered in suburban and even exurban locations. Condos in particular are a bellwether: Downtown areas, stuffed with new condos, have suffered some of the worst housing busts in the nation.

One of the big pushes to these overpriced downtown lofts, apartments, and condos is "walkability". The drawback is cost for the space, no land, more rules and regulations, city crime, parking, and for families, usually bad schools. Now some people are cityfolk, and I don't have any problem with that whatsoever. I prefer small towns and the country. My dream house is 20 acres of woods and an average house where I can go hunting. That's my preference. Live and let live. My problem is when the so called "progressive" crowd wants to force everyone to move to one room lofts in cities, in the name of global warming. I have a problem wasting money when a small portion of elites want this train to nowhere, subsidized by tax money.

There's more.

The story in downtown Las Vegas is massive overbuilding and vacancies. The Review Journal recently reported a nearly 21-year supply of unsold condominium units. MGM City Center developer Larry Murren stated this spring that he wished he had built half as many units. Mr. Murren cites a seminar on mixed-use development—a commonplace event in many cities over the past few years—as sparking his overenthusiasm. He's not the only developer who has admitted being misled.

Behind the condo bust is a simple error: people's stated preferences. Virtually every survey of opinion, including a 2004 poll co-sponsored by Smart Growth America, a group dedicated to promoting urban density, found that roughly 13% of Americans prefer to live in an urban environment while 33% prefer suburbs, and another 18% like exurbs. These patterns have been fairly consistent over the last several decades.

Demographic trends, including an oft-predicted tsunami of Baby Boom "empty nesters" to urban cores, have been misread. True, some wealthy individuals have moved to downtown lofts. But roughly three quarters of retirees in the first bloc of retiring baby boomers are sticking pretty close to the suburbs, where the vast majority now reside. Those that do migrate, notes University of Arizona Urban Planning Professor Sandi Rosenbloom, tend to head further out into the suburban periphery. "Everybody in this business wants to talk about the odd person who moves downtown, but it's basically a 'man bites dog story,'" she says. "Most retire in place."

Even Vegas, and that actually does qualify as a cool city. The trends are accurate, although I prefer country to suburb or exurb. My own experience sees this. Most of the empty nesters I know, still stayed in their homes. Why move? This is where their roots are.

What about these "young professionals" we all hear about for the past 10 years.

What about the "millennials"—the generation born after 1983? Research by analysts Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, authors of the ground-breaking "Millennial Makeover," indicates this group is even more suburban-centric than their boomer parents. Urban areas do exercise great allure to well-educated younger people, particularly in their 20s and early 30s. But what about when they marry and have families, as four in five intend? A recent survey of millennials by Frank Magid and Associates, a major survey research firm, found that although roughly 18% consider the city "an ideal place to live," some 43% envision the suburbs as their preferred long-term destination.

Same as it ever was. Party in the city, but when it's time to settle down, different priorities take over. A well told word of caution is given.

The condo bust should provide a cautionary tale for developers, planners and the urban political class, particularly those political "progressives" who favor using regulatory and fiscal tools to promote urban densification. It is simply delusional to try forcing a market beyond proven demand.

Rather than ignore consumer choice, cities and suburbs need to focus on basic tasks like creating jobs, improving schools, developing cultural amenities and promoting public safety. It is these more mundane steps—not utopian theory or regulatory diktats—that ultimately make successful communities.

This sounds familiar. Jobs not fluff. Crime not lofts. Schools not rails. It's the meat and potatoes issues which are important if cities want to make comebacks, not Richard Florida's template.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The American Character

This Independence Day, I have the History Channel's "America: The Story of Us" in the background here today as I'm working on projects with upcoming deadlines. From the 1700 before the first arrive to today, to today, one thing remains at its core. Freedom. This freedom, freedom to take risks and the rewards (and setbacks) that come with it, brings achievement, hard work, taming the frontier, planting own roots, and being the master of our own destinies. We are in control of ourselves. Not the self proclaimed elite. Not the government. Not the media. We know what is our best interests.

This character is why there's so much resistance to top down elitist run movements that want to control how other people make their decisions. That is the big complaint these days that Americans have - with both parties. I didn't say democrats here, because frankly, we have our own mess to clean up. Too many republicans voted for these bans we keep having, and that needs to change. Smoking bans. Texting bans. Seatbelt requirements. I don't recommend smoking, texting while driving, or not wearing the seltbelt, but we don't need laws requiring this or against that. That is against freedom and the American character, and gives birth to another one. The outlaw.

The fight for independence and freedom is never over. America's biggest threat is not Radical Islam, Soviet Communism, The Chinese, Europeans, Mexico, or even the United Nations. The biggest threat are politicians from our own country taking our freedoms away in the name of a crisis. That crisis is sometimes in the name of the War on Drugs, War on Terror, "saving" our financial institutions, "Health Care Reform", Political correctness and being afraid of being called a racist (immigration and border security), public safety, and the War on Terror (which needs to be repeated - I was against the Patriot Act).

When these poor anti-freedom laws pass, there is one class of people to blame with the exception of vote fraud. Voters. Voters make the choices. Voters voted for the politicians who pass these laws, and usually re-elect the incumbents.

It is up to voters to make the right choices if we want to keep our freedoms, and avoid a nasty fight that may very well occur if the anti-freedom measures pass the breaking point where the ballot box is no longer an the name of security of course.

That starts this August here in Michigan. August 3rd is our primary. On the Republican side, we have five choices for governor, several for congress depending on our district, and the state senate and state house primaries. It's up to us to keep our freedoms and keep the country our founders wanted us to have, and for us to continue to have the American character of self-government, and for us to continue to be the master of our own destinies.