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17 posts from December 2004

News media failing local government

One more thing about the upcoming mayor's race in Lansing, Michigan:  The local news media  deserves low grades in how it covers local government.  Coverage is shallow and does little to keep residents and voters informed.  My professors from my journalism school at Michigan State University in East Lansing must be rolling over in their graves.  The Lansing State Journal is part of a huge media conglomerate--Gannett--and they cover the local area like a small town weekly or a shopping guide.

Dave Hollister won't run for Lansing mayor

As a capital city, Lansing, Michigan is a real contrast to other states.  It's struggling to maintain its identity as a desirable place to live.  Downtown dies after dark.  Neighborhoods are struggling for lack of attention and it's job base hinges on manufacturing related to automobiles.  That's why the election for mayor this next year is so important.  Former mayor Dave Hollister says he won't run again, according to the Lansing State Journal.   He made . . .

Continue reading "Dave Hollister won't run for Lansing mayor" »

Blue Water Area will miss Lauren Hager

The Port Huron (MI) Times Herald today featured Rep. Lauren Hager who represented a good chunk of their area for the past six years in the Michigan Legislature.  He's a quality person and deserving of the area's appreciation. 

He took his job very seriously and he did it in a term-limited environment where you didn't really have much time to learn your job as a lawmaker.

One of his strengths was that he listened to his people and he felt empathy.  He also knew that government had limits.  He loved kids and he really felt their pain when they were abused or neglected.  I worked on his staff for his three terms.  I'm really proud of that and feel grateful for being able to finish on a high note.

Jack Kresnak of Detroit Free Press needs to be cloned

News reporters have become targets for criticism and derision.  One warrants accolades at the highest level.  Jack Kresnak of the Detroit Free Press writes about child abuse and neglect in Michigan.  He provided the Michigan Legislature with the only case study it has of a child protection case gone bad.  Here, the prestigious Poynter Institute interviews him about this series and about his work.

Racial division in Lansing, MI

There's one subject that my town--city of Lansing, Michigan--needs to talk about honestly and that's the racial division that exists.  I'm tired of tip-toeing around this.  I live in a mixed neighborhood that seems to work.  But, the blacks keep to themselves and so do the whites, at least pretty much. 

Our mayor seems hesitant to talk about it.  Sure, there will be a big breakfast on Martin Luther King's birthday and then it's back in the closet. 

My church is moving out of the neighborhood because it's getting too "ethnic." 

What's the answer?  Is there one?  I just pulled a book off the shelf by Dr. Dwight Perry--Building Unity in the Church of the New Millennium--off my shelve.  I need to re-read it. 

George W. Bush is a role model

I am happy to see George W. Bush named Time's Man of the Year.  They hail him for having principles and convictions and sticking to them.  Liberals in the campaign nailed him for that.  They said he held too strongly to conviction. 

As I leave the Michigan Legislature as a staffer, I regret the fact that too many politicians don't know what they stand for.  They make it up along the way.  They get the office and then they have no idea of what to do with it.  How sad.

MyCapitalWeb--here I come

I am within two weeks of officially retiring from the Michigan Legislature.  I am a member of the first class of baby-boomers.  I have been around the State Capitol in some capacity most of my adult life.  I still remember the first time I visited when I was a young teenager.  Now I'm leaving.

There's going to be a transition.  Watch for MyCapitalWeb LLC, a new startup business with my son who's a junior in college out east.  We've talked about this for a longtime and now it's going to be my main focus while he's in school.

I'm excited and a little nervous.  We have something to offer. 

Ariana Swinson will not be forgoten

Two-year-old Ariana Swinson helped me grow up more, even at the age of 58. Her life was taken because of demons inside her parents.  Her murder happened in my boss' legislative district and he looked for reasons and wasn't satisfied with what he was given.

The system failed her, her parents failed her and we failed her.  We went on to learn in our legislative activities that legions of kids are abused and neglected and many are murdered.  Maybe what happened Thursday in the Michigan Legislature with the passage of HB 4096 will give other kids a better chance.  I hope so.  It's an area that deserves ongoing attention.

Rep. Lauren Hager never gave up on this.  Now there needs to be others in and out of the State Legislature who will do the same.

Ariana's day on the MI Senate floor

The goal is to add a strong set of eyes to how the state of Michigan watches out and protects kids at-risk for child abuse and neglect.  House Bill 4096 has finally been reported out of its Senate committee and should get a floor vote this week.

The effort to provide strengthened oversight in the state's child welfare system got started because of a 2-year-old from Port Huron Township, Ariana Swinson.