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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Courtesy photo / City of Flint

Long-time Flint City Councilman Scott Kincaid plans to run against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in her November recall election.

Kincaid is already on the November ballot for his 9th Ward seat. He says he could potentially win both the council race and the mayor's race.

"If I win the mayor's race, then I would have to just resign from the city council," says Kincaid.  "And there'd be a special election and then we'd go through that process."

Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

The legacy of discrimination against people of color and discrimination against certain religions is powerfully present in Michigan cities to this day.

A new data investigation from Bridge Magazine's Mike Wilkinson analyzed a series of housing maps produced by the Home Owners Loan Corporation and later used by the Federal Housing Administration. Wilkinson examined maps of nine cities across the state.

BYTEMARKS / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan says it has reversed 70% of unemployment benefit fraud cases and is refunding $20.8 million after people were wrongly accused of collecting excessive benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency announced the results of a review Friday. It reviewed more than 62,000 cases for people who were assessed a fraud penalty and did not seek an appeal. About 44,000 cases were reversed.

Michigan has been under fire for a computer system that wrongly churned out cases of fraud. Last month, it dropped criminal charges against 186 people.

Shri Thanedar says Michigan should spend more resources investing in programs to benefit its residents. He's a candidate for the Democratic nomination to be Michigan's next governor.
Lester Graham

Next year, Michigan will choose a new governor. Several people have announced their candidacies, including Ann Arbor resident and entrepreneur Shri Thanedar.

Thanedar is running as a Democrat. He’s wealthy and has never held political office. He has criticized Governor Rick Snyder, by saying government shouldn’t be run with a spreadsheet mentality. If elected, Thanedar says he would improve the quality of life for average people in Michigan.

duggan with tapscott posing for cameras
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

In a ceremony at Detroit’s Northwest Activities Center on Wednesday, a small handful of Detroiters regained homes lost to property tax foreclosure.

The group of 60 was the second to complete the Detroit Land Bank’s “occupied buy-back” program. About 80 people completed the program last month.

The Detroit Land Bank now has close to 100,000 properties in its inventory, making it the largest property owner in the city. Around 4,000 of them are thought to be occupied.

john conyers
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An ethics investigation of Detroit Congressman John Conyers appears set to move to the next level.

For months, the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics have been looking into claims John Conyers continued to pay his former chief of staff for time while she was on "unpaid" leave.

A mock-up of the proposed downtown development project by Gibbs Planning Group
Bob Gibbs / Gibbs Planning Group

If you live in a city or town that dates back to before World War Two, you've got a "Main Street," you've got parks, and you can walk around town to restaurants and stores.

Cities that sprouted up after the war? Not so much.

Those are largely made up of shopping strips, office buildings, plenty of subdivisions — and you definitely need a car. There's no "downtown" that's the center of the community.

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio Morning Edition Host Doug Tribou and Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the results of yesterday's primary elections in Detroit, Flint and Pontiac. 

attorney and sons talking
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor resident and Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo is hoping to be released while the Board of Immigration Appeals considers whether to reopen his immigration case.

Supporters and family members of Sanchez-Ronquillo rallied outside of the ICE field office in Detroit on Tuesday as his attorney submitted a request for his release.

a veteran medal
RAY TYLER IMAGES / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the country's largest integrated health system. Nearly nine million of America’s veterans get medical care from the VA.

Ninety-six years ago today, the precursor to what we now know as the VA began with a stroke of President Warren G. Harding’s pen.

john conyers
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Congressman John Conyers may learn Wednesday if an ethics probe against him will continue or if it has reached its end.

For months, the House Ethics Committee has been looking into a complaint lodged against the Democrat. The exact nature of the complaint has not been made public. But several news outlets say it may involve compensation paid to a former staffer for months after she left her job in his office.

detroit vs everbody t shirt with i voted sticker
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A race that usually flies under the radar is shaping up as one of the more interesting contests in Tuesday’s primary elections.

The race for city clerk in Detroit has drawn more attention, and candidates, than usual this election cycle.

Six candidates are looking to unseat three-term city clerk Janice Winfrey. The top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the general election this November.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

We should know by Tuesday night which candidates will vie for Detroit mayor in this November's election.

The top two vote-getters will move on from tomorrow’s primary.

First-term incumbent Mike Duggan is seen as the heavy favorite right now. He’s running for re-election on a kind of “good start” platform.

voting booths
user eyspahn / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new Bridge Magazine report for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative says a lot in just the headline. It reads, “Botched elections. Missing ballots. Is this any way to run a democracy?

When an audit of last year's election turned up discrepancies between the number of voters recorded and the number of ballots counted in Detroit, many people immediately jumped to the conclusion that fraud was involved. But this new report suggests incompetence was more likely to blame.

Ann Arbor skyline
Gsgeorge / goodfreephotos / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The primary election Tuesday could make a big difference in Ann Arbor's skyline — as well as its future.

The election pits two kinds of Democrats against each other: those who want to slow down the city's growth, especially when it comes to new high-rise development, and those who say continued growth is necessary.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday’s primary election could set the stage for a revamped Flint city council: 6 of the 9 council members are facing multiple challengers.  The other three will have a challenger in November’s general election.

The Flint city council has struggled with Mayor Karen Weaver and itself in recent years, as the city has slowly moved out from under state oversight.  A panel appointed by the state still has final say on big issues facing the city.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing voters will take a step toward electing a new mayor August 8th. 

On Tuesday, Lansing will hold a mayoral primary election which for the first time in a dozen years will not feature Virg Bernero on the ballot.

Bernero’s decision not to run for re-election this year opened the door to five candidates seeking Lansing’s mayor’s office.

Stateside 8.4.2017

Aug 4, 2017

Today on Stateside, we get an update on the toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, the same kind that shut down Toledo's water system three years ago. And a new report indicates that past Michigan legislatures have committed the state to an ever-shrinking general fund. We talk with Ken Sikkema, former Republican legislative leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and former Democratic legislator Vicki Barnett about that.

A picture of Chelsea District Library
Burrill Strong Photography / Courtesy of Chelsea District Library

Bart and Mary Beth Hammer would welcome any solution to their internet woes.

“You can get a satellite dish, but it’s so slow,” said Bart Hammer, airline pilot and Lyndon Township resident. “And you only get a small amount of data [so] that you can’t stream anything.”

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Not much is happening with Michigan’s legislature. They’re out of session for much of August. But a state budget of more than $56 billion dollars was passed on time this year.

A recent report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan indicates that the $10 billion general fund — the only part of the budget the Legislature can influence — will be hit hard in the next few years general fund obligations grow.

Detroit brought in new voting equipment for 2017 elections after rampant problems with 2016 vote.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Despite receiving unfavorable national attention for some serious problems in last November’s general election, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey pledges that Tuesday’s primary election should run smoothly.

Winfrey says a combination of new voting equipment and improved poll-worker training should help avoid the problems that plagued Detroit precincts in November.

An aborted presidential recount found that votes couldn’t be “reconciled” in more than half of all Detroit precincts, meaning that voter poll books didn’t match the number of ballots cast. 

karen weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will face a recall election in November over her support for a trash removal contract opposed by the city council. Executives at Rizzo, the trash removal company, were later indicted in Macomb County for bribery and fraud.

Weaver wanted the petition thrown out, saying that recall organizers didn't gather enough valid signatures. But Genesee County Clerk John Gleason says his review of the petitions found enough valid signatures to call the election.

Television remote control
flash.pro / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As if rural communities aren’t already underserved by media outlets, University of Virginia Professor Christopher Ali says the problem will likely get worse in the future.

The Federal Communications Commission is considering loosening some of the oldest regulations on broadcasters: the Main Studio Rule and the UHF discount.

Stateside 8.2.2017

Aug 2, 2017

Today on Stateside, a Michigan health insurer says premiums will rise sharply if the White House pulls cost-sharing subsidies. And, we learn about Michigan's historic Goose Lake – a music festival that was once hailed as "Michigan's Woodstock." 

woman carrying bags on factory floor
Nestle / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Rick Snyder recently signed into law a package of bills collectively dubbed “Good Jobs for Michigan.”

It’s a tax incentive intended to reward businesses that hire large numbers of Michigan employees. But it’s not exactly clear what qualifies as a “good job" under the new law. 

Dan kildee talking to crowd
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan members of Congress are back in their districts on their August break.

During the first half of year, many Michigan congressmen held raucous town hall meetings with people angry about the presidential election and the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee says he’s still seeing frustrated constituents. But he says their frustration is different.

aerial shot of buildings, soccer stadium
Rossetti

Wayne County is a step closer to letting its unfinished jail in Detroit become a $1 billion development that would include a pro soccer stadium. The county is working to finalize details with businessman Dan Gilbert. In exchange for the jail site, Gilbert would construct a new criminal justice center near I-75 in the city.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the deal and whether major league soccer would be successful in Detroit. 

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint could soon get some relief from loans it took out years ago to fix its broken water system.  

Over the years, Flint borrowed more than $20 million from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. But the cash-strapped city has been struggling to pay interest on the loans.    

With its water system still broken, and the recovery from the city’s lead tainted tap water crisis ongoing, the federal Environmental Protection Agency says it’s ready to forgive the debt.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan needs to improve its oversight when it comes to the Flint water crisis. That is a finding by the Michigan Auditor General released in a report Monday.

It says the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) didn’t provide enough oversight of the food and water lead safety inspections.

“The work got done, but the paperwork, documentation, should have been better,” said Jennifer Holton of MDARD.

MDARD oversees the inspections performed by the Genesee County Health Department.

picture of the challenge from Mayor weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is challenging almost a quarter of the signatures that appear on a petition trying to recall her from office.

County and city clerks have certified more than 5,900 signatures on the recall petition targeting Mayor Weaver. That leaves recall backers with a margin of about 200 to get it on the ballot.

But Weaver’s camp filed a formal challenge targeting 1,200 signatures, either for issues with the person who signed the petition or the person who circulated it.

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