SOTC, NOT ROTC: If you love acronyms as much as we do, you know that “SOTC” stands for State of the County — Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s SOTC, that is, which is slated for a week from today. Our source — OK, we’ll tell you: it’s Brooks — says that the speech is turning out to be positive in tone. “It’s going to be an upbeat speech,” he said. “We’ve got some positive numbers to tout.” Right on, L-to-the-B-to-the-P. But what about numbers that are neither positive nor negative, like zero? That’s the number of Democratic Oakland County commissioners who have been invited to the SOTC this year. Why? Well, Dems are suing over county board redistricting legislation that gives control over the process to the GOP, and Brooks is among the defendants. So, according to Bill Mullan, the county’s media and communications officer, rumblings among the two-year Dems (Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and Treasurer Andy Meisner are more than welcome to attend) that they are persona non grata at this point are accurate. Mullan said Patterson told him over the phone, “When they (Democrats) sue me, I’m not supposed to have any direct communication as a direct defendant in a lawsuit … They create the mess and they (complain) about the unintended consequences.” You won’t have to use your imaginations too much to guess what word instead of “complain” was used in the quote. But never fear, Dems! Mullan says you’ll get the full transcript of the speech — after it is delivered by Brooks.
KNOLLENBERG 2.0: In the race to be Oakland County’s money handler — read: treasurer — state Rep. Marty Knollenberg is working on drumming up support among the county’s 1.2 million residents, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have significant backing among the power-players in Lansing and Pontiac, the county seat. The term-limited state lawmaker said Patterson is throwing considerable weight behind his campaign for treasurer, as are other countywide Republican officials. “That’s certainly a big plus,” Knollenberg said, adding that “all of the Republican (state) senators and reps. are supporting me.” But Knollenberg isn’t considering those endorsements as political silver bullets, particularly against incumbent Democrat Meisner, who Knollenberg called a sharp cookie. “It’s not easy to knock off the incumbent,” said the son of former Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg. “He’s a smart guy and he’s going to work hard (during the campaign).”
ONE THING OR ANOTHER: So what’s the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees’ latest spat? It’s a Planning Commission appointment, and some observers may be inclined to think the process is beginning to resemble a reality TV show like “American Idol” or “The Gong Show,” with one after another contestant being lined up only to be rejected. In this case, it’s not performance talent that’s in question, but a dispute over the reappointment of an existing commissioner. At the Jan. 23 board meeting, Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste brought forth another nominee for consideration in replacing Commissioner Don Jackson, whose term expired in October. It was the fifth nominee that Ureste has recommended, and the fifth rejected by Trustees Larry Brown, Howard Rosenberg, Gene Farber and Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy. Members of that group say the five rejections weren’t based on the nominees’ per se, but on support for reappointing Jackson. Ureste is crying foul, claiming state law empowers only the township supervisor to appoint planning commissioners. With both sides appearing unwilling to budge and the countdown to the 2012 elections under way, the nomination process could drag on well into the 2012 campaign and provide lots of fodder for the campaign trail. Stay tuned!