Posts Tagged ‘Gary Peters’

2011 Michigan Redistricting: Gerrymanderliscious

June 22, 2011

Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post, but I figured this topic is important enough to warrant a return to the blogging world (even if it’s a brief return).  The Michigan Legislature recently released their maps for the 2011 redistricting.  For reference, here are links to the current boundaries:

Now, those were created by the 2001 Legislature, which was controlled by Republicans, and signed into law under Republican Governor John Engler.

They’re not bad, and look pretty good.  This year, it seems as if the Republican members of the Legislature have gotten a little more ambitious, and a little more creative.  So let’s take a look at what they’ve proposed.  Here are links to PDFs of all 3 maps, and I’ve copied the images below, where I’ll analyze them:

This first map is the proposed Congressional districts:

And here’s a zoomed in image of the Metro-Detroit area:

I’ll admit – I cringed when I saw the 14th district, and the 11th district isn’t exactly pretty either.  They’ve got some awkward separations, like putting Farmington Hills in the 14th, but keeping Farmington in the 11th; putting Bloomfield Hills in the 11th, while placing Bloomfield Township in the 9th; Southfield Township is placed in the 9th, while Southfield City ends up in the 14th; Clawson is split up; and Rochester Hills is split up.

In an attempt to squeeze Democratic Congressmen Sander Levin and Gary Peters into the same district and force a primary between the two, saving the Republicans from losing a seat, the map has turned into something I like to call gerrymanderliscious.

But it gets even more creative as we move on to the Michigan Senate map:

And again, a zoomed in view of the Metro-Detroit area:

For the most part, this one isn’t too bad until you get to the Metro-Detroit area. District 1 is incredibly awkward, as is District 6. But the really weird ones are 14 and 25.  You can’t see it on my uploaded images, but if you view the original map at 100% zoom, you can see that Springfield Township and Waterford Township just barely overlap for the 14th to be contiguous.  As for the 25th district, I’m guessing they’ve just connected them along a strip of County Line Road, but I’m not positive.

So that brings us to the state House of Representatives:

And again, a zoomed in view of Metro-Detroit:

And a zoomed in view of Grand Rapids and the southwest corner of the state:

The House map isn’t too bad, other than more awkward county splits than I’m really comfortable with. The Grand Rapids area looks pretty decent, although 86 is a bit wacky. And Metro-Detroit looks pretty good with the exception of the 13th.

So, by far, my biggest complaints are with the Congressional map, but what was really sad was the Republicans claims that they had to draw the lines like that to abide by the Voting Rights Act, which mandates 2 majority minority districts for Michigan.  That’s just nonsense.  There are plenty of ways to draw the lines so that you have decent looking districts that obey the VRA.

Obviously Democrats Sander Levin and Gary Peters weren’t happy with the maps, but even Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is unhappy with the map, because as of the current proposal, Oakland County, the second most populous county in Michigan, would be represented by people who all live outside of the county.

Now, gerrymandering can be a lot of fun; I enjoyed playing around and making this little beauty for Maryland:

Photobucket

But when it comes to ACTUALLY redistricting, our legislature shouldn’t be drawing crap like this for partisan gain. Doing so takes the focus off of the good things the Republicans have done in Michigan and tells voters, “We know you voted for us in 2010, but we don’t trust you for the next 10 years, so we’re gonna cheat to win.”

Am I advocating that the legislature adopts a plan where we have 14 districts and each one is competitive at a 50-50 level?  Absolutely not; that’d be ridiculous.  The GOP won in a landslide in 2010, so it’s expected that the maps will favor us, but there’s no need to mangle the maps the way they’ve done.  That’s just petty politics, and when the people of Michigan see that, it gives them a bad image of the party.

Jack Kevorkian Lives: the Obscure Congressional Candidate Has Started Campaigning

August 5, 2008

OK, so the title was a little cheesy.  Anyway, this is my next segement in my series on the Race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional District.  Dr. Jack “Death” Kevorkian had a town hall-type meeting with about 35 people in Birmingham last week.

He started off by saying, “Okay, so what do you want to know?”  He was asked questions about loss of freedoms.  He was asked about the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage companies.

Kevorkian replied to that with a fitting libertarian (although he’s running as an independent) response, “What bailout?  You’re kind of sheep-like.  You’ve all been conditioned to think and act like sheep.”

Another person “asked about a scientist who believes that four countries control the equipment that controls weather and climate” (Free Press).  What kind of people were at that meeting!

Kevorkian later went on to say, “I don’t want to be a congressman.  I only want to serve two years. I’m here to educate and inform the public. … You are enslaved, but you don’t know it.  You don’t want to admit it because you’re walking around free, eating good dinners.  As long as you’re comfortable, you’re controllable.”

Again, a very libertarian (although VERY extreme) stance overall.  I’m not sure why he didn’t run as a Libertarian, whether the party wouldn’t let him, or he just didn’t want any political party connection.

I’ll see if I can get a quote from the campaign on that.

Asked if he is fit to serve, Kevorkian had the following conversation with a FOX 2 reporter:

Reporter: In 2006, one of your petitions to be paroled was that you’re gravely ill.

Kevorkian: At the time I was.

Reporter: Are you fit to serve?

Kevorkian: Well, how do I look?

And here’s the full FOX 2 story:

So, there you have it.  Kevorkian is essentially running a libertarian/limited government involvement, independent campaign.

What effect will Kevorkian have on the general election?  That depends on what he emphasizes and how much money he spends.  He’s sure to get some Democrats who supported euthanasia.  He’s sure to get the libertarian vote, but will that come from Republicans who are sick of Joe Knollenberg, or former Republicans who would’ve voted for Gary Peters?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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I Think Congressional Candidate Gary Peters Needs Some New Staff

July 28, 2008

This is the next segment in my Race for Michigan’s 9th District series, also being posted on RightMichigan.com:

Back in June, I sent 2 e-mails to the Gary Peters for Congress campaign, asking 3 questions about the polo shirt ad “scandal”:

I am the administrator of the blog Republican Ranting, and I have been following the race for the 9th District.  I am interested in hearing a response from Mr. Peters on the issue of possibly photoshopping a picture that was used on campaign literature (http://www.oaklandpolitics.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=5D880FB79AD9E84B58AC4A66C6F38C01?diaryId=200).
My goal in blogging about this is not to criticize Mr. Peters, but to just give the facts to the voters of the district.  I have stood up for Peters in the past … and I simply want the truth.

Mr. Peters’ answers to the following questions would be greatly appreciated:
1. Are the allegations of editing the picture(s) true?
2. If so, did you add in or remove the polo logo?
3. If so, why did you do it?

Thank you for your cooperation,
Nathan Inks

On June 17th, I called Peters’ office and spoke to a young woman about who to talk to to get a quote about the “scandal.”  She told me that one of their “communications people” would get back to me” and took down my number.

I waited and never heard back.  So I called again on June 19th, and spoke with Bob, another receptionist.  I told him I had called before and told him my story about doing a blog post.  He went to go look for the communications director.  He came back, and told me that ***** [I promised him that he could remain anonymous] was in a meeting.  So I assumed that ***** was the communications director.  Bob took down my phone number.

Well, ***** never called me back, so I sent an e-mail and he told me that I had contacted the wrong person, and that I wanted to speak with Anna.  So I sent her an e-mail.  No response.  I called, and she told me that I wanted to speak with Clark Petting (who is now listed on the website as the Media Contact, but back in June it was Julie, or somebody like that).  So I sen him an e-mail.  When I got no response from him, and was unable to call the office (due to my work schedule), I gave up.  I fail to see how a Congressional candidate’s campaign staff can send me around to that many people and have them not respond to me or not be the person I’m looking for.

So, Clark, or anybody in the Peters campaign, if you’d like to answer my questions, because I really DO want to do the story in a fair and balanced way, e-mail me at n.d.inks@gmail.com.  I hate to bring attention to it like this, but I’ve run out of ideas on how to get a quote from the campaign.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Gas Prices Are Too High, and Joe Knollenberg Has a Plan to Fix That

June 19, 2008

Alright, this is the next segment in my series on  the race for Michigan’s 9th District.  Although it doesn’t directly tie into what’s going on in the race, gas prices are rising and that’s making it an important issue (especially considering the current economy).

Knollenberg himself, outlined a plan to reduce gas prices, saying, “These high gas prices are totally unacceptable.”

Knollenberg held the press conference with House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO).  Blunt shared Knollenberg’s thoughts about adding to the refinery capacity for refineries in the U.S., to stop placing oil into natural reserves, urging foreign countries to increase their oil output, and accessing oil resources under public land and water through environmentally safe methods, saying, “It’s foolish not to use the oil and natural gas both [under] the ground and in deep water.”

But, Knollenberg (like anybody who knows something about energy), doesn’t want to simply rely on oil.  He has supported wind and nuclear (my personal favorite – I’ve been a HUGE advocate for nuclear power) power plants as well as conserving energy at home and on the road (through simply turning off lights to carpooling).

Knollenberg introduced The New Bridging Industry and Government Through Hi-Tech Research on Energy Efficiency Act, the “New Big Three Act,” which will promote more energy efficient technology, both in the public and private sectors.  Among other things, the act would:

  • Provide $750 million in grants over 5 years for research and develop advanced vehicle batteries.
  • Provide $250 million over 5 years to add hydrogen fuel stations to existing gas stations.
  • Spend $150 million over 3 years for the government to purchase hydrogen vehicles.
  • Help auto makers meet federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

Knollenberg showed confidence in his plan, saying, “My plan will turn the tide [and] bring gas prices back to reality.”

The law is currently being reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee, and Knollenberg is expected to push for a vote on the floor later this week.

Personally, I think it’s a great plan.  Although I’d like to see more of a push for nuclear power, many people don’t like nuclear power, and it suffers  from the “just not in my back yard” argument more than any other type of power.

Although I don’t know his policies, I’m fairly confident that Knollenberg’s opponent, Gary Peters, would side with most of the Democrats in their proposed tax on the oil companies, which will do nothing for consumers and only hurt workers of the oil companies.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional District: A Look at Money and Fundraising

June 3, 2008

Alright, after a moderately severe housing disaster last week (who knew flushing a toilet could cause so much chaos), I am back and blogging about THE RACE FOR MICHIGAN’S 9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT!  This week, I will be looking at the money (wishing that some of it were my own).

Who is giving who money?

I looked at the top 19 industry sectors (information from the U.S. Census Bureau).  In 7 of the 8 sectors that the census bureau and OpenSecrets.org looked at, Knollenberg raised more money than Peters (in terms of percentage, not total.  Total would be unfair to Peters because Peters has raised less than half of what Knollenberg has).

Here’s some information from OpenSecrets.org:

Knollenberg received contributions from the following sectors.  I have highlighted the sectors that appear  on the Census Bureau’s list (the Census has Real estate and Finances as separate.  If they were combined, they would rank 5th, instead of 12th and 8th, respectively):

Sector

Total

Finance/Insur/RealEst

$269,200

Transportation

$238,149

Ideology/Single-Issue

$178,974

Lawyers & Lobbyists

$148,530

Misc Business

$135,050

Construction

$108,200

Other

$87,700

Health

$58,972

Energy/Nat Resource

$54,625

Defense

$33,250

Communic/Electronics

$23,550

Agribusiness

$15,500

Labor

$7,500

Now, let’s look at Peters:

Sector

Total

Labor

$132,500

Lawyers & Lobbyists

$103,921

Ideology/Single-Issue

$81,818

Other

$73,587

Finance/Insur/RealEst

$37,367

Misc Business

$35,943

Health

$15,750

Communic/Electronics

$5,300

Construction

$4,300

Agribusiness

$2,847

Transportation

$1,500

Energy/Nat Resource

$1,168

Or, let’s look at it this way, 41.99% of Knollenberg’s money has come from industries that make up a major  part of the district, while only 26.76% of Peters’ money did.

So, where is Peters’ money coming from?

Well, when we look at specific industries, we see that his #1 contributing industry is lawyers/law firms.  Then come leadership PACS (after retired contributors), then a  whole slew of…

Unions!

Now, no offense to any union members, but unions don’t have the 9th District as their focus.  Unions have gone from advocates for decent rights of workers to greedy organizations that border the category of corrupt organizations.  Take the UAW for example, which is now advocating fair trade because “China sells dangerous toys.”  Bull crap!  The real reason that you’re advocating fair trade is because you need tariffs on imports so that companies don’t ship your jobs overseas.  You want the ability to get paid $30/hour plus great benefits but still retain the right to strike anytime you want a 30 cent raise.  Get a life!  OK, sorry – back on track…

Peters has also received money from some of the most liberal politicians and organizations:

  • $4,000 from Representative Charles Rangel (NY-15)
  • $4,000 from Representative Nancy Pelosi (CA-8)
  • $5,000 NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • $4,000 from Representative John Dingell (MI-15)
  • $2,000 from Representative Sander Levein (MI-12)
  • $4,000 from Senator Carl Levin (MI)
  • $500 from Representative John Conyers (MI-14 – my future Representative after I move.  YIKES!)
  • $4,000 from Steny Hoyer (MD-5)
  • $10,000 from AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America
  • $5,000 from Victory Now PAC
  • $10,000 from Our Common Values PAC
  • $10,000 from National Leadership PAC

So, we have Peters receiving money from some of the most liberal politicians and PACs in the country – scary.

Is there any hope, Republican Ranting?

Well, there’s always hope up in Oakland County (I’ve given up on hoping for Republicans down here in Wayne County).  Fortunately, Peters is being out-raised by nearly 2-1.  Knollenberg has raised $1,847,146 against Peters’ $750,162.  Knollenberg still has $1,336,212 on hand, while Peters has $644,931.

So, Knollenberg’s got this in the bag then?

Not quite.  Although I think he’ll win, it should be noted that Peters is benefiting from ActBlue, the online  Democratic fundraising site.  He has 1,004 supporters and has raised $228,540.  The online aspect, combined with his being on the DCCC’s RedtoBlue list, could help him where he needs it in the fundraising  area.

Overall, I still think that Knollenberg is doing great and is headed for a victory, but Republicans have to step it up and make sure that they’re supporting Knollenberg, not only at the voting booth but in the check books.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan’s Top House Race: Gary Peters vs. Joe Knollenberg (vs. Quacky Dr. Jack Kevorkian)

May 13, 2008

The following post is also being syndicated on Right Michigan, where I was offered a position to cover Michigan’s 9th District:

I would first like to thank Nick for allowing me the opportunity to cover stories on the race for Michigan’s 9th District for his site.

First, what exactly is Michigan’s 9th District?

It’s Oakland, Bloomfield, Southfield, and West Bloomfield townships; parts of Orion and Waterford townships; the cities of Farmington, Farmington Hills, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Lake Angelus; and the villages of Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills (bold indicates where Representative Knollenberg won; italics indicate a close margin; villages were not categorized since they do not vote on their own).  Or, for you visual people, it’s this:

What are the demographics?

  1. 83.1% White
  2. 8.1% Black
  3. 5.6% Asian
  4. 3.0% Hispanic
  5. 0.5% Native American
  6. 0.5% Other

So, how does the district vote?

  • The district has been given Cook Partisan Index of R+0, meaning that the district is more Republican than other average districts, but by less than 1%.
  • The district voted for George Bush in 2004.
  • The district voted for Al Gore in 2000 (although the make-up of the district was different from now).
  • The district has voted for Joe Knollenberg since 2002.

Why is this race so important?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) placed this district in the top 13 districts that they are targetting in their Red to Blue campaign.

What exactly is the Red to Blue campaign?

The DCCC put out this press release explaining the campaign:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today announced the first round of Red to Blue candidates challenging Republican incumbents. This is the second slate of Democratic congressional candidates that have qualified for the competitive DCCC Red to Blue program, the first slate was for candidates in open seats. These candidates earned a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress.

These candidates have come out of the gate strong and the Red to Blue Program will give them the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive in November,” said Chairman Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The candidates for change in our first round of challenger Red to Blue are strong examples of Democrats who represent a commitment to new priorities for the families in their districts.

The Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support. The program will introduce Democratic supporters to new, competitive candidates in order to help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns.

Chairman Van Hollen joined Red to Blue co-chairs Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Artur Davis (D-AL), and Bruce Braley (D-IA) to announce the first 13 challenger candidates for change who qualified for the Red to Blue:

Kay Barnes (MO-06)
Anne Barth (WV-02)
Darcy Burner (WA-08)
Robert Daskas (NV-03)
Steve Driehaus (OH-01)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Christine Jennings (FL-13)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Gary Peters (MI-09)
Mark Schauer (MI-07)
Dan Seals (IL-10)
Red to Blue was a proven success in the 2004 and 2006 cycles. In 2004, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $7.5 million for twenty seven campaigns across the country with an average of more than $250,000 per campaign. In 2006, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $22.6 million for 56 campaigns with an average of $404,000 per campaign. Red to Blue was also responsible for solidifying the structure of dozens of campaigns and making a real difference for Democrats across America.

Soon after the DCCC put this up on their website, they got some comments about these candidates not being what’s best for the party in terms of stances, but the fact that they’ll be able to raise large amounts of money:

Your only criteria for inclusion seem to be fund-raising ability, not issues.
Isn’t this what scuttled the progress of the party over the years since
you deep-sixed progressive programs and started going to corporations hat in hand?

Soon after other negative comments, the DCCC disabled comments on that press release.

What were the results of the 2006 Election?

  1. Joe Knollenberg (R) 142,290 51.56%
  2. Nancy Skinner (D) 127,620 46.21%
  3. Adam Goodman (L) 3,702 1.34%
  4. Matthew R. Abel (G) 2,468 0.89%

Is this actually close?

For Knollenberg, it is somewhat close, since he was a 14-year incumbent, but he still won by over 5%.

So, who exactly is Gary Peters?

Gary Peters is running against Representative Knollenberg.  He was a state Senator from 1994-2002, when he was term-limited out.  He then ran against Mike Cox for Attorney General in 2002, where he lost the general election.

He was the Michigan Lottery Commissioner from 2003-2007.

He was hired to teach at Central Michigan University, where he was the center of controversy (that’s a way too long story to tell, so just read The Peters Report or my category of posts on him here, or just search “Gary Peters” here on the Right Michigan website).

Who is Jack Kevorkian?

Jack Kevorkian is a doctor who was sent to jail a few years ago for assisting a patient in committing suicide.  Dr. Kevorkian hired attorney Geoffrey Fieger to represent him in that case, but obviously, he lost.  He was sentenced for 10-25 years, but only served 8, after the parole board let him out early due to his kidney illness.  He was expected to die within a year of leaving prison in May of 2006, but instead, he decided to run for Congress, against Joe Knollenberg and Gary Peters.

How will having Dr. Kevorkian running affect the race?

That is somewhat hard to tell.  I have done some calculations.  In 1998, Proposal B was brought before voters to allow for assisted suicide.  Although it failed statewide as well as in Oakland County, it did better than average in the 9th District (33.05%-66.95%).  I did some calculations, and if we assume that only 75% of voters who voted against the proposal vote for Knollenberg in 2008, Knollenberg would still come out with a win just above 50%.  Peters would received around 45%, and Kevorkian would receive 5%.

This assumes that Kevorkian only gets 5%, and I think he will get a little more from the Democrats who are unsatissfied with the direction of the party.  So, if we assume that Kevorkian gets 8%, 2% more from Peters and 1% from swing-Knollenberg-voters (libertarians), we would have Knollenberg with 49%, Peters with 43% and Kevorkian with 8%.  This leaves plenty of room for Knollenberg to lose a few voters who are mad at the Republican party an the Iraq War, but I think Knollenberg is pretty safe this election.

Again, I’d like to thank Nick for allowing me to report on this race.

Next week, I’ll be looking into some of the fundraising of this race.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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