As a key Parks millage is due to expire later this year, East Lansing’s City Council held a tense conversation about whether the upcoming November election is the right time to try to get East Lansing voters to renew that millage. ELi's Alice Dreger reports.
This morning, the East Lansing City Clerk’s office provided East Lansing Info (ELi) with results of yesterday’s presidential primary elections in East Lansing. The results indicate that John Kasich easily beat his opponents on the Republican side, garnering 43% of the votes cast in the Republican race, in contrast to Donald Trump’s statewide win. In East Lansing, Trump came in second on the Republican side, with about 22% of the vote.
Above: City Manager George Lahanas and City Attorney Tom Yeadon, courtesy City of East Lansing
Michigan’s Department of State has determined that East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas violated the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) when he used his column in the City’s Dialog newsletter to encourage voters to vote “yes” on a ballot initiative in the fall of 2014. In a letter dated March 2, 2016, a representative of the Bureau of Elections advised Lahanas, “you are not entitled to use public resources to solicit a favorable vote regarding a ballot question.”
The East Lansing City Clerk’s office is currently in need of Election Inspectors to work in polling locations around East Lansing on March 8, 2016. The work is paid and helps to support local democracy.
Inspectors’ half-day shifts run from either 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. to closing (usually 9 p.m.). Full-day shifts run from 6 a.m. to closing. The City pays Election Inspectors $60 for half-day shifts and $120 for all-day shifts.
Photo: Ingham County FOIA Coordinator Becky Bennett speaks at last night’s hearing.
Last night, the Ingham County Board of Commissioners heard Alice Dreger’s appeal under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As Publisher of ELi, Dreger has been requesting records of all communications between County Clerk Barb Byrum and “the person who called himself or herself ‘Steve Meadows’.”
Image: The six candidates: top row, Erik Altmann, Shanna Draheim, Mark Meadows; bottom row, Steve Ross, Jermaine Ruffin, Nathan Triplett.
More than $112,000 was spent in total by the candidates in the very costly November election for East Lansing City Council, according to post-election financial statements filed last week. And this amount does not include the cost of unprecedented involvement in an East Lansing election by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Above: Screenshot of the presumably satirical "Steve Meadows" Facebook page.
This coming Tuesday evening, I will be representing ELi at the Ingham County Board of Commissioners’ meeting. We are appealing the County’s response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the “Steve Meadows” mystery.
Mayor Mark Meadows’ handling of an appointment to Planning Commission this week is receiving sharp criticism because Meadows failed to interview all three candidates or to do so cooperatively with the Chair of the Planning Commission, as is standard practice.
Above: Pat Wolff of the Tamarisk Neighborhood testifying during the public hearing last night.
Last night, East Lansing’s City Council unanimously approved a change to a portion of the City’s Code pertaining to Ethics. The change aims to make more transparent when someone with active financial business before Council has made a relatively recent campaign contribution of more than $100 to a seated Councilmember deliberating on the matter.
East Lansing’s City Council’s meeting this coming Tuesday night will include three public hearings that touch on “hot” issues in town: vacant, blighted buildings downtown; campaign finance disclosure; and the protection of trees.
East Lansing’s City Council voted tonight to withdraw from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, naming as the reason the attack mailers put out by the Chamber against Councilmember Erik Altmann during the election.
Image: Some of the blighted buildings downtown that may be demolished if a new "dangerous buildings" ordinance passes.
The new East Lansing City Council meets for the first time this evening, and their first agenda indicates this Council intends to move quickly on a number of politically hot issues, including blighted vacant buildings downtown, the ethics of campaign contributions, and a question of whether the City or the State should have say over whether landlords can make certain changes to nonconforming rental houses.