Friday, August 14, 2009
New Kent County Republican Committee Executive Director Mandy Bolter better put on her game face, and quick. She’s already falling behind and is missing golden opportunities to spark a flame to the KentDem propaganda, which snowballs through the county at a furious pace.
• Exhibit A: Grand Rapids City Commissioner Dave LaGrand announces need for city ordinance mandating the use of a bicycle helmet.
Where was the Conservative response to this incredibly liberal suggestion that government should police my cycling leisure time? Meanwhile, Dave LaGrand is the front runner for Bill Hardiman’s senate seat, and failed to get called out on the gift he handed Kent GOP. Not a peep.
LaGrand has shaded his liberalism by representing himself as the most conservative among the Grand Rapids City Commission. But like the rest, he’s in the pocket of the unions. Kent Republicans should have held a rally outside of LaGrand’s downtown offices, complete with “LaGrand! Take a La-hike! Stay off my bike”. They should’ve had the signs laminated on big red signs, with big white letters. And every protester should’ve been wearing a bike helmet.
• Exhibit B: Steve Pestka Out of Running for 29th Senate Seat.
In the hours since the Grand Rapids Press launched the most telling story of the year regarding the hotly contested open seat, there has been zero feedback from Kent Republicans.
Lambasting LaGrand’s liberal bike helmet antics would’ve helped lower his status, but the problems begin with Kent GOP’s inability to read between the lines, and furthers with their chronic failure to plant seeds in the smaller elected positions (Westsider Dave Shaffer defected from the Republican ranks years ago and remains the only conservative-minded person willing to challenge the grassroots Democratic hierarchy). Dave LaGrand has been gearing up for the Senate seat for three years, since his 2006 loss. In that time he’s padded his coffers, run unopposed and seeped deeper and deeper into the echelon of the union organizations who fund the city campaigns.
It should be of no surprise that Pestka has ducked out considering he never entered the race to begin with, has plenty to do in running a business, and the lingering smell of smoke screen clouded the reality that this race is LaGrand’s to lose. Secondly, the misled fables that Pestka would impose on the Democratic powers-to-be should have been recognized, and acknowledged by Kent Republicans. Though Sith-like dissension runs pure in Democrat blood, an internal squabble would be uncalled for, as state Dems gear up for a senate takeover next year and won’t want any hurdles during the primary. Money will be plentiful for any lefty candidate, but the iron fist of Kent Democratic Fuhrer Phil Skaggs (West Michigan Rising) has helped to keep the Demfanatics internal squabbles (Progressives vs. Labor Unions) at a minimum.
Bolter’s experience lends well to the Kent GOP, whose faithful should be elated over the recent overhauls conducted by the Kent County Republican Committee. A new logo, and a new perspective on reality is most certainly lending buzzworthy to their recent efforts, which have resulted in some excitement as of late. A recent Kent GOP “Family Picnic”, held at the Posthumus farm, followed by the innovative “Young Party-ers” fundraiser (which drew criticism over its suggestive title), are noteworthy efforts that are intended to excite the base and draw youthful supporters (regardless of their one-eyed whisky ways). The coconuts were out in full force, which will help spark candidate uprisings. However, the Committee continues to lack a timely response to the fast paced liberal agenda, especially at the local level, and within the media. Bolter’s efforts to rebrand the Conservative machine is important, but without a voice, her help in establishing a new base that transcends the social agenda will come to a screeching halt if they cannot find a message that represents conservatives, business and independents.
Friday, June 26, 2009
by Chucky Daniels
My first response when reading about this program (found on pg. 115 of the June 23 City Commission Meeting Packet) was “Say What?!?. I guess I was just surprised that our city’s liberal tendencies actually offered a solid, frugal and conservative option for people who need it the most. This programs represents a good function for government. It offers low-interest loans to folks who have made an investment in our city, but likely live paycheck to paycheck, and whom are required to pay the loan back. The minimum loan amount is $1,000 and the maximum loan amount is $24,000 paid over 180 months.
There are some pretty solid stipulations that provide a more principled-friendly component along with some more modern environmental and health concerns. “Repairs completed through the Housing Rehabilitation Program are intended to remedy housing conditions which are threats to health and/or safety, have a positive effect on the surrounding neighborhood, decrease environmental hazards, increase water and energy efficiency, and improve the overall livability of the home.”
The fact that it is geared to a specific lower-income segment, to me, is aided in that participants must be on good payment standing with the city. “The participating property owner may not have any past due property taxes, special assessments, nuisance assessments, water bills, fines, or other past due debts or obligations owed to the City, or any other delinquent liens of the subject property.” Furthermore, homeowners must have outright title, homeowners insurance and have at least one year established ownership.
Here are some other details I found interesting, which I also feel make this a viable program worthy of government time and attention:
Participants in the Housing Rehabilitation Program must agree to the following categories of required repairs, as further described in the Administrative Guidelines.
1. Immediate health and/or safety concerns;
2. Exterior Housing Code deficiencies;
3. Treatment of lead based paint hazards and causes of paint failure as required by HUD in 24 CFR Part 35, and removal of asbestos hazards.
B. Exceptions to Required Repairs. Partial repairs of immediate health and/or safety concerns and/or exterior Housing Code deficiencies may be allowed provided the repairs are
1. Of an emergency nature
2. Of a major exterior housing code violation
3. Necessary to maintain the historical character of the building
4. Necessary for handicap accessibility into the unit
5. Essential to the long-term structural integrity of the building.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
June 11, 2009
This Saturday (June 13) Tea Party goers (activists behind a constitutional uprising in protest of government intrusion on basic liberties) will gather in Holt, Michigan for the first Tea Party Convention. The intent of the organizers is obvious: pool all the principle-centered sippers into one area and get them to align behind one or two issues. In other words, graduate from guerilla warfare and become a conventional army capable of inflicting damage.
To validate a trip to the world's loneliest town, organizers established an agenda stacked with special-guest speakers, including Jennifer Gratz and Thayrone. But what makes the Tea Party Convention so innovative is their collective decision to center their brigade in support of a few specific issues. They'll do this by creating a delegation who will vote on which issues to support. According to the convention website (www.teapartyconvention.com) registered attendees can complete petition forms that will allow them to serve as a convention delegate. Those individuals will then choose which ballot items will receive the backing of the Tea Party collective.
Don't look now, but the Tea Party movement just got well-organized. This is a very intelligent strategy from a group of everyday citizens who simply refuse to become pushovers to government bullying. They continue to surprise the "political coconuts" ingrained in our state's campaign underground as well. (A Coconut is hard exteriored campaign junkee who provides only one variety of campaign strategy, contains a hallow core, and leach-latches from one campaign to the other relying on recommendations from within their own integrated network, or Coconut Tree). Furthermore, the collective Tea Party leadership has shown a strong ability to organize, plan and evolve in only a few short months.
As an insider myself, I bare witness to the coconut tree. A group of friendly campaign managers who lobby each other for campaign work. Aimlessly clonking into one another, cycle by cycle, these yahoos have diluted the integrity of campaign management by offering watered-down campaign strategies that aim to appease rather than make a stance.
The TeaParty has shown a resiliancy to absorbing the rants and raves that accompany these tumbling coconuts. Instead organizers has allowed a voice for note-worthy and legitimate organizations set to change Michigan by providing citizen-based solutions. The best example is ballot issues number 2 MICHIGAN FAIRTAX ( www.mifairtax.org ). The MFTA (Michigan FairTax Association) is a collective group of people who recognize the inefficiency and non-transparency of the State Income Tax. With over 100,000 supporters across the state the MI FairTax team have formulated a Michigan-based FairTax system that collects tax dollars through a much more reliable, streamlined and economic friendly source - the State Sales Tax. By reaching a larger portion of the population (under-the-table wage earners and tourists) the MFTA can offer more tax cuts, including state property taxes, the Michigan Business Tax and the State Income Tax. Furthermore, the FairTax benefits those who live beneath the poverty line by offering rebates for the State's poorest people. The best proponent of the MFTA is that it effectively eliminates all business-to-business taxes. This will drive down prices for consumers because businesses will no longer have to bury the cost of operation into their prices - allowing competition to take hold and providing thousands of new jobs.
By providing a microphone for legitimate and effective solutions such as the FairTax (which gained national recognition through Mike Huckabee) Tea Party organizers and the MFTA have unsealed a population of dormant voters who want candidates and coconuts to be more transparent with their agendas and campaign strategies. Sippers and FairTax supporters would rather skirt the two parties, who absorb then taint the message, and look beyond the coconuts to establish legitimacy. By taking an organized business model and incorporating a grassroots predicated ground game, these two organizations are able to cover twice as much ground is half the time. While the MI FairTax could use a makeover in regards to it's website, it's content is second to nonte. And this Sales-Tax-Centered approach is nothing new. In fact, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Tennessee all have adopted FairTax style tax systems. It's notable that each of these states consistantly recruit Michigan workers to their respective corners of America, and all nine represent strong economies.
While each of the three other ballot measures provide a legitimate cause/solution, they do not provide the same type of overhaul and retooling required to prevent further government infringement on our tax code. The MI FairTax would effectively require state transparency, and eliminate the legislatures recklessness by preventing them from raising taxes without voter approval. Instead, tax increases would require a state ballot initiative in which we the people vote for a tax increase.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
June 9, 2009
Today's Grand Rapids City budget proceedings provided a glimpse into the just how bad we have it as tax paying residents. The tax-happy mentality continues to swell and resonate from GR city hall. In fact (and I say this w/ tribulation) Mayor Heartwell was the lone voice of fiscal responsibility when City Fiscal Director Scott Buhrer announced the city may, in fact, receive $1.3 million more in state revenue, which apparently was not expected entering the meeting. The commissioners had no problem spending it, and did so without debate, which raises and eyebrow. How could they spend $1.3million so quick and without public debate? More on that in a bit.
Mayor Heartwell urged commissioners to be frugal with newly discovered tax payer dollars, but his advice fell on deaf ears. With a hole in their pocket the commission ordered the reappointment of two additional fire fighter and reopening of three city pools for 2010.
A comment posted to Grand Rapids Press writer Jim Harger's story (posted at 12:43pm on mlive.com/grpress) accuses Commissioners of withholding the budget information during contract negotiations.
One commenter said: "Of course they found money, they do every time the unions settle a contract. Each and every time the City claims they have no money, and when the unions settle - and take their lumps in the chin, the city discovers more money."
The accusation suggests that government transparency is being ignored and that Commissioners and city staff are withholding knowledge of pending state funds while at the negotiating table with labor, which paints a far bleaker budget scenario and stacks the deck in favor of our government. The mysterious and sudden resurfacing at the final minute should beg the question, how long has City Fiscal Director Scott Buhrer been withholding this information; and were the city commissioners aware of the money prior to the meeting? Judging by the swift and decisive allocation of all $1.3 million, I'd put my money on both.
I must voice an alternative protest as well. How is it that police, fire and basic infrastructure are always threatened during budget crunch time? Just today the Commissioners voted to demote five fire captains down to lieutenants while reducing the amount of battalion chiefs to one per shift. This would have been a logical move to releive the burden on taxpayers even if our city budget was in a surplus. This is lean management at its finest, and ensuring money is well spent is the main function of government.
Yet all the conversations involving budget cuts will continue to be directed toward our protective services like GR Police and Fire, as well as our basic infrastructure. In fact, already there is talk of raising the gas tax in order to fund our roads. DON'T BE FOOLED. The surfacing of today's political tactic regarding the mysterious State allocation of $1.3 million exposes our commissioners... the city is hiding knowledge of incoming dollars in order to scare voters into supporting higher taxes.
What The Press hasn't acknowledged are the federal stimulus dollars we're recieving ($3.5 million) to aid in road repairs. That money is currently being used on Bridge Street, Lake Drive, Scribner, Leonard, Breton, Fuller, Hall and Turner.