Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Report on the 2014 Clawson 4th of July parade

It's time to recount my experiences Marching in the Clawson 4th of July parade again.  Just as I did in A-10s on parade, I begin with a WXYZ video: Clawson honors veterans in Fourth of July parade.

The clip gives a pretty accurate assessment of the parade's family-friendly and community-oriented atmosphere.  Also, I just missed getting on screen, as the closing shot is of the unit right behind the one I marched with.  Darn.  However, the candidate I ended up volunteering for wasn't Nancy Skinner.  Follow over the jump for who I marched down the parade route with and why.

I showed up at the parade assembly point right on time at 8:00 A.M.  After not seeing anyone with the Skinner Squad in the parking lot, I asked where her position was in the parade, then found it.  I was the first there.  In fact, I was the only one there until 9:00 A.M., when the parade stepped off.

During that time, I thought about what my plan B would be if Skinner and her volunteers didn't show up by the time the parade stepped off.  I was there, so I was going to help someone by passing out candy and campaign literature.  I saw a truck promoting the SMART (suburban bus system) millage renewal, which will be on the ballot in August.  I would gladly volunteer for that cause.  However, when I asked if they had any candy, the answer was no.  I told them that they didn't need me, but they would have my yes vote for the renewal.

I then looked at the other candidates who had teams of volunteers assembled.  Only one contest had candidates who interested me, and it was one in which I was undecided, the Democratic nomination for the 13th State Senate seat being vacated by John Pappageorge.  The Detroit Free Press covered the contest in Experienced candidates face off in 2 Oakland County state Senate races.
Three well-known Republicans are the front-runners for the seat held by Pappageorge for the past eight years, in a district that stretches from Royal Oak and Berkley through Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Troy and Clawson, ending up in Rochester and Rochester Hills.

It is a district that leans solidly Republican and the odds are that one of the former state Reps. Knollenberg, Moss or Raczkowski will emerge as the winner in August and November. But Democrat Fishman is also waging an aggressive and well-financed campaign with more than $95,000 to spend — including a $33,000 loan from himself — even before the campaign finance reports that are due in a couple of weeks.

“We’ve seen where career politicians have gotten us,” Fishman said during a League of Women Voters debate last week in Troy. “I’m not running as Democrat or Republican. I’m running to be the voice of the district. There are days where I’ll applaud the Republican governor and work with him; there are days, I’ll challenge him.”

But he’ll have to get by Peltonen first. She’s a teacher, musician and a long-serving member of the Clawson Board of Education.

“I’m alarmed and taken aback that our education system is being taken over by private, for-profit ventures,” she said. “I’m the best candidate to speak on education issues.”
I hadn't decided between Fishman and Peltonen.  Fishman had been a Republican until a few months ago, when he gave up on the party and filed as a Democrat.  In some ways, he's an ideal purple candidate for a purple district.  However, I just never could commit to him.  This was even after his campaign had invited me to march in the parade for them, making them the obvious second choice after Skinner.  I thought about that invitation as I looked at his volunteers.  Somehow, I just couldn't bring myself to walk over there and ask for a campaign T-shirt to join them.

On the other hand, I'd seen Peltonen's volunteers.  They didn't have campaign T-shirts; instead, they had bumper stickers plastered to their shirts.  I thought that they would be easier to join and that they needed my help more.  Just before the parade stepped off, I walked up to them, told them that I wanted to volunteer for them, and asked for a bag of candy to pass out and bumper stickers for the front and back of my shirt.  They were happy to oblige and I was happy to walk down the parade route with them.

So, I'm now supporting Peltonen in the primary, based in part on who I would be more comfortable joining at the last minute.  Just the same, I'm surprisingly OK with my decision.  Besides, she's someone who has run successfully for office before, shares my values as an educator, and is the "real Democrat," something I've thought about her for months.  I guess I was leaning toward her anyway; the parade just gave me the final nudge.

As for the other candidates in the contest, I saw both Knollenberg and Raczkowski with large contingents marching down the parade route.  I heard from two sources, one Republican and one Democrat, that Raczkowski had the establishment support.  That surprised me, as I would have thought that either Knollenberg or Moss, who have experience in elected office, would be the favorite, but no. It's Tea Party Rocky Raczkowski.  I volunteered for Gary Peters when he ran against him in 2010 and Peters beat him, so I'm not scared of Rocky.

It turned out that Skinner did show up after I went down the street.  Her volunteers marched in the parade along with two Democratic candidates whose names I make fun of--Bobby McKenzie and Anil Kumar.  McKenzie reminds me of the character Bob McKenzie from SCTV.  As for Kumar, he's a urologist, which means he performs rectal exams.  Think about it; the joke writes itself.  That said, he's a nice guy and also the leader in the contest, so I feel a bit guilty teasing him about his aptonym.

On the other hand, the LaRouchie Roberts whose volunteers I mocked two years ago was not in the parade.  Good thing.  One appearance by that freak show was enough.

Over on the Republican side, David Trott was the only candidate with volunteers--lots of them--in the parade.  The incumbent Kerry "Bad Santa" Bentivolio was a no show.  Trott's efforts appear to be paying off, as WXYZ reports in Exclusive poll shows leaders in three district primaries.

At WXYZ's website, the headline is David Trott, Hansen Clarke lead key southeast Michigan races for Congress.
If the Michigan Primary election were held today, 53 percent of likely GOP voters in the 11th Congressional District say they would cast their ballot for attorney David Trott. Only 31 percent would vote to re-elect first-term incumbent Bentivolio. Sixteen percent are undecided.
EPIC MRA President Bernie Porn said, “The 11th District race is shaping up as an example of the GOP establishment on the verge of defeating a Tea Party candidate supporter. Bentivolio is being strongly out spent and his performance in his district has been controversial with voters.” 

Our poll shows that Trott currently leads Bentovolio in all regions of the district.
Bad Santa was one of the first Representatives named in Bill Maher's "Flip a District."  The 11th may or may not stay Republican, but Bad Santa looks like he's leaving after the voters give him a lump of coal next month.  That's one way to flip a district.

Reposted to Michigan Liberal as Passing out candy and campaign literature in Clawson.


  1. “'I'm independent,' Peltonen said. 'I vote for the person, not the party. Mike Bosnic has the experience and the judgment. We're one of the few school districts that have a decent budget because we planned ahead. Mike is in it for the right reasons. He has the heart of a public servant.'" See more here:

    Here’s Cyndi “the Independent” on Mike’s campaign literature:

    Ryan is the best representative of my values, regardless of the label, and has the support from key labor leaders and Democratic Party leaders to prove it. It’s why he’s endorsed by 
Congressman Sandy Levin
, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, 
Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner, Berkley 
Mayor Phil O’Dwyer, Birmingham Mayor George Dilgard, Clawson Mayor Penny Luebs, Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison, EVERY Democratic Oakland County Commissioner and EVERY Democratic State Senator serving today. He’s got more than a dozen Democratic State Representatives on board from across Michigan, the Sierra Club, and more than 30 unions – including the MEA, Teamsters, DPOA, UFCW, the Greater Detroit Building and Construction Trades Council, the IBEW, Michigan Professional Firefighters Union, Carpenters and Millwrights, National Association of Social Workers and the list goes on … The consensus is clear – there’s a voice for our Party and a voice who can win in November and though he once was a Republican, he doesn’t hide it, he’s been vetted by the leaders we know we can trust, and he will do right by all of us in January in Lansing as our State Senator.

    1. Your response surprised me. After all, if this entry reflects badly on anyone, it's the Skinner campaign, not the Fishman campaign. I didn't march with your volunteers because they looked like they didn't need the help. That written, I still support Skinner in the 11th Congressional District Democratic primary, although I can't vote for her as I don't live in her district.

      As for the content of your response, while I may be surprised, I'm glad you came here to argue your case. It's exactly the kind of comment I'd like more of at this blog. That said, one major endorsement escaped Fishman. The UAW endorsed Peltonen.

      BTW, should Fishman win, I'll support Fishman in the general. He's better than any of the Republicans.