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Opinion by R Al Bain
Former Term limited State Senator Ray Basham (D) now a Wayne County Commissioner: Where do all the politicians go after they serve their duty as an elected public servant? I always assumed that they became lobbyist for big corporations because of their knowledge of just how the system works and contacts made while serving in Lansing which would be beneficial to these companies as to advance their agenda.
One would think that after 28 years with Ford Motor Company in which he also served in the capacity as an UAW representative, served on the Taylor City Council from 1989 to 1997, and then served as a State Representative for two terms a total of four years, then spent another two terms as Sate Senator for a total of eight years, would be sufficient as performing one’s civic duty to the public. As a concerned citizen with the representation we have been receiving here in Michigan and the cost associated with it, I would say that 23 years of public service while honorable, is more than enough!
This type of longevity as an elected official representing the citizens of Michigan should be a concern for several obvious reasons. Civic duty was not meant to be a career! Personally I feel that every citizen when able, should step up and perform their civic duty as to represent their fellow citizens and communities for a reasonable amount of time then let someone else represent the citizenry. I would also like to note that Mr. Basham served in the U.S. Air Force from 1962 to 1966. As my former representative I have a couple of noteable complaints against Mr. Basham, his smoking ban legislation that has become law that has cost jobs and hurt many Michigan businesses. A smoking ban should be left to the private business owners not the government. And the legislation he co-sponsored with current Senator Randy Richardville (R) to mandate carpenter licensure. As a Democrat and a former UAW representative this type of union favoring legislation is expected, but not from a Republican!
When is enough; enough? The taxpayers of Michigan are on the hook for his 12 years of public service as an elected representative in Lansing with retirement pension and benefits package, now as a Wayne County Commissioner are the taxpayers going to be on the hook for another retirement and benefits package? I’m sure Mr. Basham is getting a nice pension and benefit package from Ford Motor Company but that’s a private matter in the private sector and not the public sector at the cost to Michigan taxpayers.
Indiana Senate Committee Passes Right-to-Work Bill
After nearly six hours of testimony and debate, the Indiana state Senate Pensions and Labor Committee approved Senate Bill 269 by a 6-to-4 vote. Commonly referred to as a “right-to-work” law, SB 269 would make it a Class A misdemeanor to require an individual to join or remain in a union or to pay any dues, fees or other charges to that same labor organization. If this legislation is signed into law you can just turn out the lights in Michigan! Indiana already has billboards inviting Michigan Businesses to come talk to them about relocating in that state at several Indiana – Michigan boarder locations.
Indiana’s lower taxation and less regulation are a huge draw for Michigan Businesses to relocate there. What is standing in the way for Michigan becoming a “right-to-work” state? The unions best friends in Lansing, Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville of Monroe and his uncle Senator Roger Kahn of Saginaw! Senator Richardville controls what goes into and out of committee while uncle Senator Roger Kahn is Chairman of the appropriations committee. Both have taken campaign donations, sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to the benefit of union interest to the detriment of the citizens of Michigan. The SEIU, Teamsters, Michigan Carpenters Union, and the UAW all have close relationships with these two so-called Republican Senators. http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/16266
Right to Work Increases Jobs and Choices
The Heritage Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics James Sherk, explains the benefits of right-to-work in this article that show’s an increase in job creation for those states that implement this choice. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/11/right-to-work-increases-jobs-and-choices
As Americans Await Obamacare, Canadians Wait Longer for Treatment
Our Republican led Senate overwhelmingly passed the Obama Heath Care Exchange recently. Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate on November 10, 2011, to create as a state entity the “exchange” mandated by the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/16211
Senate Roll Call 663 on 2011 Senate Bill 693 – Create state “Obamacare exchange”
IN FAVOR SENATE
DEMOCRATS Anderson (D) Bieda (D) Gleason (D) Gregory (D) Hood (D) Hopgood (D) Hunter (D) Johnson (D) Smith (D) Warren (D) Whitmer (D) Young (D)
SENATE REPUBLICANS – Liberal “New Deal Republicans” Booher (R) Caswell (R) Emmons (R) Green (R) Hansen (R) Hildenbrand (R) Jansen (R) Jones (R) Kahn (R) Marleau (R) Meekhof (R) Pappageorge (R) Richardville (R)
SENATE DEMOCRATS none
SENATE REPUBLICANS – “Principled Republicans” Brandenburg (R) Casperson (R) Colbeck (R) Hune (R) Kowall (R) Moolenaar (R) Nofs (R) Proos (R) Robertson (R) Rocca (R) Schuitmaker (R) Walker (R)
State Senator about to Testify on Corruption is Killed
On Jan. 11, 1945, state Sen. Warren Hooper, who was about to testify about corruption in state government, was fatally shot as he drove home to Albion less than two hours after leaving the Capitol in Lansing. The ambush on M-99 near Springport in Jackson County was to silence Hooper because, although the lawmaker had himself taken bribes, he was known to be ready to blow the whistle on other Lansing bigwigs. Hooper, who was hit with three bullets, was supposed to have been the main witness before a grand jury probing members of the Legislature who were paid off in 1943 to defeat a bill that would have increased state revenue from horse racing by more than $1 million a year.
A year and half earlier, Hooper had testified before another grand jury that a Michigan State Medical Society official tried to bribe him to nix amendments to a medical service bill in 1939. Hooper, 41, a descendent of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was also survived by two sons, ages 6 and 4. Although that was over 65 years ago with the recent corruption we see at this present time, I think this kind of corruption stands true with our legislators in Lansing and may be the reason why this type of corruption still is prevalent today. http://www.freep.com/article/20120108/NEWS06/201080451/This-week-in-Michigan-history-State-senator-about-to-testify-on-corruption-is-killed
Flat Rock, Trenton Officials Charged with Racketeering
Ethics and corruption are not just regulated and limited to Wayne County. The ethics, or the lack thereof, and corruption we read in the newspapers are only about the ones who have been caught. I would suggest that this is a huge problem throughout Michigan government at all levels, local, county, and state including our elected officials in Lansing. http://www.freep.com/article/20120112/NEWS02/201120604/Flat-Rock-Trenton-officials-charged-with-racketeering
Wayne County Deal with Fired Staffer Could Cost Taxpayers of Michigan $850K
Ficano’s administration on Friday released details of a controversial — but until-now secret — 2004 settlement to former Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency director Patricia Kukula. The release came days before a federal judge was to rule Monday on a challenge to open the file. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120107/METRO01/201070338/1409/rss36
Ficano Lays off 44 to Save Wayne County Money
With jobs and the economy the number one concern among citizens and “voters” around the state and country today, it stands to reason that this move while warranted, is only being made now because of the recent scandal involving Ficano and his administration for political purposes. With re-election on the horizon and with the FBI investigation of possible corruption, along with mistakes and blunders by this elected official, it’s clear that Mr. Ficano fears he will lose his position feeding at the public trough! http://www.freep.com/article/20120110/NEWS02/201100348/Ficano-lays-off-44-to-save-Wayne-County-money
Michigan Chasing Dying Industry with Film Producer Subsidies at Taxpayer Expense
The film industry is an inherently risky business and therefore dependent on subsidies from states to make their money. If that’s the case, why are our legislators voting to waste taxpayer dollars for these subsidies at a time we can least afford it? Our roads, infrastructure and our debt owed to the federal government would be a better place as to allocate these funds not to the rich movie producers who make millions of dollars. Through New Year’s Eve on Saturday, projected movie domestic revenues for the year stand at $10.2 billion, down 3.5% from 2010, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com. Taking higher ticket prices into account, movie attendance is off even more, with an estimated 4.4% decline and the smallest movie audience since 1995. http://www.freep.com/article/20111229/BUSINESS07/112290520/-11-another-downer-for-movie-studios
Box Office Slump 2011: Ticket Sales Drop to 16 Year Lows For Hollywood in 2011
Ticket sales dropped to 1.28 billion in 2011, the lowest total since 1995. This will be the seventh straight year that ticket sales have declined since the high of 2003 showing an industry in distress. According to the Los Angeles Times, total box-office per film dropped some 13 percent in 2011, because as research indicates people are more inclined to wait for movies to hit DVD and video on-demand services. However, our glorious legislators in Lansing continue to waste taxpayer dollars subsidizing Film Producers instead of following the lead of several other states and eliminating this subsidy in it’s entirety. A good analogy would be, it’s like beating a dead horse at the finish line! http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/12/30/box-office-slump-2011-ticket-sales-drop/?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-sb-bb%7Cdl4%7Csec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D123983
Michigan University President Mary Sue Coleman’s Fuzzy Numbers
Coleman’s travel and entertainment expense report shows 11 development trips, including two stops in Los Angeles and four to New York City. Her travel expenditures for the 2010 calendar year, about $59,553, was more than double her spending in 2009. This is where the fuzzy math comes into play. Her expenses for meals $70,593.00, travel $59,553.00, for a total of $130,146. While I do not claim to be a mathematician the meals costing more than the travel looks fuzzy to me! But I’m sure there is a logical explanation for what looks to be like an excess in eating in comparison to the total. Coleman’s largest travel expense, for example, was nearly $14,000 for a trip to China at the end of June 2010. U-M has numerous partnerships with universities there. Is this how China is getting our technology secrets? http://www.freep.com/article/20120101/NEWS06/201010581/1001/rss01
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. John Adams