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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Who Will Watch The Watchmen? Justin Amash, Rand Paul, And Thomas Massie

Amash C-SPAN
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Rep. Justin Amash leads an empty House in the Pledge earlier this week as he watches out for a sneaky NSA spying extension

 By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


After Congressman Thomas Massie noticed shady voice votes leading to the passage of unpopular bills while virtually no members of Congress were even on the floor, he figured out a way to stop it: as soon as the Speaker called for a voice vote, he shot out like a cannon from his House office onto the House floor to stop the shenanigans.

Worried about Speaker Boehner utilizing one of these voice votes to push through an extension of  NSA spying via the "Patriot Act" is what brings Congressman Justin Amash to the floor this week. He also spent the Memorial Day weekend there. The controversial, Orwellian program which spies on Americans has been deemed illegal by multiple courts. Senator Rand Paul has vowed to filibuster the renewal when the Senate reconvenes this Sunday at 5 p.m.




According to Andrew Krietz of MLive:

"The Hill reports aides to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other leaders have said they won't sneak through any sort of extension while most lawmakers are out of town, but Amash and other privacy-minded colleagues don't give those assurances any weight.

"We're just keeping an eye on the House," Amash told reporters Tuesday. "Promises have been made in the past and we've seen promises broken." He quoted former President Ronald Reagan on Twitter: "Trust, but verify."

Two weeks ago, House lawmakers passed the USA Freedom Act, written to end the NSA's collection of phone records but still gives the agency authority to request records associated with a case. Amash supported an earlier version of the bill that ended its programs.

He voted no on the newest version and joined 59 other House lawmakers on a letter addressed to Senate leadership that called upon them to address their concerns. Senate members failed to pass the USA Freedom Act on Friday, and now pressure continues to build upon Congress to act before the Patriot Act's June 1 deadline."

Rep. Thomas Massie


So, what happened with Massie?

"There’s two reasons Congress loves the voice vote: the first is that because there’s no record of who voted, they can’t be held accountable when the bill passes.

The second reason is that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has sole discretion to decide if there is a “quorum” (218 congressmen) present in the room sufficient to take a voice vote. Massie says frequently there’s only ten congressmen present. All Boehner has to do is squint and say that there’s a quorum present and he may hold a voice vote.

As long as no one requests a recorded vote, Boehner is free to do this. That’s where Massie’s 500-yard sprint comes in.

Massie says he’s discovered that "it’s about a 500-yard dash between my office and the floor of the House." So, when Boehner starts to do voice votes, Massie sprints to the House floor and demands a recorded vote. That means there has to be a real quorum: 218 live people on the record with their votes. Several unpopular bills have died as a result of Massie’s dash.

Passing bills without recording votes, and without Congressmen present, frustrates the democratic process, and “it happens way too often,” said Massie. “It only takes one congressman to stand up and say ‘Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded vote’… and I’ve done that a lot,” Massie said, to laughter from the Young Americans for Liberty students."

Things should get interesting Sunday...Stay tuned!

_________________________________________

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 




Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson










Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Breaking: Senators Were Lied To Regarding Controversial Meekhof Senate Rules Change

 
  Sen. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof

 By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


A State Senator tells West Michigan Politics he was "stunned and shocked" to read about a recent Senate rule change pushed for by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof that keeps the public and media from accessing information about their government.

"The Majority Leader's staff told me it was a routine, procedural change making it easier to conduct business," the Senator tells WMP. "I was stunned and shocked to read your article, which was confirmed by my chief of staff. I think it's a disservice to our constituents. Had I known what was happening, I would have demanded a recorded vote."

At least one other Senator said similar things, and WMP received a copy of that conversation...

Out of respect for these Senators, WMP will keep their names secret. However, an alarming trend is emerging: it seems like Senators were tricked into screwing the public and the media, they did it with an unrecorded vote, and now the media refuses to cover it for who in the hell knows what reason...

What happened? Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press described things this way:

"Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, and adopted by a voice vote April 28, Senate Resolution 43 deleted a provision in the Senate's internal rules that had required it to respond to public requests for information within 15 days and substantially reduced the scope of documents the Senate is required to make public.

Under the revised disclosure rules, state senators may refuse to provide records of their official Internet use or "any other document or record protected from public disclosure by agreement, contract, Senate rule or law," which would seem to exempt just about anything a senator doesn't want voters to see."

See also:

>>>BLACKLIST: Michigan Media Leaves Michiganders In The Dark On State Senate Scandals 

>>>Breaking: What Is He HIDING? Meekhof Changes Senate Rules To Stop Public+Media From Accessing Senate Documents 

>>>How Did Your Legislator Vote On The #MeekhofSenateBuilding? They Didn't 

>>>Breaking: Courser Blasts Senate Building, Considers Asking Schuette To Investigate

>>>Scandal: State Overpaid MILLIONS For New #MeekhofSenateBuilding

_________________________________________

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 




Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

 




Don't Talk About Other Republicans, They Said...(Don't Believe Lies About WMP!)

WMP calls out Marky Mark and Susan Demas in an October 2014 article
 

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


Don't criticize other Republicans they said...

But what if Republicans act like what we characterize Democrats as? What if Republicans behave in a way that we would BLAST Dems for-the ‪#‎MeekhofSenateBuilding‬ and the rule change restricting public and media access to the Senate for example? 

Should we "Shutup!" just because of the party affiliation? What about putting Michigan-and America-first? What about our kids, who will be left with the bill for the #MeekhofSenateBuilding and other Lansing pet projects while we dine and dash?

Those who say to put party over country leave me puzzled and perplexed. 

I happen to think our kids-and future generations of Michiganders and Americans-are FAR more important than an "R" by people like Arlan Meekhof's name and I will never stop speaking out when I know GOP leadership is not actually representing the people who elected them. I will speak out about an issue on its merits, not because of some twisted "Cult of Personality and Party" that too often drives our system.

As a result, a lot of different lies are making their way around regarding WMP. Tons, actually. Don't believe them.

Some have said we are tools for State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. An absolute lie.

When Courser was out of line in an attack on Mary Whiteford, he was called out.

>>>Courser Disappoints With Attack On Whiteford And Berden

 

And when it was clear Kathy Berden was headed for victory in the weeks leading up to the RNC Committeewoman vote, WMP didn't sugarcoat that fact and prop Gamrat up: 


Berden Leading RNC Race?  

WMP Projects Kathy Berden Will Win RNC Race

 

WMP has recognized that Gamrat could perhaps make slight improvements in some areas of caucus etiqutte, yet throwing her out in a purge is like shooting someone in the head because they spit on you. (And It's time to bring her back, Mr. Speaker.)

Also, NO other media outlet defended Rick Snyder more than WMP. As Nolan Finley was blasting Snyder and taking cheap shots at his campaign team (while Susan Demas was off in the Twilight Zone...) WMP wrote:

>>>Demas and Finley Want A "Rockstar" Governor...But Where In The HELL Did That Get Michigan Previously?!

Also:

>>>Schauer Ducks Media After Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Debate 

>>>MIRS and Gongwer Pick Up WMP's Story Regarding Racist Anti-Snyder Ad, Team Snyder Calls Ad "Desperate, Baseless Lies"

>>>How To Get Away With Murder (Granholm/Schauer Style)

 

WMP has also called Snyder out when needed, like his disappointing and controversial pardon. 

>>>Freaky Friday: #PardonGate Could Cause Irreparable Harm To Governor Snyder's "Nerd Brand"


Some have said WMP promotes the "gay agenda." Huh? Interesting, given I oppose Elliot-Larsen and think the government should get out of marriage-leave churches alone as we did for over 100 years since the founding of America. Gay agenda? Sounds like a BS phrase without any foundation to me... #Ignorant

Some have said I never say good things about people like Arlan Meekhof and Bill Huizenga, yet when they are correct, they get credit for it. Meekhof on prevailing wage, and Huizenga for his leadership on the Hager Park sign and consistent volunteer work with people like Ryan Fischer's family.

>>>Meekhof Gets It Right On Prevailing Wage 

 >>>Huizenga Gets It Right On Hager Park Sign Controversy


Those are just some of the most frequent lies and distortions-I won't even get into the others. As we head into another big election cycle, and WMP continues to break news stories while shining light on topics that Michiganders have been kept in the dark on...look for the lies to continue. I expect they will be ramped up in a very serious way, actually. Don't believe them.

WMP's purpose has always been described as:

"West Michigan Politics aims to enliven political discussion through links, original articles, opinion pieces, and more. Focusing on West Michigan, but covering state and national stories as well. They're all connected! Follow us on Twitter! @wmipolitics"

That will continue, even if some don't like it.
 __________________________________________________________ 

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 



Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

FlintSTONED: Lansing Shows (Again) Eastern Michigan Lives By Different Rules Than The Rest Of Us

 

 By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


If it's not a special school district class for Detroit to give them more resources, "the Grand Bargain," or bailout after bailout for the region, it's something else. It always seems that Eastern Michigan plays by different rules than the rest of Michiganders.

Again, Lansing is letting them get away with something. This time, after the Flint City Clerk didn't give local candidates the right deadline to declare for Mayor and City Council. No one filed in time, as the clerk gave a deadline one week later than state law allows. That means no name can appear on the ballot.

However, as a result, the House and Senate has moved on legislation that will allow for a new deadline to be declared for candidates to have their names on the ballot. Gov. Snyder is likely to sign it after it passes the full House.

This is immensely disappointing. Candidates in Flint should have to be subject to a write-in campaign like everyone else. Instead, Lansing is bailing them out with an extraordinary legislative fix ONLY Flint gets.

Make no mistake: if you miss any type of important deadline in your life, Lansing leadership will cut you no breaks. Miss a ticket deadline? Lose your license with the Secretary of State or face local arrest. PERIOD. No "second chances."

Here, they've been pressured into legislation by Flint area power-players. They've been "FlintSTONED" by threats of a radical candidate winning a write-in, and you better believe some campaign donations are en route...Isn't it time the East side, and Lansing leadership-join the rest of us under one set of rules?

______________________________

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 




Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Saturday, May 16, 2015

BLACKLIST: Michigan Media Leaves Michiganders In The Dark On State Senate Scandals



  

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


I have been immensely disturbed at the lack of media attention on two big issues in Michigan's State Senate over the last few months.

The first story on the self imposed "blacklist" is the #MeekhofSenateBuilding, a controversial project the legislature never even voted on. Instead, Senators Meekhof and Richardville utilized a Lansing slush fund knows as the "Michigan Strategic Fund" to pay for the project in the middle of "lame duck."

The property was never assessed, and the state is overpaying by millions, triple the value of the property,. All this the benefits a big GOP donor-of course. As State Rep. Todd Courser prepares to ask for an Attorney General Opinion/investigation, why has this story been largely ignored? Especially after the revelation a couple weeks ago from WXYZ that no assessment was done and the state is paying triple the real value of the property, yet barely a word has been said about it...

The second is a change to senate rules that eliminated the public and media's access to important Senate records.

In a voice vote unaccountable to Constituents and pushed for by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, the public and media no longer have access to vital records of the Senators they elect after Senate rules were changed.

Local governments are subject to FOIA, as are most areas of federal government. Years ago though, the Michigan Legislature exempted themselves from FOIA requirements. The Senate rules allowed a similar process to FOIA, but Meekhof has JUST purged those rules, like Cindy Gamrat at a GOP Caucus meeting: they're GONE.

We have no shortage of great media outlets in Michigan-WAY too many to name. I'll put our press corps up against any state any day. Yet unbelievably, the only outlets to cover these stories in a significant way (aside from WMP) have been WXYZ, Detroit Free Press, and MIRS. This is unacceptable-the people have a right to know what is going on in Lansing and Michigan media is falling short-a self imposed story "blacklist" that keeps Michiganders in the dark about stories that, when they hear about them, they are outraged.

I know the press can't cover everything, but here, with these two stories, they have dropped the ball in a major way. Don't worry though-we've got plenty of cute cats and dogs on deck! And Bieber said some dumb things and egged somebody's house, guys!. And her's another story about Virgil Smith! (Important but not costing you $130 million or preventing you from Senate records...)

Maybe if we called it the "Dave Agema Senate Building," or Agema rewrote decades of Lansing tradition-somebody would be outraged... The fact every Michigander pays $13 for the #MeekhofSenateBuilding, a project that could fund 5 million potholes, or give $86 to every school kid? The fact that Senate rules have been changed to stop media and public access from basic Senate documents? Move along, nothing to see here. Keep calm and trust Lansing.

Divide, Deceive, Distract: Government employs a number of mechanisms to keep the public in the dark (Photo of Justin Bieber by Complex Magazine)

>>>Breaking: What Is He HIDING? Meekhof Changes Senate Rules To Stop Public+Media From Accessing Senate Documents 

>>>How Did Your Legislator Vote On The #MeekhofSenateBuilding? They Didn't 

>>>Breaking: Courser Blasts Senate Building, Considers Asking Schuette To Investigate

>>>Scandal: State Overpaid MILLIONS For New #MeekhofSenateBuilding

_______________________________________________________

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 




Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Meekhof Gets It Right On Prevailing Wage



By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


Gov. Rick Snyder has no plans of signing a prevailing wage repeal, but that did not stop Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof from holding committee hearings and a full Senate vote on the issue this week.

The repeal passed the Senate 22-15 and now awaits possible action in the House. Where it goes once it reaches Snyder is anyone's guess...

The debate has been fierce, with legislators, lobbyists, and union activists turning up the dial on rhetoric big on bluster but short on facts. 

MIRS quote of the day Thursday was from repeal foe State Sen. Bert Johnson. Johnson is ashamed of being pictured with Virgil Smith yet has no problem with hardcore derping.

"This just lets us know not only that we can't be trusted, but we're yellow-bellied, we're jelly-spined, we're lily-livered, we're weaknoodled, and we've got a limp-wristed handshake to go along with it," Johnson said.

Herpalerpderp derp derp derp derp derp. Y'all may be those things (Senate rule change preventing public and media access to information, new Senate building) but not because of prevailing wage!

WOOD TV 8 said Meekhof was playing a "twisted board game" with the issue, and maybe they are right. He may be using this as a tool for leverage on who knows what other issue...

Regardless, one should always give credit when it's due, and Meekhof gets it right here: prevailing wage should be repealed. It hurts Michigan families by forcing them to spend millions more of their hard earned tax dollars on state construction projects, money that could go to schools or roads.

What will Speaker Cotter and Gov. Snyder do? Meekhof has put the ball in your court-now it's time to act.
__________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 



Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Governor Schuette, The Reinvention Of Paul Mitchell, And The Aftermath Of Prop 1 On 2018

ON DUTY: 2018 Gubernatorial frontrunner Attorney General Bill Schuette with wife Cynthia, son Billy, and daughter Heidi



By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com
 


For a moment, let's take a look at the 3 main contenders for Governor in 2018, Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Governor Brian Calley, and Congresswoman Candice Miller.

Miller was M.I.A on Prop 1, I don't think she said a word.

 Lt. Governor Calley seemingly supported the measure, though helping Gov. Snyder and his number one political goal-roads-was more likely what Calley was doing. Regardless, he put his name behind the worst ballot proposal in Michigan history, defeated by a historic 60% margin.

Then, Schuette, undoubtedly "On Duty" in opposition to Proposal One, he was the most prominent person in Michigan politics to speak out against the $2 billion annual tax increase. 2018 primary voters will remember that, no doubt about it. Prop 1 is arguably the best litmus test one could utilize in selecting a candidate-and Schuette passes the test in a big way here.

As the Attorney General continues to gear up for a gubernatorial campaign this summer with BBQ events across the state, other candidates had better step up their game quickly, Schuette has been laying the foundation for this campaign for almost 25 years, ever since he returned to Michigan from being a Congressman in D.C.

Oh yeah-there's actually a fourth name popping up for Governor...A guy named Paul Mitchell. Maybe you've heard of him? Mitchell's opposition to Prop 1 was a gamechanger.

Paul Mitchell, left, with RNC Committeewoman Kathy Berden

Michigan may be in the process of "reinvention," but for Mitchell, he's already completely re-branded himself from the guy who lost a Congressional primary in an expensive way, to becoming a leader recognized across the state for his fight against Prop 1. And Mitchell won.

Just look at this recent blurb from the Detroit Free Press describing Kathy Berden's RNC victory.

"Both Berden and Whiteford claimed significant endorsements.

Berden was endorsed by Paul Mitchell, the Republican congressional candidate who led the successful fight against the Proposal 1 sales tax and road funding proposal in Tuesday's special election. Berden was also endorsed by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township; and Senators Mike Green of Mayville and Phil Pavlov of St. Clair Township, among other state lawmakers."

Mitchell leads while people like Miller and Pavlov are secondary.

I suspect though that Mitchell will possibly end up running for Congress in 2018, perhaps in Michigan's 1st District where he owns property and the incumbent will be retiring. Whatever he decides to do, a lot of people will be watching.

The aftermath of Prop 1 is yet to be fully seen, but make no mistake: Bill Schuette and Paul Mitchell won big by speaking out. 2018 will reward them for it.

 __________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 




Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Did Your Legislator Vote On The #MeekhofSenateBuilding? They Didn't

 
 

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


How did your legislator vote on the new ‪#‎MeekhofSenateBuilding‬?

They didn't.

Senators Richardville and Meekhof went to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and utilized a little known account called the "Michigan Strategic Fund" to appropriate the money...

Below is the resolution the MSF approved, though MIRS reports the true cost will be $130 million...Those "Senate Condos" doe! Wow.

Thankfully, State Rep. Todd Courser is about to ask Attorney General Schuette to get involved.


Resolution 2014-229 Senate Building Project Bond Authorizing 

"The Michigan Senate (the “Senate”) is requesting the Michigan Strategic Fund (the “MSF”) issue up to $70,000,000 million dollars of tax exempt bond financing to purchase the basement through seventh floor of the Capitol View Building (south of the Capitol at 201 Townsend Street) and furnish and equip the space for Senate offices (the “Senate Condo”) and to lease the Senate Condo to the Senate. The MSF has received evidence of a satisfactory resolution regarding the current tenant of the Capitol View Building and a letter of support from DTMB on future appropriations must be presented to the MSF Fund Manager"

__________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Breaking: Courser Blasts Senate Building, Considers Asking Schuette To Investigate

  State Rep. Todd Courser hangs out with State Rep. Cindy Gamrat (Photo by DarKen Photography

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


State Rep. Todd Courser blasted the new #Meekhof SenateBuilding in a statement to West Michigan Politics Tuesday. Courser also tells WMP he is "considering what the next steps need to be, including asking the attorney general for an opinion."

WMP announced earlier today that we would ask Gamrat or Courser to do just that, and Rep. Courser is moving forward on that process.

>>>WMP Will Fight Controversial $130 Million #MeekhofSenateBuilding, Source Says Lawsuit May Be Filed


"Such actions and attempts to hide such actions, if true, are shameful and should receive the fullest vetting possible, both in the public square and also, if appropriate in the halls of justice," Courser said.


Courser said that "It is unfortunate, shameful, and sinful when a public official or officials work to fleece the public of both their trust and their treasury; the details of the sale of the Senate building should be immediately opened to public scrutiny so the public may determine if there has been wrongdoing by either the current or past Senate leadership."

Courser also blasted Senate Majority Leader Meekhof, writing:

"Unfortunately, we now have the current leadership of the Senate, Arlan Meekhof and company, changing the FOIA rules to keep the public from knowing why their money was spent this way, and who benefited from the gross over-payment of this transaction. This is looking more to political theft than an arms-length transaction for the benefit of the public good. These are the types of unscrupulous transactions that happen in third world counties under despotic leadership; they have no place in our precious Republic."


Here is Courser's full statement:

"It is unfortunate, shameful, and sinful when a public official or officials work to fleece the public of both their trust and their treasury; the details of the sale of the Senate building should be immediately opened to public scrutiny so the public may determine if there has been wrongdoing by either the current or past Senate leadership. In this case, we have last term’s State Senate leadership, led by Randy Richardville, and the Senate members, agreeing to spend the people's money to purchase a building at a cost far above the market price. Each Senator had a chance to vote on this purchase; I am not sure what these Senators were told or knew about the actual value of this building, or the purchase terms, but it is pretty clear now that the taxpayers’ money was fleeced from the treasury.

Unfortunately, we now have the current leadership of the Senate, Arlan Meekhof and company, changing the FOIA rules to keep the public from knowing why their money was spent this way, and who benefited from the gross over-payment of this transaction. This is looking more to political theft than an arms-length transaction for the benefit of the public good. These are the types of unscrupulous transactions that happen in third world counties under despotic leadership; they have no place in our precious Republic. It is now clear that someone profited in a huge way by selling this building at several times its market price; it is absolutely wrong to hide such information from the citizens and to spend the people's treasury in such a grossly inexcusable way.

These actions show why it is absolutely critical to have men and women of integrity in places of authority in all levels of government and society; and why it is absolutely crucial that the public trust and treasury be jealously guarded by those who serve in positions of authority in government. Such breaches cause the public to rightfully feel violated by officials who see themselves not servants of the people but as their master. The public trust is sacred and should not be violated by unscrupulous officials that act selfishly and then shamefully hide such deals from public scrutiny. If there is a deal that spends the public treasury then it should be open and transparent to public scrutiny; when there is not such transparency, then the public must rightfully assume that government is being misused for the benefit of the officials at the expense of the public.

Such actions and attempts to hide such actions, if true, are shameful and should receive the fullest vetting possible, both in the public square and also, if appropriate in the halls of justice."

__________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Naked+AFRAID: Naked State Senator Shoots Shotgun As Terrified Ex-Wife Bolts House

Sen. Virgil Smith (Photo: Dale G. Young / The Detroit News)

 By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com



Well, the Virgil Smith story took an interesting twist Monday afternoon.

Reports say he beat his ex wife multiple times in the face before, while naked, chased her out of his house while firing a shotgun at her. He struck her car multiple times with bullets, with damage so bad it would not even start.


"State Sen. Virgil Smith told police that opening fire at his ex-wife’s Mercedes-Benz with a rifle early Sunday morning was “the most stupid thing” in his life.

His ex-wife says she was met by a naked Smith at the front door of his home in the 18000 block of Wexford on the city’s east side and he beat her with his fists, chased her outside and shot at her four or five times as well as firing at her car."

>>>Read more HERE from the Detroit News

___________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

WMP Will Fight Controversial $130 Million #MeekhofSenateBuilding, Source Says Lawsuit May Be Filed

 By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com

 
West Michigan Politics is announcing an initiative coming soon to fight the controversial new $130 million #MeekhofSenateBuilding, an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Prop 1 shows the power of what the grassroots can do when we are united, focused, and strategic! This building CAN be stopped with a little hard work! And shouldn't it? After all, it's SOLELY so Senators can get a better view of the Capitol, and to benefit donors.

>>>Did you know, for the price of the building, the state could pay to fill 5.2 million potholes, or give every kid in Michigan schools $86!? The #MeekhofSenateBuilding MUST be stopped.

 The building will cost over $130 million, and the state payed triple the actual value after refusing to have an assessment done according to WXYZ! Imagine that... And hey, the building is owned by a donor with close ties to many of the Lansing elite.  That surely has NOTHING to do with this BS sale, right? ;)

WMP will start by asking State Representatives Courser and/or Gamrat to request a formal opinion from Attorney General Schuette regarding this outrageous $130 million waste, just as Senator Rick Jones did regarding the Michigan State Police building in 2010. That was another shady Lansing real estate deal featuring many of the same players in today's fiasco.

(If they won't, we'll ask every legislator who had the courage to oppose Prop 1 publicly to request Schuette investigate. Surely, someone will be bold enough to take real action on behalf of millions of Michigan families!)

WMP will engage local groups and organizations on this issue, give Michiganders tools to contact their legislator via email, social media, phone calls, and letters, as well as start a petition demanding Meekhof stop this $130 million boondoggle. Letters to the editor guides-lots of great stuff in the works!

WMP will also start to lobby for a new law that requires an assessment for all state properties before they can be sold, because Lansing has proven again and again they have a problem doing this. Pretty damn sad.

WMP will also attempt to get every legislator on the record with what they think about this.

 Those are just the beginning in the fight to stop the $130 million #MeekhofSenateBuilding. Michigan families deserve better.

So stay tuned!!! WMP will be deeply engaged with this issue-on a number of fronts!

 Also:

 Sources tell West Michigan Politics that a lawsuit is in the works to stop the controversial new #MeekhofSenateBuilding that has Michiganders across the state angry at Lansing.

"If you want to over pay by millions in the private sector and not get the property assessed, that's your right, a stupid as you may be. When it happens with public money as part of a shady deal, it may well be real estate fraud."

As a result, a lawsuit may be filed.

"One of the major things that needs to be figured out is, what entity should be sued and what, with specificity, for? Issues like that...and some other points of interest need to be cleared up before we embark on this route."

We'll let you know if a lawsuit is filed as soon as it happens, and will keep you in the loop with all other news on this as it develops...
__________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Legend: Dr. Jack Holmes Retires After Nearly 50 Years At Hope College

Holmes, center, with Terri Lynn Land, left, and Rep. Bill Huizenga, left (Photo by Tom DeVette Photography)
By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com


As President Lyndon Johnson was preparing to leave his office, 676 miles away-in a little town called Holland, at a little college called Hope-Dr. Jack Holmes was decorating his, getting ready for his first class as a professor.

47 years later, Holmes is calling it quits, retiring as a Hope College Professor. Holmes taught his last class a couple weeks ago.
Holmes and Rep. Bill Huizenga enjoy a laugh at the Holmes Retirement event Monday (Photo By Tom DeVette Photography)


Holmes, a fixture of the Ottawa County GOP, was honored at an event last night at New Holland Brewery in downtown Holland. He has served on the group's Executive Committee for decades, instrumental in numerous projects over the years.

He briefly left Hope to work in D.C. as the assistant to Congressman Don Brotzman for a couple years in 1973, has been extremely involved on the Hope campus, vital to programs like Model United Nations. Holmes also co-wrote a textbook while at Hope, "American Government: Essentials & Perspective."

Holmes has advised local, state, and federal politicians for decades. He has also helped lead countless campaigns, and through his work as a professor, shaped thousands of students in his famous "Campaigns and Elections" class, among many others.

One of those students is Terri Lynn Land. She was in attendance last night, along with Congressman Huizenga, State Rep. Roger Victory, State Rep. Amanda Price, Dennis Van Dam, Joey Gamrat, and many more.

The event featured speeches and no shortage of old memories. It also included a video with special messages from former Governor John Engler, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Sen. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, and other dignitaries.
From left: Dennis VanDam, Holmes, Ottawa Drain Commissioner Joe Bush, Jim Barry, State Rep. Roger Victory, Joey Gamrat (Photo by Tom DeVette Photography)






Allegan County Commissioner and political consultant Jim Storey took to Facebook praising Holmes, writing, "Jack is certainly deserving of this recognition for all of his efforts to boost West Michigan Republicans' effectiveness in keeping its dominance."

Former Ottawa County GOP Chair Adam Tountas tells West Michigan Politics:

"Jack Holmes has been a cornerstone of our county party for decades. I'm proud of the work he's done-and continues to do on a daily basis on behalf of the conservative movement. I'm even prouder to call him my friend."

Holmes is a legend. 

"Establishment?" Yes. Far more importantly though: fair, hard working, respectful, and an all around decent guy. A dedicated patriot with a passion for his community, and his country. In an age with so much hate, rudeness, and backstabbing Dr. Jack Holmes is a shining example for future generations to emulate,

He  is a class act-may he have a fantastic retirement! Thankfully, he still serves in Ottawa GOP leadership, so Holmes just may have another campaign or two in him. Take notes while you can.
Dr. Jack Holmes receives the Volunteer of the Year award for his dedication to the Ottawa County GOP in 2011
Holmes helps volunteer at Bill Cooper's "Thanks A Million, West Michigan!" food truck on a cold December night in December 2009
Dr. Jack Holmes, center, with Ottawa County Clerk/Register Justin Roebuck, left, and Schuette staffer Matt Hall, right at a Hope College event a couple weeks ago
>>>Rep. Huizenga recently took to the House Floor to honor Holmes. Here is the speech:
Holmes, center, with Rep. Bill Huizenga and family Monday night at the event celebrating Holmes (Photo by Tom Devette Photography)
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Dr. Jack Holmes and his commendable service to Hope College as a Professor of Political Science.

After graduating cum laude from Knox College with honors in political science, Professor Holmes went on to earn his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Denver. As a Captain in the U.S. Army in the Politico-Military Division at the Pentagon, Dr. Holmes researched major international political decisions affecting the army. After his work in Washington, he moved to Holland, Michigan, to teach at Hope College. After four years, however, he returned to Colorado to work as the District Assistant for Congressman Don Brotzman. This position entailed constituent relations as well as advising on foreign policy, minority, education, and environmental matters. Ever a true Flying Dutchmen though, Professor Holmes returned to Hope in 1975.

Professor Holmes' experiences in the public sector and his interest in American foreign policy and international relations were instrumental in creating his Mood/Interest Theory of American Foreign Policy. He has recently written a follow up to Mood/Interest Theory called Ambivalent America: Cyclical Interactions with Trends. Not only is Professor Holmes an excellent theorist, he has also co-authored a national government textbook American Government: Essentials & Perspectives as well as many other articles and journals. He has been heavily involved in the Hope College community, especially as faculty advisor to Model United Nations and to the Hope Republicans. Professor Holmes has also served as a political consultant and has been very involved with the Michigan Republican party.

Professor Holmes grew up in Colorado and returns each summer. As an avid outdoorsman he spends the summer months on his mountain ranch researching, writing, backpacking, fishing, and even teaching a course on wilderness politics.

Today, April 27, 2015, we recognize Professor Holmes for all of his tireless work and commitment to political science and to Hope College. I want to thank Professor Holmes for his service to Hope College, to Michigan, and to this country."
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Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com 

Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson