Tom Pearce

Redistricting takes Rockford out of 73rd

August 11, 2011 // 0 Comments

City will be grouped with Cedar Springs, Sparta, Walker and Grandville  by BETH ALTENA For the last ten years the City of Rockford has sat in the center of the 73rd House of Representatives District, served by Pete MacGregor, Tom Pearce and Doug Hart. Census figures prompted a Republican-designed shift of political districts, which, unless ruled improper by a judge, will have Rockford in the 74th District rather than the 73rd, paired with the communities of Cedar Springs, Sparta, Algoma Township, Solon, Tyrone, Kent City, Sparta, Algoma Grandville and Walker. Currently Rockford is in the 73rd District, with Pete MacGregor as State Representative. Although MacGregor lives a stone’s throw away from the City of Rockford’s eastern boundary, as a resident of Cannon Township, he will no longer represent Rockford if reelected in November 2012. “It is based on populations and very stringent and redistricting guidelines,” said MacGregor. Currently, according to the most recent census figures, his district represents over 100,000 residents. Representatives are supposed to represent about 89,000 residents. “It is because Kent County has experienced tremendous growth. The City of Grand Rapids and the Village of Sparta are about the only two areas who have not grown. Every other area has gained population.” Redistricting takes place every ten years following census figures, and the party in power draws the lines. It is typical, even expected, the minority party to cry foul and make accusations of germandering—the practice of designing political districts to favor a particular party. This year’s process is no exception. MacGregor said the redistricting begins in the legislature and then goes to the governor. Once the governor signs off on the new district boundaries, typically the minority party will challenge the legality of the new districts. Ultimately the case could be put forth to the Supreme Court, and if determined to be unacceptable, a judge could choose the challenger’s plan. This is unlikely, MacGregor believes. The entire process has to be completed decided by November 1, this year. “I will be campaigning in the new district next year,” MacGregor noted. He said he was “devastated” when he saw the new district because he feels strong ties to Rockford because of its proximity, his history working with local leaders, because his kids go […]

Letter to the Editor — September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

“When the foundations are being destroyed, Where do we turn?”  “Are the foundations really being destroyed?” Nationally, I believe this is the case, but it certainly is true here in Michigan. Between 2000 and 2010, Michigan has lost over 900,000 manufacturing jobs, creating a domino effect of lost jobs in almost every other employment sector. In that same time period, the state’s population has dropped by over one million, home values have decreased, and our children are leaving the state in droves. State government has been dramatically impacted—revenue to fund education, public safety, transportation, health and welfare services, and other programs cannot keep up with the demand. It appears society has pit its hope and trust in the wrong place. We’ve mistakenly turned to government to find solutions. Our annual federal deficit spending is unsustainable, and yearly, just to maintain Michigan’s current services, our annual budget requires an additional $1.5 billion to $2 billion. So why not just raise taxes to meet the increased demand? We tried that in 2007 and in less than two years, our budget was unsustainable again. If we continue to expect government intervention in all aspects of life, then we doom our government to failure. So, “where do we turn?” I believe the crafters of our Pledge of Allegiance were right when they stated, “When the foundations are being destroyed” is the Bible. I believe scripture reminds us again and again of two things in times of trouble: the most important place to turn is to our Creator and His word, and that God teaches personal responsibility in all aspects of life including meeting the needs of others. Personal responsibility over the past few decades has been whittled away by a well-intended government. I believe it is important that government provide a safety net for its citizens, but we as individuals must take greater responsibility for our (in)actions and utilize our God-given talents to take control of our circumstances. With the abundance of rules, regulations and fees in place, government has made it almost impossible for the citizens of this great nation and state who have a good idea to bring it to fruition. I believe government needs to get out of the way of average citizens trying to take care […]

Letters to the Editor — February 4, 2010

February 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

Reader thanks Craig James Dear Editor, I would like to thank Mr. Craig James for casting some light onto the activities of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is nice to know when the public is being manipulated. It’s disconcerting to hear that a world-renowned and respected authority on climate change admits to publishing claims “purely to put political pressure on world leaders.” With all of the speculation today about global warming and climate change, it would be nice to find a reliable and even honest source for factual, creditable and scientifically supported information, free from political slant and ulterior motives. Due to recent misleading statements and invalid claims, the IPCC clearly does not fit the bill. Molly Mueller, Rockford resident Resident laments Community Education cuts Dear Editor, The intent of this letter is neither to criticize nor condone the recent actions (December) taken by the Rockford Board of Education and Superintendent Shibler regarding budget cuts. Their main focus is to preserve programs for school children with little or no disruption to classrooms. What a lot of Rockford residents don’t realize is the huge loss seniors will feel in the job cut of Marcia Stotz, coordinator for the group Rockford Seniors Unlimited. This is a woman who loved her job and reached out to seniors in Rockford plus many nearby surrounding communities including Grand Rapids. She acted as counselor, teacher, advisor helping those in need of these services. Through Marcia and her work, seniors could socialize with well-planned day trips, luncheons, bingo and other activities. Longer trips created new friendships and continued learning. Without someone like the beloved Marcia organizing these activities, many seniors will be left out of important aspects of their lives they have come to expect and rely on. I can’t say enough about the Rockford Seniors Unlimited Program. Seniors in this community will be losing a loyal, trusting friend in Marcia. She was someone many seniors could count on for motivation in healthy, happy living. She will be sorely missed in her capacity as coordinator. Hopefully the state legislature will restore some education funding so all Rockford school employees can retain their jobs. Is there hope in the new year? A concerned citizen and voter, Eileen Behnke, Rockford resident Story recalls […]

A Michigan Mistake: Handing over Wetlands to Fed Authority

March 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

Conservationists oppose move Representative Tom Pearce in his February District 73 message said “I support and will work to transfer the state-run wetlands program, currently under the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, to the Environmental Protection Agency, making Michigan consistent with 48 other states;” As a member of the Izaak Walton Conservation Chapter, we cannot in good conscience as “Defenders of Soil, Air, Woods and Wildlife” allow this to take place. We need to act now. To: The Honorable Jennifer Granholm, Governor The Honorable Mark C. Jansen, Senator District 28, and The Honorable Tom Pearce, Representative District 73. We are writing you at this time because the Board of Directors of the Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaak Walton League is convinced that eliminating the Michigan Wetlands program is wrong and will have a negative effect on the environment, Michigan businesses and the Michigan economy. Michigan has been in the forefront since 1984 in protecting our wetlands, including those wetlands that the federal government cannot legally protect. Michigan is also a leader in permit review efficiency and speed. It is this quick and dependable response to permit applications that causes organizations in the private sector, beyond environmental groups, to support Michigan’s program, and who will be negatively impacted if Michigan’s program is eliminated. The federal government will not have sufficient inspectors in the field to confirm permit application, they have no incentive to issue permits in a reasonable time frame, and without a local presence, will have no incentive to be flexible if that is needed and appropriate. That says nothing about development in critical wetlands that can occur which will never be noticed by the federal government. The potential financial savings claimed by elimination of this program will be offset by a significant loss of effectiveness in protecting the environment and providing predictability for Michigan businesses. Loss of this program will have serious negative impacts on both the economic and environmental goals of this state, precisely at a time when Michigan needs a clear focus on both objectives. A most significant issue, other than a reduction in wetlands protection and a much longer timetable for permit processing, is the end of the ability for Michigan residents to contact a local official with whom they […]

Pearce Speaks in Defense of Wetlands Change

March 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

Tom Pearce returned the Squire’s call to ask for his opinion on this topic. He said it is important to note that the governor is promoting this bill as a cost savings for the state. “Although is would only save the state a couple of million dollars, that’s still a couple million dollars,” Pearce said. He further noted that Michigan is one of only two states to have an independent authority over wetlands. “This puts Michigan on an unlevel playing field with companies with multi-state growth. It creates a deterrent to working with the state because it brings in another layer of bureaucracy,” Pearce said. Businesses with paperwork and documentation to deal with the Environmental Protection Agency have to start from scratch in dealing with Michigan’s independent Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), he explained. Pearce said one of the reasons the DEQ was started by then Governor Engler was because it took so long to get approval from the EPA in wetland issues. Now, he said, it seems to take just as long to get DEQ approval as EPA approval. “Now that the DEQ is just as time consuming, one of the main reasons isn’t applicable,” he said. Pearce said he’s received a lot of “heat” in his approval of the bill, and said it is one he can see both sides of. “I do understand their position. Water and wetlands is very important to Michigan, so maybe we should be spending more money on it than other states. This is an issue that needs to be decided on facts, not emotion.”

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