Week of 12.5.16

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.

Alzheimer’s Chocolate Jubilee

The Masquerade Ball invitation instructed “wear a mask for one night to help unmask Alzheimer’s forever,” and many of the 550 guests ($200 & up ticket) at the MGM Grand did just that. During the social hour they socialized and nearly 200 paid $50 for a Sweet Chances bag. (In the valet line one gentleman happily showed off the Bulova watch that was in his bag.) The dinner program had highlights. University student Tyler Leightner spoke about the devastation caused by his mother’s early onset-Alzheimer’s at age 44. Its genetic nature has inspired his active involvement in fundraising and research for the Alzheimer’s Association and determination to pursue a career in the field. Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson proved he could do okay as an auctioneer if need be as he persuaded guests to pay $75,000 for six packages in the short live auction.
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This weeks social light photos…

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Steakhouse adjustments

Fresh blood has graced the kitchen at Eddie Merlot’s , an upscale steakhouse in Bloomfield Township at 37000 Woodward Avenue. Executive chef Justin Bates joined the staff after two decades in the industry. Most recently he served as executive chef for Bravo Brio Restaurant Group , where he spent years moving up the ranks. "We’re a national company, so (Bates is) not bringing any changes ...more»

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oakland confidential

December 2016

Numbers count: Now that we’ve all recovered from our collective national election hangover, we’re examining the vote, looking at who voted and where the turnout was. While only 13 percent of registered voters in the city of Detroit turned out to vote on November 8, locally, voter participation was much stronger, with 79 percent of registered voters in Bloomfield Township, 76 percent ...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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