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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Trump supporters wait in the rain.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is in Michigan today. People lined up in the rain hours before Trump is scheduled to speak at a venue in Oakland County.

Lisa Gustin has been to five Trump events, including one in Toledo, Ohio. This time she brought her 14-year-old son, Gabriel.

Gabriel can’t vote yet, but says he’s active because he likes the Republicans’ vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence

“I’m in it because I’ve been into politics since I was born practically.”

Stateside 9.30.2016

Sep 30, 2016

 

Today we take a look at just how different Republicans and Democrats really are. And, we hear how a neglected Jewish cemetery in Detroit is gaining new life.

“While the Democratic Party is fundamentally a group coalition, the Republican Party can be most accurately characterized as the vehicle of an ideological movement," Grossmann writes.
flickr user DonkeyHotey / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

This election year has a lot of people scratching their heads.

Many just can’t wrap their heads around how or why two people who are not that well liked - according to the polls - are the nominees of the major parties.

And it seems that Republicans and Democrats just can’t understand why the people in the opposite party think the things they do.

There’s a new book that looks at how the parties and their supporters are different and tries to help make sense of American politics today.

The book is Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats, written by David Hopkins and Matt Grossmann.

The Detroit News is one of several newspapers that have traditionally endorsed the Republican nominee, but have decided against it this year.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

It's time for another political roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas.

This week Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a legal opinion that poorly performing schools in Detroit can be closed at the end of the year, which runs counter to what Governor Snyder’s office has been saying.

The Snyder administration concluded that since the schools are part of a newly created district, they have three years before the state could step in and close the worst-performing schools.

Just another example of the attorney general and the governor butting heads.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell says the opportunity is a "game-changer" when it comes to how the city approaches its future.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Last week, City Commissioner Matt Milcarek joined Stateside to talk about his reservations about a $70 million gift and future private money that the city of Kalamazoo received to help fund city services. It’s called the Foundation for Excellence.

Milcarek expressed his concern about whether city government should be so reliant on private donations, and whether city employees would feel answerable to the people and their elected representatives or to the wealthy donors on whom the city might depend.

Other commission members support accepting the gift and the additional hundreds of millions of dollars to follow. David Anderson is one of them and he joined Stateside to explain his view.

Participatory budgeting is "a democratic process in which residents directly decide how to spend part of a city's budget," Michelle Monsegur told us.
flickr user Costa Constantinides / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


What if you were given a chance to vote on where your city spends its money?

There are many cities or wards doing exactly that. – people in the community annually choosing whether to spend money fixing sidewalks, paving streets, putting up an art installation, or maybe sprucing up a park.

It’s called "participatory budgeting." This week officials from the Cambridge, Massachusetts budget department are in Michigan talking with Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor officials about how it works.

Republican presidential candidate at a campaign stop in Warren, Michigan.
Jake Neher / MPRN

Donald Trump is coming back to Michigan today. The Republican presidential nominee is holding a rally at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

Michigan Governor's office

Lt. Governor Brian Calley is returning from a seven-day trade mission to the U.K. and Ireland.

It's the Snyder administration's first-ever trade mission to the U.K. and Ireland. 

Calley says his focus was on discussing Michigan's wealth of talent in engineering, IT, and skilled trades.  The state no longer offers long-term tax breaks to lure foreign businesses, but Calley says that kind of incentive isn't really necessary.

Stateside 9.29.2016

Sep 29, 2016

Today we hear from the editors of two conservative papers that have broken long traditions of endorsing the Republican candidate for president. And, we learn about the business side of Motown's worldwide success.

Flickr user Keith Kissel / Flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit News broke its 143-year tradition today of endorsing the Republican candidate for president by endorsing Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Congressman Moolenaar said this approval comes at a good time, following the release of a study this month that showed almost twice as many of Flint’s water lines may need to be replaced than originally thought.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

It’s been over a year since the water crisis in Flint became international news.

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved $170 million to go towards replacing lead water pipe lines in Flint.

The Flint funding amendment to the Water Resources Development Act was co-sponsored by Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

To fight the system, ignore it and innovate now

Sep 29, 2016
history.nasa.gov

The Next Idea

Recently, a bright young colleague of mine alerted me to a meeting of the minds at a top technology institution. The event was to be a discussion of breakthrough research and innovative ideas that are flying under the radar. So I joined the online conference just in time to hear a web feed of CIA computer analyst turned whistleblower Edward Snowden giving a rather unremarkable account of the authoritarian state of things here in the land of the free.

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress is closer to giving Flint tens of millions of dollars to fix its lead-tainted tap water system.

Before it left town on Wednesday, the U.S. House approved a water infrastructure spending bill. The bill was amended yesterday to include $170 million for Flint.

The House approved its version of the Water Resources Development Act by a vote of 284 to 141.

Wayne County / via Wayne County

The structural condition of an unfinished county jail in downtown Detroit will be assessed as part of plans to complete the project.

Wayne County officials expect the assessment to be completed by late November.

An estimated $151 million has been spent for acquisition and design of the jail along Gratiot Avenue. Work stopped in 2013 due to the project's cost going over what was budgeted.

The uncompleted project costs the County about $1.29 million each month in bond interest and other costs like security and storage, according to a County spokesperson.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Looks like we've got another tug of war between Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

At stake? Whether failing schools within the new Detroit Public Schools Community District can be shut down at the end of this school year.

Today, Attorney General Bill Schuette issued his legal opinion on the matter and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief, joined us to explain what went down.

Image of the U.S. Capitol
user EFF Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan congressmen helped craft a funding solution for Flint’s water crisis that might avert a federal government shutdown.

Democrats are opposing a continuing budget resolution unless money to replace Flint’s pipes is included.   Without the resolution, the federal government would shut down at the end of the month.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate rejected a spending bill on Tuesday to keep the government running through December 9.

A majority of Democrats voted "no" because the bill didn't contain money to help Flint.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about the impact that could have on the upcoming election. They also discuss Donald Trump's Michigan references in the first presidential debate and calls to reduce recidivism from Hillary Clinton and Gov. Rick Snyder.

Stateside 9.27.2016

Sep 27, 2016

Trump and Clinton talked about race last night. Today, we hear from two politically involved black women about what they heard and what they liked. And, we discuss why groups representing Michigan farmers say we need the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State government has been distracted by the water contamination crisis it created in Flint, by the financial problems in Detroit schools, and the day-to-day issues that are just a natural part of running a huge operation in a large state. One issue that’s been set aside often – the proverbial “kicking the can down the road” – is underfunded pension plans and health care costs for retirees.

At the state level, Governor Snyder implemented a plan early in his first term to chip away at the problem. At the local level, most cities have been struggling with cutting services and just paying the bills. The idea of trying to catch up on putting more money into pension plans or setting aside money for growing retiree health care costs don’t seem to be as pressing. The result: A looming financial disaster for many cities and counties.

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: 9/28/2016 2:50 p.m.

There appears to be a compromise on funding for Flint that would avoid a potential partial shutdown of the government.  House Republicans say they will allow a vote on U.S. Representative Dan Kildee's amendment to the Water Resources Development Act, providing $170 million to help Flint deal with a lead-tainted water system.

U.S. Senator Gary issued the following statement:

“The people of Flint have waited far too long for Congress to act and finally help put them on the road to recovery. House Republican leadership refused to even go on record supporting Flint as recently as Monday, and I am pleased that under pressure from Senate and House Democrats they are now indicating some willingness to help Flint. I will continue pushing to pass our carefully crafted, fully paid-for agreement that passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support as part of WRDA or another legislative vehicle. I have said that Congress can and should help both flooding victims and Flint residents, and I cannot support a government funding bill that prioritizes one state’s emergency over another’s.”

9/27/16

Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted against a bill to keep the federal government funded through December 9, sending the bill to defeat.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow said the bill included $500 million to help victims of flooding in Louisiana, while ignoring residents of Flint, whose water was tainted with lead two years ago.  

Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio/lawrence.house.gov

 

The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was held last night. A large segment of the debate was about racial healing in the United States.   

Both candidates have been pursuing African-American and Latino voters.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence and Linda Lee Tarver, co-chair of the Trump-Pence Michigan African American Advisory Committee, joined us today to take a look back at last night’s debate.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she won’t “get in the mud” with city council members accusing her of acting like “a dictator”.

Council members say they won’t take up any of the mayor’s proposals for 30 days, as a protest to her recent unilateral decisions.

Weaver questions the council’s actions.

“If you want to hold up the city, if you think that’s in the best interest of the people, then that’s on you,” says Weaver. “I’ve got to stay focused on doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Trump says Ford leaving America, but company fires back

Sep 27, 2016
"For Republicans who have not distanced themselves from Trump, it may be too late," Demas told us.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

During last night's presidential debate, Donald Trump's opening statement included his remark that Michigan is losing thousands of jobs and that Ford is leaving Michigan for other countries like Mexico. 

“So Ford is leaving. You see that their small car division [is] leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They’re all leaving. And we can’t allow it to happen anymore,” he said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A dispute between Flint’s mayor and city council over who’ll pick up the city’s trash is headed back to court.

For months, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been at odds with a majority of the city council over trash pick-up. She wants to hire a new company. The council wants the old one to continue.

Last week, Mayor Karen Weaver hired a new company, Rizzo Environmental Services, to empty Flint trash cans. It started Monday. 

Stateside 9.26.2016

Sep 26, 2016

Today, we discuss why the state's unregulated septic system could be a problem. And, we hear the former emergency manager of Benton Harbor explain why the strategy doesn't work for school districts.

donkey and elephant standing on american flag
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump face off in their first presidential debate tonight.

One Michigan group hopes to hear the candidates discuss “family economic” issues.

It’s like November in September as absentee ballots in Michigan are in the mail and, for some, voting has already begun.

If history is any guide, about a quarter of Michigan voters will vote using an absentee ballot, even though some will probably lie to do it because not everyone can legally cast an absentee ballot in Michigan.

A Tesla electronic car at a charging station
Austin Kirk / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack and I look at a lawsuit in which Michigan and 20 other states seek to block a new federal rule that expands overtime eligibility for white-collar workers.

We also discuss a bill that would require more transparency from state lawmakers, and electronic car maker Tesla's lawsuit against the state of Michigan.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A year after Flint's tap water was exposed as a source of dangerous levels of lead, residents are still grappling with the man-made public health crisis.

  A year ago Saturday, doctors discovered high amounts of the toxin in children and warned against using the Flint River water. Local health officials declared an emergency and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder confirmed there were "serious issues."

  In addition criminal investigations, the crisis has sparked congressional hearings, lawsuits and scrutiny of lead testing across the country.

Stateside 9.23.2016

Sep 23, 2016

Today, in the next rendition of Songs from Studio East, we hear ancient Ethiopian music with a modern twist. And, we learn about headwraps, including why people wear them and what's behind the politics of dress.

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