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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Kalamazoo City Commissioners voted Monday night in support of a public-private partnership they hope will stabilize the budget, lower property taxes and fund “aspirational projects” as early as next year.

The donation comes from two local businessmen and philanthropists. Both have ties to the Kalamazoo-based medical device manufacturing giant Stryker Corporation. One is heir to the Upjohn Company.

They’re offering the major donation to help stabilize Kalamazoo’s budget. The city was considering an income tax to help close a deficit.

Left: SUZANNA SHKRELI FOR CONGRESS/FACEBOOK Right: mikebishop.house.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Obama is endorsing Democratic candidates for Congress, and a Michigan candidate is among them.

The president publicly endorsed 30 Congressional candidates Monday, including the 8th District’s Suzanna Shkreli.

Shkreli was a late addition to the ballot after actress Melissa Gilbert withdrew for health reasons in late May. She is hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Mike Bishop.

Shkreli says she thinks her focus on working class families grabbed the president’s attention.

“This whole election, it’s being rigged.” That’s the message coming from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. And, there are certainly some Trump supporters who believe it.

But, is there any truth to that claim? Can an election be rigged the way Trump seems to be suggesting?

Today we learn about Stingray, a surveillance device that gives law enforcement access to phones. And we explore how people talk about mental wellbeing, and the stigma that surrounds it.

According to Stephanie Lacambra, a cell-site simulator like the Stingray can gather data from all phones within a 200 to 500 meter radius.
Public Domain

 

Federal agents recently revealed that the key to tracking down a low-level accused drug dealer in Wayne County was a device that’s been used in the war on terror.

It’s called Stingray, and it helped police track down and arrest suspected drug dealer Daiven Hollinshed of Inkster.

We asked Michigan candidates running for Congress these 4 questions

Oct 24, 2016
Map of Michigan's congressional districts. Red highlighted districts are currently represented by a Republican while blue highlighted districts are currently represented by a Democrat.
Bryce Huffman / CartoDB.com

All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election on November 8th. Michigan holds 14 of those seats (at one time, Michigan held 19 seats in the House). Each congressional district has a population of approximately 710,000 people, according to the U.S. Census.

See the map below for the current makeup of Michigan's congressional districts. Hover over your area to see what district you live in, and click on your district to see who is running.

Longtime Progressive Activist Tom Hayden Dies At 76

Oct 24, 2016

Tom Hayden, a radical activist and advocate for progressive causes, died Sunday at the age of 76.

In the early 1960s, Hayden was a freedom rider in the South and a community organizer in Newark. He was a civil rights activist who became famous for his anti-war efforts and made several high-profile (and later controversial) trips to Vietnam. He was a founding member of the Students for a Democratic Society and wrote the first draft of the influential activist group's manifesto, the Port Huron Statement.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote on a new trash pick-up contract Monday.

For weeks, two competing garbage hauling companies have been emptying Flint’s trash cans.   

Flint’s mayor and city council spent months arguing over which company should get the contract. A majority of the city council wanted to keep Republic Services. Mayor Karen Weaver insisted her choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, had a lower bid.

After weeks of court ordered negotiations, city leaders agreed to give Republic Services a one-year contract.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s little more than two weeks left before the November 8 election.

Recent polls have shown Democrat Hillary Clinton holding a double-digit lead in Michigan.

Stephen Neuman is the senior adviser for the Michigan coordinated campaign. 

He says they are now looking to use those poll numbers to help Democrats down the ballot.

“We are working to include targeted House races, both targeted state House and congressional races, on the various scripts we use both on the phones and at the doors,” says Neuman.

FLICKR USER MATT PICIO / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Next month, voters in four southeastern counties will decide if they want to pay a new tax to fund a regional public transportation plan.

The 20-year transit millage will generate about $3 billion to pay for expanded bus service and light-rail train connections. The 1.2 mill tax rate would cost the average taxpayer about $120 annually.

Ned Staebler is with ‘Citizens for Connecting our Communities”. He says the campaign is stepping up its efforts in the final weeks before the election.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The last presidential debate is over, and a light is starting to appear at the end of the election season tunnel. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about whether we'll see much more campaign action in Michigan before voters cast their ballots. We also discuss the ousting of the state Republican Party's grassroots chair over her refusal to back Donald Trump, and a big step toward financial health in Wayne County.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next month, voters in Traverse City will decide if they should have a say whether there will be taller buildings in town.

The proposed charter change on the November 8th ballot would require a public vote on plans for buildings taller than 60 feet.

Jay Zelenock is with the group Save Our Downtown.  He says they are not opposed to new tall buildings.  But Zelenock says people in Traverse City are worried about the aesthetic of their community.  He also worries about tax breaks given to developers.

user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder faces a decision soon on whether to sign or veto a bill he doesn’t like. It deals with how the state raises money for the Medicaid program. A plan adopted by the Legislature scraps a tax on health insurance claims. The bill would replace it with a complicated new funding system.

      

Snyder administration officials say the federal government would probably reject it, and deny the state many millions of Medicaid dollars. But legislative leaders want to push the issue.

      

Today, we look at the 1971 Attica prison uprising and what we can learn from it today. And, we learn about how 3D printing is changing manufacturing.

flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is putting members of his own party in Michigan in a tough spot. With slumping poll numbers, there are some concerns that he could have a negative impact on down-ballot races in the Great Lakes State.

With Trump at the top of the ticket, what is the state of the Michigan Republican Party? There's party infighting, concerns about possibly losing the state House in November, and some candidates simply refusing to endorse or even answer questions about their party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump. 

WWW.MICHIGANDEMS.COM/LON

Taking up more than 25,000 square miles, Michigan's 1st Congressional District is the biggest in the state. It makes up the entire Upper Peninsula and much of the upper part of the Lower Peninsula. It represents almost half of the state's total land area, but only represents roughly 700,000 people. 

The congressional race in Michigan's 1st has become a tight one as former Democratic Chairperson Lon Johnson is running against retired three-star U.S. Marine general Jack Bergman. Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry called it Michigan's hottest Congressional race.

Johnson brings a wealth of connections from his days as the party's chair, but will face an uphill climb in a district that historically leans Republican. 

Highland Park schools get new emergency manager

Oct 21, 2016
bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
user alkruse24 / Flickr

The Highland Park School District is getting its sixth emergency manager in nearly five years.

Kevin Smith replaces Steve Schiller, who was appointed in February, 2016, and also serves as emergency manager for Muskegon Heights schools.

In a press release from the Department of Treasury, Governor Rick Snyder said Smith’s 18 years of experience in public finance and restructuring makes him a good fit for the position in Highland Park.

Today, the state's GOP chairman responds to Trump's stance on election results. And, we hear the performance of a spooky, old-time radio play.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the days leading up to last night's third and final presidential debate, a question was put to key members of Donald Trump's team: Would he support the results of the election?

Running mate Mike Pence, daughter Ivanka Trump and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway all said yes, Trump would uphold the results.

That echoed what Trump himself said in the first debate when moderator Lester Holt asked him the same question.

“I’m going to be able to do it,” Trump said. “I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is if she wins, I will absolutely support her.”

State OKs Wayne County's exit from agreement on finances

Oct 20, 2016
Wayne County

Michigan has approved Wayne County's request to be released from its 14-month financial management agreement with the state.

County Executive Warren Evans announced today that the county had satisfied the consent agreement with the state by eliminating a $52 million structural deficit and restoring overall financial stability.

Evans' office said the county has restructured employee and retiree health care and pensions, and raised the funding level of the county's pension system from 45% to 54%.  Evans said his goal is to increase the funding level to 70%.

Courtesy Vadon / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

At last night's Presidential debate, Donald Trump once again highlighted his concerns about voter fraud. 

NPR.org

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton faced off in the final presidential debate on Wednesday night at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The debate followed the same format as the first presidential debate.

It was divided into six segments of around 15 minutes each on major topics selected by the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Wallace announced those topics last week. They were:

Today, we discuss the 36 recommendations state lawmakers have to ensure Michigan doesn't see a repeat of the Flint water crisis. And, we hear from the author of a new guidebook for parents of children with autism.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

On Monday night, Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team hit the road again for the second Issues & Ale election preview event of the season.

Senators Jim Ananich and Jim Stamas speak to the press after the committee released its recommendations.
screengrab / YouTube MLive

Lawmakers have ideas for how to ensure there is not a repeat of the Flint water crisis.

A report released Wednesday by State Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, makes 36 recommendations.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city leaders have reached a tentative deal to end their trash dispute.

Two companies have been picking up Flint garbage for weeks, as the mayor and city council disagreed on which company should have the multi-million-dollar contract.

But last week, the mayor’s choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, was linked to a federal corruption investigation in southeast Michigan. While not named in the indictment handed down against a Clinton Township trustee, newspaper reports claim an official with Rizzo bribed the township official to get its garbage contract.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

After a long, grueling campaign season, Election Day is only 20 days away. This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at ballot battles in southeast Michigan, including an unusual situation in Macomb County, where a Clinton Township Trustee who's running for supervisor is facing bribery charges.

They also discuss L. Brooks Patterson's bid for a seventh term as Oakland County Executive and a mass transit millage proposal in metro Detroit.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats and Republicans are spending heavily on TV ad buys to sway voters in a handful of state house elections.

Democrats need to win 9 seats currently held by Republicans next month to take control of the state house.    

Ajamu Baraka at Wayne State University.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s time to reject the “politics of fear,” and embrace third-party alternatives in American politics.

That was the message Ajamu Baraka had for an audience at Detroit’s Wayne State University on Tuesday.

Baraka, a longtime political activist who founded the U.S. Human Rights Network, is the Green Party candidate for vice president. He and running mate Jill Stein will appear on the ballot in 45 states, including Michigan.

Baraka says he and Stein represent an opportunity to “break the two-party monopoly” on government.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell
Kalamazoo Public Library

Kalamazoo has struggled with balancing its budget, and finding enough money to invest in new programs.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell wants to accept a private donation of $70 million to help balance the city’s budget, and partner with those donors to set up a foundation where other philanthropists can donate even more money.

Then, the city would be able to lean on those donated funds to pay for city services in the future.

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