Sunday, April 22, 2012

Video: How Many of Michigan's Appointed State Board Members are Corrupt? Maybe citizens should find out.

Michigan is up to tricks again.  State board can make decisions on subjects on which their board members have direct stakes in.

Reporting from Rachel Maddow:

Using a search engine I have found out more about the appointed board that is able to make these decisions on their own actions. It looks like a system primed for corruption, and it's powers go far beyond petitioning.
History and Duties The Board of State Canvassers was created by the State Constitution of 1850. Over the years, the structure of the board has changed. Currently, the Board is composed of four members who are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Two board members are selected from each of the two political parties receiving the greatest number of votes in the last election for Secretary of State. Board members serve four-year terms. The terms are staggered so that the term of a Republican seat and the term of a Democratic seat expire in February of each odd-numbered year. The duties of the Board of State Canvassers include: Canvassing and certifying statewide elections, elections for legislative districts that cross county lines and all judicial offices except Judge of the Probate Court. Conducting recounts for state-level offices. Canvassing nominating petitions filed with the Secretary of State. Canvassing state-level ballot proposal petitions. Assigning ballot designations and adopting ballot language for statewide ballot proposals. Approving electronic voting systems for use in the state.
This group works under the auspice of the Secretary of Stare, which is currently held by a Republican elected in the 2010 election, because the former Republican SOS couldn't be re-elected due to term limits.

 Ballotopedia's page on the race is at Michigan Secretary of State election, 2010.
It unfortunately, then uses a banner for Michigan Attorney General for the results table, but I think that was jut a slip up.  An AG is a lot different than an SOS. And indeed Ballotopedia  describes the 2010 race for MI AG differently at Michigan Attorney General election, 2010.

 The Michigan governor appoints 2 new members of the Board of  State Canvassers in odd numbered years, meaning that 2 of the board members would have been named in 2011 just months after Rick Snyder was elected Secretary of State for the first time. The head of the MI State Board of Canvasser, Democrat Julie Matusak was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder in  February 2011. And in fact, she is the member of the board with the least experience on it.  From: Governor appoints members to state boards and commissions. 

And if Governor Snyder gets re-elected then it is likely that Julie Matusak could be re-appointed in four years.    I could not find the salary for Board of State Canvassers on the Internet.  I did find a PDF of a picture of some state positions at the Detroit Free Press Governor's Appointees Salary Database.  Where a blurb notes that
There are currently 177 incumbents that hold positions appointed by the governor. Half or more of these individuals have annual salaries of $88,434 or more (median salary). Approximately 63% earn salaries at or more than $79,650 - what a Michigan legislator currently earns.
and then turns a person over to an app that offers a free trail but then appears to want money for future searches, and a lot of information I don't want to offer right now.

Apparently, though, such appointees  make good money.

This is beginning to smell like California under Schwarzenegger.  The Republican  former action star appointed lots of Democrats to well paid positions,  and gave them perks like using state vehicles to go home on weekends in an apparent gambit to gain their approval for his gambits on turning the state to the right, a constant effort in the Golden State.

Like California, Michigan has voted Democratic in presidential races for the majority of them in the last 50 years, and who's last governor before Rick Snyder rode in on the wave of lies used by the Republicans for the 2010 election was Democratic.  In fact there are more Democrats registered in Michigan than Republicans, leaving the right to work back to power, apparently, on racial division, through which whites heavily outnumber minorities. according to Wikipedia.

Race appears to have been used to pass the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative in 2006.  The MCRI was not a real civil rights law, but one that was 
... aimed at stopping the preferential treatment of minorities (by race, color, sex, or religion) in getting admission to colleges, jobs, and other publicly funded institutions. It was decried by some opponents as a repeal of the 1964 civil rights act.
according to Wikipedia on a page (linked above) showing the picture of California's own Ward Connerly, who could be viewed as a politician much like Newt Gingrich for his views on how minorities should be treated in education.

The collapse of the automobile market was a big part of the downfall of the state's economy, and a large part of that came from the GOP controlled Congress which continued to refuse to raise CAFE (fuel efficiency) standards through out the late 90s and the first six years of the Bush administration leaving the Detroit linked manufacturers to struggle when energy prices rose after 2000. (yes it fell during the great Recession because of the incredible downturn at the time) but, of course rose again as manufacturing started to recover, and not because of policies of the Obama administration except those which helped save our economy from complete collapse.

The latest recession that started during the later part of the Bush 43 years hurt the state greatly and also kept it from developing out of its dependence on the Detroit automobile manufacturing industry.

Unfortunately, the GOP has a huge propaganda machine, heavily funded by members of the 1% that are more eager than ever to throw money at it, since they have found they can control government through the party and craft laws that give them more of American's money while cutting funding to keep families and communities solvent.

We'd better keep and eye on Michigan.  We can either help stop the rape of their state by the 1%, or we can allow the right wing machine to sell all our rights to the multi-millionaires and billionaires that are already lining up behind Mitt Romney.