Week of 4.24.17

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.

JVS Trade Secrets

“And life goes on,” said Connie Holzer, honorary chair and keynote speaker at the JVS Trade Secrets fundraising dinner. (It attracted record attendance - 560 @ $150 and up – to the Troy Marriott.) Holzer’s unique business experience did not even begin until her car dealer husband of 52 years died when she was 70 years old. Although the economy was in the dumps, she mortgaged the home where she had raised six children, got concessions from their 130 employees, and rebuilt the Tom Holzer Ford dealership into the 4th ranked regionally and 10th ranked nationally. “You are never too old to begin a new life,” she concluded. Women to Work recipient Kimberly Baker, whose fairytale life crashed when her husband went to jail for tax fraud, praised Judy Richmond and the JVS computer program. She attended it on a scholarship. “And now..because of people in this room... I can feed my kids,” Baker said, apologizing for her tears. The venue provided ample space to display the event’s traditional pick-your-own-prize raffle of 62 items, the main cocktail hour diversion.
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This weeks social light photos…

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oakland confidential

May 2017

MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO NOWHERE: A budget proposal by the Trump administration may be the final blow to plans for a regional mass transit system for southeast Michigan. A proposed Regional Transit Authority (RTA) millage failed in November 2016, when voters in Oakland and Macomb counties rejected the four-county millage, while passing in Wayne and Washtenaw counties. Deal was, it had to win in three of ...more»
from the publisher

May 2017

Privacy protection on the internet has taken a beating in recent weeks. That much most people by now have heard. The short version taken from a spattering of news coverage and headlines — Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have rolled back browsing information protection rules on internet service providers (ISP) enacted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during the Obama Administration. ...more»
from the publisher

April 2017

Like many parents, I suspect, as our two boys were growing up we made sure they understood the value of exercising their right to vote, including on more than one occasion dragging them to the voting precinct with us to see how the process worked, starting with the old mechanical voting machines and transitioning to the current method of casting votes, including the absentee ballot which is how for ...more»
from the publisher

March 2017

Elections have consequences. It’s a fact of political life. But the consequences in the first few weeks of President Donald Trump’s term are proving disconcerting, and not because his administration is moving quickly to undo many of the policies implemented by former President Barack Obama. That was to be expected.

What we did not expect was the rapid unraveling of some of the basic
...more»
from the publisher

February 2017

The next battle in Michigan we will more than likely have to decide — one more time — is the issue of whether tax dollars intended for public education should be allowed to be used through some type of voucher system so parents can choose to send their children to private (including parochial) schools.

We have decided this issue twice before, in 1978 and again in 2000, when voters rejected
...more»
from the publisher

January 2017

When backers — both politicians and voters — of proposed change to the Michigan Constitution in 1908 passed an addition to our governing document to allow for the right of referendum on legislative issues, I doubt anyone thought at the time about the political chicanery that it would spawn decades later. But that is exactly what has taken place with increasing frequency in the halls of ...more»
from the publisher

December 2016

Normally the morning after an election — presidential or off-year — I find myself almost in an alternate reality.

At the publishing group we generally work until the early hours of the morning — this year until 3:30 a.m. — waiting for election returns to allow us to send out an email newsletter blast to the several thousand plus local residents who have signed up to receive
...more»
from the publisher

November 2016

Downtown newsmagazine is beginning a campaign over the next month to hopefully influence local officials in Oakland County and lawmakers in Lansing who represent county communities to ban the use of coal tar sealcoat from residential driveways, local roads and public/private parking lots.

I take the time this month to give a heads up to followers of Downtown because this push moves the publication
...more»
from the publisher

October 2016

The media — including newspapers — are proving to be their own worst enemy. Public trust is at an all time low; the economies of the business are making it more challenging to produce solid products, be it print or broadcast; and the standard way of delivering news is being challenged by a number of online platforms.

On the trust issue, the media in general is at its lowest level since
...more»
from the publisher

September 2016

The proverbial "big tent" that Michigan Republican politicians have talked about for the past three decades got a bit smaller in recent months, as evidenced by an even stronger conservative party platform adopted at the summer convention, only to be topped off most glaringly by the Grand Traverse County Republicans in recent weeks who passed a resolution to disavow former Republican Governor William ...more»
from the publisher

August 2016

A­s Downtown newsmagazine has reported on the political turmoil engulfing Bloomfield Township the past two years, my first reaction is that our current approach to relying on party affiliations at the local level is a concept that should be tossed in the dust bin.

I know the first response from party stalwarts on both sides of the aisle will be to posit that the future of government relies on a political
...more»
from the publisher

July 2016

A­s we approach the November general election it will be interesting to see whether leaders of the move to introduce mass transit, or as some would have it, improved mass transit, to southeast Michigan have correctly assessed the level of public support for what is expected to be a 20-year tax to begin underwriting what is projected to be a $4.6 billion plan that essentially relies on high-speed buses ...more»
from the publisher

June 2016

As a general rule, gathering information each month and finally sitting down to bang out my column for the current issue, I attempt to avoid revisiting a subject on which I have recently written. But this month I feel I had little choice but to return once more to the topic of the lack of transparency in the halls of the Michigan legislature, and the need for increased regulations relative to ethical ...more»
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