Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.
Grand Jester’s Reception
There’s nothing “creepy” about The Parade Company’s Distinguished Clowns Crops. These are the nearly 200 guys and gals who donate $1,000 per year for the privilege of frolicking down Woodward Avenue in America’s Thanksgiving Parade. As DCC sponsor UHY LLP’s Tony Frabotta said at the Grand Jester’s annual reception, “We work for people...certain things you do because you feel good about it. We feel good about (the Distinguished Clown Corps).” He was speaking to the 200 DCs and DC wannabees gathered at The Reserve to salute 2016 Grand Jester Austin Kanter. He’s the first of the corps to attain 30-year status. And like other DCs, is joined in the corps by children and grandchildren. This includes the LePage family, which hosts the exceptional cocktail supper reception.
front/backExpected to open the first of the month, Ambassador Cigar is a anticipated to be an upscale cigar bar and lounge which will also offer specialty small plates and a private membership club. Owned by Jeff DeSandre , who has been in the local cigar industry for 15 years, there will be a 300-square foot walk-in humidor on site. "We’re planning to offer gourmet small plates, and Cuban sandwiches ...more»
oakland confidential CAMPAIGN NO-NO: Candidates for public office know — or they should — that it’s a criminal offense to represent themselves as an incumbent when they aren’t. Certainly John McCulloch should be aware as a longtime Republican office holder who lost his job in 2012 as Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, and was fired, under murky circumstances, in 2014 as Huron-Clinton ...more»
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The saying "money makes the world go round," is especially true in politics. Just as the rich guy may get the pretty girl, very often, it's the person with the deepest pockets and biggest purse who gets the most votes. It's not because they're buying those votes, but because money purchases access to voters, helps acquire credibility and can signal to others that they're a serious candidate.
As we enter another election season, the role money is playing in local elections is just as important as on a national level, and just as in flux. That is because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, McKutcheon v. FEC (Federal Election Commission), that was issued in April 2014, which struck down a decades-old cap on the total amount any individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year campaign cycle. It is believed that the ruling will increase the role money already plays in American politics, and follows another Supreme Court ruling, from 2010, Citizens United v. FEC. In the Citizens United case, the court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions to campaigns. In essence, it permits PACs – political action committees, to spend as much money as they choose, either for a candidate, or against one, without any limits. And contrary to some interpretations, it is not one-sided. PACs, representing differing electoral ideologies, pour money into candidates and issues on both sides of the aisle.
"We've had some Supreme Court decisions that have really relaxed the rules, and changed those rules, and it's really a new game," noted John Klemanski, a political science professor at Oakland University. "We're going to see a lot more outside money because the Supreme Court basically said anyone who's interested in a race can give as much as they want."
Klemanski explained that in the Citizens United case, the court ruled that any source can spend unlimited amounts of money from any source, provided they were not actually coordinating with the campaign itself.
Jocelyn Benson, dean of the Wayne State University Law School, said this election cycle will realize the full effects of both Supreme Court rulings. "We're now seeing the influx of money coming into Oakland County. There are no requirements (from the rulings) to disclose all of the money coming in," she said. "The only requirements is the money from the PACs cannot be spent directly on the candidates. If money that is spent says specifically 'vote for', 'don't vote for', 'reject', or 'elect', then the ad has to disclose where the money has come from, otherwise they don't have to. If the ad says they're a bad person or a good person, they don't have to disclose anything, like some of the (Mark) Schauer (for governor) ads – 'The Schauer's over.' If they don't mention an election exactly, under Michigan law, they don't have to disclose their funding. It's new this year – (Gov.) Snyder just signed this into law."...continued on page 2
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