Week of 8.14.17

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.

Meadow Brook Concert & Cuisine

More than 350 ($85 - $125 tickets) convened at Oakland University for the annual summer fundraiser for MBT - “Michigan’s answer to Broadway.” Before the food stations opened, folks lollygagged outside sipping beer and wine from the Rochester Tap Room and bid $9,000 for the silent auction items Colleen Brnabic and Maryann Foxlee had set up in the hallway. Generous local restaurants (see photo gallery) served savory fare for dining on the stroll before the theatre doors opened. Artistic director Travis Walter conducted a live auction with his trademark good humor. He got $500 from two bidders for two Dickens packages that included a walk-on role in MBT’s “A Christmas Carol”  and $900 for a Fender Squire Guitar signed by The Grass Roots Band.
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»
from the publisher

August 2017

During the course of last year I devoted one of my monthly columns on the effort in Lansing to begin applying the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to both chambers of the state legislature and the office of governor, asking readers to contact both their state representatives and senators to help push the bill through the Michigan House.

In the weeks following that column, I received emails
from the publisher

July 2017

Since arriving in Oakland in the early 1970’s, I have had the good fortune of observing first hand as this county took its rightful place as the economic engine that helped drive the state of Michigan.

When I arrived the county was just switching to the county executive form of government in 1974, with election of long-time chairman of the county board of auditors, Dan Murphy, considered by
from the publisher

June 2017

One is almost tempted to congratulate President Donald Trump for single-handily re-energizing the media landscape, especially the newspaper print/digital part of the journalism world. As we went through the final days of the election last fall, for example, the New York Times notched more new digital subscribers than the total from 2013 and 2014 combined. Heck, the week after the election alone some ...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
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
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
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
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
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»
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