River City residents have given up on the Grand Rapids Public Schools, if the dismal turnout for the May 2nd school board election is any evidence. With less than 15,000 votes between them, pro-union candidates Monica Randles and Raynard Ross won the two open seats on the Grand Rapids Board of Education. When they join the board in July, board members endorsed by the teachers union will constitute a majority. In addition to Randles and Ross, the pro-union bloc will include current board members Tony Baker, Wendy Falb, Jon O’Connor, and Maureen Quinn Slade.
Mind you, the old crew was hardly anti-union and certainly not pro-taxpayer. At a public meeting last month, the outgoing board reported that they had gotten together with Paul Helder, president of the teachers union, to plot out how to organize a union-cum-social justice coalition and then draft GRPS employees, students, and parents into a campaign to hammer politicians for more tax dollars. More tax dollars for what? To maintain salaries and benefits for Helder’s union members.
It strikes me a bit odd that the Friends of Transit are pushing a new tax for a bus system that doesn't serve the lakeshore communities. So why are they sticking their nose into our business? If they insist on doing so, at least they could be honest about who they are -- namely, non-taxpayers who demand that others get stiffed with a tax hike.
Over the past few days my mailbox has been inundated with flyers in support of the Rapid bus millage. They touted the usual tripe about how the tax hike will boost the economy, bring peace to the community, and fill our skies with unicorms leaping over rainbows. Then there was a nice bit of mendacity about all these wonders costing only $1.50 a month in property taxes -- and if that's too much for you senior citizens, who vote in droves, you won't even have to pay that!
No surprise that the tax-and-spend crowd will peddle a lie whenever an empty promise won't hack it. What was a bit of surprise was the pattern I noticed in the pictures used in the flyers. It appears a middle-aged white man doesn't belong on a Rapid bus unless he is driving it.
The Grand Rapids Board of Education election is next Tuesday, May 3rd. Eight candidates are running for two 4-year-term seats. Your choices run from one incumbent to a semi-polished pair picked by the teachers union to a minister, a disgruntled mother, a working stiff, a kid, and finally a missing-in-action candidate (perhaps due to an alien abduction). In other words, the usual mix offering nothing much than the hackneyed tripe about too little money, too much racism, and, of course, it’s all about the children.
What none of the candidates seem to get is that the Grand Rapids public school system is a corpse.
On Tuesday, May 3rd, the Interurban Transit Partnership – the local bus system – wants to stick its hand deeper into the pockets of Grand Rapids area property owners. It has scheduled a tax election to replace the expiring bus millage with a higher, longer-term one. The ITP wants to jack up the bus tax by a third on property owners and wants to guarantee the payment of that tax for seven instead of five years.
So you have a choice on May 3rd. Vote “yes” and pay the ITP $110.25 in property taxes every year for the next seven years (on a $150K home). Vote “no” and pay the ITP nothing in property taxes.
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The Fixer A four-part series about the local attorney behind the demise of Autodie, Butterworth Hospital, Amway, and Old Kent. Warning: Strong accusations of corruption, greed, and skullduggery. Not for the feint of heart.
Poison The nasty nature of the 26,000 tons of poison that The Boardwalk's developers dug up and then dumped upon the rest of us.
No Honor Among Thieves: The Demise of Quixtar The re-branding of Amway as Quixtar put lipstick on the pig, but none of the crappy way of doing business changed. Now comes public scrutiny around the world to control its kingpins and clean up the dirty "tools" business.
Lost Cause A story of how River City lost its way to a secure economic future.
Living Wage Kills Jobs City pols support a Marxist policy that, like all Marxist policies, hurt the very people they say it will help.
Defenders Who Do Not Defend Excessive plea-bargaining, lack of preparation, shoddy to non-existent representation, conflicts of interests are rife among lawyers taking public defender cases on the taxpayer dime.