Apr 10, 2007
A great job by the Michigan Democratic Party’s uncovering of Republican Attorney General Mike Cox’s plan to build a personal gym at taxpayer expense.
MDP Chair Mark Brewer provided the media with the blueprints for the office that will go on the 7th Floor of the AG’s office in the G. Mennen Williams Building in downtown Lansing where Cox’s office is located and a receipt for the $60,000 worth of exercise equipment. Now, I give a lot of credit to Brewer and Communications Director Jason Moon for this fine piece of investigative journalism, but I wonder if one of the 22 legal secretaries who just got fired last month because of the budget crunch did not supply the material. That’s the big story; Cox’s is buying this unnecessary perk but laying people off.
“It looks like Cox was for his taxpayer-funded $60,000 personal gym before he was against it,” Brewer said. “How long is Cox going to try and cover-up his outrageous plans before he admits that he is lying? This is just another display of Cox’s arrogance at the expense of Michigan’s citizens.”
Rusty Hills, a spokesman for Cox, does a great job spinning the story, but he’s paid well for that. You may remember Hills as the former Chair of the Michigan Republican Party during the dark Engler years, so he is very good at spin.
According to the Detroit Free Press. Hills said the gym would be geared, initially at least, to the 37 gun-toting investigators on staff.
"We buy books for attorneys, we have no problem buying weights for cops," Hills said. "We want the cops on our payroll to be in better shape than the criminals they're chasing."
Here is perhaps on of the best quotes I have ever heard from a public official. Besides, Hills said, a gym is urgently needed: "Folks in state prison are lifting weights right now, as we speak."
Man, what a spin doctor.
I happen to be a big advocate of physical fitness, but why do I have to pay for a perk only they can use?
I have a friend that owns the Howell Fitness Center in Genoa Township, and he and his wife are big contributors to all kinds of community causes. Dale has worked out a deal with the Livingston County EMS that provides memberships at a big discount to all of the paramedics, and the county provides them to the paramedics for free. Dale also provides a discount to law enforcement personal.
Wouldn’t it be more cost effective and help local gyms if the AG’s office picked up a gym membership or paid a portion of it? How about the YMCA? They are an excellent non-profit organization, and Lansing has some excellent YMCA facilities. In fact there is an excellent YMCA at the corner of Ottawa and Washington Street in downtown Lansing, and it’s just a short four-block walk from the AG’s office.
The walk will do them good, and they will be in “better shape than the criminals they're chasing."