Oakland County

Politics & Government
3:33 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

White House to recognize Oakland County for Economic Innovation

Oakland County is being recognized this week by the Obama administration for economic innovation.  The county implemented shared online services, allowing 40 communities around Southeastern Michigan to implement features like online bill payments and tax assessments.

Phil Bertolini is Chief Information Officer for the county.  He says this allows communities to select and pay for only the things they need.

Politics & Government
4:37 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Patterson: 'Not wearing a seatbelt was a mistake.'

L. Brooks Patterson addressing the Oakland County Commission.
screen grab of Oakland Co. video

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was involved in a serious auto accident on August 9 when a VW Passat turned in front of his Chrysler 300:

Patterson and his driver were not wearing seat belts at the time.

Today, Patterson issued the following statement regarding the civil infraction issued by Auburn Hills Police today for not wearing a seatbelt when he was among victims of a crash caused by a VW Passat that turned in front of his Chrysler 300:

Not wearing a seatbelt was a mistake," Patterson said. "I accept my responsibility and paid the $65 fine this afternoon."

After spending five weeks in the hospital, Patterson was released last Friday and it recuperating at home.

Politics & Government
4:06 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

L. Brooks Patterson released from hospital, driver remains hospitalized

Oakland Co. Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
Oakland County

Oakland County officials announced this afternoon that County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was discharged today from McLaren Oakland Hospital.

Patterson has spent five weeks in the hospital after he was severely injured in a crash in early August.

From the Oakland Co. press release:

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Politics & Government
1:27 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

L. Brooks Patterson continues his recovery after car crash

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
L. Brooks Patterson Facebook.com

L. Brooks Patterson, County Executive of Oakland County, has been hospitalized since he was involved in a car crash on August 1o.

He had surgery to repair broken bones and a gash on his scalp. The Oakland Tribune reported Patterson suffered from two broken wrists, broken ribs, a broken femur, and the injury on his head.

He's been moved to a hospital rehabilitation unit at McLaren Oakland Hospital and is in good spirits, reports the Associated Press.

Patterson and his driver, Jim Cram, were not wearing seatbelts in the crash.

Two people in the other vehicle were also injured in the crash. The driver of that vehicle has been charged.

Law
11:27 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Inmates in Oakland County jail released due to overcrowding

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says releasing more than 200 prisoners from the overcrowded  County Jail could have been avoided,  if judges had used alternative sentencing.

He  tells The Detroit News he sent a letter to judges earlier this month, notifying them of the "jail emergency and asking for cooperation to help avoid it."

Michigan law requires sentence reductions if prisoners don't pose a high risk.

Bouchard says beds are being used by inmates who don't need to be in jail, and could have been punished differently, avoiding the problem.

Politics & Government
10:37 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Oakland County officials: State should pay for McCotter special election

Some officials from Oakland County are trying to turn up the heat on Lansing to pay for a special election.

That election was called to replace Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, who resigned last month.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley called for the September 5th special election to fill out just the few remaining weeks of McCotter’s term. State officials maintain it’s required by law.

But that leaves local governments in suburban Detroit’s 11th district to pick up the tab.

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2:22 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

L. Brooks Patterson's accident investigation sent to prosecutors for review

Lead in text: 
The Oakland Press reports prosecutors will look into the car crash that sent Patterson and his driver, Jim Cram, to the hospital. Two men in the car that collided with Patterson's were also injured. Patterson and Cram were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
The Oakland Press is your source for all Pontiac and Oakland County 24-hour breaking news, local news, sports, entertainment and more. View daily weather updates, watch videos and photos. Keep up with Oakland County's News and Oakland County local Sports. Find Oakland County restaurants, entertainment, cars, homes and jobs at theoaklandpress.com.
Arts & Culture
11:48 am
Wed August 15, 2012

DIA attendance more than triples after voter-approved millage

The Diego Rivera mural at the DIA. The museum had a good week after their millage passed in three counties.
DIA

Last Tuesday, the Detroit Institute of Arts got a major vote of confidence from area voters when they approved a millage request to fund the museum. Taxpayer support means the museum will have a stable source of funding for the next ten years.

The next day, the museum was free to the residents in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

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Politics & Government
12:59 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

L. Brooks Patterson wasn't wearing seat belt in crash

Oakland County executive L. Brooks Patterson is recuperating from serious injuries he suffered in an auto accident.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Oakland County's chief executive is still recuperating from surgery after suffering serous injuries from an auto accident last Friday afternoon.

Initial reports indicate he and his driver were not wearing seat belts.

From Oakland County's Daily Tribune:

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and his driver, James Cram, were not wearing seat belts at the time of a serious car crash Friday, according to Auburn Hills Police Department’s preliminary findings.

The Tribune reports Patterson suffered from "two broken wrists, broken ribs, a gash to the head and a broken femur." He underwent more surgery yesterday at McLaren Oakland Hospital.

The office of L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement that Patterson was resting comfortably and doctors reported that the surgery went well.

Patterson's leased Chrysler 300 was being driven by a 60-year-old former state police trooper, James Cram, who suffered serious injuries.

The crash is still under investigation.

Car accident
8:44 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Oakland County chief recovering after crash

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Oakland County's top elected official is in stable condition after suffering several broken bones and a gash to his scalp in a two-car crash in suburban Detroit.

Officials at McLaren Health Center in Pontiac say 74-year-old L. Brooks Patterson remained hospitalized Saturday, one day after the car he was riding in collided with another vehicle in Auburn Hills.

Patterson underwent surgery Friday night to repair broken bones.

Dr. Tressa Gardner, director of emergency services at McLaren, tells The Detroit News that Patterson is "doing great."

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Health
3:26 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

First 2012 West Nile Virus case confirmed in SE Michigan man

user Filiford MorgueFile.com

Oakland County health officials say they've received Michigan Department of Community Health confirmation of West Nile virus in a 44-year-old man, the first such case reported in the state this year.

Today, the Oakland County Health Division announced that the man was hospitalized earlier this month after showing symptoms and he is now at home recovering.

On July 3, the MDCH announced it detected the virus in a mosquito pool sample in Saginaw County, and a wild turkey in Washtenaw County.

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Economy
2:40 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Report: Oakland Co. experienced "torrid" growth in 2011

Oakland County’s economy had a “red hot” year in 2011. That’s according to a report by economists at the University of Michigan.

The county added more than 23,426 jobs last year. The economists who prepared the report say they expect the recovery to continue in the next three years – although at a more modest clip.

Politics
12:56 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Federal court dismisses Michigan redistricting case

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A federal court has tossed out a challenge to Michigan's redistricting plans for the state Legislature.

An order last week from a three-judge panel says the legal opposition to the new districts was "too factually
underdeveloped" to proceed.

The new boundaries are based on Census counts and begin with this year's elections.

Civil rights groups and Democrats sued late last year to challenge new boundaries for Detroit seats in the state House. Opponents said the map forces black incumbents to run against each other and dilutes the political representation of Hispanics.

Melvin Hollowell, an attorney for the NAACP and others who sued in the case, said Monday possible next steps are under review.

Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger said the ruling affirms that the Legislature drew fair and legal maps.

Commentary
10:35 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Commentary: Republican Arrogance of Power

For the last fifteen months, Republicans have controlled everything in sight in Lansing -- the House, the Senate, the governor’s office and the Supreme Court.

They have the majorities to pass essentially anything they want, and even if something is constitutionally controversial, they are secure in the knowledge that it’s almost certain that the disgracefully partisan Michigan Supreme Court will rule in their favor.

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Economy
1:05 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Fannie and Freddie might have to cough up millions to Michigan

Oakland County Treasurer Andrew Meisner says homes like this one, sold in foreclosure by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are costing the state and county millions in lost tax revenues.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Oakland County Treasurer Andrew Meisner filed a lawsuit against federally backed mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last year.

He claimed they were dodging taxes.

And he won.

The result could mean millions of dollars in revenue - provided the case wins an expected appeal from the mortgage companies.

It's an appeal that's expected since other counties and states around the country are watching this case, and would love to line up and take their share of tax revenue from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

So what taxes are they dodging?

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Politics
7:03 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Shenanigans in Oakland County: One of the best political shows in Michigan

Matthileo Capitol Flickr

Update 3/27/2012:

"The Michigan Supreme Court - in a decision that breaks along party-lines -  has upheld a state law that will let Republicans on the Oakland County Commission redraw their district lines. The Supreme Court says the law complies with the state constitution, regardless of whether it was designed to give one party a political advantage. The Supreme Court's three Democrats dissented from the decision," Rick Pluta reports.

Original Post 3/23/2012:

This week, Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, and I decided to take a look at the political shenanigans playing out in Oakland County.

The Back-story

“There is a fight between Oakland County politicians – Democrats versus Republicans. It’s about the murky, dirty, filthy process of drawing new district lines for politicians to run in. In Oakland County, [the redrawing] is done by a bi-partisan panel. In this case, it’s a panel that has more Democrats than Republicans and the Democrats drew a map that the Republicans didn’t like,” Pluta explains.

So, some Republican lawmakers from Oakland County decided to have the state legislature change the redrawing rules. They devised a measure to allow the County Commission, which is controlled by Republicans, to redraw the lines. The measure was then passed by the state’s Republican-controlled House and Senate and signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder.

Democrats cried foul. They challenged the new law and, last month, Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette overturned it. Collette ruled the law violated the Michigan Constitution and that the governor and the Legislature illegally interfered in a local political question.

The question over the legality of the law made its way to the state’s highest court this week. On Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides.

Politically-motivated maps

Republicans all along contended that the reason for the new law was to save taxpayers money. Democrats, and many pundits, said it was pure politics: that the GOP changed the rules so that Republican dominance on the County Board wouldn’t be challenged. But, this kind of claim is always hard to prove. Hard to prove… unless you have emails.

Busted: GOP emails released

This week, emails between Republican Oakland County officials and GOP lawmakers were released after the Oakland County Democratic Party filed a Freedom of Information Act. The emails appear to show, “officials in the offices of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s office and state Representatives – primarily Rep. Eileen Kowall – basically plotting and trying to find a rationale to kick this redistricting process back over to the County Commission where Republicans would control it,” Pluta explains.

‘It’s gonna be ugly’

In one email, Rep. Kowall wrote, “I guess it would also help to have (a) legitimate explanation as to why we waited until now, after redistricting plans have been submitted, to take these bills up.” She also wrote, “The quicker things move the better, ’cause it’s gonna be ugly.”

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Politics
8:41 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court upholds Oakland Co. redistricting

The Michigan Supreme Court - in a decision that breaks along party-lines -  has upheld a state law that will let Republicans on the Oakland County Commission redraw their district lines. The Supreme Court says the law complies with the state constitution, regardless of whether it was designed to give one party a political advantage. The Supreme Court's three Democrats dissented from the decision.

Last week, Zoe Clark and I took a look at the political shenanigans behind the Oakland County controversy. You can find that story here.

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Politics
3:51 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court to weigh in on Oakland County redistricting controversy

The Michigan Supreme Court hears arguments tomorrow over a state law allowing Republicans to draw county commission boundaries in Oakland County.  

Just released emails seem to show Oakland County Republicans tried to circumvent the rules to maintain control of the county commission.

“Clearly there has been a collusionary attempt on the part of the Republican legislators in this body from Oakland County," says Vicki Barnett, a Democratic state lawmaker from Farmington Hills. 

Barnett says it’s a “major breach of trust in the government system”. 

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Election 2012
11:07 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Voters in Genesee and Oakland Counties fill vacant state house seats

State Representative-elect Joe Graves talks to his supporters after winning Tuesday's special election
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Tuesday’s election did not change the balance of power in the state house. 

Two vacant state house seats were up for grabs.

Voters in Genesee County filled a vacant state house seat on Tuesday.   The seat was made vacant last fall by a union-backed campaign that succeeded in recalling Republican Paul Scott.

Last night, Republican Joe Graves defeated Democrat Steve Losey to serve out the final year of Scott’s unfinished term.     

Graves says his message of jobs lead to the victory.

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Politics
10:08 am
Sat February 25, 2012

A pair of Michigan State House seats on the line in Tuesday's election

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Election season gets off to an early start this year for the Michigan House.

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in two districts to fill vacancies left by former lawmakers. One seat covers a portion of Genesee County, while the other covers part of Oakland County.

The winners would have to run again to get full, two-year terms later in the year.

Republicans enter the 2012 election season with a 62-46 advantage over Democrats in the House.

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