Thursday, September 26, 2013

Armed Self-Defense

Looks like another case of self-defense with a gun, this time in the Edison neighborhood.

Man shot while trying to break into home in Edison neighborhood, police say
Kalamazoo man, who told police he shot intruder in his Edison neighborhood home, not in custody

Another Candidate in 60?

The democrat primary in the 60th district may be even more contested.

Kalamazoo Township Trustee Pamela Goodacre considering 2014 state House run
Goodacre, who works as an intermittent lecturer for the University of Michigan, said she has spent much of her life campaigning for different social issues as a citizen. When she was elected to the township board last year, she saw the need for more elected officials like her.
People who run for office usually do.
"We need a very strong woman and person of color with a voice," Goodacre said.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Primary for Buskirk

Dave Buskirk may not have a free ride after all.

Jon Hoadley announces state House bid; will face Buskirk in primary
Hoadley, a Democrat, first moved to Kalamazoo in 2009 when he was recruited by United Way to lead the campaign for local human rights ordinances. However, this will be his first campaign as a candidate.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Check Again

The crisis at Western continues...

Western Michigan University delays issuing gender equity adjustments to female faculty
"Hundreds of faculty women campus-wide, who were eligible for equity increases, have seen no adjustments, even though the adjustments were to have been made by the beginning of their Sept. 10 paychecks. They received no warning that they should not expect the promised adjustments. They just opened their checks and were disappointed once again," Bill Warren, secretary of the WMU's chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said at the WMU Board of Trustees meeting this week.
At Western, employees get paid via direct deposit, so there are no paychecks to open.  So this didn't happen once, much less hundreds of times.
The union pointed out in a letter to its membership dated Sept. 18 that the signed 2011 contract requires that the administration take action. In the letter, Minnick also took issue with the fact that faculty were not notified directly about the delay. 
"Of course the administration should have communicated this to the faculty (along with an explanation) in advance of the first Fall 2013 paychecks, rather than just leaving everyone wondering, not to mention leaving a lot of significantly underpaid colleagues devastated when they saw no adjustment in their September 10 paychecks and believed they'd been passed over," the letter reads. "The good news in all this is that there is still hope for these colleagues, but I wish they could have been spared the unnecessary hurt in the meantime."
They were devastated! They were hurt!  But there's still hope!


Previous: Western Pay Gap?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wenke Running for Senate

Oh, Great.

Former state Rep. Lorence Wenke announces state Senate bid

Wenke is a good example that being more moderate doesn't necessarily make you more electable.  Let's review his recent electoral track record.

Wenke ran for state senate in 2010, losing to Tonya in the primary.
Incredibly, Wenke did not win a single precinct of his former district. He didn't get as much as 40% in any of them. Perhaps this shouldn't be so surprising though, as Wenke lost the Kalamazoo County portion of his old district in 2004 and 2006, the last two times he ran for election. Both times he was saved by the Calhoun County portion of the district. He survived by fewer than 100 votes in 2004 after voting against an initiative to correctly define marriage, and won by a few points in 2006. In both cases he beat former Rep. Jerry VanderRoest, outspending him by huge margins. Evidently he remains unpopular in his own district, and was overwhelmed by a candidate who could match him dollar-for-dollar.

Wenke did win six precincts (K Twp 1, Kalamazoo City 3, 8, 14, 17, 23) in the 60 district. He tied Tonya in four others, Cooper 5, K Twp 2, Kalamazoo City 5, 19.
Was his problem just in the primary?  Wenke then ran for Gull Lake School Board in 2011. The results:

Laura Burr: 39.4%
Loyal Eldridge: 36.8%
Lorence Wenke: 13.7%
Paul Foust: 10.0%

The candidate Wenke beat was a college student.

A year later, Wenke ran for school board again.

Lin Marklin: 58.4%
Lorence Wenke: 41.6%

The voters don't like Lorence Wenke.  They haven't since at least 2006.

But now he's running for state senate again.  If he can't beat obscure school board members, how is he going to beat Margaret O'Brien or Sean McCann?  He won't.  But he will waste another couple hundred grand in the process.  If he runs a negative campaign like he did in 2010, he could hurt Margaret's chances in the general.

Money On Fire Update!
Analysis of the 20th Senate Primary
Gazette on Wenke
Wenke for Senate in Kalamazoo
Wenke for Senate?
The Latest from Lorence
Wenke Supports Hate Crimes Law

Tax Increases Aren't Fair

Internet Sales Tax One Step Closer to Reality in Michigan
Rep. O'Brien said the bills are reasonable.

"The conservative policies guiding taxation are based on [the] simplest, broadest and fairest tax," Rep. O'Brien said. "Enforcing existing laws supports Michigan job creators and ensures a competitive playing field for all businesses.

"Anyone saying this is a tax increase, expansion, or new tax is in reality supporting the non-compliance of existing tax laws and is being dishonest about the issue," she continued. "The evasion of taxes is never a platform I will promote and I'm shocked by some who have suggested it is good policy."
You can argue whether this is technically a tax increase, but it isn't arguable that the result of this bill would be to take more money away from taxpayers.  That is not a goal that any conservative should support.  This bill is being sold in the name of fairness, but there is nothing fair about taking more of people's money from them.

Aside from that, the politics of this bill are just terrible.  Does anyone other than a few big retailers support this?  Hopefully the legislature has the sense to kill this.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tonya Makes Her Move

The long-anticipated announcement is finally here.


Senator Tonya Schuitmaker running for re-election in new 26th District

Paw Paw, MI -State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker announced today she will be seeking re-election to the Michigan State Senate in the 26th District, which includes Van Buren County, Allegan County, and Kentwood and Gaines Township in Kent County.

“I am a lifelong resident of Van Buren County and I am not going to move for political purposes. It isn’t right for my family and it isn’t right for the citizens of Michigan,” Schuitmaker said. “The people of West Michigan have created a great place to live, work and vacation here along the beautiful lakeshore and I look forward to representing such a wonderful community.”

“Michigan is on the road to recovery, but we’re not there yet,” she said. “Lower taxes and less regulation have driven our recovery. We cannot go back to the failed tax-and-spend policies of the past. Hard work and innovation-not government-will continue to lead Michigan to renewed prosperity and a brighter future.”

Schuitmaker currently represents the 20th Senate District, which includes all of Kalamazoo County, as well as Paw Paw and Antwerp Townships in Van Buren County. After the 2010 census, district lines were redrawn and Schuitmaker’s family home in Lawton is now included in the 26th District.
Schuitmaker was first elected to the Michigan Senate in 2010. She is the current President Pro Tempore of the Senate as well as Chairperson of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education.

During her first term Schuitmaker sponsored legislation improving government transparency, increasing penalties for elder abuse, holding universities accountable for the tax dollars they receive and requiring prisoners to provide DNA samples, which led to numerous cold cases being solved.
Prior to serving in the Senate, Schuitmaker served six years in the state House of Representatives and as an attorney in her family’s practice in Paw Paw. She lives in Lawton with her husband and two children.

A campaign website is now up and running. Voters can find more information about Tonya and the campaign by visiting


The announcement was expected around this time.  Sean McCann's announcement may have sped things up.  Now we'll see how long until Margaret O'Brien runs for state senate and causes more dominoes to fall.

UPDATE: This blog beat the Gazette to the story by two hours.

McCann Running
Schuitmaker Starts the Dominoes

Primary Challenger to Upton

There will be a contested primary for Congress in 2014.

Dowagiac's Jim Bussler to challenge U.S. Rep. Fred Upton in Republican Primary

He seems to be a Tea Party/Ron Paul type candidate.

About 30% of the Republican primary electorate in the 6th district is anti-Upton, and has been since he was first elected.  Getting much above that has been the challenge for Upton's various primary challengers over the years.

Minority Enrollment Grows at WMU

Some interesting tidbits in a report on enrollment at WMU:

Western Michigan University sees new freshman enrollment climb 5.1 percent
Minority student enrollment also continues to grow, Dunn told the trustees. Minority student enrollment now stands at 19.5 percent of WMU's total student body, according to the fall count, compared with 11 percent in fall 2007. The total number of minority students has increased by nearly 2,000 over the past six years.


A 2 percent overall increase in minority student enrollment was led by a 5.7 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students and a 1.8 percent increase in the number of African-American students, WMU said.
Hmmm.  What happened around six years ago?  The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) was passed in 2006.  One of the criticisms of racial preferences is that they misdistribute college applicants, so minorities end up at schools that are too tough, and many fail.  Thus minority enrollment at top schools (UM and MSU) is down, but at second-tier schools like Western is up.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

McCann Running

In the least surprising news of the year...

State Rep. Sean McCann announces he will run for state Senate
“With a toddler and a three-month-old child at home, it wasn’t an easy decision to run for the State Senate," said McCann, D-Kalamazoo, in a press release.
Sure it wasn't. That's why you spent the last year planning to run.
"But, I am convinced we need a healthy dose of bipartisanship at all levels of government. Commonsense problem-solving is sorely missing in the legislature and I believe my moderate, thoughtful, pragmatic style will be successful in getting results for families in Kalamazoo County and around the state."
This stunt was hardly bipartisan: Sean McCann's Smear Campaign
“Kalamazoo County is a leader for Michigan," McCann said. "Our commitment locally to equal access to high quality education for our young people and innovative economic development ideas that drive job creation are a recipe for the entire state. Billions in cuts to education, new taxes on seniors and giveaways for corporations aren’t moving our state in the right direction. As our next state senator, I will put the people in our community over special interests.”
Have you never voted for 'giveaways for corporations'?  Sounds like a research project!

We'll see how long Tonya drags things out before making an official announcement.

Sean McCann Wants Unaccountable Redistricting
Sean McCann's Smear Campaign
The Struggle for Sixty

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No War for ???

America should stay out of the Syrian civil war.

Some people seem unable to comprehend that just because one side in a war is bad, it doesn't mean the other side is good.  In this case, Assad, the secular dictator, is bad.  The rebels, including various Islamic terrorist groups, are worse.

It is now alleged that Assad used chemical weapons.  But while it seems to be generally agreed that chemical weapons were used, what is the evidence that Assad was the one to do so?  What reason did he have to do so, when he had already killed plenty of people without them?  In contrast, the rebels, or someone supporting them, would have had every reason to use them if they could provoke an American attack on Assad.

The arguments for war have been all too typical of democrat-led campaigns.  Illogically limited, with no clear objective or plan.  Even if striking Assad would be a good idea in principle, Obama and Kerry can't be trusted to pull it off right.

It would be different if there were a real chance of getting a better government in Syria.  But there isn't.  The slaughter in Syria is terrible.  But the sad fact is that nothing is going to stop it.  Stay the hell out.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Racial Profiling in Kalamazoo?

A 'study' has found that blacks are twice as likely as whites to be stopped by police in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Public Safety officers target black drivers in traffic stops, racial profiling study concludes
Racial profiling study results not a surprise but still 'troubling,' Kalamazoo city commissioners say Chief Jeff Hadley: Public safety officers have 'mixed emotions' to racial profiling study

Does anyone ever stop to consider the possibility that there may be a legitimate reason for the disparity before jumping to the conclusion that police are 'targeting' blacks?  Blacks commit crime at significantly higher rates than whites, so it wouldn't be surprising if they did more things to justify being stopped by police.

The commenters on the articles raise many valid questions about the 'study'.