30 Nov 2015
Check out the MUST & Building Trades Video Highlighting Local 80 and apprentice program. It has aired on TV and you can also watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j5MXCgQ9Ms&feature=youtu.be
17 Nov 2015
It is in our deepest sympathies to notify you that Robert Creedon has passed away. Funeral services are only 1 day. Please see below for details.
L.J. Griffin Funeral Home
8809 Wayne Road
Visitation Wednesday, November 18 @ 1pm, Wenesday, November 18 service @ 7pm
13 Nov 2015
A voice from the past to lead us in the future:
John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe .”
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers
LANSING, MI — Michigan voters would lose the ability to cast a straight-ticket ballot for candidates of a single political party under fast-tracked legislation approved Tuesday evening in the state Senate.
The Republican-backed bill advanced through committee earlier the same day before reaching the floor, where it was amended to include a $1 million appropriation that would make it immune to referendum.
Michigan voters overturned a similar law in 2002 after Democrats forced a ballot referendum via petition drive.
The new bill would provide funding to the Michigan Secretary of State to assess the impact of eliminating straight-ticket voting, assist in ongoing fraud prevention and “provide equipment to facilitate the integrity of the election process,” among other things.
Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, called the appropriation “entirely legitimate,” but critics pointed out that most state spending decisions are made during the budget process, not within policy bills.
“Let’s not lie to each other, and let’s not lie to voters of this state. This appropriation is a $1 million insurance policy against the will of the people,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-Meridian Township.
As for the policy itself, supporters say Senate Bill 13 would reduce partisanship in the elections process and encourage voters to conduct more research before heading to the polls. But critics say it could decrease convenience and lead to longer lines on Election Day.
All sides seem to agree the change would have the largest effect in down-ticket elections on the partisan section of the ballot, such as university regent or school board races, which tend to feature lesser-known candidates.
Sponsoring Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, noted that Michigan is one of only 10 states that currently allows straight-ticket voting, which he called a holdover from the days of political machines and party bosses.
“Voting is one of our most fundamental rights, and the issue of choosing men and women who lead our local, state and federal government should never be taken for granted,” Knollenberg said.
“It is time that Michigan’s election process become more about the people, less about political parties, and even less about how long it takes to exercise one of our most fundamental rights.”
City and township clerks who administer elections are opposed to the bill because they say that straight-ticket voting helps keep down wait times. Even if it only takes each voter 30 additional seconds to fill out a full ballot, that extra time could add up to create bottlenecks, they said in committee.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, criticized Republicans for even taking up the bill, arguing it does not address real and pressing needs of Michigan families.
“You’re serving your own self-interest by making it harder to vote,” Ananich said.
The Michigan Bureau of Elections does not keep statewide statistics on straight-ticket voting, but county-level data suggests the practice has benefited Democratic candidates in some parts of the state, especially in presidential years.
Last year in Oakland County, for instance, 109,711 voters cast a straight-ticket ballot for Democrats, compared to 108,211 for Republicans. The gap was much wider in 2012, with 171,526 straight-ticket ballots for Democrats and 145,375 for Republicans.
“The only reason to do this is a perceived partisan advantage,” said Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. “You could put this under the category of how to steal an election, but I don’t want to go that far.”
Democrats proposed a series of amendments to the bill that they suggested could alleviate the concern over long lines, including no-reason absentee or early voting, but Republicans shot down the proposals.
The Senate eventually approved the bill in a 23-13 vote. Two Republicans — Sen. Joe Hune, of Hamburg, and Tory Rocca, of Sterling Heights — joined all 11 Democrats in voting “no.”
The legislation now heads to the House, where Speaker Kevin Cotter has not yet had much time to review it.
“I’m going to spend some time with the bill they send over,” Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, said earlier Tuesday. “I want to get a better feel for exactly what’s there.”
State’s `F’ Grade on Gov’t Accountability A `National Embarrassment’
When it comes to state government transparency and accountability, Michigan fails.
That’s according to the nonprofits Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity, which released a nationwide report on how every state handles public access to information, political spending, lobbying disclosure and more.
Michigan received an F score overall, along with 10 other states. But based on the total score, derived from 245 questions that reporters in each state researched, Michigan actually scored the lowest of all states, garnering 51 points out of a possible 100.
Each state was graded on 13 different categories. Michigan received an F grade for 10 of the 13 categories.
The categories Michigan failed in were public access to information, political financing, lobbying disclosure, procurement, state civil service management, ethics enforcement agencies and state pension fund management, as well as the categories of executive, legislative and judicial accountability.
The state did receive a C+ for its internal auditing, a B+ for its state budget processes and a B- for its electoral oversight.
Located within each category were the various questions Michigan was graded on, with some being yes or no questions and others scored on a point scale. The questions were designed not only to see if certain laws exist, but if they’re being implemented and enforced.
The report spurred some groups to call for changes to Michigan laws, including expanding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Governor’s Office and the Legislature, which are currently exempt from disclosure.
“This report proves that our FOIA system, along with other accountability mechanisms for our state, are woefully inadequate,” said Lonnie SCOTT, executive director of Progress Michigan, in a statement. “Rick [SNYDER] promised to govern Michigan like a CEO, but in reality he’s governed more like Richard NIXON.”
Others joining the call for reform included Common Cause of Michigan and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN).
Rich ROBINSON, executive director of the MCFN, called the report a “national embarrassment” for Michigan, and Melanie McELROY, executive director of Common Cause Michigan, called the results “appalling.”
“This report is proof that our current laws fail the people of Michigan when it comes to open and honest government,” Robinson said in a statement. “Our open records laws need to be updated to ensure the public can see how this administration and legislature are working for them and we need to better track financial disclosures and ensure that lobbyists and the well-connected do not have undue influence on our elected officials.”
Robinson said on a press call today the state lacks any sort of law requiring personal financial disclosure for officeholders and top administration officials, which he says hinders people from knowing if a public servant is serving his or her own financial interest.
Robinson also noted there’s no “cooling off period” for folks moving from elected office or a top administration position to lobbying.
Snyder’s campaign platform included ideas to change how government works. In an interview last year, Snyder even backed the idea of a “cooling off period” for those moving to lobbying (See “Ethics Reform/Financial Disclosure Still On Snyder Agenda,” 5/30/14).
Snyder’s office did not return a request for comment today on the report.
An article summarizing Michigan’s findings was written for the Center for Public Integrity by Chad SELWESKI, the former Macomb Daily reporter.
The article used a few recent incidents in Lansing to explain Michigan’s ranking, including the 2013 passage of legislation that doubled campaign contribution limits but shielded issue ad donors from disclosure (See “Campaign Finance Bills Fly Through Senate,” 11/14/13).
Selweski also describes the Secretary of State as a “record-keeping agency, not an enforcement unit,” and the State Ethics Board as “an obscure, toothless agency that does not investigate wrongdoing and, when it does find a violation, merely recommends a punishment to the guilty employee’s department.”
Prevailing Wage Repealers Starting From Scratch On Ballot Initiative
The group pushing for a prevailing wage repeal ballot initiative, Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT), announced today it’s starting over on gathering signatures.
This comes after an opposition group challenged PMT’s 390,000 signatures it turned in and said it found 43 percent of the signatures were duplicates or were otherwise bad (See “Union-Backed Group Calls Foul On Prevailing Wage Petition,” 10/26/15).
PMT announced today it asked the state not to certify the submitted signatures and instead submitted new ballot language to restart the process.
“Hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters demanded that Lansing spend their tax dollars more wisely, and that work isn’t finished,” Chris FISHER, vice president of PMT, said in a statement. “Out of respect for the integrity of the petition process, Protecting Michigan Taxpayers has filed new petition language and looks forward to collecting signatures again to ensure voters’ voices will be heard.”
Fisher said that Silver Bullet Group, the firm charged with collecting petitions for PMT, did an initial validation process of the signatures prior to handing them over to the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) for review (See “Prevailing Wage Repeal Group Turn In 390K Signatures To State,” 9/14/15).
But after that, Fisher said “questions arose” and that led to another round of validation, which found that the first validation process didn’t work out so well.
“Protecting Michigan Taxpayers is disappointed and perplexed that the validation process prior to the submission of the petitions didn’t properly remove duplicate signatures,” Fisher said.
PMT spent about $1 million on Silver Bullet Group. Fisher said today that PMT would be going with a different firm to collect its petitions again, but didn’t say who.
A call to Las Vegas-based Silver Bullet Group was not returned today.
Not mentioned by Fisher was the challenge filed this week against PMT’s signatures by Protect Michigan Jobs (PMJ), the union-backed ballot committee working to preserve prevailing wage.
PMJ hired Practical Political Consulting to scrub the PMT signatures and the results did not appear to bode well for PMT’s chances at getting final sign-off from the BSC.
Despite having to start anew, Fisher said PMT has the support, resources and time to get the repeal measure either before the Legislature or on the ballot.
The deadline to submit a ballot initiative for consideration for a potential appearance on the 2016 ballot is June 1, 2016, and 252,523 signatures must be collected within a 180-day window. It would first go to the Legislature for approval if the BSC gives the all-clear on the signatures.
As for resources, PMT has benefited from plenty of campaign cash, mostly from the Michigan Freedom Fund and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Michigan.
PMT had $139,452 in the bank as of its most recent campaign finance filing. It had collected $601,715 this quarter and spent $918,541 (See “MILegalize’s Fundraising Outpaces Cannabis Coalition This Quarter,” 10/26/15).
PMJ spokesperson Dave WAYMIRE lashed out against PMT’s restart today, echoing the group’s call from earlier this week to have the Attorney General further investigate the practices of PMT before allowing it to proceed with another campaign.
Waymire also said in a statement today that ABC is now “taking orders” from the “millionaires and billionaires of the far right Michigan Freedom Fund, who have as their goal fostering a race to the bottom in the pay of working men and women in state.”
Asked if this meant the end of the prevailing wage repeal campaign, Waymire said the Michigan Freedom Fund owners have “so much money” that “this is pocket change for them.” Waymire said PMJ would fight PMT “tooth and nail” to “protect the rights of middle class families.”
PMT will now be heading into the dreaded winter months to collect its signatures again. Asked if this was an issue, Fisher said, “We believe that we have plenty of time on our side. It’s not unusual to collect signatures at any time of year.”
As for PMJ, that group spent $113,500 to scrub the PMT signatures, after bringing in $219,500 this quarter and spending $170,705. PMJ was left with $48,794 in the bank at the end of the filing period.