Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Marty Knollenberg Answers!

Last week, we wrote to Marty Knollenberg with a question. We asked if he bore any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint?

His office replied. His complete reply is reproduced below, along with our response back.

Dear KTS:



Mike Murray
Chief of Staff
Senator Marty Knollenberg

(517) 373-2523


Dear Marty,

I find your response to my question utterly glib.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. You conflate glibness with leadership. That's something you do on a regular basis. I can prove it by looking at your “leadership.” Let's review, shall we?

When you “led” the fight and introduced the bill to eliminate straight party voting in Michigan, people were, rightly, concerned. Naturally, you received an inquiry about why an appropriation was added to the bill. Your office informed your constituent that the appropriation was added at the request of the Ingham County Clerk.

What you didn't realize is that this constituent would follow up on your claim. This constituent contacted the Ingham County Clerk. As it turns out, you lied. You did what the politician always does: You blamed someone else for something you did purposefully.

And what of SB 571, the election law bill designed to silence municipalities? It was passed in dead of night at the end of the year, with changes described by the Michigan Municipal League as a “complete gag order on local officials" and "a disaster.” Of course, you voted in favor of it. (Roll call vote #655, pg. 2083.)

Let's not forget your recent performance at a Senate Education Committee meeting. In discussing how economic disadvantages and being nonwhite contribute to failing schools, you stated, loud and clear, “I know we can’t fix that. We can’t make an African-American white. That's just, it is what it is.”

Tell me: Was that simple glibness, sheer incompetence, or outright racism? It's probably a bit of all three, because you tried to clear it all up by explaining, “I have an African-American employee who works for me.”

So you'll forgive me if I don't take your glib, “No.” as an answer. Emergency Manager Act was foisted upon the people of Michigan. You supported it. The people of Michigan overrode the law by citizen veto. It was passed, again, adding a referendum to ensure the voice of the people of Michigan was ignored. You voted for it a second time.

The result of which is clear: Rick Snyder used the Emergency Manager to erase the duly elected voices of the people of Flint. That led to a man-made disaster and the poisoning of thousands. A disaster, which, according to Rick Snyder, will cost an estimated $767.4 millions dollars. $712.8 million to replace public water lines and $54.6 million for private water lines.

So I'll ask my question again: Do you bear any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint? Because if you, as an elected official who enacted the law, are not, who is?

You might want to take your time and answer these questions fully. Because lives have been irreversibly damaged and the people need more than glib answers.

We look forward to reading your response.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

An Open Letter To Marty Knollenberg

Dear Marty:

I have a question.

Do you bear any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint? I know that it's commonly reported that the water in Flint has dangerous levels of lead, but lets not forget that the water also contains dangerous amounts of e. coli, trihamlomethanes, and copper. This is the result of forcing the people of Flint to drink from the Flint River.

You may think is strange for me to ask you this question. Because, currently, most of the blame is being leveled at Governor Snyder. But I ask this question to you because Governor Snyder didn't act alone in creating this man-made disaster. He had help.

The way I see it, this travesty stems all the way back to the enactment of the Emergency Manager Law. It was a law revised back in 2011. If you don't remember, the law allows the governor to appoint emergency managers with near-absolute power in cash-strapped cities, towns, and school districts. Emergency managers can supersede local ordinances, sell city assets, and break union contracts -- leaving local elected officials without any real authority. You voted in support of this horrific law. (See pg. 314).

But then, the people of Michigan acted. They started a veto referendum effort and rejected the law, with a spokesman for the referendum explaining, “People are used to electing folks to represent them...[t]hat duty of elected officials is sacred and cannot just be wiped away because of a credit rating. People found that offensive.”

However, you didn't take that into consideration, did you? Nope, Governor Snyder ignored the will of the people and had the bill reintroduced. This time, an expenditure was added so the people couldn't override the law. And once again, you happily voted for it. (See pg. 2684).

Because the law was enacted over the will of the people, Governor Snyder was able to appoint an Emergency Manager in Flint. And the “decision to use the Flint River as an interim source was ultimately made by then-Flint emergency manager Edward Kurtz in about June 2013.”

Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, the neurological and behavioral effects of lead are irreversible.

There you go. So much irreversible damage created by a legislature hell-bent on overriding Democracy and ignoring the clearly stated opinion of the the people of Michigan.  And you are just one of the legislators that made it possible.

So the question still stands: Do you bear any responsibility for the man-made disaster currently poisoning the people of Flint?

I'll be waiting for your response.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Dave Henderson Promises "No Games." Don't Believe Him

In Dave Henderson’s latest post on Facebook, he makes a pitch for, among other things, financial support for his re-election campaign. But if we’re being honest, Henderson needs someone to donate a dictionary to his campaign. Because Dave Henderson has trouble with some common English words. In this case, Dave Henderson doesn’t understand what “non-partisan” means.
City Council seats are, by design, non-partisan. It’s right there in the charter. Section 3.3 of the City Charter states that “members of the Council shall be elected on a non-partisan ballot from the city at large...” Furthermore, Section 7.2 of the Charter states that the “election of all city officers shall be on a non-partisan basis.”
But that doesn’t matter to Dave Henderson. For him, there’s only one important qualification one needs to be on council: Think like Dave Henderson. Never mind that Troy is ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse. The only thing that matters is Dave Henderson’s opinion. Which is why Dave Henderson is supporting overwhelmingly partisan candidates for City Council.
The sad thing is that he should know better. Oh, he’ll pay lip service and acknowledge that “the council is a non partisan position...” But for Dave Henderson, “world view” trumps every other consideration.
And just what world view does Dave Henderson champion? The Tea Party point of view, of course. He’ll no longer call it “Tea Party,” because that would damage his crafted image as a folksy guy who is “upfront about his opinions.”
But let’s not forget that Dave Henderson ran with that Tea Party darling, Janice Daniels. And he thinks that her successful expunging by the people of Troy was an “oddity.” Currently, he supports a candidate that believes UNICEF is a socialist plot.
Also recall that Dave Henderson has played partisan games in the past. Back when Councilman Fleming was elected to the County Commission, Dave Henderson sponsored Paul McCown to be his replacement. When he realized that he didn’t have enough sway to shove his hand-picked candidate down Troy’s throat, Henderson went along with the majority of council and voted to have the non-partisan candidate Steve Gottlieb appointed. We can read that decision as Dave Henderson doing the political thing in order to protect his image.

The ironic thing is that Henderson doesn’t consider himself a politician. Remember, when he first ran for council, he crafted an image for himself as a guy who is “not running again.” But then, as he discovered he liked the power and attention, he started eying the mayor’s chair. Now he’s a full-blown partisan hack plotting to take Troy back to the bad old days of partisan games by running with ideologues.
And here’s the thing about partisan games: They destroy good government and the public trust. Partisan games have frozen Lansing so we can’t get road funding. Partisan games lead to people like Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat being elected, then expelled from the State House, and the promised criminal investigation buried. Partisan games have made Washington D.C. a joke and given us a Congress with a miserable 13% approval rating. And Dave Henderson thinks that’s great because that’s his “world view.”
Right now, we have a non-partisan City Council. Council is working together, setting aside ideological differences, and are striving towards a single goal: Doing what’s best for Troy. That’s solid, non-partisan leadership.
Unfortunately, Dave Henderson doesn’t believe non-partisan leadership is the right thing for Troy. Dave Henderson is trying to bring back divisive partisan games to the council table. If this doesn’t disqualify him from serving on council, I don’t know what does.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dave Henderson Supports Janice Daniels 2.0

Does anybody miss the bad old days when Janice Daniels was Mayor?

Apparently Dave Henderson does, because he's supporting a Janice Daniels clone for City Council.

I speak, of course, of Paul McCown.

Like Janice Daniels, Mr. McCown is an active user of social media. The only difference is that he's attempting to hide his Tea Party opinions. Because if he was honest in his opinions, he would never be elected to hold an office higher than dog catcher, let alone city council.

But before we get accused of making false accusations, let's look at statements Mr. McCown has made on his now-private Twitter account and compare them with Janice Daniels.

First up, both Janice Daniels and Paul McCown share a love of Trevor Louden.

Janice has interviewed Louden on her radio show, while Mr. McCown goes out of his way too see Louden when he makes public appearances. On his now private twitter account, Mr. McCown said this:

If you don't know who Trevor Louden is, the Wikipedia page about him is very revealing. Trevor Louden believes socialism is either a mental illness or character deficiency, communists are responsible for supplying much of the world's illegal drugs, and he follows the “Zenith Applied Philosophy” which is described as a “combination of Scientology, Eastern mysticism and the ideas of the American John Birch Society.”

So Louden's crazy beliefs lead him to hunt for socialists.  But then again, so does Paul McCown. Again, from his Twitter feed:

As you can see, Mr. McCown believes that United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), is a socialist organization. Yes, The organization that “promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child in 190 countries and territories” is a Socialist plot. That's a big glass of Janice Daniels brand crazy sauce.

And just to round out the similarities between him and Janice, Paul McCown supports candidates the espouse virulent anti-gay opinions:

If you can't recall who Ken Cuccinelli is, he's the former Gubernatorial candidate from Virginia who opined that homosexuality “brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of [the] soul.” Sounds a bit like the unrepentent homophobia of our disgraced former mayor, no?

Clearly, Dave Henderson hasn’t learned the lessons from Troy’s national embarrassment. The only question is whether or not Henderson knew all of this before he gave McCown his support. If Henderson didn’t know, it reveals his underlying incompetence and shatters any trust you should have in him. If Henderson did know, shame on him for supporting someone as divisive as Janice Daniels.

None of this should be a surprise, however. We're talking about Dave Henderson. This is the candidate who suggested we fund the library through the installation of parking meters:

The lesson here is clear: Dave Henderson is still a Tea Party radical, looking to promote other Tea Party members.  We need not return to the bad old days of Janice Daniels just because Dave Henderson wants them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Martin Howrylak Seeks to End No-Fault Divorce

“Democracy,” quipped H.L. Mencken, “is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

Making sure Troy’s residents get it good and hard, Martin Howrylak went before council on Monday night to crow about the single most important issue facing Troy right now: Women having too much control over their lives fireworks.

Yep, this past Monday, our state rep. updated us on his efforts to make sure none of us are bothered by fireworks ever again. This is agenda item number one for the ‘ol bushwah boy scout.
It’s funny, though. Martin is forthcoming when it comes to the problem of fireworks. But when it comes to his stance on women having control over their lives, he’s strangely silent.

You may recall that thanks to Martin Howrylak and his ilk, the women of Troy have to purchase extra insurance should they find themselves pregnant after being raped.
As it turns, out Howrylak was just getting started.

Next on his anti-woman crusade, Howrylak has decided that women can get a divorce much to easily. So he’s seeking the end of no-fault divorce.

House Bill 6083 (2014), introduced by Howrylak, would permit a no-fault divorce only if two conditions are met: 1) if there are no children and; 2) both sides agree. Otherwise, if you want a divorce, you better be able to prove that your spouse committed adultery, abandoned you, been thrown in prison for five years, or has sexually abused you or your child.

And it’s not as if we don’t know who this bill will impact the most, right? Women. We know that nearly two-thirds of divorces — including those that come late in life — are initiated by wives. We also know that when a no-fault (or unilateral) divorce standard is adopted, there’s a 30 percent decline in domestic violence and the suicide rate among wives’ drops between 8 to 16 percent.

None of this matters to Martin Howrylak, it seems. Because facts don’t matter when you’re on a moral crusade to control the lives of women.

Think about it: Under Howrylak’s legislation, it doesn’t matter if your spouse is an unrepentant alcoholic and refuses treatment. You stay married. According to Martin Howrylak, it’s irrelevant if your husband gambled away your kids’ college fund. You better hope your luck changes sometime soon because you’re staying married. And so what if your hubby slapped you around and you’re afraid to go to the police? Unless you can prove the violence, no divorce for you.

Indeed, Martin’s attitude towards divorce has revealed what he is: A paternalistic fool that thinks women shouldn’t be trusted to know when their marriage should end.

Yep, H.L. Mencken was right. The people of Troy wanted Martin Howrylak. And he’s going to give it to them good and hard.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Martin Howrlyak Should Be Fired for Lying and Incompetence

There's an old adage, coined when computers were invented. “Garbage in, garbage out.” I think it applies to government as well. If you put incompetent people in the government, you get incompetent government. Speaking of incompetent, let's talk about what Martin Howyrlak isn't telling you as continues his run for reelection.

Howrylak's Lies

Howrylak is running on the promise that he's going to fix the roads. This is a lie. How do we know? Easy. When given the choice to stay in Lansing and produce a funding package for road repair, Howrylak and his compatriots decided to go on summer vacation instead. To add insult to crumbling roads, Howrylak was asked at his own town hall meeting if he supported Governor Snyder's proposal to fix the roads. Verbal diarrhea ensued.

Howrylak is running on the claim that he's working with Governor Snyder. This is also a lie. Because we have already covered the fact that Howrylak is so loathed by his own party that he was removed from every committee that he sat on. When you're made a pariah, it's not honest to claim that you're working with your party leader.

Howrylak is running on a pile of endorsements. On this one, we have to give Howrylak some credit. We can't find any evidence that his endorsements aren't legitimate. But what Howrylak isn't telling you about is the endorsements he didn't get. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the statewide business organization representing approximately 6,500 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce makes endorsements at every election. Care to guess who isn't endorsed by the MCC? Yep, Martin Howrylak. Because having Martin Howrylak in the state house is bad for business.

So to sum up: Martin Howrylak has had an opportunity to fix the roads. He didn't. That's failure #1. His own party wants nothing to do with him. That's failure #2. And the biggest business association in Michigan wants Howrylak out of office. That's failure #3.

And it gets worse.

Howrylak's Bad Ideas

We've already covered the fact that Howrylak wants to bring about an economic disaster in Michigan. No surprise there.

But remember when our legislators decided to ignore the voices of women to pass the horrific “rape insurance” law? Howrylak was all for it. Yep, if a woman in Michigan becomes pregnant after being raped, he believes you should have planned ahead and purchased additional insurance to cover the the abortion.

And Howrylak isn't stopping there. Howrylak wants a personhood amendment added to the Michigan State Constitution. If you're not familiar with the idea, a personhood amendment would declare all fertilized human eggs to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder. So, sorry, ladies, Martin Howrylak wants a say in what you do with your bodies.

Not only is Howrylak a foot soldier in the war on women, he's not fond of citizen activists. If you know your history of Troy, you'll remember the citizen-led initiative to support a library millage. Because Howrylak didn't approve of the millage, he's decided to make it harder for Troy residents to support the library. He wants to change the library law to make the success of citizen-initiated petitions more difficult. Yep, Howrylak finds Democracy inconvenient when it doesn't support his ideas.

And it's always worth mentioning Howrylak's most grievous act in Troy's politics: Martin Howrylak brought us Janice Daniels. If Howrylak didn't sponsor that tea bag full of hate, we wouldn't have faced a year of embarrassment and controversy.

Lessons Learned

If there is anything that can be said about political campaigns, it's that competency runs on accomplishments, incompetency runs on false promises and attack ads.  And you can't miss how Martin Howrylak campaigning this year. He's spreading lies about his record, running non-stop attack ads full of half-truths, and using robocalls trying to Troy's voters.

Stated as plainly as possible, the evidence is in: Martin Howrylak's stint as representative has been a lesson in garbage in. Let's toss the garbage out and restore competency and quality to the Michigan Legislature this November 4th.