This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent to remain focused on specific public issues, regarding the personalities involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their private lives and other public business...
Changes may be requested by e-mailing the details to
It was interesting to me, to note the "ad libbed" concluding comments to his swan song, as Commissioner McKinney read his resignation letter to the public and media that attended the Schoolcraft County Commissioner's meeting of 12/19/06. I have little doubt that he did not want them entered as a permanent addition to the minutes of the meeting. That he said them, considering his position with Hiawatha Behavioral Health, indicates, to me, a complete lack of professional and public ethics, and a need for professional mental help.
McKinney's words, as quoted in the Pioneer Tribune, regarding his forced resignation due to a three year violation of the Hatch Act:
"I guess you can be a sexual offender and run for office but you can't be a councillor. That's what I take from this."
His stated reference to a "sexual offender" running for Schoolcraft County Commissioner, added to the context of Commissioner McKinney's resignation letter, and local political history, was as vicious a personal assault as I have witnessed in the Schoolcraft County political arena. That it came from a "councillor", employed by the tax funded Hiawatha Behavioral Health facility, added to my jaundiced view of most things, H.B.H., and social welfare "professionals", in general.
Because McKinney stuck his hose in a political wringer, voluntarily, and someone turned the handle, he used Erickson as a convenient scape-goat, to redirect attention from the consequences of his choices. With verbal slights-of-hands, he became the sympathetic victim of an unnamed "sexual offender" and a conspiracy of a power hungry committee members. He chose to evade his responsibility, as others have done before him, in a reprehensible and personal manner. His choice of misdirection was to repeat unfounded public innuendo, first used by the past successful public efforts of Commissioner Margaret "Peggi" Arnold and her sidekick "Meg" Wnuk, to malign ex-commissioner Erickson, and make him unelectable.
As I understand the scenario, McKinney added a variation to the baseless personal slander of the Arnold and Wnuk duet, creating a trio of lying political whores. I cannot start to imagine how small the personal gain was, for all three to toss whatever integrity they had. I do know that small frogs in small ponds sell their souls for a meal, or less, as I have documented, elsewhere.
For those that have any interest in the political and social baggage that accompanies the label "sexual offender", published in small town local newspapers, try a web based Google search; and then consider the evident nature of those that tried to silence Erickson, or evade their responsibility, in the manner they chose.
For those that choose to believe the vicious "sexual offender" based lies and innuendo, from those that I have named, here is a Michigan State Police reference that, in spite of the deceit and malicious gossip of various civic leaders, supports my contention that they, and not Erickson, are the ones that have earned public condemnation, instead of accolades.
Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry (PSOR)
I selected Schoolcraft County, and clicked on search. In two pages of names and photographs of Schoolcraft County sexual offenders, I found no name that I remember reading on any ballot, or publicized as a write-in candidate, for Schoolcraft County Commissioner. I did find, included in those pages, the name of a sexual offender who served as a member of the Schoolcraft County Sheriffs department, about whom I heard not one harsh word of public condemnation, or a spoken public statement or innuendo that he was a sexual offender. Instead he was awarded early retirement. I also found the name of a convicted sexual offender appointed to zoning business, in the best interests of the City of Manistique. Substantiated facts reflect the flexible ethics of Schoolcraft County's elected "leaders".
For those that have not connected the dots behind McKinney's false and venomous statement, I offer my perception of the implications of his statement, and the inferences I drew, within the historical context that I am aware of:
A few years ago, an allegedly mentally challenged young woman client of Hiawatha Behavioral Health, well past the age of majority, with no visible sign, tattoo or brand to indicate the type and degree of her disability, travelled in the community, often, alone; without chaperon, guardian, friend, or any other form of supervision or assistance. It was apparent, to those at H.B.H., and the public at large, that she was capable of functioning autonomously, as she travelled alone, often, to and from H.B.H. facilities, and wherever else her business, or interests, might take her.
"Street talk" indicated the mentally impaired client of Hiawatha Behavioral Health was sexually active. It was stated, by "some", that she made sexual advances to men, regardless of whether they knew about her disability, or not. It was "known" by some, that H.B.H. knew the details, also. With little regard for the propriety of location and circumstances, and with little concern for the taboos of social and political correctness, she chose to make advances to, among others, drivers of Schoolcraft County Public Transit buses.
The first Schoolcraft County Public Transit bus driver, that I am aware of, who was solicited for a sexual encounter by the mentally challenged young woman, was Ron Risdon. A series of failed attempts, by Ron, to prompt corrective action by his supervisor, Director of Public Transit, Kevin Swanson, eventually led to Risdon being fired from his job, because of his efforts to refuse her sexual advances and influence his supervisor to take corrective action.
Some time later, Doug Erickson, as a Schoolcraft County bus driver, was solicited by the same female mentally dysfunctional sexual predator client of H.B.H. Unlike Ron, Doug was fired because he tried to accept her sexual advances.
I use the term "sexual predator" to describe what H.B.H. made their client, effectively, not what she was, due to mental defect. I have no reason to believe she was a predator, by choice, or nature. I have plenty of reasons to believe H.B.H. personnel made those that rose to her sexual bait, their victims. An interesting form of sexual predator by mental health proxy.
Both drivers were investigated by the Michigan State Police; Doug, far more rigorously. In both cases, there was no basis for prosecution, and the cases were closed. Both mens' lives and families were turned upside-down.
How do I know of which I speak?
I first spoke to Sam Harma, the Director of Hiawatha Behavioral Health, who told me, in explicit language, that Hiawatha Behavioral Health would do anything to protect its clients. As far as Sam was concerned, the details were no-one else's business and should I be interested in pursuing my interest further, he had lots of legal horsepower, paid with tax-payers' money, that would make my quest for facts very painful. In summary, in polite professional language, Sam told me, effectively, to "Fuck off, Petey!"
Regarding Ron Risdon, we spoke, at length, and he provided me copies of most documents related to his undefined, unsubstantiated, unjustified, and patently unethical "terminations" of employment with Schoolcraft County Public Transit. Both of his "terminations" were the consequence of unspecified, and unjustified allegations from anonymous Hiawatha Behavioral Health clients and employees.
Regarding Doug Erickson, I received, and read, a copy of the exhaustive, completed, and closed Michigan State Police investigation provided to me, by then Mayor of Manistique, Margaret "Peggi" Arnold; after I declined her offer of support to run against Erickson in an upcoming election for Schoolcraft County Commissioner. After reading the report, Doug and I spoke candidly about the published and censored details.
I considered seriously, at that time, to publish my copy of the Michigan State Police report, with most, if not all, of the censored details and names filled in, from my notes, documents and conversations. The only reason I didn't, at the time, was in deference to the wishes of Mr. Risdon, and his wife, and Mr. Erickson, and his family, because they had all taken a terrible public whipping and had no desire to endure any more.
To the best of my knowledge, all the "professionals", and their political supporters, responsible for all the misery that led to Commissioner McKinney's personal slander, remain icons of the community.
One can debate, forever, whether it is appropriate, or not, under any set of circumstances, for a man, or a woman, to refuse, or accept, an overt offer for a sexual encounter. Some, in this community, have chosen to impose their personal view of human nature, sexual correctness, morality, ethics, and the law, in a fashion that speaks volumes concerning their intolerance and bankruptcy of intellect.
If Mr. Erickson is the "sexual offender" that ran for office, would it not, by a far more stringent concern for fact, truth, substantiation and justification, make Mr. McKinney the felon that held office, for three years? If Mr. Erickson was cleared of criminal wrong doing, during a hellish investigation, by what standard is he a "sexual offender", beyond whatever personal offense one might take to another's personal sexual preferences, and drives, regarding a facet of personal human nature that, to one extent or another, defines each and every person?
If Mr. McKinney did not know what the requirements were to be eligible for partisan office, whose fault is that? If the Schoolcraft County Clerk claims ignorance of the Hatch Act, who's fault is that? If Mr. McKinney violated federal law, whose fault is that? If someone was aware that, most likely, Commissioner McKinney was violating federal election law, why slander Mr. Erickson? If Mr. Erickson is no more of a sexual offender than I, or anyone else that has sought subsequent sexual gratification from a sexual advance, whose fault is that?
Rick Stram's comments, following McKinney's resignation, emphasized the corrupt nature of another influential member of Schoolcraft County's local power structure, that deals in the basic currency of deceit, evasion and misdirection. As quoted from the Pioneer Tribune, regarding Ricks "...lost battle in the "War for Schoolcraft County"..."It's unfortunate that a technicality was cited and used to remove a qualified person."..."The negative efforts that were used to uncover this technicality, I urge be redirected to focus on the positive."
As I see it, it is far from a "technicality" that McKinney committed an unlawful act by holding office for three years, when he was legally unqualified to do so, and it is no technicality that Stram urges for those opposed to this "type" of government to "focus on the positive", implying that lawbreakers and unqualified candidates are what Schoolcraft County needs. I will point out to Mr. Stram that his view is not shared by the federal government, it was not shared by whomever brought the issue to the attention of the federal government, it is not shared by me, and I have little doubt that it is not shared by anyone who understands the spirit and purpose of laws, regulations, and policies which are the only protections, in Schoolcraft County, from the likes of those running Iraq, today.
Either we live in country of laws, governed by laws, with equality before the law, or not. If the law is for some, but not for others, as in Schoolcraft County, and if you promote anarchy, don't cry if you get caught; or worse. For those that understand the need for enforced rational laws, regulations, etc., that promote civilized behavior, all the attempts to cop a plea show the offenders, and their supporters, to be the cowardly unethical predatory opportunists they are.
For those McKinny apologists that might say Mr. Erickson's name was not mentioned, no-one that I spoke to, with an interest in local politics, missed the pointed innuendo; but I did! The irony of the slander was, as a witness to McKinney's resignation, and with no reason to connect his bitterness with Erickson, I missed the point of the "sexual offender" reference, and wondered, for the better part of a day, who McKinney was alluding to! It was not until the following day that a friend spoke of a phone call from his wife, commenting on the slander, that I realized what had happened!
It is far from a technicality that Erickson committed no unlawful act, has been publicly slandered and libeled by current members of the county board, and in this latest game of pin-the-name-on-the-donkey he is now associated with an apparently subversive group that intends to seize power in Schoolcraft County! Perhaps someone should rename that august body of local political giants the Schoolcraft County Board of Idiots and Co.
Beyond Puritan hangups, and the inability of Mr. Erickson's political rivals to better him regarding most political issues, why the slanderous personal innuendo? What is the purpose of the history of personal attacks by Commissioner Aldrich, Frenette, and McKinney, along with those of ex-mayor "Peggi" Arnold, and Meg Wnuk, against the victims of a de-facto female sexual predator client of Hiawatha Behavioral Health? Beyond the political I.O.U.s gained for their attempts to mask Hiawatha Behavioral Health's , and Schoolcraft County Public Transit's failed public responsibilities regarding H.B.H. dysfunctional clients, what is the payoff? A stay at Mackinac Island? A "free" meal?
If Hiawatha Behavioral Health considered their client vulnerable, and incapable of functioning "properly" in the sexually charged atmosphere of life, whose fault is it that she victimized others, in the community, with H.B.H.'s consent, help, and lack of public accountability?
What was the reason for Commissioner Aldrich's Herculean efforts, with Commissioner Frenette's rabid support, to see Ron Risdon fired from Public Transit, after Kevin Swanson, Director of Schoolcraft County Public Transit, failed to take action to protect both Ron Risdon and Doug Erickson from the sexual pressures of a favored H.B.H. client? Why was the AFL-CIO affiliated AFSCME union representative, Dana Demers, conspicuous by her absence or silence regarding most of Ron's public lynching by the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners? By what moral imperative did the AFSCME conclude that Risdon asked for, and thereby deserved, the beating that he took?
Schoolcraft County Public Transit Director Swanson, and Hiawatha Behavioral Health Director Harma, both wanted their shit off their doorsteps, where it belonged, and by misdirection, and with help, made their failures Erickson's and Risdon's burdens.
After all is said and done, and I consider the influential political strings that extend from Hiawatha Behavioral Health into the community, I can reach but one conclusion, that, in context, makes some form of sense to me. It is about tax money, tax based economics, and the corrupted power derived from positions that influence the acquisition and spending of tax revenues in a county that, without tax revenues, would be less than zero. Those that control the acquisition and distribution of tax revenues, and the jobs they buy, rule Schoolcraft County, and show little to no evidence of any humanity beyond that which advances their personal goals.
It was reported in the Pioneer Tribune that Commissioner Dan McKinney stated that he didn't understand all the intricacies of the Hatch Act.
Hello Dan! Here's a starter, and you need go no further... It was specifically designed, by those with an appreciation of predatory human nature, expressed in politic decisions, to provide some degree of separation between partisan political office and the self serving redistribution of "public wealth". I suspect that knowledge has been mandatory for any high school graduate, since the act's inception, in 1939. Copping a plea that implies your tax based paycheck coming from tax revenues would not influence your political decisions concerning Schoolcraft County tax financed budget line items, runs contrary to self serving human nature. Take a look at Boss Sam's empire! The connection between County Commissioners and H.B.H. is legendary, and so is their financial support!
As far as my perception of Hiawatha Behavioral Health is concerned, the director of Hiawatha Behavioral Health is never wrong. His employees are never wrong. He will do whatever is necessary to impose his will upon the community, and shield himself, and his employees from scrutiny, or the consequences of official stupidity, with the default sanction of the board of directors. Sam Harma knows how to leverage his control of local tax revenue to maximize his return and reward the loyal, and he is no stranger to invoking privacy protection legislation, enforced by some of the best legal thugs that can be hired with public funds.
If I cared nothing for H.B.H's client and her family, or for Risdon's and Erickson's families, I would publish, on the web, every document and note I have concerning the entire unfortunate affair. Those families have been victimized by an army of self serving public officials, sniping from the cover of false claims of "privileged" and "private" information, guarded by tax paid lawyers hired to represent the interests of the snipers.
Commissioner McKinney learned well from his barbarian mentors. History indicates you can torment and hold civilized folk hostage to their own civility, or apparent impotence, - to a point. Pass that point, and it becomes a blood soaked leading news story, with all the crying, speculation, and wailing of "Why?" and "Poor me!".
Commissioner "Peggi" Arnold, spoke after McKinney read his letter, as quoted in the Pioneer Tribune: "I think it was a travesty to have Dan run off his job by a so-called committee that wants to put power in the wrong hands." While I listened to the attempt-by-some-to-seize-power comments of Commissioner Arnold, the adjective "vacuous" sprang to mind.
Vacuous: Devoid of intelligence.
What could be gained, over what already exists? The votes are bought already; the fix is in. If you didn't sign up as political predator, early on, you are political prey, now, by default. If you are not a predator, their is little more to be had than a meaningless addition to a political resume.
With no reasons to assume otherwise, I expect no significant long term tax revenue increases, no significant long term state and federal revenue sharing, continued tightening of federal and state budgets. I see a continued compounding of Schoolcraft County's public debt incurred by past and current "leaders" buying votes with increasing tax paid entitlements paid for by a general electorate whose income circles the toilet bowl. Looking down the 'pike there is way more debt to be paid, than income to pay out and keep the public trough full. Therefore, there is less than a snowball's chance in Hell that I want to hold office, or vote for new taxes. The future looks bleak for this crippled part of the world.
Last of all, who are the "committee" and into whose "wrong hands" do they wish to put power? Every person that I know, that thinks in a manner similar to Erickson, or I, is unelectable. Perhaps there is a committee of unknown psychopaths, that, through armed insurrection, will steal the throne of Schoolcraft County and put it in the hands of a puppet? Jeez Louise, gimme a break!
There is absolutely no connection between slander about an un-named sexual offender running for office, or a committee to place power in the wrong hands, or any of the other devious slight of hand politically motivated fantasy. It is all about public officials, paid or elected to do a job, failing miserably, and trying to direct attention from their documented official failures, to the imagined personal sins of others.
I wish it were in Schoolcraft County, only.
From my perspective, the electors of Schoolcraft County have shown their preference, generally, for blatant deceivers, grifters, and incompetents, to attend to public business. No conspiracy that I know of, or care to be part of, would, or could, change their preference.
So it goes in Schoolcraft County; and much of the world. Governments of imposition by predators, chosen by their prey.
Is it possible that no one in Schoolcraft County knew better? Did everyone see the Emperor's Clothes, that cared enough to look? Just think of the implications, from Schoolcraft County professionals, to party hacks, to high school civics students... I have marvelled at the gross ignorance, and stupidity, of many public service candidates and officials, over the years, but this sequence of events, over the last few months, has taken me by surprise. The community acceptance of the consequences of illiterates inventing public policy, and law, instead of qualified officials researching, learning, and applying that which is tried and true, has plagued this community for as long as I have paid attention to local politics, and this latest example of the consequences of official anarchy is a classic.
I hope that McKinney will gain a better understanding of his job, than his predecessor, in a relatively short time. I remember his predecessor as one of the best paid ignorant, and borderline illiterate, local public officials that I ever met, that I swear revelled in her ignorance! I have reasons to believe that McKinney has what it takes to be a great County Clerk, as long as he works for the general public, and not for himself, the Schoolcraft County Board, Hiawatha Behavioral Health, or any other entity with a vested interest in influencing county business through the offices of the Schoolcraft County Clerk.
I can hope, eh? History gives no reason, but hope springs eternal, regardless. I, and other public prey, will pay his way, for better, or worse. We have no civilized choice.
As I said, government by imposition, not by representation. The bent board members did not have the civility to request letters of intent! Unanimously, board members made the decision, as a matter of personal preference, to appoint a recalled commissioner, with no consideration of history, ethics, morality, merit, or any standard of civilized political behaviour. Political power, personal interests, and whim are all that is relevant, too often, regarding Schoolcraft County political choices.
I attended the Manistique City Council meeting, last night, and missed the latest Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners meeting. I was told, later, that, at the board meeting, resigned Commissioner McKinney was replaced by a Schoolcraft County Board appointed ex-Commissioner, "Sparky" Lauzon. Sparky was recalled, almost 15 years ago, for what I considered to be his district's electorate dissatisfaction with his bent ways.
It was common courthouse gossip, that he found more ways to claim unjustified county compensation, with lack of appropriate substantiation, than any other board member, at the time; but, I remembered him, firsthand, in different circumstances.
First, was his address, as Schoolcraft County Commissioner Luzon, to the Michigan D.N.R. hearings, held at the local Ramada Inn, regarding the request by Manistique Papers Inc., to lower the Manistique River level, behind their dam. He described the consequences to riverside property past the High Rollaways, in effect, claiming that water flowed up hill. Any kid with five minutes in a mud puddle knew better.
The fond memory of that entertaining evening of foolishness reminds me of my first attendance at a political meeting, other than a Manistique City Council meeting, and it was my first introduction to the power of political faith; absent fact and reason. At least once a year, regarding some conversation surrounding the upstream Manistique River level, some adherent to the Lauzon Laws of Hydrodynamics explains to me, with similar Lauzon fervor, the same line of fantasy that Sparky tried to feed the D.N.R.
My other personal memory of the "Lauzon Effect" was a conversation that I had with Leanne Trebilcock, the former owner-editor of Manistique's Pioneer Tribune newspaper, around the time of Sparky's political ousting. Leanne told me of the loss of the newspaper advertising from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, a significant loss to a small town newspaper, trying to maintain a degree of journalistic integrity. Leanne told me how Sparky's daughter, working at the hospital, had delivered the last order for the Hospital advertisement, and told Leanne, at that time, in unambiguous language, that the lost advertising account was retribution for publishing the substantiated news that helped to oust Sparky as a professional county parasite.
Since my conversation with Leanne, I have stayed as far away from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, as I could, so has my wife, because of the very real fear of political retribution through Schoolcraft County's primary health care facility. Fair or not, I consider my choice prudent, and, over time, I have learned that others chose to take their business elsewhere, for similar reasons.
Nothing like appointing someone to an elected office from which they were ousted by their constituents! The King was dead. Long live the King!
Releasing his ill gotten position as a recently elected county commissioner, to appointee Sparky Lauzon, ex-county commissioner McKinney threw his hat in the ring for an appointment to the position of Schoolcraft County Clerk, to replace the retiring clerk, Sigrid Doyle.
With reasons unpublished in the local newspaper, McKinney was sworn in to the Schoolcraft County Clerk position, on 01/25/07, by 11th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Charles Stark. The Thompson Township Clerk and program director for the Schoolcraft County Economic Development Corporation, along with the Deputy Schoolcraft County Clerk, remained as disappointed experienced wannabes, at least until the next general election in late 2008.
As a consequence of the appointment of the previously recalled Sparky Lauzon, to the position of Schoolcraft County Commissioner from which he was recalled, previously, an incensed Schoolcraft County District 2 resident, Al Burns, threw his hat in the ring for the upcoming election for Sparky's seat.
As a consequence of past Schoolcraft County Clerk policy, a vague instruction packet, and McKinney's and Burn's lack of experience in such matters, Mr. Burns submitted a wrong petition form, with the right signatures, and was declared an invalid candidate by McKinney!
After a flurry of conversations, threats, and phone calls, finally settled by the Michigan Bureau of Elections, it came to pass that Al Burns will be able to run in the general election in August, and no primary election will be necessary this May, because no partisan office had more than one nominee.
Credit where credit is due. From my perspective, since his appointment, Schoolcraft County Commissioner "Sparky" Lauzon has tried mightily, and to a small degree, been successful, in his attempt to bring a greater degree of fiscal responsibility to Schoolcraft County, as existed when he was "King Lauzon". Crippled by a stroke, he continues to fight an uphill battle against the legacy of the two main spendthrifts, Commissioners Aldrich and Frenette, allied with the dummy-whomever-commissioner-appointee-predator -of-the-month. Too often, it has been a thankless task, but I have thanked him, personally, for his efforts, and here in writing.
An attempt to gut the protection of the Hatch Act, at the local level, has been advanced by those that govern by their control over the subjective distribution of public funds and tax supported employment, instead of objective merit to the general public.
After the local Hatch Act related firestorm, partly documented above, and related Hatch Act controversy elsewhere in northern Michigan Democratic Representative, Bart Stupak, decided to seek modification of the Act to exempt communities with a population of less than 100,000. His efforts are reflected in:
COMMITTEE TO HOLD HEARING ON STUPAK’S BILL TO MODERNIZE HATCH ACT
"A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing at 2 p.m. on Thursday, September 11, 2008 to examine legislation introduced by U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) to modernize the Hatch Act. Stupak wrote to Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va.), the committee’s top Republican, in June requesting a hearing be held as soon as possible to review H.R. 4272 and the impact the Hatch Act has on rural communities."
I suspect that his decision came at the request of those like documented above, because the Act made it a little more difficult to control the candidates for, and outcome of, elections in a county that would be nothing without tax funded projects, jobs and political positions.
I sent the quoted email, below, to Representative Stupak, and a similar one to Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, in an attempt to provide a perspective from one whose ethics are not warped by a tax funded job, in a tax funded facility, operated by a tax paid supervisor, with the power to hire and fire tax paid employees, while allocating tax funds to the politically correct, while holding partisan office. From my perspective, it is to deny human nature to suggest that those with a job that is in any way dependent on tax funding for a paycheck, or its very existance, are not subject to undue political influence, or are not prone to exert inappropriate influence.
Those that cry "Foul!" in Schoolcraft county, because of the restrictions of the Hatch Act, do so because they can control candidates and appointees whose pay relies on the controllable redistribution of public wealth and assets, or public business. Candidates whose income is not dependant on either, or are not sworn party loyalists, are considered unsuitable, or their candidacy is not considered to be in the best interests of the community.
" 08/10/08 Dear Mr. Stupak, Regarding H.R.4272 and the hearing to "reform" the Hatch Act of August 2, 1939, an Act to prevent pernicious political activities: You were petitioned to seek change in the Hatch Act of 1939, by certain politically motivated individuals in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, several of them in Schoolcraft County, where I live. In response to those petitioners, you seek changes to the Act with legislative discussion of "...H.R. 4272 and the impact the Hatch Act has on rural communities...", with the goal to allow to run for partisan office, individuals that dispense or spend federal funds, or receive federal funds in their paychecks. You claim that the purpose of the Hatch Act was to "...to get politics out of the work place...", and "...Unfortunately, the Hatch Act, in its current form, severely limits individuals’ ability to serve in local office..." Generally speaking, from my perspective, your spoken and written position is exactly why the Hatch Act, as written and currently interpreted, should be left alone. The Hatch Act is about tax money, tax based economics, and the corrupted power derived from positions that influence the acquisition and spending of tax revenues in a county that, without tax revenues, would be less than zero. Those that control the acquisition and distribution of tax revenues, and the jobs they buy, rule Schoolcraft County, and show little to no evidence of any humanity beyond that which advances their personal and political goals. The Hatch Act was specifically designed, by those with an appreciation of predatory human nature, expressed in political decisions, to provide some degree of separation between partisan political office and the self serving redistribution of "public wealth". In Schoolcraft County, and, likely, elsewhere in the rural U.P. of Michigan, those that influence how all forms of tax revenue are spent, rule the county, because they control the major source of "decent jobs" in these parts. They do not govern by merit, but rule by the political coercion of patronage, nepotism, and tax funded employment. In rural Schoolcraft County, population less than 10,000, those with their hands on the public money purse, or are paid with public money, want the Hatch Act changed, not because there is a paucity of qualified candidates for office, but because they wish to retain control of the "whip" that has been challenged by those, including me, that have pointed out why the Hatch Act exists, and who it effects. I request, firmly and respectfully, that the Hatch Act of 1939 is not changed to grant increased power and control to those that would make me, given the opportunity, the equivalent of an Antebellum "plantation nigger" (nothing more than a means to an end). Sincerely, Peter Markham"For those that still haven't connected the dots in Schoolcraft County, the same broken people are responsible for promoting the broken sheriff department, the broken sheriff, the broken public transit administrator, and most of the broken public business of the community, because they perceive broken public business to be in their best personal interests; consistent with predatory human nature. That is why Representative Bart Stupak was petitioned to modify the Hatch Act; so that those whose income and quality of life does not depend on public money, or those that are willing to risk their degree of dependance on public money, will have less opportunity to hold elected or appointed public office, to promote ethical public business and hold accountable public funded predators and incompetents.
Current attempts to modify the Hatch Act is not about the lack of rural qualified candidates or appointees for public office. Current attempts to modifying the Hatch Act is about, mostly, the lack of candidates, in low population areas, that meet the qualifications criteria of those in power.
The motive to change the Hatch Act does not require the irrefutable understanding of one that has attended many public meetings, and inquired about the credentials of many of those running for, or appointed to office. All one has to do is accept the historical and well documented self-serving nature of the human species, and the necessity of enforced laws to keep predators out of the public trough.
I have never witnessed a confidence artist look a mark in the eye while stating, "I'm gonna fuck you. It won't hurt. Trust me.", and I never met a con artist that apologized to, or reimbursed the victim, voluntarily, for the intention to, or act of swindle. That goes for my relatives, friends, acquaintences, and strangers.
Those who choose to chase their ethical aspirations in life, seldom have sufficient time to dedicate to the thankless job of identifying, and holding accountable, political parasites. However imperfect the Hatch Act may be, it does not need to be modified to allow rural self-serving political deceivers to consolidate their power of manipulation and control of public wealth and tax funded employment.