Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mark Brewer freely defended the Klu Klux Klan. He should apologize for defending America's first home-grown terrorist organization!

Mark Brewer defended the Klu Klux Klan.  He is running for public office.  It does not matter when or why.  He knew it was a terrorist organization when he defended them.  He knows what they did to black people and to progressive whites.  Why would he voluntarily don that?

I sent a column about this to the Macomb Daily on Thursday, July 21, 2016. They chose not to run it.  Instead, Jeff Payne, the managing editor of the Macomb Daily, chose to write a column himself, about my column and Mark Brewer's response.

Below you will see what I wrote in my column.  While I do not agree with the Macomb Daily's decision to withhold my column, and understanding they have the right to do so, I think Brewer had enough notice and time to fashion a rebuttal, which could have been printed along side my column.

Here is the column I sent to them:

Former Macomb County Commissioner Bobby Hill surely must be twirling in his grave at the thought that a man who once defended the Klu Klux Klan might inhabit the commission seat Hill served in for 16 years. Yet, Mark Brewer, who is poised to have that seat handed off to him by outgoing, current 9th District County Commissioner Fred Miller, may just get a pass for his work on behalf of America’s first home-grown terrorist organization

Recent events have forced Americans to pay attention to terrorist organizations.  Most of those events involved terrorists on foreign soil.  Within the last two years or so, cowardly acts of terrorism have been conducted on our own shores.  With all these incidents of despicable behavior, reviews of our country’s history with sometimes state-sanctioned terrorism have been refreshed.

It is a matter of record that Brewer helped defend the Klu Klux Klan’s plan to conduct a march in Lansing in 1994.  Brewer was an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who vigorously argued for the Klan’s right to rally. Better yet, the defense was provided pro bono—without cost to the KKK.  Brewer and the ACLU failed.

The Klu Klux Klan was founded on Christmas Eve in 1865 by disgruntled Christian Democrats upset with the technical ending of slavery.  It was designed to strike fear and terror into the hearts of newly “emancipated” slaves who they believed needed to be kept in check, lest they think of themselves as Americans.

The Klu Klux Klan, with the help of like-minded citizens, brought forth an era of ungodly and deadly terrorist campaigns that cost the lives of thousands of American blacks and some whites.  Murdering and lynching was the order of the day, with little consequence to those who hid behind their white hoods and gowns.

They had a lot of help back then, and some of that help came in the form of cover through the American criminal and justice system.  Somehow, they could never catch, arrest, prosecute, and imprison KKK members.  In some instances the police were KKK, the district attorney was KKK, the prosecutor was KKK, the judge was KKK and the lawyers were KKK.

I am not saying that Mark Brewer is a member of the Klu Klux Klan; however, the lawyer who would go on to become the Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party surely knew of the Klu Klux Klan’s murderous past.  He, personally, did not have to defend the Klu Klux Klan.  Yet he did.  Even if he was opposed to giving an assist to a terrorist organization, he could have declined out of moral indignation.  He did not.

Matthew Davis, a political columnist for, wrote this about Mark Brewer in 2013 in reference to the 1994 Michigan Democratic Convention and Brewer:

“What made the convention intriguing was that, up to that point, my only knowledge of Brewer was his notoriety for serving as the ACLU-funded attorney for the Ku Klux Klan -- pro bono, mind you -- in that terror organization's failed attempt to hold a rally in 1994 on the Capitol steps.

Remember: The convention was in the heart of downtown Detroit, and this attorney for the most racist, anti-black, anti-Jewish, and anti-Catholic organization was seeking to become the leader of a party made up largely of blacks, Jews, and working-class Catholics.”

The Klu Klux Klan is not a diverse organization, but it an enduring one.  To this very day, the KKK has sometimes shed it robe and hood for business suits (see David Duke).  Even recent statements by Iowan Republican Representative Steve King have re-ignited concerns regarding whether the KKK has hidden inside our body politic. 

There is also a false narrative that the KKK has infiltrated the nation’s law enforcement agencies.  The overwhelming majority of police officers in this country do try to “protect and serve” everyone, regardless of race.  The acts of the few should not condemn the many.

Mark Brewer should at least apologize for giving aid and comfort to an American terrorist organization.  While not on the scale of Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump, he should make it known that he dis-avows any support or endorsement by that group. 

Further, he should clarify whether his indefensible defense would ever be repeated, and he should look into his soul to seek forgiveness and repentance for enabling terrorists to walk American streets and spew hatred for this country, its citizens, and for institutions that have bravely curtailed cowardly public displays of violence and hatred.

Here is a link to what Mr. Payne wrote in the Macomb Daily:

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Unacceptable Unethical Behavior

This is the text of my May 2, 2016 complaint to the Macomb County Ethics Commission.

I would appreciate your feed back.

My name is Greg Murray.  A registered voter, I live in Mt. Clemens.  I am filing a complaint with the Ethics Commission today, May 2, 2016 regarding the recent behavior of Macomb County Commissioner Fred Miller and Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh.

I filed this complaint because the recent coordinated and unfair actions of Macomb County Commissioner Fred Miller, Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, and Former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer are exactly what has voters and the public fed up with establishment politics.  Their behaviors rise to the level of unethical and, as such, are clear violations of Macomb County’s Ethics Code (Enrolled Ordinance No. 2011-10).

Sabaugh filed for her seat. Miller filed for Sabaugh’s seat at the very last minute. Standing on its own, and in and of itself, these actions would normally seem very suspicious, as both have been Ed Bruley associates for nearly two decades.  Why would they file against each other, unless one or both had fallen from grace?  We now know that was not the case and that there seems to have been a very unfair prior agreement between the three of them.  The term “collusion” comes to mind.

I say the three of them because Fred Miller and Mark Brewer, cut from the same political cloth, apparently knew that Miller would not stand for re-election to his 9th District county commissioner seat.  This is evidenced by virtue of the fact that it was Miller who delivered Brewer’s paperwork to run for Miller’s former seat.

Sometimes what may not be illegal can certainly be unfair and unethical.  This is an instance of such an incident, and it violates the Macomb County Ethics Code in several areas.

To be clear, in the final hour on the day of the filing deadline, April 19, 2016, County Commissioner Fred Miller unexpectedly dropped out of the race for the 9th District County Commission seat and filed for Sabaugh’s seat as clerk.  Around the same time on the same day, former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer’s paperwork to seek election to Miller’s former seat was delivered to the Election Division’s office by Fred Miller.  

Three days later, during the final hour of the day of the withdrawal deadline, April 22, 2016, Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh withdrew her candidacy. Within hours, Sabaugh had endorsed Mr. Miller in what clearly seemed to be a prepared statement.
While acting within the bounds of the Michigan statue, the Macomb County Ethics Ordinance requires a higher standard of conduct among those who hold public office. 

While this conduct is not new, this act was revealed as particularly egregious and pre-planned when Commissioner Miller actually uploaded a video to Facebook dated April 15, 2016, a full four days before the filing deadline and two weeks before the withdrawal deadline, where he thanked Carmella for her prior years of service!

Within the Ethics Ordinance in Sec.1.1. Purpose, the following sentence directly applies   this situation.  It reads “County Officials, employees, and appointees hold positions of public trust and their actions must remain above suspicion.”  Commissioner Miller and Clerk Sabaugh’s behavior completely obliterates that expectation.  Mr. Brewer is not yet a county official but has managed to already violate the ordinance.

The timing of these acts cannot be ignored.  The three involved are known political allies in the county. Apparently, Mr. Miller had advanced knowledge before everyone else that Ms. Sabaugh intended on withdrawing her candidacy.  It’s quite clear that Mr. Brewer, Commissioner Miller, and Clerk Sabaugh strategically planned these filings in an attempt to limit their potential opponents, dissuade others from filing, and to intimidate others from participating in the filing process.

Macomb County Ethics Ordinance 1.2(B) requires our public servants be independent, impartial, and fair in their judgment of actions, and Ordinance 1.2(C) requires that public servants put the public good above their own personal gain. Instead, all three have shown a reckless degree of disrespect for the electorate

Open seats attract more candidates to put forward their qualifications for voters. 

Countywide races that are without established incumbents come as rarely as once every few decades, always attracting a diverse group of candidates with different backgrounds and qualifications. Commissioner Miller and Clerk Sabaugh have not just put their own political fortunes above the right of the citizens to do decide whom to vote for; they’ve infringed on the right of the people to decide if they themselves wish to seek public office. Such an act is inherently undemocratic. For these reasons, Clerk Sabaugh and Commissioner Miller are in violation of Ordinance 1.2(B).

Mr. Miller was certainly welcome to pursue this position. So were the hundreds of thousands of others that call Macomb County home. To selfishly influence the process to gain an unfair advantage for Mr. Miller shows a clear desire to put self above the betterment of the county in violation of Ordinance 1.2(C).

Additionally, Miller stands to gain a substantial financial enhancement as a result of these unethical shenanigans   His compensations would more than triple, from his pay of $35,000 that he would have earned in 2017 as a commissioner to $108,000 as the county clerk during 2017.  These machinations also violates the ethics policy, which prohibits county officials from engaging in unethical behaviors that result in personal financial gain. As reference, Sec.3.7, (second sentence) ”A Public Servant shall not benefit financially from information acquired in the course of holding office…”

Ironically, in her statement of endorsement of Mr. Miller, Ms. Sabaugh touted Miller’s work on the Macomb County Ethics Ordinance. That would seem to imply that certainly Miller would comply with the ordinance. However, this episode disrupts the public trust in government and enforces an all-to-common notion of hypocrisy among our elected officials. 

Macomb County deserves better. Using one’s public office and political relationships to selfishly secure advantages over others is exactly what this Ordinance was designed to combat. This Board should send a clear message to our citizens that that open and fair elections are amongst our country’s most fundamental rights.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


 Former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and current Detroit Police Chief James Craig recently were at odds with each other as to whether, as Bing stated recently, “ “Detroit’s not far from Ferguson, Baltimore or Chicago.”  Chief Craig recently responded that Bing is “obviously out of touch.”  While they each have a point, it come down to two issues: whose ear is closer to the ground and which one of them is most trustworthy.  Bing loses on both fronts.

Dave Bing was never a people’s mayor.  He won his election (with a little help…no, a lot of help, from Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey), but he isolated himself from those he ruled.  Recruited from outside of Detroit, Bing was seen by many Detroiters as a carpetbagger candidate representing the interests of those who wanted to take control of an out-of-control Detroit.  Much like Mitt Romney is alleged to have done while with Bain Industries, Bing sized up Detroit assets, spun them off to third party operators, and left city employees, residents, and neighborhoods to fend for themselves.

Bing had a trust issue born of his propensity to take both sides of a single position dependent on who he was in front of.  A case in point:  Dave Bing sat in the basement of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building in November 2011 and told labor leaders he would take the fiercely-negotiated consensus concession labor agreement signed by them and him to Detroit’s City Council for approval.  How do I know, you say?  I was there, and my signature is the very first one on that document.  It never made it to the clerk’s office for inclusion as an agenda item for a vote, a process Bing controlled. 

Bing severely limited unscripted engagement with the public, preferring in many cases to let his administration’s loyal department directors and aides do his talking for him.  I am old enough to remember Coleman Young being able to walk any Detroit neighborhood.  Not so much with Dave Bing. Bing was recruited to come to Detroit to get it ready for an agenda most Detroiters would not benefit from.  Comparing how neighborhoods fared then and their existing conditions now, Bing served his primary purpose while letting the city’s neighborhoods twist in the wind.
So it is hard to believe that Bing can sense the pulse of Detroiters.  He could not do it then and he can’t do it now.  Statements like “If something crazy happens, I don’t know who we have from a leadership standpoint that we can call upon to control some of that activity,” sounds like an attempt to scare people into believing that Detroiter are on the verge of rioting because they are being left out of the new boomtown Detroit.  They definitely were left out during his term. 

That statement speaks more to his legacy and illustrates a stark contrast between his administration’s failures and that of current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s genuine efforts to reach out to Detroit neighborhoods. Bing’s subtle attempt to put Duggan’s work on blast is nothing short of an epic fail.  

Chief Craig, however, is quite a different story.  Unlike Bing, Craig does not hide behind his desk.  He represented a fresh start, not a recycled approach to administrative collusion. He got out there in the streets to meet the people that he is supposed to serve. I do believe that he has re-focused the public safety conversation away from the false premise that police should only respond to crimes once they have been committed.

Craig has gone out of his way to show Detroiters that they have his ear.  His responses to the spate of gas station shootings led to an unprecedented collaboration between the gas stations and the police.  Thanks to that, and outreach to surrounding neighborhoods, those incidents are on the decline. 

Craig has also been refreshingly frank.  Last December, Craig created a national buzz when he asserted that an armed population could help deter and respond to attacks by terrorists and street thugs. He went on to say, “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”

Craig has proven himself to be an open, accessible, and honest public servant.  His genuineness is a breath of fresh air in a city that was mired in stale, trickle down politics that screamed classism at every juncture.  Dave Bing’s time has come and gone. One wonders whether he is seeking relevancy.  Craig, however, has shown himself to be a very competent and classy ac