Politics & Government

Politics & Government
8:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

GOP establishment backs challenger in the 3rd district, but voters don’t seem to care

Congressman Justin Amash walks in the Ionia Couty Free Fair parade in July 2014.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The race to become the republican candidate for Michigan’s conservative 3rd congressional district is a flip of other races across the country. In this race, the tea party favorite is the incumbent, Congressman Justin Amash. So the primary has become a battle over who’s the true conservative and who can get things done in Washington.

Amash’s independent streak: love it or hate it

Congressman Justin Amash is more of a libertarian than your standard republican. He wants a smaller federal government. He’s buddies with Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Detroit has put water shutoffs on "pause"--but not across the board

The Detroit water department recently announced a temporary break in its campaign to cut service to delinquent customers—but some people are still being shut off.

Last week, water officials agreed to a 15-day “pause” in water shutoffs, which have ramped up since March as the department tries to collect millions in delinquent payments.

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Politics & Government
7:52 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

At the last minute, Detroit looks for community benefit guarantees with new bridge plan

A depiction of the planned New International Trade Crossing.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr got the City Council to delay a key vote that paves the way for a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor.

The Council was supposed to vote Monday on whether to transfer about 300 city-owned properties to the Michigan Land Bank for $1.4 million as part of the New International Trade Crossing project.

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Stateside
4:43 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Stateside for Monday, July 28, 2014

Stateside for Monday, July 28, 2014.

Today on Stateside:

·         For every dollar a Michigan candidate spends in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50. Why should we care?

·         Academic research is being misused, and academics' words have been twisted in the media and by politicians. Andrew Hoffman joined Stateside to discuss this disturbing trend.

·         Sweet corn is coming in later in the season, due to the cold spring. 

·         With John Dingell retiring, his wife Debbie Dingell is running in the Democratic primary to take his place.

·         A bill to certify Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (ARPN) would allow nurses to work more independently from physicians, and could allow them to write prescriptions and refer patients to specialists.

*Listen to the full show above. Lester Graham is sitting in for Cynthia Canty this week. 

Stateside
4:38 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Outside groups are spending more money on campaign ads

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Lester chats with Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler.

A recent report shows that for every dollar spent by a Michigan candidate in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50. Another way to look at it: of the $18 million spent on TV campaign ads in the first half of this year, outside groups contributed $14 million.

What are the consequences of outside money in Michigan political campaigns, and who are these groups?

To answer those questions, Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler joined Lester Graham on Stateside. Robinson is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  Spangler is a correspondent with the Detroit Free Press.

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Stateside
12:35 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Why aren't more university researchers engaging with the public?

Credit Brian Stepherd / Flickr

Lester Graham chats with Andy Hoffman about why some researchers shy away from engaging with the public and the media.

In the last two or three decades, public discussions seem to have shifted from looking to scholars, scientists, the researchers and experts at universities to help inform the debate to relying on politicians, spinmeisters and people with microphones determining what is sound science.

All those university professors have been busy publishing in journals which other researchers read. But rigorous published research doesn't always make it to the public at large, or if it does, it's distorted by news media, pundits, or just loudmouths who twist research to support their own beliefs.

Andrew Hoffman joined us to discuss this disturbing trend. He’s a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He teaches and researches business sustainability.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
12:01 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Arab American group wants investigation into Dearborn Heights city clerk

Accusations are coming in against the Dearborn Heights clerk's office.
Credit Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

Update: we've now obtained the city clerk's (now rescinded) resignation letter from July 22, and we've updated the story to include the information it provides. 

Something “fishy” is going on at the Dearborn Heights city clerk's office.

That's how the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee puts it.

They say they're getting dozens of complaints from Arab Americans who tried to get absentee ballots in Dearborn Heights – and ran into trouble at the city clerk’s office.

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Stateside
11:17 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Debbie Dingell wants to be your next congresswoman

Debbie Dingell
Credit Atlantic Council / Flickr

Lester Graham speaks with Debbie Dingell about her campaign.

It’s an election year and the primary elections will be held August 5th.  With the retirement of John Dingell, the 12th Congressional district is an open seat. His wife, Deborah Dingell, is running for that seat in the Democratic primary against Ypsilanti attorney Raymond G. Mullins.

Debbie Dingell joined Stateside today to talk about her campaign.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
11:04 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Those who want to outlaw publications over sexually explicit ads should study Constitution first

Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University.

She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. 

Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism.

They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like.

Three years ago, I got a friendly email from Ms. Lavigne telling me she had now founded a marijuana film club.

Well, Andrea Lavigne has a new cause now: She wants to get the city of Grosse Pointe Park to outlaw the weekly newspaper, The Metro Times, because it has sexually oriented ads. 

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Politics & Government
11:03 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Detroit regional bus system's future will be decided on August 5th ballot

Credit via smartbus.org

Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties face a crucial millage proposal on the August 5th ballot that could decide the future of the region’s mass transit system.

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) is southeast Michigan’s only bus system outside the city of Detroit.

SMART covers by far the largest square mileage of Michigan’s mass transit systems, but has the lowest millage rate supporting it.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Republicans & Democrats vying for Michigan's open 8th congressional district seat

Rep. Mike Rogers announced earlier this year that he was leaving Congress for a career in radio.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Republican Congressman Mike Rogers’ decision to retire from his 8th congressional district seat is leaving a void that Michigan Democrats hope to fill.

The 8th congressional district stretches over parts of Oakland, Livingston, Ingham, Shiawassee and Clinton counties.   And since 2001, Mike Rogers has kept it safely in the Republican column.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Long-term Democrat challenged in Michigan's 13th Congressional primary race

Democratic Congressman John Conyers Jr. talks with Michigan Radio's Lester Graham. Conyers is facing a challenge in the 13th District primary.

Primary elections in Michigan will be held on August 5. Voters in parts of Detroit and Wayne County will decide between two Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional District. The incumbent is John Conyers Jr. The challenger is The Rev. Horace Sheffield III.

Before we start talking about 2014, let me take you back 50 years:

“In your heart, you know he’s right. Vote for Barry Goldwater.”

“Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.”

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Politics & Government
11:43 am
Sun July 27, 2014

Lansing city leaders are being asked to welcome undocumented child immigrants

A coalition of religious leaders and immigration activists are urging the Lansing City Council to approve a resolution welcoming undocumented child immigrants
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week,  activists will ask Lansing city leaders to adopt a resolution welcoming thousands of undocumented children who’ve entered the U.S. this year.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 50,000 children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have crossed the southern United States border illegally. Most remain in overcrowded detention centers as their immigration status is reviewed.     

During the past month, anti-immigration groups have held vocal protests against efforts to bring undocumented children to Michigan. 

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Politics & Government
9:02 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

Proposal 1 asks Michigan voters to weigh in on a complex tax issue

The personal property tax in Michigan is a tax on the equipment and machines that businesses use.
Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities YouTube

First, let's get a little griping out of the way.

Just look what your Michigan Legislature is asking you to decipher when you step into the voting booth on August 5:

There are many problems with this language.

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Politics & Government
3:59 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Groups ask for pardon of Flint man held by Iran

Amir Hekmati
Credit courtesy of FreeAmir.org

A Muslim advocacy group is asking the Iranian government to pardon a Michigan it convicted of spying for the U.S. government.

Amir Hekmati is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Three years ago, he traveled to Iran to visit his extended family. Hekmati is from Flint.

But when he arrived he was arrested and convicted of "cooperating with hostile governments." He's been in prison ever since.

Now, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other other groups are asking the Iranian government to pardon Hekmati.

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It's Just Politics
1:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Lt. Gov. Calley’s future could be decided on the bottom of the August ballot

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

 There are some big stakes in the primary elections less than two weeks away, and fierce fights over congressional and legislative nominations are getting a lot of attention.

Not that it’s likely to boost what is usually anemic turnout in the primaries, and that’s despite the reality that most seats are so firmly partisan that the primary is actually the decisive election that really determines who goes to Lansing or Washington.

Like other politicos, we’ve paid a lot of attention to the face-off between the Republican establishment and the GOP’s Tea Party wing. And while that fight is playing out in some state House and Senate races, and some big Congressional races, it’s also playing out locally. Very locally.

We’re talking about the humble precinct delegate.

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Politics & Government
5:36 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Major changes proposed to Flint governance

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley holds a copy of a blue ribbon committee's report calling for major changes to Flint city government.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city government may undergo some major changes, if the recommendations from a blue ribbon committee become reality.

Before the governor appointed an emergency manager to run the city of Flint in 2011, the city’s mayor ran much of the city’s day-to-day business.   The city council, ombudsman and civil service office also held significant control.

When Flint eventually emerges from state oversight, someone else could be calling the shots.

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Weekly Political Roundup
5:00 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

ACA ruling and its impact on Michigan

Credit Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

This week two separate federal appeals court rulings came down on opposite sides of a key provision in the Affordable Care Act. This leaves thousands of low and middle income Michiganders who signed up for healthcare through Michigan’s exchange in a bit of limbo. 

Jennifer White, host of All Things Considered, is joined by Marianne Udow Phillips, Director, Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. 

Phillips states that although these rulings were issued nothing is going to change immediately and that it is important to understand that the legal rulings will take time to play out. 

“It would have a huge impact and it would really push the whole system into chaos,” explains Phillips. “There are 240,000 in Michigan who have already gotten health insurance coverage through the health insurance exchange with a subsidy, and so were they to lose that subsidy, almost all of them would not be able to afford healthcare coverage.” 

Sikkema states that it is a very polarizing topic and coupled with an election year, politicians and candidates have honed in on the issue. “It already is a big political issue; it’s the primary political issue for Republicans who are running for office” says Sikkema, “but it’s really hard to look in your crystal ball and see what the future of the Affordable Care Act is going to be.”

Politics & Government
3:46 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

State board rejects petition to raise Michigan's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour

Credit sushi ina / flickr

A state elections board has rejected a petition to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in a 3 to 1 vote.

The Board of State Canvassers says the campaign failed to collect enough valid signatures to move forward.

John Pirich is with the group opposing the minimum wage proposal. He praised the board for throwing out dozens of duplicate signatures.

“I’m 100% confident that what we’ve shown them in terms of duplication will be confirmed by any review of any of them.”

Groups that support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could challenge the decision in court. They say the elections board went out of its way to throw out petition signatures.

*This post has been updated.

Politics & Government
11:25 am
Thu July 24, 2014

State elections board approves petition to allow wolf hunting in Michigan's UP

A wolf in a snow storm at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Larry McGahey Flickr

A petition that would allow future wolf hunts in the Upper Peninsula is headed to the state Legislature.

The initiative would allow the hunts regardless of how two anti-wolf hunting referendums turn out.

A state elections board approved almost 300,000 petition signatures for the proposal today.

State lawmakers have 40 days to pass the measure. Otherwise, it will go on the statewide ballot in November.

Bob LaBrant is with the group that gathered the signatures. He says it’s clear the Legislature supports wolf hunting and will approve the measure.

“We think the Legislature, who’s already dealt with this subject twice only to be frustrated by referendums, will prevail in the end.”

The petition could still be challenged in court. Opponents of wolf hunting say it deals with too many issues unrelated to wolf hunting.

*This post has been updated.

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