This site is meant to facilitate the upward flow of information to help our elected officials stay in touch with those they represent. Also as a means to help us (the voters) help our leaders lead.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tax Loophole

Flash. For last election cycle, Muskegon County was apportioned 296 Precinct Delegates. Our party was able to talk 113 people into running for those spots. I was told that this was a high number.

Flash. Way less than 1/3 showed up to the County Convention to pick the 30 some slots we as a County were allowed to send to the State Convention. We did come up with the quota, but we were also allowed the same # of alternates and were far short.

Flash. Of those, 9 actually went. Two were alternates.

Flash. Michael Steele has said that Republicans Must field candidates in every election in every office.

Flash. Republicans in Muskegon ran about 40 out of 80 possible in the Township races. BTW in Detroit’s crowded primary there was no Republican running.

Flash. God bless Jim McCormick.

Flash. We lost every Muskegon County Wide Election.


I don’t want to ROCK THE FRIGGEN BOAT. But maybe we need to focus on the Townships and precinct Delegates, instead of relegating them to the garbage heap of being inconsequential. Quit focusing on what we have been.

Flash. I don’t know what to do. We do need a message a simple message. Maybe “Individual Freedom” Maybe it’s education reform. Maybe it’s a Tea Party. Maybe it’s all of those one at a time.

Flash. Maybe we have to actually do something about our message, simple or otherwise.

Flash. Maybe we have to personally volunteer, get our own hands dirty. Mix with the filthy unwashed masses. Maybe our message should be that we are willing to do just that. Maybe people will understand that. Maybe we can become relevant again to a broad coalition of people.

Flash. Maybe it's just that simple. Kind of a Bottom Up thing. As Haley Barbour talked about when he said that in this time of Republican upheavel it is the perfect oportunity to start over from the Bottom Up. Hope Wise and Wiser figure it out. When Michael Steele was being cornered by an interviewer who asked him what was his plan. He said it wasn't his job. His job was to listen to the people and find out what they want. Novel concept that. Hope he does. Hope Wise and Wiser do too.

Flash. I don’t know.

Flash. If you do let me know.

Flash. Mad about McCain Feingold and being limited to donating only $2,000. I found a loophole. I quit work last year and volunteered my time for what it’s worth. Well I’ll tell you what it was worth to me. I spent about $6,000 of my savings. It would have been more but I burned wood for heat, and other things to slash my overhead. Hope I don't get arrested.

Flash. Don't worry you've got plenty of excuses, I'm single, I work for myself, my kids are grown, I'm poor. I never finished College, I'm an alcoholic, Plus I don't dress very well and drive a wreck of a truck that is always breaking down. Plus my teeth are falling out because it's cheaper than having a dentist pull them. Plus less painfull I might add. Oh Yeah did I mention that I'm single?

Flash. How do you like them apples? I wouldn't know I can't eat them anymore.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Check It Out

Here is a link I just got.
Looks like fun. If anyone wants to car pool please let me know. More than happy to split the gas.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

Monday, February 23, 2009

Update on Love Community Garden

Update on Love Community garden.

Went to a meeting with the powers that came up with the grant money and who will dole it out. This grant was in the form of a lump sum to be split up as the writer of the grant saw fit following certain guide lines as set forth in the proposal. The money is to be split among a couple gardens and neighborhood parks and rec.

I had intimated earlier that our part of the “group” may get up to $12,000 total if approved. That was indeed too much. Our garden group is made up of neighbors who will do the work, headed by Morning Bear, and the Love Fellowship Baptist Church Headed by Pastor Johnathon Phillips (sp).

It is the Church’s land and Pastor Phillips has been working on the neighborhoods behalf a long time. Morning Bear has come up with an enlarged plan including more top soil and raising a lot of individual 4x8’ garden plots with black good dirt. Also a few wheelchair accessible ones.

Pastor Phillips, Morning and I agreed that while the amount is too much, we will take what we need for our original plan after getting assurances that Big Brother will not intervene in our efforts. The rest we will put back into the “group’s” kitty. Whether that gets spent wisely is for others to determine. We did what Governor Sanford of South Carolina did. His quote is below in relation to what they will do with the stimulus money.
Our office is going through it with a fine-toothed comb, looking at what makes sense to reject versus what does not.
Next a link to Politico where the quote came from.
-----link to quote------
We too asked some tough questions and found out what we needed to know and decided to come up with a fair price for what we needed, not a pie in the sky give us everything approach. Love Community Garden worked well last year, with little private money. Food was given to seniors who were homebound. There was a nice harvest of food and goodness, enough to go around. We now have 16 people on our list for the garden and some extra money will increase our size to fit the extra need.

Lowell from the City’s Parks and Rec. I think will appreciate the extra money we decided to do without. I hope the money makes it through the maze to him. As I said it is up to others to use it wisely. It is up to Love Community Garden to make it happen. We are getting on top of it.

BTW at the last City Commission meeting I found out about a new City of Muskegon Chapter of the Lions forming calling itseld "Blue Sky". It's purpose to start up a Youth Center at the empty City Fire Station. Clara Sheppard gets the credit for making this possible. The Lion's will be an integral part of the mix. The plan is getting the backing of the National Lions. Pastor Phillips is part of that effort also. I have done what I needed to do to get on board, to help where I can.

I hear that our County Republican Party will also get behind that. I applaud this effort. I will find out more at our next County Board Meeting. As explained by the Lion’s representative, the youth of the community will have the chance to be taught building skills. The goal is to teach basic electricity, plumbing, and carpentry skills. Ie the work ethic. Ie an alternative to banging the streets.

On a positive note. Good things happen when good people do something.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative.

I've Had Enough

Haley Barbour the governor of Mississippi gave the keynote speech at the recent Michigan Republican Convention in Lansing. I was there and can attest to a standing room only crowd. I can also attest to the fact that they weren’t disappointed.

The governor talked of many things. Naturally I enjoyed his mention of how in this time of disaster for our party he talked about changing the party and that the change had to be from the “Bottom Up”. I felt his main thrust was the idea that both Parties by definition were coalitions of groups with some different ideas. To make this change from the “Bottom Up”, Governor Barbour talked of 80%. He talked of 60%.

He said that at any one time 60% of the voters could vote Republican if they were given a reason. That is where the 80% and coalition building came in. He talked from experience when he said most Republicans can agree upon 80% of the ideas each other holds. Whether we chose to focus on the 80% or fight over the remaining 20%, will determine how well we do at the polls.

That is how coalitions are built. Agreeing upon the 80%. The Republican party in my estimation lacks the built in foot soldiers of the Democrat Party. We have no ready troops from the likes of labor unions, teacher unions, trial lawyers etc. Year in and year out the Dems can count on these groups for money and campaign workers. We have little along those lines. A built in political infrastructure of support is needed.

We need to reach out to any groups that, echoing Haley Barbour’s idea, share 80% of our ideas. I’m talking fiscal and value voters. I’m talking about getting the religious right behind us again.

We need a method to our madness. Other wise we seem like crass capitalists who are out to get rich. The bible talks of being wise stewards of our money. There is a reason and that reason is that if we are wise leaders, the people will benefit. It also talks of throwing the money changers out of the temple. Of teaching men to fish vs. giving them fish. It doesn’t condemn free enterprise, it simply says to use it wisely. To let the values of religion guide us in the use of this powerful tool.

Perhaps it is time to ground our political theories in those concepts again. Force ourselves back to not just paying lip service to those ideas but to acting upon them all the time. At this point I must point out that compromise and acting upon ones principles are not exclusive of each other. Politics is precisely that. Two people who have differing ideas agreeing to get something done by finding what common ground they have that will allow them to follow their principles.
This thought leads me to the following link


In this link Politico talks of Bobby Jindal and how he is the first to actually say no to at least part of the stimulus. This is a big step to take in this day and age, at least seemingly from the shocked response of the media.

Allow me to digress. Quite awhile ago I was traveling with my two young children and outside of a burger joint we found a twenty dollar bill on the ground. My children wanted to spend it right away. I had them give it to the business to hold for anyone claiming they lost it.

The whole idea of the Stimulus Bill is similar, and I realize it may be a stretch except the idea I’m alluding to comes out of values. That money wasn’t ours we didn’t earn it and there is no such thing as free money without any strings.

My kids new that, Bobby Jindal is simply pointing out the same and showing the strings attached and he is deciding that he doesn’t want his state and the people in it to become puppets.

I noticed too from the article that Haley Barbour and some other governors are tentatively voicing the same opinion. I give Bobby the credit for being the first to risk his position for the sake of his values. I will look forward to hearing his rebuttal to Obama.

I must chime in here from a local point of view. I helped a friend last spring set up a small neighborhood garden along with a few other people. The garden actually worked. Some neighbors grew food there along with flowers. Let me tell you it was the worst piece of ground I ever saw. But it worked. Very little money was spent. She rented a rototiller and paid for it herself. She also tilled her own garden and two others used it that day along with the community garden. My friend has been seeking some money to help build some raised wheelchair accessible boxes and to buy the lumber and dirt. $500 to $1000 would be more than enough.

Community Mental Health has held hearing and meetings and come up with grant money for ours and other neighborhood gardens and parks. Now we are to learn later today exactly what strings are to be attached to the project. My friend told me she thought we were in line for $12000 in money. To get that they are talking that the city has to come in and put in a water system. We have to have meetings with MSU master gardeners. We need to do a lot of other things to help justify the money. We must pay city employees to do the work of building it. Etc. My friend told me that she thinks it is a waste of money.

I feel she thinks it is an insult to her. She started this thing and got people together and now the CMH wants to buy their way in. We’re talking at least 4 government agencies taking the credit and I imagine a good part of the money along with it.

I will go to find out more facts about the program today and report tomorrow. If this is the case. I will urge her to say NO to the FREE money.

The obvious compromise would be to force them to only give us $750 and not the whole $12,000. I consider that impossible. I can’t imagine a government bureaucracy being forced to do anything, much less giving away less free money.


Believing in miracles as I do, you never know.

In our America change must start somewhere.

Perhaps as Governor Haley Barbour says this time it will start from the “Bottom Up”

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lincoln Day Dinner.

Michigan State Senator Cameron S. Brown ® Fawn River Township wrote a guest editorial called “A Lincoln Tribute”. Sen. Brown questions what Americans today would think of Abraham Lincoln.
-----quote from article-----
{Would we give the time of day to a politician who characterized the crisis of America as “the eternal struggle between right and wrong”? Would we fully appreciate a national leader who said “my policy is to have no policy”?}
On top of that Sen. Brown points out five other “character traits” of Lincoln
-----more from article-----
“There were five basic character traits that defined Lincoln as a person and as a politician: reverence for God, patriotism, a passion to be good and honest, respect for the law and a burning ambition.”
Mr. Brown then explained how A. Lincoln’s belief in the rule of law was based upon following the constitution of the United States. “the means of creating order out of chaos,”. Sen. Brown then said Lincoln used this and his other character traits to help bring order to his own life.

Those ideas worked for this country and made A. Lincoln President. I found that Lincoln Tribute printed on legal size quality card stock at my place at my table, when I attended our Musk. County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner. BTW the picture of Lincoln was the best I have seen. This was what I took away from the Dinner that I value the most.

This affair was pretty well attended. Especially in the “off” year after a drubbing at the polls. Our new crew of Farhat, Hughes, Koens, and Peterson, put on a good show. The highlight was the “toast and roast” of Congressman Peter Hoekstra. Being new to the party I apologize ahead of time if I miss any dignitaries. A whole mess of them showed up to celebrate Congressman Hoekstra. The toasts were many, and the roasts were civil.

Pete’s whole staff was there so there were plenty of stories to go around. Some of the highlights were about term limits, Turtle fences, and awards from Ninja Turtles. Not to mention a live turtle. Twitter was also a highlight of the evening. Pete did seem to intimate that his twitter was available for all to see.

Bill Huizenga, Chuck Yob, state senator Jerry Van Workhom were some of the best of the roasters. All in all it was a nice evening for all. A couple of new faces were nice to see. I personally enjoyed seeing Karen Buie there and we talked about the last election and some stuff we shared. I did miss seeing Bob Scolnik and Merle. Also missed a few others.

My highlight was when Pete talked about the Republican Revolution and a part or two he played in it. He remembered one day getting a call from Newt Gingrich who told him to start investigating the Teamsters. Pete mentioned the trepidation he felt being tasked with that job. He also told of the feeling when the leader of the Teamsters lost and the younger Hoffa was elected. In a free election I might add. This is reaching across the isle in the real sense. This is doing not talking about it. This was forging an alliance with whom everyone else was afraid to even talk with. Pete mentioned that people ask him still how he could be friends with the likes of Hoffa. Hoffa and Pete know what sticking to your beliefs and getting the job done at the same time is all about.

I might be biased here about Pete. He is my Congressman, I have met him during the campaign a few times and heard him talk more times than that. I do not know him personally only on a political basis, (only a quick hi, or handshake) but I followed with admiration his rise in the intelligence world, and as an integral part of the Republican Revolution.

I will have to do what I can to help him in his quest for the Republican nomination for Governor of Michigan. Jeb Bush I quote from a recent WSJ article about how real reform can best be done at the state level. He talks about reforming government at the state level.
This approach "worked in the early 90s," Mr. Bush says. "We had some fantastic governors who were my role models." He mentions his brother when he led Texas, John Engler of Michigan and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin. "We had an all-star team." He likes the current crop of Republican governors, including Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

I think Pete Hoekstra would make a fine addition to Jeb’s list of reform minded governors.

-----Link to my blog with the WSJ link-----

Volunteer of the Year went to Jim Riley for all his efforts on getting the party up to speed in this technological era.

Thanks also for all the work Susie Hughes did in putting it on and setting up the raffle table. I bet that added to the party's coffers.

One last thing I’d like to add. I just got an email from Joan Runnels who’s running for State Committee. A quote from the letter. I know her not but she said something I like.
Lake County Chair as county chair I have raised more money and spent more on candidates than anyone before in my county. I have more new members, opened a campaign store in Baldwin. At the end of the year we still have more money in our treasury that we would have at the start of the campaign season.”
Imagine spending money to make money. I would of thought that would be axiomic to republicans. The other thing I took away from the Lincoln Day Dinner was that there might be a little too much of the Dutch influence in the finances of the party. To quote an Irishman. We shouldn’t be penny wise and pound foolish. When it comes to new members it could be money well spent in votes and donations from them and their friends and families.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative.

Ps anyone interested in gov. funded gardening programs for Musk Downtown and vicinity neighborhoods there will be a meeting at the corner of Houston and 3rd. At the Neighborhood Investment building. Let us see how pound foolish this can be. I’ll report on it later. I’m off now to the state Repub. Convention.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Small Steps"

The backlash will come as surely as spring follows winter. As with all things great in scope, large in effect; this backlash has started with small steps. We will not be able to stand in retrospect and say it started with a specific incident. Of course we will obsess on one incident, but like the Boston Tea Party what we pick to represent the start will have actually been a long time in the making. That had been bubbling from the bottom up for a long time. That is what got our forbearers on the boats to start with. A need for individual freedom to run our own individual lives.

This current backlash we will say came about because of unfunded spending. From spending more than we make. From a near multi trillion dollar give away program. This is just a symptom of the cause however. But as our Nation, State and local government goes bankrupt and the people in power because they have bought their way to it; who can no longer find the bribe money will seek another band wagon.

Individual freedom is at the core of this. As with most things I don’t do anything about something until it affects me directly. I’m in the majority in that regard. As I slowly lose my individual freedom at the behest of the common good, I will start to do something.

I hope the Republican party will stand up and seize this opportunity. I hope it doesn’t let the Democrats co-opt this issue too. I see all around me the Democrats picking up the mantles we have given up on. The new Dems are starting to fall into the idea of changing the educational system. Enhancing free enterprise at least for minorities and women.

That was why I went to the last City Commission meeting. It was not a full meeting where things were decided, but a type of informational meeting. Some proposals were floated by people for the consideration of the Commission. The one I was interested in was put forth from “Main Street”. An organization whose funding had dried up, who was looking for funding through forming a downtown taxing authority. Their proposal was to raise the money needed to fund their group through first forming this group then taxing the business’ in the new taxing authority thus created. By placing a special assessment tax on each business in the district.

The purpose of the group was to allure new business to the downtown district. From all accounts they had done this. Now they were looking for permanent status. The irony of it all was that to attract the business’ they did, the group set up government low interest loans and gave them property tax breaks. Now they wanted to tax those very people. Sounded real familiar to me. Too familiar to me and I thought here was a chance for me to voice my concerns. Some of those business people were in the audience and made themselves heard. I sat and started to lose my anger. Even some local politicians voiced opposition.

From what I could tell, the “group” was one man working full time and a part time employee. Their proposal included a $12,000 increase over last years budget for what they did then they added an extra $35,000 for snow plowing and an extra $5,000 for advertising.

The Muskegon City Commission is hugely Democratic and even the majority of them seemed taken aback by the proposal. In this time of financial trouble here was a group that lost it’s funding and expected the business’ they were helping to get a foothold in the downtown to take over their funding. Not only that but to increase that funding, for what was originally a temporary program. It was nice to see common sense prevail.

I felt the tea floating in Muskegon Lake. It was thrown into the Lake not just because of this one group asking for the moon when they didn’t deserve it. The backlash was from the people who were giving out the money (or at least to legalize the extortion) were already being squeezed because of a lack of money available for their own pet projects. This was just a little over the top even for the City Commission. Here was a chance also form them to act a little financially self righteous for a change. Here was the opening we as Conservative Republicans needed. This was perfect. A chance to stand up for small business, to argue against government bureaucracy. This is why I went, thinking I would be the only voice in the wilderness.

I was pleased my voice wasn’t even needed. There were plenty of voices. A lot of them were of the other party. Some weren’t. David Farhat our own newly elected Muskegon County Republican Chairman owns a building in the downtown and he stood up and explained how he only had 3 tenants and his rent was the cheapest in town. He couldn’t attract any more. He couldn’t understand how adding a couple of thousand to his tax bill forcing him out of business or to raise rents would remedy that situation. He also brought up a good point when he wondered why the huge Renovated Amazon building which is mainly made up of condos wasn’t going to be taxed in the plan at least for the condos. He did give the best line of the night which went something like this at the end of his remarks. “I haven’t heard of a saying that says. Tax it and they will come”. Great line, had everyone snickering if not outright laughing.

I wish he could of let people know he was a Republican. I guess he felt it would be better if he didn’t mention it. Something probably to do with bipartisan ship. I would like to see bipartisan ship include Democrats agreeing to Republican ideals for a change. Anyway I digress. Did I tell you that David Farhat is considering a run for Jerry Van Workhom’s term limited state senate seat?

It was nice to see some rays of light where I thought there was only darkness, in this wilderness. Perhaps as I look more I will see more. Perhaps by the seeing I will do more. As sure as Spring follows Winter we have to make ourselves the voice of that backlash or the Democrats will be the ones saying, as the fabled Hen said; "Then I will eat the bread".

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative