Part Time Legislature

Forensic Audit – Now!

Rhodes Image 1aRetired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven W. Rhodes, now the Detroit Public Schools’ ‘Transition Manager’, just let another financial whopper out of the bag. Detroit Public Schools received about $30 million in U.S. Department of Education reimbursements for the pensions of grant-funded employees, but failed to forward those federal funds to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. So DPS owes MPSERS $ 30 million dollars, give or take. They are ‘negotiating’.

DPS officials knew of this funds misappropriation in December 2015. Judge Rhodes knew “in March 2016”. Before or after the Michigan Legislature got suckered into passing HB 5296 and HB 5385, the DPS emergency bailout and purported financial review commission?  HB 5296, the $ 48.7 million emergency DPS bailout, cleared the Michigan House on 17 March and the Michigan Senate on 24 March. Governor Snyder signed it as Public Act 54 on 12 April.

Did anyone in Lansing know that 60% of the PA 54 DPS bailout was headed straight to the MPSERS?

If so, why did they not share this little detail with the rest of the Legislature and the public prior to the passage of HB 5296?

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

Irony

i·ro·ny (ī′rə-nē, ī′ər-) Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.

Lansing City Hall & Court ComplexMichigan House Speaker Cotter just lost a round in the Courser/Gamrat felony criminal case preliminaries. Ingham County District Court 54-A Judge Hugh B. Clarke Jr. ruled Friday it would be “patently unfair” for Gamrat’s and Courser’s attorneys to not have an opportunity to question Cotter in their defense:Judge Hugh Clarke, Jr.

“Without answers to these questions, the Court cannot adequately balance the rights of the Defendants against the right of the Speaker to be free from being compelled to testify,” the order states.

“To make this decision, the Court believes an in camera hearing with counsel for the Defendants, Speaker Cotter and his attorney is warranted. This procedure would allow the court to properly balance the interests of the Defendants against the privilege sought to be accorded Speaker Cotter.”

Speaker Cotter has been claiming immunity under Public Act 27 of 1984 in Judge Clarke’s courtroom:

“AN ACT to provide immunity from civil action to members of the legislature of this state for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; to prohibit members of the legislature of this state from being made parties to contested cases or other administrative proceedings for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; and to provide for certain exemptions from subpoenas.”

Specifically Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity from a subpoena ad testificandum under the third section of PA 27 of 1984

MCL 4.553
Subpoena as to statements made by legislator
Sec. 3.
A member of the legislature shall not be subject to a subpoena for any matter involving statements made by the legislator pursuant to his or her duty as a legislator.

The issue here will be that the legal action against Courser and Gamrat in Ingham County District Court 54-A is a criminal action, specifically a felony action, not a civil action. Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity under a statute which pertains to civil actions, not criminal actions.  Michigan’s legislators have no constitutional or statutory relief from subpoenae in felony matters.

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21st Century Education Commission

This Summer's Dog and Pony Shows Commence With A Brazen Common Core Promotion

Dog and Poney Show Image 4Governor Snyder announced his 21st Century Education Commission in Executive Order 2016-6 last week. According to his press release:

“The commission will be responsible for analyzing top performing education systems in the nation, identifying issues impacting Michigan’s academic success, and recommending changes to restructure Michigan’s education system.”

You will be forgiven for harboring suspicions that this is another vehicle to promote Common Core. It is. Same type of political сове́т that did such a fine job promoting Proposal 2015-01.  Remember TAMC?  This playbook is getting old.

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RICO !!!

It's Spring and Lawsuits Are Busting Out All Over

Blind Justice Image 3Just a few short weeks ago, it appeared that the Presidential race and State House elections would dominate political news in Michigan for the rest of the year. Now it appears that courtrooms in Detroit and Lansing will provide compelling political drama as well. Drama which is going to cost Michigan taxpayers a bunch of money.

There have been a number of lawsuits filed over the Flint water fiasco (over 71!), but yesterday a consortium of law firms filed a Federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Flint residents using the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This represents a whole new level of legal pain. Civil RICO provides for treble damages when a pattern of racketeering is proven to have occurred over time. It also guarantees the plaintiffs’ lawyers fees, a small fact which assures that civil RICO lawsuits will be pursued with enthusiasm to the bitter end. Conviction applies the stigma of typical previous RICO defendants, such as mobsters and drug kingpins, to a losing defendant. Michigan, at large, is a defendant in this suit. Capisce?

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The Pig You Are Stuck With

Good luck on getting rid of THAT one.

1444000527v0f4pSome people think that a recall is the wrong way to remove bad actors from our elected positions.

So much so, that the Michigan legislature fundamentally changed the recall process from a difficult process into a bad running gag. The rules change to the recall process enacted in 2012 Became a more limited operation with shorter windows, an unconstitutional ‘factual’ requirement, and then an automatic insertion of the candidate back on the ballot as the default party candidate.

IMHO, those who voted for the recall provision changes are political reprobates.  The changes made the extremely difficult into the insurmountable, removing a tool in the tool box of the electorate. (Just the way non responsive big government types want)

Example?  Current efforts in Michigan to recall Rick Snyder now a total of four signature gathering operations, and other recall efforts (state senators) total about six more. With the window of 60 days (it was 90) to collect 790,000 signatures for any one of the Snyder recall efforts, it is likely an impossible task.  Add to that number, about 20% (150,000 signatures) more as a buffer.

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Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Cattle Roundup Image 1

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Some boys goes up the trail for pleasure,
But that’s where you get it most awfully wrong;
For you haven’t any idea the trouble they give us
While we go driving them all along.

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

When the night comes on and we hold them on the bedground,
These little dogies that roll on so slow;
Roll up the herd and cut out the strays,
And roll the little dogies that never rolled before.

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Traditional 19th Century American Cowboy Cattle Drive Song

Rhodes Image 1aMichigan’s tax-and-spend establishment continues to demonstrate world class tactical flexibility as they pursue their dubious ends. Their latest tour de force is the setup for the impending Detroit Public Schools bailout. Michigan’s legislators are being driven like cattle.

The new state appointed emergency transition manager of the Detroit Public Schools, retired U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven W. Rhodes, announced that the district would shut down on April 8th due to a lack of funds. This chilling announcement came a week after Governor Snyder appointed him to replace Darnell Early, who resigned at the end of February. Darnell Early, for some reason, failed to inform Michigan of the April 8th drop dead date. Judge Rhodes made his announcement four weeks in advance of the projected shutdown in a full court press to get a bailout from our State Legislature.

Detroit Public Schools LogoThe first problem here is the State Legislature is scheduled to take two weeks off in the four weeks leading up to April 8th. The last week of March and the first week of April. Judge Rhodes certainly knew this, so the dilatory announcement is unquestionably a deliberate effort to stampede the Michigan Legislature into immediately delivering $ 50 – 70 million to DPS, no questions asked. Two weeks is not a reasonable legislative time frame, rather it is herding legislators like cattle on a two week drive. An echo of the tactics used by Judge Rhodes to ram through the bungled Detroit bankruptcy.

Governor Snyder has been floating an inchoate plan to rescue the Detroit Public Schools since the middle of last year; one which originally envisioned the creation of a ‘bad debt’ shell district and a new, debt free district by cellular division. Wasn’t really well received anywhere, even after he added dissolution of the much hated Education Achievement Authority. As his problems in the Flint water fiasco have mounted, Governor Snyder decided to wash his hands of the DPS situation by throwing $ 700 million at them to extinguish their ‘operating’ debt and return control to the next generation of local thieves elected school board members.

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Bitter Consequences

Scorched Earth Politics Isolates the Republican Establishment in Michigan

Mitt Romney Image 1Anyone who watched or listened to Mitt Romney’s lame assault on Donald Trump yesterday had to wince at the Obamacare architect and gun control proponent questioning the bona fides of the current Republican front runner. Hypocrisy at its finest. A blatant violation of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment. A testament to the abject desperation coursing through the Republican establishment today. Stark evidence of how few friends the Republican establishment actually owns has.

Just how did the Republican establishment get themselves into this predicament?

What does their predicament portend in Michigan politics?

This year’s Presidential nomination process demonstrates convincingly that money is no longer a substitute for actual human support in a political process where the great unwashed get to vote. Money – and the TV advertising it bought – had a 40 year run buying elections, but this elixir of modern American politics is no longer working. ¡Jeb! is very expensive history. The great unwashed are in open revolt.

Ace over at the Ace of Spades HQ blog offered the very best analysis of the national Republican establishment’s current predicament, which compelled Mitt’s embarrassing performance yesterday. You should read it in its entirety, but in a nutshell:

The Republican establishment has no one credible to make their case against Donald Trump. Absolutely no one who has even a shred of credibility with Trump supporters. They sent Mitt Romney out on yesterday’s kamikaze mission because they had nothing better to offer. Then they will have to spend a mountain of wealth with no real prospects of success. And engage in strong arm tactics. Making an embarrassing spectacle of themselves.

You Betcha! (16)Nuh Uh.(1)

Time For Part Time?

RightMi.com doing a spot check on today's activity. (As of 11AM)

Today’s Hottest action in Lansing.  So far.

The excitement grows.  Using the RightMi.com Handy dandy legislative tracker in the bar above, we see that big things are afoot! Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Introduced

HR 0229 of 2016 A resolution to declare February 21-27, 2016, as Family Medicine Week in the state of Michigan.
SCR 0024 of 2016 A concurrent resolution to create the Joint Select Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency.
SR 0146 of 2016 A resolution to urge Michigan communities to pursue innovative policies that promote economic development by attracting young STEAM professionals to work in financially distressed communities.
SR 0147 of 2016 A resolution to designate May 2016 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
SR 0148 of 2016 A resolution to designate February 21-27, 2016, as National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

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Time to Light These Clowns Up

Someone needs to impress upon the MRP legislative and executive leadership that “NO” means “NO” . . . period.

Roughly nine months ago, We the People of Michigan, by a record-breaking 4-to-1 statewide margin, told our elected nobility in Lansing “HELL NO” on a proposed tax increase, which they’d tried to sell as a road proposal, but which the voting public saw clearly as a political sausage job that produced a cronyist’s grab bag of goodies. Thus, every single county in this state, without exception and in no uncertain terms, clearly delivered a mandate-level message that we are no longer interested in extending the legislature a taxpayer-funded line of credit, until such time as they get their spending priorities in order. You would think that a statewide vox populi shellacking, with a turnout rate typical of the biennial congressional primaries, would clue in the GoverNerd, and the rest of the MRP/MIGOPe professional political establishment, that We the People are done being their ATM.

You would think that . . . but you would be wrong. Six months after that ballot box rejection, while most of us were tucking our children into bed (or monitoring local election results), the lords and barons in the Michigan Legislature essentially told we the proletariat that our opinion is irrelevant, and that “no” really means “don’t ask again” – which, of course, they didn’t – by passing a “road funding” tax package that was nearly identical to the core of Proposal 15-1, less the elements required to force it onto the ballot. In doing this, they flatly rejected the clear will of the people, imposed through legislative fiat that which they couldn’t persuade the electorate to publicly ratify, and took yet another step toward government by aristocracy.

You Betcha! (30)Nuh Uh.(6)

Bureaucratic Capture In The Flint Water Fiasco, An Echo Of Proposal 1

Snyder's Email Dump Is Most Notable for What It Doesn't Show: Management

Snyder Steudle Image 1Governor Snyder went way out on a political limb supporting Proposal 2015-01. By the time this limb broke off at the polls on May 5th, his only remaining allies were MDoT, MITA, and Michigan’s nitwit media.

MDoT’s Director, Kirk T. Steudle, P.E. received lavish, flattering coverage in our nitwit media throughout the road funding proposal campaign. The Transportation Asset Management Council, an MDoT tool, packaged an avalanche of lies in glossy pamphlets for public consumption. An entirely fictitious Washington think tank, TRIP, used inside MDoT information to issue even more incredulous lies. Governor Snyder parroted these titillating lies thoughout his Proposal 1 media campaign. He was entirely comfortable promoting the agenda of his ‘technical experts’.

Pre SB 571 campaign finance law allowed us to watch MITA spend $ 5.4 million supporting this turkey, more than half the total spent by Safe Roads Yes! The Michigan Infrastructure and Transporatation Association is ostensibly a bunch of independent, competitive contractors. Somehow a fractious bunch of competitors planned and executed a well coordinated – if entirely devious – political campaign.

How did they coordinate?

How did this presage the Flint water fiasco?

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