Politics & Government

morning news roundup
7:03 am
Mon October 8, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Romney campaign in Michigan this week

"Mitt Romney's campaign is showing Michigan some love this week. Romney's running mate Paul Ryan holds a rally at Oakland University tonight. That follows Saturday's appearance by Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in suburban Detroit. And this Friday, Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, will stop in Grand Rapids," Tracy Samilton reports.

Voter registration deadline is tomorrow

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is tomorrow. According to Michigan Secretary of State's website.

"Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk's office, or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote. On the website, residents can view a sample ballot, find their polling location, learn about absentee voting, get information on Michigan's voter ID laws and view contact information for their local clerk."

Twenty cases of meningitis in Michigan

"At least 20 cases of meningitis have been confirmed in Michigan, including two deaths. The meningitis outbreak has been linked to a steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The steroid has been recalled," the AP reports.

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat October 6, 2012

The week in politics

A view of the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Every Saturday Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about some of the biggest stories in the week's news. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson was ordered to be in federal court this week, even though she asked someone else to speak on her behalf. Also, controversy surrounding Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R) brings up the question of whether Democrats can be competitive for the Speaker of the House’s seat in November. Plus, a Detroit scandal involving Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee creates head ache for Mayor Dave Bing.

Election 2012
8:34 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Federal judge orders removal of citizenship checkbox on Michigan ballot

Ruth Johnson has faced criticism over the citizenship question on Michigan ballots this year.
user jdurham MorgueFile.com

DETROIT (AP) - A judge has told Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to remove citizenship check-off boxes from November ballot applications.

U.S. District Judge Paul Borman made the ruling Friday during a hearing in Detroit. A written decision is expected Tuesday.

Borman told Johnson the boxes that ask Michigan voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship slows the voting process, is confusing and is a burden on the right to vote.

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Politics & Government
4:35 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Lansing mayor announces $11 million deficit for next fiscal year

Lansing city hall.
MI SHPO flickr

The city of Lansing faces an $11 million budget deficit in the coming fiscal year.

City officials say the shortfall is due largely to a steep decline in property tax revenues. Rising pension, health care, and salaries are also to blame. The numbers take into account the extra money the city is taking in from a new tax levy voters approved a year ago, but the city has almost reached its constitutional limit on how much money it can raise in new taxes.  In a press release, Mayor Virg Bernero says the funding model for Michigan cities is "broken." 

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Politics & Government
4:16 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signs law requiring time for Pledge of Allegiance

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that requires every schoolroom to display a U.S. flag, and give children the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The new law will take effect with the start of the 2013 school year. It’s not known how many schools or classrooms currently don’t allow time for students to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The new law says time must be set aside for the pledge in every public school classroom every school day. But students don’t have to say the pledge if they or their parents object.  Forty-three other states have a similar requirement.

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Politics & Government
3:49 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Midland congressman calls out Army Corps for stalling on Asian carp plan

Asian carp leaping out of a river.
glfc.org

Michigan congressman Dave Camp is calling out the Army Corps of Engineers for dragging its feet on a plan to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

Camp released a statement this morning claiming the Corps is ignoring the timeline for completing a plan set out in the Stop Invasive Species Act, legislation he wrote with Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Camp’s law called for a plan to be in place by January 2014

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It's Just Politics
2:43 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

The debate over debates continues between the Stabenow and Hoekstra campaigns

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow (pictured) and her opponent former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra have not been able to agree on a debate schedule this election cycle.
Studio08Denver Flickr

This week we saw the debate showdown between President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney. Political pundits are talking non-stop about how Romney pulled off a campaign reversal. Debates can be game changers. And, then, there are the Michigan debates, or lack thereof. We have a statewide race that pits incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow against former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra. They’ve both agreed to debates. They just haven’t agreed to the same debates.

It’s a debate… about debates

Hoekstra has the most to gain by debating. It’s why he’s pushing for more than just the two that he and Stabenow have agreed upon – at least in concept. One of those two debates, to take place at the Detroit Economic Club, isn’t really a debate but more of a joint appearance. As the incumbent with what appears to be a very comfortable lead,  Stabenow has the most to lose. Certainly we saw an example of that Wednesday night: the perils of a debate to a front-runner. So, it raises the question, if Stabenow has very little to gain from a Senatorial debate, why hasn’t Hoekstra agreed to dates for the two appearances both campaigns have accepted. Holding out certainly hasn’t seemed to help the Hoekstra campaign.

Foreign affairs

If you’re the Hoekstra campaign and you can’t get your opponent to debate and you’re looking for something that changes the conversation, pulls you out of a rut, what better than to take a few days to travel… to the Middle East; Israel to be exact. This past weekend Hoekstra flew to Tel Aviv in an effort to turn the conversation to a topic where he is taken seriously: foreign policy. When Hoekstra was in Congress he chaired the House Intelligence Committee and had a security clearance.

However, when Hoekstra returned from the trip and was asked about the officials with whom he met, he said he couldn’t say. He says this was because the trip was not State Department-approved and in order to get officials in Israel to speak with him, he had to promise them their anonymity.

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Politics & Government
10:46 am
Fri October 5, 2012

NJ Gov. Christie to be in Midland, Michigan for Romney fundraiser

NJ Gov. Chris Christie at a Romney fundraiser in Michigan.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

$10,000 a plate will get you a seat at the table at the H Hotel in Midland this Saturday, according to Mark Tower of MLive:

According to the event RSVP form from Romney Victory, Inc., guests can pay a wide range to take part in the event, which begins with the 12:45 p.m. private lunch.

From the $10,000 per couple cost for the lunch, the price steps down to $2,500 per person for a VIP photo reception at 1:15 p.m. and $1,000 per person for the 1:45 p.m. general reception.

Proceeds from the event will go to Romney Victory, Inc., a joint fundraising committee. Contributions will be split between Romney for President, Inc., the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Politics & Government
8:29 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Commentary: Proposal 5 and Michigan's taxes

Nobody likes taxes, and for the last 30 years, we’ve been happily brainwashed into thinking that our taxes are too high.

And, as a result, a leading economist told me the other day, “We have some of the worst roads in the country.” But hold on. If a lot of people are fooled into voting yes on Proposal Five, our roads and everything else are certain to get worse. In fact, much worse.

That’s the conclusion of Michigan State University Economics Professor Charles Ballard, perhaps the top expert on our state’s economy. His short, excellent book Michigan’s Economic Future ought to be required reading for anybody who wants to understand how things work.  Believe it or not, there are a few hard facts you need to know about taxes. First of all, we are already paying far less than we once were. Ballard told me, “State and local tax revenues in Michigan are already a much smaller fraction of our economy than they were a few decades ago.”

How much money is that?

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Politics & Government
7:09 am
Fri October 5, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

Michigan Secretary of State in court today over citizenship checkbox

"Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will be in federal court today to defend a citizenship checkbox she ordered onto November ballot applications. Election officials would ask voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship, but would not deny them a ballot if they decline to answer. A number of county clerks say it’ll cause confusion and could scare off eligible voters. Johnson says the citizenship question will help cut down on voter fraud and the number of non-citizens who receive ballots," Jake Neher reports.

Ambassador bridge owners say new bridge not economically feasible

"Opponents of a new bridge between the U.S. and Canada say Michigan would lose about $325 million in taxes if the project goes ahead. The owners of the Ambassador bridge commissioned a study they say shows there's no need for a new bridge. Canada would pay for construction of the bridge and recoup its investment from future tolls," Rina Miller reports.

Pilot program to keep kids at home, not in foster care

"The state of Michigan is going to try a new approach to keep at-risk children out of the state’s foster care system. A federal waiver will allow the state to use grant dollars to start a pilot program that will try to keep children under five years old with their families rather than place them in foster homes. Steve Yager is the director of the Department of Human Services’ Children Services Administration. He says they want to avoid putting very young children through the ‘trauma’ of  being placed in foster homes. The pilot program will start next year in Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Macomb counties. There are currently 13,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
5:38 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Stateside for Thursday, October 4th 2012

On today's show we break down last nights presidential debate with Michigan Radio's political analyst, Jack Lessenberry and Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

And we speak with author Patricia Polacco about her new children's book, Bully  and Michelle Uebreuck discusses what she calls, "Operation Kindness."

We talk local food with Will Branch, Shannon Byrne and Frank Gublo, whose combined efforts are building a strong food scene in metro Detroit.

Stateside's Emily Fox visits the MSU Dairy Store  whose ice cream is as popular as it is local.

Also today we talk with speak with Mark Schwartz, an organizer of Dlectricity, about Detroit's current art exhibition.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Politics & Government
4:57 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

New program offers Michigan kids alternative to foster care

Michigan's Department of Human Services is participating in a new program that keeps kids out of foster care.
iRon leSs flickr

Michigan's Department of Human Services (DHS) is piloting a new program designed to keep "at risk" kids in their homes instead of handing them over to foster care.

The program will target families with children younger than five years of age.

From DHS:

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Election 2012
4:54 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Federal judge orders Ruth Johnson to defend citizenship checkbox in court

Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.
MI SOS

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will be in federal court Friday to defend a citizenship checkbox she ordered on November ballot applications.

Election officials would ask voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship, but would not deny them a ballot if they decline to answer.

A number of county clerks say it’ll cause confusion and could scare off eligible voters.

Andrew Nickelhoff, an attorney for the coalition against the checkbox, questions its legitimacy.  

“We know from experience from the August primary and from information we’ve received afterward that many voters don’t think it’s appropriate, and many clerks who are administering these elections don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said.

The Secretary of State had filed a motion asking to have her election director speak on her behalf during the hearing.

The judge denied the request today, saying she had to be present in the courtroom.

Johnson says the citizenship question will help cut down on voter fraud and the number of non-citizens who receive ballots.

Politics & Government
4:52 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Stateside Will Resume Monday, October 22

It has been an amazing five weeks here on Stateside! It has been wonderful talking with Governor Snyder, our Secretary of State, the artists, entrepreneurs and authors who are helping  define what it means to live in Michigan.
 
And most of all, it's been terrific to hear from you and witness what issues are affecting your life and community. As we've said all along here at Stateside: If it matters to YOU, it matters to us.

So, we are thrilled to make this announcement: Beginning Monday, October 22nd, Stateside is expanding! We'll be coming to you Monday through Thursday afternoons at 3.

Before then, however, we're going to take a two week break as we gear up for our Fall Membership Drive.

But, in the meantime, before the October 22nd premiere we want to hear from you! What stories do you want us to focus on? What issues are on the top of your list to find out more about?

Let us know! You can find us on Facebook – just search for “Stateside with Cynthia Canty" on twitter at “StatesideRadio.”

Politics & Government
4:26 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Stateside: Impressions of the first Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama square off in their first debate.
Commission on Presidential Debates

The first Presidential debate of 2012 is in the history books.

Radio, Television and Newspapers are filled today with opinions, verdicts and spins.

Who came out on top?

Will the undecided voters be moved one way or another?

Did the 90-minute debate contain anything likely to strike a deep chord with voters here in Michigan?

Read more
Politics & Government
4:18 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Political Roundup: Presidential debate, Bolger problems and citizenship checkbox

Every Thursday we take a look at Michigan politics with Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

They talk with Jennifer White about the lack of mention for the auto industry at Wednesday night’s first Presidential debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and the Republican Candidate for President Mitt Romney.

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Politics & Government
3:48 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Bridge owners say analysis shows new bridge not economically feasible

Michigan Radio

A report commissioned by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge says Gov. Rick  Snyder has not given voters enough information about the economic impact of a proposed new span over the Detroit River. 

The analysis by a Grand Rapids consulting firm says plans for the new bridge are not economically feasible.

"A CEO in the private sector making a multi-billion-dollar investment with concerns about the bottom line in shareholder return would put this proposal under a lot more scrutiny than it appears the governor has," says Patrick O'Keefe, CEO of O'Keefe and Associates.

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Politics & Government
8:45 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Commentary: The forgotten campaign

Well, by now there have been a zillion analyses of last night’s debate, most of which agree challenger Mitt Romney came on stronger than a curiously laid-back President Obama.

There’s not much I can add to that except perspective. I have seen every presidential debate since they became a permanent part of our political landscape back in 1976.

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Politics & Government
6:44 am
Thu October 4, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Some data shows motorcycle helmet repeal has not increased deaths

"The group that led the charge to repeal Michigan’s motorcycle helmet requirement says the state has not suffered a rash of biker deaths in the past six months. That’s how long it’s been since the law was changed. American Bikers Aiming Toward Education points to state data between January and the end of August. But state officials say that’s not the whole story. They say early data also show a 14-percent jump in disabling injuries. The state Office of Highway Safety Planning says the data are preliminary and it’s too early to reach real conclusions on the effects of the changes in the law," Jake Neher reports.

Detroit Tiger first player to win Triple Crown in 45 years

"Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to win baseball's Triple Crown last night, joining an elite list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. He's the 10th Triple Crown winner in baseball history. In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three categories---  batting average, home runs, and runs batted in," the AP reports.

EPA tells Enbridge more clean up is needed on Kalamazoo River

"Enbridge Energy has more clean-up work to do along the Kalamazoo River. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the oil company to tackle some new areas of pollution in the river. Enbridge has already done a lot of clean up work after one of  their pipelines ruptured and spilled massive amounts of oil into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall in July, 2010.  But the EPA says oil is coming to the surface is some new areas," Tracy Samilton reports.

Politics & Government
12:50 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Former Flint mayor challenges $4.5 million legal judgement in court

Former Flint Mayor Don Williamson.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Former Flint Mayor Don Williamson is suing the city after officials demanded that he pay out $4.5 million awarded to police officers in a 2011 discrimination suit.

Williamson is arguing that city officials violated his constitutional rights when they asked a judge to require the former mayor pay the sum, Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal reports:

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