Wednesday, March 24, 2010

John McNally reports on the 1:00 County planning meeting!

This is a classic example of citizen input in our county government.

John showed up. He was respectful. And he had a camera!

Oh the sunlight that so frightened those so used to the cover of darkness!

John, you are the MAN!

We now have a core of "citizen reporters".

Who will step up next?

Fellow Patriots,

I wanted to thank Jim Riley for inviting me to a County Board meeting. It was interesting to say the least.

At one point one of the commissioners suggested that they streamline the process for starting new businesses and get more proactive to develop small businesses. Another commissioner replied if I may paraphrase that almost 80% of new businesses fail so what is the point? Wouldn't we (the board) just be helping them to fail? I felt like reminding him these businesses help pay his salary.

There was a presentation on the process for the Indian Gaming casino. I am not sure what your opinion is on this matter but the board was all for it. At one point the attorney for the tribe commented he was the one person happy to see that unemployment went up in the county. The commissioners got a big laugh out of this one.

Discussion of wind farms: The board's role appears to be minimal; either an endorsement or a "kick in the pants". They are waiting for the state to issue the guidelines and updating themselves on the issue.


Donna Stokes (The Equalization Director) gave a presentation including a chart. A commissioner asked about the foreclosure issue. She said there was misinformation in the paper's editorial page and that foreclosures were no where near 2/3rds of the sales. I spoke up indicating that I wrote the opinion letter and the 2/3rds figure came from a freedom of information request which was responded to by Kelly Sobel the Executive Admin. for the State Tax Commission. I also asked her how many foreclosures were included in her data. She did not know.


The commissioners were given a copy of a budget. There seemed to be an atmosphere of gloom. A lot of talk about strategic planning and the need to work together took place. There was some talk of across the board cuts but it seemed to be a last resort solution.

Camera: I filmed quite a bit of the meeting. One thing that Jim mentioned is that the board has felt that there was no one watching them. I think they were surprised by the camera.

Idea: Jim is doing a great job finding out about these meetings and attending them. The more we show up for these meetings the better. I would also like to form a group of people focused on reviewing all the county expenses and other documents. If anyone is interested in this project let me know.

John McNally

Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Expenditure Detail ...

Recipient, Amount, Description, Date. Friends of Kenneth Mahoney, Montague, MI, $350, Non-Federal Ken Mahoney (MI-D), 10/27/06 ...

Update on Tues. 3-23-2010 Full Board County Commission meeting

Everything I hi-lighted in my earlier blog post passed with no dissenting votes:

So we got:

1. $3000 free money for the Heights festival board to do with as they please.
NO other city or township in the county gets any money at all for their festivals.

2. A total of $6,500 of porky earmarks to favored/connected groups (including Muskegon Heights) from the Convention and Visitor's Bureau fund that is supposed to fund out of our county advertising. Just more special interests taking from most of us and giving to their special friends.

3. More trolley trolley riders. And no commissioner dares to ask for an accounting of riders vs cost.

4. The "waives" just keep on rolling. This is one tsunami of waives that keeps on rolling ....and it's entirely created by the commissioners who voted for the "hiring freeze". Gotta love the freeze!

5. I never even got to ask about the "retiree dental benefits". Done deal for them....and our pocketbooks. Doesn't EVERYONE have full dental benefits in retirement?

6. The worker's comp amount was an oversight but I was the only one to spot it. And I don't get a vote. Neither do you. None of the commissioners who voted "aye" noticed it either. I wonder how often this happens. Do you?

No Thursday meeting this week Mar. 25 or Tues.Mar. 30 next week..

See you (I hope) all next week Thursday, April 2.

The agenda isn't posted yet but why don't we all keep checking out the site:

I can't do this entirely alone.

Join me!

Jim Riley