Category: Politics

The 2016 Saint Joseph County, Michigan Primary is today

Remember the 2016 Saint Joseph County, Michigan Primary is today. The polls are open until 8:00 pm tonight and I suspect there will be short lines so the time spent there should be minimal.Saint Joseph County Court House

District 1: No primary for this district today. So this race will be between Allen Balog (the incumbent) and Cody Sharpe in November. FYI – Allen is the Republican and Cody is the Democrat.

District 2: Don Eaton (the incumbent) from Burr Oak Township is being challenged by Chad Behrens and Kathy Pangle both from Mendon. FYI – All three are Republicans and there is not a Democrat challenger for this seat.

District 3:  Dennis Allen and Heather Bright both from Centerville  and John Hyden from Three Rivers. FYI – All three are Republicans. The winner of this race will go up against Tim Carls the Democrat in November.

District 4 and 5 are not in contest this time around so no challenge at the polls this time around for these seats. Dan Czajkowski is running for the 4th District seat and John Dobberteen for the 5th.

County Clerk:  Melissa Marsh from Fabius Township and Lindsay Oswald from Lockport Township. FYI: Both are Republicans.

County Treasurer: Judie Ratering from Park Township (the incumbent) is running against Gwen Donmyer from Sturgis.

For more polling information see these two posts on WLKM’s news site

Three Rivers Chamber’s Candidate Forum

Don’t forget that the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum at Glen Oaks Community College tonight that will give residents one last chance to see the candidates before the primary next week. Check WLKM’s site for time and details.

In the case of Cody Sharpe and incumbent Allen Balog this may not be the last time you seem them together because they are not impacted by the primary. I haven’t heard if there are going to be any other events where those two will square off before the November election but I would suspect that there would have to be at least one more. 

Please let me know in comments if you know or hear of anything about another event.

 

Meet the Candidates Night

The Three Rivers and Sturgis Area Chambers of Commerce are collaboratively offering a “Meet the Candidates Night” for the County. The event will be held on Tuesday, July 26th at the Dresser Business Center at Glen Oaks Community College. This event will offer you the opportunity to introduce yourselves to the community and educate the voters.

The evening agenda be as follows:
5:30 – County Treasurer
6:00 – County Clerk/Register of Deeds
6:30 – 15 minute intermission
6:45 – County Commission Districts 1, 2 & 3

The program will offer each candidate a 2 minute introduction then several rounds of questions which will be garnered by the local media and Chamber’s Public Policy Committees. Each candidate will be allowed 1 minute per question. We will also allow members of the audience to pose questions in writing that evening prior to the start of the event. The session will end with a 2 minute closing from each candidate.

Source here. I am really interested in this one. I can’t wait until Tuesday,

Voter Registration on Saturday

There will be volunteers at the Huss Future Festival in Three Rivers to help people register to vote in the November election between 9am and 2pm on Saturday the 23rd.

To register to vote, you must be all of the following:
•A U.S. citizen
•At least 18 years old by Election Day
•A resident of Michigan
•A resident of the city or township where you are applying to register to vote.

If you want to check to see if you are registered, visit www.Michigan.gov/vote.

County Commissioner defends controversial comments

WWMT Channel 3 News has released a new story about the comments Allen Balog made on his Face Book page. on July 17th. You can read the whole thing here. Also you can see the video that is being commented on here (actually I couldn’t find the original video when I went looking for it so if you find the link please post in the comments

Update #1 A reader sent me a link to the original video so I edited this post to include it.

The post can be seen in this screen cap below.

Allen Balog Response

Unfortunately Cody Sharpe’s posts don’t seem to have a permalink included with each post so I will include his full comment below.

 Commissioner Balog’s remarks advocating bodily harm to protesters is shocking and reprehensible. The Cody Sharpe Campaign lends their full support to public officers and civil servants in the line of duty, and we strongly discourage illegal activity in the course of protest, including the blocking of public roadways and interstate highways. However, Commissioner Balog’s words threatening the safety of human life cannot be tolerated or overlooked by his constituents. We highly recommend exercising common sense while we stand in support with public officers and with peaceably assembled protesters for the Black Lives Matter campaign. We urge all involved to remain sensible and safe while engaging their first amendment right to protest.

You can view his post on his site but you will have to scroll down the page to find the comments if new posts have been added since this one went up. The original text can be found on the Cody Sharpe for St. Joseph County Commission District 1 Face Book page.

Update #2 MLive has a pretty good write up about the controversy along with more comments from Allen and some of what is being said on Social Media about the controversy. I would recommend that anyone that has an opinion on this (either side) should read the whole article. You can check it out here.

 

The Maple Street Soap Opera

This week on the Maple Street Soap Opera Cody Sharpe responds to my recent Face Book post.

 

Okay if you find yourself at this post and you are not interested in the neighborhood soap opera that has taken place between Cody Sharpe and I you can skip right past this post. However if you are hanging on to the edge of your seat wondering what happened after the Face Book fracas. This is it.

Shortly after our last post on Face Book he posted this on his political site. Sorry I couldn’t find a perma-link to the post but right now it is the second post on the page. Scroll and you should be able to find it complete and uncut. Below is my response to his post cut up into blocks of text. Other then cutting it up I did not edit, remove or change his words in any way. At least not intentionally.

So here it goes…..

It has come to my attention today that an ongoing dispute with several area residents has reached social media.

Several?. Are there more? I thought I was it.

While I will not attempt to suppress the right to speak

The beauty of the internet is that it is next to impossible for any one person or organization to suppress speech for any length of time. People who yearn to be free will always find ways to get their words out.

While I don’t claim to be any great freedom fighter I do now how to get my words on the internet. So to whoever went to the trouble (probably really wasn’t all that much trouble but…) of having my post removed from Face Book for violating its standards I would like to thank you.

Admittedly, at first, I was a little taken aback. It is my belief that I didn’t do anything wrong and that all I was doing is saying words that I believe to be true about a man running for a political office that will have impact on my life.

At the point it happened I was reminded that this was the second time that someone thought they could use the “power to suppress” to shut me down. The first time it happened it was the City Commission of Three Rivers who thought that removing the TR Forum would quiet the opposition to their Bill Gothard inspired governmental propaganda they were trying to push on our schools, our workplaces and our places of worship.

If you weren’t around at the time, which was somewhere around 2001/2002 that was the original spark that started Liberty 1st.

And now a new spark has given life to the site again.

I will address certain rumors that are being propagated and perpetuated by these voices. In addressing these falsehoods, it is my hope that we can put an end to the continuous discrepancies and lapses in communication once and for all.

I am not sure if you have multiple people calling you out or not but I don’t what you mean by continuous discrepancies and lapses in communication. I didn’t even know your name until last week. And the first time I said anything about on Social Media about you was yesterday.

Admittedly when I did the flood gates opened and multiple people told us many things about you. However, even with that information, I don’t think you will find one instance of me talking about any of the rumors or allegations online. I think I have been very clear both on Face Book and with the follow up conversation you and I had on Messenger today about what my issues are with you.

And before you say it, yes, Ronda did mention a few of the allegations but I will tell you this about Ronda. She is a fierce woman and the fact that she only mentioned those and didn’t go into more detail is truly a testament of her relatively new found self control because just 10 years ago the outcome would have been much different then it was today.

The question of whether those “rumors” and “allegations” are relevant today really depends a lot on one’s perspective. And I am of two minds on this. On the one had it may show patterns of behaviors that could predict how you would behave in office. And on the other hand I am very aware that context matters and that I wouldn’t want the entirety of my life to be judged by any 15 minute segment contained in it.

For now I think (and I only speak for myself) I am going to stay focused on current events and leave the rest in the past. However this is not any kind of promise from me. You are running for a political office and the context of any of those situations could be relevant.

And to be clear, just in case, anybody is wondering I am not talking about what people do in their personal life. I am only concerned about actions carried out in public settings.

I will say I do appreciate your offer and willingness to sit down and talk to me (or anyone) about these rumors and allegations. In my experience that is an effective method for dealing with these kind of matters.

I have attempted to resolve this dispute through civil discussion to no avail and, when this discussion did not work

So on this one I am going to take issue with you. There was not one attempt that I know about until I called you out on Face Book. In fact I am pretty confident that you admitted this in one of your posts there earlier today.

I have involved the police on several attempts to put an end to the whole misunderstanding, and again I would like to be clear that this is what we are seeing: a misunderstanding.

Again, maybe a nitpick, but this was not a misunderstanding. This was you using the power of the police to get back at me because my son had exchanged some non pleasantries over the use of fireworks on the Fourth of July.

When I was made aware of my sons actions I made it clear to him that this is not how we expect him to act while he is at our house.

And to be completely frank I cannot say how serious he took me at that time but I will tell you now he takes me very serious on this matter and if he ever says anything to you or your wife again I want you to make me aware of it immediately.

I have not incessantly involved law enforcement, simply when I perceived the situation to be beyond the point of my own conflict resolution skill set.

Once again I am going to take issue with you here. You HAVE incessantly involved law enforcement and one only needs to check with the police to confirm what I am saying here. And I have to wonder about the conflict resolution skill set you mention because you never attempted to talk to me once before today. And lets be honest. I kind of forced your hand on that one.

The rumors which are being circulated are nothing more than that; rumors which have been twisted beyond fact into a sort of character assassination attempt that finds no basis in fact or logic.

Again I am confused because it is not really clear to me what you are referring to. If you are talking about what Ronda said a FOIA request will clear that up so if it is a rumor you have nothing to worry about.

If it is old and out of context, again you have nothing to worry about. It could be your best opportunity to clear it off your plate once and for all.

If it is something else you are referring to or someone else you are talking about you are going to have to clarify specifically what the character assassination attempt was or I can’t really address this.

Much of what has been spread is hearsay with no grounding in reality, and therefore I will not directly address it.

Then why bring it up? If someone was saying something about me that had no grounding in reality I would relish the attempt to clear the record. Having said that I will repeat that I have no interest in discussing anything that is not relevant to your run for office.

For my part, I welcome discussion about where I have come from, who I am, and where I am going.

Good because with my very limited Googling Skills I didn’t find all that much about you. Where do you come from? Who are you? Where are you going? I am genuinely interested.

Any misjudgments in my past remain there, while I remain firmly committed to serving the residents of St. Joseph county with transparency and honesty.

I hope so but at this point I don’t think we are off to a good start.

I have faith that in the coming weeks and months ahead, we can continue to work together to achieve the sort of partnerships that best lend themselves to this transparency– partnerships of character, of understanding, and of truth in the face of vitriol and cruelty.

Am I really the face of vitriol and cruelty? I had no idea.

In the meantime, I invite your earnest correspondence at any time and look forward to speaking again with you.

At this point I am not sure if there is anybody following along with this anymore because much of this is just a rehash of what was said on Face Book. But if you are still here you may be interested to know that after Cody had posted this on his site we had a private conversation via Messenger where we have both agreed to settle the neighborhood dispute between us and that anything going forward will be in the context of his political ambitions toward the District 1 county seat and nothing else.

Getting what we pay for: 16 Ounces = 1 pint

MSN has this article titled Michigan lawmakers take their beer really, really seriously

Michigan lawmakers have proposed the most important bill of the century. Introduced last week, it would require every pint of beer to contain at least 16 ounces of the precious liquid.

While most things going on in American politics today go the opposite way from my political core this is something that I don’t find so distasteful (so to speak).

Just in time for the Obama Care “sell”

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News To Americans.

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Nice and it happens just at the time the government is trying to “sell” free Obama Care? Coincidence? I think not. However to get another side of the issue see the full article here.

Liberty1st Outreach

Lately I have noticed a lot of web traffic coming from other South West Michigan Cities outside of the Saint Joseph County area, which is where the Liberty1st forum was started and has spent most of its focus on. And while the current L1 forum doesn’t have anything close to the kind of traffic it was getting two or three years ago (from the old forum) there is still enough interest to keep it going. However I am starting to wonder if I should consider outreach to, at least, the counties surrounding Saint Joseph County.

The cities I see the most traffic from are Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, and Portage, which are all in Kalamazoo County. If you are one of the visitors from those cities or any of the city in the area and would like a forum specific to your area let me know with a comment to this post.

Meet the new boss same as the old boss

newObamaThe big story of the moment is that President Obama has suddenly decided to talk with lesser political beings. The famously aloof President who began his second term as if the 2012 election campaign wasn’t over is inviting Members of Congress, and even some of its evil Republicans, to lunch and dinner. The question is whether this is merely a tactical feint or if Mr. Obama really wants to accomplish something in the next two years and realizes he needs Republicans to do it.

The appearance of a new bipartisanship is perfectly consistent with such a partisan 2014 strategy. The more reasonable he appears today, the better positioned he might be to blame Republicans for failure next year. Independent voters love to see politicians working together, however haplessly, so Mr. Obama may figure he has nothing to lose by dropping his Democrats-only strategy for now. He can always sandbag the GOP again later. In particular, he’d love to carve out deals in the Senate that isolate House Republicans.

Our advice to the GOP opposition in the meantime is—adapting the Reagan arms-control maxim—don’t trust but verify. Mr. Obama has repeatedly demonstrated that he can’t be trusted in backroom negotiations where he can later claim to support something he really didn’t. Republicans need to test his seriousness in the sunlight where voters can better see who is the real obstructionist.

The Wall Street Journal ponders a new kinder gentler Obama.