When Did Incompetence Become A Job Requirement?

Nida Samona
Would you take advise on your swing from a player that was hitting .000 for their career?

Would you take advice on how to win a football game from the Detroit Lions, who have yet to win a game?

Of course you wouldn't.

So why would the Michigan legislature take advice from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission on constitutional issues surrounding direct shipment of wine. Michigan LCC Chair Nida Samona is 0 for 4 in her various attempt to interpret the Constitution on this issue.

In the past, Michigan LCC Chairwoman Samona has supported four different lawsuits that argued discrimination against out-of-state wine shippers is constitutional. Four times she has found her position not just shot down, but ridiculed by federal judges: Three times leading up to and including the GranholmHeald Supreme Court case and now again in the Siesta Village Market v. Granholm case concerning out-of-state retailers.

This is clearly not the person responsible lawmakers want to be taking advice from on issues of direct shipment of wine.

And yet even now, in the wake of being shot down that 4th time, Ms. Somona and the Michigan LCC are inserting themselves into the issue of direct shipping in a specifically political way by recommending and finding sponsors for legislation that would lead to a ban on all direct shipments of wine from retailers to Michigan consumers—even from in-state retailers.

Already passed out of the Michigan House, and now in front of Michigan Senators, HB 6644 was concocted by the Michigan LCC and the Michigan wholesales WITHOUT any input from Michigan wine retailers, WITHOUT any input from Michigan consumers, WITHOUT any input from out-of-state retailers, and WITHOUT any input from Michigan restaurants (also effected).

One has to ask, is it really the job of an appointed administrator to help ram legislation down the throats of Michigan legislators and Michigan consumers; to supplant her own long-invalidated and unsupported political positions for that of the key stakeholders and Michigan voters; to push legislation that's only redeeming value appears to be that it helps support the profits of a small group of wholesalers who find financial protection behind a bill that shields them from competition?

Of course the real problem with the current leadership at the Michigan Liquor control commission is that they are incompetent and they admit as much.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling that a state could regulate alcohol sales, but must do so in an even handed way for both in-state and out of state entities, Ms. Samona expressed the following on the McNeil Lehrer News Hour:

"the 21st Amendment trumps the commerce clause and clearly gives
Michigan the ability to control liquor coming into the state."

We all know she got that one wrong. But take a look at this, from the same broadcast:

"My position is that
there should be no interstate, no Internet sale of wine or any alcoholic beverage
because we cannot control it, we do not regulate it, we do not know whose hands
it's going into."


Numerous alcohol regulators across the country have little or no program controlling and regulating the direct shipment of wine from both out-of-state wineries and retailers. Yet, here we have Chairperson Samona throwing up her hands, whining, moaning and admitting that she can't do…Yet all the while her colleagues in other states are entirely capable of doing what she claims she can't control.

It's a little scary.

But it may explain her support for HB 6644. It appears that she is supporting legislation that institutionalizes admitted incompetence in her work. Wouldn't the people of Michigan be better off with someone regulating alcohol sales who actually knows how to do the job, rather than someone who pushes legislation that just prevent themselves from having to do their job?

When did incompetence become a job requirement?


3 Responses

  1. Bill from Wine For Newbies - December 8, 2008

    Tom, as you know you and I are on the same side of this issue, and I too am amazed at how the Michigan state legislature is using such poor judgment.
    Unfortunately, I think the only thing that may ever end this type of battle will be public financing of campaigns–with the requirement that all candidates accept public financing. The wholesalers’ lobbyists are just too powerful, and their campaign contributions speak volumes over the letters of opposition from actual voters.
    As for when incompetence became a job requirement, I think some might argue that the current occupant of the Oval Office set the example for many others.

  2. Dylan - December 9, 2008

    Tom, your points are definitely well-taken on this post. However, as an amusing aside, your typo of the Michigan Chair’s surname in the middle of this post had me reading it as “Ms. Sonoma.” Although, we know there’s no beauty pageant being won for this behavior.

  3. Michigander - February 6, 2020

    This hag is a prosecutor for Wayne county. She enjoys malicious prosecution and other types of malfeasance, such as withholding evidence that can exonerate individuals.

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