Week of 8.21.17

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.

MOCAD Interchange Art + Dinner

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Library Street Collective gallery owners JJ and Anthony Curis collaborated on a remarkable event that turned their home – the  Hawkins Ferry house – into a museum. Under the title “Unobstructed Views,” 39 pieces of art, all available for bids, had been installed throughout the modernist gem on the shore of Lake St. Clair. More than 200 guests ($175, $200 ticket) and their conversation invigorated both floors of the museum and the lakeside terrace. Guests included legendary sculptor Glen Michaels, who recalled creating many installations for the home’s architect Bill Kessler. Art collector Shirley Piku was another guest with specific memories.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

August 2017

HORSE RACES: Democratic aspirations of taking a majority hold on Congress after the 2018 General Election will hinge on the party’s ability to take two dozen congressional seats, which may include upsets in Michigan’s 8th and 11th Districts, according to recent rankings of 82 districts by The New York Times. The piece split the districts into eight groups to watch, based on competitiveness ...more»
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Gerrymandering to retain power

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07/26/2017 - The 2016 general election marked the second time this century that a presidential candidate went on to win the White House after losing the popular vote, leading some people to question the purpose of the Electoral College, of which most citizens have only a fleeting understanding. But while post-election focus has zeroed in on perceived shortcomings in the presidential election system, far less attention has been paid to inequalities built into many congressional and state governing body races through the age-old practice of partisan redistricting, also known as gerrymandering.

Redistricting refers to the drawing of electoral geographic boundaries for each representative in Congress and each state's governing body. Districts also exist for county commission seats and in some municipal board elections.

Local Congressional Districts
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Local State Senate Districts
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In Michigan, state and congressional representatives are from districts and elected by the people residing in those districts, although technically a U.S. House member does not have to live in the district they are seeking in an election. As a general rule, for example, voters in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills and an southern portion of Rochester Hills reside in the 11th Congressional District, voters in Bloomfield Township are in the 9th Congressional District, while Rochester and the majority of Rochester Hills are in the 8th Congressional District. However, the boundaries of those districts tend to change every 10 years, meaning it is likely the district you reside in will change each decade. Likewise, state legislative districts are subject to change every 10 years. Those changes are supposed to be based on U.S. Census results and reflect shifts in the population. However, the process of redistricting, which in Michigan and most other states is controlled by the state's legislature and approved by the governor, often results in districts that give an advantage to one political party over another. When this occurs, the process is referred to as gerrymandering, so named back in 1812 when Massachusetts Governor Elridge Gerry allowed for an oddly shaped political district formation that looked like a salamander.

Gerrymandering is mainly done in two ways – called "cracking," which divides a political party's supporters among multiple districts so that they fall short of a majority in each one; and "packing," which concentrates one party's backers in a few districts so they win by overwhelming margins.

Because the political party in power at the time of redistricting is ultimately responsible for the process, it is in the interest of that party to draw districts that help them retain their positions in future elections.

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