December 27, 2011

IDEOLOGUE GLOBALLY, GOVERN LOCALLY:

Michigan City Turns Down Millions of Dollars, Saying Federal Money Is Not Free (JOHN SCHWARTZ, 1/22/11, NY Times)

In what could be a new high water mark of anti-Washington sentiment, the city of Troy, Mich., is rejecting a long-planned transportation center whose construction would have been fully financed with federal stimulus money.

The terminal, which would help Troy become a transportation node on an upgraded Detroit-to-Chicago Amtrak line, was hailed by supporters as a way to create jobs and to spur economic development. But federal money is federal money, so with the urging of the new mayor, who helped found the local Tea Party chapter, the City Council cast a 4-to-3 vote this week against granting a crucial contract, sending the project into limbo. [...]

Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder, a Republican, said through a spokeswoman that he was "disappointed" in the city's decision and would be "reviewing our options for utilizing the grant, including the potential transfer of the grant to another applicant." Mr. Snyder had sent a letter to Mayor Daniels before the vote saying that the project would have "significant, positive economic development on your community and the state."

The transit fight is not Mayor Daniels's first brush with controversy. Earlier this month, it was revealed that she posted a message to her Facebook page last June, after New York State approved same-sex marriage, stating, "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there." In an interview, she said she regretted the online comment.

The vote on Monday, she said, is about setting an example concerning the national debt. "I want to leave a legacy for our children of managing our responsibilities -- not crushing them with debt money."

On Tuesday, an official of Magna International, a global automotive supplier based in Canada whose American headquarters are in Troy, expressed frustration with the City Council vote in a private e-mail to Ms. Hodges and others that was posted to a blog that favors the transit center.

"I am drafting a memo to all Magna group presidents and our Magna corporate executives strongly recommending that Magna International no longer consider the City of Troy for future site considerations, expansions or new job creation," wrote Frank W. Ervin III, the company's manager of government affairs. "I have also recommended that where ever and when ever possible we reduce our footprint and employment level in Troy" in favor of communities that act in the best interests of residents and business and that do "not simply use their public position to advance their own private agenda."
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Posted by at December 27, 2011 3:18 PM
  

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