Political News and Commentary with the Right Perspective. NAVIGATION
  • Front Page
  • News
  • Multimedia
  • Tags
  • RSS Feed

  • Advertise on RightMichigan.com


    Get the RightMighigan.com toolbar!



    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    Remember The State Police HQ?

    By JGillman, Section News
    Posted on Thu Oct 28, 2010 at 11:40:47 AM EST
    Tags: Gary McDowell, 1st Congressional, US Congress, Republicans, Democrats, State Police (all tags)

    ~ Information eagerly gleaned from multiple sources .. and voting records ~

    Straight up, it was a super-wasteful, corruptly built new state police HQ, while the state was laying off 100 state troopers and cutting back other law-and-order funding.

    Last year the state completed its plans to move the Michigan State Police headquarters from the previous East Lansing location on the campus of Michigan State University to a newly constructed building a few miles away in downtown Lansing.  Keep in mind that the state police did not ask for this new HQ, and the state police union expressed disappointment in both the timing and the limitations of the new facility (more on that later).

    The developers built the new HQ for $39 million, and it was not competitively bid.  For that money, while it will have a big marble-floored lobby and a gym, the site of the new HQ has still been criticized for being too small -- the site does not have room for an emergency operations center, garage space to warehouse vehicles, or a helipad -- and worse, "the federal flood plain prohibits law enforcement high tech and Homeland Security operations from being moved there."  (Here's the link for that quote - read the whole thing, because this deal sounds more and more rotten.)

    More Below..

    Not that the state was ever going to actually pay just $39 million.  Initially, leasing the new headquarters would have cost the state more than $100 million over 25 years, with an initial yearly lease of almost $5 million.  One commentator added,

    "what is not talked about are the other incidentals, such as reimbursement to the developer for property taxes (approximately $500,000 per year); a yearly management fee (approximately $100,000); parking fees the state will have to pay due to inadequate parking; locating warehousing elsewhere; and building or locating the Emergency Operations Center elsewhere."

    Under pressure about the lease, the state decided that after one year it will sell bonds to buy the new HQ for ~$70 million including interest (and there will, of course, be other associated costs).

    Meanwhile, the lease on the old HQ was only costing $1 per year and did not expire until 2030.  The East Lansing headquarters, while in need of repair (an MSP spokesperson said it would cost $1 million to replace the heating system, and there were ongoing maintenance costs for utilities), was fully functional and structurally sound. Even with maintenance costs, it was substantially cheaper than the new HQ.  Michigan State University has even considered moving its own police force into the building if the state decided to vacate the property.

    One of the developers of the new HQ, Joel Ferguson, is actually an MSU Trustee.  So it seems he stands to benefit on both ends, having a long and distinguished history of big-dollar donations to Democrats.  From judicial candidates to the Michigan House Democrat Fund and others, Democrats can often count on thousands of dollars from Ferguson, and he's known to be tight with Granholm.

    And where this intersects with the current House race at least, is that Gary McDowell was among those voting to pass the bill.  (See House Roll Call 449 to pass 2009 Senate Bill 253, which did not include Senate language prohibiting the HQ move.)  As the attorney general explained, all they had to do to stop this project was not appropriate the money.

    Meanwhile, the state had announced in May 2009 that it would be laying off 100 state troopers. The state had spent $8 million training those troopers over the previous few years (leaving 958 total) to help cover a yawning $1.7 billion budget deficit.

    State Police Director Peter Munoz says there is no way the department can lose almost 10 percent of its troopers without reducing services. The troopers were assigned to road patrols, responding to crime scenes and 911 calls and taking complaints. One of the troopers was part of a crime investigation unit.

    As the president of the Michigan State Police Troopers Association asked, "What is the greater priority, a building that doesn't respond to emergency calls, or 100 troopers spread across this state who can do things for people?"  And that earlier commentator also pointed out that at the same time, "the release rate of parolees is being increased, there are mileage restrictions for troopers and crime labs are closing."

    So McDowell argues that he didn't like voting for tax hikes but he had to in order to protect the public safety, and yet a couple years later, while the resources for actual law and order were curtailed, he voted for an expensive new police HQ that didn't even have all the capabilities of the old facilities, which just happened to line the pockets of a politically connected developer in the middle of a recession and budget crisis.

    As the candidate who fully embraces earmarks (spending on local projects that doesn't go through the normal appropriations process), is there any reason to believe McDowell wouldn't vote for corrupt or at the very least questionable things like this in the future?

    < Pride comes before the fall. Forget the polls. We haven't taken any seats yet. | Senator Richardville voting record >

    Share This: Digg! StumbleUpon del.icio.us reddit reddit

    Display: Sort:
    When I first read last night (none / 0) (#1)
    by maidintheus on Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 06:20:30 PM EST
    I remembered when those 100 people were laid off. I really appreciated this article. Thx!

    Display: Sort:


    Make a new account

    Tweet along with RightMichigan by
    following us on Twitter HERE!
    create account | faq | search