Header-lansing_1.jpg

 
Home » Articles »   By Mickey Hirten
 
 
Wednesday, February 18,2015

Open government

Leveling the price of the freedom of information

by Mickey Hirten
Starting this summer, most public bodies in Michigan will be somewhat more accountable, a bit more transparent, in allowing people to discover what they do and how they do it. The so-called Freedom of Information Act — so-called because it’s studded with exceptions and doesnīt apply to the legislature or courts — was modified during the just-ended legislative session to give people a bit more leverage to press government for information.
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, February 11,2015

One party payback

Republican legislative agenda:Radical to ridiculous to rational

by Mickey Hirten
The consequence of one-party government — that is Republican — in Michigan can be found in the 78-point grab bag of “action items” release by House members last week. As you would expect after years of inbreeding, what comes out of the Republican caucus can seem normal and reasonable … until it isnīt. Granted, itīs a political document thatīs broad enough to cover the spectrum of Republican thinking. And there are, in fact, initiatives that are some worthy for all of Michigan. But not too many.
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, February 4,2015

Surveying the BWL political wreckage

by Mickey Hirten
For a politician, itīs self-inflicted wounds that hurt the most. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero surely feels the pain after his failed bid to take control of the Lansing Board of Water & Light, the cityīs semi-autonomous public utility. Bernero orchestrated the ouster of BWL’s general manager, J. Peter Lark, who resisted the mayorīs push to treat the utility like other city departments. Prodded by Bernero and increasingly dissatisfied with the general managerīs performance and attitude, five BWL commissioners voted to fire MICKEY HIRTEN Lark for still unspecified causes. Bernero hinted — broadly — at changes in the City Charter to curtail BWL oversight by the board.
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, January 28,2015

Comedy of errors?

BWL resolution exposes anew City Council’s failure to communicate

by Mickey Hirten
The firing of J. Peter Lark as head of Lansing Board of Water and Light neatly sets the theme for the dramatic comedy that will play out in City Hall over the coming year. The first act certainly had its Shakespearean overtones. The king, Lark, is deposed. A princeling drawn from the ranks — Dick Peffley — ascends to the throne, interim CEO. His first act? Kill the queen. He fires Larkīs second in command, chief administrative officer Sue Devon. The Kingīs council — BWLīs Board of Commissioners — is riven with intrigue and factions. The City Council feels slighted and is preparing for battle. This isnīt Shakespeare, itīs “Game of Thrones.”
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, January 21,2015

Breaking up is hard to do

by Mickey Hirten
Divorces can be so messy and expensive. Lansingīs Board of Water & Light has been there before, in love with its general managers ... until it isnīt. The breakups — this is the third in 10 years — have a tabloid-TV quality: Grievances aired publicly, the blame game, lawyers and large alimony settlements. The Jan. 13 ouster of BWL general manager J. Peter Lark, orchestrated by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, follows form. It reflects the increasingly ineffective oversight of the stateīs largest municipally owned utility by part-time, inexperienced commissioners and Berneroīs gradual disillusionment with his trophy executive. The result of it all is that the mayor wants the utilityīs general manager to report to him like other city department heads. “We need greater accountability.” Bernero said. “This isnīt a new problem.”
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, January 21,2015

Chain of command

LANSING MAYOR WANTS BWL GENERAL MANAGER TO REPORT TO HIM

by Mickey Hirten
If Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero gets his way, the next general manager of the Board of Water & Light will report right to him, not indirectly through the utilityīs Board of Commissioners. Bernero has been coy about the formal change heīll propose for BWL at the state of the city address Jan. 29. But not about what he wants city voters to approve. “The structure is wrong,” Bernero said, referring to the relationship between the utility, the commissioners and the city as well as the chaos and cost surrounding the firing of the last three general managers.
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, January 14,2015

Bye, bye, City Market

The time has come to get Lansing government out of that business

by Mickey Hirten
Isnīt it finally time for Lansing to close its struggling City Market? It hasnīt worked and will not work. The city needs to cut its losses and move on. Thereīs an alternative. The city should develop a weekly farmers market in its underused Lansing Center. The long concourse, fronting Michigan Avenue, is an ideal location. More on this later.
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, January 14,2015

Briefly

by Mickey Hirten
General Motors introduced its new Lansing-built Cadillac CTS-V at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With a 640 hoursepower engine, the CTS-V has been called the most powerful Cadillac ever built. ... There is a new manager for GMīs Lansing operations. Mike Trevorrow, ...
Read more   Read it in print
Wednesday, January 7,2015

Lows and highs

Legislature punts on roads and funding

by Mickey Hirten
As legislators prepare for their mid-January return to the Capitol — the Republicans empowered and the Democrats weakened — itīs worth remembering the just-ended lame duck session: What the old Legislature did and what it didnīt do. It can stumble either way, and when it comes to hard choices and leadership — that is, fixing our roads — it did both.
Read more   Read it in print
Tuesday, December 23,2014

About time

Antiquated political opposition to relations with Cuba predictable

by Mickey Hirten
In a more rational world, the U.S embargo of Cuba, modified last week by President Obama, would have ended generations ago. Certainly, it was what the Cuban people hoped for in 1978. President Jimmy Carter, sensing the futility and ineffectiveness of U.S. policy, pried open the Kennedy-era boycott door ever so slightly. I slipped through as a reporter to cover a trade mission from Baltimore and other east coast cities.
Read more   Read it in print
 
 
 
 
 
Search Archive
Search Archive:
 
 

© 2015 City Pulse

City Pulse. 2001 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing, MI 48912.
Phone: (517)371-5600. Fax: (517) 999-6066.
E-mail: publisher@lansingcitypulse.com

 
Close