Only the Feds
by STEVE GRIMM
Cannon Township Supervisor
No one matches the federal government when it comes to putting form over substance. Recently there was the story of Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania who spoke on the House floor about a new stadium in his district that was prevented from opening by the federal government because the mirrors in the bathrooms were a quarter inch too low.
That is precisely why Cannon Township works so hard to keep a healthy fund balance. When we expanded our fire barn, we did so after saving up for it so we could pay cash. Federal stimulus dollars were available, but we knew that with those dollars came the restraints that would be placed on us by the feds. What was a million dollar project would become a five million dollar project, controlled by some big contractor from the east side of the state or Ohio or Pennsylvania. Cannon is proud of the fact that we were able to say to the feds, “Keep your money.”
We have also run into this with our roads. Often, we have been told by the feds that we do not qualify for road improvements because, according to the feds, “not enough people have been injured.” So, we fixed intersections ourselves, in conjunction with the county road commission.
Another example of the clueless federal government is this: federal law requires that absentee overseas and military ballots be sent 45 days before an election. Because elections are held on Tuesdays, that means that the fed requires that clerks send the ballots to those people on Saturday, when municipal offices are closed. There were four such ballots in Cannon this year. Those four ballots were electronically mailed on Monday, and confirmed that they were received. One was to a voter in the military, and his ballot has already been received at the Township. The others were to three people living overseas.
For the feds, that isn’t good enough. Now, they are threatening a lawsuit against the State of Michigan because 70 clerks in the state sent the ballots out, but late. Only the feds. Of course, and sadly, some are using this to score political points. I am reminded of Spirit of ’76 and the Gadsden flag motto that captured the spirit of independence for an out-of-control federal government, which is apt today: “Don’t tread on me.”