County takes the low road

By Don Rush

I don’t get this way usually. Normally, I’m kinda’ a sit back, watch things unfold, shrug my shoulders because I cannot do anything about nothing kind of guy. But, today, and yesterday and the week that was this past week got me angry.
I’m mad. Disgusted. Outraged. I’m incredulous. I am shaking my head back and forth in dismay even as I type. The shenanigans in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners has truly ticked me off. And, I know, I know. I need to chill, there’s nothing I can do about politics. Dirty politics. Power politics. And, yet I am compelled to write.
I actually watched a couple of hours of last Friday’s board of commissioners meeting. You know the one. The one where the commissioner took back his resignation so he could give his party a one vote majority so they could ram rod through their choice to fill the late County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s term. Their choice, who didn’t even apply for the job, was the mayor of Ferndale. They could have left the deputy executive fill Brooks’ term. But, they needed a democrat in office — not the best person.
I wish the new executive luck, but I have little respect for him or the way he came into office. That he let his name and honor be a part of sham says a lot of his own character.
Good luck, Oakland County.

L. Brooks Patterson

Back in April I interviewed L. Brooks, just before he and his family were getting ready to vacation in Florida, a few days after he announced he was battling Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer. Brooks, a longtime Clarkston area resident, surprisingly was upbeat.
I asked about the irony of the program he created, oh, 20 years ago, called “emerging sectors.” Back then he went all in to bring the world’s emerging businesses to Oakland County. It was ironic, becuase it was success and created lot of new jobs and people to the county . . . the kind of people who tend to not vote for republicans (young, high-tech types).
“Don,” said he, “Whenever you bring in new jobs, manufacturing, medical — you bring in people who tend to vote for democrats. So what? I’m county executive for republicans and democrats. My job is to do what’s best for everyone in the county, not just republicans.”
I also asked him about the state of the state of politics today; about the total partisanship which we read, watch and here about. Again, I was surprised. He actually said it was his belief being a politicians was an honorable endeavor. However, he added, people have corrupted politics for their own reasons (power).
Brooks was un-phased by criticism. He bucked republican and democrat ideas equally if he felt those ideas did not help his county. He was a watchdog of county (the peoples’) money. He would not back a program just to help the region. Conversely though, many of his policies have helped not only Southeastern Michigan, but the entire state.
Brooks and his team helped grow and maintain a county envied by municipalities throughout the nation. Their actions and policies created a county which benefited almost everyone who lived or worked here — regardless of party affiliation, race, gender, sexuality or creed. People who live or work here like living and working here. Imagine living or working in Wayne County or Detroit.
So, as I watched transpire what did transpire at the county commission level, I was saddened by the total partisan coup the democrats perpetrated on county residents — all in the name of gaining power and taking the county executive’s seat. Something they have never been able to do, something voters have not granted them. They took the low road in.
For those who live in North Oakland County, I would be extremely worried. Far outnumbered by neighbors to the south, the north does not have voting power. I expect there will be a move to quickly establish county polices to divide voters, pitting one group over the other. I expect the new power structure will move fast to make Oakland County resemble the counties surrounding Oakland. In other words spend your money like drunken sailors to make sure everything is “fair” or “equal.”
As you can read, I am totally pessimistic — which kinda’ bums me out. I like being Donny Sunshine. Deep breath. Breathe. I’ll end on a positive note: I was heartened to see former Oxford farmer, school board member and now county commission Tom Middleton stand his ground and walk about from the mockery of interview process. Thank you, Tom. Wish you were gonna’ run for another term.
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