Mackinac Policy Conference – Fudge And Falderal

(Falderal: mere nonsense; foolish talk or ideas.)
We are this week involved in one of the biggest boondoggles in Michigan.
No, I’m not referring to our Lansing lawmakers and their summer sojourn, I’m alluding to the annual Mackinac Policy Conference which this year takes place on The Island from May 29 – June 1. The meeting reminds me of my favorite TV shows, “Seinfeld,” which is a “show about nothing!”
The Mackinac Policy Conference mimics the show but rarely does anything of substance take place. And when asked if there were any action items that came out of the conference, one could utter the famous line from “Seinfeld” – “ya da ya da ya da”, which means language that is boring or offers little information.
The conference is labeled as a gathering of “movers and shakers.” Heck, I’ve seen more movement with two guys working for “Two Men And A Truck!” One would think that being labeled a “mover” or “shaker” would bring with it certain responsibilities such as actually coming up with solutions to the problems that plague our state. But alas, after all these conferences it is difficult to outline any significant accomplishments. Few if any attendees depart with an action plan.
The conference is beginning to resemble episodes of “Gilligan’s Island,” where dream sequences were a recurring theme.
The Mackinac conference has obviously adopted a similar stance, but unfortunately those dreams of cooperation among the counties have turned into a nightmare. And if you listened closely you no doubt could hear some of the participants humming the Gilligan theme song, “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…”
Any vestiges of another TV favorite, “Let’s Make A Deal,” never surface on this idyllic island because frankly the event is nothing more than four fun-filled days of frivolity with a couple of pounds of fudge thrown in.
And I say that as someone who has attended this glad-handing spectacle as a participant and a vendor. Nothing of substance takes place.
If one were to have a conversation with some of the “movers” about the effectiveness of this conference, a sense of being there for appearances only and not for decision-making would likely surface.
And of course our Lansing legislators will be there since these clowns have never let work stand in the way of their enjoying extended vacations so I suspect that most of them have packed their gaudy, colorful golf pants and looked forward to the nightly imbibing in the Cupola Bar at the top of the Grand Hotel.
There you have it. Another Michigan boondoggle. Here’s my suggestion on how to make it productive: Gather everyone into a large meeting room and have them watch the “Seinfeld” episode “The Pothole”. Kramer complains about the failing highway infrastructure after running over an abandoned sewing machine so he adopts a one-mile piece of the highway through “Adopt A Highway Program”.
Perhaps each of our lawmakers needs to adopt a section of Michigan highways and then be personally responsible for its improvement.
So be prepared for a daily recount of activities from this group of island marauders as some of our tax dollars are going to buy fudge and a buggy ride for some government bloke! Hope they brought their own togas!
Bill Kalmar
Lake Orion

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