Kids in the Hall
|By Neal McNamara|
An aggregator of Lansing government happenings
First Ward Councilman Eric Hewitt encountered an advertising snafu last week. When the Eastside Neighborhood Organization’s seasonal newspaper came out, appearing in the centerfold in front of an American flag was Hewitt, with the message “Re-elect Eric Hewitt.” The problem is, Hewitt is not up for election until 2011.
The other problem is, Hewitt paid for the ad out of his City Council discretionary account, which, if he were running for reelection, would be a campaign finance no-no.
The advertisement cost $225, which Hewitt says he has repaid to the city.
Hewitt said that the copy that appeared in his ad (the ENO newspaper is produced by the Lansing State Journal) was not what he approved — he intended it to be an ad for his “first contact” meeting, which allows residents to come out and meet him every first Saturday of the month.
In case you’re wondering, City Council, sometimes as a group, sometimes individually, does often take out advertisements in neighborhood group newsletters and other community media using discretionary funds. The entire Council, for example, took out a full-page black and white ad in the same ENO newspaper.
Each City Council member is given a “discretionary” pot of $2,000 each year.
Last Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting got a little nuts. The Council was discussing the city’s allotment of PEG (public, educational, and governmental) fees that Comcast pays the city to use its rights of way to deliver us our Comedy Central and high-speed Internet stock tips. Gary Andrews, a
But that wasn’t the only thing of interest. Quietly, at the end of CoW, Finance Director Jerry Ambrose reported
The city is in a deficit situation to the tune of about $1.8 million, the result of shortfalls in revenue projections from the 2009 budget year, which ended June 30. Ambrose said that the administration will soon forward a deficit elimination plan to Council, and, ominously, that “everything is on the table” as far as closing the deficit.
Monday’s Council meeting was exciting, too (though there were no pre-election outbursts). Marcus Brown received
Also, the corridor improvement authorities for Michigan Avenue and Saginaw Street were