Public Sector

Citizens cannot do their job of running their government if they don’t know what their public servants are doing. Bridge will take you beyond the political food fights into the policy decisions that affect everyday life.


A Bridge primer on how to gauge the credibility of political polls

October 28, 2014 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan voters are being inundated with horse-race poll results showing which candidates are up or down. Before taking those results as gospel, consider the source. Bridge shows you how.

12 questions to ask about political polls

October 28, 2014 | Bridge Staff

Judging the independence and reliability of polls during election season can difficult, even for politically astute voters. Here are a few questions to ask to help determine a survey’s credibility.

Gov. Snyder tied, or way ahead ‒ which poll is right in governor’s race?

October 28, 2014 | Mike Wilkinson

Two automated polls show a tight race, while a third that relies on live interviewers shows Snyder comfortably leading challenger Mark Schauer. What’s a partisan to believe?

GOP hunts votes in the D

October 16, 2014 | Nancy Derringer

The Republican National Committee opened an African-American engagement office in overwhelmingly Democratic Detroit. Early returns are a bit fuzzy.

Regular Detroiters get their day in bankruptcy court

October 16, 2014 | Sandra Svoboda

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes gave 15 ordinary Detroit retirees, appearing without lawyers, an opportunity to appear at the city’s bankruptcy trial to voice their objection to the restructuring plan.

Michigan primaries – where democracy goes to die

August 4, 2014 | Ron French

Primary voters in Dickinson County will go the polls Tuesday; probably in the same sedan. A county-by-county guide to voter apathy in Michigan.

See how YOUR county (doesn’t) vote

August 4, 2014 | Mike Wilkinson

Go to Bridge’s voter turnout map to see how your county turns out to vote in past primary elections

The three worst political ads of 2014

August 4, 2014 | David Zeman

Among dozens of ads this election cycle, a trio earned Michigan Truth Squad’s dreaded “flagrant foul” citation.

Even with no opposition, is Proposal 1 in trouble?

July 31, 2014 | Ron French

Support from Republicans and Democrats. More than $8 million in spending. No organized opposition. Why is the public skeptical?

A Republican civil war plays out in Michigan

July 31, 2014 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan GOP primary foes wage a battle of ideas and tone, echoing similar struggles within the party in Washington and elsewhere.

A primer for a primary with national themes

July 31, 2014 | Ted Roelofs

Close races, marijuana referendums, a southeast Michigan mass transit tax proposal and a statewide business tax issue highlight the Aug. 5 ballot.

Obamacare giveth, but courts could taketh away

July 29, 2014 | Chastity Pratt Dawsey

A federal court case could set the stage for the repeal of Obamacare tax credits, and drastically raise health-care costs for 250,000 Michigan residents. A final decision is likely a year away.

Q&A: Home is what you make it

July 22, 2014 | Chastity Pratt Dawsey

There are many cities that can be improved with planning that turns public spaces into the heart of those communities. Michigan’s “placemaking” chief explains how.

Emergency manager or emperor? Why Michigan’s law stirs contempt

July 10, 2014 | Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Michigan has one of the most aggressive receivership laws in the nation, giving emergency managers extraordinary power in distressed communities, but leaving hard feelings in their wake. Other states have had a smoother ride by involving elected leaders in turnaround plans, rather than shuttling them to the sideline.

Politicos were out to get me, says emergency manager

July 10, 2014 | Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Benton Harbor’s first emergency manager sidelined elected officials and a public war soon followed. EMs have authority to make the hard cuts that elected leaders won’t, but entrenched politics are harder to ax.

Political reformers, with hardly a friend across the aisle, press on in Michigan

June 19, 2014 | Nancy Derringer

Redistricting reform, election reform and finance reform all have their supporters in Michigan, but most have Ds after their name.

3 hot political reforms not heading Michigan’s way

June 19, 2014 | Nancy Derringer

Efforts aimed at making voting easier, races more competitive and political money easier to track are gaining steam elsewhere.

Obamacare booms in Michigan, but wide differences in policy rates raise new questions

June 12, 2014 | Ted Roelofs

After a disastrous launch, Michigan residents are flocking to the Affordable Care Act. Yet the rates all those newly insured vary widely depending on where you live. A lack of competition in some local markets raises questions on why the same kinds of coverage have such different price tags across the state.

Medicaid expansion widens safety net, but are future costs a ticking time bomb?

June 12, 2014 | Ted Roelofs

Nearly 270,000 low-income Michigan residents signed up for expanded Medicaid in less than two months. While officials project that number to explode, critics fear the program will prove too costly to sustain.

Is Michigan wasting 20,000 teen lives – and at great expense?

June 10, 2014 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan is among a dwindling number of states that prosecute 17-year-olds as adults, even though teens are more likely to commit more crimes when placed with adults. Most teens prosecuted as adults committed nonviolent crimes.