Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Craig Covey D-Ferndale Files for Oakland County Sheriff Primary

For Immediate Release Tuesday April 19, 2016    More info:  Craig Covey 248.721.6434 cscovey@aol.com

Craig Covey to Run for Oakland County Sheriff

Popular Former Mayor and Commissioner will run as Democrat

“We Need a New Sheriff in Town!”

(Pontiac) Former Oakland County Commissioner Craig Covey, D-Ferndale, is announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Oakland County Sheriff.  He filed today at the Clerk’s office in Pontiac.  Covey was a Ferndale City Councilman for eight years, was elected mayor of Ferndale twice, and was elected to the Oakland County Commission in 2010 serving Hazel Park, Ferndale and parts of Royal Oak.  He lost that seat in 2012 after county and state Republicans redistricted the county, reduced the number of seats and gerrymandered districts in order to force out three Democrats.

He currently works for the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner as his Community Liaison. He worked for two decades with the Michigan Department of Community Health as an educator, and is currently the Board Chair of Ferndale Youth Assistance.

Said Covey today: “Oakland County needs a new sheriff.  We need someone who understands the changing realities on the ground in Oakland County, and the current desires and needs of the people who live, work and play here.  Republicans have held a stranglehold on this county for decades, and it is time for our evolving and diverse communities to disentangle themselves from the party of Snyder, Trump, Patterson and Cruz.  I may be David to his Goliath, but I’m going to give the people of Oakland County a choice in the race for sheriff.”

“We have an epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction along with rising deaths from heroin overdoses in our region.  Yet our county law enforcement community is locked in last century’s drug strategy.  Sheriff Bouchard continues to operate under a Nixonian “war on drugs” mentality developed in the 1970’s.  Instead of a strong focus on education and treatment around abuse of prescription drugs, our criminal justice system continues to prosecute and jail thousands for simple possession of marijuana costing taxpayers millions. The number one drug problem in Oakland County is the abuse of prescription pain killers which cause addiction and can lead to overdose and death.   There needs to be a call to arms for a major education campaign and a vast increase of programs for treatment and recovery,” said Covey.

“Our Sheriff could show leadership in the state by changing the focus of his huge resources to support a more robust fight against serious criminal activities that impact negatively the lives of residents such as auto theft and home invasions.  Instead he wastes resources on persecuting medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and similar generally law abiding residents,” Covey added. 

“Sheriff Bouchard spends vast sums fighting the losing war on marijuana prohibition.  He sends agents to hunt down and jail medical patients and their caregivers who use a plant that Michigan has deemed legal for such persons. In spite of numerous landslide elections where Oakland County residents overwhelmingly voted to decriminalize marijuana, our sheriff continues to use heavily armed narcotics agents, court officials, undercover agents, swat teams, dogs and helicopters to arrest grandmothers and caregivers who try to follow the law and are rewarded with arrest, anguish and prison”, said Covey.

Covey, 59, lives in Ferndale Michigan and has resided there for thirty years.  He was the first openly gay person elected by Michigan voters to a position of Mayor in 2007.  He has championed equal rights, diversity, and inclusion his entire career.  The past four years he has helped lead environmental efforts with the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner helping protect our streams, rivers, and lakes. 

An expert in community organizing, he has created and hosted events and fundraisers in the county that have raised more than $2 million for a host of local charities during the past two decades.

His positions on dozens of issues available at www.coveys-corner.blogspot.com


Monday, April 18, 2016

We Need a New Sheriff in Town !

Reefer Madness
(Originally written and posted in November, 2010.  Six years later, Sheriff Bouchard is still fighting the nixonian war on marijuana, despite the wishes of the residents of Oakland County.  We need a new sheriff in town, still !)

After raids and mass arrests last month by Oakland County against medical marijuana facilities and homes, Sheriff Bouchard at his press conference reportedly quipped, “This is not a Cheech and Chong movie.” He was so right in that his actions were not representative of a light-hearted and fun comedy, although the raids were reminiscent of past decades. A better comparison might be the 1936 propaganda film “Reefer Madness”, with hysterical officials warning about the deadly menace of marijuana. As the dozens of court cases from these raids now wind through our county’s court systems, it is time for more rational, calm, and enlightened discussion about the issues related to marijuana in 2010.

Voters in Michigan overwhelmingly voted to decriminalize the use of marijuana for persons dealing with medical issues and who obtained recommendations from physicians. The same has happened in fourteen states across the nation. But opponents of the measure are unhappy with this turn of events, and now claim that the voters were somehow duped, which seems an arrogant stance. In a democracy, the voters get to be “the deciders.” It is not elected officials’ prerogative to decide what voters “meant” to do, but rather it’s their duty to follow their instructions. Elected officials can be disappointed with election results, but woe be to those who thwart the will of the people. It is from the voters that we get the authority that we have.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, more than 55,000 Michigan residents have applied for doctor-recommended medical marijuana permits. Each one has seen a physician, and sent into the state a check for $100 to process their request. And while the state cashes that check right away, there is a reported seven month wait to actually get the permit back from MDCH. Meanwhile the state has received more than five and one half million dollars under this program.

Ferndale residents voted three separate times to legalize medical marijuana. Our city council then determined areas that could be zoned for facilities where physicians and others could counsel, prescribe, and or dispense the product. For two months the sole facility in Ferndale functioned well, with no problems, no complaints, and according to our own police officials and records, there was no rise in criminal activity in the area.

Two days after the City of Ferndale voted in new zoning areas for medical marijuana, dozens of sheriff’s deputies and narcotics enforcement team officers swooped down on homes and businesses across the county, including our own little storefront in Ferndale. The raids featured masked officers in full swat team uniforms, snarling dogs, and drawn weapons. Elderly patients, nurses, and business owners alike were thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and arrested. I suspect helicopters were buzzing overhead in case someone with severe arthritis or muscular dystrophy tried to make a run for it.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the raids was the confiscation of patient’s private medical records. Evidently ignoring the national rules on HIPPA which protects patient’s privacy, our own Sheriff in Oakland County has stated that he didn’t think marijuana was a proper medication for someone with back or shoulder pain. With all due respect, I would suggest that he leave the medical diagnoses and medication prescriptions to the doctors.

Certainly the state law now governing medical pot was not written well. It is unclear and causing consternation among local and county governments. But had state leaders done their job, we would not have had the citizen-led effort to force their hands. Now some law enforcement officials are using their assets to send their own political message that they don’t approve of the new law, and they are dealing with marijuana in the only ways they know how, which is to treat it as a dangerous narcotic no different than meth or heroin.

We have serious drug problems in our region, not the least of which are the growing number of addictions to legal pain-killers such as vicodin and oxycotin. But it is doubtful that fighting this epidemic will lead to sheriff’s raids on the local CVS.

In a time of dwindling government resources, law enforcement should focus on the serious criminal activities that put residents and visitors in true danger. They should focus on crimes such as burglary, auto theft, robberies, and other violent crimes as well as fighting serious drug problems associated with heroin, meth, cocaine, and other addictive narcotics. They can then send all the political messages they like, using the same tools that we all use such as lobbying, petitions, letter-writing and protests. But spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of precious tax-payer’s resources raiding legally organized medical marijuana facilities does not seem wise or prudent. Such over-the-top raids are reefer madness.

Craig Covey

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

How to Green your own Lawn and Garden and Save Money at the Same Time.

  1)       Plant Spruce trees, Pines, and other evergreens ten to fifteen feet north and northwest of your home to slow cold winds and preserve warmth in the winter.

2)      Plant larger deciduous trees to the south and southwest of your home in order to provide shade and cooler temperatures in the summer months.

3)      Planting fruit and nut trees can provide apples, cherries, pears, and other food for you and your family as well as for wildlife.  Many trees provide flowers and seeds that benefit bees and birds as well.

4)      Having less standard type lawn coverage can mean less mowing, less watering, less fertilizer and less weeding.  Ivies and other ground cover are more attractive and need far less maintenance.  

5)      Plant native species, which grow naturally in Michigan.  They will require less care, less water, and less fertilizer that exotic or foreign plants. 

6)      Be sure your downspouts and driveways drain into your yard and garden.  This rain is free water and not only nourishes your plantings, but lowers cost for your sewers and drainage.

7)      Resist using weed killers and lawn fertilizers.  Longer grass can help keep weeds in check and you can leave some weeds as naturally occurring or dig them by hand.  Leaving grass clippings and some leaves on the lawn will also nourish the grass.  Fertilizer can end up polluting our rivers and lakes, causing algae blooms and damaged water habitat.     

8)      Resist using pesticides, which can poison animals, pets, and beneficial insects.  Try using natural methods to control undesirable insects.  Not allowing open standing water or swampy areas can reduce mosquitoes.  Covering trash cans and picking up pet droppings will reduce flies and some bees.

9)        Keep leaves, grass clippings, and other organic waste on your property, using them as mulch or in a compost pile.  You can also add eggshells, coffee grounds, peelings,  and other  organic kitchen  waste in your garden or compost.  Do not include meat, fat, or animal waste in your composting.

10)  Do not automate watering or over water.  Let nature water your yard with rain and snow.  Let the natural drying out in August and  September occur and only water your garden sparingly in the mid-morning or early evening.

Plant some blackberry and raspberry bushes along with sides or back of your yard.  Then enjoy picking your own breakfast during berry season.

 Easy to grow annual and perennial plants in Michigan to provide food and fun around the seasons:

 Kale                             Asparagus

Cherries                      Apples

Pears                           Blackberries

Raspberries                 Mulberries

Spearmint                   Catnip

Hazelnuts                    Chives

Onions                         herbs

Tomatoes                    Potatoes