Detroit

Financial State of Michigan – 2015

41st Place Among the States

tia-methodologyYou have probably read the Mackinac Center’s excellent works on Michigan’s government finances, much of which they release through Michigan Capitol Confidential. Top quality analyses, but parochial in the sense that they don’t place Michigan’s government finances in the context of the other American states. An Illinois 501(c)(3) organization, Institute for Truth in Accounting does, and has come up with a useful metric – taxpayer burden – by which you can rank Michigan financial status relative to the other states. No accounting degree necessary.

Suffice it to say, you will not be reading any of Truth in Accounting’s work in Michigan’s nitwit, cheerleading media.

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Catch-22

Bleakley Image aMichael J Talbot ImageAttorney Thomas H. Bleakley (P23892) has to be feeling a lot like Captain John Yossarian, the harried protagonist of Joseph Heller’s great satirical novel Catch-22. Chief Judge Michael J. Talbot of the Michigan Court of Claims dismissed Attorney Bleakley’s Helen Moore et al v. Rick Snyder [16-000153-MM] lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Legislature’s passage of the DPS bail out on August 4th, in an order published on August 8th.

The Michigan Court of Claims was moved from the Ingham County Circuit Court to the Michigan Court of Appeals by PA 164 of 2013 to:

MCL 600.6419 Court of claims; exclusive jurisdiction; exceptions; claims less than $1,000.00; powers and jurisdiction; counterclaims; res judicata; setoff, recoupment, or cross declaration; writs of execution or garnishment; judgment as final; no jurisdiction of claim for compensation under MCL 418.101 to 418.941 and MCL 419.101 to 419.104; jurisdiction of circuit court over certain actions and proceedings; “the state or any of its departments or officers” defined.

Section 6419(1)

(a) To hear and determine any claim or demand, statutory or constitutional, liquidated or unliquidated, ex contractu or ex delicto, or any demand for monetary, equitable, or declaratory relief or any demand for an extraordinary writ against the state or any of its departments or officers notwithstanding another law that confers jurisdiction of the case in the circuit court.

But, according to Judge Talbot, not the constitutional claims pleaded in Helen Moore et al v. Rick Snyder

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When $ 175,000 A Year Just Isn’t Enough

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time....President Abraham Lincoln

Adamo DemolitionDetroit’s Deputy Director of Construction and Project Management, James Wright, suddenly resigned today. Wright had been the Detroit Medical Center’s Corporate Vice President of Facility Engineering and Construction when Mayor Duggan hired him under a contract to be the $ 250,000 a year Deputy Director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority two and a half years ago. He was then transferred to the city’s payroll in March of this year at a $ 175,000 a year salary. Mr. Wright’s resignation does not include a severance and was effective immediately. Certain evidence of a firing at this level of government, not a resignation.  You can bet that Wright just got his Federal target letter. from U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

The FBI and the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) have been investigating Detroit’s demolition program for about a year now. Enough time to start issuing indictments. SIGTARP has jurisdiction over the Hardest Hit Fund which provided the $250 million Detroit has spent on home demolitions (and lavished on contractors). Detroit Mayor Duggan has pledged complete cooperation with the investigation.  Wright Right…..

Barry Ellentuck ImageWright’s resignation comes on the heels of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s failed prosecution of whistleblower Barry Ellentuck, the ADR Consultants, LLC President who went to the FBI with solid evidence of the corruption in the Detroit home demolition program – the very day before AG Schuette indicted him. Mr. Ellentuck was set up by a lying, thieving subordinate and his prosecution had all the hallmarks of retaliation for squealing to the Feds. Home demolition contract costs suddenly rose from about $ 10,000 per house to $ 16,000 per house under Mayor Duggan, just after Mr. Wright took control of the program.

The city originally signed Wright to a two-year contract that paid $250,000 a year. He was transferred to the city’s payroll at $175,000 a year when his original two year employment contract expired in March.  Evidently, $ 175,000 a year is just not enough for Mayor Duggan’s exalted talent.  As a point of reference, Governor Snyder makes $ 159,300 per year as Governor of Michigan. Governor Snyder clearly holds the wrong office to make money in this state.

Wright awarded corrupt ‘unit price’ demolition contracts to three connected demolition companies, Adamo, Homrich and MCM Management. You might recognize them as very profitable MDoT contractors, but that was the Proposal 1 story of last year. Wright disclosed contract prices before the bids were opened to their competitors and allowed all three companies special, reduced bonding requirements unavailable to other bidders.

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Quid Pro Quo: How The DPS Bail Out Passed

Pavlovian Conditioning In Michigan Politics

Money Transfer ImageMichigan’s campaign finance laws were designed to expose quid pro quo donations to legislators and politicians by the individuals and groups having special interests in government actions. A particular goal of campaign finance laws was to prevent politicians from benefiting personally from their votes and actions. In the American Civics version of representative government, politicians are expected to represent their voters exclusively. Selling their votes and actions to the highest bidder creates an unresponsive, alien government in short order. Think Venezuela, Illinois, or Detroit. Where Michigan is now heading.

Political campaigns are expensive today. Consultants and media outlets are the particular beneficiaries of lavish campaign spending and have, in turn, convinced candidates that money is the sine qua non of political success. Today, you are not considered a serious candidate for the lowest rung in the Michigan political firmament – State Representative – unless you have a $ 100,000 campaign war chest.

American politicians and their special interest backers are developing a technique which directs quid pro quo donations right into politicians’ pockets.  This technique is fast becoming a staple of Michigan politics and Michigan’s nitwit media have ignored this ingannation of representative government.

Michigan politicians are now morphing into vending machines that cater to the highest bidders in Lansing and Washington.  This explains the passage of the PA 192 – 197 Detroit Public Schools bail out over the objections of many outraged Michigan voters.

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August 2nd Matters

The DPS Bail Out Can Be Spiked By Defeating Just One State House RINO

Michigan Capitol Building Image 1The six bills (PA 192 – 197 of 2016) of the Detroit Public School bail out package passed in the Michigan House of Representatives by margins of 55 – 53 to 60 – 48. The same six bills passed in the Michigan Senate by margins of 19 – 18 to 21 – 16. Close votes; over 50% + 1 but nowhere near two-thirds. And these close votes were only obtained after an entirely false narrative of doom and gloom was presented to the Legislature. This is becoming a major issue in the August 2nd primaries which Michigan’s nitwit media are conveniently ignoring.

Attorney Thomas H. Bleakley (P23892) filed a lawsuit (Helen Moore et al v. Rick Snyder, 16-000153-MM) in the Michigan Court of Claims on the 5th of July which alleges that the entire DPS bail out package’s passage was unconstitutional; the claim being it was in fact a collection of local acts according to the Michigan Constitution of 1963.  Local acts require two-thirds legislative vote margins and voter approvals to become law.  The six bills of the DPS bail out package were all passed, in both houses of the Michigan Legislature, under the more liberal 50% + 1 voting rule allowed only for general acts.

The Michigan Constitution of 1963, Article IV, Section 29 states “No local or special act shall take effect until approved two-thirds of the members elected to and serving in each house and by a majority of the electors voting thereon in the district affected….”. Article IV, Section 30 further states that “….two-thirds of the members elected to and serving in each house of the legislature shall be required for the appropriation of public money or property for local or private purposes.”.

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The DPS Bailout – An Alternative History Under Bankruptcy

A Bankruptcy Postponed Is Not A Bankruptcy Avoided

US Bankruptcy Court ImageThe $ 617 million PA 192 – 197 bail out package signed by Governor Snyder on 21 June (plus the $ 48.7 million emergency down payment earlier this year) will not fix the Detroit Public Schools. The culture of corruption and incompetence long fostered within DPS suggests that the new DPS – same as the old DPS, except for some liabilities – will fail miserably a few years hence in an avalanche of new liabilities. Michigan will then be left to sort out two separate DPS entities with unsustainable liabilities. This could easily occur even before Governor Snyder leaves office in 2019. Karma. Déjà vu all over again.

Governor Snyder secured the Michigan Legislature’s approval of the $ 617 million bailout by regaling them with an entirely false narrative of the aborted 1991 Richmond, CA Unified School District bankruptcy, then implying that the entire $ 3.5 billion in DPS liabilities would fall upon the taxpayers of Michigan. The Michigan Legislature’s Republicans (and our nitwit media) bought Governor Snyder’s tale hook, line, and sinker – then delivered a $ 617 million gift to DPS for its past ill behavior. The Michigan Legislature’s Democrats had the chutzpah to hold out for even more taxpayer paid goodies.

There was another, better option: bankruptcy.

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A House Divided – And Its Not Republicans!

Replacement of Representative Plawecki on the Ballot Reveals Democratic Party Discord, Preparation for a Lame Duck Session?

Julie PlaweckiDuring a week of dramatic racial conflict across the U.S.A, few noticed a more subdued racial conflict which surfaced right here in Michigan. First term Michigan State Representative Julie Plawecki died on June 25th during a hike on Misery Ridge at Smith Rock, Oregon. Representative Plawecki was running unopposed for reelection in the Democratic primary on August 2nd, in Michigan’s 11th State House District. Representative Plawecki’s death occurred after the April 19th Michigan primary election filing deadline, so it is up to the local party to select a replacement Democrat to appear on the November 8th ballot in accordance with PA 116 of 1954.

The ‘local party’ in this particular instance is the Michigan 13th Congressional District Democratic Party (SoS BoE 516418). Representative Conyers represents the 13th Congressional District, even though he hasn’t lived in it since the 2012 redistricting. Even so, Representative Conyers does maintain control over the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party apparatus through his agent Jonathan C. Kinloch. Jonathon C. Kinloch 2Mr. Kinloch, a Detroiter who also resides outside the 11th State House District, is perhaps best known as an Emergency Manager appointed member of the esteemed Detroit Board of Education.

Half of the 11th Michigan House District’s population is in Garden City and Inkster, with the balance in attached pieces of Westland, Dearborn Heights and Livonia. Garden City and Inkster are polar opposites ethnically, but both vote heavily Democratic. The Westland and Dearborn Heights segments of the 11th are somewhere in between Garden City and Inkster, while the small segment of Livonia trends Republican. Hidden in the Census data for this district are substantial South Asian and Arab ethnic communities, but the district’s African-American population fraction is pretty well identified by the Census at about 35%.

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Exactly whose agenda is Gov. Snyder promoting?

"While shutting down the schools would be horrible. It is a better option than the alternative."

“This marks a new day for Detroit families, with DPS free from debt and strong accountability measures for all schools in the city that promises a brighter future for all of Detroit’s children.” – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder after signing the DPS bailout package last month.

If only that were really true.

There’s a story making the rounds here locally, that to put it mildly, I am more than a little surprised hasn’t been picked up by other media outlets around Michigan.

It seems that Emergency Manager Transition Manager Stephen Rhodes, Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri, Gov. Snyder and a few select others within Michigan Government have felt that it is more important to bury some rather disturbing facts relating to Detroit Public Schools, rather than to make them public (Read: Better make sure that Michigan Taxpayers don’t EVER get wind of this!).

 

What was John Burroughs Intermediate School.

Nope, not the crumbling infrastructure of DPS.

And what is this little nugget you may ask?

{Continued below}

H/T to the good people at Channel 7 in Detroit for breaking this story.

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Bang head here.

What's amazing here is not what they tell you, but what they don't...

Well, the children in Detroit are at it again.

And is there any wonder why there is so much blow-back from Gov. Snyder’s latest excuse to waste Michigan Taxpayer money on Detroit?

{Continued below the fold}

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Busy Times

The posts are as usual high quality, but currently a little more sparse because of some ongoing election efforts.

10x25MM has done a fine job pointing out the DPS foibles, and this morning reminds me that bankruptcy really was the legitimate option for the failed district.  It appears that even after 617 Million has been approved, no one knows who is in charge yet. From the Detroit News:

Davis, who has been board president for two years, on Sunday said Lemmons was making his move.

“LaMar Lemmons is trying to hijack the ship, but he is not currently the president, even though he would like to be.”

Both insist they are following the June 9 board meeting results even though the stint is short..

Boys. boys…  Just remember, the Captain goes down with the ship.

In any event, I mentioned election efforts, right?  Below is a radio ad I have prepared to run this coming week, and then again closer to the election. I thought it might be of interest, and that THIS TOO might be of interest.  Higher taxes.. Right?

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