Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of The Western Right: 2013

This blog was less busy this year but still covered many topics. We had 115 posts this year. Here are some of the best posts of 2013.

2014 Michigan Primary Election Preview
2014 Michigan Congressional Races
2014 Michigan State Senate Elections
2014 Kalamazoo County Commission Election Preview
2013 Kalamazoo Election Preview

Conservative of the Year: Jeff Sessions
Recall the Alamo?
Portage Council Split
2012-2013 ACU Michigan Legislature Ratings
Wenke Running for Senate
No War for ???
Sean McCann Wants Unaccountable Redistricting
Fools for Trayvon
9-4 Michigan Congressional Map in 2020
My Immigration Plan
Gary Peters' Corrupt Bargain
How to Destroy the GOP in One Easy Step
Michigan Republicans did not lose 62% of Partisan Races
Carl Levin Out, Many Interested
Upton Wants to Give Illegal Aliens "Legitimacy"
Jeffrey Getting: Flip-flopper or Lying Weasel?

The Best of The Western Right: 2012
The Best of The Western Right: 2011
The Best of The Western Right: 2010
The Best of The Western Right: 2009
The Best of The Western Right: 2008
The Best of The Western Right: 2007
The Best of The Western Right: 2006

2013: The Year at Western

2013 was a fairly quiet year at Western, though there were a few significant controversies. Progress continued toward establishing a new medical school in downtown Kalamazoo.

Jack McHugh argued that Western could be damaged by the bursting of the college bubble.

One major battle was over Right to Work.  The Mackinac Center exposed an effort by WMU-AAUP to thwart right to work. The WMU-AAUP went forward with this effort. However, the administration didn't go along with it. They did approve a contract with part-timers to avoid Right to Work for three years.

The Western Herald sought subsidies through mandatory student fees. There was also an effort to raise fees for an aviation shuttle. Both were approved by small absolute numbers of students.

Governor Snyder appointed two new trustees, one of whom had never even been to Kalamazoo. There was controversy over a plan for a new Valley dining hall, which was eventually scrapped. This blog noted a likely reason that minority enrollment grew at WMU.

There was a major controversy over a supposed pay gap between male and female faculty. This led to wailing and gnashing of teeth. Eventually, WMU-AAUP voted to censure the Provost. Recalculated salary adjustments were eventually issued.

The Gazette discussed whether affiliation with Cooley Law School would be good for Western. Western voted to ban all smoking on campus.

2012: The Year at Western
2011: The Year at Western
2010: The Year at Western
2009: The Year at Western
2008: The Year at Western
2007: The Year at Western
2006: The Year at Western

Unz on Race amd Crime

Perhaps the most interesting article of the year was by Ron Unz.  His massive article on race and crime is packed with data and has plenty of interesting contentions.

Race and Crime in America 
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Michigan GOP on Christmas

The last couple years, this blog has cataloged what greetings local Republicans use at Christmas.

GOP Leaders: Merry Christmas Happy Holidays!
GOP War on Christmas?

This year's results seem slightly better than last year's.

Rick Snyder: "Happy Holidays"
Brian Calley: "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays"
Bobby Schotak: "Happy Holidays"
Saul Anuzis: "Merry Christmas"
Bill Scheutte: "Merry Christmas"
Senator Tonya Schuitmaker: "May the joy of the Holiday Season and the blessings of Christmas..."
Speaker Jase Bolger: "Merry Christmas"
Aric Nesbitt: "Merry Christmas"
Kalamazoo GOP: "Merry Christmas"
Todd Courser: "Merry Christmas"
Ron Weiser: "Merry Christmas"

Please post any additional data you have in the comments.

Conservative of the Year: Jeff Sessions

2013 was a year for conservatives to push back against the left.  After the depression following Obama's reelection, the left foolishly pushed for gun control.  Conservatives led by Ted Cruz and Rand Paul led the resistance to the plan, which quickly died in the senate.  Some bills did pass in individual states, but recalls in Colorado pushed back strongly against this.

Senator Cruz also led the resistance to Obamacare.  He led a filibuster in the Senate and encouraged demands for its repeal which led to a temporary government shutdown whose merits are still being debated.  But no conservative can claim credit for the spectacular failure of Obamacare, whose failure has been more dramatic than conservatives dared hope.

But conservatives' biggest defensive victory was the failure of amnesty (comprehensive immigration reform) in Congress despite much hype and pressure by the left.  The chief opponent of amnesty in the Senate was Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.  He fought tirelessly against the awful Senate bill, while many other conservative lawmakers preferred to avoid the issue.  Sessions deserves our thanks for leading the fight against this terrible bill.  That makes him this blog's conservative of the year.

Previous winners (including retroactive):
2012: Ted Cruz
2011: Scott Walker
2010: Jim DeMint
2009: Glenn Beck
2008: Sarah Palin
2007: Ron Paul
2006: Jerome Corsi
2005: Tom Tancredo
2004: John O'Neill
2003: Roy Moore
2002: John Ashcroft
2001: George W. Bush
2000: William Rehnquist

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Recall the Alamo?

Alamo Township has been the site of a power struggle for several years now.

5 of 6 recall petitions against Alamo Township supervisor, trustee approved by election commission

Longtime Supervisor Bob Vlietstra was unopposed in 2004.  He narrowly survived in the Republican primary in 2008.  He easily survived a recall attempt in 2009.  He finally lost the 2012 Republican primary to Lou Conti.  Most of his allies, except the treasurer, also lost to Conti's "We Care" slate.

The recall attempt had something to do with a new gravel pit that the township didn't really have much choice in accepting.  Beyond that, there didn't seem to be any major issues at stake.

Now the county election commission has approved petitions to recall Conti and longtime Trustee Dawn Potter-Williams.  The allegations are that Conti made lewd gestures toward one of his critics following a board meeting.  He denies this; it seems to be a case of he-said/she-said.  After critics were rowdy at a subsequent board meeting, he abruptly adjourned the meeting with the support of Potter-Williams.

As far as I can tell, there don't seem to be any more substantive issues at stake.  If opponents get the signatures, which seems likely, there will be a recall election in May, unless they resign.  Conti seems eager to fight, but I wouldn't be too surprised if Potter-Williams resigned and let Conti put one of his allies on the board.

All those involved are nominally Republican, but only Potter-Williams has been involved in the local GOP.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Portage Council Split

The Portage City Council is divided.

Richard Ford wins drawing to become newest member of Portage City Council; Jim Pearson named mayor pro-tem

For years, the Portage Council has been fairly harmonious, run by moderate, "good government" types, many affiliates with the Rotary Club.  There was some minor controversy when Margaret O'Brien was elected, criticizing how road assessments were funded, but that eventually died down.

In 2009, Patricia Randall was elected to a two-year term on a platform criticizing the Portage assessor's office.  She got some investigation of the office, but it did not find the problems she believes exist.  This led to conflict with some of the other council members.

In 2011, Randall's absence at several board meetings was attacked by councilman Ed Sackley, but this backfired when she revealed that she was being treated for breast cancer.  She was reelected, and her ally Jim Pearson was elected to an open seat, defeating Cory Bailes, who is an ally of the other board members.

Before the 2013 election, council member Elizabeth Campbell had resigned after she was caught embezzling from the Portage Rotary Club.  The council again appointed Cory Bailes to fill the vacancy until the November election.

Also in 2013, Sackley retired, and Nasim Ansari won the open seat, with Richard Ford finishing fourth.  Ansari was a county commissioner 2002-2012 and city council member before that. Ford is a political newcomer.

After the election, the council had to appoint a new mayor pro-tem, a largely ceremonial position.  The council split 3-3, with Mayor Peter Strazdas and council members Terry Urban and Claudette Reid voting for Urban, and Randall, Pearson, and Ansari supporting Pearson.  The same split was repeated over several votes in multiple meetings.

The council then had to fill Campbell's seat for the next two years.  They again split 3-3, with Randall's group supporting Ford, and the others supporting former Mayor Betty Ongley.  They eventually agreed to pull a name out of a hat, and Ford was selected.  He then broke the tie for vice-mayor 4-3 in favor of Pearson.

It isn't clear whether there are any larger political implications.  None of those involved are democrats.  Only Ansari and Strazdas have had any significant involvement with the Republican party.  Aside from the assessment issue, it isn't clear whether there are any other issues dividing the council.

Time will tell.

Parchment Chickens Out

What's new in Parchment?

Chicken ordinance debate in Parchment heads to zoning board
Parchment city commissioners, sharply divided on whether to keep abreast of a trend toward allowing city dwellers to keep chickens as pets, sent the debate winging its way to the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday for the next leg of the hen habitation hubbub.
I see what you did there.
Meanwhile, the Posts, of Parchment, whose peccant poultry provoked the predicament, were able to breathe a sigh of relief, being pretty much assured by the commission that no matter what is decided, they will be able to keep their feathered friends.

The article goes on to divide Parchment city commissioners into "pro-chicken" and "anti-chicken".  Read the whole thing.

Friday, December 06, 2013

WMU Goes Smokeless

Western has adopted a no-smoking policy for the entire campus starting next August.  This is an issue that can reasonably be decided by what the majority of those on campus want.  Nonetheless, it is curious that Western is doing this despite the fact that they didn't enforce their previous policy of no smoking within 25 feet of buildings.

Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approves new tobacco-free policy