Your Governments In Action

No, this sign isn't outside the capitol building in Illinois.
No, this sign isn't outside the capitol building in Illinois.
You might think that today’s blog is going to be about John Boehner holding our country hostage for a couple of months and then finally presenting his grand plan written in crayon laden with references to Dark Lord Sauron. You would be wrong. While there is a certain level of sad humor in that whole mess, I thought I would focus on stuff that impacts people a little more directly. Yes the U.S. budget is important, but it’s also important for folks to have their garbage picked up and make sure their little worlds are kept safe. I know it might seem a tad parochial, but I hope you’ll trust me when I say there’s lots of fun stuff happening in neighborhoods around this great land of ours that is just as worthy of being lampooned as anything in Washington D.C.

For example, local voting can often be more contentious than the national version. So a company in Lansing, Michigan is helping voters remain calm by giving them pot when they register to vote.

See, isn’t this better already?

A medical marijuana shop’s offer of free pot in exchange for registering to vote appears to have gone up in smoke.

Your Healthy Choice Clinic of Lansing, Mich., had been offering a half gram on its website ahead of a vote for city council seats and after the council approved capping the number of medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits and setting a $1,000 application fee.

Clinic owner Shekina Pena earlier said she wasn’t trying to buy votes.

“We really got to fight to get the voters out there because the polls are showing there’s 4-5,000 people in Lansing that are patients or caregivers,” she told NBC affiliate WILX TV. “So we need those 4-5,000 people to come forth to the polls and vote for whomever they feel is in support of what they want for access.”

“We let them know how we feel, we don’t tell them who to vote for,” she added. “We definitely want to support the ones (city council members) who are supporting us.”

On Wednesday, the state’s attorney general, at the prodding of a state senator, said he was looking into whether the clinic crossed a legal line.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope said if the clinic tied the offer to voting for or against a particular person then it would definitely have crossed the legal line.

Pena insisted that wasn’t the case, but Swope still had concerns that a line might have been crossed, noting that a website tagline — “Vote for us and we’ll vote for you.” — suggested a close tie to candidates.

A clinic employee contacted by on Thursday had “no comment” on whether the website offer still stood, and Pena had not yet returned a call seeking clarification.

The website also offers advice on how not to bogart a joint when you’re a group situation.

Does that count as “group therapy?”

But, as mellow as things are in Lansing, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is a different sack of cats all together. Their mayor, in an effort to get to know the little people better I’m guessing, went on a 3 day bender that included a bar fight and passing out in public.

The mayor of Sheboygan, a self-described alcoholic who admitted to drinking, getting in a fight and passing out in a tavern in Elkhart Lake over the weekend, apologized but says he refuses to step down from his job.

“I have every intention of (surviving the latest challenge). It’s nothing I’m proud of,” said Mayor Bob Ryan on WTMJ partner station WHBL Radio in Sheboygan.

The Sheboygan City Council will be considering a resolution on Monday asking for Ryan’s resignation.

“I do not blame the council for asking for my resignation. What I did is indefensible. I’m not proud of it. I’m an alcoholic.”

“I’ve been successful in spite of it, and I will continue to be successful.”

Ryan explained the events of the weekend.

“I consequently went out for dinner on a Friday, began drinking and it began a three-day drinking session. I’m not proud of it. That’s not me, but that’s the alcoholic within me,” said Ryan.

“Did I pass out on a bar? Yes I did. I’ll admit that. Was I in a scuffle? Yes. Did I start it? No, I did not.”

He claims that his job performance has never been affected by his alcoholism.
Read the original story and see video from WTMJ

“Alcohol has never affected the way I do my job. Alcohol has affected my personal life greatly,” said Ryan. “I have never walked into a city meeting or council meeting under the influence of alcohol.”

Ryan also detailed his attempts to cope with his alcoholism and his plans moving forward.

“I work every day on it. I do go to group meetings. I have been through treatment. I do meet with doctors. I do meet with psychologists. I will continue to do so. I am going into an intensive outpatient program which will allow me to work on my issues more readily and still continue on my job. That will be an evening and weekend group session, and I will still be able to carry on my duties as mayor.”

A past YouTube video detailed Ryan making sexual comments about a relative on a cell phone, and he also faces a sexual harassment accusation from a female employee he fired.

No one living in Sheboygan has filed a formal complaint against Ryan, which would be a necessary step for the Common Council to be able to remove Ryan from office. If no one resident launches such a complaint, Common Council members, as taxpayers, stand ready to act.

“We’ll lodge the formal complaint and do the judge and the jury all together,” Alderman Scott Varsey told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Cody Holyoke.

“This needs to be taken care of sooner rather than later. And not a slap on the hand, either,” he continued.

Residents say it’s about time for Ryan to battle his demons in private.”If [the story is] as it appears on its face, a change needs to be made, because Sheboygan is bigger and better than this story is making us look,” said Scott Kautzer of Sheboygan.

This marks the second time that the City of Sheboygan has made our blog. Kind of impressive for a town the size of my closet.

But, believe it or not, the mayor’s following a grand political tradition. There’s even a website dedicated to politicians who have been arrested for various forms of drunkenness. With some obvious exceptions, all of which are clearly noted, most of them serve their communities well.

Of course, none of them were heinous criminals like the South Carolina sexagenarian, yes that’s a real word and it fits, who was arrested for driving with testicle hanging off her mirror.

The police chief of a small South Carolina town will ask a jury to decide if a woman broke the state’s obscenity laws by driving a pickup truck with plastic testicles hanging from the back.

Bonneau Police Chief Franco Fuda ticketed Virginia Tice, 65, in early July at a local convenience store after spying the adornment dangling from her truck.

South Carolina law considers a bumper sticker, decal or device indecent when it describes, in an offensive way as determined by contemporary community standards, “sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body.”

The offense carries a maximum fine of $445 but no jail time, Fuda said.

“This is certainly not a staple of my ticket writing in Bonneau,” the police chief told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Charleston law firm Savage & Savage will represent Tice for free, attorney Scott Bischoff said. The trial had been scheduled for next week but was delayed because the defendant will be out of town.

“She’s such a sweet lady and she just says ‘I don’t want to pay the fine.’ We’ll let a jury decide whether this is really criminal behavior. I don’t want to take away from the importance of free speech, but it’s really comical,” he said.

Lawmakers in some states have sought to ban the colorful plastic or rubber devices that go by brand names such as Bulls Balls and Truck Nutz.

Fuda said if the fake testicles were a free speech issue, “I don’t know what they would be trying to express.”

“I went to (a) few websites that said, excuse the expression, ‘show your nuts,'” he said. “I didn’t see anywhere it said support your local proctologist or farmer.”

Um, not to belittle Chief Fuda’s ability to read English, but the phrase is “Show you’re nuts” which is clearly a constitutionally covered statement concerning one’s personal mental state.

Of course, he may be baffled about how that whole Interweb thing works. Much like this New York genius who taunted cops using Facebook.

A fugitive from upstate New York who taunted police on his Facebook page to `catch me if you can. I’m in Brooklyn’ has been arrested.

The Daily News says U.S. marshals and NYPD detectives tracked Victor Burgos down to an apartment in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood Monday night, sitting at his computer with his Facebook page open.

The 29-year-old suspect was wanted by Utica police on multiple arrest warrants for domestic violence and harassment of his former girlfriend.

He allegedly issued the Facebook challenge after his mug shot appeared on the Utica Police Department’s 10 most wanted list.

Utica Sgt. Steve Hauck tells the News: “He told us via Facebook to come and get him and we did.”

See? Despite being cold sober and a member of law enforcement, he still manages to have a sense of humor and do his job.

It can happen.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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