Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mark Brewer Implicated in Fake Tea Party Scandal

In a comment on the Michigan Liberal blog, Michael McGuinness, former Oakland County democrat chairman, has confessed and implicated democrat party boss Mark Brewer in the Fake Tea Party scandal of 2010.

Past Swept Under Carpet

Brewer is currently being challenged for the chairmanship of the Michigan Democrat Party for reasons that aren't really clear to outsiders.

RightMichigan's Jason Gillman, who was instrumental in exposing the Fake Tea Party, analyzes the post.

Fake Tea Culprit Implicates MIDem Chair

I had raised the possibility of Brewer's involvement at the time.

Fake Tea Party Exposed, Defeated
We know Oakland County democrat chairman Mike McGuinness, who is only 26, and his roommate Jason Bauer, their executive director, were involved. What we don't yet know is if democrat party boss Mark Brewer was behind the whole thing. Given how amateurish the whole operation was, maybe he wasn't.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bus Tax Plan

The KCTA has finalized its bus tax plan.

Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority to ask for 0.4 mill property tax renewal in May
Voters in Kalamazoo County will be asked in May if they approve a property tax renewal for public transportation.

The Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority voted unanimously Monday night to place a 0.4 millage on the May 11 ballot. The millage is the same as previous years.
Bus Tax Never Dies
Bus Tax Zone
More Bus Taxes
Taxes on the Ballot
Tax Hike Plans
Future Tax Hikes?
They Won't Take NO for an Answer
Tax Eaters Are Never Full
The bus routes have been saved
Ax the bus tax
Tax increase for busing?

WMU-AAUP Conspiring to Thwart Right to Work?

University Union Wants Contract Through 2023 To Avoid Right-to-Work Law
With a year left on its contract, the Western Michigan University's professors' union is trying to get a 9-year extension done by the March deadline that would give union members the right to not pay dues or fees as a condition of employment at the school.

That would lock everyone represented by that union into paying dues or fees until 2023.

Michigan Capitol Confidential obtained a draft of the proposal of the plan, which was verified by union members. It was drafted Jan. 23. The agreement would be a collective bargaining agreement known as a “union security agreement” (USA) that would be separate from the regular contract that covered wages and benefits.
In the current contract, WMU professors who fail to comply with the provision forcing them to pay dues or an agency fee to the union are suspended for two days without pay.

Part of the memo being circulated predicts dire consequences for the union if its members are given a choice as to stay with the union.

"Without a new USA, significant reduction in membership dues support is likely in the wake of RTW …" reads the memo that covers frequently asked questions.

Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, said he thinks the legislature could take action against colleges that try to circumvent the right-to-work law.

Rep. McMillin said he thinks the legislature could restrict funds to colleges through the state’s Economic Vitality Incentive Program, which is described by the state as an incentive-based grant program that replaces traditional statutory revenue sharing.

"WMU could end up getting less from the state in their appropriations," Rep. McMillin wrote in an email.

The union security agreement would have to be passed before March 27 to be allowed. That's the date when the right-to-work laws take effect.

WMU Spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said Friday that the administration had not received the proposal from the union and couldn't comment.

The next Western Michigan University Board of Trustee's meeting is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Joni Jones, a former Western Michigan University professor, said she received the proposal from current union members. One union member who wanted to remain anonymous confirmed the proposal was being circulated among union members.

President Matt Mingus and Vice President Lisa Minnick of the Western Michigan University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (WMU-AAUP) didn't respond to a request for comment. WMU Regent Michelle Crumm said she didn't want to comment.

After Capitol Confidential posted it's story, Mingus told MLive that the union has not started negotiating with the university. He did not deny that a 9-year extension was being considered by the union.
The union denies it.

Report: Western Michigan University union seeks nine-year extension; union says they have not begun negotiations
"We have not started any types of negotiations with WMU, either formally or informally," said Matthew Mingus, who recently took over as president of the WMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
Mingus and Minnick were elected to lead WMU-AAUP last year, ousting the previous leadership.

Strike Averted?
Faculty Strike Looming?

More Upton/Amnesty Chatter

There are more bad signs coming out of recent meetings with pro-amnesty groups.  There isn't anything definite yet, but the outlook is bad.

Congressman Fred Upton: 'I'm absolutely committed' to work on bipartisanship immigration reform
KALAMAZOO, MI — Congressman Fred Upton said he will continue to meet with local organizations to talk about immigration reform and said he expects a bill to reach the house floor this spring.

"I'm absolutely committed to work for a bipartisan solution that can reach the president's desk," said Upton, who was not scheduled to speak during the meeting.
"Bottom line, we're here to get this done," he said.

Upton spoke to a crowd of more than 150 people — mostly Hispanic — at the end of a public meeting held Thursday night pushing for immigration reform legislation.

The forum was organized by United for a Better Future, a coalition of local organizations that includes Hispanic American Council, ISAAC, Association of Kalamazoo For Justice and the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP.

Upton said his office deals with immigration requests from constituents. With all the different laws and regulations, it is one of the most complex issues his office deals with.
"We have a broken that needs to be fixed," Upton said.

Upton, a Republican who has represented Southwest Michigan for a quarter century, said a bill may be introduced later in the spring.

"You'll see hearings, you'll see good debate that's constructive and a product that will reach the house floor this spring, April or May," Upton said.

Ranking Democrats and Republicans want to get immigration reform done, Upton said. Both President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have said immigration legislation is on their agendas for 2013.

"It is in the interest if both parties that we fix a broken system," Upton said.

Upton said the legislation, which he hopes is one bill, will address both immigration and national security. He said representatives on both parties have come to a realization that something needs to be done to fix the system.

"I guess it's amazing to me that some of the former, strongest opponents of immigration reform…are now talking positively about moving forward," Upton said.

Upton also said the groups involved in the discussion needs to widen to include organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau.

Upton received applause for many of the comments he made. After the meeting, dozens of people went up to him to have their picture taken with Upton.

Hispanic American Council Director Lori Mercedes said to have Upton and the other organizations including United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety at the meeting "sends a very strong message" to how committed the local community is to getting legislation passed.

Mercedes said this was the first time locally such a meeting has been held. Now, she said, people who are undocumented feel that they can publicly speak about what they need from the government and legislation.

"We never had these conversations before, there was nothing to talk about," Mercedes said.
The comments are deeply hostile to the illegals, as always on these articles.

Immigration reform brings wide range of Kalamazoo community organizations, politicians to public meeting
Congressman Fred Upton was in attendance Thursday night and told the crowd he is "absolutely committed to work for a bipartisan solution" on immigration reform.

“We’re a strong nation because of our diversity,” said Upton, R-St. Joseph. “And when we work together.”

Upton, however, said specifics on the legislation have not been discussed yet, as the judicial committee still has to have its organizational meeting. Upton said he expects a bill to be on the House floor later this Spring.
Upton for Amnesty?
Upton on Immigration
Upton on Invasion

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Impeach Obama!

Four years is too long to wait!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Portage in a Pickle

The Portage School Board recently forced out Superintendent Ric Perry.  He had been having an affair with an employee and appears to have been improperly funneling the district's (taxpayers') money to her.  Perry was hired after the previous superintendent, Marcia Wells, was forced out for misconduct in 2011.

Patricia Koeze, Portage schools human resources director, identified as the co-worker in Ric Perry's 'inappropriate relationship'
Ric Perry's attorney says former Portage school superintendent is seeking financial damages, not reinstatement

Previous: Kurdys and Hollenbeck for Portage School Board

McHugh on College Debt Bubble

Jack McHugh at the Mackinac Center writes:

Collapse of Higher-Ed Bubble Draws Near
While elite institutions like the University of Michigan are in a better position to navigate the transition, schools like Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Ferris State University and the rest of Michigan’s smaller state universities may be in deep trouble. Their massive overhangs of debt and underfunded employee pension promises are all but certain to bite taxpayers here as students and families increasingly discover alternative ways to acquire both learning and marketable credentials at a fraction of the cost of a residential college.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Take That, Gun-Banners!

Handguns, assault rifles, high-capacity magazines flying off shelves at Kalamazoo-area gun stores

Upton for Amnesty?

The push is on for amnesty.

Kalamazoo organizations push for immigration reform in 2013
Fair Immigration Reform Movement kicks off outside Congressman Fred Upton's Kalamazoo office
A new coalition has been formed in Kalamazoo to focus on immigration reform. Called "United for a Better Future," it is made up of the Hispanic American Council, ISAAC, Association of Kalamazoo For Justice, the YWCA of Kalamazoo, the National Council of La Raza and the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center.


Also, the Michigan Organizing Project is working on the issue. This Tuesday, MOP will hold a press conference outside of Upton's office at noon to kick off a campaign to push for immigration reform.

"It's clear (the current system is) breaking apart families and not making sense anymore," said Allison Colberg, spokeswoman for MOP. "We need an overhaul and a system that recognizes the realities we are living in."
You can always reunite in your home country.
Last week, members of "United for a Better Future" met with Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, to discuss what local residents want in immigration reform. Lori Mercedes, executive director of the Hispanic American Council, said that during the Thursday meeting Upton expressed support for immigration reform.

"The way we see it, for the first time ever, everyone is at the table," Mercedes said. "We have somebody we can work with in Congress as a Republican."
Of course, "immigration reform" can mean lots of different things.
Reform, according to Mercedes, is “immigration policy with a direct path to citizenship.” The recent national push for new legislation comes after a failed attempt in 2010 to get passage of the DREAM Act, which would, in part, provide residency for undocumented residents who graduate from American high schools.

"For the first time ever, people are coming to the realization that yes, economically, this makes sense," Mercedes said.
Tens of millions of Americans are unemployed.  Obviously it "makes sense" to import millions of immigrants to drive down wages further.
Mercedes said the Hispanic community has "come out of the shadows" to demand immigration reform for undocumented residents. Mercedes said Upton was insightful about the contribution Hispanic and migrant communities provide to the state and its economy.

In an interview with MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette on Thursday before the meeting, Upton said Speaker of the House John Boehner has signaled a deal on immigration can be reached.

"I expect to see real reform," Upton said.

"We've waited long enough," Upton added. "We need a system that works and clearly the system today doesn't work."

Upton, who has been in Congress since 1987, supports enforcing "the immigration and border security laws that are already on the books," according to his Congressional website.

In 2006, Upton voted to build a fence along the Mexican border and he voted against the DREAM Act in 2010. Upton said he voted against that legislation because of a section of the bill that would have provided in-state tuition for some undocumented citizens. "That's a state issue," Upton said.

Upton is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. All immigration issues and legislation go through the Committee on Judiciary.

"I'm really happy," Mercedes said of the dialogue established with Upton and the prospects for progress on immigration reform. "For our community, it's priceless."
Then again, maybe Upton is just telling them what they want to hear.
Aguilera said he has been trying unsuccessfully to set up a meeting with Upton to talk about immigration reform for two months and has called his office repeatedly, but is always given an excuse as to why a meeting can't be scheduled.

"I believe he's avoiding us," Aguilera said.
As is typical of Gazette articles on immigration, the comments are very unsympathetic to the illegals.

Upton on Immigration
Upton on Invasion

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Hathaway Out

Democrat Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway will "retire" soon.  The scandal in which she used a short sale on her home to evade taxes finally caught up with her.  The Judicial Tenure Commission was starting to look into her actions, and federal prosecutors have been investigating her for a while.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Hathaway to retire amid scandal

This is particularly sweet for Michigan conservatives.  Hathaway won in 2008 by defeating Republican incumbent Chief Justice Cliff Taylor.  The state democrats ran an ad calling Taylor a "sleeping judge", with an actor who looked like Taylor nodding off.  It was a complete lie, but enough people bought it to give Hathaway the victory.

Now Governor Snyder will appoint a replacement.  Will he appoint a strong conservative like Brian Zahra, or a moderate judge like Elizabeth Weaver?

Monday, January 07, 2013

2013 Kalamazoo Election Preview

This article was last updated August 13, 2013.

Michigan will see several elections in 2013. This is a preview of elections in Kalamazoo County. The first three election days were mostly quiet.  The November election will have Kalamazoo and Portage city elections.

Southwest Michigan Politics: An early look at area elections in 2013

February 26: Nothing was on the ballot in Kalamazoo County.

May 7: There was a renewal of the countywide Car-a-van/Metro Connect millage.
Bus Tax Never Dies
Kalamazoo County voters to decide May 7 whether to renew property tax for countywide transit
There were also several school millages on the ballot, including a 62 million dollar millage in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. They all passed.

August 6:  Nothing was on the ballot in Kalamazoo County.

November 5: This is the day for local city elections.

Kalamazoo City Commission

All seven seats on the Kalamazoo City Commission are up for election. The seven commissioners are Mayor Bobby Hopewell (on since 2003), Vice-mayor Hannah McKinney (1997), Don Cooney (1997), David Anderson (2005), Barb Miller (2005), Stephanie [Bell] Moore (2007), and Robert Cinabro (2010). Moore changed her name back from Bell after her husband was convicted of sex crimes.  All were elected in 2011, Cinabro to his first full term.

All the incumbents are seeking reelection except for McKinney, who is not.  Nine candidates are seeking the open seat:

Mike Perrin: beer salesman and Republican nominee for state house in 2012
Birletta Bean-Hardeman: unlikely to be competitive
Nicholas Boyd: unsuccessful candidate in 2009 and 2011
Tracy Hall: leftist democrat lesbian WMU instructor--running with Cooney and Moore
E. Allen Hayes: democrat pastor
Fred Lawrence II: unlikely to be competitive
Jack Urban: democrat former Kalamazoo County Commissioner
Jeff Weisman: founder of downtown neighborhood association
Rico White: member of Kalamazoo Planning Commission

Nov. 5 election: 6 incumbents, 9 challengers make up Kalamazoo City Commission field

There may be a proposal on the ballot to "reform" the charter by electing the mayor separately and inplementing staggered four-year terms for the other seats (similar to the system Portage uses).  They could also implement a ward system, which would end any chance of electing a Republican in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo City Commission continues discussion on significant proposed charter amendments

Portage City Council

The mayor of Portage, Peter Strazdas (mayor since 2005), is running unopposed for reelection. Three of the six seats on the commission were also up for election. Those seats are held by Claudette Reid (2005), Ed Sackley (2005), and Terry Urban (2001). All three were reelected in 2009.  Sackley will not seek reelection.  Urban and Reid are running for reelection.

Four candidates will compete for the open seat.
Nasim Ansari: Republican former county commissioner
Connor Farrell: 26-year-old democrat with no particular accomplishments
Richard Ford: attorney, politics unknown
Kevin Park: stay-at-home dad, politics unknown

Six candidates seeking 3 seats on the Portage City Council; Strazdas unopposed for mayor

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Ban Schools?

Two recent articles offer a different solution to school shootings.

Ban Public Schools, Not Guns.
Ban Schools, Not Guns

School shootings are pretty rare, so they are not a reason to do this.  But the articles give plenty of other reasons.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Jeffrey Getting: Flip-flopper or Lying Weasel?

Newly-installed Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting will fill the vacancies that he created by firing his political opponents.

But wait!  What was it that Getting said about staffing in the prosecutor's office during the campaign?
Getting also voiced concern about staffing within the office, which he says is well above that of Ottawa County, which has a similar population as Kalamazoo County, and nearly matches that of the more densely populated Kent County.

“We’re not being efficient with our resources,” Getting said.
So Getting claimed the prosecutor's office was not being efficient, but then chooses to not be efficient, either?  Or was he just lying during the campaign?

What does he have to say for himself?
When asked Wednesday about staffing levels in the prosecutor's office, Getting declined to comment.
What a weasel.

Jeff Getting Purges Political Rivals
Jeffrey Getting's Bad Math

Tuesday, January 01, 2013