Tag Archives: Michigan politics

A few transportation policy updates

The theme of the day is state and local transportation policy, specifically focusing on roads, cars, and bikes.


First, Todd Scott at M-Bike.org alerts cyclists to a couple of poorly conceived bills introduced in Michigan’s Republican-controlled state House:

First, House Bill 5300 would transfer funding from the current Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) to the Commercial Corridor Fund (CCF) over an 8 year period. The MTF and CCF distribute funds to counties, cities, and villages. The MTF requires 1% of the funding to be spent on non-motorized facilities like bike lanes and sidewalks. The CCF has no such requirement.

So rather than remove the 1% requirement in law, legislators are simply creating a new fund without the requirement and shifting the money… (I)t has been a long standing goal of the County Road Association of Michigan to remove this requirement.

Todd writes of the second bill,

The current road funding is generally distributed based on the miles of roads. House Bill 5303 would change that to distribute funding based on motor vehicle miles traveled or VMT.

Counties and cities that require people to drive more and longer distances will be rewarded. There will be a financial disincentive for counties and cities to promote public transit, biking and walking as they’ll receive less money.

Forecasts from MDOT show the city of Detroit would see some devastating funding cuts as a result… The City has already testified against this change.

Ironically enough, the bill’s sponsor is former City Councilwoman Alberta Tinsley-Talabi.

I’m less than surprised than Todd about Rep. Tinsley-Talabi, who was one of Kwame Kilpatrick’s reliable supporters and, along with Martha Reeves & Barbara-Rose Collins, one of the dimmer bulbs when she served on the City Council.

Todd concludes,

We recommend you contact your state representative and state senator to let them know you oppose removing the 1% requirement and oppose distributing road funds according to vehicle miles traveled.

These bills have been out for more than a couple months now. We can’t afford to keep sitting on the sidelines.


Turning to local politics, Ann Arbor city councilman Mike Anglin notably dissented from his colleagues on two automotive-related votes at Monday’s city council meeting.

According to the Ann Arbor Chronicle, he was joined only by Councilwoman Jane Lumm on one, “a request to the Michigan Dept. of Transportation to convert the segment of Jackson Road between Maple Road and South Revena from four traffic lanes to three”:

Benefits of the lane conversion cited in a staff memo accompanying the resolution include: (1) safe deceleration in the middle lane for left turns; (2) elimination of lane weaving; (3) uniform speeds and the resultant traffic-calming effect; (4) reduction in number and severity of crashes in a number of categories; (5) potential extra width for bicycle lanes; and (6) potential creation of additional marked pedestrian crossings.

The memo mentions several successful 4-to-3 lane conversions in Ann Arbor: South Main (Ann-Arbor Saline to Eisenhower); Platt (Packard to Ellsworth); Packard (Stadium to Jewett); Huron Parkway (Nixon to Plymouth); West Stadium Boulevard (Seventh to Pauline); and Green (Plymouth to Glazier Way).

In the second, he was alone in voting no on a change to downtown parking regulation:

At its April 2, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved the policy by which the minimum required parking component of developments in the downtown D1 and D2 zoning districts can be satisfied off-site from the development. The city is using the acronym CIL for “contribution in lieu” to describe the option. The idea could be familiar to some readers as PILOP, or “payment in lieu of parking.” The sole vote against the resolution came from Mike Anglin (Ward 5).

If not provided on-site, the policy allows some of the minimum required parking spaces to be provided with one of two basic strategies: (1) commit to a 15-year contract with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to purchase monthly permits in the public parking system at a rate 20% greater than the ordinary price; or (2) pay $55,000 up front before a certificate of occupancy is issued. [.pdf of parking payment in lieu policy]

From my perspective the ideal reform would be to eliminate the outdated and wasteful minimum parking requirements altogether.  While I’d like to think that was the motivation behind Mr. Anglin’s “nay” vote, his vote against the Jackson road diet suggests a rather old-fashioned protectiveness toward the perceived interests of motorists.  We’ll have to wait for the Chronicle’s full report to fully ascertain his calculus, however.  In the meantime, I’d like to recognize my own Ward 3 council reps, Stephen Kunselman & Christopher Taylor, for what seem like prudent votes on both these proposals.


Apocalypse temporarily averted

It wouldn’t be Detroit if they didn’t all wait til the last possible minute to  do what had to be done.  A new era dawns?

The Detroit consent agreement

While your blogger has been quite busy with his non-blogging pursuits, you may have found yourself wondering when he was going to post on the governor’s proposed consent agreement for Detroit, which hit the Coleman Young Municipal Building earlier this week.

The latest news is that

under a new proposed consent agreement that he and city council staffers privately are hammering out this week… (Mayor) Bing proposes taking over many of the responsibilities of a nine-member financial advisory board that Gov. Rick Snyder wanted to assume control of most of the city’s finances.

I don’t see how concentrating power in the hands of this particular mayor would necessarily constitute an improvement, however.

Consider the response from the Free Press’ editorial board chief Stephen Henderson, who has served as the mayor’s most loyal apologist in local media ever since Bing was elected.  It appears he & the rest of the editorial board have finally had enough:

Council, for its part, seems ready to roll up its sleeves. Several members said Wednesday that they intend to take the governor’s plan seriously but would like to reframe some of the structure. The mayor, however, has responded with surprising pugnacity and a bizarre preening about democracy…

The point is that council has an opportunity to help improve the governor’s proposal if it responds realistically. Certainly, the legislative branch is far ahead of Bing in that regard…

Bing inherited a broken city, campaigned on radical change and has failed to deliver on just about every front. Buses, public lighting, police, EMS — all the city’s basic services fall shorter of effective delivery today than when Bing took office, and he’s still talking about “when” he’ll restructure…

His credibility on this subject is now shot, and his sniping at the governor, who has only been drawn into this controversy because of local inability to solve it, is a cynical and dangerous distraction.

“Cynical and dangerous distraction” aptly describes, as well, the reaction of most of Detroit’s belligerent contingent of full-time obstructionists, led by JoAnn Watson and the heads of the city employees’ unions.  Expect plenty more howling from this highly vocal group and the many residents who take their cues from them.  For this class of Detroiters, victimhood and paranoia is a core part of their identity, an end to itself.  It will remain so up to the minute a final consent agreement is signed,  and beyond.

I highly recommend Jeff Wattrick‘s coverage of the evolving soap opera.  I prefer Wattrick’s witty, gimlet-eyed reporting and commentary to the generally flavorless haiku the Free Press tends to churn out.  Here are a few posts to get you started:

Detroit politics is fun, as long as you don’t draw your paycheck from the city.  Pop some popcorn, sit down, & enjoy the show.

Against marriage, against the family: The platform of Michigan’s Republican Party

December 23, 2011 was the day Governor Snyder signed into a law that stripped the domestic partners of many public employees of their health benefits.  It was also the day I finally lost patience with Gov. Snyder.  I’ve appreciated the Governor’s reluctance to pander to the bottom feeders known as ‘social conservatives’ that dominate his Republican majorities in the legislature.  But in signing this bill the Governor finally gave in to his party’s worst instincts, revealing that he’s just been paying lip service all along,  happy to discard his veneer of tolerance when it became politically inconvenient.

Why they are doing this?  We’re an easy target, and making our lives difficult is an easy way to score points with the vocal & significant percentage of the Republican base that hates us.  They can’t undo Lawrence v. Texas, they can’t ban us from serving in uniform any longer, & they can’t round us up & put us in concentration camps.  This seemed like the easiest way to put us in our place.  This has zero to do with saving money, by the way.  That excuse is a fig leaf for Republicans like Snyder, who know that outright bigotry no longer plays as well with the public at large.

(I focus specifically on Republicans because on the domestic partner benefits issue there were exactly one Democrat apiece in the House & Senate who voted for the domestic partner benefits issue:  Sen. Tupac Hunter & Rep. Richard LeBlanc.  No Republicans in either house voted against.)

Republican voters, and the leaders they elect, like to paint themselves as defenders of marriage and of the family.  I think we are getting better at emphasizing that ‘social conservative’ leaders don’t give a damn about saving marriages or families, they just want to punish people like me for the unforgivable sin of finding romantic happiness. Our task is to heighten the cognitive dissonance experienced by Republicans like my cousins on one side of the family, who love watching shows like Glee and have never made me or my partner feel unwelcome, but who want to sidestep the consequences of the votes they cast.

Our ability to fight back is further constrained by Michigan’s political dynamics.  We are clustered in safe Democratic districts so Republican legislators have no reason to even acknowledge our existence.  They have nothing to lose – certainly not our votes.

In this we have a lot in common with black Michiganders, though I know a lot of black people bristle when sexual minorities draw comparisons between our situations.  Like black Michiganders, we are almost entirely a Democratic constituency.  The rage at PA 4 that has erupted in majority-black communities reflects their realization that with all three branches of state government in Republican control, they are effectively powerless. When the anti-PA 4 activists complain that the act subverts the democratic process, they forget that the democratic process is no friend to them, either: Majoritarian democracy has no inherent protection for minorities.

And we accept it.  The political impotence of Michigan’s sexual minorities is partly a function of our learned helplessness.  But it’s also partly due to our own apathy.  For lots of us, especially when we’re young and uncommitted and have so many other pressing concerns, marriage equality and the family are abstract concepts. And it can seem frivolous to donate money for causes like marriage equality when sexual minorities in so much of the non-Western world face more severe challenges in their own societies.

I myself have been guilty of apathy.  While I supported marriage and adoption equality, neither was much of a priority to me until I finally ended up in a committed long-term relationship & started to have something economic at stake.  Once I began to face decisions about health insurance, tax deductions, estate planning, I began to understand why I could no longer sit on the sidelines.

Last Wednesday two examples of grassroots political activism were juxtaposed in a way that I found both illustrative and frustrating.  One was, of course, the SOPA/PIPA blackouts.  My Facebook feed erupted in a way I don’t think I’d ever seen before, with anti-SOPA/PIPA posts from what seemed like half of my contacts.  Not since the Obama campaign had my Millenial peers, in particular, seemed so politically engaged.

The day of action at the state Capitol protesting the domestic partner benefits ban, in contrast, seemed to get hardly any attention at all except from certain LGBT  organizations like Equality Michigan & Affirmations.  Even the gay football team the Michigan Panthers, who I follow on Facebook, didn’t make a peep.

I felt a wee bit guilty for not taking the day off work to join the protest. That feeling grew stronger when at the day’s end, I read the post* by autBar’s owner Keith Orr reporting back on the event:

(I)f we are going to make an impact, we need more than the 250 people who showed up to work for the cause… (W)e need our straight allies to “come out of the closet”. They need to be active and vocal about our civil rights.

But we can’t expect it of them if we don’t do it ourselves… (I)t felt very real chanting “Gay Families Matter”.

But we need a bigger “family”…

We have to make them care.

And we have to get our friends and family to care.

I agree with Keith Orr that we can do better.  Today, we’re getting another chance to get it right, as a lesbian couple in Hazel Park sued to overturn the state’s ban on adoption by unmarried couples.  You know Attorney General Bill Schuette, whose hatred and contempt for people who aren’t straight is unsurpassed among state elected officials, will fight this suit every step of the way.

If you’re upset by this post and starting to feel a bit guilty yourself, head over to one of the following websites and donate to one or more of the organizations who are fighting hard against the Republican legislature’s agenda of hate:

And if you live in a state legislative district represented by a Republican, or you yourself are a Republican, it’s even more important that you contact your Republican legislator or your party leadership to let them know that what they are doing is not OK.  It’s time to stop systematically undermining families and condoning hate. The Party has to do better.

*H/T the Ann Arbor Chronicle

A couple of upcoming protests

Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun

The sleeping giant of pinko activism is finally stirring after 2 years of numb paralysis in the face of Tea Party dominance.  At some point, college students, the long-term unemployed and others who have the time to spare to dedicate to sustained hell-raising finally gathered the motivation to start organizing and demonstrating to protect the interests of what has become known as the 99%.

I’m too busy these days to post on this blog, let alone demonstrate in my class interest, but I’m pleased to see a critical mass of people emerging who are willing to do so.  Here in metro Detroit we have plenty to get riled up about.  While I personally think it would make a lot more sense for Occupy Detroit to be occupying, say, the Oakland County administrative campus in Pontiac or the State Capitol, there are a couple of upcoming events in the D that I thought worth publicizing:

1) Action Against the Detroit International Bridge Company,  October 27 (today!), 5-6pm, at 18th and Lafayette  near Ste. Anne’s Church.  Further details available at the Facebook event page.  The event is organized by BridgeWatch Detroit.  Here’s some background, if you need it, on why the DIBC is perhaps the most pernicious organization in Detroit.

2) Rally Opposing Bus Cuts, Friday, 10/28, Grand Circus Park, 3:30pm.  Transportation Riders United Executive Director Megan Owens writes that participants will:

(M)arch to the Rosa Parks Transit Center, handing out action alerts along the way, then over to SMART HQ and the Spirit of Detroit at the C.A.Y. Municipal Center for a short rally around 5pm where bus riders, advocates (including me) and others will speak.

It should be a great opportunity to keep the pressure on Mayor Bing to improve DDOT service and remind the legislature why they need to follow the Governor’s recommendations…   (on public transit)

Really, you don’t have to be a raging lefty like myself to get behind either of these causes.   Please post a comment or email me if you end up attending either and report back on your experience!

The homeownership racket

The Detroit area has the dubious distinction of having lost more home value than any other large metropolitan area in the country.  Metro Detroiters are acutely aware of the consequences:

In metro Detroit home prices… are roughly 38% below their 2000 levels.

Other cities that have home prices below their 2000 levels when the index was set at 100 are Cleveland, which has an index of 98.88, and Las Vegas, which has a 95.6 level. Metro Detroit is at 62.

While other metros are slowly beginning to recover, we are not: “Home prices in metro Detroit were down 2.8% from April, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. The only other city to see a drop in prices over April levels was Tampa with a 0.6% decline.” And there’s no end in sight:

Detroit home prices posted sharp declines during the first 6 months of 2011, according to a new report.  And the decline is expected to continue during the next 6 months.  Clear Capital reports Detroit’s home sale prices were down 19.8% during the first half of the year compared to the first six months of 2010… Alex Villacorta with Clear Capital… says Detroit’s home prices are expected to dip another 4% between now and end of December.

L. Brooks Patterson loves to crow about how sprawl has supposedly helped Oakland County, but you won’t hear him admitting how overbuilding helped to destroy the wealth of OC homeowners after the housing bubble popped.

It is no coincidence that Detroit’s rate of homeownership was the highest of the nation’s largest metros in the mid-20th century.  Detroit’s culture of homeownership is tied hand and foot to its high levels of segregation.  It has been amply documented how realtors exacerbated white flight from Detroit neighborhoods beginning in the 1950s;  they deliberately stoked fear among white homeowners with rumours that blacks were moving in and would bring down home prices.  They profited from the resulting turnover as entire neighborhoods flipped within the course of a decade.  Other aging industrial metropoli with large black populations, like Chicago and New York City, were protected from such rapid turnover partly by their lower rates of homeownership; renters simply did not have as much at stake financially in their neighborhood, and were less overcome by panic.

Federal housing policy was the catalyzing agent that allowed Detroit’s metropolitan area to sprawl uncontrollably after World War II; it was the Kevorkian that enabled the region’s economic suicide.  And federal housing policy, under both Democrats and Republicans, continues to wreak havoc on Detroit.

But what role exactly does the government play in homeownership?  “The United States spends more than $100 billion annually to subsidize homeowners,” explain NYU business professor Viral V. Acharya and a number of his colleagues in a New York Times op-ed. These expenditures, Acharya et al continue, are a significant driver of the federal deficit: “according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, these tax breaks add up to $700 billion in lost government revenue over the five-year period through 2014.”  Joshua Green, formerly of the Atlantic, elaborates:

Even before the 2008 financial crisis, the government assumed the credit risk on most loans, which allowed banks to offer better rates, but ultimately left taxpayers footing the bill when the housing market collapsed: $138 billion and counting.

During the crisis, the government became even more involved in the mortgage market by rescuing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and agreeing to backstop larger loans… Today, the government backs 95 percent of new loans, leaving taxpayers more exposed than ever.

Many Americans have come to regard cheap mortgages as an entitlement.

And yet it’s not clear this fire hose of money has done much to increase the total level of American homeownership, Acharya et al suggest:

According to data collected by Alex J. Pollock of the American Enterprise Institute, a comparison of homeownership among economically advanced countries shows that the United States is in the middle of the pack, which suggests that subsidizing housing with tax breaks is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for a flourishing housing market. Rather, these subsidies enabled people to borrow more than they could afford so they could buy houses bigger than they needed…

Felix Salmon agrees that “there’s not even any real evidence that the deduction actually increases homeownership, rather than just artificially making houses more expensive to buy.”

Yet why is the deduction so popular?  One big problem is that a lot of Americans think they benefit from the tax treatment of mortgage interest more than they do, a belief perpetuated by misguided liberals who claim it helps low-income people attain the American dream. But  according to Adam S. Posen of  the Peterson Institute for International Economics, “This part of the tax code incentivizes speculation and borrowing, rather than investment and saving. It is very regressive.” Acharya et al write,

Renters get no breaks; homeowners get tons of them… homeownership policies and mortgage subsidies in the United States benefit the rich a lot more than the poor. For example, the economists James Poterba and Todd Sinai recently estimated that the benefits from the mortgage interest deduction for the average homeowning household that earns between $40,000 and $75,000 were about 10 times smaller than the benefits that accrue to the average household earning more than $250,000. These policies increase income inequality instead of reducing it.

Felix does a bit more of the math:

Households earning more than $200,000 a year account for less than 10% of the returns, but get 30% of all the benefits. And households earning more than $100,000 a year get 69% of all the benefit. The mortgage-interest deduction might be a middle-class tax break, but realistically it’s an upper-middle-class tax break…

He concludes, “Homeownership, especially during times of high unemployment, does more harm than good.”

If we capped federal loan limits for guaranteeing mortgages as well as the amount of interest that could be deducted, most homeowners would not be affected, only those that spend most lavishly on their homes.  As usual, the homebuilders  lobby for distortionary policy that encourages sprawl.

The banks do their bit to make a bad situation worse:

Lenders historically have treated residents of cities and rural areas as riskier than those who live in the suburbs… Poverty rates are higher in urban and rural areas. Potential borrowers tend to have lower credit scores and less money saved for down payments. In other words, lenders may charge higher rates on average because borrowers in these areas disproportionately pose greater risks.

Professor (Brent) Ambrose (of Penn State) said that determining the value of properties was also a challenge. Mortgage loans are secured by the value of the borrower’s home. The methods that lenders use to judge the value of a home, however, are best suited to the suburbs, where clusters of broadly similar houses allow easy comparisons… (I)n urban areas there can be too much noise in the data – large numbers of different kinds of homes in close proximity. The result is that lenders are less confident about the quality of their collateral…

Contrast our experience with that of Texas.  Slate’s Annie Lowrey cites one ingredient of the recipe for Texas’ economic resilience amidst the rest of the country’s recent contraction:

Texas kept its housing-finance regulations tight. As Alyssa Katz noted last year in The Big Money, Texas has had a longtime commitment to ensuring that homeowners make significant down payments and do not use their houses like piggy banks. The rules bar Texans from taking out home-equity lines of credit worth more than 80 percent of their mortgage. They also ban “cash-out refinancings,” which add to homeowners’ debt.

As a result, Texas never had a housing bubble.

Jonathan Chait echoes Lowrey’s account:

The best explanations for Texas’s success, other than its proximity to Mexico and resulting high levels of immigration, is (sic) genuinely good housing policies. Texas had tight lending requirements that prevented the inflation of a housing bubble, and it maintains loose zoning rules that allow for lots of cheap housing.

Adam Posen suggests other reforms:

Create a national tax leaning against land price swings: Local governments collect taxes already on all real estate transactions. The rates should increase when prices rise faster than population and income growth in an area (and decrease when prices rise slower). The revenue from the additional variable taxes should be transferred from booming markets to depressed communities. This would counteract large swings in housing prices and in local government spending…

Set a minimum mortgage loan-to-value ratio and have it vary over the business cycle: A simple rule that all mortgage lenders must require a minimum 20 percent down payment would restrict both speculation and exploitation of consumers. This ratio should automatically increase in boom times, but never go lower.

There’s arguably a silver lining to this catastrophe.  Kurt Metzger points out that, if nothing else, we now have some of the most affordable real estate in the nation.  What’s terrible for Metro Detroit’s homeowners is potentially enticing for those looking to buy a home here.

Full disclosure:  As I’ve previously noted on this blog, I own my home.


We hear this week that my own State Senator, Rebekah Warren, has become the first Democratic state legislator (to my knowledge) targeted for recall in Michigan this year.  The reason?  “Warren’s vote against the repeal of the ‘job-killing Michigan Business Tax.'”  I could have told you back in November that Sen. Warren, or any Democrat elected from Ann Arbor, would oppose a budget package like that which contained the aforementioned MBT, and I’m fairly confident she isn’t quaking in her boots about this recall effort.

It seems like every time I go to a big event in Michigan these days, whether it be Motor City Pride or the Independence Day fireworks in Bay City, people are gathering petition signatures for recall initiatives.  The highest profile one is, of course, for Governor Rick Snyder.  You see those everywhere, and when I volunteered for the Obama re-election campaign people were constantly coming up and asking if we had a recall petition they could sign.  (We didn’t.)  There are plenty of other recall efforts afoot across Michigan, mostly for state legislators who supported the emergency financial manager legislation.

I generally don’t believe in recalling elected officials absent clear evidence of major corruption or criminal activity.  If your community elects somebody, people should have to live with the consequences until the next election, otherwise, what is the point of having an election or a fixed term length?  I especially don’t believe in it for the Michigan state House, or for other two year positions, when by the time a successful effort makes it to the ballot and is voted on, the next campaign for the seat is already well underway.  It’s easy enough to get rid of a bad apple in the next election. I can better understand the reasoning behind attempts to recall officials with four-year terms, like state senators.

I will go a step further by noting that I don’t accept the main rationale for the Snyder and other state-level recall efforts, people’s anger at the EFM bill that became law this spring.  I’ve explained at great length on this blog why I think this bill, while imperfect as most bills signed into law are, has merit.

Having made those two points, I do have my own hit list of who I’d rather see targeted and driven out of office.  If Michiganders are going to recall anybody, here are a few who deserve it:

State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville).  I don’t know if I have any readers who live in west Michigan, let alone Rep. Agema’s district, but this guy has managed to churn out a number of nasty anti-gay pieces of legislation in his short time in office.  The ones that in particular caught my eye, per Equality Michigan, “would prohibit public employers from providing medical benefits for domestic partners (House Bill 4770) and to make such benefits a prohibited subject of bargaining (House Bill 4771).”  You can read more about these bills at Between the Lines.  Tim Skubick describes another proposal of dubious value Agema introduced concerning e-verification of employment status.  Head over to Facebook to learn more about Rep. Agema’s other “Greatest Hits.”  My understanding is this particular House district is safely Republican in perpetuity, so it looks like we’re stuck with Agema.  But I can dream.

There’s another special place in hell for all the Republicans in the state legislature who are holding up action on the Detroit River International Crossing.  I’ve been keeping a careful dossier of all the coverage I’ve come across related to this project, but it’s getting so overwhelming, and so depressing, that I keep putting off finishing a post on it.  While I’ll enumerate a few legislators who I’ve seen cropping up in the news the most on the wrong side of this issue, the plain fact is that most of Michigan’s Republican legislators are in the pocket of the Moroun family and equally deserving of our contempt.

For one, there’s State Sen.  Mike Kowall (R-White Lake).  He’s been holding public hearings in the Senate committee he chairs on the DRIC proposal, on the pretext of getting the facts on record.  The impression I get is that the whole thing is a dog-and-pony show and that he’s just stalling on behalf of the Morouns:

Kowal… told The Detroit News he remains skeptical. “I’m not seeing a lot of support at this point … to vote it out” of committee to the full Senate… Kowall has said even a fall vote isn’t a sure bet.

You also hear a lot of this kind of thing (excerpted from the same Detroit News story):

“Why is government doing this?” asked Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Why doesn’t government get out of the way of a private entity that wants to do it?”

Well, Senator Nofs, I could give you a few reasons off the top of my head

Another whose name has come up is Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton).  And then there are the many out-state legislators, like Nofs, who couldn’t care less about metro Detroit’s economy and who are willing to let Moroun’s and Americans for Prosperity’s campaign donations make up their minds for them; see Jack Lessenberry’s conversation with State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker.

Do petty homophobes like Agema or the many cynical toadies of the Bridge Company deserve to be recalled?  It doesn’t really matter what I think.  Voters in their district were stupid enough to elect them the first time, so there’s little evidence any of them are in danger.  It’s just ironic how many legislators are fighting recall efforts based on much weaker grounds.