Dave Porter has made a real sweet offer to the mid-Michigan area. He's the president of Pacesetter Mortgage in Okemos, MI who has lent more than a billion bucks over two decades and he want to help our area during a time of dramatic transition.
With a brand new mayor in Lansing, our State Capital city, and with an economy that's trying to adjust to life with a dramatically downsized automobile industry, Porter has volunteered his Pacesetter Mortgage Blog as a virtual townhall for residents to use to share their questions, answers and observations.
He also sees it as a place for Lansing's new Mayor Virg Bernero and other mid-Michigan leaders to stop and listen and contribute as everybody tries to reach a consensus on how to change, grow and prosper.
Think about it. This is a real opportunity for this part of the state. Groups that should respond include teachers of all ages from the Lansing School District, the East Lansing, Dewitt and Okemos School Districts, the Michigan Education Association, the United Auto Workers, the Michigan State University community and everybody else who would describe themselves as a stakeholder.
As the dean of mortgage brokers in the area, he knows how to moderate discussions about tough issues. And, he knows how to use the new media that lends itself to this kind of discussion. He knows how to build communities through the internet. He is doing it with his business.
What an opportunity. I used his blog to put in my two-cents worth. Only positive things can happen with this kind of dialogue.
Technorati Tags: Michigan, Lansing, Pacesetter+Mortgage, Michigan+Education+Association, Virg+Bernero, Lansing+School+District, UAW, Okemos+School+District, Michigan+State+University
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has a daunting challenge. Our city is at a crossroads. All of us, in the mid-Michigan area, have a stake in Lansing's future. Identifying the challenges, laying out a vision and then pulling people together is a must-do if Michigan's State Capital City will ever thrive as a place to live and work.
But, to succeed, there must be a change in the city's culture of communication. Mainstream media has long-passed its golden age. It's no longer an effective way to communicate. That means going outside the mainstream. This includes:
Okay, here's my perception of what Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said in his State of the City address:
As a city of Lansing (MI) resident and somebody who has a vested interest in the city, here's what I would be looking for in Mayor Virg Bernero's State of the City address:
I read the Lansing State Journal story about Mayor Virg Bernero's State of the City address last night and my response would have to be in two parts:
In my opinion, the big challenge as a responsible resident of the city of Lansing is staying informed about the who, what, when, where, how, why and so what of city government.
How do you do it?
The local newspaper? In our case, it's the Lansing State Journal. During the past year, I've read the State Journal pretty carefully. I've searched for coverage of Lansing City Council meetings, features about city government, profiles of city leaders and I've been disappointed consistently.
Now you could mention the local television news. My impression is that their news departments depend on the State Journal as a tip sheet for what they will cover on any given day. So, if it's not in the paper, the station won't cover it.
Take Mayor Bernero's State of the City address. Page one of the State Journal carries a teaser about the speech which leads to an inside section page. That page carries four paragraphs and then jumps the story to an inside page where there are about a dozen paragraphs. There are three highlight boxes of one paragraph each. They don't print a copy of the whole speech.
There reaction, but it's from developers and officials and that's it. The photo on the section page shows Bernero with city and community leaders.
Next I went to the city's website to look for coverage on the Mayor's speech. That should be a no-brainer, right? How about a podcast of the speech? Another no-brainer, right? Nothing there.
I went to the Lansing City Council's portion of the website and it didn't work. At least, it didn't work on my new Apple iBook G4. Somebody is not paying attention to web standards.
As a resident, where do I go for a complete look at what our leader sees as the challenges and the solutions for our city? There's a communications wall there between him and the people he represents and he didn't surmount it, in my opinion. Too bad. It's a missed opportunity.
Technorati Tags: Virg+Bernero, Lansing+MI, Michigan, Lansing+City+Council, Lansing+State Journal, Michigan+Republicans, Michigan+Democrats
Last night, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero gave his first State of the City speech and this morning I was anxious to see the details when I took the paper from my front porch.
Reason for my interest is simple. I live here and what happens here is important to me and my family. Our city, the State Capital of Michigan, faces some pretty dramatic challenges. Its future is being shaped by decisions being made now by both our city leaders and by its residents.
Since I moved to Lansing in the early seventies, I have lived in three different parts of town, my first apartment was an efficiency just a few blocks north of the State Capitol, then a house on the near eastside in the inner city and then to where we live now on the city's southwest side. My wife and I have raised two kids while living here. So, we have a history here and we have a vested interest in what happens.
I need to add that I have no political axes to grind. I knew Virg when he and I were both staff members in the Michigan House of Representatives and worked closely with him when he was a member of that body. And, I voted for him.
His speech last night was important. It sets the tone for his Administration. It also lists his priorities during his term and it shows how he regards those he works with and those he serves.
I do have reaction to what was reported. But I hesitate to share it because I know how defensive politicians can get. They don't like criticism and they usually shut their ears, their brains and their hearts when they hear it.
I share my thoughts because I want to see Mayor Bernero succeed, but more importantly, I want Lansing to excel as a place to live and work. For that to happen, there needs to be a community-wide conversation where there's both talking and listening.
Technorati Tags: Virg+Bernero, Lansing+MI, Michigan, Lansing+City+Council, Lansing+State+Journal, Michigan+Republicans, Michigan+Democrats
I've got a question for everybody in Michigan and outside.
Jack Lessenberry in his blog of Essays and Interviews seems puzzled that some people think that Christmas is under attack. In his podcast, he talks to two differing state senators about whether the season tree in front of the State Capitol Building is a Christmas Tree or a Holiday Tree.
Saul Anuzis, chair of the Michigan Republican Party, needs to take a bow for his tech prowess. He's not afraid to use technology to get a message across.
In his new blog, "That's Saul, folks!", he makes a great point about our United States Senator, Debbie Stabenow. Her growing self-righteousness about President Bush, about Republicans and about Jack Abramoff, has become really irritating and grating.
National Dem chair Howard Dean said that any member of his party in Congress who did Abramhoff's bidding for Indian casinos and received money from them should be disciplined severely.
There's clear evidence that Debbie has done both. She has been an advocate in Washington for Indian gaming and she has received campaign money for it.
It's time for the Democrats to clean their own house. Good place to start is with our own Senator. She needs to humble herself and confess that she's part of the problem and not the solution. I'm ready to go door-to-door for Mike Bouchard and I live in Debbie's old neighborhood.
Technorati Tags: Debbie+Stabenow, Howard+Dean, Michigan+Republicans, Mike+Bouchard, Jack+Abramhoff, Democratic+party, US+Senate
The big game is in Detroit this weekend and there's snacks aplenty. Which one(s) do you pick?
In my e-newsletter from the Calorie King, I got this question and an astounding answer:
- 2 cups of buttered popcorn
- 3 handfuls of peanuts
- 4 handfuls of Frito's corn chips with salsa
- 15 baby carrots with Kraft French Onion dip
The answer, believe it or not, is microwaved popcorn (such as Act II); 2 cups contains only 70 calories; 85 for the carrots and dip, 250 for the peanuts and 330 for the corn chips and salsa. Hmm...
My ardor as a Spartan, class of 1969 School of Journalism, has been blunted over the past few years. I've lost some of that school pride, the type where you become an enthusiastic word-of-mouth advertisement.
I'm embarassed to say that some of that may come from its lackluster football team. But that changed with a glossy newsletter that I got in the mail called MSU Today, Research and Creative Activities.
It's chock full of digestible stories and pictures about how Michigan State University has become a world-leader in all kinds of research. The online version of this newsletter is worth checking out.
Technorati Tags: MSU, Michigan+State+University, research, Michigan, Spartans
Think about how our culture has been eliminating second chances for people who screw-up in some way shape or form. In Michigan, the prisons are just about full and if you drop-out of high school, there's no GED program to get a diploma.
Jeff Gerritt writes in the Detroit Free Press about the Michigan Challenge Academy in Battle Creek where dropouts needing discipline and structure in their lives are given the opportunity of a lifetime. Sounds like a program that should be affirmed and duplicated.
Does this really work? Any thoughts?
Technorati Tags: dropouts, high school, GED, Michigan+Challenge+Academy, high+school+dropouts, Battle+Creek
I've read the news stories about seniors having trouble getting hooked up with their prescription drugs through the new Medicare program. I just read this story in the Indy Star about the problems that seniors are having there getting needed prescriptions.
Now if that was my parents getting turned away because of some bureaucratic mess-up, I'd probably be real steamed.
My question: How did these seniors afford drugs before this program. How did they get them and still pay their rent and other bills? If they made it work before, why can't they do it now? Or are these new prescriptions?
Technorati Tags: Medicare, prescription+drugs, Indiana, senior+citizens, Medicare Part D
Michigan community colleges need a governance overhaul. To explain what I mean, I point to Lansing (MI) Community College.
As our state's workers start to walk through the mouth of the unemployment tiger because of major, historical realignments in the auto industry, our community college is wracked with politics. The Lansing State Journal points to a college board of trustees operating like a high school student council. They are shooting out charges of administrative mismanagement that are incredibly serious.
This comes from a board that has a history of shooting at each other and anybody else in their way and forgetting about the students and the community they serve.
Is it time for board members to be appointed, rather than be elected?
What other solutions are there to this kind of behavior in an institution that needs to be a change agent for workers looking for retraining?
Technorati Tags: Michigan, Lansing, Lansing+Community+College, community+colleges, auto industry
What do yesterday's announcements by Ford of a dramatic restructuring mean for the company's future? Is the Dearborn-based company struggling for its life?
In a podcast, Tom Walsh, Free Press auto columnist, talks about the challenge facing Ford. He says Ford:
Walsh told interviewer Mike Wendland that Ford realizes that there is a sense of urgency and that cutting costs is not enough. They have to change the way they think.
I want to make an informed decision this summer and fall in the primary and general elections to determine who represents my part of Lansing in the Michigan Legislature.
The challenge is typified by a few paragraphs in yesterday's Lansing State Journal announcing that Diana Rouse, a Lansing teacher, will run for the 68th District House seat. It was at the bottom of a list of newsbriefs where there were items about local crime.
This is a little something for all those parents out there who are sending their kids to Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. Freshman Art Green writes in his Conservative Eyes about all his professors who have used their academic platforms to put down conservative ideas. And we pay tax money for this.
Is this intellectual abuse of our kids? They don't need to be bombarded with professorial biases, but they need to be made to think.
Technorati Tags: Central+Michigan+University, college+professors, liberals, conservatives, college+students
Just when you thought there was some privacy left in this world, there's this post from Michigan Telephone, VoIP and Broadband blog about how a WZZM TV reporter was able to get really private information about individuals over the internet.
For a price, you can get somebody's Social Security number, a list of calls made from a home or business phone, in additon to calls from a cellphone. And check out all the other information available.
State Rep. Mike Sak is working on legislation to restrict this purveying of private information.
Technorati Tags: privacy, cellphones, Social+Security+number, Mike+Sak, Michigan