Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Do Not Dare Support Moroun

You too can be hammered if you do!

Finally, the Star has printed an anti-Moroun column written by Jack Lessenberry the Michigan member of Wayne State University's journalism faculty, who writes on issues and people in Michigan. It's darn well about time!

He writes a column for the Star and others and this is the first time that I recall that the Star published a border one from him. Why Dave Battagello of the Star has even been interviewed by him and appeared in a podcast with him. Obviously, Jack likes him calling him:
  • "by far the best-informed journalist covering the bridge wars."

The column is another of his blasts against Moroun so it is not all new or unexpected but why is the Star running it now?

The Lessenberry column has been publishesd in other spots as well recently from Dome Magazine "Bridge Blockers" to the Toledo Blade "One man must not stop new bridge over Detroit River" to Traverse City Record-Eagle "Border crossing control"

I tried to write a Letter to the Editor in reply but I was refused:

  • "We can't publish your submission because space for letters is reserved for local writers."

But it is the Star that at least was honest in its headline as to what the purpose of the column seems to be:

"The Cropsey factor"

Jack really went after Cropsey, the Majority Floor Leader of the Michigan Senate. Was it to get him to back off of his support of the Moroun project or at least to get his colleagues to disown him? After all, a decision on DRIC by the Michigan Legislature is quickly approaching.

Do you think Jack likes Alan. You judge from what Jack wrote in 2007:

  • "Coming a Cropper: State Sen. Alan Cropsey (R- Dewitt, west of Lansing) isn't a guy you would normally think of as a transportation expert. During his college days at that intellectual powerhouse, Bob Jones University, he studied how to teach math (fundamentalist math, naturally) to little kids.

    Nor is he on the transportation committee. But he has been fighting hard to protect the interests of Matty Moroun, the shadowy billionaire who wants monopoly control of commercial traffic across the Detroit River. Old Matt has that now, thanks to his ownership of the Ambassador Bridge...

    Wouldn't it be a good idea for some reporter at this point to carefully scrutinize who has been donating to Alan Cropsey's political campaigns?"

I guess that they have been trying for years and found nothing because the best that Lessenberry can come up with now is:

  • "Matty Moroun has been known to contribute heavily to the campaigns of politicians he wants to influence, but it isn't clear that he has been a big donor to Cropsey."

Poor Jack, he just cannot believe that anyone could possibly have an opinion that differs from his:

  • "What motivates the other enemy of a new bridge is more baffling, however.

    He is Michigan Senate Majority Leader Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt) whose Lansing-area district is far removed from the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit River...

    What is clear, however, is that Cropsey has been the Ambassador Bridge's strongest champion in the legislature, fighting even attempts to study the need for a new bridge, which he calls a "boondoggle."

DUH, the DRIC bridge is a boondoggle Jack and Alan opposes it. Is that so hard to understand? In case Jack does not know, boondoggle means, it's "a project that wastes time and money."

Hmmmm. Spending $60+M over 7 years to develop a solution that makes no sense when we needed decisive action on a new crossing seems to fit the definition.

Jack ought to read the book by the Danish professor Brent Flyvbjerg "Megaprojects and Risk" and especially take a look at the formula:
(Underestimated costs) + (Overestimated benefits) = (Project approval)

Jack writes all these horror stories about Michigan's economy

  • "This year promises to be a make-it-or-break-it year for Michigan. The state faces massive unemployment, probably its toughest budget deficit in history, and tougher choices about whether to raise taxes or gut higher education, revenue sharing and perhaps public schools as well."

Yet he seems unable to grasp Cropsey's concern:

  • "Over and over again, he has sought to kill funding for a new bridge, saying Michigan can't afford it and that Moroun should be allowed to "twin" his bridge."

What an effort by Jack. Impressive. However, I think that Jack has been writing too much. He deserves a break. Perhaps he needs to get refreshed and return to

  • "One of my favorite places in Washington, D.C., especially on nice, not-too-hot autumn days, is the great open-air mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol..."

You never know who might just appear and enlighten him about the border file.