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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,773

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Warren sued after refusing to disclose names and pay

Macomb County's largest city is being sued after disclosing the pay of its employees but refusing to provide names, especially the identities, of some people in the fire department who were paid more than $200,000 in 2020.

Warren is violating Michigan's public records law and a series of court decisions, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation.

"It is essential that the public be able to track how its tax dollars are being spent," said Steve Delie, who focuses on transparency and open government at the Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

An email seeking comment was sent to the city Monday.

The Mackinac Center said it learned that three fire department employees were each paid slightly more than $200,000 last year and another three were each paid more than $190,000. But no names were released by Warren, which has a population of about 134,000.

Read more: https://www.macombdaily.com/news/local/warren-sued-after-refusing-to-disclose-names-and-pay/article_965ea08c-7ad5-11eb-953c-db5c8f486d5b.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 05:33 AM (1 replies)

Group files records requests for Michigan school, state employee pension information

LANSING — Some Michigan public school retirees say they are unsettled by a nonprofit's recent public records requests for their pension information.

"I still have no idea what they're doing with that information," said Thelma Sain, a retired Michigan public school teacher who lives in Georgia. "It's more information than I would give."

Sain and other Michigan public school retirees who are part of the state pension system were notified this week their names and pension information were released through the Freedom of Information Act request, Department of Technology, Management and Budget spokesperson Caleb Buhs said in an email.

Steven Schupbach, who works for the Illinois nonprofit American Transparency, which tracks government spending, asked for retired public school workers' first and last names, middle initials, residential zip codes, last employer zip code and monthly payment amount.

Read more: https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/2021/03/02/two-transparency-groups-seek-salary-pension-information-michigan-workers/6834356002/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 05:26 AM (0 replies)

Detroit Whole Foods Shoppers Urged To Self-Monitor After Covid Infects 24 Workers

Whole Foods Midtown Detroit customers are advised to self-monitor for Covid symptoms if they visited the store between Feb.12-22.

The Detroit Health Department said 24 workers recently contracted Covid at the store at 100 Mack Ave., which closed for nearly two days.

"Anyone experiencing symptoms (such as shortness of breath, fever, cough, aching, chills, loss of taste or sense of smell) should isolate at home and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen," the Detroit Health Department says in a release. "Anyone who would like a rapid test may obtain one up to 14 days after possible exposure. Call (313) 230-0505 to make an appointment at the Joseph Walker Williams Recreation Center, 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd ."

The city said it knew of no customers that had contracted Covid as a result of the Whole Foods outbreak, first reported Thursday by Detour Detroit newsletter.

Read more: https://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/27448/detroit_whole_foods_customers_urged_to_self-monitor_after_covid_infects_24_workers
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 05:16 AM (0 replies)

Aretha Franklin estate reaches deal with IRS to pay off claimed $7.8 million tax debt

When Aretha Franklin died in 2018, a powerful creditor came calling: the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS claimed the singer’s estate owed more than $7.8 million in unpaid income taxes, interest and penalties, piled up from 2010 to 2017. Even while other thorny dramas in the Queen of Soul’s ongoing probate battle played out, sometimes pitting family against family, the IRS remained the mightiest hammer hanging overhead.

Now, in a major breakthrough, Franklin’s four sons and the IRS have reached an agreement that would speed up payment of the remaining tax burden — while giving the sons an injection of money from their late mother’s fortune.

At the moment, the heirs receive no money from the estate because of the IRS situation.

Read more: https://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/music/brian-mccollum/2021/03/01/aretha-franklin-estate-irs-tax-debt/6864913002/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 05:07 AM (2 replies)

Captain Arrested: Detroit Fire Department Has 2nd DUI Accident In 8 Days

A recent Detroit Fire Department embarrassment now has a chaser, just over a week later.

A captain from the Ladder 6 company, found to be drunk early Monday after the on-duty crash above, is on unpaid leave and faces possible dismissal, Fire Commissioner Eric Jones tells WXYZ.

The unnamed officer, who wasn't injured, was on his way to a west-side fire at Majestic Street and Livernois Avenue around 2 a.m. He was serving as an acting chief and should have been directing the emergency response, but lost control at Milwaukee Avenue and the Lodge Freeway.

“The vehicle hit the fence, nearly entering the freeway,” said Jones.

He said the captain with decades of service, who worked out of the firehouse on Second Street, was arrested for drinking and driving, something there’s a zero tolerance policy for within the department.

“We are starting our disciplinary process. He is also suspended. The penalty for consuming alcohol on duty is termination,” said Jones.

Eight days earlier, a driver from the Engine 50/Ladder 23 firehouse on Houston Whittier Street was suspended after hitting a parked car as he answered a medical call. When police gave a Breatalyzer test, he allegedly showed a blood alcohol level of 0.108 -- legally drunk.

Read more: https://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/27453/captain_arrested_detroit_fire_department_has_2nd_dui_accident_in_8_days
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 04:59 AM (0 replies)

U.S. 'incompetency' led to Edenville Dam failure, couple claims in lawsuit

Victims of the Michigan’s Edenville Dam catastrophe are suing the federal agency that oversees hydropower dams, alleging its regulators never should have granted Boyce Hydro a license to operate the dam.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, lawyers for Dan and Cathy Allen of Sanford argue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission showed “gross incompetency and deliberate indifference” by negligently giving then-dam owner Boyce Hydro LLC permission to generate power without first making sure the company could safely operate the dam.

Had the agency scrutinized Boyce more closely, lawyers claim, it would have known Boyce lacked “the financial ability, competency or good faith motivation to make the dam safe or to protect the residents and property owners living downstream.”

The lawsuit, filed late Friday, also blames FERC for failing to order a drawdown of the reservoir behind the dam when weather reports indicated major rain was coming to mid-Michigan last May.

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/us-incompetency-led-edenville-dam-failure-couple-claims-lawsuit
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 04:40 AM (0 replies)

Business leaders to Whitmer: Time to ease Michigan restaurant restrictions

One month after Michigan’s bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen at 25-percent capacity, statewide business leaders are urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to increase how many customers are permitted in indoor dining rooms.

A group of 14 regional business associations sent a letter to Whitmer on Monday, saying they’re “encouraged by the data” on coronavirus trends in the state. The decline in cases since January, they hope, will inspire her to allow the next phase of reopening.

“It is no secret that some industries, based on the sheer nature of their industries, have been impacted more than others,” according to the letter signed by the group that includes chambers of commerce representing the state, Detroit region and Grand Rapids.

“Our restaurant industry has fallen into this category and continues to face barriers to remaining in business. Our organizations support the concept of a graduated reopening of restaurants that is science based and data-driven.”

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/business-watch/business-leaders-whitmer-time-ease-michigan-restaurant-restrictions
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 04:27 AM (2 replies)

Michigan ranks low in government transparency. Ballot drive would extend FOIA

LANSING — Michigan is saddled with a failing grade on government transparency as one of just two states that exempts the governor and legislators from public records requests, but voters could have the choice to change that in 2022 if lawmakers don’t do it first.

Progress Michigan on Monday announced plans for an initiative that will propose “full repeal” of exemptions in the state’s Freedom of Information Act, which requires officials at all other levels of government to release emails and other documents to the public upon request.

Transparency advocates in the Michigan Legislature are expected to propose their own public records request legislation this month, but officials with the liberal advocacy group indicated they are tired of waiting for action in Lansing.

The Republican-House approved bills to ease transparency in 2017 and 2019, only to have them die in the Senate.

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/michigan-ranks-low-government-transparency-ballot-drive-would-extend-foia
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 04:18 AM (0 replies)

Michigan Gov. Whitmer's ex-health director got $155K separation agreement

LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration paid former Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon $155,506 as part of a separation agreement that prohibits him from discussing his departure.

Gordon and Mark Totten, chief legal counsel for the Democratic governor, both signed the agreement Feb. 22, exactly one month after the health director abruptly resigned his post in a move he first publicly announced on Twitter.

“In the interest of protecting deliberations among government officials, the parties agree to maintain confidentiality regarding (Gordon’s) departure from employment unless required by law to release such information,” reads the agreement, first reported Monday by The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

While confidentiality clauses and employee separation agreements are common in private industry, health department spokesperson Bob Wheaton said the document “speaks for itself” when asked by Bridge Michigan how often the state includes similar deals for departing employees.

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/michigan-gov-whitmers-ex-health-director-got-155k-separation-agreement
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 04:09 AM (2 replies)

Texas lawmaker: Rename part of I-35 the 'Steve Adler Public Restroom Highway'

An East Texas Republican wants to name a portion of Interstate 35 in downtown Austin with language mocking Mayor Steve Adler for the city's homelessness problem.

State Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, filed a bill, HB 2471, Monday to designate the stretch of the interstate from Fourth Street to 11th Street the Steve Adler Public Restroom Highway. The area has been a magnet for tent encampments since the Austin City Council voted two years ago to repeal the city's ban on public camping.

In an interview with the American-Statesman, Slaton, a rookie lawmaker, said he came up with the idea after speaking with lobbyists, Republicans and Democrats who all told him they were fed up with Austin's homelessness problem. He said he recently moved to Austin for the session and had a hard time finding an apartment in an area he felt was safe.

"All they're talking about is the overall safety in Austin, and no one's excited about it," he said. "They think Austin's way different now and not for the better.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2021/03/01/bill-would-rename-35-stretch-mock-austin-mayor-over-homelessness/6874329002/

Another Republican wasting everyone's time with crackpot legislation. It's not like people are begging to move to Royse City.
Posted by TexasTowelie | Tue Mar 2, 2021, 03:58 AM (1 replies)
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