Phil Power's Second Act
That's John Bebow, president of the Center for Michigan, recalling an encounter he and center founder Phil Power had with governor Rick Snyder. "And that's what Bridge is setting out to do," adds Bebow.
Past governors might not have looked to a nonprofit online magazine for insight into their own state. But that was before the print media cut back. "When I got into the newspaper business, years ago, there were two or three busloads of reporters in Lansing," recalls Power, seventy-four. "And now I would guess there are less than ten [individuals]."
Power's HomeTown Communications Network owned "little tiny local papers, beneath contempt of the dukes and suzerains of our industry," he says. And he got out in time. "I could see disaster looming as we passed the millennium," he recalls, so he and his wife, Kathy, sold the company to Gannett in 2005 for a price Crain's Detroit Business estimated at $170 million. He shrugs off their perfect timing as "the triumph of luck over brains."
Power didn't have far to look for his next project: he says he'd long been dismayed at the partisanship in Lansing. So he started talking with a bunch of his old friends--former congressman "Joe Schwarz and [ex-governor] Bill Milliken and [Ann Arbor attorney] Paul Dimond--the usual suspects. They said, 'The time has come for somebody to start something that attacks the sick political culture in this state.'"