Fink, Pierce and Eller… what’s the connection?

In response to yesterday’s post about Mike Eller’s disturbing far right wing beliefs, someone raised an interesting question. Why is it, this person asked, that “Mike Eller: Democrat for City Council” yard signs are almost always accompanied by signs for Steve Pierce and Jim Fink? My sense is that it’s because all of them are conservatives running as Democrats, and their messages resonate with the same people, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the possible connection might be.

As for Fink, who is running for Washtenaw County Circuit Judge, my friend Chris had a few interesting things to say about him today on Eclectablog. Here’s a taste.

The other person to watch out for is Jim Fink who is running for 22nd Circuit Court in Washtenaw County. I first learned about Fink at a meeting of the Western Washtenaw Dems. Although Fink himself wasn’t there, he sent along a relative to sing his praises. He has since showed up at the Ann Arbor Dems’ summer picnic, participated in the Washtenaw County Democrats’ candidates forum, and even tried to get the Washtenaw County Dems to put his information on their website.

That absurd idea was quickly shot down.

Why? Because Jim Fink is no Democrat and the WCDP will not use its resources to support a Republican.

At the candidates’ forum, an anonymous person placed a one-page fact sheet about Jim Fink on the seats of attendees. The sheet describes Fink’s thousands of dollars of donations to Republicans, his anti-Choice position and his anti-gay stances, all of which go against the grain of true Democrats…

Jim Fink is clearly talented and has impressive endorsements, but he is no Democrat no matter how much he tries to fool people about this. Fortunately, Democrats in Washtenaw have three other very worthy choices: Erane Washington, Carol Kuhnke, and Doug McClure. I know all three of these people and they are all solid alternatives to not-Democrat Jim Fink.

If you’re interested in that one-page “fact sheet” about Fink, you can find a scan of it here.

As for Pierce, I don’t know for certain what his politics are, as he has a long history of refusing to answer direct questions, but my interactions over the years would lead me to believe that he’s more closely aligned with the likes of Eller and Fink than he is with, say, our President. In fact, according to a letter I received earlier today from local real estate developer Karen Maurer, it looks as though Eller and Pierce are co-hosting a “party” this evening for their supporters… Speaking of their supporters, one of them left a comment on the site, right before the party.

And you read that right… This self-proclaimed “Republican” is going to be out knocking on doors for Eller this weekend. If you had an inkling that Eller’s conversion away from the radical right, and into the Democratic party, might be disingenuous, I think I’d take that as a confirmation. I may not be the most observant person in the world, but I know that when Republicans enthusiastically go knocking on doors in a Democratic primary, something fishy is probably going on.

And, yes, he spelled “butt” wrong.

Oh, and before folks start leaving comments about Steve’s pricey toileting protocol, and his fleet of Segways, I’d like to ask that, for the time being, we focus on more substantive issues. I know all of this stuff is funny, but I think it can be a bit of a distraction, and, generally speaking, I don’t think we should choose our leaders based upon how “out of touch” they are, as evidenced by the imported devices they use to clean their bottoms. (It seems to me to be almost the same as saying that we shouldn’t vote for Obama because he doesn’t know how to bowl.) I do think, however, that Pierce’s history of demagoguing on issues like the white slaves of Ypsilanti is completely relevant, as is the way that he uses Wireless Ypsi to serve his political objectives. Most importantly, though, at least for the purposes of this discussion, I find it telling that he seems to have tied his fortunes to a man like Mike Eller, whom he knows to have said, for instance, that AIDS patients should be allowed to die, and that the women’s rights movement “destroyed the American family.” Partnering with Eller may have been the politically expedient thing to do, given the anti-tax sentiment in the City at the moment, but it demonstrates to me that this man has no ethical foundation whatsoever.

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  1. Edward
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The reason these signs consistently appear together, I imagine, is that there is a great deal of synergy between the campaigns. I don’t know that they necessarily share resources, but each individual campaign certainly leverages the work of the others. When Steve sees an Eller sign, for instance, he knows that household is an easy mark. Also, you likely see more signs from these three because they have better relationships with landlords, like the Maurers, who care about low taxes above all else.

  2. anonymous
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I understand that Pierce wants to win. It’s what he lives for. He’s been plotting for years, in that big house of his. I don’t see him, however, as a racist homophobe. The only reason he can be aligning with Eller is because he sees it as a way into office. And I think that’s even more reprehensible than if he were a racist homophobe himself. He will do anything to win. He has no moral foundation. There is nothing he will not say or do to win.

  3. Dan
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    They should Go Green, like the noble candidates of Ypsi Township. All related candidates listed together on the same sign.

    Plus it’s easier to guide our riding lawn mowers around one sign, than 4 or 5.

  4. Elf
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I like the fact that these yards signs are grouped. It helps me know who not to vote for.

  5. Alice Krum
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    It’s not his fault. Christian homeshoolers aren’t typically taught to spell the Devil’s words like “butt”.

  6. Erika
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The fact that the America First Party information that is now housed at was originally written BY STEVE PIERCE (and moved to a new site because Steve was surely going to take it down when he switched sides) shows that he not only knows who Eller is and used to actively work against him, but now has gotten into bed with him because Steve will do anything to win.

    Steve is as manipulative, disingenuous, and egotistical as they come. I don’t think he even cares about Ypsilanti, just about soothing his bruised ego. He sees himself as a big fish in a small pond and this is his chance to be a King. If he were in Ann Arbor or any other city even slightly larger or more functional than Ypsilanti, no one would even know his name.

  7. Eel
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    While I agree that it’s not fair to beat Steve up over the fact that he uses an expensive device to clean his but, I do like the the idea of adding a sticker to each of his sings that says, “He uses a $1,000 Japanese robot to clean his bottom!”

  8. AndyC
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Also note that 90% of these signs are on rentals put there by landlords. Pretty much who ever has the most property gets the most advertising. It’s interesting to see how much property in the city is owned by a handful of people. I’ll also second the above comments that these residents are banding together over taxes and not just conservative beliefs.

  9. Dan
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink


    It’s not surprising that landlords are supporting the anti-tax candidates. They pay far more in property taxes than homeowners.

  10. Todd
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I know you said you didn’t want to talk about his butt cleaning device, but I’ve been reading about it and it sounds incredible. Someone online described it as being like “having your asshole licked by angels.” If he’d let me use it just once, I’d give him my vote. If he’d pick me up on his Segway and take me to his home to use it, I’d convince my wife to vote for him too.

  11. Knox
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Wonderful comment, Erika. I had no idea that Steve was the original author of the anti-Eller material on-line. That speaks volumes concerning his character.

  12. jean Henry
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I like Jim Fink. He helped me out once in a past life. His religious values do not align with my values, but he is empathic and a decent guy. He understands subtance abuse and how it factors into criminality. His views on abortion or homosexuality should not enter into his work as a judge, both because judges of principle don’t operate like that (and I believe Jim will be one) and because I believe most of the decisions he would be making will not address these issues (I need to do more research here). I know in the current fraught political environment it is hard to even imagine that a Republican might do a decent job and be fair (and I can’t say for sure if I will vote for Jim right now; still researching the others), but I do not fear Judge Jim Fink. And I know plenty of liberal lawyers who support him.
    Re loose yard sign associations: I don’t know how much say candidates have about where their yard sign ends up. I can tell you in the last presidential election Obama shared space with Republicans herd likely loathe on my parents’ yard in PA. I also am not inclined to fault any person of any political stripe for trying to engage folks of another party. I personally would love to see Obama address some white southern conservatives. We wouldn’t see that as deceptive or a misrepresentation. Jim Fink’s record is public. I don’t think he’s hiding anything and I think that, in many regards, he is that rarest of things– a true moderate. Here he is speaking on Thayrone’s conservative radio talk show. Notice he does not bite at any of Thayrone’s bones.

  13. bee
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve stayed way out of the loop of ypsi politics, and politics in general. Until someone comes along who isn’t political, I can’t really be bothered. I don’t mean that in an apathetic way, just a preface for the following.

    Mike Eller is my landlord at beezy’s- I’m sort of the very definition of women’s lib in motion. I’m very likely an ideal representation of everything Eller purports/has written to be wrong with this country. I’m canadian, I’ve had an abortion, I’ve engaged in same sex relationships, I know people with HIV, I wear pants, tight ones. I donate regularly to organizations that work actively against what Eller’s stated politics rail about. I find it upsetting that folks ask if the red truck out back is mine. I certainly don’t agree politically, and I’m as surprised as hell to see him running as a democrat.

    Here”s the thing I like though. Mike makes it really difficult for me to think he’s a crazy right wing nut job. He’s been nothing but incredibly supportive, helpful, constructive, engaging, on the ball, honest, helpful, kind, generous, funny, and flexible. He straddles a kind of dichotomy that I find really compelling, and not altogether dishonest.

    shit ain’t black and white.

    following Jean’s post about Jim Fink- who comes into beezy’s every saturday morning for coffee with a fellowship group, if you ever want to engage him, he’s usually blocking your way to get into the third room at about 8:45 am… all these people are part of our community, and I value that folks I actively disagree with patronize my place. It’s a trip to watch people literally BUMP into each other that have nothing in common and be forced on some level to interact and engage. It’s no accident, the layout of beezy’s. There’s an escape route or two, but you have the chance to talk to just about anyone on any given day, and when given the opportunity, almost all people have something great to offer.

    But, I don’t know how that translates to being on City Council or County Judge or anything.I felt compelled to stand up for Mike’s character and express my surprise as it was brought up in the other thread that he’s the building owner of beezy’s…

    I know it’s naive and Pollyanna-esque to say fuck politics, but, damn it, what about PEOPLE?

  14. Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I like you, Bee, and, generally speaking, I value your opinion. In this instance, though, I think you may suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

    (note: That was meant to be funny, by the way… and not mean.)

    I appreciate your coming forward to defend Mike, when most folks around here (on this site) would like to see him run out of town on a rail… Maybe “defend” is too strong a word, but you know what I mean… I’m happy to know that there are folks out there who aren’t afraid to speak up and suggest, as you have, that individuals are more than just the sum of their extremist rants. You’re right, of course. Mike very well could be a great guy, when you strip away the paranoid hate speech. Sadly, though, I lack the capacity to look for good in a man that says we should allow AIDS to run its course, killing our gay friends and neighbors. I don’t care how great a guy is, when you say things like that, you can’t earn my vote.

    Also, I think it’s worth reiterating that no one is saying that Mike isn’t a good neighbor, landlord, etc. I have no reason not to believe you when you say that he is. I just don’t agree with his beliefs, and the fact that he’s running as a Democrat, when he’s clearly not one. I can tolerate quite a bit when a person is honest about his/her beliefs. And I think that’s what bothers me here. It’s not the fact that he’s running… He ran in 2008, and I didn’t mention him on this site… The thing that bothers me is the fact that he’s running as a Democrat and he’s going to great lengths to hide his true beliefs. Apparently that’s where I draw the line. As I stated above, however, I do appreciate the fact that you took time to remind all of us that there is another side to the candidate.

  15. Bee
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    That’s fair, mark. I follow.

    And agree. And can’t vote. So pretty much just sticking my neck out & stirring the pot for pot’s sake. Or something.

  16. Watching Laughing.
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    (Rolling Eyes)
    This is exactly how the most dangerous people get into office. Get it.

    A contrast between the always running his mouth, loud, gotcha, Steve Pierce types.


  17. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    New name, sorry.


  18. bee
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    and then I wonder, will this be worse for my reputation than joining mathletes? Social suicide?

    I just wanted to follow and say, Mark, yes, I see no one is saying Mike is a bad neighbor et al- but he’s being called everything else under the sun. I like entertaining the idea that WE rabble rousers and muckrakers influence him more than the other way around… but that I a) don’t endorse a candidacy, period and b) just enjoy pointing out the humanity in things.

    And that’s not specifically directed at your response Mark, rather inspired by, and necessary in my brain for clarity.

  19. Pete Murdock
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    There has been a lot of chatter regarding this election – especially the 3rd Ward City Council race – over the past few days. That’s been great, but we need to put that energy into action.

    If you really want to “Keep Mike Eller Off City Council” I could use your help. We have a lot of final weekend tasks to do including, canvassing, leafleting, Get Out The Vote (GOTV) phone calls and of course on Election Day we need folks for our GOTV effort. If you like to help out call me at 485-7799 or email at or contact Brian Robb at 313.805.6316 or

    This Sunday at 1PM we will be meeting at 504 North River Street for one last big push. We will be doing a simple literature drop and need volunteers to help us get out the message. We are looking for people to give us one or two hours of their time.

    The results of this election are going to have a major impact on Ypsilanti’s future. We’d love for everyone to be a part of that.


  20. Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    What about values? My values actually guide my behavior and choices. I have that expectation of other people. For example, Bee values her landlord’s individuality and nice behavior toward her. If Eller were to act on his values on our city council, I’d worry for the future my family and every cause I support with my time, creativity, & money. I don’t believe Steve Pierce has any values whatsoever, thus his actions on city council would only benefit himself, as all his past behavior has shown — which may or may not endanger my world.

  21. tom
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    As an EMU-alum who is trying to move back to Ypsi, I’d like to remind the readers of of some, seemingly, political truisms:

    1. Ypsi voter turnout is low. Something like 2200 people voted in the crucial CIT, water street election.
    2. Republicans tend to win by getting likely-voters on their side–usually with a wedge issue.
    3. Democrats/liberals tend to win by getting unlikely-voters to vote (Jesse Ventura, Bill Clinton round 1, Barak Obama)

    The challenge, as I see it, is to get those demographic groups whom are not voting into the polling booths. Maybe organize voter-only parties or voter-only discounts at local merchants?

  22. rodneyn
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Jim Fink is a great lawyer, a great neighbor, and a fine, decent, and honorable man. He will make an excellent judge, and Ypsilanti will be better off with him on the circuit court bench than if any of his opponents get elected.

    I do not know Mike Eller well at all, so I will defer to the only person commenting on this site who has actually interacted with the gentleman regularly. If Beezy can say such nice things about a man who is her landlord, then who am I to judge otherwise. Mike is a businessman at a time when our City Council is virtually devoid of representation from the small business community.

    Mr. Eller will continue and expand efforts to rein in spending and secure a healthy financial future for Ypsilanti – without dropping the city back into the income tax morass. Is there anything more important than this?

  23. kjc
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Well if bee likes her landlord then who are we to discuss the issue at all.

    My family loves me but I don’t trust their politics and wouldn’t vote for any of them. But then they don’t help pay my bills either.

    It’s ok to not elect nice people to public office. Really.

  24. Downtown Bldg. Owner
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I did not support the income tax but I do support Pete Murdock. I think Pete honestly believed the income tax belonged on the ballot so we could vote on it. We voted on it and it failed.
    Pete might not have the big smile or own a building where he can influence his tenants but he is honest, does his homework, works hard, cares about Ypsilanti and is A DEMOCRAT.
    I vote for the candidate that I am politically and morally aligned with and that would be Pete. You should do the same.
    It really is all about the money some folks.

  25. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Yah, amazing isn’t it.

  26. Dalene
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Any chance we’ll see Pierce show up again in the next Mayoral race?

  27. CS Pobierz
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    They’re all losers?

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