Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Today, we hear how Traverse City became a top destination for famous authors. And, we learn why the Boeing 747 once stationed at Willow Run Airport never flew a single flight.

“Here we have business leaders and politicians … who are staking the future on being the next hub of mobility, the national if not international hub of mobility, yet we’ve got public schools whose educational attainment continues to decline," Howes said.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


We’re 12 days out from Election Day.

Throughout the long months of campaign speeches, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes believes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have missed the mark in addressing an issue that is key to Michigan’s future.

In his column today, he wrote that the candidates and their surrogates are putting out a message that better fits the Carter era than the era of Apple and autonomous vehicles.

Mike Jackson feels that Proposal A could make Detroit less attractive to developers.
flickr user Ken Lund / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


Detroiters will find two community benefits proposals on the ballot this Election Day.

A CBO would require developers who get public support for their projects, like tax breaks, to provide certain benefits to the community.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims there will be “large-scale voter fraud” this election. But election officials say they’re confident that will not be the case in Michigan. 

“We want to assure everyone, regardless of their political ideology or their partisan affiliation that their voice will be heard on election day and their voice will be counted,” said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Woodhams says this isn’t the first election he’s fielded these concerns, and guesses it won’t be the last.

Volunteers learn the ropes of poll watching during a meeting this week in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Training is underway this week in Michigan for people planning to be poll watchers during next month’s election.

Complaints of rigged voting and voter intimidation have spurred people to volunteer as poll watchers.

Veterans Day in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill Wednesday that requires the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, its successor agency, or the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) to send reports to the governor and Legislature four times a year. The reports must examine issues like timeliness of medication distribution, how patient’s money is accounted for, and staffing levels.

Representative Holly Hughes, R-White River Twp., was a sponsor of the bill. She said the reporting is necessary given the constant turnover in state government.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s elected leaders once again have the ability to file a lawsuit against the state for its handling of the city’s water crisis.

Today, the city’s state-appointed oversight board reversed a policy that effectively blocked the city from filing lawsuits.  

Back in March, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver filed a notice with the court, saying the city was potentially looking at suing the state of Michigan for decisions and mistakes made by state employees that led to Flint’s drinking water crisis.

Today, we discuss how much voice people should have in their neighborhood's development. Plus, we learn what Affordable Care Act premium increases mean for Michigan.

“It’s really simple. Proposal A says if we have to pay, we should have a say,” Ross told us.
flickr user justgrimes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


How much voice should people have about a development proposed for their neighborhood?

When a developer gets tax breaks or public funding, should the people living around that project get something?

Those questions are at the heart of a pair of a proposals in Detroit.The two competing community benefit ordinances, or CBOs, are on the November ballot.

"It’s not perfect, it does need to be fixed," said Udow-Phillips on the Affordable Care Act. "But it’s a place to start from.”
Flickr user/Images Money / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Word came from the federal government this week: premiums for popular health plans sold on healthcare.gov are going up an average of 25% next year.

And, depending on where you live, you may have fewer choices when shopping on the exchange.

Balloons drop at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
PBS NewsHour / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In big election years like this one, the two major parties typically host election night parties where candidates and party officials gather to hopefully celebrate their victories.

But this year, there will be no big party for the Michigan Republican Party. 

More from Chad Livengood of the Detroit News:

Garbage truck in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As expected, the Flint City Council last night approved a multi-million dollar, one-year contract for the city’s trash pick-up.

The city’s state oversight board is expected to give the deal its approval. The contract would pay Republic Services $3.7 million, and carries an option for an additional year.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver wanted to use a different company, Rizzo Environmental Services for the city's trash pickup. Councilman Scott Kincaid fought against Weaver to keep Republic Services on the job.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Kalamazoo City Commissioners voted Monday night in support of a public-private partnership they hope will stabilize the budget, lower property taxes and fund “aspirational projects” as early as next year.

The donation comes from two local businessmen and philanthropists. Both have ties to the Kalamazoo-based medical device manufacturing giant Stryker Corporation. One is heir to the Upjohn Company.

They’re offering the major donation to help stabilize Kalamazoo’s budget. The city was considering an income tax to help close a deficit.

Left: SUZANNA SHKRELI FOR CONGRESS/FACEBOOK Right: mikebishop.house.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Obama is endorsing Democratic candidates for Congress, and a Michigan candidate is among them.

The president publicly endorsed 30 Congressional candidates Monday, including the 8th District’s Suzanna Shkreli.

Shkreli was a late addition to the ballot after actress Melissa Gilbert withdrew for health reasons in late May. She is hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Mike Bishop.

Shkreli says she thinks her focus on working class families grabbed the president’s attention.

“This whole election, it’s being rigged.” That’s the message coming from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. And, there are certainly some Trump supporters who believe it.

But, is there any truth to that claim? Can an election be rigged the way Trump seems to be suggesting?

Today we learn about Stingray, a surveillance device that gives law enforcement access to phones. And we explore how people talk about mental wellbeing, and the stigma that surrounds it.

According to Stephanie Lacambra, a cell-site simulator like the Stingray can gather data from all phones within a 200 to 500 meter radius.
Public Domain


Federal agents recently revealed that the key to tracking down a low-level accused drug dealer in Wayne County was a device that’s been used in the war on terror.

It’s called Stingray, and it helped police track down and arrest suspected drug dealer Daiven Hollinshed of Inkster.

We asked Michigan candidates running for Congress these 4 questions

Oct 24, 2016
Map of Michigan's congressional districts. Red highlighted districts are currently represented by a Republican while blue highlighted districts are currently represented by a Democrat.
Bryce Huffman / CartoDB.com

All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election on November 8th. Michigan holds 14 of those seats (at one time, Michigan held 19 seats in the House). Each congressional district has a population of approximately 710,000 people, according to the U.S. Census.

See the map below for the current makeup of Michigan's congressional districts. Hover over your area to see what district you live in, and click on your district to see who is running.

Longtime Progressive Activist Tom Hayden Dies At 76

Oct 24, 2016

Tom Hayden, a radical activist and advocate for progressive causes, died Sunday at the age of 76.

In the early 1960s, Hayden was a freedom rider in the South and a community organizer in Newark. He was a civil rights activist who became famous for his anti-war efforts and made several high-profile (and later controversial) trips to Vietnam. He was a founding member of the Students for a Democratic Society and wrote the first draft of the influential activist group's manifesto, the Port Huron Statement.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote on a new trash pick-up contract Monday.

For weeks, two competing garbage hauling companies have been emptying Flint’s trash cans.   

Flint’s mayor and city council spent months arguing over which company should get the contract. A majority of the city council wanted to keep Republic Services. Mayor Karen Weaver insisted her choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, had a lower bid.

After weeks of court ordered negotiations, city leaders agreed to give Republic Services a one-year contract.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s little more than two weeks left before the November 8 election.

Recent polls have shown Democrat Hillary Clinton holding a double-digit lead in Michigan.

Stephen Neuman is the senior adviser for the Michigan coordinated campaign. 

He says they are now looking to use those poll numbers to help Democrats down the ballot.

“We are working to include targeted House races, both targeted state House and congressional races, on the various scripts we use both on the phones and at the doors,” says Neuman.


Next month, voters in four southeastern counties will decide if they want to pay a new tax to fund a regional public transportation plan.

The 20-year transit millage will generate about $3 billion to pay for expanded bus service and light-rail train connections. The 1.2 mill tax rate would cost the average taxpayer about $120 annually.

Ned Staebler is with ‘Citizens for Connecting our Communities”. He says the campaign is stepping up its efforts in the final weeks before the election.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The last presidential debate is over, and a light is starting to appear at the end of the election season tunnel. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about whether we'll see much more campaign action in Michigan before voters cast their ballots. We also discuss the ousting of the state Republican Party's grassroots chair over her refusal to back Donald Trump, and a big step toward financial health in Wayne County.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next month, voters in Traverse City will decide if they should have a say whether there will be taller buildings in town.

The proposed charter change on the November 8th ballot would require a public vote on plans for buildings taller than 60 feet.

Jay Zelenock is with the group Save Our Downtown.  He says they are not opposed to new tall buildings.  But Zelenock says people in Traverse City are worried about the aesthetic of their community.  He also worries about tax breaks given to developers.

user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder faces a decision soon on whether to sign or veto a bill he doesn’t like. It deals with how the state raises money for the Medicaid program. A plan adopted by the Legislature scraps a tax on health insurance claims. The bill would replace it with a complicated new funding system.


Snyder administration officials say the federal government would probably reject it, and deny the state many millions of Medicaid dollars. But legislative leaders want to push the issue.


Today, we look at the 1971 Attica prison uprising and what we can learn from it today. And, we learn about how 3D printing is changing manufacturing.

Ken Sikkema says if Donald Trump loses the presidential election there will be some who will say he lost the election himself, but others will say he lost the election because Republicans didn't support him.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is putting members of his own party in Michigan in a tough spot. With slumping poll numbers, there are some concerns that he could have a negative impact on down-ballot races in the Great Lakes State.

With Trump at the top of the ticket, what is the state of the Michigan Republican Party? There's party infighting, concerns about possibly losing the state House in November, and some candidates simply refusing to endorse or even answer questions about their party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump. 

Highland Park schools get new emergency manager

Oct 21, 2016
bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
user alkruse24 / Flickr

The Highland Park School District is getting its sixth emergency manager in nearly five years.

Kevin Smith replaces Steve Schiller, who was appointed in February, 2016, and also serves as emergency manager for Muskegon Heights schools.

In a press release from the Department of Treasury, Governor Rick Snyder said Smith’s 18 years of experience in public finance and restructuring makes him a good fit for the position in Highland Park.

Today, the state's GOP chairman responds to Trump's stance on election results. And, we hear the performance of a spooky, old-time radio play.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the days leading up to last night's third and final presidential debate, a question was put to key members of Donald Trump's team: Would he support the results of the election?

Running mate Mike Pence, daughter Ivanka Trump and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway all said yes, Trump would uphold the results.

That echoed what Trump himself said in the first debate when moderator Lester Holt asked him the same question.

“I’m going to be able to do it,” Trump said. “I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is if she wins, I will absolutely support her.”