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WeROC 2015 meeting

Washtenaw County WeROC organizers to hold public meeting seeking commitments from local leaders on multiple issues

They rock

In 2012, a group of Washtenaw County organizers from faith, labor, and other community groups came together to work toward improving their community by helping make progress on numerous issues confronting workers and voiceless citizens in Washtenaw County. They eventually dubbed their group the Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition or “WeROC”.

In November of 2013, WeROC held their first public meeting where they asked local leaders to publicly commit to creating positive change by eliminating fees for “7th hour” classes at Ann Arbor public schools which make them unavailable to students whose families are on limited incomes, promoting the “Ban the Box” effort to remove questions about previous felony convictions from employment applications, and enhancing access to reliable and affordable transportation services to medical facilities around the county for patients without vehicles.…

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Ann Arbor City Council member suggests retaliation against Humane Society for their advocacy against proposed deer cull

Ann Arbor City Council member suggests retaliation against Humane Society for their advocacy against proposed deer cull

The Humane Society of Huron Valley has been actively attempting to stop a proposed $90,000 deer cull in Ann Arbor (read their Guest Post on the topic HERE) and that’s not sitting well with at least one member of the Ann Arbor City Council. Kirk Westphal is suggesting that the city no longer utilize the HSHV’s animal control services.

The move looks very much like retaliation against a group he disagrees with.

Council Member Jane Lumm, who has led the charge on council for both the deer cull and the contract funding for animal control services, said some council members are questioning the contract “because of how the Humane Society has become so antagonistic and combative and hard to work with.”

Lumm said there are “kind of sidebar chats” about canceling the Humane Society contract, though she’s not advocating for that.

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DeerBullseye

GUEST POST: “Oh, Deer!” – Ann Arbor’s deer cull is the wrong response to urban deer

The following guest post was written by Wendy Welch, a good friend and also the wife of our very own LOLGOP. Wendy is the marketing director at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV). Titles in the post are given for identification purposes only and do not indicate support for or endorsement of the views presented.

Enjoy.
From Lyme disease to the catastrophic destruction of our forests, white-tailed deer are taking the heat for oodles of ills. So beginning this winter, the city of Ann Arbor will be spending tens of thousands of dollars to cull (kill) deer in the city.…

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GayDay57

“Joy” – June 26, 2015 (PHOTOS)

The following images were captured at the Braun Court Decision Day celebration in Ann Arbor on June 26, 2015. The celebrants were joined by SCOTUS marriage equality plaintiffs April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse and their Michigan legal team. It was a day of pure joy.


Jayne and April take a break from recording interviews

The poetry that concluded SCOTUS Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.…
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Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been traveling in China for work for the past two weeks. I’m now back in Michigan and have finally recovered from my jet lag and the 12-hour time difference. I appreciate your patience during my absence. Regular posting will now resume : )

Back in 2011, shortly after Republicans took control of our state government, one of the first things they did was to enact a series of laws designed to diminish the ability of teachers to bargain collectively for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions. The new laws created local boards that would govern teacher discipline, teacher evaluations, teacher tenure and strengthened a prohibition on strikes to further harm unions that encourage them.…

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Thousands of workers across the USA to rally for fair pay on Tax Day

Thousands of workers across the USA to rally for fair pay on Tax Day

Tomorrow is Tax Day and the group FightFor15.org is holding rallies across the country demanding a living wage for low-wage workers like those in the fast food industry. Here in Michigan, there will be a rally on the campus of the University of Michigan at noon to demand that U of M begin paying its employees and those who work in facilities that U of M leases to companies like Wendy’s $15/hr or better. They will be meeting at noon at the South Quad dining hall. The event will be no more than 45 minutes. For more information, visit the event Facebook page HERE.…

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New study: Washtenaw County is a case study of the realities of income inequality in a "knowledge economy"

New study: Washtenaw County is a case study of the realities of income inequality in a “knowledge economy”

Conventional wisdom in the 21st Century says that the salvation of our economic future will come from the so-called “knowledge economy“, an economy based largely on technology and that sees education and knowledge as both a business product and a productive asset. In knowledge economies, the need for high-skill workers is amped up and these workers are, presumably, paid more because their skill sets are more desirable.

Few communities embody the concept of a knowledge economy as well as Washtenaw County in Michigan. Home of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County is also the home base for a wide array of technology-focused companies.…

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INTERVIEW (with photos) with one of Michigan's rare married same-sex couples on their one-year anniversary

INTERVIEW (with photos) with one of Michigan’s rare married same-sex couples on their one-year anniversary

One year ago today, Anne and I spent an extraordinary day at the County Clerk’s offices in Washtenaw and Oakland counties, watching as some of the 300+ same-sex couples were legally married for the first time in our state’s history. You can revisit that day with us in the post (HERE) that we put up featuring many of Anne’s outstanding photographs.

We even got to see Judith Levy, the first openly-gay federal judge in the 6th Circuit Court perform the first ceremony of the day in Washtenaw County:

1st same-sex marriage in Washtenaw Cty being officiated by the 1st openly gay 6th Circuit federal judge Judith Levy pic.twitter.com/7UNJHUFcsE

— Chris Savage (@Eclectablog) March 22, 2014

As a follow-up to that day, Anne did an interview with Connie Greer and Diane VanDorn, two women from our hometown of Dexter who Anne had shadowed the day they were married to document their experience.…

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Detroit Metro Times goes full tabloid with smear piece on Arbor Brewing Co. owners Matt & Rene Greff

Detroit Metro Times goes full tabloid with smear piece on Arbor Brewing Co. owners Matt & Rene Greff

The Detroit Metro Times has a long history of doing investigative journalism about issues that are often overlooked by other media outlets. They have developed a good reputation for their reporting because of it. However, with a recent piece published this week titled “Arbor Brewing Co. presents a case study in local business ethics and crowdfunding “, they have devolved into little more than a tabloid, willing to run a smear piece simply as clickbait.

The attack piece is based entirely on allegations made by a former employee of the Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery (formerly “The Corner Brewery”) in Ypsilanti.…

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Veronique Liem2

INTERVIEW: Veronique Liem for Washtenaw Circuit Court – “I’m running based on what I can do to help our community.”

There are two judicial races on the ballot this year in Washtenaw County. One is for Probate Court. You can read my interview with Tracy Van den Bergh who is running in that race HERE. The other is for the Circuit Court.

Veronique Liem is one of the people running for the Circuit Court seat. Her progressive values and concern for victims of domestic assault as well as children in family law cases have earned her my personal endorsement. As I wrote in my endorsement statement, “As a community organizer in Washtenaw County and someone who follows progressive issues closely, I am committed to supporting candidates who represent my views.…

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Tracy03

INTERVIEW: Tracy Van den Bergh for Probate Judge – “Too often the voice of the vulnerable isn’t heard in our courts”

The race for Probate Judge in Washtenaw County has been hard fought and gotten a fair amount of attention locally. What many people are unaware of is the intense amount of politics that has played into this race. Having spoken with numerous people who are knowledgeable about the Probate Court, I’ve come to understand that two of the conservative judges on the court have worked very hard to see that their pick for the position, Julia Owdziej, was awarded an appointment to the seat just last spring, giving her the advantage of being labeled the incumbent.

Judge Nancy Wheeler (nee Francis), who held the Probate Court judge position that is being voted on had been out on medical leave several times.…

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