Sunday, November 16, 2014

City Manager McGinnis Says Grand Haven Won't Remove Dewey Hill Cross

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at

>>>Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis spoke to the Grand Haven Tribune Friday about the "cross controversy" instigated by Mitch Kahle, an antagonist from Hawaii who profits off of bullying Christians.

Judging by what McGinnis said, the City of Grand Haven has no plans of being bullied into submission by Kahle and his cohorts.

"“I think it's nonsense they would try to impress upon us some arbitrary deadlines that really have nothing to do with the subject at hand,” McGinnis said Friday. 

“That's not something we are held to under any stretch of the imagination. I don't think municipalities taking time to consider requests before them is something set by anybody other than us.”

The article continues:

Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis
"McGinnis said he received the e-mail from Americans United on Nov. 5, and received a hard copy of the correspondence earlier this week.
“They did make a lot of demands and requests,” McGinnis said. “We're following up on those in what I think is a perfectly reasonable time frame. I don't know if I will send something today (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday).”
McGinnis said much of the content in the 14-page letter was “repetitive and redundant.”
“Their entire premise is they want us to destroy somebody else's speech in order for them to speak,” McGinnis said. “We have lots of real estate for them to set up displays. We're not going to tear apart other displays. I don't know why they're making the same requests. Maybe they're just gearing up for some other action.”"
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
Email him at
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Friday, November 14, 2014

Meekhof Rebuked As Attema, Kroll, And Tountas Score Big Wins At Ottawa County GOP Convention

By Brandon Hall
(Email him at

>>>Arlan Meekhof may be the most powerful person in Lansing aside from Governor Snyder, but that did not mean much back home to Ottawa County GOP Precinct Delegates assembled inside of Lifestream Church in Allendale Thursday night for the Ottawa County GOP convention.

From the beginning, it was clear that grassroots delegates had come a little more prepared than in August.

Sen. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof
Former Ottawa County GOP Chair and current Treasurer for the County of Ottawa, Brad Slagh, was nominated to Chair the convention, in direct competition with current Ottawa GOP Chair Adam Tountas. Normally, the county chair is also the chair of the convention. 

Slagh won, and took over the convention podium.

With a little assistance from parliamentarian Kurt VanKoevering, things went pretty smoothly for Slagh, who was visibly comfortable as Convention Chair though he gave no speech in favor of his candidacy when given the chance.

After some administrative business and a short break, delegates reconvened and decided to commence voting on the recommendations of the slate committee as to who should be on the Ottawa County Executive Committee. 

The slate committee of the Ottawa GOP is heavily influenced by Arlan Meekhof and Rep. Huizenga.. 

As a part of the rules adopted by the convention, each person on the slate could be challenged one time. A challenge would allow a person to state why they, or someone else, should instead be elected instead of the Slate Committee's choice.

“Rick’s not even here, I might as well give it a shot,” whispered David Kroll to me after we randomly found ourselves sitting together.

With that, David Kroll arose and challenged the slate committee recommendation for Rick Vandorp, a Zeeland City Council member and a former staffer for Rep. Bill Huizenga. 

Kroll pitched his hard work in the 90th District State House primary, as well as other elections on behalf of GOP candidates.

David Kroll
Huizenga District Director Greg Vanwoerkom spoke for Vandorp, touting his experience working for Huizenga and as an elected official.

When the votes were done being tallied, Kroll came out on top, besting the hand picked Huizenga selection in Huizenga's own backyard.

Wow. Not bad for an off-the-cuff challenge.

Newly crowned Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof wouldn't stand for any more of this disobedience.

“I move for the suspension of challenges and the immediate adoption of the recommendations of the slate committee,” Meekhof randomly interjected.

I then pointed out that was in direct violation of the rules passed by the Convention.

Slagh acknowledged that was a good point and asked parliamentarian Kurt Vankoevering for clarification. "Kurt?"

Vankoevering said that the Senator would have to adjust his motion by adding that it was a motion to suspend the rules.

Meekhof amended his motion, and after much discussion and a few questions, the delegates denied Meekhof's request. Arlan was absolutely furious, but quickly forced a smile back on his face.

Dustin Attema
The Rev. Tyler Wagenmaker, a delegate from Blendon who opened the evening with a prayer, then challenged another slate delegate and nominated Dustin Attema. 

Attema gave a great speech, touching on his political experience, interest in accounting, passion for service, and desire to grow the Ottawa GOP. 

Despite her own pitch and a strong endorsement from former State Rep.and current 2nd District Chair Barb Vanderveen, when the votes were counted, Attema prevailed over Meekhof and the Slate Committee.

With two huge wins for the grassroots, some were hoping for another as voting headed into the final stretch.

Long before the Ottawa County Convention in August, for a number of reasons, some members of the party harbor strong resentment for current Chair Adam Tountas. 

Adam Tountas
That resentment, which Tountas calls "par for the course," was on display when he was challenged for a spot on the Executive Committee by Norm Woltjer, a delegate from the Jenison area.

Already deposed as Convention Chair and with a close vote at hand, prospects for Tountas were uncertain.

But with the establishment firmly behind him-as well as a strong contingent of grassroots support-Tountas prevailed. 

Those with blood for Adam got to see him defeated as Convention chair-but he survived a challenge-a sign that some abstained or voted for Slagh as Convention chair to send a message, but supported and voted for Tountas when the important time came.

Interestingly, Amanda VanEssen wasn't even challenged for her spot on the Executive Committee. This is a good sign for VanEssen, who may be the next Ottawa GOP Chair.

Amanda VanEssen
The meeting concluded with a short statement from Attorney General Bill Schuette's West Michigan point man Matt Hall, who thanked delegates for supporting Schuette's re-election. This was a smart move, one of many showing that Schuette is for real when it comes to running for Governor in 2018.

Adam Tountas was invited on stage by Slagh, and subsequently gave a short speech thanking delegates and laying out his record of service. Tountas received a standing ovation from almost everyone in attendance.

Attema and Kroll's wins were fantastic for the grassroots. They will do a great job on what, overall, seems like a solid Executive Committee.

Meekhof experienced something last night that he does not endure often: a defeat.

Like the Stones said, "you can't always get what you want."

Meekhof is used to always getting his way, but at least for a few moments, his constituents had other plans Thursday night: Kroll and Attema.
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
Email him at
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson