A2P Notes: This piece originally ran in April 2011. In the interim, much has changed, politically, in our state. The Michigan GOP and Governor Rick Snyder have waged a relentless war on unions, teachers, reproductive rights, gays, voting rights and even democracy. The contempt with which our state legislators have held the state’s electorate has elicited national media coverage that has all at once been analytical, mocking and hand-wringing. It’s important to point out that Rick Snyder came within 4 percentage points of beating Democrat Virg Bernero in Ann Arbor. Snyder raised more campaign money from Ann Arbor residents than did Bernero. In short, Ann Arbor Democrats and Independent voters who supported Rick Snyder might be doing some serious soul-searching about now, and those concerned with the political shift in our state might also take a lesson from the Occupy movements in Michigan and nation-wide and focus on accountability.
By now, people all over the state of Michigan are talking about the fact that Governor Rick Snyder ran a campaign that, in essence, was short on substance and lacking in detail. His “10 Point Plan” to “reinvent” Michigan and put Michigan “back to work,” included nothing about giving $1.8 billion in tax breaks to business while eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit for the most vulnerable of Michigan’s families. His blowsy 10 point plan didn’t include mention of the Emergency Financial Manager legislation which, according to critics who recently filed a federal suit against the law, “will illegally change collective bargaining agreements and violate the property rights of city workers, they say, and they argue that the move also disenfranchises city voters….”
Rick Snyder ran a “feel good” campaign. He shelled out over $1,000,000 to a Hollywood advertising firm that specializes in helping Republican candidates such as George W. Bush, Christine O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain shape campaign messages. Snyder spent millions, some might argue, misleading voters. If the group firericksnyder.org is able to gather the necessary signatures to put a recall question to the voters, Snyder might find himself out of a job. Ironically, the man who is preaching “shared sacrifice,” fiscal responsibility and discipline, is sitting on a $1.3 million dollar campaign debt including tens of thousands in unpaid bills to consultants. According to his post-election campaign finance statement, Snyder’s campaign also owes money to small, local Ann Arbor businesses including $17,500 bill for equipment rental owned to SFG LLC of Ann Arbor since June of 2009, $875 in rent owned to Waterworks Plaza Limited Partnership since November of 2010, $37.84 to Arbor Springs Water for a water cooler, mileage reimbursement payments owed to Ann Arbor campaign workers, and $500 to Westside Cleaning Service, Inc. for janitorial work done in in November of 2010. To see the complete list of debts, click here.
The Dearborn Press & Guide, a Heritage-owned paper, published an op-ed on April 6, 2011 written by Morris Goodman, a lawyer, progressive Democrat and Wayne County political activist. The title of the piece says it all: “The Good Word: did you get what you voted for?” In the piece, Goodman writes:
Moreover, do Bill Milliken’s and Bill Ford’s moderate Republican followers and Andy Dillon’s moderate Democratic followers really want, in addition to the decrease in unemployment compensation weeks: (1) the collective bargaining rights of police and firefighters almost completely taken away through the repeal on Public Act 312 and those rights of other state workers severely limited; or (2) pensions taxed like any other income; or (3) giving businesses a $1.8 billion tax break while at the same time essentially cutting the budget of $1.8 billion in “unnecessary spending we can no longer afford; or (4) cutting K-12 funding by $470 per student and lowering aid to Michigan’s universities by 15 percent or more; or (5) having Emergency Financial Managers very easily appointed with enhanced powers to override the decisions of elected officials and to void collective bargaining agreements. I do not think so….Snyder might still be a nerd, but he sure is not the non-ideological nerd his self paid $6 million advertising campaign portrayed him to be.
Democrat Mike Fried ran for Washtenaw County Commissioner in the 2010 August primary and lost to Democrat Yousef Rabhi. On his web site, after the recount, Fried wrote, “Based on the number of ballots where the only vote cast was for Rick Snyder, I can only conclude that a number of Democrats voted in the Republican primary. I wish that they had not done so, but instead, had chosen to participate in our own party’s primary.”
The defection continued on in November. Virg Bernero got a million fewer votes than did former Governor Jennifer Granholm in her last election. Snyder tried hard to get the black vote, but blacks didn’t fall for his “one tough nerd” campaign, or the fact that he had his election night party in Detroit, rather than in Ann Arbor. In Highland Park, for example, where there are no white voters, Snyder pulled in four percent of the vote. In Detroit, Snyder pulled in just five percent of the vote. On the other hand, Democrats and Independents fell for the razzle dazzle, feel-good, say-nothing campaign Snyder paid millions to Hollywood and DC consultants to design for him. Dems and Independents voted for Snyder, and in Ann Arbor they donated to his campaign.
The Liberal Independent (tip o’ the keyboard to Les, aka SEB) blogger who writes at StupidEvilBastard.com (SEB), confessed the day after the election to voting for Snyder. SEB points to a politically-naive September 2010 profile of Snyder published in The Ann as partial reason for his cross-over to the Republican party. The quotes from the pre-election profile, in retrospect, are almost as chilling as they are prescient:
On the issues, Snyder was similarly out of sync. Snyder’s top two Republican rivals, state Attorney General Mike Cox and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, both signed a pledge not to raise taxes; Snyder refused, calling it “kind of a gimmick.” On the eve of the primary, Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform issued a press release warning conservative voters that Snyder might raise taxes.
In July, the Michigan Tea Party Alliance rented the Eaton County Fairgrounds outside Lansing for a “LiberTEA Fair.” “All of the Republican gubernatorial candidates except for one came and gave speeches,” organizer Gene Clem told me. That one was Snyder.
StupidEvilBastard goes on to write: “I was really hoping that the Republicans wouldn’t take the State Supreme Court and it’s very worrying that they have and the fact that they have a super-majority in the legislator is also bothersome, but I’m hoping Snyder’s moderate bent will keep all of that in check.”
The Ann profile refers to Snyder as an “Ann Arbor RINO.” The problem, of course, is that Rick Snyder has proven, quickly, that he is neither a moderate nor a RINO.
Snyder’s campaign got a boost from his friends in Ann Arbor, where he doesn’t live, despite claims to the contrary by sloppy reporters, and in whose public schools his daughter does not study. In fact, Snyder got more in donations from Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelsea and Saline residents, than Bernero did, over $814,000 dollars from 1,400 donors. Then again, Bernero took Ann Arbor by only 1.5 percent of the votes cast for governor. Snyder got 58,029 of the 123,672 votes cast, and Bernero got 59,829 votes.
In Ann Arbor, these were the top 50 donors to Rick Snyder’s campaign:
|ANDERSON, GERARD M||Energy & Natural Resources||Electric Utilities||Gas & electric utilities||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|BRUST, CHERYL S||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|BRUST, ERIC W||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|CANALE, BRAD M||Government Agencies/Education/Other||Education||Schools & colleges||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|DARLING, MARTHA A||Government Agencies/Education/Other||Education||Schools & colleges||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|DUNBAR, WENDELL||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|FERRANTINO, JANETTE||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|FITZSIMMONS, JOSEPH J||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|FORD JR, WILLIAM C||Transportation||Automotive||Auto manufacturers||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|FORD, LISA||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|GLAUBERMAN, STEVE||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|HALLER, DEBORAH F||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|HAMP, CHRISTOPHER||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|HAMP, SHEILA||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|HAMP, STEVEN K||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|JAQUA, LISA M||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|JAQUA, STEPHEN J||Communications & Electronics||Printing & Publishing||Book, newspaper & periodical publishing||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|KINNEAR, THOMAS C||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|LAVERTY, SARAH GRACE||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|MARSH, MICHAEL E||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|MARSH, STACEY||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|MARTIN, SALLY||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|MARTIN, WILLIAM C||Government Agencies/Education/Other||Education||Schools & colleges||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|NELSON, SANFORD E||Government Agencies/Education/Other||Education||Schools & colleges||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|NEWTON, COCO||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|NEWTON, ROGER S||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|NISSON, LARRY D||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|NISSON, LUCIE C||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|NISSON, MICHAEL||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|POHLMAN, ROLAND||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|POKEMPNER, JOSHUA||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|PONCE DE LEON, GUI||Construction||General Contractors||Construction, unclassified||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|RINVELT, PATRICIA||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|ROSENBERG, JERI||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|SANGUNETT, VIVIAN||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|STRECHER, VIC||Government Agencies/Education/Other||Education||Schools & colleges||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|TERNES, JOHN R||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|TURNER, MATTHEW A||Finance, Insurance & Real Estate||Securities & Investment||Venture capital||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|WADHAMS, LAURIE||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|WADHAMS, TIMOTHY||General Business||Miscellaneous Manufacturing & Distributing||Furniture & wood products||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|WEISER, EILEEN||General Business||Business Services||Political consultants & advisers||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|WEISER, RONALD N||General Business||Business Services||Political consultants & advisers||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|WICHA, MAX||Government Agencies/Education/Other||Education||Schools & colleges||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|WOOD, PAMELA S||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|WOOD, WILLIAM J||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|ZURBUCHEN, THOMAS H||Government Agencies/Education/Other||Education||Schools & colleges||ANN ARBOR, MI||3400|
|PATTON, ERIN||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3375|
|PATTON, SHEILA A||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3375|
|PATTON, TIMOTHY J||Uncoded||Uncoded||Uncoded||ANN ARBOR, MI||3250|
In Ypsilanti, the single largest donor to Snyder’s campaign was the Greff family, Matt & Rene. Stalwart Dems, Rene Greff explained in an email that her support of Snyder was “a first.” While the Greffs were supporting Republican Rick Snyder’s campaign, their Ann Arbor pub hosted campaign events of Dems who ran for local and state office. In November 2010, Ann Arbor’s 53rd District Representative Jeff Irwin and newly elected state senator Rebekah Warren, celebrated their respective wins at the Greff’s Arbor Brewing Company. In December 2009, Rene Greff donated $2,000 to Snyder’s campaign. In February 2011 Rene Greff donated another $484, then in March 2011 another $500. July 2010, Matt Greff donated $1,000 for a total of $3,984 more than any other Ypsilanti donor.
On April 22, 2011, U.S. Representative John Conyers, gave an interview on the “7 Days” show in which he alleges that Snyder’s EFM law violates various aspects of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, and told the interviewer that he has been working with the NAACP, ACLU and is planning to take the question “directly,” said Conyers, “to the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder,” to investigate whether the law can be voided with a court challenge. Conyers said that he intended to speak directly to President Obama on May 2, 2011 about the EFM law.
A2Politico revealed in a number of entries in 2009 and 2010, that as the CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, Rick Snyder conveniently had no dashboards demonstrating achievement, or mechanisms in place to track what was being done with the taxpayer money being doled out in a boondoggle dubbed “crony capitalism,” by former Obama economic advisor Dr. Lawrence Summers during a 2009 visit to Michigan. During Rick Snyder’s time as the head of SPARK, there was an overpaid CEO, and shockingly little accountability.
Conyers told the interviewer on April 22nd: “Not too long ago, when there were certain people and one certain newspaper in particular that said, ‘Why criticize Rick Snyder? He is different. Why not give him a chance?’ And now, we’ve given Rick Snyder a chance. He’s showed us exactly who he is.”
To see the names of Snyder’s Ann Arbor donors, including two Ann Arbor City Council members, a Democratic mayor, various members of city boards and commissions, local developers and business owners, download the list here. If you want to see a list of all donors, visit followthemoney.org.
Don’t forget to vote in the poll. Do you still support Rick Snyder?