GREET GRETCHEN WHITMER

Whitmer Bringing ...

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer will bring her campaign bus to Livingston County on Friday, Nov. 2, as she stumps throughout the state to help Democrats get out the vote for the Nov. 6 election.

Whitmer will stop at the headquarters of the Livingston County Democratic Party at 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, at 10 a.m. on Friday.

The visit is part of Whitmer’s week-long campaign swing throughout the state.

All supporters of the Democratic ticket are invited to attend.

Please call 810-229-4212 for more information.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)

JUDICIAL CHOICES

Justices

The Michigan Supreme Court matters! It’s where the most important cases in the state are decided – cases that affect working families, people injured in automobiles, civil rights, women’s rights, public schools, the environment, and on and on.

That’s why Democrats are supporting two nominees for the state’s highest court that will stand for us – Sam Bagenstos and Megan Kathleen Cavanagh.

Samuel Bagenstos, of Ann Arbor, served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. He has spent his career fighting to change unjust practices that violate people's rights. Sam has gone to court to fight for accountability for the Flint Water Crisis, for the rights of women to equal treatment in the workplace, for the rights of people with disabilities to full participation in their community, and for the fundamental right of all Americans to vote.

Megan Cavanagh is a life-long Michigander who grew up in East Lansing and lives in metro Detroit. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Wayne State University Law School. She has over fifteen years of experience as one of Michigan’s top appellate attorneys and is a shareholder at Garan Lucow Miller P.C. in Detroit.

Remember to flip the ballot over and vote for Bagenstos and Cavanagh for the Michigan Supreme Court!

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)

VETERANS AFFAIRS

Dems Announce Pla...

Livingston County needs a complete overhaul of its Veterans Services Committee in order to restore trust with taxpayers and deliver the services our county’s veterans deserve and were promised.

“Livingston County taxpayers approved a tax increase to take care of our veterans’ needs and now we find out that new programs are not coming on line, that a committee member did not turn over a donation from the public, and that another committee member is receiving payments approved by the committee he sits on. This good-old-boy network needs to be busted up and replaced with accountability,” said Steve Savela of Hartland Township.

The candidates – Jennifer Garcia of Hartland Township, Steve Savela of Hartland Township, Maureen Martin of Unadilla Township, Alex Hansen of Howell Township, Kasey Helton of Marion Township, and Kristina Drake of Hamburg Township – released a multi—point plan to stop the abuses in the system including:

--A forensic audit covering the entire period that Hansel Keene and Kevin Nagle have been on the board, looking for cases of conflicts of interest or misappropriation of donations, followed by regular audits of that fund that go into more detail than the county’s annual audit.

--A conflict of interest policy barring committee members from receiving payments from the Veterans Relief Fund for services provided to veterans.

--Increased oversight by the county commission, including appointing county commissioners to attend Veterans Services committee meetings on a rotating basis to provide oversight and a regular commission review of all committee spending.

--Replacement of all five committee members and an expansion of the board to seven members with new members appointed after public advertising for applications with an emphasis on attracting younger and women veterans and increasing the diversity of the committee.

--Protection for the Veterans Services staff from retaliation by committee members. Committee staff should be considered county employees rather than be subject to the whims of a volunteer committee. Unfortunately, state law does not allow this to apply to the director, who is appointed by the committee.

--Expanded training for committee members on accountability regarding public funds and soliciting and handling donations.

--A strategic planning process that maps out services that veterans need and a timeline for implementing them along with adoption of a set of bylaws that spell out the duties and obligations of the committee.

“This has been going on right under the nose of our current county commission. This is dereliction of duty and our county commissioners deserve to be fired,” said Drake.

“My opponent prides himself on being a fiscal conservative, but it’s not fiscally conservative to fail to notice that the accounting doesn’t add up.” said Hansen.

Martin said that the one-party system of Livingston County has contributed to the good-old-boy network that has let this system flourish. “Unless we put new faces on the board, county commissioners will continue to look the other way at corruption and misuse of public funds,” she said.

Garcia said she would like to see more transparency around committee spending, with all committee spending listed on its webpage.

Helton said a larger board would prevent cliques from forming that allow conflicts of interest in approval of expenditures. "I attended the most recent board meeting and was bewildered to discover this wasn't even a discussion item on the agenda. If an active police investigation isn't going to rouse them -- what will? The public is demanding answers, and either this board is neglecting its duty or just wants to wait it out until the election is over in hope that more attention won't be drawn to this issue,” she said.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Printed in-house. Labor donated.)

BALLOT PROPSALS

Democrats Urge Ye...

For Immediate Release

Contact: Judy Daubenmier, 734-612-7137

Livingston County Democrats are encouraging voters to vote YES on all three proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot.

"We believe all three proposals represent solid public policy for Michigan. Proposal 1 will restore sanity to our drug policies while Proposals 2 and 3 will reinforce our fragile democracy," said Judy Daubenmier, chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party.

The party's executive committee endorsed the proposals last week after hearing from speakers of organizations that put the proposals on the ballot.

Proposal 1 would regulate marijuana like alcohol, allowing adults to possess and use small amounts for recreational use and imposing a 10 percent excise tax plus a 6 percent sales tax on its sale that is expected to raise about $200 million a year.

“Michigan’s policy of prohibiting marijuana has failed and results in more than 24,000 arrests for marijuana possession each year. We believe it’s time to recognize that the harmful effects of marijuana are less than those of legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco,” Daubenmier said.

States that have legalized marijuana have seen the creation of an industry and jobs for growing, processing, testing, and selling marijuana in a highly regulated market, she said. At the same time, public safety is protected by continuing to bar marijuana use for those under 21 and while driving.

Proposal 2 would amend the Michigan Constitution to create a non-partisan process for drawing legislative and congressional district lines every 10 years. Instead of lawmakers or lobbyists drawing their own district lines in secret, a panel of four Democrats, four Republicans, and five of no party would draw the lines in a public process. The result would be voting maps that will not favor one party over another, but put the interests of voters and communities first.

"Michigan has some of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation. Without a change, people's votes will continue to matter less and less, undermining participation in our democracy," Daubenmier said.

Proposal 3 would amend the Michigan Constitution by guaranteeing the right to vote a secret ballot and guaranteeing the right to vote straight party. It also would require the Secretary of State to automatically register citizens to vote when they are in a secretary of state office, allow same day voter registration, allow no-reason absentee voting, and require audits of election results.

“Voting is a sacred ritual in a democracy and widespread voter participation is crucial to a functioning democracy. Without these constitutional amendments contained in Proposals 2 and 3, our laws will be less reflective of the will of the people. We encourage voters to say yes to these proposals and strengthen our democracy,” Daubenmier said.

VOTING

This Fall – Vote ...

Livingston County Democrats have a special message for the Nov. 6 election – This Fall, Vote ‘Em All!

That’s because Republicans have stripped away your right to vote a straight ticket. To vote straight Democratic, you must fill in the box by each name, one by one. This may require more time at the polls and longer lines. To avoid that, consider voting absentee by contacting your local clerk and requesting an absentee ballot.

The 2018 Democratic slate is:

U.S. Senate – Debbie Stabenow

8th District Congress – Elissa Slotkin

Governor/Lt. Gov. – Gretchen Whitmer, Garlin Gilchrist II

Attorney General – Dana Nessel

Secretary of State – Jocelyn Benson

State Board of Education – Judy Pritchett, Tiffany Tilley

University of Michigan Regents – Jordan Acker, Paul Brown

Michigan State Board of Trustees – Brianna Scott, Kelly Tebay

Wayne State University Board of Trustees – Bryan Barnhill, Dr. Anil Kumar

22nd State Senate – Adam Dreher

42nd State House – Mona Shand

47th State House – Colleen Turk

County Commission 2 – Jennifer Garcia, Hartland Township

County Commission 3 – Steve Savela, Hartland Township

County Commission 4 – Maureen Martin, Unadilla Township

County Commission 5 – Alex Hansen, Howell Township

County Commission 6 – Kasey Helton, Marion Township

County Commission 8 – Kristina Drake, Hamburg Township

Cohoctah Township Trustee – Andrew Nowicki

Howell Township Trustee – Judith Minton

Putnam Township Trustee – Jim Robert

Remember to flip the ballot and vote for Michigan Supreme Court Justices in the Non-Partisan Section of the Ballot: Sam Bagenstos and Megan Kathleen Cavanaugh.

Livingston County Democrats also are urging a “Yes” vote on Proposal 1, legalizing the adult use and possession of small amounts of marijuana; Proposal 2, creating a non-partisan panel to redraw congressional and legislative district lines, and Proposal 3, expanding access to voting including making it easier to register and allowing no-reason absentee voting.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)

VETERANS AFFAIRS

Dems: County Chea...

More than two years after voters approved a millage to pay for more services for veterans, much of the money remains unspent and few programs promised during the millage campaign have been started, County records show.

In one case, a County official suggested veterans call Uber for rides to medical appointments instead of having the county buy a new van and hire another driver to provide the service that was promised during the millage campaign.

The millage authorized in August 2016 brought in $1,035,190 during 2017 for Livingston County Veterans’ Services, but the agency spent only $430,792 that year, just 41.5 percent of what taxpayers shelled out. This year the millage brought in $1,018,000, but the agency plans to spend less than $501,000 this year, based on budget reports dated Sept. 10.

“Clearly, the county has failed to live up to the promises made to veterans when they asked voters to approve the millage,” said Judy Daubenmier, party chair.

“Backers of the millage promised they would spend the money on more services for veterans – more benefit counselors, more mental health services, more outreach – but none of that has materialized.

“County Commissioners have failed to oversee implementation of the millage, and have allowed the Veterans Services Committee, whose members they appoint, to stymie attempts to implement more programs.

“Veterans deserve to receive the services that we taxpayers thought we were paying for, but right now the County is cheating them. Democrats will see to it that veterans get the services they deserve – and that we are paying for – by immediately replacing the members of the current veterans committee. Democratic county commissioners would not be asleep at the switch in overseeing the agency like the current commissioners clearly are.”

Daubenmier said one Veterans Committee member actually misled county commissioners about the balance in the Veterans Services’ account. At the Sept. 4 County Commission meeting, Veterans’ Committee Chair Hansel Keene told County Commissioners that the agency will have a balance of just $80,000 at the end of the year when in fact it is projected to be more like $1 million. County Commissioners should have known that the $80,000 figure was inaccurate since the commission has not approved any new programs.


Information on the Veterans’ Services website shows that during the campaign for the millage, supporters, including Keene, promised it would pay to:

-- “Increase the number of Benefit Counselors from 3 full time counselors to 4 full time counselors.

-- “Increase the number of Drivers from 1 part time staff to 2 part time staff.

-- “Provide funding for the addition of a Court Coordinator for the Veterans Treatment Court.

-- “Substantially increase outreach to Livingston County Veterans including education of what benefits are available and helping veterans access benefits earned by their service.

-- “Provide funding for the creation and assistance of mental health services.

-- “Update IT infrastructure.

-- “Assist veterans with job placement and resume services.

-- “Expand transportation services with the potential purchase of an additional van.”

The van and a part-time driver have been added, but overall the agency has actually reduced staff and the Veterans’ Services Committee has resisted implementing the other programs. For example, in April, staff proposed spending $37,000 to expand mental health services for veterans through a contract with Livingston County Community Mental Health, according to the Committee’s minutes. As of early September, it still had not been implemented and committee members were asking that bids be taken from private providers who wouldn’t provide the 24-hour service available through CMH.

In May the Veterans Services Committee denied a staff request to replace two counselors who left. The motion failed on a 2-3 vote. The counselors would have made staff available for late hours and weekend events. The committee agreed to replace only one of the two counselors who left.

A full-time court coordinator for the Veterans’ Treatment Court was finally approved on Sept. 4 by the County Commission – but that was over the objections of committee members – including Keene and Bruce Hundley.

The other members of the committee are Jim Wallace, Kevin Nagle, and Joe Riker, community liaison for 8th District Congressman Mike Bishop.

Committee members also resisted expanding transportation services for veterans, as promised in the campaign for the millage. Minutes of the Nov.16, 2017, meeting say that instead of providing more transportation services for veterans, Keene suggested that the office encourage veterans to use other means of transportation such as LETS, the VA Shuttle, and Uber. “Hansel Keene made light of expanding medical services being offered in Livingston County that may be utilized by some Veterans in the future,” the minutes said.

Uber service was not available in the county at the time of the meeting.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Printed in-house. Labor donated.)

NEXT MEETING

Progress Michigan...

NEW MEETING LOCATION
The head of an organization devoted to holding government accountable will speak to Livingston County Democrats this month about the shady record of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, will speak at the July 26 meeting of Livingston County Democrats. Progress Michigan, based in Lansing, tries to hold public officials and government accountable by investigating the actions of government officials and publicizing the results, while also promoting progressive ideas.

Michigan’s attorney general has been under Progress Michigan’s microscope because he has used his state email for private business and put campaign workers on the state payroll while he runs for governor.

Scott has served as chief staffer for state Reps. Alma Wheeler Smith and Jeff Irwin. He also served as state director for Enroll America, a national non-profit that spread the word about how to obtain health care through the Affordable Care Act.

He will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 26, at the meeting at the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton, 3333 S. Old 23. Light refreshments will be served. The party's regular business meeting will follow.

Please note this is a new meeting location.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza, Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)

TRANSPORTATION

Democrats: Use Id...

The six Democratic candidates for Livingston County Commissioner have proposed a plan to fix county roads using millions of dollars that the Republican administration has left sitting idle for years.

The candidates are calling for the county to use at least $10 million from the huge surplus sitting idle in its delinquent tax revolving fund to pay for road improvements throughout the county to begin fixing roads right now.

“Enough is enough. Our roads have been left to crumble while the county has just been sitting on money that could be used to fix them, make us safer on the road, and give people jobs. We have the money, but our county commission lacks the vision and the will to make road funding a priority. When elected in November, we will see to it that this money is put to work for our community,” said Democratic candidate Kasey Helton of Marion Township.

The County’s delinquent tax revolving fund had $42.7 million in unrestricted funds as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to the latest financial report delivered to the county board. Investing $10 million would still leave a large amount of available cash to make pension contributions and for emergencies without jeopardizing the county’s financial position.

Michigan law gives responsibility for maintaining local roads to county government, but for too long the County Commission has kicked the can down to the townships. Many townships, including Hamburg, Green Oak, Hartland, and Howell, have had to ask their voters to approve millages to pay for road improvements. In other cases, property owners have had to form special assessment districts to tax themselves to fix the roads.

It’s not just the County Commissioners that refuse to act. Republicans in Lansing have offered only band-aid solutions for the multi-billion-dollar problem of fixing Michigan’s infrastructure.

“We have had years of failed Republican leadership on roads here in Livingston County. We can do better for our community, and we will,” Helton said while announcing the plan on behalf of the Democratic candidates at an event Tuesday night in Howell.

While the commissioners have been bragging about having the State’s lowest tax rate, they have overlooked the obvious solution of using idle county funds. Their lack of vision has left Livingston County with the worst roads in the seven-county region of southeast Michigan, according to the latest figures from the Transportation Asset Management Council data on the state website, Michgan.gov.

With 50.5 percent of county roads rated as being in “poor’ condition, Livingston County is worse than Wayne (35.1 percent); Oakland (48.2 percent), Macomb (42.6 percent), Washtenaw (37.5 percent), Monroe (32.9 percent), and St. Clair (48 percent).

The County’s percentage of “poor” roads is nearly 10 points higher than the 42.3 percent for the region as a whole. And it’s actually getting worse and worse. In 2008-09, the data showed 35.44 percent of Livingston County lane-miles as being in poor condition. In 2012-13, the percent poor had dropped slightly to 33.05. But in the last five years, it has shot up by more than 18 points to more than half (50.45 percent).

The County Commission’s decade of neglect means that County residents have been driving on dangerous roads, dodging potholes, and paying for front-end alignments, wheel hubs, and tie rod ends when, all along, there was money available to start addressing the problem. Furthermore, letting road repairs go means it costs more to fix roads in the long run. According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, once a road is rated in poor condition it must be completely replaced rather than repaired.

“That amounts to neglect of duty. It’s time to end the decade of neglect,” Helton said.


The candidates said they would work with the Livingston County Road Commission to devise a program of spending the money, with a portion reserved for the Road Commission’s priorities and a portion used for a matching program with local governments, both townships and cities. The Road Commission’s budget for this year is $36.8 million.

Money in the delinquent tax revolving fund comes from interest and penalties for late property taxes. Other counties, such as Wayne, have used these funds to supplement their general fund. Recently, Macomb County officials proposed using its delinquent tax revolving fund for roads as well.

The Democratic candidates for County Commission are: Jennifer Garcia of Hartland Township, District 2; Steve Savela of Tyrone Township, District 3; Maureen Martin of Unadilla Township, District 4; Alex Hansen of Howell Township, District 5; Kasey Helton of Marion Township, District 6, and Kristina Drake of Hamburg Township, District 8.

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Labor donbated.)

NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS

Neighbors Don’t L...

Neighbors don’t let neighbors skip voting – especially when the survival of the middle class is at stake.

That’s the heart of Livingston County Democrats’ Neighbor to Neighbor Program that we are kicking off with training programs in June.

In non-presidential election years, tens of thousands of Michigan Democrats don’t vote. The problem is getting worse, not better, and it’s why we haven’t won the governor’s office and have lost the U.S. House.

Our Neighbor-to-Neighbor program tackles this problem by asking precinct delegates and other volunteers to send special letters to a carefully selected list of voters in their area who voted in the 2016 election but not in the 2014 election.

The party will provide a list of names and address, copies of the letter, envelopes, and stamps (if desired). Similar appeals have worked in other areas to greatly increase turnout among this group of Democrats.

Please help us reach these voters in a personal way. Sign up for a training either on Saturday, June 23, at 10 a.m., or Tuesday, June 26, at 7 p.m. Both will be at party headquarters, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton. Each training is limited to 40 people. Email your name and address to livcodems@gmail.com and indicate which training you will attend.

Signing up ahead of time is important so that we may carefully select a list of voters for you to contact.

The training is designed for precinct delegates and those running for precinct delegate in August, but other volunteers are welcome.

When Democrats vote, Democrats win. Let’s make sure Democrats in Livingston County vote!

(Paid for by Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, 8028 Grand River, Woodland Plaza Suite 7, Brighton, MI 48114. Labor donated.)