Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Grand Rapids Community College Fails (Again)

The perfidy of the GRCC board of trustees was called out by the taxpayers of Kent County last night. Out of over 63,000 votes cast, the second millage request in three months failed by 361 votes. Perhaps it was the fact that everyone just paid their summer property taxes and that was fresh on their minds. Or perhaps it was the fact that GRCC attempted to jerry-rig the election by holding it at a time when the majority of voters would be from the city of Grand Rapids (and outlying townships had nothing else to vote on).

Or perhaps it was a small group of taxpayers called Kent County Families for Fiscal Responsibility. The group opposed the millage request earlier this year for the disastrous waste of money called The Rapid. This time they opposed the GRCC millage request because of the clear contempt of the taxpayer showed by the GRCC board of trustees. According to the WOOD Radio news web site, KCFFR targeted the townships that GRCC expected to have a low turnout:

Dr. Eric Larson, head of the opposition against the vote via Kent County Families for Fiscal Responsbility says they targeted areas in outlying areas like Chester Township and Georgetown Twp. and were able to add to their "no" results with flyers, media print ads and the like.

It's probably safe to say that KCFFR's effort, no matter how small, invalidated the $100,000 that the GRCC supporters spent this time (again). What a great example of how local citizens can stand up and make a difference to stop the tax and spend steamrollers that run our local government entities.


  1. Frankly I'm shocked to hear they were doing anything at all... I'm a Grand Rapids resident and a voracious consumer of the news and I hadn't heard a peep out of them since May.

    And in a race this close they're right to take some credit... but more than anything I think this just speaks to the unpopularity of tax hikes in a job market that saw 56,000 folks lose theirs last year alone.

    7.2% unemployment rates don't loan themselves well to efforts by Grand Rapids Representatives Robert Dean and Mike Sak to raise our taxes from taxes on services, to smokes, to phone bills to the income tax.

    The people sent a pretty clear message yesterday. Here's hoping Dean and Sak wake up and listen (just don't hold your breath).

    Thanks for the local coverage... checking you out every day!


  2. GRPundit -

    Whether or not you agree with the millage in principle, how can you possibly say that the college was trying to "jerry-rig" the election given that the turnout was higher (which was projected given that the August election usually has higher turnout than the May election)? Does it say anything that with a higher turnout, the margin that the millage failed by was halved?

    Nick -

    I'm curious - what news are you consuming? There have been dozens of stories in both the print (both daily and weekly) and TV media about the second millage attempt. I would have thought people would be sick of hearing about it.

  3. Nick- You are right to question our presence since May. Please don't forget that our entire group is gainfully employed, have families, and are not backed by the bureaucratic establishment.

    It is much easier to have your press secretary at GRCC send out press releases (on the taxpayers' dime) than fight a leviathan as a private citizen with limited time, etc.

    I in no way suggest that our effort single handedly brought down the GRCC millage proposal but looking at the areas we targeted we in many cases drew in hundreds of extra no votes over the May vote (which was the miniscule difference in the results).

    We struggle to gain media attention running on a $600 budget but we clearly had an impact (three tv appearances, three radio interviews). We are also only 6 months old and from some contact I've had many people are interested in getting involved.

    I hope that we will become something of a voice for the taxpayers and their right to keep the fruits of their labor. If nothing else, we will have some starting point from which to springboard when we have only 2 months to plan, organize, and implement a campaign plan (they know in advance if they will have a ballot issue and they have big dollars to run the campaigns).

    I'm sure a good fiscal conservatives like yourself will support our efforts or join in the battles to come. I look forward to working with more members of Kent County in the future.

    Eric Larson

  4. Eric -

    It's illegal for any college resources or staff time to be used on the millage campaign. The "Friends of GRCC" campaign was totally self-supporting and wasn't financed with a dime of taxpayer money. For someone so flush with self-righteousness, you sure do make a lot of false accusations.

    I'm curious: given that there was a higher turnout for the August Election than the May Election, and that the millage failed by an even slimmer margin - I'm curious how you can consider KCFFR's involvement to be anything but a failure?

  5. The college spent plenty of money on "informational" mailings, which are in effect "vote yes" expenses. True, they can't say "vote yes," but they certainly spent a lot of money "advertising" the election and touting their wonderful virtues. Post cards, billboards, bus signs, etc all were purchased with taxpayer dollars.

  6. More false accusations The college put out no mailings for the millage. All of those were done by the "Friends of GRCC".

    As for other forms of promotion, the college always promotes its virtues; it doesn't stop because it's an election year. The college is on TV every single month as a result of its partnership with WOOD-TV.

    The irony is that the college has been steadily trimming its promotional budget (and staff) for years due to the financial crunch so the college spent less this year on promoting itself than it has in past years.

  7. So you're saying that the college spent no money on mailings, billboards, etc., around or near both election dates?

  8. Oh, not to mention the hours and hours spent on the college channel broadcasting all the "friends of grcc" testifying about why everyone needs to vote yes. Funny, I don't normally see trustee meetings on the college channel, but it seems that the taxpayer funded college channel was constantly broadcasting that one particular meeting.

  9. Of course the college spent money around or near the election dates; between the two of them they took up something like seven months of the year. Should the college have gone mute during that whole time?

    As for the board of trustees meetings, those run every single month on Channel 28 ( as they have for years. You don't have to take my word for it either - just check the Internet Archive Wayback Machine's cache of old versions of the schedule:*/