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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts says the leaked tapes are fake, and he won't step down.
Jim Fouts Facebook page

Warren residents and their elected officials are sharply divided in their opinions about the fate of the city’s longtime mayor, Jim Fouts.

That was on display at heated and sometimes wild city council meeting Tuesday night.

Leaked audio tapes seem to show Fouts mocking and degrading African Americans, disabled people, and others.

But many people defended Fouts, who claims the tapes are fakes concocted by his political enemies.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The Michigan School Reform/Redesign Office recently released its latest list of schools that are under-performing. There are 38 schools on this year's list that could be closed, mostly in Detroit. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Detroit's school district would be able to survive such a large round of closures.

They also discuss what role U.S. Secretary of Education nominee Betsy Devos plays in the state's school closure discussion, concerns over President Donald Trump's order to freeze all grant programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a move to bring new voting machines to Michigan.

Stateside 1.24.2017

Jan 24, 2017

President Trump met with the Big Three today. On the show, we learn why that meeting may be the start of a "golden opportunity" for the auto industry. And, we hear the little-known story of Belle Isle's first elephant.

U.S. Department of Justice

As the United States moves into the first week of the Trump presidency, there is some question as to whether the new president will follow through on his major campaign pledges. Some of his most controversial proposals involved the way his administration would relate to Muslim Americans, and Muslims hoping to come to the United States from abroad.

With regard to the latter, he called for an outright ban until, as he put it, “our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” He also suggested during the campaign that he supported a registry or database of Muslims living in the United States.

So how are Muslim Americans preparing for life under the Trump administration?

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

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President Donald Trump’s inaugural speech stands out in history.

“I think it is the only inaugural address that I’m aware of that declared war on the establishment – both Republican and Democratic, and anything in between,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University. “I mean, it just was saying, ‘A new sheriff is in town and we’re going to do things differently.’”

A neighborhood in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit homeowners should start seeing property tax bills that better reflect the true value of their home.

That’s because the city just finished its first city-wide residential property re-assessment in six decades.

The city says these new assessments are based on actual property sales from October 2014-September 2016, and other property-specific data.

“You are our last hope,” Flint resident Tony Palladino told the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission report on the Flint water crisis will likely not recommend a lawsuit to seek remediation for people affected by the city’s lead-tainted tap water.

The commissioners received a draft report yesterday. The final report will not be made public until next month.

The commission held three public hearings in Flint in 2016, taking testimony from city residents and others. Beyond the water crisis, the panel also examined Flint’s housing and other issues.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It took two weeks, but the Lansing city council finally has a president.

The deeply divided city council ended its deadlock last night, when it picked Councilwoman Patricia Spitzley to fill its vacant president’s chair.

The new council president is hopeful the eight-member board can now move forward after the sometimes-personal debate.

Stateside 1.23.2017

Jan 23, 2017

Thirty-eight underperforming Michigan schools are on the chopping block. Today, we learn how they got there and what's next. And, we situate Trump's inaugural address in history, discussing how similar, and very different, it was from those of past presidents.

Courtesy of Lena Epstein

 

 

Lena Epstein, a resident of Bloomfield Hills and former co-chair of Trump's Michigan Campaign, had an "up-close and personal seat" for the historic inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

She says she and her husband had tears in their eyes as they watched the peaceful exchange of power amidst the "very patriotic" and "supportive" crowd.

 

Trump’s address moved her, she says, especially when he mentioned Michigan, one of "the states that have felt forgotten for so long."

Tashmica Torok (left) was one of the many women from Michigan that made the trip to the Women's March on Washington.
Courtesy of Tashmica Torok

Washington D.C. officials say half a million people marched in the nation’s capitol on Saturday. Another one million people joined rallies around the country, according to estimates; plus big crowds around the world, from London to Berlin, Tokyo to Antarctica.

Tashmica Torok of Lansing was one of the Michiganders who made the trip to Washington. Torok is executive director of the Firecracker Foundation, a group that works with child survivors of sexual trauma, and she joined Stateside to talk about her experience and her motivation for going.

“Our goal should be, we can reach 10 million people again.”

That was Governor Snyder’s goal delivered at his 2017 State of the State speech Tuesday night.

Electronic cigarette
www.ecigclick.co.uk / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Minors in Michigan wouldn't be able to buy or possess electronic cigarettes or nicotine cartridges under a bill recently introduced in the state Senate.

The legislation would add vapor products and alternative nicotine products to the Youth Tobacco Act.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says it would close a loophole that lets minors purchase e-cigarettes in Michigan.

The Many Faces Of Inauguration Day Attendees

Jan 22, 2017

People traveled to Washington, D.C., from around the country to witness the transition of power to the 45th president of the United States. Amid celebration and clashes, a few faces stood out. Watching giant screens, blocks away from the incoming president, these people braved crowds and weather to watch history being made.


Ken Crider and his wife, Penny

Age: 51

City of Residence: Detroit area

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

The National Mall has flooded with pink, as demonstrators descend on the nation's capital Saturday for the Women's March on Washington. Just one day after President Trump's inauguration, marchers from across the country have gathered in the city to protest his agenda and support for women's rights.

The event opened with a rally, to be followed by the march proper — which had a path laid out from a starting position near the U.S. Capitol to its endpoint near the Washington Monument.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

From Detroit to Kalamazoo, thousands of people have turned out at rallies for women's rights, social causes and peace.   The marches were in response to the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

An estimated 7,000 men, women, and children were at the State Capitol Saturday for the Women’s March on Lansing. It was a sister rally to the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the speech isn't considered to be one of Snyder's finest.

They also discuss the governor's push to save Medicaid expansion, Attorney General's Bill Schuette's stance on a Flint water crisis lawsuit, and education secretary nominee Besty DeVos' hearing on Capitol Hill.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Several students worked diligently on signs and hats to carry and wear in Saturday's Women's March on Lansing. It's a sister march to a larger event happening in Washington, D.C.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are looking at ways to improve their response to Flint’s water crisis, almost three years after the disastrous decision to pump water from the Flint River. 

As the city of Flint continues to rip out thousands of old lead and galvanized pipes connecting homes and businesses to city water mains, state officials expect they will see spikes in lead levels in the water.

Donald J. Trump takes the Oath of Office and becomes the nation's 45th President.
White House

Donald Trump became the nation's 45th President at noon on January 20, 2017. 

We provided live annotations and analysis of Trump's speech. NPR reporters, editors, and producers transcribed his remarks in real time and provided footnotes with analysis, context, and fact-checks.

You can watch the inauguration here, or below:

The U.S. Capitol at 6:31 a.m. ET this morning.
Steve Inskeep / NPR

The country inaugurated a new president on Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald J. Trump became the 45th U.S. President after he took the Oath of Office at noon eastern time on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

DetroitMI.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he wants to speed up the process of acquiring blighted homes through the Detroit Land Bank Authority, an agency under federal investigation.

The current city treasurer, David Szymanski, will step down from that role and move over to the land bank to lead a “litigation team” that will focus on seizing more blighted properties under nuisance abatement laws, Duggan said Thursday.

Stateside 1.19.2017

Jan 19, 2017

Today, we hear from a first-time voter who considered Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, but ultimately chose Donald Trump. And, we learn why moving the party headquarters to Detroit could help Democrats recapture the Midwest.

Pam Weiss is armed with some good walking shoes for the Women's March on Washington.
Courtesy of Pam Weiss

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to participate in the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, the first full day of Donald Trump's presidency.

Pam Weiss of Ann Arbor plans to hop on a bus tomorrow to join the march in Washington.

For Weiss, it's not just about being anti-Trump.

Gage Skidmore / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

On Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as our 45th president of the United States.  The election was one of the most contentious in recent memory and has exposed or inflamed serious divisions in American society. All this week on Stateside, we’ll speak with Michiganders who were drawn to the President-elect’s message about their hopes for the new administration.

Jules Pastorino is a 19-year-old woman and a University of Michigan student. If she were to sit down with President-elect Donald Trump, she would urge him to reign in the surveillance powers of the National Security Agency (NSA), tell him that climate change is “not a conspiracy” and ask him to consider the importance of abortion rights.

Those are concerns that Pastorino shares with many Hillary Clinton voters. But in 2016, her first election, Pastorino voted for Donald Trump.

Clinton Steeds / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

It’s said necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Innovation is often born out of crisis or conflict – a war, a pandemic or a financial crash.  Sometimes the conflict can be constructive, like the invention of a new miracle drug. And sometimes the conflict can be destructive, like, for instance, a contentious election.

Inside the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city council members say they need to know more about plans to upgrade the city’s water plant.

Mistakes made treating water drawn from the Flint River resulted in corrosive water damaging the city’s pipes. The damaged pipes leeched lead into Flint’s tap water.  

More than a year after the city’s drinking water source was switched back to treated water from Detroit, tests still show elevated levels of lead in the tap water of many Flint homes. 

Digital_Third_Eye / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Across the country, Democrats are asking how to come back from their 2016 losses. One California party leader has a proposal: move the party’s headquarters to Michigan.

Phil Angelides is a former chairman of both the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and California's Democratic Party. In an article in Politico, he urged the party to “rebuild from the ground up.” Detroit, Angelides believes, is the best place to begin that process.

In addition to providing hundreds of thousands with health insurance, Healthy Michigan has also helped Michigan hospitals save hundreds of millions of dollars because of a reduction in uncompensated care.
Chealion / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is in Washington today. He’s meeting with members of Congress to talk about Healthy Michigan, the state’s version of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

During his State of the State address this week, Snyder noted Congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal, and likely replace, the ACA with something else. However, it’s uncertain what that replacement plan might be.

Nick Lyon, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, joined Stateside to talk about the current state of Healthy Michigan and what the future might hold for the program that has provided about 640,000 people with health insurance. 

A Minute with Mike
Vic Reyes

Hello, my fellow Michiganeers, it’s your friendly neighbor-radio hood Mike Blank. Just in case you’ve been trapped in an abandoned copper mine in the Upper Peninsula since November and you haven’t heard, we’re about to get a new president.

I try not to focus on political issues during our brief time together. However, the one thing that stood out about this election to me was the staggering number of people who did not vote. Roughly 47% of registered voters stayed away from their local school gymnasium, church, or community center on Election Day. And it wasn’t because of the funky smell.

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