Michigan

Decision Time: DW&SD Rain Tax Comes To A Head In Court

Detroit Water & Sewerage Division Has Colluded With Trial Lawyers To Avoid A Constitutional Test Of Their Outrageous 'Stormwater Fee'

The Detroit Water & Sewerage Department’s Non Residential Drainage Rate became a political hot potato in 2013 when the City finally started applying this breathtaking, disguised tax to all non residential properties within the City.  Mayor Duggan is scraping the bottom of the barrel for every revenue dollar he can find.

Prior to 2013, the City of Detroit only extracted this rate from 12,000 non residential property owners, although 41,237 non residential property owners should have been paying it. They also extracted this rate from the State of Michigan and Wayne County for roads in Detroit, after a lengthy appeals process which ended in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Detroit shielded politically preferred and connected property owners from this tax for 35 years, notably the politically powerful black churches.  But that ended in 2013 when the City of Detroit “discovered….that there are some errors with respect to our billing of stormwater charges”.

This rate, which is often referred to as a stormwater fee or the rain tax, is not inconsequential. It is now $ 660 – $ 750 per acre, per month. Run of the mill churches with on site parking were rudely surprised with $ 3,500 monthly charges in 2015, on top of their already expensive water bills. They thought as religious entities they were tax exempt. Tee-hee.  No one in Michigan is truly tax exempt!  Michigan Public Act 178 of 1939 (MCL 123.161 et seq.) converts unpaid DW&SD stormwater fees into a property lien, same as unpaid property taxes, so these fees quickly result in property foreclosures.

Ever wonder why Detroit has such a problem with commercial property blight? Now church blight is in the offing.

Non residential property owners in Detroit have just received a legal notice in the mail announcing a proposed settlement of a Wayne County Circuit Court class action case filed by Michigan Warehousing Group LLC and Midwest Valve and Fitting Company against the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department over the DW&SD’s outrageous stormwater fee. This case is identified in the Wayne County Circuit Court as 15-010165-CZ. The parties reached a settlement agreement which is carefully constructed to cripple legal challenges to the constitutionality of the stormwater fee in higher courts and handsomely pay off the trial bar.

The settlement notice fails to inform non residential property owners that another, far more comprehensive class action law suit is progressing in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Detroit Alliance Against The Rain Tax v. City Of Detroit in the Michigan Court of Appeals, Case Number 339176, just got consolidated with a similar suit on 24 October and appears ready for litigation – also as a class action.

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Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

This piece started off when I was asked for my $0.02 this weekend on something in the local paper (which I freely admit that I do still read), written by someone whom I consider an absolute imbecile (which I’d told my friend on multiple occasions what I thought of this particular writer).

Still, if this wasn’t coming from a friend of mine, it probably would’ve ended differently.

{Post continues below the fold}

 

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Thank You.

For God, Family, & Country .. Thank You

Frequently, the wife and I find ourselves at an event which is dedicated to, or populated by our local veterans.

Neither of us served, however we each have family members who have, and can only respect the sacrifice one makes to be a part of the bigger picture. We understand that it is through the strength and love of God, Family, and Country that those who take up arms are able to do so.

The first district of Michigan is well populated by those who have served at different times. There is no shortage of opportunities to associate with those who risk it all in defense of a nation that still holds the promise for the greatest liberties attainable by man.

But the veteran population is roughly 60,000 out of about 570,000 and it is aging fast. The great number of those who served in wartime are already reaching retirement, and moving on to a ‘better place.’  Michigan’s average age for veterans is in the low to mid 50’s, and with few WWII vets remaining, it remains one of the states with the higher aged veteran population.

They won’t be with us forever.

Take each opportunity today, as well as all others to show your appreciation to those who serve.  A simple “thank you,” volunteering to assist in veteran events, showing up at the airports when a currently serving serviceman returns home from a long tour can remind those who have put the uniform on that they are appreciated, and valued.

We applaud those of you who have served, are serving, or have suffered for your commitment.  We honor you for the sacrifices you have made, and appreciate your investment in our nation’s future.

Thank you.

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Something In the Water

Incumbency protection planning gone wrong?

If Karen Weaver survives the Flint Mayoral ‘recall’ contest,will anyone be particularly surprised?

Weaver, supposedly a solution to decades of infrastructure neglect and poor city service planning, became the target of big city politicos because of the normal big city shenanigans.  From Global financial Market Review:

” Mayor Karen Weaver sailed into office two years ago promising to clean Flint’s lead-tainted water and to restore trust in government, after previous leaders brought poisoned water to the city and ignored residents when they complained. Ms. Weaver declared a state of emergency, met with the president and made the rounds on cable television, quickly becoming one of America’s most visible mayors.

But as her celebrity grew, so too did a revolt within her own City Hall. She now faces City Council members accusing her of corruption, a court battle over Flint’s long-term water source and, on Tuesday, a recall election that could snuff out her four-year term at the halfway point.”

Once upon a time, a recall actually meant something however.

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OUR Civility?

Politics has become more warlike with the rage of the recalcitrant left.

Last night, the Jack Bergman town hall in Traverse City ended immediately following the shout from an audience member of “grab em by the pussy!”

The event, which lasted about an hour and a half revealed much of what can be expected by the left in the political arena. Accusations of “you’re trying to kill me,” and catcalls continually polluting what could have been a reasonable Q & A of the first congressional district’s representative.

The organized ‘resistance’ group ‘Indivisible’ predictably bared their cute colored signs as well as verbal excrement, and made it a point to indicate right at the start of the night, that the left has lost it’s collective mind. Donning the pink pussy hats, they expressed their vulgar social skills as best they could.

During the invocation, the very same people who decry the President’s ‘boorishness,’ had the audacity to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance. During the pledge of allegiance they surprisingly stood, but many remained silent.

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Mr Lightbulb Turns On ..A Dime

Sure fire continuing congressional job, or anything goes brawl for the chance to face the meat puppet in 2018?

I am only posting this for the title effect.

Fred Upton’s sure fire job in-the-hand as a ‘main street’ congress critter is probably worth more than one senate run in the bush. From West Michigan politics:

Is Rep. Fred Upton abandoning what seemed like a certainty at Mackinac, running for US Senate, because he is scared of Steve Bannon?

That’s what some reports are saying about Upton, who has been in Congress for over 30 years…
According to the Detroit Free Press:
“According to several GOP insiders, it wasn’t a matter of whether Upton would run, but when he would announce. Today, however, the congressman from St. Joseph appears to be having second thoughts.
Dang it.
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Once Upon A Time

The first amendment used to assist the second? Brilliant?

There was a Republican legislator in Michigan.

He wasn’t a remarkably conservative man, and to-be-sure not particularly interested in the constitution.  Certainly not very knowledgeable about it either. Bruce Patterson actually tried to license ‘opinion’

One thing of particular interest to bloggers and out-of-mainstream writers is the legislative effort to curb access to information and the ability to report by ‘just anyone’. It had popped up a couple of years ago when a Michigan legislator, State senator Bruce Patterson (perhaps twirling his handlebar mustache a little too tight) had the idea of ‘licensing journalists’.

“Introduced by Sen. Bruce Patterson (R) on May 11, 2010, to create a government “Board of Michigan Registered Reporters” to pass on the qualifications under criteria established in the bill for an individual who seeks to use the title “Michigan Registered Reporter.” An individual who writes or creates news stories, commentaries or editorials for a newspaper, online news outlet or radio or TV broadcaster, and who wants to use this title, would have to pay a $10 fee, and have either a journalism degree, at least three years experience as a reporter, submit writing samples, present evidence of awards or recognitions, present a letter of recognition from a reporter who is “registered,” etc.”

A very strange thing to even ponder, much less propose as law.

In fairness, it should be noted he was ‘cool’ with non credentialed types using the title ‘reporter’.

In fairness.

One might wonder where such a mental process begins.  Is it the result of a nasty and hurtful news article?  Is it to protect an elite class of reporters and restrict access to all others (unless properly credentialed) who seek access to political types?  Is it simply impish guile?

Who knows?  It’s forgotten news anyhow, as it went nowhere and it has been absent for several years of the 24 hour news cycle.

Now we have a new twist!  read on…

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Well that didn’t take very long.

Here comes the first proverbial shot across the bow.

Grab some popcorn, this should be fun.

Submitted w/o any further comment.

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Taking It Back

True Conservative to get back in the game for 2018

One of the most compelling curiosities of Michigan politics is the 11th congressional district.

In the 2012 election cycle, a little known veteran, farmer, and teacher, Kerry Bentivolio  challenged the popular Thaddeus McCotter for the 11th congressional seat in the Republican primary. Bentivolio was largely ignored and on his own with barely a notice even as he set up a Kiosk just outside the 2012 State convention in Detroit.

McCotter was not going to lose a primary to this particular unknown and things moved along as they do. Of course “as they do” can become crazy real fast in Michigan politics. The long [to NO] shot challenger soon found himself thrust into the position of defending a GOP seat in congress when things fell apart for McCotter.

Establishment types freaked out.

McCotter at first thought a write-in campaign would work, but then decided to roll with fate and pursue the next stage of his career.  At the same time, money players in the 11th sought out someone they thought might be ‘a better choice’ to defend the seat (and perhaps serve their ends) for the general election.

Even though write in campaigns are seldom successful, it was seen as the only way to keep a constitutional conservative, tea party guy from ‘screwing up’ the system.  Nancy Cassis was selected to challenge the new found politico Bentivolio for the primary, but as write-ins go, was easily trounced by the under funded and on the ballot new-pol by a margin of two to one.

Bentivolio served with honor and earned a 95% rating from freedomworks, 92% from the ACU, 91% from club for growth, and 83% from Heritage. Bentivolio was second only to Amash in constitutional on the Heritage rating and earned the top spot from a number of smaller conservative and small business organizations.

It wasn’t enough for the swamp however.  In 2014, there was already a challenge planned and fully funded, and with the establishment blockade placed on the newly installed congressman’s reelection coffers, he wasn’t able to survive a political fight with the well funded David Trott, who won easily with his own two to one margin.

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It’s The Constitution .. Stupid.

The US Constitution being ignored is not a compelling reason for a Con-Con.

Donald Trump did (with a pen) what we asked for our GOP legislature to do for the last 6+ years of controlling the house.

Whether he realized it or not, he might well have set the tone for examining presidential actions, and more importantly how the bureaucracy interfaces with the public going forward.  Citing the constitution, the Trump administration has declared it will no longer pay for health care subsidies, period.  From ABC news:

”  the White House said the government cannot legally continue to pay the so-called cost-sharing subsidies because they lack a formal authorization by Congress.

However, the administration had been making the payments from month to month, even as Trump threatened to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care. The subsidies help lower co-pays and deductibles for people with modest incomes.

Halting the payments would trigger a spike in premiums for next year, unless Trump reverses course or Congress authorizes the money. The next payments are due around Oct. 20. “

Unless he “reverses course?”

He cannot reverse course.  It would be as illegal as Obama making the payments in the first place.  In fact, this very act was already preceded by a declaration that the very payment of those subsidies was unconstitutional, not just yesterday, but actually in APRIL of this year by US attorney general Jeff Sessions:

” Sessions said during a Fox News interview that the payments to insurers, which reimburse them for lowering the cost of copays and deductibles for low-income Obamacare customers and are the subject of a House lawsuit, should be appropriated by Congress.

Sessions’ comments come as insurers are concerned whether the Trump administration will continue to reimburse them for the cost-sharing reductions.

Insurers are required under federal law to provide the reductions for Obamacare and have been getting reimbursed by the federal government. They are expected to receive $7 billion this year.

But Sessions said a lawsuit filed by the House against the Obama administration in 2014 “has validity to it.”

The lawsuit argues that the Obama administration illegally bypassed Congress and didn’t get an appropriation for the payments.

Nobody could say they didn’t see this coming.

But where is the Michigan angle you ask?

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