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Report on the GT County Commission Study Session

The Meeting today was an educational session for the Board to understand their current code of ethics, and what might be improved. The packet included: 1. Code of Ethics for Grand Traverse County Employees and Officials 2. Antrim County Conflict of Interest Policy 3. Code of Ethics and Conduct for Emmet County Commissioners 4. Ethics Handbook for Michigan Municipalities 5. Model Ethics Ordinance for Local Units of Government 6. Robert' Rules of Order - Abstention Due to Personal Interest Public Comment included two persons against the 8 a.m. meeting time. John DeSpelder said he was glad that they decided to have this session. There were 9 citizens in the audience. The County Attorne

County Board Chair Attempts Adjournment Over Agenda

While the 2/20/19 Board of Commissioners meeting was shorter than previous meetings, it was still dominated by discussion around the Invocation Policy. That policy fails to make the responsibilities of the individual commissioners clear with respect to selecting providers of the invocation and the communication of their selection process. Commissioner Betsy Coffia requested an agenda item to discuss this issue. The Chair and two other commissioners attempted to block discussion of this item and have it stricken from the agenda. With LaPointe absent the vote was 3-3, and the chair attempted an immediate adjournment. The board actions to block a needed discussion of a relatively narrow poin

A Touch of Spring at Little Fleet

A little bit of Spring popped out at Little Fleet on Tuesday February 5th, at the monthly Progressive Potluck, hosted by the Grand Traverse Democrats. Brenin & Jamie from the Poesis Community Farm gave a great presentation concerning the almost one and half acres they farm at the “Historic Barns in The Commons of Traverse City”. They discussed that Poesis Farm operates as a community farm where all are welcome to participate. Poesis Farm grows crops that are donated to local food pantries. They also save, dry and process seeds that are given out to allow fellow gardeners to expand the community garden’s products to their home gardens. Poesis Community Farm provides educational events for

Dark Money in Michigan Political Campaigns

Indivisible Leelanau Notes on Presentation by Craig Mauger, Executive Director of Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) Craig Mauger, Executive Director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN), spoke on dark money in politics to a group of interested citizens at a meeting of Leelanau Indivisible on Saturday, Feb 9, 2019, at the Leland Lodge in Leland, Michigan. Craig had experience as a reporter covering Lansing politics before taking over the Network in 2015. The MCFN is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that through their research seeks to shine a light on the role of money in Michigan politics, how campaign dollars are raised and spent. Craig explained that only 12 legisl

Response to David Henderson's article "AOC Versus Adam Smith"

In response to David Henderson’s article entitled, AOC Versus Adam Smith, (published in the Hoover Institution’s, online newsletter “Defining Ideas,” Economics Department, Stanford University, Feb 7, 2019, https://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas) here are some of my thoughts: Henderson is correct that the possibility of making money does benefit the public by motivating people to produce goods and services that people want, and that the success of individual entrepreneurs is therefore often beneficial to society. Clearly, one of the implications is that we ought not demonize success. That, after all, is pretty much the underpinning of the success of capitalism. Fair enough. But H

Meeting with Michigan Nursing Associaton

The first meeting of the Munson Nurses Support Group took place on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at Lucky’s Market community room in Traverse City. The purpose of the group is to make the Grand Traverse Area aware of the delay in finalizing the union contract and to find ways for the public to support the nurses’ efforts. Members of the Michigan Nurses Association and a representative of the nursing staff met with people from the community to share information about the ongoing negotiations. There have been several recent tentative agreements but the issues of wages and benefits (health insurance) remain on the bargaining table. Phil Bianco, representing Michigan Nursing Association, told us

The Grand Traverse County Board Declares the Pavilions NOT FOR SALE

On February 6, 2019, Grand Traverse County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution declaring that The Grand Traverse Pavilions skilled nursing facility is not for sale. This action caps two years of controversy about the sale of this community treasure. Kudos to commissioner Sonny Wheelock for proposing the resolution after discussion of the issue. The GT County Commission had recently received a letter from Pritok Capital inquiring about buying the property, resurrecting the issue that most of us thought had been buried. Last year’s discussion of the possible sale resulted in legal opinions stating that The Pavilions couldn’t be sold until the discharge of bonds that are set to expire

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