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31 posts from May 2007

Would Michigan citizens be better served with part-time legislature and no term limits?

State Rep. Lee Gonzales who represents a district that includes part of the city of Flint and some of the outlying area to the west has made a proposal that deserves statewide discussion.

In a letter to the editor of the Detroit News, he talks about the importance of having institutional memory in the state legislature in order to quarterback major reform in the areas that need changing.

He proposes that Michigan switch to a part-time legislature without term limits.  That way both houses of the legislature would keep people who know how to make long-term reforms need in tax, spending and delivering public services.

More experienced state lawmakers would also be able to motivate, educate and lead, he said, in the letter.

Indiana has a part-time legislature and they seem to be beating Michigan at getting good manufacturing jobs.

  • What do we need to do to get a statewide conversation going on the pros and cons of this substantive idea?
  • Where would the support for the change come from? 
  • Where would the opposition be centered?
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Give Ford CEO Alan Mulally a grade for his job in leading ailing company

How would the average citizen grade Ford CEO Alan Mulally's performance at the ailing auto company?

Ford Chairman Bill Ford said today at the company's annual meeting in Delaware that Mulally is just what the corporate doctors ordered.

Michigan and Ford  go together like Dutch and chocolate and Apple pie and ice cream.  At least, that's the way it used to be.  Everybody knew about Henry Ford, the Model T, the Ford Museum and the assembly line as developed by guess who, Henry Ford.

Then growing up in Bay City, there was the local Ford dealer, Paul Ritter.  Around late summer and early fall, the community would gather around the dealership's parking lot for sightings of new, yet-to-be released models.  An on our shopping strip where all the young showed off their rides, there were the big shots with Thunderbirds.

Are those days gone forever?  Has Mulally brought up closer to Ford pride? 

All I see is bad news about how the company is tottering on the edge of becoming extinct.  Is this bad news just part of the turnaround process?

For the average Michigander, has Mulally shown any evidence that he's worth the more than $20 million a year Ford is paying him?

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Daily Strength from Radio Bible Class for living in Michigan

Living in Michigan at this point in time requires strength.  If you're not struggling with some financial pressure, you probably know somebody who is. 

I'm sure that many facing home foreclosures, lack of health insurance, no job and no prospects for one are feeling overwhelmed.  They are being pushed to the edge or, at least, they feel that way.

How can you deal with it?

Not knowing what lies around the next corner myself, I've been searching for some answers and some strength.

At the Radio Bible Class website, I found Joe Stowell, the teaching pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel.  He has a devotion called Daily Strength.  You can read it, listen to it or listen and read along at the same time.

Today, he talks about how to live "under pressure."  It's good stuff.  I know it's easy for me to say.  My life right now is pretty darn easy.  I don't have the unpaid hospital bills and I'm not losing my home.  However, I know life can turn on a dime.

It's worth checking out.

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Speaking of customer service: I might be switching from Lansing MI ACD to . . . for internet service

I called ACD tech support, here in Lansing, MI to ask about my DSL service which I have through them. It wasn't working. We pay about $50 per month for the service and have been relatively happy, mainly because of the support when something didn't work.

They always seemed anxious to please and to get their customers back and online. That was worth the extra we payed.

Then came the other day. All of a sudden I lost the internet. I doubled-checked things I knew about, including power cycling. Still no service. I called ACD tech support and we repeated the same routine.The tech suggested that I check the box outside our house where the DSL line comes in.

I looked inside the box and didn't feel confident about pulling wires out and inserting a wire directly into the box from my modem. They said they would send a tech out the next day.

On the next day, I had to call them after five o'clock to find the status of their effort to help me. Their tech told me the problem was on their end and that they would fix it there.

My customer evangelism or word of mouth for is on hold.  I'm not impressed with their service. I will be checking with Comcast and other alternative services, in the meantime.

Anybody have similar or different experiences with

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We won't be switching our shopping allegiance from Meijers to Walmart

We've given the new Wal-Marts Super Center on the southwest side of the Lansing area two different tries.  We wanted to see if shopping there would provide a difference in our shopping experience. 

Hey, we were open to the possibility of saving money while shopping for groceries and other needs.  And we were open to an upgrade in our shopping experience.  What do I mean my that?  I mean anything that will make that time more enjoyable.  It might be a cup of coffee or it might be arranging the store to encourage more community among the shoppers.

When we walked into Wal-Marts, we were greeted by a sign bloviating about low prices and right below that there were bananas for 50 cents per pound.  That's not cheap. 

We then walked over to the grocery section.  There was nothing that would want us to come back.  The variety of groceries was poor and the prices were not inspiring.   

It's back to Meijers on West Saginaw next week.  There's a qualitative difference in the variety of groceries and in the price and the atmosphere is much more friendly.  We will be going back there if anybody's interested.

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Tips from a Lutheran school principal and a dad for parents whose kids are being bullied

Moms and dads all over the country struggle with how to help their kids who are dealing with bullies. The principal--Rich Cohrs--of Our Savior Lutheran School in Lansing, MI gives parents some quick tips on helping their children dealing with this dynamic.  It's a short video and it's worth passing on to others. 

It's even good for grandparents and other care providers.

Michigan's economy is crumbling, while its executives get richer

How do you send a message to Michigan's top executives that they are getting paid too much?

Read this story in today's Detroit News about how the most highly paid executivess at Michigan's publicly traded companies had their average compensation bumped up by 88 percent over 2001.

The average compensation was $7.1 million.

Chew on this from the Detroit News story a little bit and then share your thoughts:

  • The average weekly compensation of a Michigan Fortunate 50 member is 174 times that of what the average Michigan worker collected in 2006, $784.34 a week.
  • By contrast, Mulally's (Ford CEO) 2006 package worked out to $541,990 a week over a year, while Manoogian earned $332,560 weekly.

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Looking for Perry's (MI) Veronica Townsend online telling about life with ALS

I read about Veronica Townsend and how she lives life with ALS in this morning's Lansing State Journal.  Veronica lives in a small town just east of Michigan's state capital city.

ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease sounds really nasty and it sounds like once you get it there's only one way to go.

Tomorrow, Veronica and her story will be featured on the Muscular Dystrophy/ALS website.  You can find it by going to the website and then clicking on its header.

Veronica, a mom and a wife, seems to have an incredible attitude.  She's limited because of the disease but still engaged in life.  I'm impressed.  She is an encouragement to me and I'm sure to many more people.

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Lansing (MI) City Council: Here's my opening statement for vacancy interview

Last night, I had a second interview with the Lansing City Council to fill a vacancy on this legislative body.  For those interested, here's my opening statement:  Download city_council.doc

I feel really good about the person they chose to represent our ward.  Bill Matt seems to have the values and the knowledge of city issues that will represent our area in southwest Lansing well.  I'm anxious to get involved in his campaign to win election to a full-term.

Should state prisoners serving time for violent offenses serve their whole sentence?

The state of Michigan is planning on releasing more than 3,000 inmates early to save the state more than $90 million in the next fiscal year which starts on Oct. 1.

State correction officials are going for those who have not been involved in violent or sexual offenses.  Politicians are saying the risk is to great to release those who have been convicted of either one.

My question:  Does this attitude about release keep everybody safer? 

If you did something violent, will you always be violent?  Can a violent offender ever change?

Should violent offenders be locked up for their maximum sentence?  What happens when they finally get out?

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City of Lansing, MI has a new city councilman and it's not me

I'm glad that I applied for an open position on the Lansing (MI) City Council.  I was interviewed twice for the sixth-month position in our third ward, the southwest side of our city of more than 100,000.

Even though I was not selected to fill the vacancy, I can say I'm glad that I experienced the process.  After working more than 30 years in and around politics and then retiring from it, I feel like I'm reentering the world from a program for recovering political types.

I applied for the city council position without having an agenda driven by the needs of a boss that I was working for.  I'm just a baby-boomer who likes the city he lives in and wants to see it prosper as a place to live and work.

The exercise forced me to look at city government and many of the issues that drive it.

The issue that comes to mind most readily is a shortage of information about the issues in city government and the people involved with them.

As a citizen where do I go to learn about the activities of the mayor, the council and all the other groups involved in setting priorities and involved in governing?

Local news media seems to have a hit and run attitude about city news.

The city's website seems to offer many of the primary source documents like the mayor's budget recommendation, but there's little to explain it  or to compare it to other years.

In my interviews with the council, I mentioned that if I was selected that I would blog about my official activities and that I would seek out constituent interaction.

Tomorrow, it's back to cutting my lawn and taking Snoopy, our aging beagle, on neighborhood walks.  However, I will be adding a meeting to my schedule.  It's time to get involved in our neighborhood association.

Congratulations to Bill Matt who was selected as the new third ward council member.

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