Governor Granholm Selling Out the Internet?

It's still difficult to pass net neutrality protections, and it looks like it might be getting harder because state level officials aren't able to withstand pressure from corporate lobbies.  The telecoms have a powerful and effective strategy - use their allies in the CBC and New Dems to stop net neutrality protections on the Federal level, while passing video franchising rights in the states so they don't need Federal permission to expand their business.  We stopped them in Pennsylvania, but they have the upper hand in a fight in Michigan where a bill is being debated.

The cable bill received lopsided 80-21 approval in the House on Nov. 14. Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, R-Wyoming, said he wants the chamber to begin debating it Dec. 7. Legislative approval would send the bill to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's desk.

Granholm's re-election campaign received a lift from Google's July announcement to expand in Ann Arbor. At the same time, the cable bill is backed by Democratic constituencies like the Communications Workers of America, which represents thousands of AT&T workers in Michigan. CWA Vice President Larry Handley said Tuesday that Google and other opponents were trying to "hijack a pro-consumer, pro-labor bill."

Liz Boyd, Granholm's spokeswoman, declined to enter the fray Tuesday saying only that the governor wouldn't support a bill that "in any way is going to disadvantage consumers."

Local officials Tuesday continued to press their concerns that the legislation rips up franchise agreements between local governments and cable operators. The House-passed bill instead establishes a franchise system administered at the state level by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

AT&T is seeking statewide franchising as a faster means of marketing a bundled package of services its cable competitors already offer -- cable TV, high-speed Internet broadband and phone service.

There are other severe problems with the bill, of course, including redlining and loss of local control.

Opponents say statewide franchising would allow telecom providers to pick and choose delivery areas, avoiding low-income urban neighborhoods, for example. Proponents argue that a cable provider would have to serve at least 50 percent of the state's households within five years of receiving a franchise.

Mark Monk, operations manager for the Community Access Center in Kalamazoo, said the bill throws into doubt long-standing local services provided through cable infrastructure. He said local governments would lose franchise revenue as well as access to channels that broadcast high school sports and city council meetings.

I'm told that there may have been a deal cut with AT&T and Comcast to push this bill through.  The stakes on this one are huge; if we can't get the telecom and cable companies to negotiate on a Federal level, we can't pass net neutrality provisions and the internet will really be crippled.  And since Granholm has promised not to sign any bill that would disadvantage consumers, she shouldn't sign this bill.

Moveon set up a special link for us.  Please use this link and call Governor Granholm and ask her to veto the "Michigan Video Franchising Bill" (HB 6456) unless it includes net neutrality protections.  If you live in Michigan, please call your state Senator and ask him/her to ensure that any cable bill has net neutrality provisions in it.

This is a slow, steady process.  If we can beat them in the states, we can force them to come back to the Federal level and deal with the Congress we just elected.  Everyone knows the stakes here, this is just raw pressure from the telcos being put on lawmakers.

There's more...

MI-Gov Granholm's Final Drive

I've had a great time following and writing about the Gov. Jennifer Granholm reelection campaign from afar this season, and I'll miss it when it's done. But in the meantime, there's work to be done. If you're a Michigander (or Michiganian) in residency (or allegiance), ask yourself: What are you doing to help get out the vote tomorrow? There's less than 36 hours left to go before polls close, and even less time left to help make a difference.

It's now or never and there are many things you can do to make sure we leave no rock unturned, or in this case, no voter left behind. The Michigan Democratic Party needs your help making phone calls and knocking on doors to remind people to vote and to let them know where to vote. You would be surprised how many people forget it's Election Day. If you aren't inclined to call or canvass for Michigan voters, what about offering up a couple of hours to give rides to polls?

Below, more GOTV ideas, an excerpt from a Granholm mailing, and details on where you can go to help re-elect our movie star guv, J. Grho.

If none of these options float your boat, go to this Granholm for Governor page and send a quick email to 10 of your friends, family, neighbors or coworkers reminding them to vote. When you look back on November 8th, you should unequivocally believe with all your heart that you did everything possible to get out the vote.

I've put some more helpful GOTV info further down in this post, but first -- like perhaps many of you, this morning I got a letter from Gov. Granholm in my email inbox. I quite liked the end of it, so here it is:

I am a Governor who works hard every day, for everyday people. My opponent, time and again, has made decisions to help himself and the fortunate few at Michigan's expense.

In the past four years, I've cut more out of state government than any Governor in state history. I've set in motion the most comprehensive and aggressive jobs plan in the nation. And I've protected and invested in education and health care and public safety for all Michigan citizens. We've made incredible progress, but there is a lot more still to be done.

Tomorrow, Michigan votes. I'm depending on you to help me keep our plan, and our vision of Michigan's future, alive. Forward this email to your friends and family and remind them to vote. Get on the phone and make sure that everyone knows what is at stake. You can make the difference in this election.


Well said. I said I've had fun watching this race go from looking sort of grim to looking like a key retention. But I'm going to find it more interesting these next four years watching as Gov. Granholm continues to put the state back in the right direction.

In the meantime, I put together a table showing information with phone numbers about all the Democratic Party headquarters around the state (of course, cribbed from the state party website). If you can help, these are the numbers you should call:

(Sorry, I don't know why the code is pushing it so far down the page. You'll just have to scroll...)

  Southwest Detroit

7000 W. Fort St.

Detroit, MI 48209

Phone:   (313) 887-6564 x6525

    Far West Detroit

19307 W. Warren Ave

Detroit, MI 48228



    Eastside Detroit

15240 E. 7 Mile Rd.

Detroit, MI 48205

Phone:   (313) 371-3104


Northwest Detroit

18963 Livernois

Detroit, MI 48221

Phone:   (313) 887-6520



    Marquette Office

130 W. Washington, Suite U-1

Marquette, MI 49855

Phone:   (906) 226-3160

    Escanaba Office

1320 Ludington St.

Escanaba, MI 49829

Phone: 906-786-0501



    Muskegon Office

275 W. Sherman Ave.

Muskegon, MI 49444

Phone Number: (231) 739-2809

    Grand Rapids Office

909 Cherry St.

Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Phone: (616) 451-0748

Fax: (616) 451-9607



    Traverse City Office

Grand Traverse County Democratic Party

955 E. Eighth St.

Traverse City, MI

Phone:   (231) 946-5555

    Flint Office

877 E. Fifth Ave.

Flint, MI 48503

Phone Number: (810) 233-0575



    Saginaw Office

126 N. Franklin

Saginaw 48607

Phone Number: (800) 220-1034

    Kalamazoo Office

3254 Westnedge Ave

Kalamazoo, MI 49003

Phone: (269) 342-4217

Fax: (269) 342-4757



    Battle Creek

91 W. Michigan Ave

Battle Creek, MI 49015

Phone Number: (269) 962-0447

    Jackson Office

218 S. Mechanic St.

Jackson, MI 49201

Phone Number: (517) 783-6980



    Lansing Office

1703 E. Michigan Ave.

Lansing, MI 48912

Phone: (517) 482-7250

    Royal Oak Office

515 S. Lafayette

Royal Oak, MI 48067

Phone: (248) 584-0510

Fax: (248) 584-1020



    Waterford Office

4520 Dixie Hwy

Waterford, MI  48329

Phone: (248) 674-7516

    Pontiac Office

41 Glenwood

Pontiac, MI 48342

Phone: (248) 636-3978

              (248) 636-3979;



    Livonia Office

13740 Merriman

Livonia, MI 48150

Phone Number: (734) 367-0490

    Mt. Clemens Office

230 North Ave

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

Phone: (586) 463-3990

Fax: (586) 463-8330



    Warren Office

8322 E. 12 Mile Road

Warren, MI 48093

Phone: (586) 558-9560

    Ferndale Office

23257 Woodward Ave

Ferndale, MI 48220

Phone Number: (248) 691-8530



    Southfield Office

18296 10 Mile Road

Southfield, MI 48075

Phone: (248) 905-5028

    St. Clair Shores Office

23550 Harper Ave

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

Phone Number: (586) 777-3905



    Ann Arbor Office

210 South 4th

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone: (734) 622-8190

Fax: (734) 622-8195

    Taylor Office

20155 Goddard

Taylor, MI

Phone Number: (734) 287-4574



    Ypsilanti Office

1486 Washtenaw Ave.

Ypsilanti, MI

Phone: (734) 482-6460

    Monroe Office

14930 LaPlaisance Ste. 105, Harwood Plaza

Monroe, MI 48161

Phone Number: (734) 244-7069


And before I forget, way to go Lions! Maybe the Tigers didn't quite pull it out. But beating Vick's Falcons yesterday afternoon should be an omen good enough.

Go Granholm!

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

There's more...

Scary Stories To Tell About Dick DeVos in the Dark

Election approaches, and just because I've already pled GOTV! doesn't mean I won't stop crying: GOTV! It's two weeks now to E-Day, and as I've promised, I'll keep up with diaries to do my small part to keep an important race on everyone's mind: Gov. Jen Granholm's reelection.

  • In an era where a woman's right to choose is under greater attack than any point since Roe v. Wade, it's more than a little disturbing to think that someone who said this could occupy the governor's mansion:

    "You're not going to find a more pro-life governor in Michigan's history than me."

    Even though to DeVos it would be more like the governor's shack.

  • If you haven't been reading LiberalLucy's reasons to "Just Say NO to Dick and YES to Jen," here are #14, #15 and #16. From the last, did you know:

    Dick DeVos is the only candidate for Governor in modern Michigan history not to disclose his tax returns to the public. He refuses to provide detailed information on his financial holdings or any potential conflicts of interests. "I will be disclosing to the people of Michigan that which I think is appropriate to understand as they look to make a decision about their next Governor."

    What ever could be in there? Maybe a few shares in Blackwater, his brother-in-law's secretive paramilitary corporation?

  • You know all about DeVos and dominionism, right? This is probably the scariest of all, via Rolling Stone:

    Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich's Contract With America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation's courts with judges who follow Old Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody. Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based" government that will endure far longer than Bush's presidency -- all the way until Jesus comes back.

    Cue the music from "Psycho." These people are psychos. DeVos himself has also funded the ultra-secretive, ultra-right wing dominionist-dominated group the Council For National Policy.

  • Another big deal in Michigan I haven't much addressed is the MCRI. What DeVos won't say is that he has been a major donor to the so-called Center for Individual Rightrs, which filed the original lawsuits against the University of Michigan seeking to cut off affirmative action:

    And when liberal activists challenged the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative in Court, CIR defended the initiative and successfully fought to keep it on the ballot. That group received $35,000 from DeVos' foundation in 2001.

  • And though this diary is about the election, let us not forget the Tigers World Series run - an amazing achievement so far by a team that Dick DeVos has only displayed a glancing awareness of. He knows he should be seen at these populist events, but if anything is clear about Dick DeVos, we know that he's no "regular guy" who watches sports on weekends. With that in mind, props to displacedyankeedemocrat, who identifies the Tigers as (D-MI) while the Cards are (R-MO). It's a natural fit. And DYD adds:

    I'll be rooting for the Tigers. Don't get me wrong, St. Louis is a very nice place, and I love their toasted ravoli. But Detroit has my heart in this one.

A good thing to keep in mind. Remember, if you want to help with canvassing, call your local Democratic HQs And go Granholm!

There's more...

MI GOV Call To Action: Will Michigan Newspapers Investigate New DeVos Scandal?

(Cross-posted in slightly different form at Daily Kos)

If you haven't been following the MI Gov race the past few days, Dick DeVos (R-Amway) is trying to distance himself from a company he owns. Why? Bad, bad, bad stuff.

In the debate this week, he claimed he was just an investor controlling 1% of the company. But as I noted at Daily Kos yesterday, that just isn't credible. The company's own bylaws surrender virtually all control to DeVos. And yet he took steps to insulate himself from the company. Maybe he didn't know about the abuse? Maybe he didn't want to know. And he sure didn't want anybody else to. But it turns out there is a potential campaign finance scandal hidden in plain sight.

DemWave at Michigan Liberal calls attention to the fact that not only is DeVos friendlier with the Alterra crowd than he wants us to think, the former chair of Alterra is the current president of the DeVos family's RDV Corporation -- his name is Jerry Tubergen -- has donated the maximum amount allowed to DeVos's campaign. Which is fine, he can do that.

But curiously, when he hit HIS max, he didn't stop. He got his "homemaker" wife and three "student" daughters to max out as well. And they all listed as their address... RDV Corporation's address. Yet Jerry Tubergen listed his HOME address. Does anybody really believe that these "students" donated their own money? Does it even seem likely they SAW the checks that went out under their own names? As DemWave asks: "How many students do you know with $3,400.00 in their pocket who would willingly choose to spend it on some 50 year-old Republican running for governor?"

The donations are available on the SoS page. Here I've put them all together in one place:

This is HIGHLY suspicious. IANAL and neither is DemWave it seems, but Michigan campaign finance law does address what it sure looks like is happening here:

169.231 Contributions or expenditures controlled by another person; bundled contribution.

Sec. 31.

(1) A contribution that is controlled by, or made at the direction of, another person, including a parent organization, subsidiary, division, committee, department, branch, or local unit of a person, shall be reported by the person making the contribution and shall be regarded for purposes of contribution limits as a contribution attributable to both persons.

(2) A bundled contribution or a contribution that is delivered as part of a bundled contribution shall be regarded for purposes of contribution limits as both a contribution attributable to the bundling committee that delivered the contribution and a contribution attributable to the individual making the contribution.

I am not sure what constitutes proof here. It certainly has the appearance of impropriety, though. This is a question reporters at Michigan newspapers should be asking the DeVos campaign. Will they?

Beats me. I've sent e-mails out to several of them, and if you've got a moment, please do the same.

  • Detroit News
    David J. Butler, Editor &
    Susan Burzynski, Managing Editor:
    Don Nauss, Deputy Managing Editor/ News:

  • Grand Rapids Press:
    Mike Lloyd        Editor     (616) 222-5506
    Joe Crawford      Editorial Page Editor              (616) 222-5483
    John Barnes      Metro Editor    (616) 222-5457
    Jeff Cranson      Deputy Metro Editor   (616) 222-5476

  • Detroit Free Press
    City/Metro desk: 313-222-6600; fax: 313-222-5981
    Lansing bureau: 313-222-6609

    More than a few make email forms available, or go to generic drop boxes. You can find them here:

  • MLive

    Meanwhile, there's more from DemWave already. Stay tuned.

  • There's more...

    MI Gov: Granholm-DeVos Debate Tonight

    It's a big day in Michigan politics, because tonight Gov. Granholm goes toe to toe, head to disembodied head with Scamway scion Dick DeVos, for the first of several meetings.

    As I noted in my diary about this last week, the man claims to be quite a debater, but if you've seen his cringe-inducing  "video blogs" on YouTube, you know otherwise. One imagines he's probably prepared pretty well for this, but our J. Grho still remembers a thing or two from her Hollywood days. It never pays to be overconfident, but it should still be a great show.

    It should be about an hour long, so pop some pocorn and cozy up with your laptop -- because the Disembodied Head himself has a challenge for you... If you're not local, you can catch the debate (on tape, alas, not live) on CSPAN tonight, starting at 10pm.

    There's more...


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