Political Insider: Bankruptcy judge hints at retirement

Bankruptcy judge hints at retirement

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes may not stick around to handle some of the lingering unfinished business in Detroit’s bankruptcy case.

Rhodes delayed his planned retirement in 2013 after being assigned to oversee Detroit’s Chapter 9 case, the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

During a hearing this week on minor matters, Rhodes suggested he may retire sometime next month and wouldn’t be around to oversee the settlement of some 1,300 litigation claims against the city.

A city attorney suggested a hearing on the matter be set for the second week in February.

“That’s fine with me,” Rhodes replied. “You should be forewarned, however, that by that point in time you may well have a new judge on the case.”

The judge added: “It’s a little bit uncertain at this point, but it’s a possibility.”

A court spokesman later said Rhodes has not set a formal retirement date.

GOP competition heats up

Republican National Committeewoman Ronna Romney McDaniel wasted no time last Friday declaring herself a candidate for chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party just hours after chairman Bobby Schostakannounced he wouldn’t seek re-election.

The niece of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sent an email to Republican Party activists asking for their support. She promised to unify the often fractured GOP ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Republicans will gather in Lansing in late February to elect to a new party chair. Romney McDaniel, whose grandfather George was Michigan’s governor from 1963-69, became Michigan’s female representative on the RNC last year after Terri Lynn Land stepped down to focus on her U.S. Senate campaign.

“We must support the constitution and the blessings of liberty it provides,” she wrote.

On Saturday morning, her campaign sent GOP activists another email written by state Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton — a tea party favorite — announcing his endorsement of her candidacy. Colbeck is her state senator in western Wayne County.

“She did not use the Romney name as a badge of privilege,” Colbeck wrote.

On Monday, McDaniel announced in another email she has secured the endorsements of 18 county party chairs. The endorsements ranged from GOP establishment types such as Oakland County’s new chairwoman, Theresa Mungioli, to tea party activists such as controversial Antrim County GOP chairman “Trucker” Randy Bishop.

Romney McDaniel did not return messages this week seeking comment.

If past years are any benchmark, the race for Michigan GOP chair this winter is likely to be contentious. Outgoing state Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, said Tuesday he’s still mulling over a bid for the party’s top job.

Eat, drink, lobby, legislate

Last call for a lot of lobbyists and lame duck lawmakers was the Truscott-Rossman feeding frenzy, an annual Capitol tradition that accompanies the final bill-passing fury before the Legislature adjourns for the year. T-R staffers stock tables with free goodies in the Speaker’s Library between House and Senate chambers.

In 30 hours of legislative session over two days in which a road-funding deal was cemented, consultants John Truscott and Kelly Rossman-McKinney report, their PR firm handed out 1,500 Slim Jims, 1,000 mini-candy canes, 400 Blow Pop suckers, 120 doughnuts, 300 cookies, 360 oranges, 196 bananas, 465 apples, 864 bags of chips and veggie straws, 240 bags of Gardetto’s, 288 bags of Combos, 216 packages of small cookies, 528 granola bars, 528 bags of M&M’s, 192 Twizzlers, 168 Starbursts, 120 Rice Krispies Treats, 2,228 candy bars, 1,290 sticks of gum, 1,570 cups of coffee, 480 bottles of juice, 944 Cokes and 1,488 bottles of water.

Jeepers. Don’t these people eat regular meals?

Remembering Detroiters’ water woes

A group of Canadians is looking to show support this holiday season to Detroiters facing water shut-offs for unpaid bills through a parody video.

The Council of Canadians has dusted off the old chestnut of the 1984 Band Aid song “Do they know it’s Christmas” to show solidarity with the people of Detroit affected.

“If there is anything that shows the spirit of Scrooge, it is Detroit’s lack of compassion for its poorest residents,” says Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians.

Contributors: Chad Livengood, Gary Heinlein, Steve Pardo, Richard Burr