TruthQuest 1.0

The Quest for Truth!

November 4th, 2020, Central Lake Township MI

A man awakes, sits down with his breakfast in front of his television. Election results fill the screen. Cream of Wheat fills his bowl and his spoon.

A map of Michigan comes on, it is full of RED, beautiful, hopeful RED. These beautiful and hopeful colors represent the counties that have voted to retain Donald John Trump as president. RED is everywhere in Northern Michigan. There is no hideous, socialist BLUE at all. Except in one place – ANTRIM COUNTY ! Antrim County is not beautiful RED; instead it is Socialist BLUE !

Our hero stands up, with mouth agape. The bowl filled with Cream of Wheat falls to the floor…

How can this be? What nefarious chicanery has brought this to bear? Our hero senses conspiracy. He senses evil forces at work. Our hero commits himself to a quest – a quest for the truth.

Introducing, a new series here at ARRRG: TruthQuest 2020. What really happened in Antrim County in and around the 2020 election? We are going to explore the wild, ridiculous, and strange circumstances that dragged little Antrim County into national focus.

Antrim County has more deer than people. Antrim County has only 2 traffic lights in the whole county! Yet, its remoteness, its rural nature did not stop it from becoming ground zero for the investigation into 😮 ELECTION FRAUD 😮

April 15 Board of Commissioners Meeting

DRINKING GAME

There was a rather scathing piece in the Record Eagle recently about County government. The basis of the piece was that county governments in Northern Mi tend to spend an inordinate amount of time on political posturing and meaningless resolutions. What they should be spending time on is the “nitty gritty” business of county improvement and governance.

No kidding. 

Well you, my dear readers, are familiar with such an imbalance. So, let’s play a drinking game! As you read, be sure to take a drink every time you read about micromanaging, political posturing, 😮 election fraud 😮 , cheapness actually costing more money, or commissioners claiming to be experts in something they know nothing about. 


WARNING: put the kids to bed. You’re going to be drunk. 

PUBLIC COMMENT

There was definitely less of it. Thank God. 

  • Trucker Randy got up and thanked the commissioners for having an in person meeting and then proceeded to chew them out for paying a lawyer to actually defend the county in the lawsuit that he helped instigate. 
  • Man with NRA hat implored the Board to ignore the law and hand count the election results. He also asked the Board to ignore the tyrannical governor. 
  • A lady accused the Clerk of 😮 ELECTION FRAUD 😮
  • Assorted nonsense

MASKVENTURES

  The meeting was held in person.  COVID is worse than ever, so it seems like a great time to switch back to in person.  

The Board Chairman is composed of 47% beard. As the meeting proceeded, the chairman’s face slowly and steadily consumed his surgical mask. A bit disturbing. 

But, at least he wore a mask. Several commissioners don’t bother wearing one at all. Which is fine if they’re vaccinated, but it’s not cool if they’re just being assholes.   

ROAD COMMISSION

The Road Commission is having revenue issues due to COVID. Part of the state funding comes from gas taxes and car registrations, both of which is down. Antrim Road Commission is looking at a $600,000 shortfall.  

VACCINES 

The waiting list for vaccinations is now exhausted. So, anybody that wants one can get one fairly quickly. For god’s sake, please go get one, people. 

ANOTHER MARCUS TANTRUM 

Commissioner Marcus is still ticked off that meeting minutes don’t include every single thing that he says about 😮 ELECTION FRAUD 😮 . He is mad at Sheryl Guy for not including all the crazy things that he said at the last meeting when he directly accused her of fraud. Now, he wants that accusation included in the meeting minutes. 

This is ridiculous. Everyone knows that public minutes are usually only action items: who made the motion, who supported, and voting results. That’s it.  

During the discussion, Marcus raised his voice several times, threw his pen, and accused Ed Boettcher of being the actual conspiracy theorist, not Marcus. At the mention of conspiracy, Watrous perked up and asked Sheryl Guy who directed her to “change the numbers”.   

DRINKING UPDATE: I already have a buzz. 

This all came about during a simple attempt to approve minutes from the previous meeting! A vote to approve the minutes was a 5-4 split vote. And of course, the five yes votes supported Marcus’ crazy rant. It took a half hour to approve the god damned minutes!

POLICE RADIOS

Police departments in Antrim all have the same radios and they are all end of life this year. The cops can’t use them anymore. The police departments have the money, it is supported via millage. Easy. Of course, there was plenty of complaining from the Commissioners.

bottoms up

They complained that the last time the County bought radios was last year for the fire departments and the project got screwed up. The county and the fiore departments ended up spending more on maintenance and the radios didn’t do the things that the fire departments needed them to do.

They are correct. That happened. BUT, it happened because they went against the recommendation of the 911 Board and just knee-jerk accepted the lowest bidder. They were warned, but they disregarded it and now the FDs are pissed off. 

Bravo, Commissioners.

HAZARDOUS WASTE DAY

Adventures in micromanaging! The County has popular household hazardous material days every year where people are to bring household hazardous materials (used oil, paint, batteries, etc.) and pay a small fee to dispose of them. The people love it. But, it is getting expensive. So,  the Board asked staff to come up with a plan to decrease costs for the program and increase revenue. Staff came back with a plan to charge extra for items that are brought.  

So, of course, Marcus made a motion to disregard the staff plan that they had asked for, and not raise prices at all. Leave the fees exactly where they are.

What? The Board asked for the plan and then when the plan was presented, they are going to disregard it and do their own thing anyway?

There was twenty minutes of  discussion on how much to charge on a can of paint. Commissioner Rubingh declared that we should charge $10 per can, others scoffed and recommended other prices: $2 $3, etc. They talked about electronics, tires and the prices for each. 

Talk about getting lost in the weeds! Wow.

This is so dumb. They directed a committee of staff members to come up with this plan so that the Board wouldn’t have to get into the weeds on this. They then wrangled all about the stuff in the weeds. 

Staff can do this. The Conservation District can deal with this. Why is the BoC dealing with this?

DRINKING UPDATE: beeeeeeeelch. 

HOUSING

The Board heard a very interesting presentation from a quasi-government agency regarding housing shortages in the area. Basically, there is a serious need for affordable single-family households in the area. It is a need for residents that need a basic roof over their head, and also a need for business owners to maintain staffing. The presenter was from Housing North and she stated that 891 additional housing units are needed in the county. 

All economic sectors are in need of housing. Obviously, low income families are in need of affordable housing, especially given rent prices in the area. Workforce housing is needed for the business sector. Also, needed is senior housing. Fixed income individuals are struggling to find adequate affordable housing. 

The Board referred Housing North to local townships and villages. They felt it was more appropriate for more local units to handle housing. That is a suspect decision. The County actually has a housing department. Or do they?

A couple years ago, things got out of hand when it was revealed what Antrim’s housing department was doing. Or rather, what Antrim’s housing department was NOT doing.

BEETLESHIT BEETLESHIT BEETLESHIT

Ecology controversy! 

There’s an invasive plant creeping back into Antrim County, especially around 6 Mile Lake and the Elk River. The Conservation District wants to utilize a special type of beetle to eradicate the purple loosestrife. The Conservation District will work with housing associations and property owners on this project. This would cost the County a grand total of …  Zero Dollars! The Conservation District was just simply asking to adjust their budget to purchase the beetles for a measly $318. 

Queue the bitching! Commissioner Rubingh objected to the whole project because “he went to college” for “animal sciences” (whatever that is). He wants to know why we would bring an invasive species (beetles) to control an invasive species (loosestrife). He doesn’t understand why “we would pay money” for this project. Quick reminder: it doesn’t cost anything.

Commissioner Rubingh had a further question for the Board: “What happens when the beetles poop?” Their poop, he contended, could be worse than the loosestrife! He based this assertion on nothing. Commissioner Watrous jumped in and said that Commissioner Rubingh’s gibberish rant “took the words right out of my mouth.” IT DID??  How is it possible to have symbiotic stupidity? 

Luckily, this a no brainer proposal passed with only the two like-minded anti-beetle-poop Commissioners opposing.

It should go without saying, but this is not the Board’s job. Other than the surprise “animal scientist” Rubingh, these are not specialists or scientists. This should be left to the specialists. We already have a Conservation District that can handle this. Let them do their job.

DRINKING UPDATE: Whew! Beers are going down fast now! I’m going to have to call in sick at this rate. Yikes. 

BROADBAND

The administration office has been working on a project to bring fiber internet to the area. 

The County can not act on getting any fiber into the area without first passing a statutory-required resolution (Metro Act). This would be a baby first step toward an unknown project. If a County would work on any type of project with a company to bring in expanded broadband, this has to be done just to do anything or nothing. In other words no private or public entity will work with the county without this first small step. Again, easy. This is just the BoC deciding to explore Broadband options. Non-committal. 

Queue the hand wringing. Commissioner Marcus is concerned about people’s property rights. Commissioner Bargy is scurred of committing to, well… anything. 

This was a bunch of people who struggle to operate zoom, explaining fiber optic connections and trunk lines to each other.  

The County administrators are meeting with Great Lakes Energy about their fiber project. 

EMERGENCY!

There are several municipalities that are asking the County to declare a local state of emergency (SoE) due to COVID. There are several local units of government that are required to have an open meeting unless the county declares an emergency. The County is the smallest unit of government that can declare an SoE. This includes library boards, Meadowbrook, and other governing boards. Also, an SoE opens up funding, PPE procurement opportunities, and waves some regulatory procedures to deal with the emergency. 

The armchair epidemiologists on the Board proceeded to diagnose the extent of the pandemic. They all agreed that the county needs to open up more. The Chairman proposed declaring an SoE until a date in June to make the smaller government units happy. Watrous scoffed, “Oh, so COVID is going away at whatever date that we declare it to go away?” 

Marcus interjected that shutting down is a terrible idea since Michigan has been in and out of shut down and now it is worse than ever. “I’m tired of this crap!”

Rubingh’s turn. He said that the Board has to set an example by opening up. If smaller units of government “want to stop having open meetings, then they can do that!” He howled. Which is not true. They need the county to make the declaration.  

They finally got around to taking a vote. A maskless Watrous voted against it and let everybody know that the State could not make anybody wear a mask. “Those mask laws aren’t real!” He threw his phone on the desk. “They can’t make anybody wear a mask, anywhere!” The chairman had to remind him that they were actually voting. 

DRINKING UPDATE: Oh my god. I don’t know how much more I can drink. Like, does this mean I am winning? How is this a game? 

The vote passed with 4 commissioners voting AGAINST the SoE.

FACILITIES PLAN

One of the most important things that the Board is considering now is what to do long-term with the County facilities. 

Boettcher encouraged the Board to make a decision on what we are doing with Facilities before doing the Strategic Plan. The facilities plan will define what the overall Strategic plan becomes. Lavanway complained that the consultant would cost $4000. That doesn’t seem like much for deciding how millions would be invested. Bargy said as much and wondered why this is taking so long.

Yeah, that is a good question. Why has this taken three years?

Rubingh doesn’t want to spend money on buildings when “100% of county residents” use the roads. Let’s spend money on the roads! THIS MAKES NO SENSE. The Road Commission is a completely separate entity. The funding is separate. 

Maybe Rubingh thinks that he is actually on the Road Commission.

No action was taken on this. It all seems to be in limbo. 
DRINKING UPDATE: I have ofishially lost the Dwinking gome


MORE PUBLIC COMMENT

Trucker Randy got bored 20 minutes into the meeting and left. Now, he is back for a second round of his favorite thing in the world: public comment. He decided to come back via Zoom and debunk the University of Michigan professor’s report on what happened in the election. Trucker Randy – droppin public comment truth bombz, yo!    
I, uh…..

DRINKING UPDATE: Holy shit. I passed out during a BoC meeting! How is that possible? Thiz won waz only tree hurs long?

BoC Meeting May 6 Cont.

CAN YOU HEAR YOURSELVES EDITION

Okay, this meeting ended up going on for 7 hours! SEVEN Hours!

meeting footage hour 6

Here in part 2 the Board actually attempted to get some business completed. 

Trash InAction

Of all the stupid things the Board comes up with, their solution to a trashy problem is one of the most stupid. Enjoy this.

The Board spent 15 minutes discussing whether or not to buy trash cans for Antrim Creek Natural Area. The beautiful park on the big lake has an issue with trash laying around and no cans to put it in.  Arguing and micromanaging ensued. There was a motion to purchase bear-proof trash cans for the natural area. 4-4 tie vote. The motion failed. 

So, then the Board attempted to purchase trash cans that allow the bears to treat the cans like a messy buffet. It is the Commissioners favorite thing – cheaper. Who cares if the bears tear it too pieces mere hours after we purchase it? Cheaper is better! Doesn’t matter, they once again voted it down. The Board bravely stood in the face of common sense and declared themselves to be anti-trash can.  They would buy neither can.

This was a pretty simple request from the Parks Director for a small impact on the budget. This is what I was referring to earlier. The Board throws a fit whenever anybody asks to spend money, even though the departments have budgets. But, they never let them spend the money! Then they complain that the departments have too much money. 

Next item. Should we hire somebody to pick up all the trash at the Antrim Creek Natural Area? I kid you not. It passed unanimously. Are you KIDDING me?

They hired a part time staff member to pick up trash. But, they will not actually buy a trash can that budgeted funds are available. That is just amazing. My mind is blown by such stupidity.

Can you imagine what it is like to be a staff member who has to sit and listen to 7 hours of this:

Business Stuff (You know, their actual responsibilities) 

Grievance Time – The Board went into a closed session with their labor attorney to deal with a few union grievances. 

COVID Leave – There has been some confusion among county employees regarding COVID exposures and quarantines. Some employees have been ordered to stay home from work until a test came back negative. This time off is considered paid leave. However, some other employees have been forced to use paid time off banks. The Board voted to approve yet another change in policy to once again offer paid leave for ordered quarentines. 

Biden Bucks – The Board discussed what to do with all the money the federal government is forking out for COVID relief. The guidance sent out by the federal government is vague and opened ended. The Commissioners seemed inclined to spend it with other municipalities on infrastructure improvement.

There is a rumor going around that the County has been granted $4.5 Million by the federal government. There is, as yet, no plan on what to do with this money. 

The Old Bank

Remember the old Citizens Bank building in town? The Board really liked that building. Back in 2017, the County purchased the old Citizens Bank building. They paid $495,000 for the wonderful building and then tore the damned thing down.  

Originally, the Board planned on using the building to house the Sheriff’s Office. The problem was that the building was a terrible mess, and they never bothered to actually ask the Sheriff about it. 

Since razing the building, the residents of Bellaire have not appreciated the eye sore left from the destruction. Last year, Commissioners refused to do anything about it, because: no money. So, this year, the Chairman kindly offered to deal with it himself. He gathered volunteers, donations, and reseeded the plot at zero cost to the county. Isn’t that nice? 

So, for those of you keeping score, the Board spent a half a million dollars on a dilapidated building, tore it down, and then refused to clean up the mess until they could figure out how to do it for free. 

Now, I know that many of these Board members were not a part of the original purchase of the building. But, you still have to take care of the County’s property. How could it have been so difficult to gather bids and pay a local contractor to complete the work? 

Hearing Problems

So, there you have it. The Board has gone out of their way to prove how frugal they are. They stifle spending money even to the point of personal sacrifice. If that means that trash is laying all over the shoreline of Lake Michigan, well we will just have to hire someone to pick it up. WHAT??? 

This is the same Board that had previously complained about County departments having too much money in the bank. If you don’t let departments actually use their budgets, then of course they will have funds leftover!

I think I may know what the issue is. Maybe these Board members are unable to hear themselves. Surely, if they could hear themselves, they would realize how ridiculous they sound. I have found a solution!

There is a toy that is specially made to help children with speech problems to hear themselves speak.

The child can speak into the “reciever” and the sound travels back up into their ear, so that they can hear themselves and self correct any issues. Cool!

These devices are available here – https://www.lakeshorelearning.com/products/language/oral-language-storytelling/hear-myself-sound-phone/p/EE538/ But, there is a problem. They cost money *gasp* $5.99

Well, look on the bright side: it is cheaper than a garbage can. 

BoC Meeting May 7 2021

Here is a look back at this week’s Board of Commissioners Meeting. Your Board wasted plenty of time on nonsense, conspiracies, and of course, zombies. This is a long one, so settle in, grab a Tecate, and prepare to roll your eyes, alot.

Public Comment

It didn’t take long for things to get entertaining. Almost immediately Christian Marcus started making a scene. He requested that no public comment be accepted from persons out of County. The idea sounded good, except that it is illegal. He was told that the Board cannot do that and they moved on to hearing from the public.

Public comment went on for an hour. It was full of 😮 ELECTION FRAUD 😮 nonsense on both sides. It took so long, I had time to write a screed on Cinco De Mayo.

After hearing from members of the public both in person and on line, Marcus returned to demanding that no letters be read from anyone outside of the county. He was ruled out of order. He made a motion. It was tabled. He demanded a vote. The Chairman banged his gavel. Marcus kept at it. Multiple commissioners attempted to explain that this was against the Board’s policy.

Boettcher calmly explained the nature of the Board’s policy and how it is a requirement of the Open’s Meeting Act. Marcus responded with a tirade that included the following (I kid you not):

  • “Communist organization!”
  • “George Soros”

Oh my god. This went on and on. It was a waste of time. This was an argument over parliamentarian rules, sparked by political lunacy. Move on.

In trying to take a vote, the Chairman had to tell Marcus to “listen to me and stop talking”. The Chairman was trying to explain that NO public comment letters would be accepted at any future meetings as a part of the original plan. So, this was a non-issue.

We are now 2 hours into a meeting and the Board has accomplished absolutely NOTHING.

😮 Election Fraud 😮

Bill Bailey is still suing the county. Now, his high-minded issues-based lawsuit is being amended and just wait til you hear why (more on that another time).

As the lawsuit continues, the Board members discussed getting the lawyer on the phone to update them on the progress.

An effort to merely approve minutes from previous meetings was hijacked by Marcus vociferously objecting that his exact words were not included in the minutes. This resulted in much confusion and disagreement about what was said or what was not said. Marcus wants to be sure that everyone knows that he asked the Clerk whether she had deleted files on the voting machines. This took forever and, again, it was just a minutes approval!

We are now two and a half hours into the meeting and the Board has accomplished NOTHING.

Millages

Rubingh motioned to reduce the county operating millage rate due to the fact that Antrim maintains a huge fund balance (Approximate $10M).

Much discussion. Bargy objected since the County is not yet able to meet expenditures with revenue. Every year, the County has to take from this fund balance to pay for a gap between revenue and expenditure.

Some of the departments in the county are sitting on fund balances of two years of operating costs. Which does seem excessive, but there is a reason for it – the very same Board that is criticizing the act.

Rubingh was not satisfied with just reducing the general fund. Rubingh wants to reduce other millages. Rubingh wants to examine the Conservation District and wants to know what they are doing with the money.

Remember Rubingh’s mathematically sound motto: DO MORE WITH LESS!

The problem with this entire conversation is that one of the major impediments of County departments actually using the funds is … The friggin Board of Commissioners. The Board impedes the departments from making expenditures and then complains that they have too much money on hand.

Lavanway wanted to know why 911 needs so much money. Staff tried to explain that 911 has so much money in the fund because … The friggin Board of Commissioners told them to! 911 is on a ten year plan and the money is going to be used for future projects, replacements, and improvements.

County departments are required to have a capital improvement plan that lists anticipated purchases and expenditures. Years ago, the Board directed these departments to have funds available for these expenditures, instead of coming and asking for money. Some departments have costly expenditures and have to save budgeted money for years on end.

Certain members of the Board are convinced that County is over-taxed and that money is sitting around, when it should be sent back to tax payers. There was little conversation on what they should have been discussing: improving services, facilities, and staff levels.

Tax payers want to know that tax dollars are being used effectively for community improvement and citizen services. Reducing taxes is not the only means of effective governance.

😮 Election Fraud 😮 AGAIN (this time featuring zombies!)

It’s that time in the meeting where things all go to Hell due to nonsense claims of 😮 election fraud 😮

Lavanway commented at length on the election controversy. There have been numerous requests to vote no confidence for the clerk. Of course, that would be useless; the Clerk is elected.

Possible election fraud , according to Lavanway:

  • Dead people voted. OMG zombies!
  • People voted twice
  • People outside the county voted

Lavanway motioned to conduct a “complete forensic audit,” whatever that is. Rubingh immediately supported the loony-fest motion, even though nobody knew what on earth a “complete forensic audit” is.

Sheryl Guy attempted to explain that the Board could not force the Townships to participate in such a thing, but that was ignored. Garwood also attempted to explain that the Board had no authority to do this, which was also ignored. Marcus declared that he flat out didn’t care if he had the authority or not. Do it anyway!

Boettcher tried to explain point by point that the issues that are being brought up are not backed up by any evidence. He declared that there was no malfeasance, no conspiracies, and such things are ridiculous. Mistakes were made, sure. Now, we should be focused on addressing the mistakes and fixing them He very reasonably asked why we would pay to investigate things that have already been disproved.

Of course, being reasonable does not go far with this Board.

Marcus insists that this whole issue is the fact that the voting machine company purposefully “threw the election” to make sure Trump did not win the election. Marcus states that this has all been “proven”! This was proven by a video that he saw on the internet.

Sweet Lord, this is all so stupid.

Lavanway again wanted to know how many zombies voted. The Clerk explained that federal law required 8 years before someone could be taken off the voter list. Lavanway exclaimed, “8 years! So, think of how many people can vote if they are dead!” Nobody bothered to inform her that if a person was dead, they probably would not be voting. Instead, they’d be eating brainz!

It was then explained to Lavanway that an audit could not be ordered by the Board. Only the State or a court can order it. Oh, by the way, this already happened. The State conducted this.

Watrous makes an appearance. He was concerned that this same thing was happening in other counties and other states. He claims the State wants Antrim to “sweep it underneath the rug” and that is only because “they got caught with their pants down”.

What?

Watrous says that he doesn’t care what the State says. If “the People” want a hand counted elections, then they should get it. He said that the only people who trust these machines are out of state Democrats “on the wagon”. “I’m not stupid!”

Well…

The question was then asked what a forensic audit is. Lavanway refused to define that since “we can’t do it anyway”. Yeah, exactly. So, why are we doing this, again?

There was then an agreement to just postpone this whole thing until they could find if they could do this and how to do it. Hours of arguing and wrangling for nothing.

At this point, we are 5 hours into this meeting. FIVE HOURS! There are still two more hours to go. Commissioner Helwig got up and left, because he has a job and a life. I’m going to do the same thing. Unbelievable!

I will try to get around to the other stuff later.

photo of Antrim County voters 2020

-Z

Falso Mexicanos

I’m listening to a recording of the latest Board of Commissioners meeting. Oh my god. It has been over an hour and we are still in Public Comment. Time for a drink!

But, I must first address something – White Americans celebrating Cinco de Mayo. What is the deal?

For those who don’t know, Cinco is a minor commemoration of battle against a fake emperor in the 1800s. It is not a big deal in Mexico. But, it sure is in the land of Appropriation! People who spend hours watching Fox News, and complaining about “them Mexicans” coming to take our jobs, once a year decide to celebrate Mexican heritage.

An American citizen celebrating Mexican Heritage

I guess that is better than detaining people. But, if you’re going to do it, do it right. Walking around wearing a sombrero, with a lime inserted in a bottle of Corona does not make you a Mexican. Walking around wearing a sombrero with a bottle Tecate – hell yes. You are an honorary Mexican, for sure.

If you have to go for a Mexican lager, go for Tecate. It is crisp, smooth and perfect on hot day. Now, Tecate is known as the Budweiser of Mexico because of its market dominance. However, that doesn’t mean it is not good. It is great and an open cooler of ice with plummeted Tecates is a common site in the Old Country.

Whether you are mowing the lawn, kicking around el futbol, or running from border patrol, Tecate should be your Mexican beer of choice.

By the way. Do you know why they put limes in Corona in Mexico? It keeps the flies out of the Beer. Limes in beer bottles are not cool, mi amigos.

Z

PIRACY!

If you have somehow found your way to this place, you have a strange life!

Herein you will find conspiratorial conversation about the hilarious, nonsensical, and ineffective government in Antrim County Michigan. Feel free to read, comment, and complain.

The purpose of ARRRG is to democratically hijack the government of Antrim County and reform it to actually work for the citizens and businesses of the County. We are Antrim County citizens interested in government that is:

  • Reasonable
  • Rational

We are tired of county officials who administer the county based on conspiracy theories and national extremist agendas. County officials should instead be able to utilize common sense and responsible logic in representing the residents of the County.

Also, pirate hats are welcome, as well as acts of written banditry!