Monday, November 15, 2004

City Budget Wackos

Last week the Grand Rapids City Commission rejected a request by the city staff to send $15,252 to a Colorado Energy firm to buy nothing.

City staff wanted to the City Commission to spend our money to buy what are called Renewable Energy Certificates. These certificates do not buy you anything. The certificates represent the extra cost of producing electricity by using windmills - basically what an energy company loses by producing electricity that costs more than they can sell it for.

That energy company, called Renewable Choice Energy, is a favorite of environmentalists who want to feel better about using electricity. The city wanted us to pay for "our share" of electricity produced by these wind farms, which is just added to the power grid and may or may not have ever been used here in Grand Rapids (most likely not).

This is a purely ideological spend of money that would not benefit the city of Grand Rapids, its citizens, or anyone who pays for city government.

The amazing thing, however, is that it failed on a four to three vote! Unfortunately, the minutes of the meeting do not record the vote, so we aren't exactly sure who voted in favor of this one, but Commissioner Jendrasiak called it "nuts," so we can assume he voted against it.

Not only is it nuts, it's a waste of money. Yet they continue to complain about budget problems.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Election Wrap Up

Presidential Election

Well, no surprises here in Michigan. Kerry won the state, garnering 51% of the vote to Bush's 48%. In 2000, Gore got 51% of Michigan to Bush's 46%. Nader got 2% that year, which interestingly points to the idea that Nader voters don't necessarily take votes away from the Democrat.

In Kent county, things were quite different. The vote was strongly in favor of Bush, 58% to 40%. The City of Grand Rapids went a different way, however, and voted 55% Kerry and 43% Bush. In fact, in our analysis, Kerry won all three wards of the city.

Ballot Proposals

The two ballot proposals passed handily. Statewide, Proposal 1 (gambling-related), passed 58% to 42%. Proposal 2 (defining marriage) passed 59% to 41%. We here at GR Pundit were disappointed that both passed. Both were bad legislation, in our opinion.

Look out for higher property taxes now that less lottery money will likely be raised, which transfers to the school aid fund.

Those were the main issues at hand in Michigan and locally. There wasn't much else of interest in local races. We don't think there were any heated competitions or seats seriously up for grabs.