May 25, 2009
County GOP continues to make a sham of nonpartisan races
Genoa Township businessman John Conely and the Livingston County Republican Party are at it again, and they are determined to stomp out Democrats, even in a nonpartisan race.
In a story in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, a story on Conely’s latest exploits fails to mention his past activities. According to the article, six months before the next school board election in November, Conely is on his favorite kick and posting signs around Brighton. This latest sign calls for residents to elect "competent" members to the Brighton Public School Board who can "balance a checkbook and spend taxpayers' money wisely."
There are two seats up for election on the school board. Republican Bill Anderson is not running for re-election, but incumbent Joe Carney plans to run for another four year term. Carney is the former chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party, so Conely’s campaign is targeting just Carney.
Gee, no surprise there.
Back in February 2007, the county GOP was not content with controlling the entire county Board of Commissioners, the state Senate seat, the two state House seats and all but a few Township board positions, so they went after the nonpartisan school board elections.
In the spring of 2006 the county GOP started endorsing candidates, and Miles Vieau a former Brighton School Board member, a member of the GOP executive committee and an associate of Conely‘s, took the next step and began recruiting and training Republicans to run for school board. He also offered GOP volunteers to work on their campaigns.
Fast forward to the fall of 2008, and the Livingston County Republican Party and Conely ran an illegal campaign to try and stop a combined building millage and technology/bus bond that would equal about 1 mill.
Conely again used signs as one weapon, Bulldog orange signs that said, "Vote no on the Brighton School millage."
The millage failed, and it was revealed just two days after the election that a group calling itself "Parents Union Local No. 1" was pushing to reopen the teacher contract that was just approved in April 2008.
The so-called leader of that group was none other than Conely, and the rest of the group consisted of members of the county GOP executive committee; attorney and former University of Michigan GOP regent Neal Nielsen, county assistant prosecuting attorney Bill McCririe and Vieau.
The deadline for filing for school board seats is Aug. 11, and it remains to be seen if Conely will run for the board or if he is just clearing the way for other Republicans.
The bottom line is we need independents, progressives and liberals to run for school board to combat this naked GOP power grab. Nominating petitions and affidavits for anyone 18 or older wishing to run for a four-year term are available at their county clerk’s office, municipal clerk’s office or school board office.