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Privatization and School Closing Trends in Michigan

Privatization and School Closing Trends in Michigan by Sylvia McCullough The notice of increased funding for Michigan’s K-12 education system by Gov. Rick Snyder is a peanut toss designed to draw attention away from the fact that Republican legislators are aggressively planning to continue pushing forward their efforts to privatize K-12 education by funneling taxpayer money into unaccountable charter and religious schools, coupled with school closings slated to escalate at alarming rates in the coming year. While Snyder’s new budget proposals won’t be refused by Michigan school districts, they are woefully inadequate based on local need and the cuts that have already been enacted. The bill

Indivisible Gathering, Sunday, Feb 19 Right Brain Brewery

Indivisible members from Traverse City, Grand Traverse Co., and Leelanau Co. gathered again Sunday, Feb 19, at the Right Brain Brewery in ever increasing numbers. Members led by organizers, Gwenne Allgaier, Lynn Van Ness, and Gretchen Iorio, addressed a mock-up image of Rep. Jack Bergman, who despite many, many invitations to attend the Town Hall-style gathering, was a NO SHOW. After member’s questions fell on the deaf ears of the Bergman dummy, they broke up into action groups to discuss strategies and exchange information on a variety of issues such as, but not limited to: immigration, gerrymandering, the ACA, women's issues, economics, education, and climate change. The organizers continu

GT Dems provide help in winning campaign

In the years that I have been involved with the Grand Traverse County Democratic Party, we have searched for democratic candidates to run for office. It occurred to me one day that I could be a candidate in Peninsula Township where I live. I have been involved with the Zoning Appeals Board and participated in the planning for the expansion of Bowers Harbor Park. I found these endeavors to be interesting and rewarding. So having thought it over, I signed up to run for the Park Commission. The Grand Traverse Dems offered a campaign training event that I took advantage of, using the manual provided to launch my campaign. Grand Traverse Dems, Harold Lasser, and Deni Scrudato, helped me assemb

Winter Rally - It was a party too!

We’re all disheartened by the election. But the reaction locally by individual groups of Progressives has been huge. This year’s Winter Rally was a place for these groups to share some stories, and nibbles, and a cocktail; to lean on each other, and to feel part of a larger whole. The Jazz combo led by Bill Sears, with Jack Dryden and Steve Stargardt, raised our spirits and brought us all to a better place. We had three wonderful local speakers. They are activist neighbors, not professional politicians. Yet their stories were inspiring and energizing. The keynote speaker, Mark LaChey is the Chair of LGBT & Allies Caucus of Michigan Democratic Party, and newly elected 2nd Vice-Chair of MDP

At Bergman's Office, Interview with a Veteran

At a gathering of concerned citizens at Representative Jack Bergman’s office on Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017, I interviewed a veteran holding a flag and sign that read “This Veteran Wants a Real Town Hall.” Me: Can you tell us your name, sir, and why you are here? “My name is Jim, and I’m here to protest. I wanted to see Jack and tell him about some of my concerns. I heard he’s not going to be here. I’ve been here four Tuesday’s in a row. He must understand that I come here every Tuesday. I’ve been signing up on that sheet.” Me: Do you give him a call every now and then? Jim: “Well Washington, yes, but he’s in district this week is my understanding. I thought I might go pay twenty bucks an

Winter Rally, Inspiring Speakers

Speakers at the GT Dems Winter Rally, 2017 Saturday evening the Grand Traverse Democratic Party hosted its annual Winter Rally at the Grand Traverse Resort. Along with a delicious spread of appetizers, music, and enlightened conversation in good company, we were treated to the following speakers whose advice and encouragement were taken to heart. Eric Keller brings expertise culminating from almost a decade of political, advocacy, and programmatic efforts, including electoral and issue-based campaigns. He is currently the Regional Coordinator for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and is a leader within the Grand Traverse Democratic Party as a Precinct Delegate and Executive Board M

Michigan Senator Wayne Schmidt Town Hall

Michigan Senator Wayne Schmidt will hold a "Coffee" on Friday, Feb 24 at 11 am at the Loon's Nest, 115 E State St. in Fife Lake. Come prepared with a question to ask him in polite, respectful language. Thank him for coming, etc. Because the venue is so small (20-25 seating capacity), expect there to be standing room only spilling to the outdoors. Dress accordingly. Be careful not to block doorways or parking lot access. Avoid being caught up in arguments with supporters. The opposition does send in agitators hoping to start confrontations and even violence to make us look bad. Likewise, avoid unruly members of our side spoiling for a fight as well. And who might actually be

Planned Parenthood Support Rally

Although the wind off the Bay was chilly, it did not deter about one hundred women and men Saturday morning wrapped in overcoats and mufflers from rallying along Grandview Parkway in support of services supplied by Planned Parenthood, deemed controversial by some and critically important by others. They were joined by another fifty or so who gathered in front of the Planned Parenthood offices in the Walker Health Center at 1135 E. Eight Street. BJ Christenson who came down to join the rally from Cedar, Michigan, said “I am here today because I want to support cancer screening that is part of Planned Parenthood. I am a 26-year cancer survivor. I had seven of 12 lymph nodes tested positive

Indivisible Traverse City

A group of about 150 Members and Friends of ‘Indivisible Traverse City,’ led by Lynn Van Ness, met Sunday at the Right Brain Brewery to talk strategies for contacting individual members of Congress, protesting at Rep. Jack Bergman’s office, and to enlist volunteers to join issue oriented action committees forming for support of the ACA, Women’s Rights, Immigration, Social Security, and Economic Policy, to name a few. The meeting broke into committees for work and discussion with coffee mugs and sandwiches in hand. Those interested in joining or volunteering, the group meets every Sunday at 11 am at the Right Brain Brewery, 225 E. 16th St., Traverse City, MI. Editors note 5/24/17 Indivisible

Message for Rep. Bergman Regarding Healthcare Remedy

In response to Rep. Jack Bergman’s forum in the Record Eagle regarding his desire to replace the ACA, Marcy Maller, Secretary for the Grand Traverse Democrats said that she realizes this legislation has serious flaws. “I suggest an easy change that will fix our healthcare problems. We already have two wonderful plans which do just that while providing great medical care - Medicare and Medicaid! Medicare administration costs pennies compared to the cost of private, for-profit medical insurance. Older Americans, like myself, love this plan. We also have the option of getting private insurance to cover gaps in coverage, but the basic plan is the best. I am incensed that many private insur

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