Politics & Government

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

Local governments are hopeful, cautious about state road-funding plan

Credit wikipedia

The organization championing the interests of Michigan’s local governments is withholding judgment on a proposal to fix the state’s roads.

Officials with the Michigan Municipal League say they’re cautiously hopeful about the plan Republican State House leader Jase Bolger unveiled last week.

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Politics & Government
5:08 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Flint leaders to consider proposed 7-point plan to fix city's problems

The Flint City Council decided last month to delay a decision on the emergency manager's 7-point plan until this week.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to consider a plan tonight that may lead the city out from under state oversight.

Flint has had a series of state appointed Emergency Managers, dating back to 2002 under Governor Engler.

Darnell Earley is the current man in the job. He's outlined a seven- point plan to prepare the city to transition back to local control for the first time since 2011.

Earley’s plan includes addressing Flint’s deficit, legacy costs and strategic planning.

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Politics & Government
4:00 pm
Sat April 5, 2014

"Financial emergency" declared in yet another Michigan city

A state review team has officially concluded that a “financial emergency” exists in the city of Lincoln Park.

The small suburb in the downriver area just south of Detroit is running a slight deficit right now, despite having a $4.5 million general fund balance in 2010.

According to the review team’s findings, city officials estimate that deficit will grow by at least $1 million by the middle of this year—more if the city can’t get concessions from its police unions.

Governor Snyder has 10 days to confirm the review team’s findings.

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Politics & Government
3:30 pm
Sat April 5, 2014

Pollsters say a majority of Michiganders support a state sanctioned wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula

Credit USFWS Midwest

Once again, pollsters say a majority of Michiganders support a state sanctioned wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Hunters killed 23 wolves last year in the state’s first official wolf hunt. State wildlife officials had set a goal of 43 wolves.

The controversial wolf hunt could be the subject of three questions on the November ballot.

A new poll by Marketing Resource Group of Lansing shows wolf hunt opponents may have more work to do to convince voters.

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Politics & Government
11:13 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Flint Council commenters can have their say – for 3 minutes

FLINT – The clock is ticking on people who have something to say at Flint City Council meetings.

Anyone with a beef or praise will have three minutes near the end of meetings – not before council members consider issues on the agenda.

Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says it gives people an opportunity to talk without being burdened by long-winded speakers. But council member Eric Mays says he has no objection to listening to people who need more than three minutes.

It's Just Politics
2:53 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Will POTUS visits, petition drive help turn out Obama voters?

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

President Obama was in Ann Arbor this week at the University of Michigan to throw his Democratic base some red meat* by stumping for the minimum wage. He called on Congress to pass legislation to boost the national minimum wage and he also endorsed a petition drive under way in Michigan to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

Democrats’ hopes of keeping control of the U.S. Senate in 2014 rest largely with keeping the seat that Sen. Carl Levin is retiring from later this year. Republicans appear to be in good shape come November because their voters are typically more likely to turn out in the off cycle, and because the party out of the White House typically does well in midterm elections.

Republicans also think they can win by relentlessly reminding the public of Obamacare. But what if Democrats can jujitsu that? That’s the political point of these presidential visits.

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Politics & Government
10:04 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Oakland Co. takes step toward ditching DWSD

Relations between Detroit and its suburban water customers have long been strained, a dynamic that's continued under Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
Credit Bart / Flickr

A resolution making its way through the Oakland County Commission would set aside $3 million to research alternatives to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Right now Oakland County is one of several counties that uses Detroit's system.

But cost issues have strained relations between the department and its suburban customers.

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Politics & Culture
5:06 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's no surprise that shipping conditions on the Great Lakes are miserable, even though spring has officially sprung and the shipping season officially opened March 25.

No commercial traffic has yet made it to the Soo Locks and ice is still four feet thick in some places, particularly in Lake Superior. On today’s show, we speak with a member of the U.S. Coast Guard about what's being done about this.

Then, what happened as World War II brought women and minorities into Detroit's assembly plants?

And, the Detroit bankruptcy is starting to affect the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Water prices could go up, impacting consumers far outside the city. Daniel Howes joined us for our weekly check-in to tell us more.

Also, Phil Cavanagh became the third candidate to enter the race to replace Robert Ficano as Wayne County Executive.

First on the show, Michigan's economy may be pulling itself up and out of the Great Recession.

But our schools are still mired in an "education recession" and all of our children are paying the price.

That's the finding of the newest State of Michigan Education Report from The Education Trust-Midwest.

It's an eye-opening exercise to see how our state's schools and student performance compares to two states that are powering ahead in the national assessment: Massachusetts and Tennessee.

What lessons can Michigan learn from those two states?

The co-author of the new education report, Amber Arellano of The Education Trust-Midwest, joined us today.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy struggle now affects Water and Sewerage Department

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The spotlight of the Detroit bankruptcy struggle is widening. From the DIA to the retirees and now to water.

As the clock ticks, emergency manager Kevyn Orr has fired the latest salvo in the increasingly testy talks with county representatives over the future of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:47 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Phil Cavanagh runs for Wayne County Executive

Credit Facebook

He's been a county commissioner. He's currently in his second term as the state representative for Redford Township – the 10th House district.

Now Phil Cavanagh wants to become the next Wayne County Executive.

Cavanagh became the third candidate to enter the race to replace Robert Ficano as county executive. He joined us today to discuss what compelled him to make this move.

Listen to the full interview above.

Weekly Political Roundup
4:41 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Schauer selects Lisa Brown as running mate; Camp decides against seeking re-election

Credit user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Each week we take a look at what’s happening in Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Earlier today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer announced that Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown will be his running mate for the upcoming 2014 election. Brown served two terms in the state House of Representatives and has served as the Oakland County Clerk since 2012, a position long held by Republicans.

Susan Demas indicates the selection of Brown will bolster the ticket because of her name recognition with voters in Southeast Michigan and she resonates well with female voters. 

“Lisa Brown...gained a lot of attention in 2012 with the debate over the controversial abortion legislation, and was known for the ‘vagina-gate’ scandal when she was not allowed to speak on the floor.”

Meanwhile, a fourth member of Michigan’s congressional delegation announced he will not seek re-election. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, will step down, along with Mike Rogers, Carl Levin and John Dingell.

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Politics & Government
2:44 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Mark Schauer announces Lisa Brown as his running mate

Mark Schauer and Lisa Brown at today's announcement.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Mark Schauer has made it official. He has chosen Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown to be his running mate in this year’s race for governor.

Schauer, a former congressman from Battle Creek, is the likely Democratic challenger to Gov. Rick Snyder in November.

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Stateside
5:43 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, April 2, 2014

Today President Obama visited the University of Michigan to push the Fair Minimum Wage Act. When our show aired, the president was talking to students and invited guests about the bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.

Senate Democrats are planning votes on a bill, but Republicans are working to block it.

Michigan's minimum wage is $7.40 an hour, though groups are working to gather petition signatures to boost.

Later in the hour we got a live report from the president's campus visit, find out what he said, and whether Michigan might see more presidential visits  in the near future.

But first, we heard from Paul Saginaw. He's the co-founder of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor.

He has been pushing to increase the minimum wage and he is already committed to paying Zingerman's workers above the minimum wage.

Politics & Government
4:18 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Sights and sounds from President Obama's speech in Ann Arbor

President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage.
Melanie Kruvelis Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama spoke on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor today. His speech focused on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016.

Here's the text of his speech, and you can watch it here.

And you can listen below to hear how the speech wrapped up:

Click on the slideshow above to see some of the images captured during his speech.

Stateside
4:00 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Reporters weigh in on Mary Barra's Senate hearing interview

General Motors

It was day two on Capitol Hill for General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

Today, it was the Senate's turn to grill Barra about GM's failure to act on ignition-switch failures. The failures have been linked to 13 deaths and prompted a recall of 2.6 million cars.

Here's what Barra said on Capitol Hill:

"When we have answers, we will be fully transparent with you, with our regulators, and with our customers. While I can't turn back the clock, we acted without hesitation. We told the world we had a problem that needed to be fixed. We did so because whatever mistakes were made in the past, we will not shirk our responsibility. Today's GM will do the right thing."

Cynthia Canty spoke with David Shepardson and Michelle Krebs. Shepardson is the Detroit News Capitol reporter, and Krebs is a veteran auto analyst. 

To listen to the full interview, click the link above. 

Stateside
3:26 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

A former housing project challenges Detroit's urban planners

The Brewster-Douglass Projects.
Amber Leigh Flickr

To those of us who have seen those decaying buildings along I-375 near downtown Detroit, it’s pretty difficult to realize that the Brewster-Douglass Projects were once seen as a shining example of public housing.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt turned up on Sept. 7, 1935 for the groundbreaking. And when Brewster homes opened in 1938, they became the America’s first public-housing project built for African-Americans.

Brewster-Douglass went on to become home to names like Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Smokey Robinson and Lily Tomlin.

The projects helped launch many blacks into the middle class.

Now the last phase of demolition is under way. No one will miss the crime-ridden, decaying housing project that sat empty since 2008. And now the question is: What should be done with the site?

We welcome June Manning Thomas. She’s an urban planner with the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning. We also talk to her colleague, urban designer Roy Strickland.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:21 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Zingerman's co-founder talks about why raising the minimum wage matters

Paul Saginaw, co-founder of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attended the president's speech on raising the minimum wage today.
Melanie Kruvelis Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama was in Ann Arbor today, pushing the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

That’s the bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016. Senate Democrats are planning votes on a bill, but Republicans are working to block it.

Back here in Michigan, the minimum wage is $7.40 an hour – though groups are working to gather petition signatures to boost the state's minimum wage.

But can a state that is still recovering from a terrible recession weather a 36% hike in the minimum wage?

Paul Saginaw is co-founder of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor. He has been pushing to increase the minimum wage and he is already committed to paying Zingerman's workers above the minimum wage.

We talk to Saginaw about the president's push for raising the minimum wage.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
3:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on campaign donations may affect Michigan politics

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down limits in federal law on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A campaign spending watchdog is worried about the potential effect on Michigan’s politics by a U.S. Supreme Court decision today. 

The Supreme Court has struck down limits in federal law on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

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Politics & Government
2:48 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Watch President Obama's speech in Ann Arbor

President Obama delivering his speech in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on raising the federal minimum wage.
Melanie Kruvelis Michigan Radio

President Obama is in Ann Arbor on the campus of the University of Michigan today to give a speech on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016.

You can watch his speech below (or you can follow this link):

Politics & Government
2:35 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

President Obama stops at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor

President Barack Obama visits with patrons during a stop for lunch at Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 2, 2014.
Pete Souza White House

President Obama was in Ann Arbor today to give a speech on raising the federal minimum wage. Prior to the speech, Mr. Obama stopped at Zingerman's Delicatessen and ordered a Reuben sandwich. 

From the White House pool report:

POTUS and motorcade stopped at Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor just before 1:30 p.m. With his suit coat off and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters by his side, the president ordered a Reuben sandwich.

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