Wherein we interview Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed. This podcast is not and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. When a former Michigan athlete (lacrosse before it went varsity) is running for governor and reads the site and asks to come on the podcast we say "Okay, but we're not lobbing softballs".
Abdul did this whole interview without any notes and was very engaged in the toughest questions we could throw at him, so a lot of this interview went off anyone's idea of a script and got into some granular back-and-forth on complicated issues and events. That makes it hard to write up—what do you leave out?—so I'm going to present MGoBlog's questions below and you can get Abdul's answers by listening to the podcast.
- Abdul's incredibly depressing Wikipedia page. How offering to serve got him thrown into a commission to run the Detroit Health Department after the emergency manager had shut it down. What did he do there?
- (at 7:30) Flint Water Crisis: What's the DEQ gotta do now? If the "money's there" where is it, how much will it cost? Could it have been faster? Will anyone believe them when they say the water's clean? What's Flint fatigue? How were the measurements made?
- (at 12:20) Lead Abatement Report: After Flint stuff his report on lead poisoning was changed? By whom? What level of lead is "safe"? How to operate a bureaucracy, setting culture of serving the public versus "closing the ticket."
- (at 18:20) Single-payer "MichCare" plan? How does it control costs, what's the upfront investment and transition costs, how does it compare to other plans? What are the incentives in the system and how do you change that?
- (at 23:20) Vis a vis recent Supreme Court decisions and a White House that would have substantially different views on, uh, civics: What is under the scope of a governor? Specifically would he as governor use state resources to support ICE and enforce federal immigration policy and political incarceration he doesn't agree with?
- (at 27:54) Brian's YIMBY hour: How do you address the relationship between housing and property assessments caught in an impossible Proposition A situation between rate of housing prices and rate of inflation? How do you decide the mils? How often do you do it? Note: on this question Abdul primarily addressed over-assessment that was leading to tax foreclosures in communities adjacent to gentrification, and education funding, while Brian was asking more about the Ann Arbor housing crisis (where nobody can sell their home). Brian recommends City Observatory dot org. Also SightLine.
- (at 35:31) Education: School of Choice effect on school districts in lower income communities. Promulgation of charter schools? Funding of charter schools?
- (at 37:30) Lightning Round: Regents for Michigan State: can we get two D's who didn't go to Michigan State? Ballot proposal to legalize marijuana? Ballot proposal against partisan redistricting? Plan to reduce the cost of a college education? Favorite Michigan athlete of the last 15 years?
"Across 110th Street"
"Where No Man Has Gone Before" Alexander Courage
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- What's with the theme music?
Consider the gauntlet thrown down, sir.