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So said the headline August 14, 2013 on the front page of the Record Eagle in Traverse City.
It starts off:
The chamber's Board of Directors decided to back the district's millage proposals Tuesday morning.
I have saved that particular issue (and took the 1000 word photo) as a reminder of what happens when sleepy oversight meets an aggressive enemy, particularly in an advocacy organization. Today's chamber of commerce in particular is a far different creature than it once was. Traditionally an advocate of business and growth of a community by promoting lower cost of dealing with government, fewer regulations, and growing a customer base. The model has been altered by pro-regulatory, anti competitive and progressive high tax types who have infiltrated and merely put a face of business over their anti business operations.
The article which spawned the headline touches on the example of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, and its support last year of a $100,000,000.00 boondoggle, and even more easily this year's reduced ($47,000,000.00 total) offering. It supports putting more of a burden on its members and those who bear the increasing liability of property ownership.
taxable properties the school receives funding from has several classifications.
Estimated Taxable Value (ad valorem) $4,230,649,648.00, the Homestead Taxable Value is $2,518,975,070.00, leaving the Non-Principal Residence Exemption Taxable Value $1,711,674,578.00 or 40.5% of the taxable value is outside of homestead residential ownership.
Remember those numbers highlighted above.
And then continue on below the fold.
(3 comments, 1219 words in story) Full Story
And this time its hard to say what might happen.
In another post it was mentioned among the comments to watch for encore performances. Indeed that IS how it goes when some of your friendly neighborhood's largest governmental units don't succeed. They try, and try again.
"A proposal to raise more money for schools in Traverse City is sailing smoothly into the November election. A much larger proposal was a disaster for the school district last year. .."And in Grand Traverse County, the encore performance would be nothing without an auditorium request, again.
Or rather a "performing arts center;" the one-time descriptive for a previous $26.5 million (part of $100 million) auditorium effort. Of course the proposed competition for Interlochen's stage market at 1200 seats and real cannons to remind folks of Shakespeare's globe (before said cannons burned it to the ground) was turned down by voters who are making decisions of paying the utilities or mortgage, and hardly wish to cough up more for what (given their circumstances) they might equate to frivolity.
Certainly, $12.9 Million is hardly too much to ask for the warm fuzzies of having a state of the art (albeit smaller) palace to entertain with the 18th straight season of Les Mis. Its truly a minor act.
Break a leg I say.
OK Progtards, put your anti religion unit on high alert.
While advocating for a Godless school system, progressives have conveniently ignored the hypocritical actions of extremist Muslims in our midst, which if allowed would turn some Michigan schools into full blown publicly funded Madrasas. According to BizPac Review, after objecting to Off-school CHRISTIAN activities, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) has succeeded in persuading Dearborn school officials to accommodate the floor kissing practice of Islamic prayer in our tax payer funded schools:
"CAIR lodged its complaint against the Dearborn School District, claiming that the school system didn't accommodate Muslim students wishing to participate in prayer on school grounds.Nothing like 'consistency' in public policy.
As seen further in the story:
The very same Michigan chapter of CAIR sent a letter to the Roseville Public School system complaining that permission slips were being handed out so that students could attend Bible classes, according to a CAIR press release.I am sure that the governor or AG would have something to say about THAT.
(5 comments) Comments >>
By JGillman, Section News
In 2011, the new makeup of the Michigan legislature brought forth a new reality, and hope for Michigan workers and employers.
The possibility of Right-To-Work legislation in a state considered so incredibly 'hands off' was too unbelievable, that even the national right to work folks scoffed at those of us conferencing in Lansing were preparing it. They were planning some help for Indiana and possibly Ohio, but Michigan? No way.
We persisted, and believing the governor's pre-election pledge that if it came before him, he would sign it, daily efforts were made to advance this important freedom, and relief from organized labor's non-accountability. It was focused, and had too many parts that would eventually lead to its successful passage, to give credit to one entity, or idea or effort. All hands were on deck, and the trick was getting it in front of the governor to sign.
Which he did. And we thank him for honoring his promise.
While the fight to KEEP it will go on for a couple of years, we should celebrate this point in time with vigor.
Happy Workers Freedom day!
(1 comment) Comments >>
By JGillman, Section News
In communities all over the state of Michigan, there has been a debate that will end March 27.
That debate is whether or not to advance contracts for bargaining units so that those units will operate under a closed shop for as long as possible. Union leadership, in order to extend their hold on the workers is willing to concede items already won. Public sector employers, seeing an opportunity to get concessions not so easily given before, is eager to capitulate. By golly taxpayers are well served, right? Win Win, right? Right?
I guess its a matter of perspective.
For the employees, they get to find out how well they have been served by their bargaining masters. Being locked in so that they can lose a perk or two, and with an added bonus of having several more years of unaccountability? A BARGAIN at half the price!
Even a contract signed as recently as November can be reopened and dealt away on the basis of expected health benefits costs, and a college which hopes to limit its exposure
" MCAAP and MCCFO took the offer, he surmised, because they were going to be subject to the health care changes before the end of 2013 anyway.".. by less than a year.
A few more shekels out of the employees pockets, so that they may remain the property of the union for an additional 5 months.
THAT'S accountability, yes?
By JGillman, Section News
Curiously, Michigan Capitol Confidential has a story about school millage advocacy.
"In an effort to drum up support for an upcoming millage, Alcona Community Schools Superintendent Shawn Thornton is quoted in a local newspaper claiming teaching and support staff have been cut almost in half."Which was of course misleading.
The first line says 'curiously' because today is the day I received the response from the SOS to my complaint of advocacy by TCAPS (Traverse City Area Public Schools) for its millage request. It included the district's denial that they were violating campaign finance 57. It claimed they didn't know that there was a violation. But interestingly, as they were denying the charge of violation, it should be noted they significantly re-worked their literature when 'caught' by the original complaint and a subsequent newspaper article highlighting the complaint.
Right up to that line without stepping over it is typical for school systems begging for more, but this was pretty clear. The Superintendent approved the mailer, but then had it changed when caught. Then had their hired guns respond to the complaint. Then another 'curious' event where the public relations manager resigns an $84k/yr job out of the blue.
I have 10 days from the date of the SOS response to add anything. The SOS response was dated Dec 21, 2012. (Envelope shows to be mailed the 27th) I suppose the violation should/could stand on its own, but will an additional argument weigh on the process any?
(2 comments) Comments >>
A D+ at best on his veto of SB59
Not a fail. The governor acknowledged a concern expressed by some schools:
"Snyder had urged that SB 59 be modified to more significantly restrict pistols in those zones by prohibiting open-carry in such places, in exchange for allowing only concealed pistols to be carried if license holders receive additional training - subject to the right of the property owners to prohibit concealed carrying if they desire. Under the bill as passed, only private venues can opt out, as can college universities with constitutional autonomy.I disagree, we could at least have found out how well it works the first time someone decided to break the law and NOT GET STOPPED by an otherwise law abiding CPL licensee in a posted gun free school. Someone who has already demonstrated a respect for the law cannot carry into a place where the treasures to protect are the greatest?
Nope. Maybe not a failed test, but a weak response, akin to steering into a skid; guaranteeing a wipe out at some point. Instead of giving the school workers options to arm themselves in the event of an invasion, they remain vulnerable to the attacks like those in Aurora and Newtown where a single bullet could have ended the carnage early. Snyder says
"This type of violence often leaves society with more questions than answers. The reasons for such appalling acts usually are numerous and complex. With that in mind, we must consider legislation like SB 59 in a holistic manner. While the bill's goal is to help prevent needless violence, Michigan will be better served if we view it through a variety of lenses. A thoughtful review that examines issues such as school emergency policies, disenfranchised youth and mental health services may lead to more answers and better safeguards."Yeah, because so much of that has worked so well in the past. Because the administration of the Newtown school were more than happy to ask Mr. Lanza if he had mommy issues, and perhaps he would like to talk about it. Perhaps maybe if there could have been safe boxes to hide in?
I would guess that before the lights went out, at least ONE of those in the front office wish they had a way in which to deal with the insanity that was unfolding in front of them. At least one of them armed, would have at least had the potential to change the dynamics in a way to turn the little SOB around, if for no other reason than unexpected resistance. Its understandable why the guv went the way he did, but its getting old, and the disrespect for life being bred into our violently over-gamed, trained killers is getting too dangerous to ignore.
Having the possibility of properly trained defenders is the best way to ensure maximum safety and civil society in our most sensitive areas.
(5 comments) Comments >>
How many times must the community be betrayed by its school board before an appropriate response is meted out?
The governing body which resides over the largest public budget in the Northwestern part of the state continues to thumb its nose at taxpayers. A recent (probable) violation of the open meetings act, adds to a list of actions that are not only indicative of sloppy governance, but more likely sanctioned acts of deception and perfidy. A scheduling ruse used by the board to hide its 'open' retreat worked to its advantage with no public present, with no recordings made of the retreat activities, and no option of challenge by the public, plans that will likely be rubber stamped in future open meetings which the board normally schedules.
Examples of deceptive practices are not exactly limited to what I write here. This particular story however, notes a growing disdain for the concerns taxpayers might have for the appropriate management of their resources. There are concerns that remain unanswered.
A recent bond issue was a catalyst in engaging some of us in the Grand Traverse region with regard to the actions of the local board for Traverse City Area Public Schools. (TCAPS) The $100 million bond issue came on the 5 year anniversary of another like it in 2007. Part of the issue that inspired opposition of myself and others was the inclusion of a $26.5 million 'performing arts center' in the bond which many see as wasteful and unnecessary. The timing also coincides with one of the worst economically difficult times the region has seen.
The bond was defeated by nearly 60-40%, which might make some think it would have failed no matter the opposition.
The sad reality is that it would have likely been a reversal in percentages seen without organized resistance and the sunlight provided by that resistance.
more below the fold
(1801 words in story) Full Story
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