Politics & Government

Weekly Political Roundup
4:59 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

How Lansing is responding to charter school investigation

Credit user alkruse24 / Flickr

    

A recent investigation by the Detroit Free Press suggested major issues with charter schools in the state. The investigation pointed to poor financial practices, conflicts of interest, and lack of transparency by charter schools and authorizers.

Now, State Superintendent of Schools Mike Flanagan says some charter authorizers may lose their authority to open additional schools.

Joining us now to talk about this are Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Zoe Clark with Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics.

Stateside
2:31 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

A deep dive into Michigan’s emergency manager law

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr's term is expected to be over this fall. So what next?
Credit State of Michigan

Three years ago, only a half-dozen cities and school districts in Michigan were being run by state-appointed emergency managers.

Today, 17 are in some phase of receivership.

That proves not only cities and schools in Michigan are facing tough times, but that Governor Snyder is making vigorous use of Public Act 436, the state's emergency manager law.

Bridge magazine writer Chastity Pratt Dawsey examines the effectiveness of the law and how it measures up to similar laws in other states in a report for the magazine's latest issue. She joined us today.

We also had Lou Schimmel on the show. He's served as emergency financial manager or emergency manager for Ecorse, Hamtramck and Pontiac. Right now he's on the transition advisory board for Pontiac. Our two guests explores a number of questions:

First off, why does the appointment of an emergency manager result in such emotional responses from residents?

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Politics & Government
9:32 am
Thu July 10, 2014

LCV says the "Michigan Legislature is failing on state conservation issues"

Credit Photo courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters is giving the Michigan Legislature a grade of "incomplete" for its current session.

The group's scorecard grades lawmakers on their votes related to energy, land and water issues.

This year, the League says there's been little progress on bills related to those issues.

Jack Schmitt is the Deputy Director of the League's Michigan chapter. He says that means efforts to improve the environment have stalled.

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Politics & Government
5:51 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Another audit says Michigan has failed to protect vulnerable adults

The second audit in a month faults the state for failing to protect vulnerable adults.
Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration is again taking heat for failing to protect vulnerable adults.

A state audit released Wednesday shows the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) has mismanaged its Adult Protective Services (APS) program since 2010. Among other things, it says DHS did not adequately train caseworkers and supervisors and failed to investigate complaints of abuse.

It’s the second report in less than a month that suggests the administration has mismanaged services for vulnerable adults.

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Stateside
4:09 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Today on Stateside:

·         Everybody's sore subject: roads and transportation. Continuing our week-long look at the new state budget: more than $53 billion, affecting every aspect of life in Michigan.

·         Snorkeling in Michigan? Nancy Washburne’s book: Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes.

·         Is Michigan ready to turn 'A New Leaf' on pot?

·          The Michigan Department of Community Health provides insight on arsenic issues. 

·         We're going to be answering your questions about Michigan in our new project M I Curious. It's a series of stories looking into all of the things you've always wondered about our state. The first question in our series: Why is there such a large Arab American community in southeast Michigan?

*Listen to full show above.

Politics & Government
12:06 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

The week in Michigan politics

Credit Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 7/9/14

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss Michigan's ruling on how juvenile lifers will not get a chance at parole, pay raises for city leaders in bankrupt Detroit, and what role Michigan could play in housing undocumented minors crossing the Mexico border.

Politics & Government
11:43 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Activist groups complain that Michigan Legislature circumvents petition drives, elections

The group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" gathers signatures.
Credit Keep Michigan Wolves Protected / Facebook

A coalition of activist groups is trying to make an issue of the Legislature passing laws to bypass petition drives and ballot measures.

The groups say Republicans at the state Capitol have circumvented voters on questions including the emergency manager law, the minimum wage, and wolf hunting. In each of those cases, the Legislature passed laws that ran contrary to the results of an election or a petition drive.

Danielle Atkinson is with the campaign to increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. She says the Legislature acted legally, but violated the spirit of the Michigan Constitution’s power to use the ballot to initiate or challenge laws.

“This is not what the drafters of the state constitution intended when they gave people the right to petition their government.”

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Detroit officials get pay raises

Credit State of Michigan / Michigan.gov

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has given the city’s leaders a pay raise.

Orr signed an order hiking city appointees and elected officials’ pay by 5% on June 30th. It went into effect July 1.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan seemed genuinely surprised to hear that news on Tuesday.

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Politics & Government
11:32 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Duggan: We'll start seizing drug houses

Mike Duggan
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is expanding his program to seize houses that violate the city’s nuisance abatement laws—and this time, he’s going after drug houses.

On Tuesday, Duggan announced an initiative to seize and auction off homes that have been raided twice for drug activity.

Duggan says more than 300 homeowners have already been put on notice—and that starting next week, their neighbors will start getting notices in the form of postcards, too.

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Politics & Government
5:02 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Some Michiganders protest against unaccompanied minors coming here

Dozens of Vassar residents and people from out of town gathered in front of city hall Monday evening.
Credit Michelle Huan / Michigan Radio

Things got pretty heated in Vassar this week. But there's also a ton of misinformation out there.

Some of the chaos at the U.S. and Mexican border has made its way to Michigan.

About 75 protesters turned out last night in in the tiny, mid-Michigan town of Vassar, population roughly 2,600. 

That's where a juvenile center is in talks to potentially house some of the unaccompanied minors flooding into this country from Central America.

Michigan Radio's Kate Wells sent us this field report. 

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Stateside
4:32 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  Today on Stateside:

·         Budget update: Everyone who writes a tuition payment check has one question: Is tuition going up?

·         Why were 30 million pounds of tart cherries left to rot on the ground, much of those from Michigan? And why are we eating Polish and Canadian cherries in our pies?

·        A West Michigan mom shares her son’s life with cerebral palsy in her memoir He Plays A Harp.

·         A new board game called Mackinac Island Treasure Hunt.

·         What can elected officials do to appeal to millennial voters?

·         The Cell Block 7 Prison Museum opens in Jackson.

*Listen to full show above. 

Stateside
11:48 am
Tue July 8, 2014

What will get "millennials" into the voting booth?

Credit Theresa Thompson / Flickr

“With our generation and having Twitter and Facebook, we are blasted with a lot of the 24 hour news cycle

The curtain is closing on baby boomers, as the so-called "millennial generation" is taking up a larger share of the electorate. This voting block surpasses seniors who are eligible to vote.

But many millennials are not politically engaged.

“We feel that as one voice, as a younger person, we don’t have a lot of say in politics and I think that also drives their decision to remain out of the discussion as well,” said Connor Walby, a millennial and the campaign manager for State Rep. Frank Foster, R-Petoskey.

Walby also said the negative messages in politics that are seen on social media affect millennials' decision to vote as well.

“With our generation and having Twitter and Facebook, we are blasted with a lot of the 24 hour news cycle. And with that you also get a lot of the negative news coverage,” Walby said.  “I think a lot of our generation is pretty sick and tired of some of the policies that have been put in place and they are just sick of the politicians and the political atmosphere in general.”

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Stateside
4:44 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Stateside for Monday, July 7, 2014

  Today on Stateside:

·         The money for K-12. There's nearly 14-billion dollars. Who's getting what?

·         73 years ago a Congressman from Washington State floated a new idea: build a highway from Alaska to Detroit.

·         Unsettling news in the war on HIV: cases in Washtenaw County hit a 15 year high.

·         Every movement has its landmarks and history. And that certainly holds true for the gay rights movement. Other major American cities have had their LGBT history told, but what of Detroit?

·         There is less interest in the “Up North” cottage market, however cottages are now cheaper than ever.

*Listen to full show above. 

Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Monday is the deadline to register to vote in Michigan primary

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The deadline to register to vote in Michigan's primary is today.

On Aug. 5, Michiganders will vote in the party primaries for state House and Senate seats.

But turnout has been historically low in the primaries.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

As Detroit water shutoffs continue, groups look to provide emergency relief

Water bottles, with attached fliers, ready for distribution at the Dexter-Elmhurst Community Center.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Thousands of Detroit residents are without water service right now due to unpaid bills—but social service agencies and community groups are trying to make sure no one goes thirsty.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department cut off service to more than 7500 delinquent account-holders in April and May—and ramped up shutoffs in June.

Department officials say it’s a necessary step to collect millions of dollars in back payments.

But critics say it’s caused real suffering, and could lead to a public health crisis.

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Politics & Government
1:35 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Deadline approaches for bankruptcy plan vote

Credit JSFauxtaugraphy/Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - The most anticipated vote in Detroit this summer isn't for a city office.

Instead, ballots due by Friday from city retirees could determine how quickly Detroit exits its historic bankruptcy and how much of the financial weight pensioners will bear.

Non-uniformed retirees are being asked to take a 4.5 percent pension cut and no cost-of-living allowances. Police and fire retirees are faced with reduced cost-of-living payments.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Some children fleeing Central American violence may be headed to Michigan

Credit via Center for American Progress

Michigan will probably receive some refugee children from Central America—but not an “overwhelming number” of them, according to one immigrant rights advocate.

About 50,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, have overwhelmed the southern border in recent months. Most say they’re fleeing mounting gang violence, chronic poverty, and social breakdown in those countries.

Read more
Stateside
11:14 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, July 3, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • A new report finds that of the $18 million spent on campaign TV ads over the first half of this year, outside groups kicked in 14 million of that money. We asked who had been working so hard to flood the airwaves, and how it might impact the way you vote.
  • Detroit's bankruptcy settlement has gotten through the State Legislature and the private foundations. Now it's up to 32,000 city employees and retirees. Michigan Radio's Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek joined us to discuss where the voting is now.
  • Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has been at the job for six months. Today Detroit News Columnist Daniel Howes reviewed his time in office.
  • Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, but today we brushed up on the history of the Star Spangled Banner.
  • And tomorrow's celebration will also mean lots of traditions, fireworks, parades, and barbeques. More often than not, it’s the men doing the grilling. Stateside’s Renee Gross looked at why men are usually the ones manning the grill.
  • We also spoke with one Detroiter who refused to say nice things about his city. He explained why.

Stateside
10:56 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Duggan’s results in 6 months not going unnoticed

Credit Mike Duggan

There seems to be little doubt that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is making his mark.

His bulldog nature and savvy political instincts have combined to make Mike Duggan a force to be reckoned with, even as he serves under a state-appointed emergency manager.

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes reviewed Duggan's progress in his first six months. He said that people should not expect that he change the world in 6 months. What’s important here is the process and the direction.

“The direction is positive and bipartisan, and he’s clearly repaired relationships with city council,” he said.

Read more
Stateside
9:49 am
Fri July 4, 2014

One week until deadline to vote on Detroit's bankruptcy settlement. Where do things stand?

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking.

Detroit's bankruptcy settlement has gotten through the State Legislature and the private foundations. Now it's all up to 32,000 city employees and retirees.

They're being asked to say "yes" to having their pensions cut, and promising not to sue the city.

In return, the pension cuts will not be as severe as they would be under what's become known as the Grand Bargain.

Michigan Radio's Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek joined us on Stateside. She explained the transparency issue surrounding the voting process, what the different classifications of retirees mean, and what we should keep our eyes on, during next week leading up to the July 11th deadline.

*Listen to full interview above.

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