Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Colbert Report calls jail bond "boondoggle"

28. October 2005 • Murph
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In a fairly surreal (and inconsequential) interview last night, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert grilled Jeff Daniels on his knowledge of local news. Including, yes, our blogland favorite of the jail bond petition.

Daniels claimed not to know anything about the bond.

  1. Gee, it’s nice to know that Bob Guenzel’s boondoggle is national news. 8-)
       —Dave Cahill    Oct. 28 '05 - 03:54PM    #
  2. It was a hilarious interview, really; I loved that Colbert talked as if he was very familiar with the local politics of our little county. Daniels was suitably bemused.

    Also to be fair, Daniels did recall something about it once Colbert started describing the whole issue of paying for sheriff deputies, etc. it was the bond language itself that he blanked on.
       —KGS    Oct. 28 '05 - 04:07PM    #
  3. Since the format of the show is a parody of right-wing pundits, I’m sure Daniels knew he would be ambushed. But of course, that’s part of the joke.

    Did Colbert cite a correct figure for the cost of the proposed jail?

    29.9 million?!
       —Michael    Oct. 29 '05 - 02:50PM    #
  4. No, no, that’s not the cost of the proposed jail. That’s the value of the bond issue which the board voted, and which opponents gathered signatures to force a referendum on.

    The cost of the original proposal was much larger (I don’t have the number here, but it was over $100 million). It included (1) gradual expansion of the jail over a ten year period, (2) replacement of the inadequate and insecure district court facility, (3) a probation residential center (a low-security alternative to incarceration, e.g., for people sentenced to serve weekends), (4) some limited mental health services for the 25% of jail inmates who are mentally ill.

    Following the millage defeat, and given the intense pressure for a solution to jail overcrowding, the county board sought ways to fund portions of the above through budget cuts—hence the controversy over ending county funding of sheriff’s department police services.

    Bond issues above a certain dollar value require a public vote automatically. I presume the figure of 29.9 million was chosen to be below that threshold.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 29 '05 - 03:40PM    #
  5. Hmm. I didn’t know that bond issues above a certain amount require a public vote automatically. But then, I didn’t even know that citizens could force a vote on any bond issue. 8-)

    Larry, do you know what the dollar amount to which you referred is? Or how to find it?
       —David Cahill    Oct. 29 '05 - 06:24PM    #
  6. I don’t know what the threshold amount is, but the choice of 29.9 million is very suggestive.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 29 '05 - 07:50PM    #
  7. The petitioners for the referendum have their signatures.

    I just talked to Larry Kestenbaum. I asked when he was going to put Bob Guenzel out of his misery and admit that there were enough signatures. I said that the last report in the media was that his office was checking each signature for possible forgery.

    Larry said no, they were not checking the signature cards. He had told the lawyers that there was no way they did not have enough signatures. Larry had called Chuck Ream (one of the petition organizers) and said that there were over 17,000 valid signatures. Only 15,000 were needed.

    Larry said he is not doing the validation on his own authority, but rather by delegation from the Board of Commissioners. Larry had originally planned to make his report at the November 16 meeting. He was told not to make his report until the December Board meeting. Larry said that in that case he would make his report on November 17, the day after the Board meeting. The Commissioners said they could live with that.

    A genuine scoop for ArborUpdate! The revolution in county politics continues!
       —David Cahill    Nov. 11 '05 - 01:44AM    #
  8. Heh—that’s substantially correct, but several details are wrong.

    We do expect to make a public report soon with complete statistics on signatures.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 11 '05 - 03:32AM    #
  9. Larry, which details are wrong? I thought I quoted you accurately. Less than 20 minutes elapsed between our chat and my entering comment #7.

    Let’s get it right. After all, this is the first draft of history. 8-)
       —Dave Cahill    Nov. 11 '05 - 03:26PM    #