Monday, October 31, 2005

 

Corruption

I've never understood political corruption these days. The things politicians do for a couple bucks, it's crazy! Here's a story from Traverse City about US Rep. Dave Camp, who is bending over backwards to force the Army Corps of Engineers to grant a slightly larger variance to a resort owner. At stake is 45 feet of beach. The owner of the resort put up a bit over $5,000 for the favor making the deal worth around $100 a foot. That seems awfully cheap to me.

Just thought I'd pass that along; Dave Camp has rock bottom rates.

 

Chaos in Lansing

The window has closed. All policy-making in Lansing has been shut out in favor of election positioning. My favorite headline is: "Frenzy to Cut Taxes Permeates Capitol." Keep in mind that until a few days ago, there was an actual drive to invest in the state by funding high-tech firms and various other future related things. That's all gone now, with both majority leaders Sikkema and DeRoche both offering (what most consider) ill concieved plans to cut taxes that would only need to be raised again in a couple years. DeRoche's is particularly bad, it eats up 700 million over 3 years and offers no way to fund that plan after that.

Republicans need to get with the times. Taxes are really not the chief burden on business anymore. Insurance is the big killer. To their credit, the gop did go after liability insurance by trying to make it illegal for people to sue for damages, but I'm still waiting for a proposal to make it illegal for people to get sick or injured. Heavy industry will continue to leave this state, and the state will continue to transition to a more high-tech economy, but there is a very significant time lag in the process. The only way to slow the exodus of industry today is to cover the health care of their workers.

Diversification doesn't happen overnight and college diplomas don't either, but industry does pack up factories faster than we can say "Wait."

 

Random

So I met John Edwards and other Michigan bloggers last week, I've been working on a post about it, but I've had a lot of computer troubles and not a lot of time. A GIANT thanks goes out to Mark Maynard for typing up a transcript of our Q&A with Edwards.

Also, I really want to increase the Michigan Blogs catagory on the left, so use the comments to tell me about your favorite Michigan Blog.

 

The GOTV Contest

It doesn't matter how many people want you to win an election, it matters how many show up to vote. I can't say I know what motivates people, but there are a couple big things up in the air right now for 2006 in Michigan.

First is the Senate candidacy of Keith Butler, an Oakland county reverend, millionaire, conservative black man. It's not the standard combination and not one that would beat Stabenow. What it might do, is make the GOP ticket a bit more appealing to black people, both in Detroit and elsewhere (and yes, there are black people in Michigan that don't live in Detroit). It might provide push the govs race over the top, or maybe seal a win for a couple congressional seats, lr state leg seats. But now we hear news that white Oakland county sheriff Mike Bouchard is back in the race after a breif period of health problems. Throw in Jerry Zandstra into the mix, probably the choice of West Michigan republicans, and who knows which candidate will come out on top.

Bottom line: I don't think any of them can beat Stabenow, Butler would take some of the wind out of the Dems sails but Zandstra or Bouchard might be able to give a push to the GOP ticket as a whole. Who knows.

But there's another issue coming down the pipes; it's the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. It doesn't really have anything to do with civil rights, but it would make illegal the consideration of race as a factor in both university admissions and public (and I suppose private) contracting. This could get a lot of attention from minority communities, or it might not. I think universities are going to find ways to let in poor black and hispanic kids whether they have high test scores or not, so I can't imagine what this bill hopes to accomplish except rile up a big group of people. This is another question make though. The proposal isn't even guaranteed to be on the ballot yet (it seems like it will though), but it seems like a lot of national money will be going into the race.

My take? I think this is a much bigger factor due to the contracting clause. Cities have all kinds of minority business agreements to promote small minority businesses. This proposal would get rid of all those programs, putting a lot of businesses out of business and a lot of people out of work. I think that is going to line up a lot of people against this and really work to get them to the polls. It was a bad idea for the MiGOP to let this get on the ballot. It's like gay marriage for the Dems, its just not the issue that brings out your side, but it sure does bring out theirs.

2006 is going to be a big one in Michigan.

[Update: -6:45 pm 10/31/2005- News today that MCRI is one step closer to the ballot, no news if there will be further challenges. Here's a link.]

Sunday, October 30, 2005

 

Bouchard back in the race

Sunday Detroit News reports that Bouchard is going to announce he's back in the senate race to try to unseat Stabenow. He will be a formable foe, as he's a popular figure in Oakland County, and should be able to garner a large amount of cash.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

 

Racism? What Racism?

(Black) Senate candidate Keith Butler is perplexed by efforts by party officials to convince Bouchard to enter the race, a move that would erase the frontrunner status that Butler has enjoyed up till now. He can't understand why Liddy Dole wouldn't want him to be their candidate. After all, isn't the GOP the party of African-Americans?

As a note, I'm usually the last person to call something racist, but this is really just a no-brainer. The only other reason they possibly couldn't like Butler is because he's rich, wait a sec, shouldn't that make the GOP love him?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

 

ANOTHER Poll

I know, these are getting old, but this one is important. EPIC/MRA just released a poll on economic blame (props to MNR). Here are the results:

Michigan's economic problems:
Bush: 39%
Granholm: 24%
Both: 14%
Neither: 14%
Undecided: 9%

Manufacturing losses in Michigan:
Bush: 43%
Granholm: 19%
Both: 12%
Neither: 14%
Undecided: 12%

That's bad news for DeVos. Especially on the manufacturing losses. He is going to have to make one hell of a pitch to convince people to change their minds. I think Granholm will be a better campaigner than to let that happen. The poll also gave some early numbers on the race:

Granholm opinion: 55/35/9
Granholm job rating: 46/52/2

Granholm v. DeVos (last month):
Granholm: 53% (50)
DeVos: 30% (30)
Undecided: 17% (20)

A third would reelect Granholm, a third would consider someone new and only 18% would vote against her while 16% can't make up their minds.

DeVos has 69% name recognition with 20/16/33 approval, it looks like early on, people are willing to give him a chance.

 

A Bevy of Polls

A bunch of polls came out over the last couple days, here they are:

Check out this right/wrong direction poll from SUSA

SUSA 50 state Senatorial Approval Poll:
Levin: 53/37
Stabenow: 47/33

In the Detroit Mayoral race, U-D Mercy released their (first I think) poll on the race. They show Hendrix up on Kilpatrick 60%-40%, I dunno how accurate that is though, it seems to me like the race is a bit closer than that.

Back to the state at large, Strategic Vision, a Republican outfit, has released a slew of numbers.

Below are the results of a three-day poll of registered voters in the state of Michigan. Results are based on telephone interviews with 1200 registered voters in Michigan, aged 18+, and conducted October 21-23, 2005. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

The format for these is approve/disapprove/undecided

Granholm's job performance: 44/49/7

Stabenow's job performance: 42/38/20

Levin job performance: 53/36/11

Bush job performance: 34/56/10

Bush on the economy: 29/60/11

Bush on Iraq: 36/54/10

Right Track/Wrong Track
Right 28%
Wrong 60%
Undecided 12%

Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers: 46/36/18

Supreme Court overturn the Roe v. Wade:
Yes 34%
No 56%
Undecided 10%

Governor Race:
Jennifer Granholm 46%
Dick DeVos 35%
Undecided 19%

Republican Primary? (Republicans Only)
Keith Butler 28%
Jerry Zandstra 21%
Undecided 51%

Satisfied with current Republican Senate candidates: (Republicans only)
Satisfied 24%
Prefer another candidate 58%
Undecided 18%

Senate Race:
Debbie Stabenow 47%
Keith Butler 28%
Undecided 25%

Senate Race:
Debbie Stabenow 49%
Jerry Zandstra 22%
Undecided 29%


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

 

A New Way

If you're tired of typing blogspot in when you come to this site, you can now just type

http://www.mi-politics.com
-or-
http://mi-politics.com

For your convenience.

Monday, October 24, 2005

 

A New Strategy

And by the looks of it, a pretty good one. I've been noticing some strange behavior recently from the Granholm administration. First she called on Bush to lower gas prices (like she did), then she started a petition to do the same (through Bush) and just today she writes (publicly) to our congressional delegation asking them to do something about the auto industry at the federal level (like national health care.) I think there is generally a larger divide between national and state politics. Here's Granholm's problem, times are not good. If the 2006 election is a referendum on her, she'll lose in a landslide. If, however, it is a referendum on the Bush administration (33% approval), then all she needs to do is divert the blame. There's no better way to do it than by looking busy.

Here's her plan. She won't run against DeVos, she'll run against Bush. I think it's kinda dirty, seeing as how Bush really has little interest in defending himself, but hey, DeVos can fight back. To defeat this plan, all DeVos has to do is side with Granholm on this and criticize Bush for destroying the Michigan economy... Yeah, I laughed to. This is looking to be a fun race.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

 

Bouchard at 90%

Not in the polls, of course. According to a news report, he is 90% committed to a run for Senate. I think we can expect an announcement around Wednesday. He will be meeting with the bigwigs in DC on Monday and state leaders on Tuesday. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard is contemplating jumping into the two way race between Jerry Zandstra and Keith Butler. He has been elected as a State Rep and Senator, and now he wants more. Here's how his support seems to line up:

House Speaker Craig DeRoche: Three thumbs up, he's all for it.
Sec of State Terri Lynn Land: Even though I like primaries, I like Mikey even more.
Nat'l Committeeman Chuck Yob (older one): "He will pick up big money"
RSCC Chair Lizzy Dole: Go for it
MiGOP Chair Saul Anuzis: No problems mate!

So it looks to be a rough week for Butler, and Zandstra. I think that the establishment will totally switch to Bouchard, partially switch, or at the very least drop their endorsement of Butler. The last option would open up a window for Zandstra to get some monies. Who can say, this will be interesting. I think the GOP is making a mistake here. They're going to need all the money they can get, and I have a feeling that this primary is going to get ugly.

 

How the Congressional Races Fare

In Congress, there is some action in the sticks. Check out this article from the Ludington Daily News. Four congressional candidates have formed the "mc3" or the Michigan Congressional Challenger's Coalition. I harken back to my days in the c3i, but then I'm jolted back to reality. Four congressional challengers have combined thier forces, their losing forces (sorry guys).

Kimon Kotos in the 2nd district, Mike Huckleberry in the 4th district, Bob Alexander in the 8th district and Steve Reifman in the 9th district all lost to incumbents last year. I hate to point it out, but not one of them broke 40% in the last election. But these guys are gluttons for punishment. With the exception of Bob Alexander, the mc3 will be running again next year.

Mad props to Kimon Kotos, who not only has to coolest name, but will run again aginst Hoekstra, not something that anybody can really relish doing. And the same to Mike Hickleberry, who will run against David Camp, not quite as bad, but still no walk in the park.

In the 8th district, no democratic candidate has emerged to challenge Mike Rogers except Eric Crosley, who has been in and out of the picture, and hasn't returned my e-mails.

On to the 9th, where there is an over abundance of candidates. Announced already are Rhonda Ross and, of course, Steve Reifman. They might have to share the primary with John Ashcraft and John Murray, who knows.

Off to the 11th, where lurks Thaddeus McCotter, the sophomore gooper. He is facing either radio host Tony Trupiano or Ray Raczkowski who will face off in a primary.

 

Lansing

In the final weeks before the 2005 election, races are coming down to the wire. One that isn't is the race for mayor of Lansing.

Virg Bernero was endorsed by the Lansing State Journal today en route to a rout of sitting Mayor Tony Benavides. I think this race is going to get dirtier before the end, but I don't think it will make much of a difference. While Virg clearly didn't enjoy being a legislator, and probably wasn't very good at it as a result, I think he'll do a good job as mayor. He's energetic and passionate, two qualities that make good administrators and bad legislators.

Friday, October 21, 2005

 

The Race Heats Up

A couple stories came out today on the Detroit Mayoral race. SUSA released a new poll showing Hendrix's lead shrinking, now within the margin of error. Henrix leads %50-%46 with %4 undecided and a %5 margin of error.

Then there's this gem from Michigan Liberal. It seems Kwame hasn't been paying his bills. He's been closing in on Hendrix since the challenger's son was arrested but if this hits news stands, it's not going to reflect well. As far as this being something huge, it's not, but this race is going to be close, and every slip will matter.

 

The Senate $$$

While the field might not be fully set, the third quarter numbers are. Stabenow is holding an impressive lead while fundraising for the two Republican candidates didn't quite meet expectations.

Name
















On Hand












Raised








Spent










Net Gain
Stabenow
















$4,702,000












$1,161,000








$361,000










$800,000
Butler
















$765,000












$610,000








$250,000










$360,000
Zandstra
















$49,000












$112,000








$111,000










$1,000


Butler is going to have to start raising some more cash if he expects to buy Zandstra out of the race. Butler has a ton of baggage, and I think he's gonna need more than 6:1 to beat Zandstra. Aside from Stabenow, who raised a ton of cash, these numbers are unimpressive and not very telling at all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

 

That Time of the Month Again

SurveyUSA released Bush approval numbers for the 50 states today, you can see them all here. The Michigan numbers aren't much of a surprise, 33%-65% (That's 33% approve). It's too soon to tell how all this will impact the 2006 elections, but it isn't always easy to tie state and local elections to a president during mid-terms. Not easy, but these numbers are really bad. The Granholm numbers should be coming out soon along with the rest of the governors.

 

For Real?

There seems to be some back room workings going on as Zandstra and Butler position themselves for next year's primary. According to Politics[Michigan] (getting a good rap today), the National Journal is reporting that Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard might be looking at entering the race for Senate. While I would normally just pass this off as utter silliness, George Weeks column a few days back makes me reconsider. If it were not for Butler's institutional and money advantage, this race would be done, but the way things stand now, it could get real interesting real fast. Divide and conquer is the strategy.

Think back to the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Granholm didn't break %50. She ran against Blanchard and Bonior. Check out this article about how the race was looking after the 2000 election. Granholm beats Bonior %42-%29 two years out. That's much to close for her liking, primaries are supposed to be easy things. From what I remember, there was quite a bit of surprise when Blanchard entered the race. All he did was cannibalize support from Bonior, he never had a chance of winning.

Was anybody surprised when Granholm selected Rick Wiener (Blanchard's Chief of Staff) to hold the same position in her own administration? When you divide and conquer, the players are on your side, and sometimes you have to pay them to be there. If the sheriff does indeed enter the race, I think he'll draw the most votes from Butler, but not nearly enough to win outright. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some in the party that aren't very happy with Butler and are pushing to "diversify" the field.

 

In Case You Haven't Noticed,

I like crazy ideas. ICDP:Dispatch is linking to a letter from Walter Cronkite proposing a mid-term convention. I have some misgivings about that kind of thing, it seems a bit like an arms race but oh well. It could do good things. As for it's probability of happening, stranger things have happened.

 

An Interesting Editorial

From Politics[Michigan], the Kalamazoo Gazzette is running a stupid editorial about the unicameral legislature the MDP is working on. It is titled: Win Elections the Old-Fashioned Way. I like Kalamazoo, but their editorial board is full of morons. They proclaim the greatness of our system, where the supior candidate always wins and is bolstered by a superior state ticket. Their message? Don't tamper with the system.

That seems pretty reasonable right? I mean, we have a legislature that is amazingly responsive to the people, at least the people who donate thousands to underwrite their campaigns. You don't need to look much farther than the Telecom Bill that the senate just passed to realize who is running the show in Lansing. So why is it that we are represented by so much scum, these despicable people willing to sell out millions of people for a couple thousand dollars?

They've got nothing to lose, they still get elected, no problem.

I've got a scenerio for you, suppose this proposal was put foreward and it did pass. What would happen? (By the way, this was the kind of question you should have asked yourself before you wrote your editorial). Well, a board would re-draw district lines. But what proposals would the Republicans and the Democrats put foreward? Gerrymandering doesn't really work anymore does it? It's not how many seats you win, it's how many people you get to vote for you that matters in terms of the final overall makeup of a body. So how do you get people to vote in an election? I'll tell you what I'd do, I'd make 'em all real tight. Every district in the state would be 50/50. That way, like you said, the superior candidate would win, partisanship aside. Each base would turn out to support their candidate and independants would come out in force to vote for the stronger of the two. Applied historically, the overall makeup of the house would be around 50/50.

There is no clear winner in this proposal except democracy. More people would vote because more people's vote would count.

The assertion that this is just a power play by the dems to kick the GOP out of power is somewhat absurd, the dems are already poised to take back the Senate and probably the House in the next election cycle. This should not be confused with term-limiting.

I could clearly go on about this but I'll spare you.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

 

George Weeks...

He like the Robert Novak of Michigan without the treason stuff. His column today is about rumors circulating that Congressman Pete Hoekstra is considering a run for Senate in 2006. I can't imagine why he would quit the House and his post as the chairman for the House Intelligence Committee just to get beat by Stabenow. I sense there is some pressure being applied here. Butler and the party want to drive Zandstra out of the race, and as the motto goes, divide and conquer. Butler spokes people are saying that Zandstra is spreading the rumors, possibly an attempt to slow down Butler's fundraising... Either way, if another candidate does enter the race, things will only get more interesting.

 

Detroiters reconsidering Hendrix

A new poll put out by Mitchell Research puts Hendrix over Kilpatrick %48-%35 with %17 undecided. The poll was done on the 10-13 of October and the really interesting part was that Hendrix's lead was cut in half the second two days of polling compared to the first two, from %15 to %7. The race is tightening with only a couple weeks to go. Sources in Detroit tell me that momentum is swinging solidly in Kilpatrick's favor.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

 

Tech help...

I'm looking to make this site a bit more robust- adding accounts, new url, less blogger, you get the picture. If anybody out there has that kind of expertise, write me at jonkoller@gmail.com

That would rock.

 

How the Congressmen Fared

A breakdown of the third quarter for our congressional delegation.

Name
On Hand



Raised Spent Net Gain
Stupak
$123,214


$140,548 $73,658 $66,890
Hoekstra
$279,068


$69,125 $19,228 $49,897
Ehlers
$402,489


$37,260 $22,483 $14,777
Camp
$1,025,202


$121,993 $64,870 $57,123
Kildee
$650,692


$84,075 $26,211 $57,864
Upton
$731,596


$75,073 $49,850 $25,223
Schwarz
$339,986


$183,449 $149,704 $33,745
Rogers
$925,009


$180,224 $109,436 $70,788
Knollenberg
$977,496


$137,165 $133,030 $4,135
Miller
$941,602


$83,073 $24,099 $58,974
McCotter
$334,477


$94,721 $30,718 $64,003
Levin
$188,696


$152,940 $37,287 $115,653
Kilpatrick
$385,429


$21,100 $14,142 $6,958
Conyers
$183,976



$0
$2,944
-$2,944
Dingell
$577,473


$190,050 $89,263 $100,787

Thanks to the FEC...
The Senate will be up soon.
[Update with Conyers' numbers... they seem a bit odd]

Friday, October 14, 2005

 

What's Delphi Anyway?

So we've got a problem. 15,000 workers are about to be out a job, and not just some minimum wage stuff. $60k a year plus benefits is a decent living for anybody. It's times like these that make me wish we had embraced free-trade sooner, if we were going to at all. If we had lost all our manufacturing jobs 30 years ago to Asia, Africa and South America, today we would be kicking some ass. Transitions in economies tend to cause blips in the system. The problem is, those blips aren't just lines on a piece of paper, they are people's lives, and they tend to last a lifetime. So what can the state do? As far as I can see, there are really only three options that involve doing anything.

First, we could pay Delphi to operate and continue to pay its workers. Sound a bit Soviet? Isn't going to happen and probably for the best.

Second, we could bust the unions and keep Delphi. The would mean letting them pay their workers minimum wage with no benefits. Hell, that's the only way they can turn a profit. I don't like this option. This is just de facto option 1, I call it the Wal-Mark option. Instead of subsidizing the company, the state just takes care of their workers, a job the company should be doing. I don't like it. Not one bit. (Plus I'm a big fan of unions, and busting unions makes me angry.)

Third, we could teach these workers how to do something else. There is a lot of money floating around out there just looking for somebody who knows how to use it. U of M just built three or four giant new buildings and is working to hire people to fill them. I can only assume that this is the case all over the state, at least that's what Granholm is saying.

I like education. I'm a civil engineering student, it's not that hard, but for some reason there is only one person over 30 in any of my classes. Why isn't the state paying for older people (ie adults) to go to college? I just don't get it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

 

Is there a bigger non-story, story out there?

This has to be the biggest non-story I've read in a long time.

Summary: Shelby Township trustee drives into a ditch. Said she had drinks earlier in the night. Her BAC is below the legal limit. She is given no ticket.

Slow newsday? Personal vendetta?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

 

Anyone heard of ethics?

This has to be one of the worst things I've seen a metro-Detroit media outlet ever do. I thought victims of domestic violence were not named, or shown on TV unless they give permission?

Channel 7 does not quote the victim, or her family. This makes me sick. Anyone want to voice their concerns with the ethics of the story can contact them via their website. Their general manager is Grace Gilchrist.

 

I Love the Michigan Daily

They've done a much better job this year with typos, but they still can't get thier headlines right.

The Headline (frontpage, no less):

"Candidate’s son pleads guilty to drunk driving"

The Actual Story (the truth and in the daily):

"A not-guilty plea was entered for Stephen Hendrix in the drunken driving case." p. 7

I suppose at least they try.



 

Butler's Money

The Hill is reporting that Keith Butler only managed to raise 500k in the third quarter, compared to the 1.2 mill raised by Stabenow. I read somewhere that Yob the younger is saying that Zandstra raised about 200k (sorry no link). I think republicans realize that this primary race will be close and they don't want to give either candidate a blank check.

In other news, you've probably seen this elsewhere, but go vote for Michigan in the ActBlue poll, vote for Michigan. This is the year that dems can take the state senate, but they need the cash to do it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

Something Bizarre

So remember a couple weeks back when Mayor Kilpatrick said that crazy thing in the debate about Hendrix having law problems in his family? "Everybody was like, there he goes again, Krazy Kwame running his mouth." If you were watching the news tonight, you noticed something odd. Hendrix's son was arrested in April on DUI charges but a complaint wasn't filed till 9/14/2005, the day before the debate when Mayor Kilpatrick made the above statement. Coincidence? Methinks not. A lot of fishy bussiness has been going on about this election... who knows what will happen next?

 

Feeds

I've had these feeds since I started the blog, but I never really made it all that obvious. Now you can read the blog without the rich colors straining your eyes.

 

And there won't even be an election

Today, Geoffrey Fieger announced his candidacy for Attn. General. He had earlier hinted that he was considering challenging Granholm for gov in the primary on Tim Skubick's "Off the Record" but it looks like he things this race will be easier. On one hand, it will be easier, beating Granholm would have been impossible, but he probably could have forced her to take some tough positions. There is no primary for the AG nomination though, it is decided at the caucus. While Fieger has some sway in vote rich Detroit, I think race will play a factor here, making for an interesting caucus. Granholm's pick is fmr. Grand Rapids Judge Scott Bowen, she just appointed Judge Pablo Cortes to fill his old position, so he could start campaigning. The first into the race was State Rep Alexander Lipsey (D-60) of Kalamazoo who is term limited next year. So now we have a three way match-up. What to do?!?

Here's what I think. The MDP and Granholm will team up on Lipsey and try to get him to run for State Senate against Tom George (R-20), a 1st term republican representing Kalamazoo County and a bit of Van Buren. By "team up" I mean "promise him a lot of campaign dollars." In fact, that's probably the reason why he ran in the first place. Looking back I did think it was odd that he would back out of a race to unseat a conservative republican in a liberal (voted for Kerry +5) district. I even think he said he wasn't looking for a floor fight. Sounds like all he was looking for was a bit of free cash. Nobody has filed for the senate seat yet.

Now Fieger just threw his hat into the ring! He is a popular guy in Detroit and even though Granholm will push Bowen hard, who knows if that will be enough. Granholm might let Lipsey stir in the race for a bit, even through the convention. I think we all know Fieger well enough that he will certainly put on a show for us at the convention. Bowen would probably prevail in a three way race, but there is a potential that he could lose head to head against Fieger. Does this mean that Granholm will be buying Lipsey in instead of out? How exciting!!!!

 

A Bump in the Road

Just in time for the evening news cycle last night, the son of Detroit Mayoral candidate Freman Hendrix was arrested in Ann Arbor on domestic abuse charges. Somebody also decided to bash up his car. It looks like Kwame was right afterall. Who can say how this will affect things, I think if Freman deals with this well, it might help. This could be something people in Detroit can deal with.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

 

My Goodness!

Since Reform Ohio Now started to make some noise, bloggers all over the country have been wondering why similar efforts to reform redistricting haven't been started all over the country. After hearing rumors of a unicameral legislature proposal being drawn up by the MDP, Matt over at Michigan Liberal complained: " Ugh. I'm sick and tired of us always letting the public relations drive the policy here in Michigan. What the hell ever happened to leadership?" No wonder either. It seems like voters would be fools to not pass a proposal setting up independent redistricting. And for some reason we haven't seen anything out of the MDP. The reason is they are working on something much bigger, so big in fact, that independent redistricting is simply stuck on at the end, merely the exclamation point of a much larger proposal that would truly be a revolution.

So what lies at the end of Mark Brewer's crack pipe? First, as earlier noted at Michigan Liberal (see above link), the senate would be eliminated, creating a one house legislature. In order to slow down the legislative process, certain processed would be put in place to ensure that things couldn't slip in under the people's noses.

Second, independent redistricting to be done by a yet to be determined group of citizens. There would be limitations on what details could be considered when drawing districts.

Third and most radical, there are provisions in the proposal that ensure proportional representation. This is not a straight parliamentary system, but rather a mixed one. Most seats would be elected by district by district, but there would be a certain number of seats that would be selected as a correction factor, adjusting the final partisan makeup of the chamber to meet the state wide partisan vote, with (I assume) would have some threshold to keep out third parties. Afterall, this is being drawn up by the MDP.

When I first read about the unicameral legislature, I was as disappointed, if not more so than Matt, but after learning about this.... Wow. That's all I can say. What could be better for democracy than having your vote count regardless if your candidate wins or loses. There is about a month or two left until final decisions are made and the proposal is released to the public, but this is going to be huge!

 

Less Exciting News in Legislative Races

In the house:
Jerry Hollister, son of the former mayor, will be running for the 68th house district, which is the west side of lansing. His father, David Hollister was the mayor of lansing before accepting a post as some economic development position with the gov. Michael Murphy currently holds the seat and gets about 70% of the vote each time out. This primary will be crowed, but I would think Jerry will win because of his name. The fmr mayor Hollister was very popular.

In the senate:
Via Politics[Michigan]
The Republican fav to replace Bev Hammerstrom (R-17) Randy Richardville has declined to run. The is a swing district and one that will probably now go to the dems.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

 

Radicals?!?!?!

Have radicals taken over the MDP??!?!?! Outrageous!!!! This is making me grin from ear to ear. Rumors abound! I'll have something very soon for you. Get excited.

Friday, October 07, 2005

 

Rethinking raises

Apparently the massive pay hikes Oakland County commissioners gave to some of its highest ranking members isn’t go over so well, causing some to re-think the raise.

As a matter of catching up, a $10,000 raise to the commissioner’s chairperson and a $5,000 to each the vice-chairperson and the Republican and Democratic caucus leaders was approved on Sept. 22.

It was passed with a 15-8 vote, and in a time when everyone's budget is hurting. According to the Detroit Free Press article, some are backing down, but not all. Chuck Palmer-R who represents Troy and Clawson: “The damage has already been done," said Palmer, who voted for the increase. "It doesn't matter what we do; we're going to get criticized for it."

Please tell me who is going to criticize a board for NOT giving itself a raise? It’s own members? Please. That’s the sorriest excuse I’ve ever heard. At least try to justify it by giving us reasons why those members deserve that large of a jump in pay.

For the record, Palmer-R, Tom Middleton-R, William Patterson-R, Jeff Potter-R, Eric Wilson-R, Bill Bullard-R (and chairman of the board), Hugh Crawford-R, Greg Jamian-R, Jim Nash-D, Dave Woodward-D, Helanie Zack-D, David Coulter-D, Eric Coleman-D, Vincent Gregory-D and Mattie Hatchett-D voted for the raises.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

 

Really, really funny

Go and read this story, it's a hoot.

Thanks to Alex and MNR.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

 

The Guv Race

You don't have to read every back-woods paper every day to notice Dick DeVos. He's everywhere, touring many of the less populated parts of the state spreading one message, "Jennifer Granholm doesn't understand how to make jobs." He has a clever strategy. This far from the election, nobody cares how negative his tactics are, they're just listening to some guy complain about the economy. The method he uses shouldn't surprise anybody, grassroots are how pyramid schemes like Amway work. Instead of sitting around for another couple months and waiting for the election to start, he hits the road now, convincing people that Granholm sucks and they need somebody new. A couple of months from now, a candidate will emerge (who could it be?) equipped with a platform.

This puts the governor is an interesting spot. She can't really drive up the negatives of an unknown without introducing him to the state. The question becomes, how can she hold onto her approvals? In this pre-campaign timeframe, her hands are tied and attacks must be made through others, like Mark Brewer (see this). There aren't many things she can do to defend herself against this fellow. Here's what I've come up with:

1) Tour the state and tell people how good she is and how great things are (not a good idea)

2) Do things to improve the economy (a good idea, not so plausible with the legislature, congress, federal administration, supreme court and state supreme court being what they are)

3) Do things to make it look like you're trying to improving the economy (good idea, hands down)

4) Blame the legislature for your problems (a wash -- it will help dem legislative candidates, but if voters are convinced the problem with the state is divided government, they'll elect a republican governor.)

5) The perfect combination I will outline below.

Right now, Granholm is trying to pass things to kick the economy into gear. The legislature won't have it though and she is blaming them for the problems. The question is, how to get to 1 and 2? Why not tour the state campaigning not for herself (but really for herself), but for dem legislative candidates, claiming that if there is a dem majority in the legislature, things will start getting done; the economy will start getting better. She can outline all the things she is pushing, all the ways that the legislature is ruining the state. She can tell people to call the their reps and senators and maybe she'll be able to push things through. This is how she can really, really blame the legislature while touring the state and getting all that free press DeVos has been sucking up recently and maybe even force the legislature into cooperating with her.

Monday, October 03, 2005

 

The Tony Trupiano Show

Thaddeus McCotter sounds like that kind of congressman that's been around for a long time, but this fellow is only 40 years old. He drew himself a funny shaped district while in the state senate and won election after redistricting in 2002. He won by %17 in 2002 and %16 in 2004. That's all well and good, but 2006 will prove to be a bad year for "Thad" methinks. Talk show host Tony Trupiano has thrown in his hat and will (my opinion) wipe the floor with Thaddy. Things just aren't going well for the GOP these days. I can't remember the last bussiness day that a high level official was indicted. The great thing about indictments, is that they're not even a quarter of the fun. The trials of Frist, DeLay and maybe Rove, Libby, et al. will stretch on and provide lots of fodder during next summer's (pre-election) media doldrum. Thad has accepted 20k from DeLay alone... (ties him for 25th most money accepted from the guy). McCotter is an anti-environment fundamentalist, plenty corrupt (here, here and here), and not pretty enough to get away with it. He doesn't have enough money to beat Trupiano.

I talked to Tony last week about the race and he is very upbeat. I've heard that there are other considering running in the primary but I doubt anyone could mount an effective campaign against this guy. He is a talk radio show host, he talks to people for a living and is very good at it. He just pulled his archives from the net, which is too bad, there were some great shows. Tony is a nice guy, and he is well connected to the online community, with bloggers appearing on his show daily. You can expect that this will be one of the house races that garners nation-wide netroots support, both physical and ideological. He doesn't have a site up yet, but when he does, I'll post it here.

 

Knollenberg: Delay is a good leader

Former House Leader Tom Delay was indicted again today on money laundering charges. He, as we all know, has a long history of ethics violations.

After Delay’s first indictment, Joe Knollenberg (R-9th district) said in a statement: “regardless of the outcome, we know that (Delay) has been a steadfast and effective leader for the Republican majority.”

Regardless of the outcome? If he’s thrown in jail, he’s still a good leader of your party? This is the same attitude that drove the Democrats out of power in the House, and perhaps this is a role reversal. Maybe the Dems could start with Knollenberg in 2006.

BTW: I recently answered Jon’s call for more writers, and will be blogging from time to time about Macomb County, and some Oakland County politics.

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