For those of us who watch Livingston County politics regularly, this past week has been exceptionally wild and interesting.
Our president is coming to Howell on Tuesday
It’s true: President Joe Biden is set to become the first-ever sitting U.S. president to visit Livingston County. Using the president’s own words, this is a big f-ing deal.
Biden — a Democrat who got just 38% of the vote in Livingston County in the 2020 general election — is coming here to presumably talk about his “Build Back Better” legislation, which is currently being wrangled over in Congress
While it appears there are not enough puking emojis and GIFs for local Republicans to express themselves about the upcoming visit on social media, I feel the need to remind us all of its historic significance.
The POTUS is coming to Howell.
And if you think about it, given Livingston County’s red, red pedigree, Biden’s visit tells us, too, that he is pretty darn brave.
So, put away those vomit emojis and GIFs and enjoy the moment, if only for a moment, because …
Local GOP organizing Biden protest
Within minutes of the news of Biden’s upcoming visit, the local GOP started organizing a “Stop the Spend” rally.
First there was the national GOP’s “Stop the Steal.” Now it’s the local GOP’s “Stop the Spend.”
Maybe it’s time for us all to start a “Stop the Silliness” campaign for Livingston County in general …
Commissioners rob funds that could be used for broadband to the tune of $1.5 million
Just as I predicted, the Livingston County Board of Commissioners passed on $1.5 MILLION from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for COVID relief activities because it wrong-headedly believed the money would be used to force vaccines on county residents.
Let that sink in for a moment.
These are the very same funds that state Rep. Ann Bollin, in her role on the state Appropriations Committee, voted to accept to disperse to Michigan’s county health departments for COVID response, the same funds she joined fellow state Rep. Bob Bezotte and state Sen. Lana Theis in protesting against Livingston County accepting.
If you’re thinking that foregoing that $1.5 MILLION was a good move, think again.
Since the Livingston County Health Department needs those funds to keep going, the commissioners did a magic trick and — PRESTO — they took $1.5 MILLION from the one-time-only American Rescue Plan funds to replace it, a pile of money that many in the community — me included — hope will be put toward establishing a high-speed, fiber-optic broadband system that would benefit the county immensely.
The county board, instead, thought it a prudent deal to burn enough bucks for a couple miles of high-speed broadband to replace the funds they refused to take because they believed a lie.
If the reasoning sounds bizarre, it’s because it is. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from this county board, which apparently values culture wars above all else.
The whole charade of good governance leaves a couple questions: who gets the $1.5 MILLION from the MDHHS that Livingston County refused, and what won’t get funded now that the board has started robbing the one-time-only ARP windfall of $37.5 MILLION?
Woman at U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 nabs spot on Michigan Department of Health and Human Services board
In years past, it was hard to find anybody to serve on the Michigan Department of Human Services Board, according to those in the know, which is why incumbents served term after term.
This year, there was just one applicant for the position: LeeAnn Blazejewski, the anti-mask advocate who gained local notoriety for bragging on social media that she was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, describing it as a “beautiful” event. While there’s nothing to suggest Blazejewski was among those who breached the Capitol, the fact that she was there and didn’t notice or won’t acknowledge the violence is concerning.
At any rate, Blazejewski is also a candidate for the Howell City Council, and according to the county’s information, should she win election to the council, she will have to choose between that seat or the MDHHS board.
Will Blazejewski win a seat on the Howell City Council?
With 274 votes in the primary, she came in sixth in an eight-person field that was winnowed down to six candidates to run for three open council seats. The top vote-getter was incumbent Jan Lobur with 510 votes.
Who knows what will happen in November?
When word first spread that Blazejewski was up for the appointment, it became apparent that many didn’t understand that this position has absolutely nothing to do with the Livingston County Health Department. If it did, Blazejewski, who has education and experience as a nurse, would seem an understandable pick, even though her opinions on COVID seem rather anti-medical.
The appointment of Blazejewski raised the hackles of some who support the work of the health department in combating COVID because it looked like a fox might be getting appointed to guard the LCHD house.
But that’s not what the position does.
In her new appointed position, Blazejewski will be looking at contracts for things like adoption services; adult community, family, and foster care placements; and juvenile justice and protective services.
As a resident of Howell, I wish Blazejewski a wonderful term on the MDHHS board.
Dude, dude, dude coughs on a lady
Getting lots of media attention this week is Bill Trombley, a member of the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education, who showed us that you can elect people to leadership positions, but you can’t make them behave like leaders.
If you’re one of the handful of people who didn’t see any of the news or social media information about last week’s Brighton Area Schools Board of Education meeting, Trombley first tried to cough over a call-to-the-public statement of a parent, and then, when a break was called, walked by that same parent and coughed on her.
You can read more about the incident by clicking here.
The member of the public filed a complaint over the coughing incident with police.
Former Howell mayors endorse in council election
In another political first, four Howell mayors put out a plea that residents cast their votes to keep the Howell City Council nonpartisan.
You can read the entire statement by clicking here.
In short, the four mayors — Nick Proctor, Paul Streng, Mike Yost, and Esther Brown — argue that if candidates receive support from a political party then they are unsuitable to serve on a non-partisan board.
This is exactly what the four mayors wrote:
“To be true to our charter mandate, neither political party should be actively supporting candidates. Should candidates receive support and are elected, one could assume that those candidates would be expected to carry that ideology into council deliberations and, by default, not be representing all residents.”
They then endorsed three candidates they deemed totally unsupported by either local political party.
Karma apparently decided to have a little fun, and on the very next day, the Livingston County Republican Party put out a mailing (which cost it some serious bucks, by the way) to endorse candidates — two of whom were endorsed because they had no political endorsements by the Howell mayors.
Former Howell mayors snub former Howell mayor in endorsements
One former Howell mayor who did not take part in making endorsements is Robert Parker, who is making another run for the city’s top elected spot in this election, nor was he endorsed by the former mayors, which says something, don’t you think?
Perhaps Parker didn’t receive the support of the former mayors after his involvement in a huge scandal in 2011 in which he was investigated for sexual harassment and paying for sex.
The investigation resulted in no charges because then-Prosecutor David Morse said there were “too many impediments to a successful prosecution.”
But the local GOP apparently wasn’t fazed by the scandal because it endorsed him in its mailing.
Detmer announces run for state senate
Mike Detmer of Howell, the controversial candidate who ran unsuccessfully in the 2020 GOP primary for the 8th Congressional District; posted a photo of himself with a member of the Proud Boys in the background; and ran unsuccessfully for state rep in 1998 when he lived in the Rochester/Troy area announced his intention to run for state Senate in an ominous Facebook post:
“The battle lines are being drawn folks and the long knives are out,” he wrote in the post. “For those few who are angry with what’s coming, I just want you to know…it’s not personal. But we the people politely encouraged you to do the right things. You were politely warned. You ignored us. And now, …well, you have a fight on your hands.”
It’s hard to imagine a local political story bigger than a visit to Howell by President Joe Biden, but then again, it’s only Monday.