Week of 4.25.16

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.

Catholic Charities Spring Gala

Most of the 350 tickets holders ($150) attended the Mercy in Action theme fundraiser at the Royal Park Hotel. During the cocktail hour, guests socialized and perused the silent auctions and wine pull ($13,425). Msgr. Chuck Kosanke co-chaired the event with Linda Luchi and chairs the board of CCSEM. (It was formed in 2013 by merging six county archdiocesan social service agencies.) After Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said the grace before dinner, he told guests that he was reassigning Msgr. Kosanke from his duties as pastor at St. Regis in Bloomfield Township to two historic Detroit parishes – St. Anne’s and Most Holy Trinity.
This weeks social light photos…


at the table

Kruse and Muer in Rochester: Don't set expectations too high

Forever and a day ago I worked at Charlie’s Crab in Troy. It was a massive space with several dining rooms, a huge kitchen and some of the best crab cakes I have ever eaten. At the time it was the flagship restaurant of Chuck Muer and at one time was under the watchful eye of Bill Kruse. After 17 years with the company, Kruse broke away and opened the first of many restaurants in 1988 with Muer ...more»

Favorite reopens

Pepino’s Restaurant , offering diners delectable Italian cuisine for over 32-years, has reopened in Sylvan Lake, at 2440 Orchard Lake Road, filling the space formerly home to Mike Larco’s A La Carte. A devastating fire last fall forced the family-owned Pepino’s to close the doors on its Walled Lake location. Kathy Kwiecinski , her sister Carol Carson , and Kathy’s son-in-law ...more»
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Campaign funding

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
(click for larger version)
06/02/2014 - 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."

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