Voters Needed – Register Here

The State of Michigan’s voter registration deadline is October 6, 2014 to vote in the November 4, 2014 election. You might have missed voting in the primaries, but that vote was about issues and narrowing the choice of Democrat & Republican candidates. As a recognized independent party the Green Party of Michigan holds a nominating convention and caucuses to move candidates onto the ballot.

I’ve registered with Rock The Vote to offer an easy way to get registered online. Just click the image and a form will pop-up in a new window to collect your information.

If you have concerns about your right to vote check the website Election Protection for help. They even have a mobile app.


Grow The Vote!

coverJun2012.pdfIf you’d like to help in canvassing and getting people registered to vote please contact the Committee To Elect Boyle For Michigan through the contact form or calling 313-757-2619 and leaving your information to have someone return your call.

Charity Hicks at 1st March Against Monsanto

WageLove – Water Extraction & Fossil Fuel Addiction

Can you live for a day without consuming fossil fuels? It might take a few moments to think that satisfying one of our most basic needs – thirst for water – is leaving a massive carbon footprint and our fossil fuel addiction is impacting our thirst.

Bottled Water Concerns

Think about the things in your life that need WATER to create them. Check out this Treehugger article for a list of common items and how much water is consumed. This is one of the most startling facts:

It takes 1.85 GALLONS of water to make a 16 oz plastic bottle to hold water.

That water used to make the bottle isn’t coming back and our recycling of plastic bottles is only around 23%. Sadly where those bottles for recycling goes (India) and the process used is a problem as well, as this video from the Story of Stuff series shows. PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate) plastic bottles can be recycled and not all water bottles are made from PET. The EPA says 31% of PET bottles were recycled in 2012 within the US. Warning: Leaving water bottles in hot areas or sitting for long periods of time allows chemical interactions with the water within. Antimony found in PET plastic can cause dizziness and depression; in larger doses it can cause nausea, vomiting and death. [1]


Water Extraction

Communities have experienced corporate extraction of water for a long time. We have entered an age where surface water on Earth can’t be drank without filtration, and ground water becomes tainted as well through oil and gas exploration.

The quest to extract fossil fuels for refining into fuels is using 4-8 million cubic meters of fresh water daily in the United States alone. This water goes through a process which renders it unfit for consumption.

As fossil fuels encroach on available water, there is also dramatically increasing extraction of drinking water by corporations, Nestlé and Coca-Cola being the largest, using various brand names. This water gets packaged in plastic bottles and sold to the public whom have been conditioned to believe this is the preferred mode of getting drinking water.

Water is more valuable than gold, it satisfies a human need. The world’s elite know this and continue to drive its value up through fossil fuel addiction and privatization of water when possible.


Wage Love With Knowledge

Charity Hicks at 1st March Against Monsanto
Charity Hicks at 1st March Against Monsanto

Detroit recently lost a very loved warrior in the fight for food and water justice – Charity Hicks, mysteriously killed by complications from a hit-and-run accident [2] [3] while visiting New York to speak at a conference. Community Food & Justice Coalition lists Charity as a person making a difference. She asked us to #WageLove and part of doing that is to know the systems that continue to oppress the people and the planet.

Charity Hicks: Wage Love from EMERGENCE Media on Vimeo.

More Links



Meet Stephen Boyle Candidate for Michigan Congress District 14 on July 31

Stephen Boyle, Green Party candidate for Michigan’s 14th Congressional District is holding a social gathering on Thursday, July 31 from 6:00 until 7:30pm. The public is encouraged to come out and get to know the candidate better. Time will be dedicated from 7:00-7:30pm for questions and answers from the audience and press attending. There will likely be additional Green Party of Michigan candidates at the event who may field questions as well.

This is an ice cream social, with potluck – so if you’d like to bring a dish to share with those coming in straight after work it would be very welcome. The ice cream flavor of the day is Pistachio.

The location for this event is Mathis Community Center, 19300 Greenfield Rd, Detroit 48235 [map] Peterson Playfield on Greenfield north of Curtis, Detroit. Original plans were to celebrate Mathis Community Center as the second recognized Water Station by activists providing water as DWSD has been executing water shutoffs of delinquent accounts. Unfortunately the campaign heard the center is unable to hold politically aligned events, thus a last minute change in plans was made. We recognize many occupants are renters and may not be notified by landlords of outstanding water bills. The procedures being taken by Detroit’s Emergency Manager and the water department are deplorable. Stephen Boyle has been working on this issue since organizing the March Against Monsanto held May 24 with Charity Hicks who spent 2 days in jail for protesting the shutoff of water on her block.

The Green Party of Michigan will be holding a final Wayne County caucus August 2nd from 11:00am to 3:00pm when additional candidates may be nominated and accepted as candidates for office in the November 4, 2014 elections. Location 4605 Cass Ave, Detroit 48201.


Please contact Stephen Boyle by phone at 313-757-2619 or by email to if you have any questions.

Press Release Download

Meet Stephen Boyle Candidate for Michigan Congress District 14 by Stephen Boyle

[scribd id=235163189 key=key-Zz57vKA4OapczzYocRtN mode=scroll]

[ Link to public document storage for campaign on Google Drive. ]

Gallup Poll – What Party Alignment?

GallupVoters-IndependentGallup has conducted monthly polls since 2004 of voters to find which political party you affiliate yourself with. Since January 2012 INDEPENDENT has been the most popular answer. Interestingly the follow up question which of the two major parties do you lean toward.

Independent Minded

America has been trapped into a normal way of thinking. Normal is something spun by the news media and pounded into our minds since before birth.  Life choices are made to conform with what is “normal” and those who act outside the guidelines have their lives made more difficult by the system. Punishment seems to be the rule for not being normal, it is corrective at times and oppressive/repressive at others.

The good thing is a lot of questioning is going on now by rational minded people. There’s a general feeling of being stuck, and many not quite sure how to get out or even identify what has them stuck. It can be many things, and many of them interrelated.

Influence of Advertising

One thing I’ll ask is for voters to consider the influence of paid advertising. I’ve walked around without even a business card to offer those asking how to reach me. Donations into the campaign simply aren’t coming in too quickly. Honestly I’m not surprised because most of my support are from those without much disposable income. A campaign donation from them is going to really mean something and I realize that.

So if I’m not paying very much for advertising how will my name get mentioned? The key is being part of the news; being in action; and being noteworthy. I’ve been on the frontline on many issues and seen on television during news broadcasts. I’ve written online about various topics and those get shared. I’ve researched many topics and share what I find with those that will listen.

Getting Listed as Candidate

I’ve got a few sites that I’ve sent my information into, hoping they will list me as a candidate. There’s a lot of resistance to posting independent candidate information until after the August 5th primaries. Oddly the cost of those is on the people, but we don’t get a chance to vote for independent party candidates there.

Today I received word that I’m listed on Ballotpedia. That’s pretty exciting because it’s a valuable resource not only for candidates, it also handles the issues on the ballot.

It took the State of Michigan over a month to update their list of candidates that goes through a real-time refresh every few minutes. At this time the parties with primaries to be settled are not listed on this list of candidates.

Your Assistance

Those that share what I write and invite their friends to read and meet me are true gems. Your actions may not register personally as of much value, they may not take much time or effort even. Some can help in extremely significant ways, over and over… you’ll be winning as the campaign is winning. This is a campaign for transformative change.

Gun Sense Voter Questionnaire 2014

Gun Sense Voter

Every day, 86 Americans die by gunfire. That’s why the Gun Sense Voter Project is asking all federal candidates to complete this brief questionnaire. We are working to support candidates who will vote for common-sense laws to reduce gun violence. Using this questionnaire and the candidate’s past history on gun issues, we will make determinations that will help Gun Sense Voters decide where candidates stand. Opposing a gun safety policy in this questionnaire will not necessarily be considered a statement against gun sense – that’s why we ask candidates to explain their positions if they choose. —

Answers to the Questionnaire

  1. Do you agree: we can both do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and protect the rights of responsible, law-abiding people?
    – YES – 
    The days of mentoring of our youth have diminished. My campaign is asking for neighborhoods to reconnect with living together by meeting together regularly. Sadly our society has moved to needing laws to make sure morality, ethics, and education are kept in check. Therefore, I do agree laws need to passed regarding deadly weapons and their safe-keeping. Responsible citizens do their part in being educators of our youth through mentoring and encouraging community gatherings.
  2. Background Checks & Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Dangerous People - Under federal law, anyone who buys a gun from a federally licensed dealer must pass a criminal background check, but the same person can end-run this requirement by buying a gun from an unlicensed seller, including from a stranger that the buyer met online or at a gun show. This loophole enables felons, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers to buy guns with no questions asked. In the states that require background checks on all handgun sales, there are 38% fewer women shot to death by their intimate partners and 39% fewer law enforcement officers killed with handguns.  Do you support requiring background checks for all gun sales (with reasonable exceptions such as for transfers between close family members and temporary transfers for hunting and self-defense)?
    – YES – 
    I do support requiring background checks on all gun sales. When it comes to transfers between family members and temporary transfers there needs to be a requirement on anyone making a transfer that they have gone through a certified handling program to enable such a transfer to take place.
  3. Background Checks & Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Dangerous People - Federal law prohibits anyone from having firearms if they have been convicted of abusing their spouses, or if they are the subjects of active restraining orders taken out by their spouses, but not if they have been convicted of stalking or have been convicted of abusing their dating partners. The share of intimate partner violence that occurs in dating relationships has been steadily growing—and as of 2008, more domestic violence homicides were committed by dating partners than by spouses.  Do you support a law that would prohibit gun possession by convicted stalkers and people convicted of—or, who after due process, are actively restrained from — abusing a dating partner?
    – YES – 
    The only concern I have with such a law is that those convicted were properly done so through the legal system. Our courts have shown prejudice which has affected the lives of innocent people. There are far too many people convicted with insufficient evidence of their transgressions.
  4. Background Checks & Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Dangerous People - Currently, federal law requires licensed gun dealers to conduct criminal background checks on all prospective gun buyers. Because websites that facilitate gun sales are not held to similar standards, unlicensed high-volume sellers use these sites to sell guns to a vast market of anonymous buyers without background checks—making it easy for felons and other dangerous people to buy guns from strangers they meet online with no questions asked. In fact, an estimated 25,000 guns are transferred to criminals with prohibiting records each year on one website alone,  This double standard makes it easy for prohibited people to get guns, and it gives unlicensed high-volume sellers who use websites like Armslist an unfair advantage over licensed gun dealers. Do you support legislation that would level the playing field by treating sites like Armslist as licensed gun brokers, and require a background check every time someone buys a gun through one of these sites?
    – YES – 
    While internet commerce is a wonderful thing serving many needs, the transfer of weapons I believe is a problem that needs addressed. We need to move toward transfer of weapons in person and not to a mailing address. It is extremely difficult to make sure the person receiving a package is in fact the same holder of a license.
  5. Background Checks & Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Dangerous People - The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is missing hundreds of thousands of records that would block dangerous people, including those with severe mental illness, from passing background checks when they try to buy guns. States are responsible for sending these records to NICS, but vary widely in their performance. Do you support an increase in congressional funding for the federal grant programs that help states submit their records?
    – NO – 
    There is an obvious gap in the NICS system that needs to be addressed. Often pushing more money at a situation isn’t the way to fix it. Examining the system for its flaws then addressing those is what is required. Laws need to have very specific language and “help submitting records” isn’t enough in my opinion. A system of checks and balances and education from NICS to providers on correcting data quality is likely what is needed.
  6. Gun Trafficking, Straw Purchasing, and Stolen Guns - People listed on the federal government’s terror watch lists are prohibited from boarding airplanes—but current federal law does not bar them from buying guns or explosives. Indeed, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, people on terror watch lists bought firearms or explosives from licensed dealers 1,321 times between 2004 and 2010.  Do you support legislation — drafted by the George W. Bush administration — that would close this “terror gap” by giving the FBI the discretion to block these people from buying guns?
    – NO – 
    I have a problem with a secret terror watch list that would prohibit the freedom of those who don’t know they are on such a list. This is the police-state of our country. I believe our citizens should be informed when they are under surveillance. It is well established that when people know someone is watching that their behavior changes. As free citizens of this country I denounce “domestic terrorism” as conducted by our government without just cause proven to those affected. We need evidence about why our freedoms are removed.
  7. Gun Trafficking, Straw Purchasing, and Stolen Guns - Under current law, it is difficult to prosecute and convict people suspected of trafficking illegal guns because the penalties for trafficking are small and violations are difficult to prove. In fact, the current penalty for gun trafficking is the same as for trafficking chickens across state lines.  Do you support legislation that would create a strong federal gun trafficking statute with serious penalties?
    – YES —  
    The definition for trafficking needs to be addressed while the statute is open. Organized efforts need to be identified better.
  8. High Capacity Magazines - In many mass shootings, including the 2011 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, AZ, bystanders have been able to
    subdue perpetrators of mass shootings when the shooters stop to reload. Research from Virginia showed that the federal limit on high-capacity magazines in effect from 1994 to 2004 led to a 50% reduction in criminals being armed with high-capacity magazines — and when the law expired, the share of crime guns with such magazines doubled. Several states have enacted limits on the size of ammunition magazines. Do you support limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines?
    – YES – 
    There is a specific purpose for high-capacity magazines which I believe need to be regulated much more stringently.
  9. Child Safety - Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have child access prevention laws, which allow criminal charges for adult gun owners who fail to store their guns safely and keep them out of the reach of children. Do you support laws that allow a prosecutor to bring charges if a gun owner stores a firearm negligently, a minor accesses the gun, and harm results?
    – YES —  
    The responsibility of mentoring our youth has to be higher. This is the only way we bring NEIGHBORhoods together is through demonstrating responsibility, teaching it to our youth.
  10. National Concealed Carry Mandate - Historically, states have set their own laws for who may carry a concealed gun and where they may carry it in public. Many states require applicants to be trained in gun safety and do not grant concealed carry permits to teenagers or people who have recently been convicted of assault, battery, or stalking offenses—while other states have weaker standards and will allow individuals like these to carry in public. Some in Congress have proposed “national concealed carry reciprocity” legislation, which would create a new federal mandate forcing every state to recognize concealed carry permits from every other state, no matter how lax a state’s laws are. Do you oppose national concealed carry reciprocity, which would overturn state public safety laws and replace them with a lowest-common denominator standard?
    – YES – 
    We need to adopt as a nation a base set of standards that all states will be required to include.

Campaign Transparency

I’ve posted my responses publicly because I feel transparency from public officials is extremely important. As a representative I hope to hear from constituents and reflect their interests through action.

Water Master Plan Update - declining population

Freedom Fridays – Detroit Water Shutoffs

Freedom Fridays

… began in May 2014 to gather voices against various oppressing forces happening around Detroit. The causes are many, but one which has been in focus for several months have been the water shutoffs of residents owing $150 or more.

I’ve attended these rallies – with the role of providing live video broadcast of the activities. Live broadcasts is something I’ve provided since Occupy Detroit began in October 2011.

Freedom Fridays #9 on Independence Day

At some point the connections become much clearer, although they are typically not explicitly revealed.

More Freedom Friday videos can be found [ here ].

Freedom Fridays – May 30

What Happened to Charity Hicks?

Charity Mahouna Hicks had her water shutoff when a Homrich contractor operating on behalf of DWSD (Detroit Water & Sewage Department) came to her home. It was several days before the termination date she’d recently received by mail. The contractor was shutting off water to the homes on the block around 7am. This includes a neighbor of hers who is a single mother with several young children. Charity pleaded a delay of an hour such that the family could draw water for later use. She also called police. The contractor wouldn’t hear of it and backed away quickly, knocking Charity down in the process, scraping her ankle in the fall. When the police arrived rather than help Charity, she found herself being charged and taken into custody. She wasn’t brought to the jail, they took her to Mound Road Correctional Facility (a prison complex). There she found herself improperly dressed and injured for the unsanitary conditions. She was kept confined for two days before being released with charges dropped.

On May 25th I had a chance to talk with Charity and heard the above from her. I should have recorded, but there was no way to know what lay ahead.

Charity was scheduled to speak at a conference in New York City the weekend of May 30. That’s why she wasn’t at the rally outside the Detroit Water Board for Freedom Fridays. She was standing at a bus stop and a car jumped over the curb hitting the bus stop sign which came down on her head and shoulders, severely injuring her. She was rushed to ICU where they’ve said she’s suffered brain damage and extensive injury. She has been in an induced coma since being brought to the hospital. The community here in Detroit continues prayer and sending love to her daily.

I dedicated this to Charity and the Water Warriors assembling in Detroit.


Press Coverage Abounds But Does It Tell Enough?

More telling is this documentary by Kate Levy and Shanna Merola. Which I’ve previously posted.


Connections in the Shutoff Situation

This list will hopefully offer some information that will give more background about what is happening.

Detroit Future City

Detroit Future City plan has indicated the city could change zoning classes, opening up dozens of new classes to enable the handling of water, industry and agriculture around the city easier. The work was done a few years back and former councilman Ken Cockrel Jr is now in charge of DFC.

The City’s policies and regulations need to acknowledge a smaller population, prepare for a larger economy, and incorporate new, innovative land uses. — DFC Master Plan Update Process

DFC is also connected with “dendro-remediation” with the explicit selection of Greening of Detroit as the organization it is working through. This is an example of how closed-loop work opportunities are in Detroit.

Dendro-remediation is the process by which trees are used to reduce and eliminate toxic substances in the soil over time. It is a low cost, long-term means for treating the soil and preparing it for future use. The DFC Implementation Office will coordinate with the Greening of Detroit to identify sites for dendro- remediation implementation by developing a comprehensive map of contaminated sites in the City, using data from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). DFC will provide Greening of Detroit with an initial list of sites, and then engage the City of Detroit and the Michigan Land Bank about securing permission to conduct dendro- remediation. — DFC Priorities – Land, Buildings, Resources

Greening of Detroit in hazmat suits
Greening of Detroit in hazmat suits

This caught media attention when Greening of Detroit staff showed up in hazmat suits to plant at Bridgeview Park without notifying residents of plans. The effort to plant trees was throwing toxic dirt in the air, blowing in the neighborhood. [1][2] The land at this park has been measured at 5000 ppm in lead, accepted max is 300 ppm.

Chief Operating Officer Gary Brown

Appointed by the viceroy of Governor Rick Snyder, Kevyn Orr and brought from a position as City Council Pro Tem. On September 12, 2013 Gary Brown shut down the electric on a very hot day – stopping elevators and causing health problems in downtown Detroit.

Detroit Water Board

The Water Master Plan (WMP) Update of May 14, 2014 brings in a map showing much like DFC those areas where population density has declined (WMP page 12). The plan is to cut and then restructure the system.

Water Master Plan Update - declining population
Water Master Plan Update – declining population, targeted zones

Retire water mains on vacant streets – WMP page 6

Reduce non-revenue water, retire distribution mains in low density areas of Detroit – WMP page 21

District metering and system consolidation planned for 2015 to 2020 – WMP page 24

Water Master Plan - District Water Meter plan for implementing 2015-2020
Water Master Plan – District Water Meter plan for implementing 2015-2020

District metering will allow for low infrastructure areas to be charged more for access to water. This could be seen as a benefit for administering and the infrastructure needs – however it does displace people from their homes as services needed for life are minimized and made more difficult to get access to and afford.

Eleanor Roosevelt & Universal Declaration of Human Rights

It does violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as set by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, co-authored by Eleanor Roosevelt. The United States hasn’t signed on to all provisions as yet – believing our laws within the country are enough to prevent human rights violations. Perhaps its time for the US to sign on with those articles its been dragging its feet on for over 60 years.

On June 25, 2014 a press release from 3 experts the United Nations issued a warning to Detroit, the State of Michigan and the United States requesting those whom have had their water disconnected turned back on.

  • Leilani Farha is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.
  • Philip Alston is the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
  • Catarina de Albuquerque is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation.

The Water Board is asking the very poor who can’t afford to come to the office at 735 Randolph.

Being Very Poor in Detroit

The very poor may not have access to reach the Water Board Building. They also may have compromised clothing and health status resulting from lack of water and finances. The very poor sometimes can’t afford that $1.50 or $1.75 (times 2 for return trip) to get on the bus closest to their home and make the journey downtown (sadly with the likelihood of being turned down for assistance). Then they’ve put a half day or more into traveling downtown just to be told to figure out how to pay the bill.

Consider the state of Detroit Department Of Transportation’s service in these areas being shutoff. As a bus rider I can tell you every bus going east to west in the city never runs on schedule. If you want to make a connection and the bus isn’t on schedule you can end up waiting 45 minutes or more to get the next bus. This can lead to travel situations of 2-3 hours one-way.

If these persons have employment it is at risk due to the schedule of the bus being erratic. Taking a day off from work means no pay coming in that day, and a day can make a difference especially when access to water is compromised.

The Water Board doesn’t seem to understand what “very poor” entails. They are operating mechanically through contracted labor assigned accounts delinquent (with no case analysis). The labor is typically demolition or construction contractors (with little understanding of the system and more than willing to compromise the system when shutting off service – it just front-loads more work to get service on again). For the contractor it’s about making as much profit from the contract as possible, even if the system is compromised.

Privatization of Water

The water shutoffs is to cut infrastructure – to minimize water mains in these declining population zones of Detroit. It’s about profit, it’s about breaking the system then pointing it out as needing privatization.

Considering the failing transparency provided in our government this statement from Governing’s article seems to say we need to stay away from privatization. It’s not just the government monitoring… the people governed must be actively monitoring and given public forum. This is completely missing from the Emergency Management Law, as we are subjected to this government with voice muffled.

For governments that forgo due diligence, choose ill-equipped contractors and fail to monitor progress, however, outsourcing deals can turn into costly disasters. — The Pros and Cons of Privatizing Government Functions, Governing


Progress at what cost – Independence Day?

Michigan you have been a tyrant over communities under Emergency Management. These communities and those surrounding are disconnected with participating in “Independence Day”. The concept is lost for those of rational mind.


State imposed viceroys of State rule exercising policy changes and reconstruction of our laws without endorsement by the greater populace. Our elected officials are given voice on certain issues, but if they run counter to the viceroy’s course they are overturned. These elected officials are coerced into staying within the course set by the tyrant.

Viceroy: a person sent by a king or queen to rule a colony

This is not our government. We are being governed by it, often against our best interest. We have no recourse for grievance, or public forum with those who rule. Seeking audience with these appointed authorities is at their will, not ours. Authority over those without voice is tyranny.

Tax dollars collected are being managed by appointed and contracted persons the public had no voice in bringing into power. The American people started a revolution 250 years ago that led to succession and establishing sovereign government. This colonial city Detroit established in 1701, has endured war and power struggles far longer than country or state which claims to rule over it. In 1765 with a population of 800 Detroit was the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans.[1]

As Detroit recognizes 313 years as a city we reflect. We are a resilient people living upon land compromised from indigenous people, whom have suffered through colonization. Our First Nations have another name for these lands which has not been recognized by those who settled here. Settlers brought claims to the land, water, and air. They were and are intent on evolving a new form of prosperity and environmental destruction with it.

Protesters walking through Campus Martius
Protesters walking through Campus Martius

The progress of evolution begs the question why have we masked fresh clean land, water, and air with pollution? Why do we make it a challenge to fight through the filth to live? Can we adjust and adapt the path of progress to bring health and prosperity attuned as responsible stewards of these natural resources?

Marathon Petroleum's DHOUP
Marathon Petroleum’s DHOUP

We can’t continue to rule over the land with unbridled dominion watching it cave in beneath the whip of progress. We teach this to our children through our actions each day and fail to partner with nature to thrive. One doesn’t win without a result of a loss on a grander scale. Compete to improve as partners, learning new perspectives in doing so. Engage in healthy debate that expands awareness rather than throttles and maims. Our best comes through community awareness and concerted action together.

New Tech: The-Hall, the voice of democracy?

Anton Ambrose signing the Raise Michigan petition. Photo by Stephen Boyle

Many people believe there is no way for their voices to be heard by lawmakers, especially if they don’t have a fistful of cash to offer the politician to sway their vote. I’m one of those people too. I believe in grassroots democracy where many voices are heard. I believe the value of a position shall not be controlled through financial lobbying. I’ve carried a few petitions around to elect candidates, remove elected officials, and bring new ballot issues. Good laws can be created without excessive financial influence, but it takes a lot of people power.

The Hall

I saw a message sent to the Occupy Detroit group recently about “The Hall“. This campaign is interested in creating a legislative social network that provides equal voice for all.


Not Just ONE Solution

Before you think that I’m of the mind that technology fixes all ills – I’m also aware of the pitfalls of depending on a solitary source for advice. When systems fail or are compromised there has to be a plan in place that goes around that problem. Our current systems really don’t engage technology very well. It takes a creative effort to ease the traditional modes of representation.

  • There are aides assisting the congressperson gather information from constituents.
  • There are advocacy organizations created for the voice of many to be heard more clearly. This is where lobbying falls as well. Some advocacy groups have enough funds to keep someone in touch daily or weekly. Although the large majority don’t have such access.
  • News reporters check in on issues and that may send a flag when something needs to be checked by the representative.
  • Representatives hold town hall sessions to hear from constituents.

These traditional forms are good at the moment, but what I’m looking for is a somewhat standard way for you to be heard and hear each other, collaborating as advocates and colleagues, even debating issues. A good debate is usually held face to face such that respect for a fellow human can be offered. So I’m not advocating away from these by mentioning The Hall.

The Hall becomes another layer that is quick and easy for reference and opens the ability for representation quickly, and clean of translations (which happen from indirect communication). This paragraph from the project describes what happens to lawmakers who adopt it as a reference.

The Hall is going to allow people to talk about the top issues that they feel are important to them and try and form groups to create change.  Most importantly, they will have the ability to see upcoming bills that representatives have on their plates and discuss them, and ultimately vote on them.  In the future, we at The Hall see people running for office with the pledge to use The Hall as their basis for finding out the will of the people in their district that they represent, and ultimately vote the way that the people did online.  If those elected decide not to adhere to this oath, then they can be removed during the next election cycle by someone who is.  The politician in power will become more of a ceremonial vote giver for the people.  Power will be stripped away.  Corporate influence can be decreased dramatically on the way our government is run.  Favors would cease to exist.  Campaign finance would almost disappear.  Bill initiatives could be brought forth by the people and put into law easier.  Since issues would be decided on an issue-by-issue basis, political parties would have decreased power.  The playing field will be evened out and the people will decide the future of the country they live in.  The way it should be.

I’ve said that I wish to be a gatekeeper to bring the voice of constituents forward. This project appears to state its purpose is aligned. My concern will be those without sufficient access / privilege would fail to be heard. That is why a blend of face-to-face traditional forms with this project remains important.

A Personal Story About Access

I’ve had a couple of times when I did not have access to a computer to handle business requiring one. Some of this was as a photographer using a digital SLR camera – you need to unload the memory to a storage hard drive to free space for more photos to be taken.

At one point I was hopping on a bicycle with my backup hard drive and camera in a backpack. I’d go to the library and within the 1 hour of allotted time unload those photos and do what I could to process and share them as needed. While the time to pull the photos from the camera passed I checked my email and browsed through news. Sometimes I needed to go through the waiting line for access more than once.

Confusion In District 14

There was a great deal of confusion and general upset when the 13th and 14th district maps were redrawn a few years ago. Some Detroiters found themselves swapping from 13th to 14th and 14th to 13th. The metropolitan Detroit area isn’t very clean-cut as to determining your district. It seems the 14th meanders its way all over! Current District 14 map MetroDetroitDistricts

A Republican in Democrat’s clothing?

The Republicans are going to try to get the best of the confusion by running Christine Conyers (R) in District 14. Sadly the public follows names they recognize far too often and the split of districts alienated some of John Conyers (D) supporters. Seeing the Conyers name on the ballot for the 14th could confuse some. Be ready to help a friend out by pointing out that’s not the Conyers they know.

Who is Christina Conyers?

She is running unopposed in the 14th for the Republican Party. There was a call made to the Republican office here in Detroit and they couldn’t give much information, they really didn’t know her and didn’t confirm anything. Here are links on a few sites that would be the spots this candidate would have information:

I filled out the candidate questionnaire on Ballotpedia, it should be posted on the site within the next few weeks. They may check candidacy with the Secretary of State  and FEC before posting, and that may take a little time for acknowledgement.

I called the candidate line at Vote Smart and they indicated they would not be posting information on independent candidates until the Secretary of State provides the approved list of candidates for the November ballot. That’s not going to be until after the August 7 primaries for Democrats and Republicans is verified. There’s some injustice involved here when it comes to equal time offered.