After nearly two years on the COVID roller coaster, let’s start this next one by imagining what a return to some semblance of sanity might look like. We’ve unleashed our inner prognosticator to bring you the top developments we hope to see in 2022 and beyond:
Hospitals, politicos launch COVID crackdown
Sparrow and McLaren start the new year with a bang by finally requiring their employees to get vaccinated or get fired. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Mayor Andy Schor also locate their spines and jump on the bandwagon with vaccination mandates for all state and city employees. Responding to critical capacity shortages affecting patients with non-COVID-related illnesses, both hospital systems also announce a major change in treatment priorities: Vaccinated patients to the front of the line; unvaccinated to the back. Tents are set up in the parking lot to serve unvaxxed COVID patients, staffed by unvaxxed former hospital employees. Ivermectin is the treatment of choice. Area funeral homes set up information booths nearby.
Public safety gets back to business
Mayor Schor announces the hiring of 15 new police officers, half of them Black men and women. Chief Ellery Sosebee signals the end of pandemic policing, directing his officers to get out of their patrol cars and get back into the neighborhoods. Murders drop precipitously. County commissioners bend to public pressure and launch a comprehensive racial equity review of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, including an annual study of traffic stops and a close look at the department’s hiring practices. Commissioners require Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth to complete racial sensitivity and implicit bias training.
Big moves resuscitate downtown Lansing
The State of Michigan finally recognizes its obligation to support the economy of the Capital City, announcing a plan to relocate state workers from around the region and refill empty offices in downtown Lansing, including reopening the secretary of state branch office. At MSU, President Samuel Stanley Jr. acknowledges the university’s compelling interest in a thriving urban core. In a surprise move, he announces that the MSU College of Law will relocate to downtown Lansing, taking over space left behind after Cooley Law School moved to the WMU campus in Kalamazoo. Meanwhile, Mayor Schor negotiates a deal with county leaders to solve the city jail riddle. Under the plan, the lockup in the basement of the downtown county courthouse will be expanded, clearing the way for the transformation of the old City Hall into a new hotel and the former LSJ headquarters into the new home of municipal government.
Performing arts get powered up
After months of secret negotiations, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and the Lansing Board of Water & Light announce the redevelopment of the decommissioned Eckert Power Station. The ground floor will become the city’s new performing arts center. The floors above will feature affordable studio and living space for artists, luxury condominiums, and a rooftop vegan restaurant with panoramic views of the Lansing region.
Blue wave puts Michigan Dems in driver’s seat
Thanks to non-gerrymandered district lines approved by Michigan’s new independent redistricting commission, Democrats win control of the state Senate for the first time since 1982 on the strength of victories by new Lansing area state Sen. Sarah Anthony and Sam Singh. Democrats also surprise pundits by narrowly capturing the state House. Gov. Whitmer easily wins reelection after the James Craig campaign collapses. Republicans take another blow when their “Secure MI Vote” ballot campaign falls short. Despite all manner of fraudulent representations by petition circulators, insufficient signatures are obtained to put the Republican voter suppression plan on the statewide ballot.
Trump goes to jail
New York state prosecutors bring dozens of felony corruption and tax fraud charges against Donald Trump, his family and key advisers. After a surprisingly speedy trial, Trump is convicted and taken into custody to start serving a 10-year prison term. He begins to write his memoir — “Mein Covfefe” — and announces he will run for president from jail with cellmate Rudy Giuliani as his veep.
Surprise defections shock DC, put Dems in charge
The expected Republican wave in the midterm elections fails to materialize, but West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema shock the nation by defecting to the Republican Party. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins counterpunch by announcing that their conscience no longer allows them to remain in the party of Trump, handing Senate control back to the Democrats and re-establishing one-party rule in Washington. Ahead of the fall election — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the Senate tie — united Democrats push through President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 list of controlled substances, add sexual orientation to the nation’s civil rights law, pass new legislation to require equal pay, reaffirm abortion rights, restore the marginal tax rate on billionaires to 70%, and enact universal health care.
Docs to CP: ‘You’re really high.’
Fully vaccinated and boosted City Pulse editorial staff sought urgent medical attention in an effort to diagnose the cause of a series of wild hallucinations predicting peace, progress and prosperity in the new year. Preliminary test results indicate the likely consumption of excessive amounts of Platinum OG Kush.
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