How Misinformation Spreads -- Focus on Fraser Edition

City of Fraser, Michigan (Credit: Thomas LaDuke)

The world seems to be on fire in a lot of ways.

We have been dealing with the COVID-19 debacle, where rules we are given one week will change in the next. Another World War seems to have once again ignited in the Middle East and our brethren on the East Coast are facing a gas crunch due to a hacking attempt to shut down our access to energy on which over 50 million Americans depend. All of this along with a million other things — most people think that you can’t do much to change the situation or to improve your lot in life in the world today.

Well, I’m here to tell you, folks, you can, and it is as simple as getting involved locally.

In the past couple of years here at Red State, I have chronicled some of my adventures in my hometown of Fraser, Michigan, and my efforts to engage policymakers and inform the public of what is being done in our name. Here are some of my past efforts.

That one time someone running for the council would not respond to my interview requests but could run away…

VIDEO: Richard Haberman Is Running For Council, But Also From Questions Of Sexual And Workplace Harassment.

This article is one about some of the lawsuits the city has faced…

Lawsuits and Countersuits in the Hamlet of Fraser

Plus this one is just as relevant today about a shaky economy…

Keeping it Local: Spending Money in an Uncertain Economy.

I hope these articles and the podcasts I have done have helped shed a li’l light on what is going on in this town of 15,000 (rounded up, being the census numbers aren’t in yet) and have helped inform people — possibly even motivate them to take an interest and find a niche and get involved.

So I’m always encouraged to see when others jump into the enlightened fray under any guise.

Enter former Parks & Recreation Commissioner David Bogdan. He recently offered his resignation and announced it in a post on social media along with some information and ideas on the city. I will go into some of P&R stuff in later posts, being that is a slice of a story that is way too filling for this article.

The part I want to focus on here is where it is “reported” what amount of money that Fraser will get out of the 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus package signed earlier this spring. The money is, of course, sent to the states and then they break it up and it is sent to the counties and then to the cities. Pretty mundane and, quite frankly, boring stuff but it is important to know. Particularly if you are going to comment on how much your city is getting.

In David’s post below, the part that made me stop and take notice was that Fraser was getting 3.5 million dollars. I consider myself pretty plugged in with most of what is going on in the state and city and I had not heard a number that large for our Hamlet or that it was finalized in Lansing for any of the Great Lake State. The Governor is a Democrat and the legislature is Republican-led in both chambers and they rarely agree on anything, even if it is giving away federal money.

I have to admit that I was also woefully unaware that a small city like Fraser was able to purchase shoes for kids or buy food (hopefully ice cream) for people with COVID money. I’m sure there are programs for that I just didn’t know this was something that was possible in this town with the Feds’ money.

This thread garnered a lot of attention and I’m sure there were people who were wondering: Where is their share of the COVID federal pie money? So I did what any commentator who is not a journalist does, and I asked the person in charge of the city if the 3.5 million dollar number was accurate and if not, how much were we getting?

The current interim city manager, Marc Thompson, responded to me with this…

We have heard a couple different numbers, but nothing concrete yet. I have not heard anything for a couple of weeks, but I have been gone for a couple days in the last couple weeks

We have heard $2.8 million and $1.4 million. We have heard the $1.4 million more frequently and more recently, so we have been using that number for our thinking/planning. We have not put anything in our budget because of the uncertainty. We understand that whatever the amount, we will receive 1/2 in May or June of this year and 1/2 about 12 months later.

I have been told that the original numbers failed to account for the unincorporated areas, so the numbers were being revised. If townships were not included originally, and then included it could have a significant impact. Of course if that is true then the revision would likely reduce our portion. But, like everything else it is not definite, as far as I know.

I imagine we will get an update soon.
.
Thanks for your interest in our city.

Marc

Anyone that has followed how government operates for 12 months or more should not be surprised by the fact that there is uncertainty when politicians are handing out other people’s money. So I appreciated Mr. Thompsons’ admission that they just don’t know yet.

Now, in fairness to Mr. Bogdan, he did later in his thread google an article that mentioned Fraser would get $1.4 million but the article itself said it was an estimate and $1.4 million is a helluva lot less than $3.5 million.

For those who voted against President Mean Tweets and for Joe “Prices Rising” Biden what that means is less COVID ice cream for the kids in Fraser and probably in your hometown.

Let me finish by saying that I agree with what Bogdan says at the end of the paragraph about getting involved. If more people took the time to actually not just read headlines or just vote for some schmuck with a certain letter after their name this country would be much better off. That goes for both D’s and R’s and I have receipts to show they both can equally suck.

I urge anyone reading this to get involved locally and meet those who represent you and NOT just during an election year. Also, be thorough and follow up on what you hear and dot those i’s and cross those t’s to be effective and correct.

Just because you read it on social media does not make it true. In fact, that should make you want to dig even deeper to find out what actually is the truth.

The kids and their free ice cream are depending on it. Always