Editorial Roundup: Michigan

Detroit News. May 18, 2024.

Editorial: Lawmakers seek to buy silence of Beydoun critics

Lawmakers are hoping to mitigate some of the outrage over a $20 million grant awarded to Democratic crony Fay Beydoun by throwing good money after bad. It’s a very questionable idea that risks making the situation worse.

Beydoun is the appointee of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was given a state grant even before she formed a business to administer it, and without any apparent scrutiny for how the money would be spent.

The pork barrel giveaway exploded after The Detroit News reported Beydoun used some of the cash to buy a $4,500 coffeemaker, a first-class ticket to Budapest and $400,000 in salary for herself and a staffer.

The public anger has prompted the Legislature to try to get the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to block the second $10 million payment. Beydoun was a Whitmer-appointed board member of the MEDC at the time she got the state money.

Among the loudest objections to the grant came from the American Arab Chamber of Commerce in Dearborn, where Beydoun was executive director at the time she was lobbying the Legislature for the grant.

Officials at the chamber felt double-crossed. They contend they were working with Beydoun to secure the state funding to support their organization, but she cut them out when she went to the Legislature.

Instead of bringing the money home to the chamber, Beydoun secured the grant and then formed her own company, Global Link, to spend it. At the time of the award, Global Link had no business plan and there were no clear expectations set for what it would deliver. Ostensibly, Beydoun was to use the money to lure foreign investment to the state.

Now, Democratic lawmakers are proposing soothing the American Arab chamber by cutting it a check for $3 million from the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) budget.

In a repeat of the sloppiness of the Beydoun grant, the one to the American Arab chamber also includes few specifics on how it will be used.

All appearances suggest this is hush money to quiet the chamber’s complaints of being mistreated by Beydoun and the Legislature.

The idea of an additional grant for the chamber was floated following a meeting between the business group and Rep. Will Snyder, the Democrat who leads the House LEO budget.

Supporters say the money will help expand the chamber’s Tejara innovation hub, created to engage with Arab American entrepreneurs. A year ago, Tejara received $3.4 million from the MEDC.

Before this additional expenditure is approved, lawmakers should scrutinize how the previous money was spent and what results it produced on behalf of taxpayers.

Both the Beydoun grant and the proposed appropriation for the chamber are symptoms of the same problem. Lansing is holding on to too much taxpayer money. That’s creating an environment in which there is no urgency to assure every dollar is spent on essentials and is tracked to assure it is adding value to the state.


Traverse City Record-Eagle. May 15, 2024.

Editorial: Transparency is the best policy

The issue: Michigan State Police released the name of a man killed on the road by an unmarked MSP car

Our view: Law enforcement agencies need to apply a policy of transparency with an even hand across the state

The death of Samuel Sterling is a tragedy.

The 25-year-old Grand Rapids man was struck by an unmarked Michigan State Police vehicle on April 17, and died at the hospital. He did not receive his due process in relation to the state police, the Grand Rapids Police Department and Wyoming Police Department, who were pursuing him based on multiple warrants for his arrest.

Expressions of grief are appropriate. A statement from The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and the FBI Field Office Detroit agreed it was “tragic.” The trooper who was driving was suspended without pay. Last week, video footage of the incident was released in the “spirit of transparency” and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to Bridge Michigan reporting, called Sterling’s death “unacceptable” and said her “heart is with his family and the Grand Rapids community.”

But acknowledgements of tragedy and gestures of “transparency” were not evident in October, when Michigan State Police investigated the death of 41-year-old Brandy May Neibert, who was shot to death when the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid Task Force Emergency Response Team tried to execute a search warrant in Norwich Township.

Nor were they apparent in the Jan. 27 death of Jake Turner, a 35-year-old Kalkaska man who was shot to death in a deer blind by state troopers after an alleged domestic violence incident. Turner was found slumped over a loaded gun. Neibert died with a knife in one hand and a pot lid in the other.

In both cases, law enforcement agencies involved in these incidents wouldn’t release the names of the dead until weeks after they were killed. Most of the information about these tragedies was obtained through Record-Eagle reporter Elizabeth Brewer’s dogged pursuit of Michigan Freedom of Information Act records.

We realize that our police, deputies, troopers and conservation officers face death every day. In some cases, they have to act fast to protect their own lives. This doesn’t make what happens any less tragic, as tragedy also ripples past blue lines, into families and communities — on all fronts.

But the new policy, apparently applied at whim, is a poorly reasoned policy.

And information reported promptly to the public in the aftermath is fundamental to understanding what happened.

In any case, transparency needs to be part of that policy – whenever and wherever tragic circumstances occur.


Iron Mountain Daily News. May 16, 2024.

Editorial: DNR invites public input on management plans for state forests

A series of open houses and meetings known as “compartment reviews” begins today and runs through fall as the Michigan Department of Natural Forest Resources Division seeks input from the public on management activities scheduled for 2026.

Management activities in the state forest — which covers nearly 4 million acres in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula — include such things as cutting and thinning trees, prescribed burning and planting new trees.

Planned management activities are described on an interactive map available at https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/managing-resources/forestry/public-input.

You’re invited to look over proposals, view maps of the affected areas and provide feedback.

Each year, forest management recommendations are presented at open houses — informal sessions that give you the opportunity to speak with foresters, wildlife biologists and other resource professionals. Currently, all open houses are being hosted as comment periods with opportunities to contact unit managers.

There are multiple ways to participate and make sure your voice is heard: Email your thoughts during a 30-day period prior to each open house, attend an open house, and attend compartment review meetings where final decisions are made.

Locally, an open house for the Dickinson County area of the Crystal Falls unit is scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Spalding Township Hall, N15881 in Powers.

Other management units are Atlanta, Baraga, Cadillac, Escanaba, Gaylord, Gladwin, Grayling, Gwinn, Newberry, Pigeon River, Roscommon, Sault Ste. Marie, Shingleton and Traverse City.

A review schedule and contact information is available at https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/managing-resources/forestry/public-input/forest-input-schedule. Unit managers for Crystal Falls are Brad Carlson, 906-353-6651, and Dan Racine, 906-399-0651.