Detroit

State of the (19th Century) Art

"And it will benefit dozens of Detroiters..."

As if last year’s defeat of the RTA tax hasn’t discouraged Penske and the rest of the pro RTA tax crowd (not to fear…it’ll be back on the ballot in less than two years), they now find themselves in the sights of the (Not So) Pure Michigan crowd!

Hmmmmm, WHY hasn’t the republican legislature repealed the law authorizing this shakedown yet?

Anyway…just a little something to bring a smile to you this afternoon.

Submitted w/o any further comment

Some of the language isn’t exactly SFW, so turn down your speakers for about a minute.

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Corruption or Incompetence?

Oakland Macomb Sewer Interceptor Costs Now At $ 335 Million And Climbing, Cue The Lawsuits

The City of Sterling Heights announced on their FakeBook page Monday that they have filed a lawsuit against Macomb County over their $ 22.2 million portion of the cost for reconstructing the collapsed Oakland Macomb sewer interceptor (OMI), as apportioned by the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (MIDDD). Sterling Heights believes that the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District (MCWDD) “did nothing to abate the conditions that likely caused the December [24th] 2016 collapse”. Sterling Heights believes their contract with the MCWDD covers the operation and maintenance of the OMI interceptor.  This may be a little tricky to prove, since the OMI is actually run by the Oakland Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (OMIDDD), an entity independent of and superior to the MCWDD.

Sterling Heights’ contention is that proper maintenance on the OMI by the MCWDD would have prevented its collapse. Maybe. The OMIDDD has already spent $ 170 million on rehabilitation of the OMI since they bought it in 2009. Supposedly the entire 21 mile length was examined and rehabilitated. That rehabilitation effort ended just months before its December 2016 collapse. That collapse suggests that the OMIDDD rehabilitation didn’t do much good. Anyone care to speculate why? Your choices are corruption or incompetence, or both.

This is now a Michigan wide story because our state government will be providing at least $ 5 million of the $ 75 million repair costs for the December OMI collapse. The much debated $ 3 million legislative grant and another $ 2 million from MDEQ.  That $ 75 million is just the current estimate, for the currently acknowledged deterioration of the OMI. Given the Granholm Administration’s role in suckering Oakland and Macomb counties into the OMI purchase, the State of Michigan probably has a lot more responsibility.

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Score another win for crony capitalism.

When will you little people ever learn! I GET want I want to get. Thanks to the Michigan republicans…

 

And we cannot get broad-based tax relief…why?

Submitted without further comment.

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Rip Off

Weaver/McCormick Flint-GLWA Deal Transforms Water From Obscene Tax To Outright Theft

Flint Mayor Karen I Love Rizzo Weaver and Great Lakes Water Authority CEO Sue McCormick have reached a 30 year deal for Flint to purchase water from the Great Lakes Water Authority. The City of Flint had signed up to purchase its water from the nascent Karegnondi Water Authority in March 2013 and the State of Michigan concurred in April. Everyone in Flint City government, save one councilman, has agreed to source Flint’s water from the KWA. Even Mayor Weaver. Until this week.

The Weaver/McCormick deal has GLWA paying Flint at least $ 7 million a year to cover Flint’s share of the bonds issued to finance the KWA. A total of $ 210 million over the 30 year contact period.

Where will that $ 210 million come from?  GLWA is not the Federal Reserve, they cannot just create money out of thin air. GLWA will extract the money from the victims ratepayers in the other communities it ‘serves’.

Mayor Weaver and CEO McCormick will transform GLWA water rates into yet another exaction imposed upon most of Southeastern Michigan to subsidize Flint. Without any input from those victims ratepayers. A blatant fee as tax evasion of Headlee. Governor Snyder, of course, approves wholeheartedly.

This is government theft, Headlee evasion, and a rich fount of future corruption.

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Michigan Gun Owners Beware!

Big Brother Is Watching

There has been an interesting development in the case of two individuals who were arrested for open carry in the anteroom of the Dearborn, Michigan Police Department Headquarters. Two men from central Michigan were arrested for entering the anteroom of the Dearborn Police Department Headquarters building while carrying, and filming themselves while doing so. They were reportedly using open carry to protest what they believed was a bogus traffic stop which they were subjected to earlier in Dearborn.

James Baker and Brandon Vreeland have been abandoned by Michigan’s open carry movement, probably due to the allegation that they were using open carry to protest something entirely unrelated to Second Amendment rights, but it does not appear that their actions actually violated any Michigan law. At least one of the two was wearing ‘body armor’, which added to the provocative nature of their actions. Carry in police stations is actually not prohibited by Michigan law, and it is a violation of Michigan law to prohibit firearms in a police station outside of secured areas.

Fun side note: When I was a kid in the 1960’s, I used to shoot small bore rifle matches in the basement shooting range of this very building, which was even then the DPD police station. How times have changed!

Now we have a remarkable discovery from Nicholas Somberg (P80416), the defense attorney for Brandon Vreeland of Jackson: The Dearborn Police secretly monitored the two ‘Second Amendment activists’ and essentially ambushed both men as they were filming themselves walking into the Dearborn Police headquarters.

Here is the interesting development, as reported by the Detroit Free Press:

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So Why The Change Of Heart?

Judge Out-Of-The-Blue Change of heart raises eyebrows.

I cannot stand DDAs.

They operate surreptitiously, are usually populated with egotistical good-of-the-community jerks, and have little regard for process or the rights of taxpayers. I know, its just my opinion.  I just don’t think its too much to ask for some better accountability.

One Judge pretty much agreed .. Until he didn’t.   Nothing to see here:

“Exactly why Gillis changed his mind was not clear today. Paperwork filed Monday cancelling last week’s order cited “reasons state on the record” at a hearing on Friday. The hearing was about the DDA’s objection to Davis’ latest complaint. Davis said neither he nor his attorney were notified of the hearing and, therefore, didn’t know Gillis’ reasons. A receptionist for Gillis said the judge was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Davis wasn’t even invited to a hearing about his complaint?

H/T Sue Schwartz

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The Price of Political Failure

The Detroit News launched a hit piece on Michael G. Ford, the CEO of the Regional Transportation Authority of Southeastern Michigan this morning. Reporters Robert Snell and Christine MacDonald breathlessly review Mr. Ford’s expense accounting and employment contract details over the 33 months since he was appointed CEO of the RTA.

The closest they get to finding any real improprieties is Mr. Ford’s car allowance and mileage reimbursement, but that does not stop them from reporting salacious details of hotel room charges and his very generous employment contract. No illegality or budget overruns are found, but the tone of the article is supremely negative. Mr. Ford’s contract happens to be up for renewal and the RTA Board tabled a $ 16,300 raise for him two weeks ago.

A special meeting of the RTA Board of Directors was held this morning, including a closed session. Public bodies operating under the Open Meetings Act are only allowed to close meetings when deliberating personnel matters and contracts. It is not much of a leap to speculate that Mr. Ford is today’s main course at the RTA Board meeting.

The Detroit News duo filed an FOIA request for Mr. Ford’s contract details and expense reimbursements shortly after Paul Hillegonds, Governor Rick Snyder’s appointee to the RTA Board, began reviewing Mr. Ford’s expenses. Coincidence? Hardly.

What is going on here?

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Dan Gilbert Begging For Taxpayer Money Capture – Detroit News Says Please Give.

Imagine if all industries were subsidized with capture process.

Set the example, right?

Cronyism is still alive and well, and Detroit interests still have their hands out. And maybe it’s not JUST the developers? Detroit’s high taxes, and expensive operating environment has created impediments to natural growth.

Years after Dan Gilbert took money from taxpayers to move his employees into Detroit where they would pay a new income tax, and endure travel challenges, he want to see more of the bottom of the taxpayer purse through capture strategies. And he has cheerleaders.

The Detroit News has opined in favor of taking money from Michigan families and giving it to big developers to subsidize otherwise unprofitable real estate projects. The News wrote:

“In Detroit and other older Michigan cities, rents are still not high enough to fully offset construction costs without incentive packages.”

If the News extended the same logic to its own situation, we might see something like this in a future editorial:

“In Detroit and other old two-newspaper towns, subscription and ad rates are still not high enough to fully offset continuing operations without incentive packages.  If we were to get subsidies captured from the taxes paid from our employees, our success would be guaranteed, and [those] taxes would increase!”

Just think of the page rent decreases it could offset!

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Michigan’s Tax Charade

No Michigan Tax Deal Is Ever Worth The Paper It Is Written On

Since our devious Governor and his RINO caucus pulled out all the stops to quash the HB 4001 decrements in the state income tax last Thursday, it has dawned on Michigan politicians that the optics of the SB 111 – 115 Dan Gilbertville tax breaks just got real ugly. You can’t hand $ 1.8 billion of state revenue over to politically connected developers after stiffing the public at large without gruesome consequences. This is going to decrement some Senators’ campaign finance committee balances.

No one should fault Speaker Leonard for putting HB 4001 up for a losing vote. Bottling up and fiddling legislation behind closed doors until a winning margin is assured is not an exemplar of government transparency. Brits and Europeans may regard such shifty back room shenanigans as the hallmark of sophisticated political process, but here in America constituents want to know exactly how they are being represented. Thursday’s vote told us more about the RINOs in the Michigan House than years of deceitful political media articles and reports.

Thank you Speaker Leonard for fostering genuine political transparency.  Long overdue in Michigan.

It now appears that killing both tax reductions was the plan all along. Bridge Magazine and the Michigan Municipal League just launched a trial balloon to gut the Proposal A constitutional amendment of 1994. Proposal A limited the tax depredations of government employees acting through their local units of government, a popular activity in Michigan’s more leftward big cities and counties. The sales tax was increased 50%, but property owners got some constitutionally protected tax relief in return.

Local government employees and their Democratic political puppets want to renege on the 1994 Proposal A tax deal. Well, not entirely. Just the constitutionally protected property tax relief. No one is offering to restore the 4% sales tax rate. What was it JFK said about negotiating with the Soviets? “We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” Public employees and their subservient Democratic politicians have a lot of gall claiming that President Trump is a Russian stooge and a neo communist tyrant to boot.

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Money Well Spent

Michigan students at the bottom of the educational assessment list.

V.I. Lenin: Our National Dream Realized!
USSR Education Poster, 1950

Michigan schools are demonstrating unbelievable performance levels.

perhaps not in the way one might like, however.  From the Freep:

“A new analysis of results of a national educational test shows Michigan students have continually made the least improvement nationally of scores since 2003.  

..

That analysis comes less than six months after the release of the Michigan’s Talent Crisis report by Education Trust-Midwest that found Michigan’s students are falling far behind their peers across the nation. The ETM report found that Michigan is in the bottom 10 states for key subjects and grades, including early literacy. “

Surprising?

Oh wait, they probably need more money.  Everyone knows that the amount of money spent per child is closely linked to student performance. More from the article:

” Jacob, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, said there is no single explanation of the Michigan rankings.

“I believe that there are a number of factors responsible for Michigan’s weak performance: a lack of adequate state and local funding for schools, the highly decentralized nature of governance that makes it difficult for the state Department of Education to develop coordinated reforms, the lack of regulation and accountability in the charter sector, and the economic and political instability that have plagued Detroit and other urban areas in the state,” he said. “

Whoop, there it is.

With a bonus.  Bigger control from centralized government, ignore the failing ‘regular’ schools, and put the hammer on the charter schools..

Comrade.

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