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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Talk To Me First

     As a kid you loved surprises, but the kids in the Michigan legislature don't. That's why the governor is taking some heat for proposing changes without consulting key lawmakers first.
    After seven years in this game, for some reason or other, the Granholm administration continues to worship at the alter of secrecy which is counter to the governor's oft mention mantra of "I want to work with you."
    Two recent examples are on the screen.
    For almost two years lawmakers did their due diligence to craft a new energy package which included a new coal-fired plant in Saginaw.  CMS Energy promised thousands of construction jobs and lawmakers though they had a deal.
    Which is why many of them were "shocked" when the governor, out of nowhere, tossed a monkey wrench into the CMS project during her State of the State message last month.
    In effect she slapped a hold on the plant through an executive order as she asked for a review by her Department of Environmental Quality.
    Some of her critics called it a flip-flop.  Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon refused to pile on pending more chit-chat with the governor.
     Those talks have ended and Dillon concludes, "I'm not in support of the Executive Order" but since she is his governor he quickly adds, "I'm encouraged with the governor's willingness to make it work."
     Asked point blank if the gov should have consulted before she took the unilateral plunge, Dillon diplomatically concludes, "I would have appreciated that."
     The folks who want to save the State Fair20are muttering the same thing.
     Once more, instead of bringing in everyone to problem-solve, the governor used her new budget to announce the proposed shutdown of the 105 year old tradition.
     Former fair manger Steve Jenkins, who resigned in protest, wonders why she didn't ask him for suggestions on how to save the fair rather than just broom it without even a courtesy call?
     The chair of the house budget committee wonders the same thing as Rep. George Cushingberry (D-Detroit) tries to undo the governor's unwanted surprise.


Blogger Hugh McDiarmid Jr. said...

If lawmakers were under the impression that the energy package included a new coal plant, they either did not read the legislation (which has not a hint of that) or were misled by energy utility lobbyists who were playing games. Advocates for energy efficiency and renewable energy said at the time that the legislation would require coal plants to compete equally with other alternatives through integrated resource planning,which is exactly what the governor's directive helps establish.

March 14, 2009 at 2:57 PM 
Anonymous Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club said...

Tim -- Somebody is working hard to mislead you and the public about a fictitious deal allegedly made last year in the electric energy legislation passed by the Legislature. An excellent opinion piece by Martin Kushler of ACEEE who was part of those discussions blew that myth out of the water a while ago -- go to to see what the real story is.

Consumers Energy is aggressively pursuing a coal plant that will bust the bank for its ratepayers, aggravate local health problems with air pollution, be a mammoth contributor to climate change, and undercut efforts to create good, sustainable green jobs in Michigan linked to renewable energy. Please cover the full story!

March 16, 2009 at 8:51 AM 

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