Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voters are never wrong, part 2

President Obama has hit the campaign trail and is predicting that his party will take a beating in the upcoming election.

He explains this by saying, as reported by the Associated Press, that Americans are "angry, frustrated, scared, anxious, uncertain, nervous, discouraged and shaken up.
They’re also confused and not thinking clearly."

I can agree with the first eight, but not the last two.

In a democracy, voters are never wrong. And to say otherwise is arrogance.

That conviction, by our leaders, that they know what is best is a big part of the reason that Americans are angry, frustrated, scared, anxious, etc.

But they are certainly not confused, nor are they not thinking clearly. They are focused on the fact that the economy is not being fixed and those in charge do not seem terribly concerned that present policies are not working.

The situation is similar to the one during the Great Depression. And the solution will be the same, the problems will be solved when government gets out of the way of the solution.

The first step toward that solution is the upcoming election day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The next crisis

The housing crisis and potential solutions all seem to focus on foreclosures and how to fix them.

Foreclosures are a real problem, but the true mark of leadership is looking forward and seeing the next crisis. Foreclosures are not an isolated event.

An economy cannot have 20 percent of the homeowner population in financial trouble and expect that it will not lead to the next big problem. When foreclosures are solved -- and I mean brought back to a reasonable level -- the root problem will move on to the next stage.

I am betting that it will be a rental housing shortage.

I base that on several factors:
The housing bubble, which was created by a big government push to make everyone a homeowner, has burst. You can blame banks, but they went with the flow.

A capitalist economy did not create Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
There are now millions of Americans who are being foreclosed out of houses that they cannot afford -- and for a variety of reasons, with plenty of blame to be assigned all around.

Those people, once they are leave those foreclosed homes, will have to live somewhere.
Once you get beyond moving in with relatives or friends, that leaves renting.
And there is no surplus of rental property available.

This, once again, is due to government intervention that has made it increasingly difficult to own, manage and profit from owning rental property.

The solution? Start by cutting over-regulation of housing rentals. Offer tax breaks now available only to homeowners. Eliminate the rental tax penalties for renters. Change the law and the judicial attitude so that landlords have a fighting chance in court disputes with tenants.

Some of those homeowners facing foreclosure may eventually find their way back into home ownership, some will never go back to owning. Housing values may again rise and make the cost of ownership the investment that it once was.

But what is being done now for the next big crisis?

Friday, October 22, 2010

N-word for no one?

Former Michigan Supreme Court justice Elizabeth Weaver has come out against the re-election campaign of her long-time foe on the bench Robert Young Jr. accusing him of using the N-word during a private conference. She says this shows he should not be re-elected.
Young, who is black, does not deny it nor does he recall using the word.

Perhaps I am confused here, but I thought the only people who could get away with using pejorative terms about minority groups were members of those minority groups. And I thought that if they were criticized for using such terms, it should be by fellow members of the minority group.

I think this is a pretty good example of the level of animosity that had existed on the court while Justice Weaver was there. Is the former justice actually suggesting that the highest ranking black person in Michigan is prejudiced, and she is the best person to judge him? Get real.

Foreclosure quagmire

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernaro came out today in favor of making Michigan one of the state that require court action before foreclosures can take place.

That would be a bad idea for a number of reasons.

Michigan already has too many pending foreclosures. Wayne County alone in October had 13,000 properties up for tax sale.

Our courts are already overcrowded, so adding this burden will make the court problem worse and slow the foreclosure process down even further.

Until all those homes that are not being paid for are foreclosed and then resold, the value of all the rest of the property in Michigan will continue to decline.

Most voters understand that, and the only votes Bernaro will pick up with this stance are the ones he already has.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Construction on M-59

Now that the days are shorter, the evening rush hour is already coinciding with darkness. And that makes it even more dangerous in the construction zone between Pontiac and the Macomb County line.

This multi-year project is a welcome improvement to one of the worst stretches of pavement in SE Michigan. But from the beginning travel in the construction zone has been marred by excessive speeding, reckless and intimidating driving and lack of police enforcement.

Now that the largest portion of the work is drawing to a conclusion, all of us who drive it regularly are holding our collective breaths. We are hoping that no terrible and fatal accident will yet result from the project.

I attribute the good record thus far to dumb luck. Too many drivers ignored the no-passing lanes and the speed limit, and too few police ever showed up to enforce the laws.

Missed that bullet

The Macomb medical examiner's reason for missing a bullet fragment in the skull of a dead banker does not wash.
I can see missing the wound. The body was in the water for a month. But not seeing a piece of lead in the xray?
I will admit that Oakland County has a great morgue and a really great medical examiner, but Macomb needs more than just more money to correct its shortfalls.
As the Macomb Daily pointed out, Macomb County just built the "state-of-the-art" $2.4 morgue three years ago.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Retire at age 60

France is on the warpath about a plan to raise the retirement age from present 60 to 62.
Many workers are striking and the warning is out to tourists that a visit right now might be unpleasant.
It is interesting to look at the footage of the rioting that is taking place there. The rioters are about 99 percent young people.
That makes perfect sense when you think about it. Unemployment is a problem there as well as here and many of the unemployed are young.
These rioters are not protesting that they will have to work longer, they are protesting that they will have to wait longer to get a job.
If retirement age goes up two years, that is a lot of jobs that won't be available to the unemployed.
Same effect would be felt here if we shifted the retirement age. If American moved mandatory retirement back to 62, unemployment would go down.
But how could we afford it? Many Americans are wondering if they will be forced to work longer than 65 -- because they cannot afford to retire.
As more workers carry on after 65, it does have an impact on unemployment, particularly among the younger workers.
How is it that the French can afford to retire so young? And who is paying for it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The new prohibition -- legal and illegal pot

The clash between the federal government and the populations of state over whether marijuana should be legalized is beginning to look a lot like the years of prohibition.

I think everyone can see where this is going, but those at the top seem determined to dig in their heels and delay it as long as possible.


Legalization and taxation of marijuana would likely fix a number of economic ills.

-- It would save all the money we spend tracking, arresting, trying and jailing people for possession. That is the reason California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger supports it -- save the state some money.

-- If states and local governments taxed it, it would turn the deficits around. If Michigan can collect $4 in tax for a pack of cigarettes, think how much it could collect for an ounce of marijuana.

-- If pot was legalized -- both possession and production, unemployment would fall and the glut of property in America would disappear over night. There would be lots of money to be made and people would be buying anything that could grow it and produce it.

-- It would deflect a lot of the money that America is sending to Mexican drug lords to fund their increasingly violent turf war at our border. That turf war is eventually going to require the U.S. to send troops to defend our border. Just imagine how much more expensive that problem will become if Mexico turns into a failed state run by those wealthy drug lords.

So why fight it?

With public votes going in favor of legalization and with so many economic reasons for taxing legal pot, why if the federal government opting in favor of prohibition?

Go with the flow man.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Foreclosure freeze won't happen

How does the foreclosure process start?
Someone who has a mortgage stops paying. By the time the home is actually foreclosed they have not been paying for some time. And for most of these people, they have not been banking the payments.
The bank may make some errors in the processing that foreclosure, and they should do their very best to avoid those errors.
But nobody is going to get a free house because some overworked employee did not do everything right.
If that happened, none of the rest of us would ever get a loan again.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lots of comments on Pontiac policing

Lots of comments on Pontiac dropping its police and contracting with sheriff department.

Joe USA wrote on Oct 12, 2010 6:19 PM:
" The department also has an agreement with the patrol officer’s union, which will have to be reviewed? The Fire dept union is one of the reasons the police department is where it is. Get off the union kick. Think jobs. "

furred wrote on Oct 12, 2010 6:21 PM:
" Good riddance PPD! Maybe now people will obey speed limits, traffic signals, drug laws, and gun laws. "
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Dr. Leo Marvin wrote on Oct 12, 2010 6:23 PM:
" Wonder if Bouchard will try and tackle the out-of-control gang violence in Pontiac? "

army74 wrote on Oct 12, 2010 6:37 PM:
" To: Furred what gun laws are you refering to the illegal gun carriers who dont obey laws anyway. Or are you referring to the legal gun owners Who have a right to carry openly in a holster visible to the public in stores , restraunts etc.. "

WTF wrote on Oct 12, 2010 7:10 PM:
" This is nothing new. They've been talking about this for years. The citizens of Pontiac better get ready for these rednecks. "

Enough wrote on Oct 12, 2010 7:37 PM:
" I just pray that the officers that stay on with the Sheriff deserve to be there. The citizens of Pontiac won't benefit from officers that are not going to make our community more safe or tolerable to live in. We need and want officers or deputies that take their job seriously and command respect from the criminal element.

Whatever it takes to make the residents safe let's get to it!!!!! "

rob neighborhood wrote on Oct 12, 2010 7:38 PM:
" Protect the people, governments highest duty, Oakland County Sheriff has been a good department for decades, citizens of Pontiac deserve good cops,,,,,, "

749 wrote on Oct 12, 2010 8:27 PM:
" It is about time. I hope I live long enough to see the time come when I wont be afraid to go outside after dark, here in Pontiac. "

bart_mancuso wrote on Oct 12, 2010 8:52 PM:
" God bless the citizens of Pontiac, and god bless the Oakland County Sheriff's Office! This is a win-win for everyone. The Pontiac officers get to join a great agency. Those that want to stay in the city can, those who are burned out can transfer to other areas. Even the dispatchers, who are worthless, are going to get chance. The city gets fresh blood, new strategies, highly motivated officers, the latest technology, and backup from all directions when needed. The Sheriff has to make progress, significant progress, or he is going to get slaughtered in the next election. The pressure is on, time to produce results. The best of PPD's finest paired with the fresh ideas of the Sheriff, combined with the resources of a large, well-equipped agency....and all with a bit of a savings for the taxpayer. Better days are ahead! "

Seen It wrote on Oct 12, 2010 10:37 PM:
" I fail to see where the saving is. Doesn't the City have to cover the cost of the Deputies or is the rest of Oakland County going to be subsidizing the City for these Deputies? If the City is maintaining the substation, I don't see a savings there. Deputies make more money than the City's patrolman-no savings there. Is there a guarantee that all the patrolman will be accepted by the OCS department? Don't they have to go through a screening process? I don't believe this is an automatic transfer to the OCSD. Some of these officers may very well be in the unemployment line. I want to see the savings in writing, published in the OP. "

waterfordmom wrote on Oct 13, 2010 8:09 AM:
" Years ago, Pontiac PD gave up minimum manpower to freeze wages/benefits-Pontiac FD did not. PD chose to vote on changing their charter with the city. The fire department has nothing to do with this. "

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Cosmo wrote on Oct 13, 2010 8:35 AM:
" Police departments were never intended to be local, it’s an American phenomenon. It’s widely accepted that a local PD cannot be removed from the local politics, and it ends up that the PD is often running the locale.

Line officers don’t have the training or education needed to make every street decision, and the results are often to appoint themselves the judge and jury, and deciding the penalty.

Those connected often walk, and those who are not can bear the full brunt of coercion or violence.

A Metro police force has always been the answer to the myriad of departments in Michigan. One department is run with educated and dedicated officers and administration, while the neighboring community endures a force operating as if this were 1950. Pre-rights USSC rulings.

Whether you choose to read of officers to the south of Oakland directing a witness to commit perjury, or detectives to the east fabricating evidence, or even the Military raid on an overage and overweight pot gardener…education to attain professionalism is surely needed.

Decentralized enforcement of law is wrought with opportunities for mistakes, corruption, self-seeking goals, and ignorance.

A career is not a profession. A profession is a studied involvement in occupational activities.

One of the many myths of PD’s is the danger level, when modern society has actually made officers into processing clerks.

Let the sheriff take over the most archaic departments, then let the OCSD become professional. "

SMH wrote on Oct 13, 2010 8:39 AM:
" This is extremely disappointing. I remember an article not to long ago outlining the difference in pay for the deputies versus Pontiac officers, it was not a savings to the city. Also, if the city is going to absorb the cost of maintaining the current facility where are they saving?

Some people are so happy about this discussion, but the reality is the sheriff dept could care less about the residents of this city. I have witnessed incidents involving young people and it was not pleasant. By the way, I am a law abiding citizen and I was not pleased with the way they handled the situation. This is not good for the city or the residents.

Watch and see, we will have more problems and financial burdens from lawsuits behind this venture. What I don't understand is why the City Council is not fighting this. They should be taking this to Lansing and finding funding to keep our officers.

And for all the residents that support this change, wait until it affects you and your family. Not just the other folks you love to refer to. Atleast PPD knows the residents and what your dealing with. Good luck with that understanding from the county.

I truly respect and applaud the majority of the PPD. It's not easy to do a job that people don't appreciate you for day in and day out. Not only do they catch it from the criminals they catch it from the residents that won't even bother to call in a crime or give any type of support.

God bless all the officers in Pontiac and thank you guys for making an attempt to make a difference in a city that didn't show you anything in return for all your efforts. Keep fighting for your department. It's not over yet.

As far as the EFM shame on you for coming into the city and making such an hasty decision.

Haters you can start bashing my comments now. "

C wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:18 AM:
" You know what? Big deal.Either way it goes it's not going to change a thing.All it means is that the city can negotiate with OCSD not hire them and with the track record of our city when it comes to negotiating I wouldn't count on anything changing in the near future or the far future for that matter. "

The Commish wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:19 AM:
" Ever since the morning of January 15, 2008 I have been waiting for this day to come. As I stood outside LeBaron Elementary in the cold toe to toe with the Pontiac Command Officers, WHO were trying to take away Pontiac Firefighter JOBS !!! I stated that this day was COMING. The Citizens of Pontiac deserve a reasonable response time when they call for help. The Citizens of Pontiac have NO CONFIDENCE in the COMMAND STAFF of the ppd. Michigan JOBWORKS, will help you with a resume. GOOD RIDDENCE !!! "

LysolLucy wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:29 AM:
" I do favor the color brown over blue.
I hope the boys in brown are hard nosed thug hating Boars. I hope they hit the neighborhoods and streets full force, clean up this city of these thugs.
Just a word to OCSD: When bringing on the boys in blue, please remember that there are only a few that are worth adding to your department, 80% of them need to be tossed to the curb with the rest of Pontiac's trash.
PPD officers, those of you that are honest good cops, you know who you are, and the residents appreciate all that you have done for us. "

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seriously wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:31 AM:
" If any of you think the Oakland County Sherrif's department is going to help Pontiac . . wake up and smell the coffee! It takes them forever to respond to any call, my vehicle was broken into and they didn't want to take the time to write a report! Not to mention the million times I have called them for speeders flying down my 25 mph speed limit road and they have done NOTHING! They are worthless! The PPD will be missed! They at least did their job! "

Eddie James wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:35 AM:
" Pontiac will NEVER be the quality family city it once was. The streets were all safe to walk at all times. There were businesses everywhere. The (we) kids walked to our neighborhood schools and home again. The Neighborhood Dads all worked at G.M. and the Moms took care of the homes and kids. There were never any issues about "Enough Police" There were no such thing as "CrackHead" or "Baby Mama" or "Bridgecard". There were not booze stores on every corner and people did not terrorize their neighborhood with obnoxious car's and stupidly loud noise making sound system's. We Knew the name of all our neighbors and they knew us. Pontiac was a good city to raise a family in for a long time. And then came the Federal Government to force Busing on the people of the City. The city has been in decline ever since. Now my home town is just a big stinking ghetto, Loaded with "Hood Rats", More Danger than Iraq. Them big yellow buses ruined Pontiac and Many other once Great American cities. "

makes no sense wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:35 AM:
" To the Commish- Hope you are happy with what you get! You will deserve it, and I will bet that you WON'T be happy when you do get it. PPD did not take firefighter jobs away. The firefighters took police officer jobs away! All you have to do is look at the numbers to see that I am correct!

As for reasonable response times, don't look to that to happen. The article says "The Oakland County Sheriff’s proposal gives the city 74 sworn personnel, similar to the current levels of the Pontiac Police Department." They have 77 sworn personnel now! It looks like the citizens are going to be LOSING sworn personnel! Great Job Stampfler! Of course you don't care as long as you get your $12,000 a month, you don't like in Pontiac! "

mixedmutts wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:36 AM:
" JUST GREAT!!! as if Pontiac does not have enough problems: gangs/drugs/hookers/no jobs/unemployment/home foreclosers now the "GOOD OLE BOYS" have to take away the precious few police we had left? And we all know how long it took to get the police out NOW, can you just imagine how long it is going to take for the Oakland Sheriff's to respond?? Maybe the powers that be want Pontiac to just dry up and disappear. Ive lived here for over 45 yrs. and have seen the worst and best She has to offer, but NEVER this bad. I kept hopping it would just bounce back like before, but now I know we are not. I and my extended family, who have been Pontiac residents for more than 100 years, are leave. SHAME ON THE BIG THREE, SHAME ON THE GOVERMENT OF PONTIAC, AND SHAME ON ANYONE ELSE THAT HAD A HAND IN THE DEATH OF PONTIAC MICHIGAN. SHE WILL BE MISSED. "

Angela wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:43 AM:
" To SMH- I coundn't agree with you more! Thank you for your comments. And thanks to all those who support the PPD.

I do have to wonder where so many of you were when we had a recent support rally for the PPD. THIS IS WHAT WE WERE TRYING TO TELL STAMFLER THE WE DID NOT WANT!


waterfordmike wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:46 AM:
" Hopefully, Waterford will be next.. "

The Commish wrote on Oct 13, 2010 10:02 AM:
" With PPD's response times of at least an Hour................. Give me a break. You could drive from Bay City and get to Pontiac in that amount of time. PPD sold their jobs away by trading Minimum Manning for Cash.... Good Riddance. "

Where is the LOVE wrote on Oct 13, 2010 10:41 AM:
" Where is the MATH? 9 million deficit for 2010-2011 and the idea is to get rid of the police department and replace them with oakland county sheriffs at a cost of @137,838.00 each. The maintenance and upkeep of the building will be paid for by who and with what money? Lastly, what does the population of any city in 2000 have to do with this story? "

smartone wrote on Oct 13, 2010 11:04 AM:
" No wonder Pontiac is in this shape nobody does their homework. For the next two years you will see plenty of sheriff cars Those will be traffic cars that should be patrolling the whole county. After that OCSO will say they need more manpower more money can't afford. Oh my a township in oakland county is in that position now Royal Oak Twp. MSP is helping out because residents can't pay the bill. "

larry wrote on Oct 13, 2010 11:07 AM:
" To : Eddie James wrote on Oct 13, 2010 9:35 AM:
You are a very smart person, I agree with 100% of what you stated.
BUSING kick started the death of Pontiac. Now all we can hope for is a resurrection for this city, but I will not see it during my lifetime.
The folks that have ran this city for the last many years, are the same folks that destroyed Pontiac, they have moved into every department at city hall, moved into every neighborhood and have destroyed everything in their paths.
As for the OCSD, I have seen them in action,assisting with drug busts within eyesight,all were very professional. I am a law abiding resident, I have no fear of OCSD or PPD, if you keep your nose clean, then you have nothing to worry about. "

just say wrote on Oct 13, 2010 11:11 AM:
" I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE what is about to happen to the Pontiac Police Department and let alone the City of Pontiac in itself. I can't hold this inside any longer and the truth is about to be told.

This is deeper than the Oakland County Sheriff's Department taking over police services within the City of Pontiac. It's about a future takeover that all started with the Citizens of Pontiac having the wool pulled over their eyes by voting Leon Jukowski into office as the Mayor. He’s in the inner circle with the people (one being L. Brooks Patterson) who want to take over the city and its valuable assets. KEEP FOLLOWING......

The City of Pontiac has a huge valuable asset when it comes to its Water Sewerage Treatment Plant. The facility is worth anywhere from $125-$150 million because of its capability to connect every single city in Oakland County to its system. However, renovations to update the facility are not feasible financially for the city at this time. Patterson put in an offer to buy the facility for $25 million dollars and it was thrown back in his lap, because the city knows that is value is worth so much more. Why give a gem that is worth over a hundred million for a fraction of the price. KEEP FOLLOWING......

L. Brooks Patterson then put his head together with his cohorts and figured something out. Ahhhhaaaaa! How about we backdoor the city by ousting their Police Department and replace them with the Oakland County Sheriff’s. This will be a horrific mistake for the City of Pontiac. Why? For all that do not know, the Oakland County Sheriff's Department will present what appears to be a good investment in the beginning but will result in a costly consequence as time progress. The Oakland County Sheriff’s only gives one year contracts. This is because, as past history has shown, they raise their price for their services each year. Look at the cities they currently patrol and others that had to get rid of them because they became too expensive. They'll low ball cities in the beginning and give you all the bells and whistles but then a reality check comes into play in a couple years or so. By this time your city is now sucked in with “little” to no alternative because your police department has been disassembled and it takes millions to get it back. If this is allowed to happen to the City of Pontiac, which can't afford to pay the tab to the Oakland County Sheriff’s.......They'll put a lien on the city’s assets, which is mainly the Water Sewerage Treatment Plant (Golf Course, Phoenix Center, Cemetery, etc). Giving Patterson exactly what he wanted from the start. Patterson and his team think towards the future, but NOT the future for the Citizens of Pontiac.

I figure that the new Emergency Financial Manager (Stampler) doesn't realize this, doesn't care or is getting his palms greased by starting with eliminating the Pontiac Police Department as a whole.

The Pontiac Police Departments yearly budget I hear is around $ 11 million dollars and the county is offering to take over police services for $10 million dollar. Duuuuh.....The city will still be in a deficit at the end of the day. IT’S A SET UP !!!! It's bigger than the county taking over the police department.......IT'S ABOUT A FUTURE TAKEOVER OF THE CITY OF PONTIAC. If you don't believe it, you'll see. The Devil's main tool is deception. Think about it…………It’s not logical to sell off your police department and city services to the county with the excuse of lowering the City’s deficit when there are other available city assets. Assets which would not only decrease the deficit but have less of a tragic affect to the Citizens and City of Pontiac. "

Angela wrote on Oct 13, 2010 12:02 PM:
" Just Say- I think you hit the nail right on the head! It makes complete sense when the numbers stated for the take over do not! Please let your voice be heard. Make the citizen aware of what is going on. Contact Shaun Byron and ask him to print this in the Oakland Press as your opinion. He is doing a follow up article on this today! "

williep wrote on Oct 13, 2010 12:18 PM:
" This is more than a financial decision, saving $2 million is great, but if you can save $2 million and get better services that's even better. The facts have been clear for a long time. The Pontiac Police have become lethargic in their duties. We have officers riding around all day taking personal calls on their cell phones, Officers who own rental property in the city and handling this business during city time, many times officers travel into other cities and can't be located, Pontiac has massive legal suits because Officers are arresting and harassing citizens who haven't violated the law. Officers can be seen on a regular basis ignoring people who are committing traffic infractions. Many stories have been written about Ponitac Police in the Oakland Press where arrests weren't made when someone has flagrantly violated the law. The Pontiac Police Department has major issues, dispatch has even been cited for not sending officers when contacted. This Police Department has major issues and hopefully Oakland County can offer a better service, Lord knows We Need It! Not every officer is a bad seed, but currently those bad seeds are being reflected more and more in this department. "

voter wrote on Oct 13, 2010 12:59 PM:
" Let's remember who sold us out to Bouchard and Patterson when election time comes and they all come begging for our vote. The mayor is not standing up for the police or the citizens. He is suppose to work for us,the citizens. He should be standing up against the EFM and not taking this sitting down. I remember reading an article when the mayor was running that indicated that he did not like the pontiac police. So, it is not really a surprise that he is not trying to save the dept. I can tell you one thing, I will be voting NO for Jurkoski when the time comes! "

Enough wrote on Oct 13, 2010 1:25 PM:
" Wow, so many comments and what everyone has to remember is that we all have our own experiences that help persuade our decisions. Right now we are not getting what we need in public safety so if the OCSD comes in and does nothing then we don't lose, right? So if we are this low then the only way to go is up, right?

I hate to see good, honest and committed officers lose their jobs possibly but hopefully they understand the fear that lives within the residents of this community.

To the posters that said the OCSD is racist, guess what I am African American and I am more afraid of my own race than I am of non-minorities at this point. Their are bad people in every race so please don't bring race into this. We need responsible people in control of our public safety.

To the poster with the so called stand off, how and why did this person get themselves into a stand off? The lives of officers are under constant threat in those kinds of situations so they don't have time to play games with people that have bad judgment ( and I sympathize with the family for their loss), would it have been okay if one of the officers had been taken out never to return to their family by this person? Absolutely not! Criminals are just that, they think they can do anything and its time for it to stop.

I as a resident of Pontiac, will miss the good officers if they are not absorbed by the OCSD, but the good ones will be able to get employment with OCSD and or else where. We don't need non committed officers working in any department. "

You should vote if ....

If you are making less money today than you did 5 years ago, you have every reason to vote in November

If your kids have graduated in Michigan, but can't find jobs here and have moved away, you have every reason to vote in November.

If your home is worth less now than you paid for it, you have every reason to vote in the November election.

*If your home is worth less now than you owe on it, you have every reason to vote in November.

If you would like to sell your home, but if you do you would lose money because of all the foreclosures/short sales, you should #vote

If you are out of a job, you have absolutely no excuse for not voting in November.

*If you are afraid you may lose your job in the next 12 months, you have every reason to #vote in November.

*If you think it is unfair that governments offer tax credits to save jobs from being outsourced, but not your job, you should #vote in November.

*If you think it is great that government employees get solid health care/retirement benefits, but it is unfair that you do not get the same, you should #vote in November.

*If you think America spends too much time/money on business regulation while our foreign competitors are regulation free, you should #vote.

*If your retirement compensation at work is a lot worse today than it was five years ago, you really should #vote in November.

*If your health insurance today covers less and costs more than it did five years ago, you really should #vote in November.

If one of your children is older than 25 and living at home because of lack of employment or under-employment, you should vote.

*If you feel like a chump because you have been faithfully paying your mortgage while your neighbor has not, and he is now getting government bailout assistance, you should vote.

If you think big change is needed in Michigan government, you should #vote on changing the constitution.

*If you think politicians should solve the foreclosure mess, not exploit it to try to win votes, you should #vote

If you think politicians pay too much attention to lobbyists, but not to voters, you should #vote.

*If you are tired of bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you should #vote.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Forclosure freeze is a bad idea

Lots of talk recently about a nationwide freeze on foreclosures.

The thinking is that this will stop the flood of new foreclosures onto the housing market which is driving down the value of homes, and it will keep people in their homes.

However, there are many more reasons why a freeze would be a bad idea.

One of the biggest problems with the economy right now is the falling value of homes. And it is directly related to banks lending money to people so they could buy homes they could not afford. That was bad business and until all that bad lending is flushed out of the market, the true value of property will remain uncertain.

Getting the government involved -- with a freeze or the recently proposed interest-free loans to homeowners in trouble -- will delay that true-value solution and prolong the uncertainty.

One other major factor in this housing-value uncertainty is the number of people living for free in foreclosed homes. This could be in the millions.

Quite simply, the process of foreclosing on an occupied home takes months at the least, and can drag out into years during a crisis like the one facing banks today. The backlog and the legal delays can result in some families living in homes for years without paying rent, or mortgages, or taxes or insurance. They take advantage of the crisis and live for free.

Whether or not this is legal or morally right is too long a topic for this column, but it is a major factor in the problems with this economy.

When there are millions of people living for free in house that cannot be sold, that unbalances the market. All those people should be paying to live somewhere, whether in rentals or in homes they are purchasing. The fact that they are not paying creates a huge hole in the economy.

This hole is increased by the glut of houses for sale at decreasing prices. Why are those homes decreasing in value? Because there are too many for sale and too few buyers. Why are there too few buyers? Because too many people who should be renting or buying are living for free. Because credit is tight and the few people who can buy are those with cash. And those people with cash will not buy if they believe the value of the homes will drop even further. They will wait for the bottom.

When will the trend start upward? When all of those people are foreclosed out of the homes they cannot pay for, or are not paying for, and enter the rental market. That will drive up the value of rentals and people will start buying places to rent out. When that demand resumes, the value of homes will rise.

Government intervention just delays that process and prolongs the present economic doldrums.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Embarrassing debate

For those of you who missed the great gubernatorial debate Sunday night, you did not miss much.

I felt embarrassed to listen to it.

Rick Snyder has vowed not to stoop to attacks, Virg Bernero has no such inhibitions.

So the entire thing was Bernero attacking Snyder and Snyder doing a poor job of defending himself.

The attacks, which were quite clever in their outline, consisted of accusing Snyder of outsourcing jobs from Michigan while he was head of various companies. Bernero contrasted this outsourcing with all the jobs he had brought to Lansing while mayor there.

It is a clever attack because the answers are not politically correct.

So I thought I should state them here:

No one who has been involved in a successful business in the U.S. can escape the charge of outsourcing jobs. To stay in business, it is economically necessary to outsource unskilled manufacturing jobs to countries that can do it cheaper. US companies that do not outsource, go out of business. So the loss of jobs happens either way.

So does this mean that anyone who has a background in business should not be elected? I think not. Michigan is going to need business skills to succeed in the global economy. One of our problems is that we tend to look back at how things were before the global economic revolution and incorrectly assume that we can get back to that pleasant past. We can't. Those who ignore the global economy will be consumed by it.

Second, the only candidates for office who can claim no taint of outsourcing are career politicians (and even they are guilty of some outsourcing if you dig deep enough). Many of the problems Michigan faces are the result of political ideology that cannot be changed. We can no longer afford the high cost of past political thinking, political deal making and political cronyism. Taxpayers need help now and that means a very different approach to how government is done.

And finally, there are a lot of politicians -- including Bernero -- who campaign on claims of creating or saving jobs.

The way these jobs are created or saved is by getting out into the national and international marketplace and offering tax incentives and grants and loans so that businesses will locate and create jobs in Michigan.

Those created jobs come at a very high price. And I am not arguing that we should not spend the tax dollars (or agree to lose the tax dollars) in order to bring in or save jobs. But I am pointing out that there is not enough money to save all the Michigan jobs that are being lost or to replace all those that have been lost. That is unfair to anyone whose job has been outsourced while their tax dollars are being spent saving someone else's job.

Replacing and saving all those jobs is going to be done by changing the economy of Michigan -- and that should be the topic of the debate.

The debate should not be a claim from one candidate that voters should vote for him, because the other is worse.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The high cost of regulation

This week it came out that the state of California was significantly overestimating the level of air pollution in some areas. Those overestimates forced costly and unnecessary modifications to diesels, among other stringent measures of one of the world's toughest air quality regulationss.

This is a great example of overregulation and the hidden costs (taxes) that act as a drag on our economies.

I have experienced LA smog, and some regulation is necessary. But who regulates the regulators?

Let me give you an example closer to home. My garage door opener does not work well. Mechanically it is fine, but all the required safety devices -- electric eyes and auto backups and so on -- make it unreliable and constantly in need of adjustment. All those problems and it costs a lot to buy it and to install it.

All I wanted was a device to open and close the door without me getting out of the car. What I got was a cranky, difficult opener that may or may not do what it is asked to do. I will admit that it also will not close on any small children (I don't have any) or my cat (who runs away from the door very fast because it makes a lot of noise).

Frankly, I am willing to risk a little additional danger. Give me a simple and cheap device that works and I will be happy.

Other examples, toilets that don't flush properly, lawnmowers that shut off automatically and so on.

And we do not have a choice -- we must buy those with the safety stuff.

What is worse, we all pay for government departments to think up these things that don't work and who enforce the requirements that manufacturers include them and that we do not dismantle them.

Worse still, manufacturing of these devices is done outside the U.S. because those countries do not have nearly as many safety regulations that cut into their profit margins.

Here is my suggestion. Allow people to sign a waiver that the buyer will take full responsibility for the sensible and cautious use of the safety-device-free garage door opener or lawnmower. Given the choice, people would take the responsibility.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Paying for Detroit sports venues

The sale of the Pistons not about the team and who owns them. It is about where they will play.

And, as L. Brooks Patterson said, it is not about the tax dollars because the big teams don't bring in that much tax revenue.

But it is about Michigan taxpayers footing the bill for yet another brand new sports venue in Detroit.

And the key word here is Detroit.

There are political forces who are very interested in reviving Detroit.

If you doubt that, just look back to the recent bankruptcy of General Motors. During the depths of that crisis, there was intervention that reportedly came from the White House to prevent the logical financial move -- which was to move the GM headquarters out of the RenCen in Detroit and out to the GM Tech Center in Warren.

That move would have saved GM a lot of money, but it would have been a body blow to Detroit.

Building Ford Field and Comerica Park are also based on a strategy of financially stimulating Detroit, not of placing the venues close to their fan bases.

All of those moves are not good business. And, you have to ask yourself, like many of the recent national economic stimulus moves, did any of these things actually work?

So here is my question: Can Michigan's ailing economy afford any more bad business decisions that don't work.

I'd say no.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Economic de-stimulus for small business

Going into this election, there is a lot of talk about economic stimulus. Who did what, what did it accomplish and what did it cost?

But the reality is that the economy is terrible. Many people are out of jobs, can't sell their homes for what they paid for them, or are terrified that they will be the next ones to be laid off.

What is not being discussed is hidden taxes and hidden disincentives to business.

One of the big ones was the new EPA rules for lead identification and containment. Good intentions -- contain lead and keep it from contaminating people -- but very targeted in who pays. If you are a contractor you know exactly what I mean. You just paid around $700 in fees and materials to get certified under the new rules. And the real kick in the pants is that these rules are going to cut into your business.

Why? Because those who play by the new rules will pay more. Homeowners and businesses that hire licensed contractors will pay more to have remodeling work done. Where will that business go? To those who do it without licenses and without reporting the work.

It is a hidden tax on everyone who plays by the rules, and it is a disincentive to legal business and it is an incentive to illegal business.

Illegal business -- under the table cash payments for goods and services -- is going to be a major problem for the new national health care. As the government-paid portion of the insurance is going to be based on declared income, it adds an entire new level of incentive to avoid reporting income.

And when more people avoid reporting income, the IRS becomes more intense in rooting out such fraud -- which negatively impacts those of us who are playing by the rules.

This week the International Franchising Association pointed out that new tax reporting requirements contained in the new health care bill were going to be a pain for small business.

The following comes directly from the IFA letter to the IRS

“The immense scope of this new information reporting requirement will undoubtedly impact the operations of small franchised businesses and lead to serious unintended consequences,” said IFA Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy David French. “The proposed rules are very broad and afford no opportunity to minimize the burden of these requirements. Therefore, the IFA strongly believes that the only solution for franchise business owners is to repeal these new reporting requirements before they are scheduled to go into effect.”

"Under the new health care law, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, beginning in 2012, businesses must report all transactions that involve property and services, and which aggregate more than $600 in a year. These transactions will trigger the requirement to file a Form 1099 with the IRS and furnish taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) for the businesses and persons involved. Currently, businesses are only required to file Form 1099 for independent contractors they use in their businesses. The new rules expand the requirements to cover all goods and services purchased for the business."

The IFA hit it right on the head. It is a new hidden tax on business and it discourages business.

Vote on that in November.