Vote For Pedro

November 6, 2006
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At long last, it’s time to flip some coins and pick our elected officials.

Secretary of State and ByronCenter native Terri Lynn Land estimates that 3.4 million Michigan registered voters will participate in tomorrow’s general election — a 44.7 percent turnout of a record 7.18 million residents currently registered to vote.

And whether the tide runs red or blue, it’s a relief to finally have the silly season over. It’s great that the state’s advertising industry has seen such an influx of cash these last few months, but, oh, the mud was especially thick this year. Take a recent TV spot for Attorney General Mike Cox¸ proclaiming him the nation’s most prolific prosecutor of Internet sexual predators (and why must every commercial depict pedophiles as chain smokers?).

So that’s Michigan: The nation’s capital of sexual predators, offshore outsourcing, overbearing taxes, abusive nursing homes, murderous foster parents, failing schools, pyramid schemes, unsafe streets, uninsured workers, unemployed, empty factories, illegal immigrants with Social Security benefits, Canadian trash, corporate welfare, money-grabbing teacher unions and a completely ineffective and unfunded government at all levels.

If you believe the commercials, that is.

  • The GunLake Tribe reached a milestone of sorts last week with the federal government’s announcement that it intends to take land into trust for the construction of the Gun Lake Casino in Wayland on Jan. 5, unless Michigan Gambling Opposition can somehow convince the U.S. District Court otherwise.

The courts recently dismissed an identical Michigan suit clearing the way for the Four Winds Casino now under construction in New Buffalo, which prompted the court to allow the Wayland casino to move ahead before MichGo’s legal challenge is resolved.

With this, perhaps a post-election Gov. Jennifer Granholm will sign the compact the tribe negotiated with the state in 2002. If not, expect the tribe to petition the federal government to authorize a Class III casino without a compact, as tribes in Florida and Wyoming have done.

A local anti-casino activist suggested to the Business Journal the Oct. 28 Alternet article, “Indian Gaming: More Corrupt Than Ever,” in which Stephen Pizzo recounts his exposure to tribal gaming while writing his Pulitzer Prize-nominated book “Inside Job. The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans.” He compared the GOP of Jack Abramoff to the mobsters that reaped most of the profits at the earliest tribal casinos, including the Cabazon tribe in Florida, which won the Supreme Court verdict that cleared the way for tribal gaming.

The former lumber baron identified Pizzo as “a writer that will tell you why we are concerned.” Always happy to show both sides of an issue, the Business Journal contacted him.

“While I have no doubt that Indians are still getting the short end of the stick, and that others are profiting, much water has gone under that bridge,” Pizzo replied. “Now the big gaming companies in New Jersey and Nevada have anted into the game as well by funding Indian casinos.

“What I think needs to be done now is to first and foremost stop reservation shopping — allowing tribes to buy a piece of commercial land and declare it part of their ‘reservation.’ Second, if Indians can have casinos, then everyone should have the same right. Since we can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Then apply the same regulatory oversight to all casinos.”

  • Check out “Vaudeville” this Saturday at and at the Wealthy Theatre. The theater is truly returning to its roots in this fundraiser for the CommunityMediaCenter. It opened in 1911 as the Pastime Vaudette, serving as a vaudeville house before dropping live acts in favor of movies.

The show will include singers, dancers, comedians, mimes, impersonators, contortionists, jugglers, a child prodigy and a few acts that are likely to get “the hook,” along with a special appearance by Grand Rapids Police Chief Harry Dolan

  • Author of urban-planning bible “Life Between Buildings” Jan Gehl will be at CalvinCollege Thursday for a program on urban habitation.
  • The Michigan State University Club of West Michigan has announced a $50,000 endowed scholarship for the planned College of Human Medicine in Grand Rapids

“We want to do it right here in our own background,” said Steve Wolf, a club board member. “This is an outstanding opportunity that no other alumni association has, to do something for MichiganState outside of Lansing.”

The gift, as reported in the Business Journal’s online edition (grbj.com), represents a fourth philanthropic interest for the group, which raises the bulk of its charitable funds through the annual Steve Smith Charity Challenge golf outing. Other interests include an undergraduate endowment, assistance to the athletic department, and the Student Advancement Foundation in Grand Rapids

When asked how he could juggle his alumni activities with those of his day job — director of human resources for AquinasCollege — Wolf responded, “Aquinas doesn’t have a football team.” (Some might argue that MSU doesn’t either.)

Wolf noted T-shirts seen on the Aquinas campus that read “Aquinas Football: Undefeated Since 1896.” Incidentally, that is the same year football became a varsity sport at MSU.

“Actually, not many people know this, but back in the days when schools like Drake (University) used to play, there was a team,” he said. “We have a picture downstairs with a certain coach that went on to be president of the United States.”

  • Speaking of whom, Congress has intentions to name the U.S. Navy’s next aircraft carrier after that same 38th President of the United States, decorated World War II sailor and Grand Rapids native Gerald R. Ford.

The ship will be the first of the next generation of carriers currently in development. Construction will begin next year for a 2014 launch.    

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