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Thursday, July 30,2015

Probe under way

Boles’ campaign activities raises legal, ethical questions

by Todd A. Heywood
THURSDAY, July 30 — Third Ward City Councilwoman A’Lynne Boles is facing questions on several fronts for campaign activities in the run-up to Tuesday’s primary election. Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said yesterday she is looking into several possible violations of state campaign law. But the bigger issue may be an ethical one over Boles’ use of city funds to send a newsletter to select constituents in the last weeks of the campaign.
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Wednesday, July 29,2015

DeWeese illegally diverted drugs, FBI claims; license suspended

by Todd A. Heywood
In a sweeping affidavit filed in federal court, the FBI alleges that said Dr. Paul DeWeese, a former Republican state lawmaker from Mid-Michigan, illegally diverted prescription drugs — like Norco, Xanax, and Ritalin — to the street.
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Wednesday, July 15,2015

McCloudy days at BWL

Bernero snubs Council, keeps appointee on board

by Todd A. Heywood
Despite having his reappointment nomination withdrawn late Monday afternoon by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Lansing Board of Water and Light Commissioner Anthony McCloud will continue to serve in his position.
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Wednesday, July 15,2015

Oops

Ethics group violates state law, county clerk says

by Todd A. Heywood
A committee set up ostensibly to bring greater campaign transparency to city of Lansing elections has violated Michigan campaign laws, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum has determined. Citing reporting by City Pulse, Byrum on July 8 sent a letter to Walt Sorg, chairman of Lansing Citizens for Ethics Reform. The group was pushing an amendment to the city’s ethics law that would have required, among other things, registering lobbyists and providing public campaign financing. The city clerk refused to validate the petition drive after the city attorney said the proposal violated state law and the City Charter.
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Wednesday, July 15,2015

Certified: Uncovering Lansing´s hidden rental crisis

LOW-INCOME FAMILIES SUFFER FROM DEFICIENT HOUSING INSPECTIONS

by Todd A. Heywood
Bancroft Court is a quiet street nestled in the Genesee Neighborhood on Lansing’s near west side. The house at 816 is a mustard yellow two-story, three bedroom, single-family home built in 1916, decorated with flowers in a new bed. Children’s toys are on the porch and yard. The exterior masks an appalling interior.
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Wednesday, July 15,2015

Behind the inspection at 816 Bancroft Court

by Todd A. Heywood
The results of a city inspection of the rental property at 816 Bancroft Court not only found safety violations, but also revealed the complicated relationships inspectors share with tenants and landlords in the city. Larry Connelly, a city inspector, visited the property on Thursday based on a complaint filed by City Council members. That complaint was based on photos shared by City Pulse and an expression of concern for the tenant’s health and safety.
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Wednesday, July 8,2015

Out in the cold?

City Council could ice BWL board reappointment

by Todd A. Heywood
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s reappointment of a firstterm Board of Water and Light commissioner is in jeopardy after he refused to tell City Council members whether he would support selling the public utility. At least three members of the Lansing City Council said they are not prepared to approve the reappointment of Anthony McCloud, the third ward representative to the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Other Council members did not respond to inquiries from City Pulse about McCloud’s reappointment, which has been tabled until Monday in order have more members present for the vote. To be reappointed, he will need to gain a simple majority approval of those present.
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Wednesday, July 8,2015

Ethics plan dead

Initiative group says cost of legal battle prohibitive

by Todd A. Heywood
The ballot initiative to amend the city’s ethics ordinance, which would have created public financing of local elections and stricter rules on lobbying, is dead. Last week, Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope refused to approve the measure. And Tuesday, Lansing Citizens for Ethics Reforms said it will not sue to force the city to place the measure on the November ballot.
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Wednesday, July 1,2015

Ethics proposal

Lansing officials weigh legality of ballot initiative

by Todd A. Heywood
ADDITION: BREAKING NEWS At about 4:30 on Wednesday afternoon, Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope announced he was unable to accept the petitions for a controversial proposal to update the city's ethics ordinance. “I applaud the goal of transparency in government,” said City Clerk Chris Swope. “However, the City Attorney Office’s review documented a multitude of conflicts with the Michigan Constitution, state law and the City Charter. Per the City Charter, I cannot accept these petitions as “proper.” The measure is now dead, unless proponents sue the city to force it onto the ballot. Officials with Lansing Citizens for Ethics Reform have hinted that may be an option. In Tallahassee Florida a similar initiative was taken to court by city leaders in an attempt to prevent it from appearing on the ballot. The city lost that court challenge the measure was approved by 67 percent of voters in Nov 2014. "We're very disappointed that the mayors first instinct was to oppose more transparency in city government," said Walt Sorg, leader of Lansing Citizens for Ethics Reform. He said they were reviewing the City Attorney opinion, and would determine there next steps from there.
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Wednesday, July 1,2015

Quiet, please!

Fireworks regulations may need fine tuning

by Todd A. Heywood
In May, Kya Rose got a dread phone call. Her 23-year-old daughter was dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Police are still investigating her death, said Rose,47. But now, months later, Rose’s nightmare is triggered over and over again as fireworks that sound like cannons rock her westside neighborhood home.
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