Monday, July 30, 2007

Factory Farms and Destroying Michigan's Most Precious Resource

The Republican State Senate has voted to exempt giant factory farms in Michigan from water pollution controls in place to protect our lakes, aquifers, rivers, and streams. While many of us are trying to save the planet and protect our natural resources for future generations, the tired old moneyed interests in Lansing keep trying to row the other way.

These giant factory farms that raise thousands of animals in close quarters for eventual slaughter are called "CAFOs", or centralized animal feeding operations. They are not pleasant places, but do manage to produce large quantities of cheap meat, milk and eggs. They also produce huge amounts of manure and urine, which is usually dumped into giant "lagoons".
(No matter how much one may enjoy rural life, you wouldnt want live anywhere near one of these horrific places.)

Basic common sense would hold that such profit-making enterprises would have to at least follow basic anti-pollution guidelines that attempt to protect our water supply. But the Republican controlled Michigan Senate is trying to exempt CAFOs from having to adhere to basic pollution guidelines.

This is why it is so hard for me to understand the reasonings of my Republican-voting friends. There is nothing conservative or family-friendly about letting giant cess-pools of animal wastes fester in Michigan, threatening our most important and valuable resource.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Diddling while Washington Dawdles

The first Republican Senator elected from Louisiana since Reconstruction as been caught with his pants down. Senator Ritter was a client of the D.C. "Madam" and admitted to purchasing the services of a sex worker. No word on the gender of the employee. Since the Senator is a conservative Republican and Christian, we could assume it was a female prostitute, but who knows with the state of hypocrisy among such politicians.

What bothers most people more than the act of a married man purchasing such services is the unfairness of the hypocrisy. Politicians who are traditional "family values" and law and order candidates seem to be the ones most often nailed for flirting with teenagers, cheating on their wives, and breaking the law. (prostitution is illegal). While such behaviors are wrong, it is particulary galling when one has a history of claiming personal morality.

The Senator has said that he apologized to his wife and to God. I think he forgot about the taxpayers and his constituents.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Coolest City in Michigan

My campaign run for Mayor this Fall is just a logical next step in the twenty years that I have lived in this cool little city. Many of the suburbs that surround Detroit look pretty much the same. Homes in subdivisions built in the last century, streets laid out in grids that do not encourage walking or bike riding, and struggling downtowns, if there is a downtown at all, are repeated in mind-numbing repetition. Ferndale is helping change all that.

Twenty years ago, Ferndale was at a crossroads. The storefronts downtown were mostly empty. Wig shops and nail salons were about all there was. Shoppers had flocked to the malls, built further and further out in the exurbs. Residents were fearful of crime and blight. An adult theatre and a massage parlor were sitting on Woodward in the middle of the town.

That has all changed. And that change came steadily and methodically. No single person can take all of the credit. The Ferndale Police Department kept the city safe. Mayor Goedert opened up city government to progressive ideas, and increased parking, including on-street parking downtown. Little bars and clubs opened up. Mayor Porter led efforts to repair our infrastructure.

The gay community had a huge role to play as well. Without a gay neighborhood or community center to call home, the Detroit GLBT community found itself in a diaspora. Palmer Park was abandoned in Detroit due to horrendous and violent crime. Birmingham was too expensive for many, and Royal Oak looked to become the "Boystown" or "Castro" of Detroit. But that city was not overly welcoming, and Ferndale had unique and affordable housing, and a downtown that showed great potential.

The rest is history. Young couples, singles, and gays moved to the city. Everyone began improving their homes and planting amazing gardens. Trendy stores and eclectic businesses began moving in. The Pub Crawl, the Art Fair, the Pride Festival and the annual Blues Festival
brought tens of thousands of visitors to Ferndale and they liked what they saw.

We agitated for mass transit, and we voted to oppose the Iraq War. We passed decriminalization of medical marijuana, elected the first openly gay councilman and the first openly gay county commissioner. We enacted a human rights ordinance. Now we are becoming known as a "Green" city.

My plans for the city? More of the same. Walkability, green policies, safe streets, diversity and friendly city services. High property values, no new taxes, more trees, and a fun and vibrant downtown. That is what Ferndale's future holds. That is what I want to do as mayor.