Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Snyder bullies Local GOP over Dick Morris

I heard about this at the 8th district meeting from a few folks. I'm not a real big Dick Morris fan, but this is just damn wrong. Rick Snyder is throwing his weight around trying to bigtime people into pulling their invitations to events where Dick Morris is speaking. Why? Because Morris has the audacity to work for someone who opposes Snyder on his pet issue.

The background is this. Snyder and Granholm are pushing a taxpayer funded new bridge to Canada. It's being opposed by the current private owner of the Ambassador Bridge. Dick Morris is the spokesman for the folks opposed to this.

I don't agree with every speaker a local party has. Now if I became a major power broker in the state, would I go ape over the selection? No. In fact my comments in the past are, "well if he brings in the money" to the party. That's the purpose of these events. I don't agree with Rudy Giuliani on a lot of issues. However, he'd bring a crowd in. I realize that and would be all for him speaking at our events.

Dick Morris was scheduled to speak at two events. It's now one, because of Rick Snyder. Snyder tried to get it to zero, but Oakland County GOP basically said he wasn't going to break a contract with his ticker purchases.

From the Detroit News.

Lansing— Conservative political commentator Dick Morris' June 9 appearance in Metro Detroit has been canceled under pressure, he says, from the Governor's Office.

He will, however, speak at the Oakland County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner on Wednesday. That appearance, too, was in jeopardy when Gov. Rick Snyder's office urged organizers to rescind their invitation.

"I was scheduled and then I was canceled," said Morris, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton who has switched to the Republican Party. "Apparently free speech has its limits in Snyder's Michigan."

Morris, a Fox News commentator, is a consultant to the Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the Ambassador Bridge and hopes to build a second privately owned span across the Detroit River. Republican Snyder supports a publicly owned span. Many in his party oppose that plan.

"Obviously the governor's concern was directly related to my opposition to his $2 billion bridge proposal," Morris said.

Tom Stroup, chairman of the 11th Congressional Republican Committee, would only say, "The leadership of the 11th District Committee made a decision to cancel the dinner at this point in time."

Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel didn't deny talking to the two groups. "There was just strong concern that Dick Morris is a hired gun with a divisive agenda who clearly doesn't have Michigan's best interests in mind," she said.
Rick Snyder doesn't have Michigan's best interests in mind either, when he raises taxes, pushes for pork barrel projects with tax money, and pushes to censor views he doesn't like.

From the Free Press
"I had a friendly conversation with the governor's office. They were concerned that Dick Morris was not the best voice for us," said the Oakland County Republican Party's chairman, Jim Thienel. "But they left all the decision-making to me."

Thienel said it was too late to change plans: More than 400 tickets to the dinner, which also will features conservative activist Andrew Breitbart, have been sold and programs have been printed.

I don't know Jim well, but he didn't get to be Oakland County's chair without using a lot of diplomacy. That's probably one of the two or three toughest chairmanships in the state with all the geographical interests and factions (it's mostly club based). Jim's nicer than I am and isn't going to publicly rip Snyder over this. I'm sure he wasn't happy about it though.

There's a LOT of grumbling about this, and many folks are lukewarm about him at best to begin with. Keep in mind two things. This is right after the pension taxes, which ticked off a lot of people in the party. Snyder also was never the pick of either most of the grassroots (Split between Hoekstra, Cox, Bouchard), nor the establishment (Mostly Hoekstra). Instead, we basically got a guy in views similar to Andy Dillon, except that Dillon's pro-life, and Snyder is not ($2000 donation to embryo research).

Enter the tea party.
Tea party supporters upset with the June 9 cancellation have booked Morris for an alternate dinner the same night.

Dennis Moore, director of the Willow Run Tea Party Caucus in Washtenaw County, is helping organize the Waterford Township dinner. "The governor called and strong-armed them into not having Dick Morris as a speaker," Moore said. "Just because we don't agree with the governor on an issue, does that mean (we should be) quieted?"

Good. From what I've heard, Morris is actually speaking at this event for free. Snyder will love that.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mitch Daniels is OUT - 2012

Well, that's where I was leaning. I thought Daniels had the best shot as a contrast with the slick substance-less lecturer in chief.

From Hotline
In a surprise middle-of-the-night announcement that rocks the 2012 Republican presidential field, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Sunday morning he is not running for president.

Daniels, in a statement sent to supporters shortly before 1 a.m., said he won't make a bid for president because of opposition from his family. Hesitance from his wife, Cheri, had long been seen as the primary reason the governor wouldn't enter the race. "In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all," Daniels said in a statement obtained by National Journal. "If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry."

Damn. I understand his decision. Most people don't want the job because of everything that becomes public. The winner? Probably Pawlenty. A lot of people are looking for a fiscal (and social) conservative alternative to Romneycare, but won't consider someone they think is unelectable (and I think Romney is the most UNelectable of the so called frontrunners - he's the Republican John Kerry).

I'd mention a winners/losers analysis of this decision like I did with Huck, but the winners are all the other candidates. The establishment reportedly loved Daniels, and will probably move back to Romney (their pick in 08) or maybe Pawlenty. The grassroots that supported him are going go to support "not Romney." If he runs, I think the biggest winner may be Jon Huntsman, who I think is the 2000 version of George W Bush of 2012 if he had a different last name. I have some major concerns with Huntsman (and some, but to lesser extent Pawlenty) on global warming and the policies used in the name of it. At least Huntsman's been consistent with 2nd Amendment and life issues - so far. The fact that I have to add the last two words shows the hesitation I'd have in supporting him. I have a wait and see view with his campaign.

The 2012 race has changed dramatically.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mike Huckabee Not Running in 2012

This is significant. Mike Huckabee's not running. I'm not a fan of Huckabee's fiscal liberalism, but he has a very formidable following. Evangelicals, especially in the South, but also to a lesser extent elsewhere, absolutely love the guy. Libertarian leaning voters, as well as business voters don't care for him. Gun rights groups like him, but other candidates as well.

Huckabee had a longshot chance at the nomination. In terms of his chances verses Obama, I'd have them higher than most of the candidates (including Romney, who's IMO one of the least electable), but behind Pawlenty, Daniels, and Huntsman.

Who does this help? Who does this hurt?

Pawlenty - Pawlenty's a northern Evangelical. He's not as charismatic as Huckabee is, but is the same type of social conservative, although in a much different style. He's also less apt to blunder in his comments. I think he could be the big winner in this group.

Herman Cain - Businessman and former talk show host. Those who don't like the establishment folks or "politicians" and aren't as libertarian as Ron Paul or Gary Johnson may be supporting Cain as the protest vote favorite of 2012. Cain supposedly did very well in the South Carolina debate. He's never held elected office, although has his following.

Palin - If she runs, she doesn't have to fight Huckabee for the right-populist vote.


Romney - The media is claiming Romney is the frontrunner. He's kind of the McCain of 2012 in a way. Romney avoided some of the "RINO" accusations in 2008 because McCain was the guy always in the camera. That's despite McCain, who wasn't my favorite, being slightly more conservative record-wise than Romney (anti-gun as well as Romneycare). Unlike McCain 08, Romney has a lot of establishment backing. Romney's best chance is the same as McCain 08 - Base vote carved up from others.

Mitch Daniels - Daniels has mixed reviews from social conservatives due to his "truce" comments. Personally I think they have been misinterpreted since his actions on issues hasn't been bad. However he's not "one of them" as much as a Huckabee. Daniels is a number's guy. The only thing that Daniels can take advantage of however is the outsider role after 8 years as Indiana Governor.

Huntsman - He's what George W Bush was in 2000 if he was "George Schultz" instead. "Compassionate Conservative" circa 2012. I'm not AS against him as some are, although I do not like his global warming stance at all. Tough issue for me to get past as I'm from an auto industry family of Michiganders.

Little Effect:
Ron Paul - Different base of supporters.
Gary Johnson - Same reasons as Ron Paul.

I didn't include Gingrich, Bachmann, Trump, Santorum, or Roemer because either I don't think they are running (Bachmann), or because I think they will go nowhere in the races for various reasons (Gingrich).

I'm probably not going to make an endorsement until the fall Mackinac Conference. I'm leaning in a direction, but I'm not quite there yet. There's a couple of issues I still need to find out more information first.

Obama's oil plan. If he follows through, a good small first step.

Are these encouraging signs or more commission/task force style of bullshit?

Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration, on the defensive amid higher gasoline prices, on Saturday said it will pursue policies that could boost domestic oil production.

President Obama, in his weekly radio address, said his administration would expand drilling opportunities in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, speed up continuing evaluation of oil resources in the Atlantic and provide incentives to oil companies to develop energy on the leases they currently own.

In his weekly address, President Obama addresses the pain at the pump for Americans and how he plans to jumpstart domestic oil production. Video courtesy of NewsCore.

"These spikes in gas prices are often temporary, and while there are no quick fixes to the problem, there are a few steps we should take that make good sense," Obama said.

Republicans dismissed the president's measures and continued to criticize his administration over its oil and gas drilling policy, saying it has failed to encourage domestic drilling.

Calling the spate of initiatives "not terribly substantial," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said "this reversal is striking since his administration has consistently blocked American-made energy."

Senior administration officials said the Interior Department will start to conduct annual lease sales in the Petroleum National Reserve, west of Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. Lease sales had been conducted in this reserve before, but the sales were irregular, officials said. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, however, is "off the table," an official told reporters on a phone call Friday.

As Obama's a bald faced liar, I'll believe it when I see it. At worst, this is all talk and no action. At best, if this is a true flip flop, is an 18 month reprieve from the current disastrous policy and some half-assed support (as ANWR is blocked). Why 18 months? Does anybody think that Obama's support for high gas prices won't be back if he's re-elected?

However, as we all know, there's one issue that trumps everything among independent voters. No, it's not the mythical "fiscal conservative/social liberal" the media loves, nor the social conservative Reagan Democrat although there are examples of both of them. The issue that unites all of them is the economy. Period. It is going in the right direction or not. That's number one, two, and three. High gas prices are among the worst factors possible in the economy as it leads to big inflation - shipping costs, energy costs, commuting costs, and everything dependent on it.

Obama knows that. He may be an idiot on a lot of things, but not campaigning. There is not a long list of presidential incumbents losing (although elections have been mostly close the last 10 years.) Most of them since Reconstruction have something in common as a big issue. The economy.

1888 - Cleveland lost to Harrison (tariff issue)
1892 - Cleveland defeated Harrison (tariff issue)
1912 - Taft lost to Wilson, with help from Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose (economic splits among all three)
1932 - Hoover lost by 17% due to the depression.
1980 - Jimmy Carter was the worst president in my lifetime. He was swept out Hoover style.
1992 - Clinton defeated George HW Bush due to the recession. He probably would have even without Perot.

It's similar with governors when incumbents win. The only one to lose in my lifetime was Blanchard in 1990, right when a recession was about to hit. Before that, the last to lose was John Swainson nearly 50 years ago. While some who likely would have lost a 2nd term if they ran (Pierce, LBJ), most who run for a 2nd term win, even when the other party despises the incumbent. George W Bush won despite the economy, partly due to luck. John Kerry was literally every bad stereotype about democrats. Clinton benefited from the dotcom boom.

As for Obama's chances, it depends on the economy and the GOP opponent. If it's Romney, Trump, Palin, Newt, Santorum, or Roemer, I don't like our chances. Huckabee. Maybe (Hell of a communicator). Huntsman (despite my own problems with some of his stances), Pawlenty, or Daniels. Good odds. Daniels I think is the most electable as of now.

I think this is a pure election ploy at best. At worst, it's all bullshit, just like his record deficits while talking against them. Based on his track record, I'm not sold. He's lied way too many times to earn my trust.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rick Snyder's tax increase passes. Poor politics. Worse policy.

First off, kudos to the following for still remembering what republicans are supposed to support and oppose. Lower taxes. Less spending.

Jack Brandenburg, Dave Hildenbrand, Joe Hune, Rick Jones, David Robertson, Tory Rocca, Anthony Forlini, Ken Goike, Pat Somerville, Rick Outman, Pete Lund, Andrea LaFontaine. These reps and senators voted the right way.

Those folks deserve our support, votes, and donations. They did the right thing. I'm glad to see my senator, Joe Hune, on that list. I won't have to run in a primary against him in 2014. He said he opposed the pension tax. When push got to shove, he voted against this because of the pension taxes. The MBT needed to go, but it did not have to be replaced by this crap. Joe Hune kept his word.

The rest of those not listed, including Pat Colbeck who deserves special mention for voting for it in committee before voting against it John Kerry style, should all be ashamed of themselves for supporting this gimmicky monstrosity. My rep, Bill Rogers I expected better from. He talks about being against gimmick budgets. This is a gimmick budget.

Former Congressman Dick Armey says it best. When we act like them (Democrats), we lose. When we act like us, we win. I'm quite embarrassed for my party right now. Too many of them followed a guy in Rick Snyder who frankly I don't think is even a Republican (I've never seen him at Republican events before he decided to run for governor). He's to the left of Andy Dillon, an elected democrat. At least Dillon's pro-life. I'm not surprised at Snyder. He's tight with Center for Michigan, which supports tax increases. He didn't promise anything about not raising taxes. As much as I beat up on Snyder on this blog, he is what I thought he is. I expect better from our reps. I expect them to be leaders, not follow those who lead into the ground.

I'm no Bill Milliken fan, but he said one thing that I agree with. Good policy is good politics. The inverse it also true. Bad policy is bad politics. It doesn't matter who proposes it. As the late Detroit Area talk radio legend, Mark Scott said. "A is A." Bad is bad. This is bad.

Why is it bad? Why is it gimmicky?

1. More money goes to government. Government hasn't earned it. We've had the fee increases. We've had "two penny Jenny" that was shot down eventually. We've had income tax increases, tax shifts, etc. Nothing changes. I'm not convinced this will either.

2. This budget only touched about 20%. About 9 Billion, give or take. 80% isn't touched. About 34 Billion. Over 80% of the spending. Until the 80% is addressed, any budget plan is unreasonable. We need to do things the hard way, amend the constitution to open up the entire budget, and go line by line through the whole thing to determine what is and is not needed.

3. The most derisive part of this is the pension tax. The big fight was over 300 Million dollars. That's a lot of money to most, but a drop in the bucket to government. Are you to tell me that we can't cut another 300 million? Even when limited to the so called discretionary fund budget of 9 Billion? Let alone the whole 43 Billion? Unbelievable. Bad politics, worse policy.

4. Snowbirds. Florida and Tennessee have no income tax. Guess where many retirees from Michigan move.

5. Income tax increases as well.

This isn't a tax cut. More money from individuals is being paid to government. That's a tax increase. While business taxes are being cut - which I support - the revenue did not have to be replaced by individuals, especially because it's going to a gimmick budget that covers 20%.

That's the policy, as to the politics of this, Rick Snyder and the house in about two months:

1. Make things easier for Obama to win. How many retirees are going to stay home or vote democrat due to the tax increase? Most seniors voted republican recently. They also voted for Bill Clinton and many democrats down ticket. They also are mostly independent. Look at the voting patterns in North Michigan and the thumb. They are highly erratic. In addition to the seniors, how many of their kids will be pissed off due to government going after those who busted their ass for 30+ years of hard work. Don't mess with my parents. I don't like that very much.

2. Gives the democrats a good chance at retaking the majority. In 2010, Republicans campaigned on less government and less taxes. The federal level has little progress. Little, but not none. My complaint there is "not good enough." Here, it's like Granholm never left. How are those swing districts in many of the rural areas going to go? The UP? The thumb? Northern lower Michigan? Between conservatives staying home ("Dimes worth of difference"), swing voter backlash, and the normal leftist vote, it's going to be tough going.

The first thing that needs to be done is a new bill stand alone killing the pension tax. Admit the screw up, and fix it. If that doesn't happen, it's time for some primaries in 2012. The Republican party needs to stand for less taxes, less government, and more freedom, and if the reps fail to live up to those principles, primary races need to occur so we have actual differences between them and the democrats.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another trllion dollar deficit under Obama and Reid

So Bin Laden has been taken out. Great. The politicians didn't screw that up. I'll raise Obama's great of a 0% F- to a 20% F-, which is still a failure. That's amazing it wasn't screwed up because they are FUBAR-ing the deficit here. It's "fouled" up beyond all recognition.

From the AP

WASHINGTON – The government is taking in more tax revenue as the economy improves, but not nearly enough to keep the federal budget deficit from exceeding $1 trillion for a third straight year.

The deficit for April dropped to $40.5 billion, half the imbalance from the same month last year, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. Tax receipts were up 45 percent last month compared to the same month one year ago.

Still, the deficit is on pace to grow to $1.4 trillion in this budget year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That would be greater than last year's $1.29 trillion deficit and nearly match the record $1.41 trillion deficit hit in 2009.

Obama's legacy is record deficits. This trillion dollar boondoggle would be a record under Bush, who also sucked on this issue. Bush's last year in office had a 450 Billion dollar deficit. Obama talks a game on this with his nose up in the air, but is a absolute failure when it comes to fiscal responsibility, just as he was as a senator. Harry Reid is as bad or worse.

As for John Boehner, the house proposals aren't good enough. The Paul Ryan budget isn't good enough. Right now, from both a policy and PR standpoint, anything that isn't a balanced budget without raising taxes isn't good enough. Take a page out of Mike Pence or Jeb Hensarling's book and push a balanced budget and put pressure on the senate to get a vote. Stop being Bush Republicans on this.

Every time Obama runs his mouth on the debt, he needs to be called out. No more commissions. No more task forces. Just don't spend what you don't have. Balance the budget, or shut the Hell up.

There will be new turnover in Howell city government

The latest from the Argus

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Manor and Mayor Gerri Moen will vie to keep their seats on the seven-member panel, but Councilmembers Tom Malloy and Scott Patton chose not to seek re-election. Malloy and Patton served 13 years and four years, respectively, on the council.

Moen, a longtime resident and mayor since 2000, is facing a challenge from Phillip Campbell for the city’s top elected spot, and joining Manor in filing nominating paperwork for other council seats are former Councilmember Doug Heins; Allen Schlittler, a local chiropractor, Victoria Hertrich and Daria Devantier.

Malloy was one of the better council-members there and didn't vote for some of the controversial aspects of the cityscape project (mini-circles).

There will be no August Primary this year because of the number of people running. Six people are running, and four will win. The mayoral race will be one one one between Campbell and Moen in November.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Filing Deadline is Tuesday for Nonpartisan municipal races

While we don't have major elections here in Michigan during the off years, we do have some nonpartisan races coming up this November (and possibly August).

From the Argus
The field of candidates for the November city council elections in Brighton and Howell is coming into focus, and it features some familiar yet controversial faces.

In Howell, former Councilmember Doug Heins, who orchestrated the firing of City Manager Mike Herman in 1998, has filed to run.

In Brighton, local government watchdog Susan Walters-Steinacker, who attends any and all city meetings, is making her fourth bid for a council seat.

The deadline to file as a council candidate is 4 p.m. Tuesday. Candidates must have lived in the city for two years, be a registered voter and not in default to the city.

The Howell City Council/Mayor races should be quite interesting. The Streetscapes and mini circles (not quite roundabouts) issues there are controversial, and was an underlying issue in the State Senate primary race between Joe Hune and Paul Rogers. There is some cost/benefit concerns regarding that. There recently was an issue about "free speech zones" (based on something that may or may not happen but hasn't happened) as well. I don't agree with Steve Manor on a lot of issues, but he was dead on in calling that proposal out. Will that be a factor in the upcoming race? I don't know. I haven't lived in Howell in a few years, so I haven't followed things as closely as I did there.

We'll find out the final list Tuesday, but currently it looks like the candidates will be:

Howell Mayor:
Gerri Moen (Incumbent)
Phillip Campbell

Howell City Council:
Tom Malloy (Incumbent)
Steve Manor (Incumbent)
Allen Schlittler
Doug Heins
Victoria Hertrich
Daria Devantier

Brighton City Council
Jim Bohn (incumbent)
Chad Cooper (incumbent)
Jim Muzzin (incumbent)
Claudia Roblee (incumbent)
Susan Walters-Steinacker

Friday, May 06, 2011

Tampa area Home Owners Association (HOA) gets one-upped by a hockey fan

I have to admit getting a big smirk reading this. Unlike some, my dream house isn't a big McMansion in the elite subdivision. I prefer 20 acres of land out in the country and an average sized house......with no Home Owners Association, commonly referred to as HOAs. I understand their purpose, to avoid run down homes in neighborhoods affecting property values. They also serve as a quasi-governmental entity with a large amount of power, money, and rules which get into the extreme. Some love it. Some hate it. All who look into buying a house should be prepared for it.

From Yahoo sports - Pictures are on the website

Steven Paul, 28, is a Tampa Bay Lightning season ticket holder who's justifiably excited with his team in the Eastern Conference finals, eight wins away from the Stanley Cup.
Back in April, before the Lightning defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Paul decided he wanted to make his neighbors aware of his fervor for the team.

When the Lightning clinched a playoff spot, they gave fans a playoff preparation package that included a T-shirt, stickers and a sign made for display on one's front yard, like a political placard.

Paul placed his white "GO BOLTS" sign on his lawn on a Saturday.

Then the HOA told him to take it down. "No signs except those advertising security companies."

His HOA limits lawn signs to ones that provide free advertising for alert others that the house is protected by some kind of alarm system or security service.

"I was pissed. I was infuriated," recalled Paul, "and then I was like, 'OK, fine. If we can only have security signs, then I'll make it a security sign."

Which he did:

A few days later, his wife was at home when something caught her eye outside the house. It was a woman with a camera, taking a photo of the new sign, ostensibly for more HOA tattling.
After transforming his sign into "GO BOLTS SECURITY," he hasn't gotten a second notice — yet. The HOA told Paul they'll discuss the matter further at an upcoming meeting.

Then Paul decided to get really proactive. Inside the bag of Lightning swag was a large blue Tampa Bay flag. He checked the HOA bylaws about hanging flags on houses, and found no restrictions.

So up it went on his garage:

Outside of free speech concerns (especially with the exception for security companies), there's three lessons from what looks to me an otherwise minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

1. Know where you are buying and if it's subject to HOA bylaws. Most planned subdivisions, especially newer developments, have HOA requirements due to covenants created by the developers. Rural areas and non subdivisions often are not HOA.

2. If it is an HOA area, know the rules you'll be subject to, potential penalties, and the limits to their power. It usually includes fines, and sometimes even revoked deeds. READ THE AGREEMENT.

3. Know the procedures for new policies, the reps on the board, and how they are chosen. If they are nasty busybodies, try and toss them out. This is politics just like the city council or township government.

Politics is local, and it starts with your HOA, if you live under one.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Livingston County chooses new commissioner districts

New Livingston County Commissioner Districts

Yesterday was the day that the Livingston County Redistricting Committee chose its maps. There were six maps under consideration. The map chosen was "Map 5." It was definitely not a unanimous vote and it was a quite contentious ending to the process. Here was my recap of the 2nd meeting which has some comments by the democrat representative of the committee as well as a recent comment  from someone with republican leanings who was obviously there.

The Argus had reports there.:

A redistricting committee approved a map with new Livingston County Board of Commissioners districts Tuesday, but local Democrats alleged the plan is partisan and expect to appeal.

The five-member committee approved the map 4-1, with Jordan Genso, the lone Democrat, voting against it. The map has nine commissioner districts, which is the same number as the existing map. It was created and submitted by Brighton Township Treasurer Lana Theis, chairwoman of the county’s Republican Party.

“There should be an appeal,” Genso said after the meeting.
He called the outcome “blatant partisan reapportionment.”

I'll get to the partisan claims and appeals in a minute. The dems chances at winning are slim at best.

Dane Morris, a former Democratic candidate for the county board, said the map approved maintains the nine commissioner seats and doesn’t pit one of the all-Republican commissioners against another one.

“That’s the reason this plan was adopted,” Morris said.

So what? Why should the board be forced pit comissioners against one another? Dane, you and the others failed to defeat any of them in 2010, or the democrat years of 2006 and 2008 for that matter. This included the marginal republican districts which are winnable for dems under the right circumstances (for them).

I spoke in favor of Map 1, which was very similar to the current maps. It was my first choice despite the township breaks because it classified areas by the regions and did not have the potential of reps living 20 miles away from their constituents. I also did not want to see incumbent commissioners have to duke it out in incumbent v incumbent primaries. Map 1 satisfied both of my concerns. There was one map I was concerned would be passed (Map 4). I did not see the latest map from the democrats (Map 6) until after I spoke.  The committee preferred Map 5 which was the "republican map", which was pretty good outside of one district. Map 5 was good at limiting the number of townships broken.

As for Jordan's claim about "blatant partisan reapportionment" and the appeals process, which I saw coming from the cell phone recordings, here's the standard from Clinton County's 1991 redistricting.

Petitioners claim that the four-way division of DeWitt Township is designed for partisan political purposes, to dilute Democratic Party voting strength. However, at oral argument it was conceded that there is effectively no Democratic political strength throughout the county and, in fact, the adopted plan represents only minor adjustments from the plan adopted in 1982, to account for a two percent increase in population during the decade. Other than petitioners' naked claim, no evidence has been presented to this panel that satisfactorily proves that the division of DeWitt Township accomplishes, in fact, a partisan political advantage, whatever its motivation.

Where's the democrat strength in Livingston County? Going back at least to 2000, neither Al Gore, John Kerry, nor Barack Obama did not win a single commissioner district. Keep in mind, this is a county commission map. The last democrat to win a county commissioner district was Jake Donohue in the 80's/90's, a highly respected moderate from the SW corner of the county. His district was replaced by a republican. Where's the big stronghold? A couple of precincts far apart. Right now, they are trailing 9-0 in a county that hasn't gone democrat countywide at any level since I believe Frank Kelley in 1990.

The other part which wasn't covered as much in the paper was the fight being over one extra township break. The commission does not have to chose the "best plan," just a good plan.

We agree with respondents that neither the state or federal constitution nor the holding in Apportionment of Wayne Co Bd of Comm'rs -- 1982, 413 Mich 224; 321 NW2d 615 (1982), either singly or in combination, compels an apportionment commission to adhere to any preordained method in devising an apportionment plan. It is the final plan as adopted, and not the intermediate steps, with which this Court must concern itself under MCL 46.406; MSA 5.359(6).

We are likewise of the opinion that Wayne Co Apportionment -- 1982 does not impose a "best plan" test as advocated by petitioners. Under such a test, a plan which had been adopted and which meets threshold constitutional and statutory standards nevertheless would have to be rejected by this Court if a competing plan more closely approaches perfection.

We think the Michigan Supreme Court was fully aware when it rendered that decision that a "best plan" review standard would be a prescription for perpetual litigation. The United States Supreme Court has recognized that reapportionment by its nature involves "fundamental choice about the nature of representation" in what is "primarily a political and legislative process." Gaffney v Cummings, supra, 412 U.S. 747. A reviewing court, in determining whether a plan "meets the requirements of the laws of this state," MCL 46.406; MSA 5.359(6), must allow the political organs to whom the redistricting task has been delegated some scope for the "exercise of judgment," and a plan that represents a "reasonable choice in the reasoned exercise of judgment" must be sustained, Wayne Co Apportionment -- 1982, supra, 413 Mich 264, notwithstanding that a marginally better plan might be devised. Otherwise, the courts would be involved in the never ending process of litigation every time "a resourceful mind hits upon a plan better than the Master's by a fraction of a percentage point." Gaffney v Cummings, supra, 412 U.S. 750-751.

That's what the dems have to get overturned or at least distinguished if they are going to appeal this on "partisanship" grounds. In other words, tough scheisse. It's the same thing the dems are doing to us in Washtenaw County, Ingham County, Wayne County and at least attempting to do in Oakland County. Elections have consequences, and that cuts in all directions.

Personally, I hope they appeal and waste the Union Leadership's money.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Time to call the State Senate to stop the Snyder tax increases

I'm really disappointed in my party right now, including with many of those I know quite well and respect. I expect crap from Rick Snyder. I'm not disappointed with him. I had no expectations of him, and didn't even vote for him in neither the primary, nor the general election. It was the first race ever where I didn't vote for a Republican at the top of the ticket, going back to my days before I was a Republican and often split my ticket 60-40. I went 3rd party last November as a protest against Snyder's vagueness, refusal to declare stances, associations (which is how I suspected him to be liberal), and his support for anti-life proposition 2. The fact that I'm actually fed up to the point where I'm posting this publicly says a lot about my concerns. These Granholmesque policies are going to kill us as a state, not to mention the credibility of my party. If Granholm is the Matt Millen of Governors, Snyder's on his way of being the John L "The coaches are screwing it up" Smith.

While I expect liberal policies from Snyder, I don't expect blind following or at best a compromise-lite plan of his plan. Bad policy is bad politics. Doing something solely for the sake of doing something is bad policy. Government that put itself in a bad position and getting bailed out by taxpayers is bad policy. The legislature's job isn't to follow leaders. The legislature's job is to represent the districts and BE leaders for the district. That means telling Snyder "I'm in charge, not you" when his policy is bad, or "This is good policy, I'll support it." when it's good. Unfortunately, this policy absolutely sucks as bad as Granholm's tenure. Here's my question to the legislators. If Virg Bernero won and came up with this plan, would you vote for it? If Granholm pushed this, would you vote for it? I know that answer, and it would be the right one. Hell, no! That's the answer that should have been given to the supposed "republican," Rick Snyder. "Hell, No" followed by a push for an amendment to actually "reinvent Michigan" as Snyder says, and go after the 80% of the budget that isn't going to be touched with this plan.

From the Free Press

Gov. Rick Snyder, relying entirely on the votes of fellow Republicans, won narrow approval for his sweeping overhaul of Michigan's business and income taxes Thursday, setting the stage for a final, and possibly more difficult, battle in the Senate.

The Snyder proposal -- swapping out the current Michigan Business Tax for a much smaller corporate income tax and eliminating a host of tax exemptions and credits, including Michigan film incentives -- squeaked through the House, 56-53, the bare minimum needed. Six Republicans and every Democrat voted against it.

Backers of the package, which cuts net business taxes more than 80%, or $1.7 billion, said it would make Michigan a better place to do business and create jobs. Opponents decried the loss of income tax exemptions for most pension income and the elimination of most of a tax credit that provides extra income to people who are working but poor. They said it shifted the tax burden from business owners to poor and elderly people.

House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said the House's GOP majority -- the first since 2006 -- was "elected to make change. This is a turnaround moment for the state."

The Snyder tax plan would result in a $350-million tax on currently exempt pension income in 2013 and delay for a year a scheduled income tax rate cut that would cost taxpayers $213 million. In total, income tax revenue would rise nearly $1.5 billion in 2013, nearly as much as business tax collections would decline.

You gotta be kidding me. I expect better from the state house. This is a gimmick tax and spend measure like what Granholm pushed. Approximately 80% of the budget isn't even touched. All these tax increases and shifts are over a 20% portion of the budget since the rest is not considered "discretionary" due to state constitutional or federal concerns. The state should tell the feds to screw off, and amend the state constitution so we can have real line-by-line expenditure reform to adjust to the recessions. Nobody is doing that. It's the same fight we've had every single year with tax increases, tax shifts, creative accounting, declining revenues and until the last two years or so, increased spending.

I'll be calling Joe Hune's office Monday. I suggest all those opposed to this do the same and call their state senator and have them shoot this down. This can give our friends in the house a chance to give themselves a mulligan. If you want reform, go after more than just the so called discretionary budget. No more tax increases. No more gimmicks.

I'd like to add my thanks to Reps. Anthony Forlini, Ken Goike, Pat Somerville, Rick Outman, Pete Lund, and Andrea LaFontaine for doing the right thing and voting no.