Week of 8.22.16

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.

Lois Zussman Kadima Golf Classic

This annual event was newly renamed in memory of Lois Zussman, who passed away in December, 2015. Her husband of 52 years, Milt, was obviously tickled to have three generations of the family in the crowd of 200 gathered for cocktails and dinner following golf at Franklin Hills Country Club. He also smiled broadly when it was announced that David and Mark Zussman’s teams finished in first and second place among the 124 golfers. But the raison d'ętre for the event, to fundraise for Kadima’s Lois and Milton Y. Zussman Activity Center that serves those with mental health needs, was most evident during the dinner program.
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This weeks social light photos…

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Motoring around

Jason Mood and Christopher Johnson , co-owners of The Meeting House in Rochester, have partnered with James and Gino D’Agostini to open a new food truck called Motor Powered Hospitality , with the D’Agostinis bringing their business experience to the management side of the venture. Only recently delivered to the team, the food truck appeared at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac during ...more»

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oakland confidential

September 2016

ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS: In a year where predictions offered by political pundits are less accurate than the extended weather forecast in any given week, there is only one certainty: nothing is certain. From Donald Trump’s presidential nomination to Sen. Bernie Sander’s success in Michigan, the resulting uncertainty has many candidates on the lower portion of the November ballot worried, ...more»
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Campaign funding


By Lisa Brody
News Editor
Campaign
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(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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