Street Talk

Street Talk: Competitors rise for Levin’s seat; who will Land there?

Tee party.

March 15, 2013
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For politicians, it’s the busy season, which became earnest as U.S. Senator Carl Levin announced his pending retirement. There remains only three months before the Fourth of July political parades. Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land lit up her social media networks in almost the same instant the headlines were posted last month. But eastern Michigan pols seized the moment, believing the seat long held by Democrats could best be won back to the GOP with immediate support of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s brother, Scott Romney — except, he’s reportedly not interested.

The past week Land was “liking” all the comment regarding her candidacy as the Republican who best has statewide name recognition. But wait, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, says he might be interested. He told the Detroit News, “Frankly, we can't afford to nominate another unelectable establishment Republican. History shows they don't appeal to moderate and independent voters.” (The quote was promptly reposted on the Michigan GOP Facebook page.)

The hunt for a suitable candidate creates possibilities for almost anyone. Former State Rep. Jerry Kooiman was lunching with PR agency owner Tim Wondergem, who has a long history of representing political candidates and issues (which makes one wonder why he isn’t under contract by the West Michigan Policy Forum). Kooiman commented that he, too, was considering candidacy for the U.S. Senate — and then quickly emphasized: “Not!”

Meanwhile, state Democrats believe the best chance in retaining the seat is former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who has just retired her network microphone.

Levin, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, has represented Michigan since 1979. He won the seat held by the retiring Republican Robert Griffin after his appointment to the seat by then-Gov. George Romney. Griffin served for 12 years. Is there a pattern here?

Showing the love for the Motor City

The Detroit area was quite occupied (literally) by Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointment of Kevyn Orr as emergency financial manager for the city of Detroit.

Dare we mention the historic moment occurred in the same week the imprisoned former Mayor Kwame Kirlpatrick was indicted by a grand jury on corruption charges? The best post for a week like that? That vote has to go to “Mommy Millionaire” and Grand Haven entrepreneur Kim Lavine, who suggested, “Let’s send (Dennis) Rodman to Detroit and see what he can do.”

Will they like us?

The word “urgent” is a likely descriptive for ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos, who is working with a committee to find a new executive director for the huge September event.

Kendall College of Art & Design President David Rosen was among those gathering to help acquaint candidates with Grand Rapids, hoping as most recruiters do, that art leaders will “like” GR. Rosen is certainly among the converted, having arrived from California to take the Kendall post last year.

Making the cut

Urologists around the nation are trying once again to lure vasectomy customers with a March Madness pitch.

“This is our second year doing it,” said Dr. Jannah Thompson, a partner at Urologic Consultants PC in Grand Rapids. “It,” as explained on the practice’s flyer, is the “Vasectomy Madness Event” Friday, March 22.

March Madness, she said, is the perfect time for men who are thinking about a vasectomy to have it done, because they’re going to watch the NCAA tournament games for hours on end, a marathon couch potato session — “and now we give them even more of an excuse to do that.”

The flyer lays it all out for the dudes:

“Hey Guys – Want to enjoy “Sweet Sixteen” College NCAA tournament games, guilt free? If you’ve been considering a vasectomy, now’s the time to get it done and enjoy a weekend of relaxation and basketball, all at your doctor’s orders!”

The plan is to get V-candidates to call in for an appointment. Then, in the office on March 22, they’ll give the lowdown on what it entails, and — zip-zop! — they’ll do it. Thompson said patients will also get a “survival kit” to take home. It will include an ice pack (a bag of frozen peas will also do nicely, guys), a pizza gift certificate and a T-shirt saying, “I Made The Cut!”

“3 Convenient Locations — One Day Only! blares the flyer headline. One of the locations is on the Metro Health campus in Wyoming; the others are at the Urologic Consultants offices in Grand Rapids.

According to Thompson, there are about 500,000 vasectomies done each year in the U.S. Most insurance companies cover some of the cost, she said; the average cost to a non-insured patient is $800. (By comparison, a tubal ligation for female sterilization costs two to three times as much.)

Last year Urologic Consultants performed about 15 to 20 more vasectomies on the big day than on a normal day. This year they’ll have an additional three docs on duty.

More competitive

Global competitiveness was the topic at Inforum’s Clarion Call event Monday. Deborah Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, and Craig Giffi, vice chairman and leader of the U.S. Consumer and Industrial Products Industry practice for Deloitte LLP, discussed how multinational companies, rooted in home countries, are disappearing as a tectonic shift puts global enterprises in the spotlight.

“When we did our last big competitiveness index that measures U.S. performance against global peers and competitors, one of the very important pieces of new data we produced … if you take the value of revenue that U.S. companies produce outside the United States, it’s three times the value of all our exports,” Wince-Smith said. “(This means) the success of our firms is so linked into global prosperity, a rise in the global middle class, having access to markets, and being both partners and competitors with those in which markets we have to sell.”

Many governments are engaging in aggressive mercantilist trade policies to favor domestic producers, attract and retain global business investment, undercut U.S. advantages and keep and grow jobs, she said. Those are factors the U.S. needs to address. American culture has the creativity and inclusivity to rise to the challenge, she said, but the federal government needs to find the consensus and will to stop the “drowning” in national debt.

Tee tax

Tax day is just less than a month away, and individuals and business owners alike are making final preparations to complete their taxes on time. But in their haste they may forget an important deduction.

“According to the Bradford Tax Institute, if you have hired a golf coach for the purpose of improving your business prospecting and correctly document such training and prospecting, you may take the golf coaching services as a tax deduction,” said Scott Seifferlein, owner of GrandRapidsGolfLesson.com.

Really?

Seifferlein said the first thing links-loving CEOs need to do is “assert how the golf coaching services improve your prospecting.” Obviously, this counts for sales managers, too. Seifferlein said it would be really great if improved play helped “you gain access to new and different prospects.”

That should make for an interesting conversation when it’s time to sign the scorecard.

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