This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

Search This Blog

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sunday July 31st Eccentric Front Page Article titled "resident cries foul over use of email list" has implication for all Michigan Residents

It is not however news. Township Supervisor Leo Savoie, a candidate for re-election, last June, purchased an email list and sent the recipients a campaign piece about  a possible endorsement by the Birmingham Eccentric newspaper. If Mr. Savoie  had purchased his list from one or more of the dozens  of  Lansing vendors and campaign strategist who sell such things and comprise a virtual cottage industry, there would be no "foul" since Mr. Savoie would have been  simply exercising  his  constitutional right to free speech. 

Mr. Savoie did not buy the list from a vendor however.  Far worse. He used the  Michigan Freedom of Information Act to obtain the list from the Township.

The Freedom of information Act  was designed to encourage open  transparency in Government and here was the Township's number  one Citizen using it to further his political ambition.  The email addresses were provided by Township residents  who were told they would receive  information about the Township. Lesson number one was apparently don't trust your Government

The Eccentric article by Jay Grossman continues with, "Savoie at the July 11 Township board meeting, said he was not "aware" of the policy and has no intention of using the list again.

It is hard to fathom a man of Savoy's savvy and stature being unaware. Much of he said said the July 11 meeting did not make last Sundays' Eccentric.  Probably because it wasn't news.  The Vivo Video available on the Township web site  under video on demand   where  one can fast forward to Agenda Items 8 and 9 to  at the one hour and 29 minute mark to see the complete discussion concerning the
Supervisor's email list purchase. Savoie said that before making the mass  emailing he checked with City Attorney Bill Hampton  who at quick glance no saw no  problem with the proposed mailing or how the list was  obtained.  Hampton at that point in the meeting  took the opportunity stress the fact that he was the attorney for all of Bloomfield Township and its residents as opposed to just being just that for Supervisor   When  remaining audience members who were  mostly  Supervisor dissidents  questioned the Attorney's due diligence on the topic, Hampton said he had not researched the matter in depth.  Next Supervisor,   Savoie said  he  asked the advice of City clerk Jan Roncelli who apparently saw no problems with  the mailing. 
When the emails went out however the complaints came in. The recipients complained that they had given out their email address to receive  news  and information about their community. Not to receive campaign pitches from candidate Savoie. Many saw it as the classic bait and switch.

Eccentric Staff writer Grossman  in his Sunday article quoted  Savoie as saying the complaint against him came from the largest donor  of his opponent's  campaign and was purely political.

Reader  should know that they may visit Oakland Elections Campaign financing web site at any time and view campaign funding donation and expenditures for all the campaigns in all the campaigns.

In figures  available on the .Oakland County Campaign Financing web site....
As of the pre- election filing deadline on June 22nd. Mr Savoie had $116,975 in donations with expenses of $88,000.

David Thomas his closest rival had donations of $8795 with expenses of $3667.73

From the donation numbers alone  one can surmise that Supervisor Savoie will be re-election by a large margin. 

4000 voters  live in Bloomfield Township. 

So why in the world would  Leo Savoie throw caution to wind and put his reputation on line(no irony intended,) by messing around with an estimated 300 to 500 email addresses  to whom his entitlement is questionable less than 30 days before an election: in which he has a more than a ten  to one dollar  edge over his closest rival ?

Arrogance  my late great Mother said more than forty years ago and she was referring  to Watergate. It has only got worse since then.

Your tax dollars no longer provide for free information from your City. You must pay for it with your email address and pay again if the Government decides to sell it to candidates or consultants  who pay for it.  And that is just the beginning in the Township, The City, and elsewhere. Stay tuned for more.

No comments: