Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Money for the Detroit Zoo is one of the issues voters in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties will decide tomorrow.

Voters OK'd the initial tax in 2008.

Since then the zoo has overhauled a lot of its facilities and expanded its offerings – and attendance is way up.

That levy expires at the end of next year, and the zoo hopes voters will continue to agree to the 0.1 mill property tax for another decade.

An owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $10 a year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: 5:15 pm Monday, August 1st:

On Monday, city officials reached an interim agreement with Republic to resume trash pickup, starting August 2. The arrangement will remain in place until August 12. Officials say trash collection will be delayed by one day for the rest of this week; it should be back on schedule by the start of next week.

A meeting of the Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) is scheduled for August 10th to decide who will perform trash pickups permanently.

Sunday July 31st:


This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and whether mentions of the Flint water crisis this week were political fodder. Kruth and Lessenberry also look at some races to watch in the state primary Tuesday, and a failed attempt to put a millage to fund Detroit regional transit on the November ballot. 

Stateside 7.29.2016

Jul 29, 2016


Today, we continue our "Artisans of Michigan" series with a visit to a blacksmith shop. And, we hear how the Step Forward program can help homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

Photo courtesy of Cause Collective

It's been a noisy couple of weeks with the political conventions. Speeches. Shouting. Protestors. In fact, it's been a loud, noisy, campaign season that's left our country angry and fractured.

However, a lot of voices and viewpoints haven't been heard, and a contemporary art project called "The Truth Booth" is giving people the opportunity to be heard.

Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is charging six more state employees in connection with the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply.

Susan Demas says there was a stark contrast between the DNC (pictured) and the RNC.
Lorie Shaull / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The national conventions for the Republicans and Democrats are officially in the books, and the two candidates have been officially chosen. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start to make their final push toward November, there is also a primary election fast approaching here in Michigan.

If you were unaware of the August 2 primary, you're probably not alone as the turnouts for primary elections are usually pretty "dismal," according to Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics. But can the recent buzz from the DNC and the RNC boost the turnout? Ken Sikkema, a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, doesn't believe it will. In fact, if anything, he thinks with the wall-to-wall TV coverage of both conventions, the public may be a little burned out when it comes to politics.

MSHDA Executive Director Kevin MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer: "We have millions and millions of dollars available Elsenheimer: "[MSHDA is now] funded. We have millions and millions of dollars available to go ahead and use to help people out."
BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

During the Great Recession, a lot of people ran into financial trouble and lost their homes to foreclosure. Some still are. And in Wayne County, the number of homes at risk of tax foreclosure is staggering. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has several programs to help eligible people.

One of those programs is called Step Forward. It funnels federal dollars from TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) into the hands of low-income homeowners and potential homeowners.

A Hillary Clinton supporter at the DNC.

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody has had a busy two weeks. He covered the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, after covering the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

He joined us on Stateside to debrief after the DNC, and provide his take on how the two conventions compared.

“I think each convention had a targeted audience in Michigan and each reached that audience,” he said.

Public domain

Kalamazoo is getting $70 million from philanthropists and others that will be used to create a foundation to help solve the city's budget woes, and cut property taxes.

The Kalamazoo City Commission decided Thursday to move forward with the idea of creating the Foundation for Excellence.

Officials expect the foundation would be fully funded by 2020, so revenue from investments would be available long-term.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s state Democratic Party says his party is largely unified coming out of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

State chairman Brandon Dillon spent a lot of time during the four-day convention trying to calm and cajole Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters in Michigan’s delegation, not always successfully.

Still, Dillon says the news media has overstated the number of Sanders backers who plan to bolt the Democratic Party.

"Here's what I know: We have to stop Donald Trump!" former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told the DNC.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Speaking at last night’s Democratic National Convention, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton understands what the U.S. needs. 

“Our next president knows that our nation is a village. That we are one family. And in a family, no one gets left behind,” says Granholm. 

Granholm cited the Flint water crisis as an example. “When Flint’s water poisons its children, it hurts all of us.  These are our children. We are all Flint!” she told the DNC audience.

Henrietta Ivey works two minimum wage jobs and has a hard times making ends meet.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Detroit home care worker stood in the spotlight at tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

Henrietta Ivey works two minimum wage jobs. She brought her campaign to raise the minimum wage to the main stage at the DNC.

“For me and all home care workers all across America, and my family, this is personal,” says Ivey, “In Michigan, we are ‘fighting for 15.’  A $15 minimum wage and a union … because no working American family should have to be forced to live in poverty.”

Democrats put raising the minimum wage to $15-an-hour in their party platform.

Stateside 7.28.2016

Jul 28, 2016

Today, we learn about a unique plan to teach tech skill to Detroit students. And, we talk to a man who did push-ups for eight hours to break a record.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The final night of the Democratic National Convention will bring Hillary Clinton’s formal acceptance of the party’s presidential nomination.

Her acceptance will mark a historic week for the Democrats, but also a week of disappointment for Bernie Sanders supporters. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, was in attendance during Tuesday’s roll call vote, where he had a chance to reflect on this year’s election cycle.

“My thoughts were far less about politics,” Kildee said. “I thought about … my five-year-old granddaughter, who will now grow up in a country where that glass ceiling has been broken.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On the final day of the Democratic National Convention, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders met with Michigan delegates, where he talked about Flint water and Donald Trump.

The crowd in the overflowing hotel ballroom started chanting his name before Bernie Sanders entered.

Sanders delegates and supporters had front row seats and cheered the former presidential candidate several times, though not when he talked about the need to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont Senator touched on a few Michigan issues.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Mayor Mike Duggan talked about Detroit’s recovery (and took a shot at Donald Trump) during last night’s Democratic National Convention.

Mayor Duggan used his time at the podium to tout Detroit’s recovery.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s lead tainted drinking water has been a crisis for more than a year.  

Now it’s also national political issue.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver strode to the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night after delegates watched video tracing the history of the crisis dating back to April of 20-14.

Once at the podium, Weaver stated the situation bleakly.

“The problems in Flint are not over,” Weaver told the packed sports arena. “The water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking, and rusting away.”

aks at a rally for immigration reform in Kalamazoo, MI.
Courtesy of Sarahi Nieves

What is family life really like for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States? 

That's the question Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project explores in a new documentary by Dustin Dwyer, entitled "Out From the Shadows: Living Undocumented."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The division between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in Michigan’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention is getting noticed.

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison half-jokingly asked, “Am I in the middle of something?” when several Michigan delegates started arguing in the middle of his speech to the delegation this morning.

Sanders delegates, complaining about the treatment of their candidate by the DNC, and Clinton delegates, growing tired of hearing complaints from Sanders delegates, have grown increasing at odds. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top state official does not expect divisions over the Democratic Party’s pick for president will affect the party’s chances of winning control of the state house in November.

This could be a pivotal year for the Michigan legislature and who controls the lower chamber. But this is also a presidential election year, with most of the attention focusing on what’s at the top of the ballot.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

All eyes are on Philadelphia this week for the Democratic National Convention. This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry joins Doug Tribou to talk about what’s happened at the DNC so far and what’s to come before the week is through. They also discuss what's at stake for Michigan political races following a federal judge's decision to block the state's recent straight-ticket ban.

Michigan helped put Hillary Clinton over the top last night, officially making her the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

“The next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton,” U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow said as she delivered Michigan’s official vote at the Democratic National Convention. 

Stabenow says she was overcome by emotion seeing her party choose the first woman to be a major party presidential nominee.   

Clinton delegate Sunny Sahu expects now the divisions within the party can heal.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Highland Park leaders postponed an announcement Tuesday about the city’s troubled water system, citing progress in talks with Governor Snyder’s office.

Highland Park’s water troubles go back at least to 2012. That’s when the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ordered it to shut down its water treatment plant for repairs.

But the plant stayed shut down. That was followed by botched billing collection, spiking water bills, and water quality issues.

Stateside 7.26.2016

Jul 26, 2016

Today, we wonder why some Democrats still aren't on board with Hillary Clinton. And we hear from a group dedicated to reforming campaign finance.

A protestor calls for campaign finance reform during the 2011 Occupy Boston movement
flicker user Massachusetts Cop Block / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As you watch the political conventions and decide which candidates will get your vote, here's something you'll want to think about: Who helped to pay for all of that campaigning? And what happens when that newly elected or re-elected member of Congress gets back to Washington?

According to the group Issue One, members of Congress spend more than half of their time raising money, not governing.

And in 2010, just .26% of the population accounted for over two-thirds of contributions to congressional campaigns.

How can we fix America's campaign finance system?

Despite public outcry, Rep. Debbie Dingell does not believe this year’s Democratic primaries were rigged by the DNC.
Atlantic Council / Flickr

Are Bernie Sanders supporters ready to back Hillary Clinton as the Democrat’s presidential nominee? The answer seems unclear, as the Democratic National Convention’s opening ceremony had mixed responses coming from the crowd on Monday.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell welcomed last night’s DNC discourse with open arms because of its unscripted nature.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Former Governor Jennifer Granholm says tonight’s roll call vote will give Bernie Sanders supporters a chance to heal.

Sanders delegates booed the mention of Hillary Clinton’s name during the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

Granholm says the Sanders supporters are dealing with a type of grief one gets when, after passionately backing a candidate, you must deal with their losing the election.  

“They got to take some time to be able to absorb that and see it turn,” Granholm told reporters.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s Democratic Party is asking his delegates to not boo speakers at tonight’s Democratic National Convention.

Monday, it seemed whenever Bernie Sanders supporters were booing DNC speakers, television networks panned over to the Michigan delegation. 

Sanders supporters in the Michigan delegation defaced pro-Hillary Clinton signs and heartily booed the mention of her name.

This morning, as the delegation sat down to breakfast, Michigan State Party Chairman Brandon Dillon asked the delegates to be more respectful tonight. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s mayor says he plans to strike a very different tone in his speech to the Democratic National Convention this week than the tone at last week’s Republican National Convention.

Mayor Mike Duggan says he was surprised to be asked to speak to the Philadelphia convention.

Duggan says he was “horrified” by Donald Trump’s GOP presidential acceptance speech last week in Cleveland.