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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    Who is your choice for Michigan's 29th State Senate District?

    Dave Hildenbrand (Republican)   3 votes - 100 %
    David LaGrand (Democrat)   0 votes - 0 %
    Bill Gelineau (Libertarian)   0 votes - 0 %
    3 Total Votes
    Display: Sort:
    As is so often the case: (none / 0) (#1)
    by maidintheus on Tue Oct 26, 2010 at 10:49:26 AM EST
    You've provided an awesome piece. Thanks for all your good work!!!

    Additional Information and Factual Corrections (none / 0) (#2)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 03:22:28 PM EST
    In getting this article to bed and published, I misstated the facts on the "lobbyist vs. layoffs" debacle that is being rightly used against David LaGrand by the Michigan Republican Party.  Please permit me to correct the record and provide some additional information:

    • In a Grand Rapids Press article from November 5, 2009 (published online at about 5:56 PM), City Manager Greg Sundstrom announced that layoffs would be necessary to resolve a $21 million budget gap.

    • In a Grand Rapids Press article from November 10, 2009 (published online at about 9:30 AM), Sundstrom announced that the city would lay off 125 city employees - to include 44 police officers and 25 fire fighters - effective January 1, 2010.  He claimed that he had no choice and that he was convinced that it was not possible to come up with a budget that did not include layoffs in those departments.

    • In a Grand Rapids Press article from November 10, 2009 (published online at about noon), Mayor George Heartwell said that he would call for a citywide ballot initiative for a tax increase in order to raise funds to re-hire those police officers and firefighters who would be laid off.

    • Interestingly enough, that evening's regular session of the Grand Rapids City Commission, according to the minutes, contained no mention of either announcement.

    • An article published in the Grand Rapids Press on December 1, 2009 (published online at about 10:34 AM), the Grand Rapids City Commission had already decided in committee to retain for another year - at the cost of $67,200 - the services of a DC lobbying firm.  The matter was to be finalized in the regular meeting later that evening.

    • In the December 1, 2009, regular session of the Grand Rapids City Commission, according to the minutes (see specifically page 11, item 78859), the commissioners - with only Commissioner Jendrasiak dissenting - voted to extend the Agreement for Federal Government Affairs (which had been in place since December 6, 2006) with the firm Dykema Gossett.  The extension was approved through December 5, 2012, for a total of . . . wait for it . . . $204,960.

    That's right, dear faithful readers.  Knowing that the city was facing a budget hole large enough to warrant the layoff of about three dozen workers from what known to be core functions of city government, Commissioner David LaGrand was perfectly okay with blowing six figures worth of taxpayer dollars to do what the city's Congressman is supposed to be elected for (a point made by Commissioner James Jendrasiak in casting his dissenting vote).

    To be fair, in my initial article, I misstated that Commissioner (now Candidate) LaGrand had voted both to approve the layoffs and renew the lobbying firm's contract at the same City Commission meeting.  In that much I was in error.  After further review, I have as yet no evidence that the City Commission voted to approve the layoffs, or that they were even required to do so.

    However, my basic point stands.  David LaGrand, along with four other city commissioners and Mayor Heartwell - with full knowledge that the city's budget shortfall was going to require police and fire department layoffs - voted approval of a questionable expenditure of taxpayer dollars for the next three years.

    And both Dave Hildenbrand and the Michigan Republican Party are perfectly justified in hanging that albatross right on LaGrand's neck.

    • Oops . . . by Kevin Rex Heine, 10/27/2010 04:40:41 PM EST (none / 0)
    That's why (none / 0) (#4)
    by grannynanny on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 06:25:55 PM EST
    we should be voting NO on any millage or renewals that are put before us.  I am firmly behind health and pension benefits for police officers and firefighters but it ends there.  Some high school grad plunking info into a computer for 25 yrs does not deserve lifetime benefits.  Teachers same thing.

    We need to let every public official know the gravy train has stopped.  No more taxes, no more millages. They can live with what they have until this economy turns around - which in Michigan is going to be when hell freezes over or the Lions win the Super Bowl - neither of which is a reality.

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