Saturday, October 27, 2007

"TurtleGate"- Granholm puts Hoekstra in check

Continuing his media assault over the turtle fence in Muskegon, Pete sent a letter to Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. To which Gov. Granholm responded. Here's the blow by blow point for point.

Pete said:
I am writing to request that you convene a working group to study how the State can better allocate funds from its budget. I am willing to volunteer my time and effort to help determine how to more effectively spend federal dollars coming into the state(snip)

The Honorable Governor Jennifer Granholm with a shap jab!
I speak for many in the state capitol rejecting your offer to convene a state budget working group, and instead urge you to focus on the vast amount of unfinished federal business, including your rejection of ommon-sense, bipartisan children's health care legislation.

Pete said:
The fence will run along a stretch of highway that lies in the congressional district I represent, and despite my being aware of the remedy the fence seeks to provide, I am alarmed at the lack of prioritization demonstrated by this allocation of funding.

The Gov with a nice uppercut
On the US 31 project the Michigan Department of Transportation responded in writing to your concerns June 1, 2005, by pointing out that federal transaportation law requires states to expend a portion of their federal highway funds on non-construction purposes and expressly allows environmental mitigation to reduce wildlife mortality. At the time, you were in the congressional majority and a key participant debating final decisions on this federal transportation law. You could have used your position to change the law to disallow wildlife protection. Did you attempt to change the law, and if so, why were you not successful?

Oooooh that's gotta hurt!
Pete said:
As you know, approximately one-third of Michigan’s budget comes from federal funding. Yet, at no time have I nor any of my federal counterparts – to my knowledge – been approached about providing greater flexibility with the allocation of federal dollars.

Granholm with a right...and a left and another right!
In fact, I believe you were present at the May 2003 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when I came to Washington and testified on the federal transportation bill and specifically asked for more state flexibility under federal highway laws.

Pete is weaving and bobbing...he doesn't look like he's gonna make it
Your elected leaders in Lansing have not had the luxury you have had of repeatedly rubberstamping unbalanced federal budgets. In fact the federal budgets of the past several years have grown at an average annual rate of more than seven percent since 2002, while Michigan's general fund spending was lower in 2007 than it was in 2002. With all due respect, I do not believe your state budget advice would advance our state's budget or economic climates.

Pete is out!!! Granholm is the winner!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We dub thee...."TurtleGate"

The newest diversionary tactic being used by the Hoekstra camp is making waves in West Michigan. A 4 foot fence is being erected along US-31 in Muskegon for the purpose of diverting turtles from the highway.
two state-protected turtle species -- the wood and Blanding's turtle -- are among those being victimized on the highway, along with one of special concern, the Eastern box. Snappers, painted and map turtles also are common victims.

During the spring migration, hundreds of turtles die while trying to cross the highway in search of nesting sites in the Muskegon River marsh. State officials said they believe this section of U.S. 31 is Michigan's deadliest stretch of road for turtles and statistics put it on par with some of the nation's worst turtle kill zones."Highway turtle mortalities in these lowland areas tend to be mostly female turtles migrating to nesting grounds leaving behind a mostly male population of turtles, which is very detrimental to maintaining a sustainable turtle population," said Gary Noble, MRWA chairman. "Turtle mortality surveys were conducted during 2005 and 2006 confirmed that this stretch of U.S. 31 accounts for some of the highest adult turtle mortalities recorded nationwide."

Ohhh Pete Hoekstra thought he just found his cover for his Not One, Not Two, But THREE NO VOTES ON SCHIP.
U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, calls the $318,000 fences a poor use of money that could be better used on road construction in Muskegon County.

But in fact the money can't be used for road construction. The money is from federal enhancement funds dedicated for environmental and aesthetic improvements specifically.
Bill Shreck, MDOT's state director of communications says:
"We are required by federal law to spend these funds on enhancement projects and this is a project that improves safety while finding a solution to a problem that goes beyond transportation, MDOT partnered with the DNR and the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly to find the most cost-effective solution."

Mike O'Malley, MDOT Transportation Planning manager:
"This fence is a low-cost solution when you consider the potential safety, environmental and economic impacts that could arise if the situation were allowed to continue, MDOT is required by federal and state law to protect threatened and endangered species."

See also: Hoekstra flips the bird to the environment for the sake of posturing by LiberalLucy front page at
More to come soon...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Students protest Hoekstra in Grand Rapids

Courtesy of Media Mouse

On Monday, ACTIVATE/SDS held a Critical Mass bike ride in solidarity with the "No War, No Warming" protests taking place in Washington DC ( Here in Grand Rapids, the Critical Mass bike ride visited a fundraiser being held in East Grand Rapids for Representative Pete Hoekstra as well as the Harvey Hummer dealership on 28th Street. Similar solidarity protests were held around the country, including in Detroit. The Critical Mass ride began shortly after 5:30pm, following the distribution of stenciled patches reading "No War, No Warming" and a brief announcement explaining that the bike ride would be going to a fundraiser being held for consistently pro-war Congressman Pete Hoekstra. The 25-35 cyclists then assembled on Sheldon before beginning the ride to the Hoekstra fundraiser. The ride to the East Grand Rapids home of Dave and Linda Mehney was fairly uneventful with the Mass received generally favorable reactions from motorists and pedestrians. When the group entered the East Grand Rapids neighborhood of the Mehneys, energy rose considerably, with the group chanting "No War, No Warming" and telling people in SUVs to ride a bike instead. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Mehneys have given over $90,000 to Republican candidates for federal office. This fundraiser featured a $1,000 per couple "private reception" with Hoekstra and a general $250 per person reception. Once the group arrived at the Mehneys' home, they were greeted by signs for Pete Hoekstra's campaign featuring a bike and the slogan "Securing America's Future." Some of the cyclists rode through the circle driveway, booing and chanting "No War, No Warming" and "Stop Funding the War," while others in the group placed leaflets on the cars of attendees criticizing Hoesktra's continued funding of the occupation of Iraq ($462 billion) and his opposition to the recent State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation ($35 billion). Hoekstra's staffers--who were chatting somewhat frantically on their cell phones--quickly came out and told the group to get off the private property.

BRAVO!!! This is the third protest aimed at Hoekstra in as many weeks that I have seen or heard of(the others linked in the last diary). We as citizens must speak out against our supposed "representative" and demand change.