Sunday, September 23, 2012

Michigan's 2012 Ballot Measures - My stance so far

I thought I would comment on the Michigan ballot measures in the upcoming Nov. 6 election.

This is a good resource for Michigan's ballot measures - 

Here is the Governor's stance on each measure -,4668,7-277-60279-286346--,00.html

Ballot Measure 1: Expand powers for emergency managers (EMs) and ability of Governor to appoint EMs.

Vote: Yes

The Emergency Manager law is necessary.  Despite resistance from the Detroit City Council and Corporation Counsel to an EM in Detroit, the city has done virtually nothing to reorganize its bloated bureaucracy, streamline, merge, and consolidate departments, and reduce the size of tis workforce.  The EM law is designed to address inept government and is in the interest of the citizens not only of the impacted municipality but for everyone in Michigan who send money through Lansing and back to communities with inept government.  As much as like Dave Bing as the Mayor of Detroit, he hasn't been able to break the broken Detroit bureaucracy.

Ballot Measure 2: Makes collective bargaining a right for public and private workers.

Vote: No

I believe unions play a role in the private sector on unchecked profiteering and in protecting workers that put their physical well-being at risk (manual labor) on a daily basis to support our economy.  I also believe unions play a role in the public sector to protect those who perform manual labor that puts their physical well-being at risk.

The reason why I do not support this measure is that unions already have too much power in the public sector.  Whereas labor costs are an input to the profit / loss risk taken in a private venture, state and local government doesn't have the luxury to operate at a loss.  Unions cannot represent a barrier to running a fiscally responsible government and downsizing government in times of fiscal constraint.  Our founding fathers believed in small, lean government.  I personally witnessed public sector union workers with job descriptions designed 20 - 30 years sit behind a desk, do very little, collect a paycheck, and they were not subject to ANY performance measures.  Taxpayers deserve a modern, efficient, lean, government that is responsive to its citizens.

Ballot Measure 3: Mandate that 25% of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.

Vote: Yes

This is a no brainer.  Energy companies have too much power.  If they could have it their way, they would continue with business as usual - producing electricity from the cheapest, dirtiest source possible while continuing to raise rates on energy payers.  They won't change their behavior unless forced to do so.  Furthermore, certain energy companies have resisted green metering which would allow local, green, home, renewable energy producers to sell their excess energy back to the grid.  This law needs to force change and it will drive job creation and economic growth in Michigan.

Ballot Measure 4: Gives home health care providers limited collective bargaining rights.

Vote: Undecided

I recognize the work done by health home care workers is tough and they don't necessarily have the professional power to lobby for better conditions.  I realize with the retirement of the baby boomer generation, these workers will be more important.

I don't necessarily oppose collective bargaining by these professionals, however I do have issues with this group being specifically called out in the state constitution.  I agree with the aspects of background checks for the workers, but I believe, like any collective bargaining unit, that they should not yield excess power without specific performance measures to ensure the quality of their work.  If we fund background checks and training, we should also be instituting performance measures for licensing and renewal of licenses home care professionals.

Ballot Measure 5: Require increase in state taxes to be approved by 2/3 majority in Legislature or statewide vote.

Vote: No

Taxes are a necessary evil.  Nobody likes them, and we need to make sure that they are spent wisely.  We cannot impede public decision-making around taxes in times of need by putting this stipulation on it.  I smell dirty partisan interests on this one or a specific interest group led by a bridge owner.

Ballot Measure 6: Rquires voters to approve any new bridge or tunnel from the state to Canada.

Vote: No

This is Matty Maroun's measure to block a public bridge.  Even though the Governor claims that this bridge will cost Michigan taxpayers nothing, I don't care.  I would pay a few taxes toward it, I think having more border crossings makes economic sense, and I think more crossings protect us in the event of disruption at one of the existing border crossings.  A billionaire shouldn't be deciding how things work in Michigan.  He can build his new bridge, and there can be a public bridge, and we can all realize the benefits of trade and economic prosperity.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 3, 2012

News from Detroit 9.3.12


A Blue-Collar Michigan Town Goes Green

Voter representation, privatization and regionalism are focus of new Journal of Law in Society “Governance” issue

Potholes? There's an App for That

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

Saving Our Cities


It's about spending, not taxes|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

The Facts About Budget Deficits: How The Presidents Truly Rank

5 Ways the Obama Administration Revived the Auto Industry by Reducing Oil Use

Running Against the City: The GOP Finds Its Demon


Snyder gives up on plan for state-run health exchange|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Biz battles ballot measures: Groups say constitution not place to set policy

How much public land should Michigan own?

Michigan Strategic Fund approves Next Michigan Development Corporation, entrepreneurial services RFP, four business incentives(2),-entrepreneurial-services-RFP,-four-business-incentives%282%29/


Comair says it will lay off employees and close down by Sept. 30

Is Investment in an Urban Locale Right for Your Company?

Tom Walsh: Initiative helps create companies, jobs in Detroit area|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Commentary: At Fail Detroit, we fall now to succeed later

Incoming Ross MBA Students Look to Innovate Detroit

Connecticut firm buys metro Detroit-based ePrize|head

Accelerate Michigan attracts more than 300 start-ups in its 3rd year

Guest commentary: Biomedical industry key to Michigan's turnaround

Detroit Could Be the Next Silicon Valley

In Chinese, Michigan's cool


Toronto developer's proposal to turn historic Detroit bank into parking lot sparks outrage

Creating Detroit's first ever 'Better Block'

Public transit, rainwater ponds, planting new trees in vacant areas among Detroit Works long-term ideas

How to Fix Detroit for the Olympics

Brightmoor man is a pioneer in vision of reshaping where Detroiters live

Detroit housing project coming down to make way for new homes

DEGC looks for pop-up retail proposals for The Villages

Detroit: From Ruin Porn to Cool Again

How to Fight Poverty in Detroit


Pinnacle Airlines rules out Detroit for HQ, leaving Memphis and Minneapolis in contention

Smart Cars Get a Connection Test in Michigan

Are Our Transit Maps Tricking Us?

Progress made on metro Detroit transit system

Smart cars to be put to test in Ann Arbor|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Model D Speaker Series: Transportation and Business Development

Anti-bridge proposal kept off Michigan ballot, but Moroun-backed group expected to continue fight

Detroit bike route mapmaker featured on Google blog

Delta seeks to expand Detroit-Beijing flights to daily service

Has the new golden age of transportation arrived?

Flight, job cuts at Delta hubs worry smaller cities|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Guest column: A guide to the Michigan world of rail


New Orleans' reinventing itself post-Katrina


Cooper Barton, Oklahoma Student, Broke Dress Code By Wearing University Of Michigan Shirt

Anthony Brogdon: 'The Great Detroit' Filmmaker On Making A Positive Documentary

Lafayette Greens urban farm and art park in Detroit wins architecture design award|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

About Black and White and a Great City’s Blight

Detroit’s Choice: Beautiful Historic Buildings or More Parking

How Energy Efficiency Strategy Pays Off in Grand Rapids


Wayne Co. jail costs run $65M over budget

Arbitrator: Mullin's Detroit airport contract valid

FBI investigates Elder, Mullin|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Ficano back raising funds

Former Ficano aide Michael Grundy faces seven new charges

Wayne County's Guardian deal: Right price at the right time?

Wayne Co. in talks to buy back old digs|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE


How Detroit Is Rising

Rust Belt chic: Declining Midwest cities make a comeback

The Death and Life of Detroit

A Battered City, Through Local Lenses

Tigers owner Mike Ilitch driven to rebuild Detroit