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EM Repeal Petition Tossed in Michigan

I’m sure by now you all know about the appalling emergency manager law here in Michigan, which allows the state to appoint someone to essentially become dictators over cities and school districts. Michigan voters oppose it by a large margin, according to polls, and more than 200,000 people signed petitions to put a referendum on the ballot to repeal it. But opponents of repeal got the state board of canvassers to throw out those petitions — because the font was slightly too small. Seriously.

Republicans cited the wrong font size on the title of the petitions circulated by Stand Up For Democracy, a coalition of groups that launched the petition campaign, as the reason for not approving the initiative for the ballot. Opponents gathered 203,238 signatures, roughly 40,000 more than needed to get a repeal question on the ballot.

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch NAACP and pastor of Fellowship Chapel, vowed to continue the fight in the Court of Appeals.

“The constitution was not judged on the basis of font size,” he said. “We have to stay on the battlefield. It’s going to the public courts. It’s not over.”

Rashid Baydoun, executive director of the Arab-American Civil Rights League, struggled to contain his emotions. “Unbelievable,” he said after the vote. “The will of the people was denied. All we ask is for Michigan people to be able to decide.”

It takes a 3-1 vote of the board and it was deadlocked 2-2, with the two Republicans on the board — including a partner in the law firm that filed the motion to dismiss the petitions — voting against it. The triumph of legal hyper-technicalities over democracy.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    Has someone informed the Republican Party yet? I hear they are all about “the will of the people”!

  2. Michael Heath says

    Ed opines:

    . . . the appalling emergency manager law here in Michigan . . .

    I’d love to consider competing alternative approaches to deal with what has been a catastrophic problem for the state of Michigan. A problem now going into its fifth decade where a few cities bleed the state of cash with no corresponding benefit but instead spiral into ever-worsening conditions.

    And let’s be clear here, the root causes of these issues can’t be set at the door of only conservatives, on this matter liberals are significantly culpable if not more so than conservatives. In fact I think the results in these cities reveal the results of what you get from the mid-20th century type of liberalism, where Reaganism was the motivation for Democrats to reform themselves into what I find to be a far more competent party at governing. That adaptation and improvement by the Democrats is to the liberals’ credit given that conservatives instead avoid considering their root cause defects and double their commitment to those very failed policies and approaches. But still, I’d like see what the liberals propose to fix horrendous problems partly coming from the implementation of their policies.

  3. Larry says

    Come on, yoav, its

    You missed a word, they are about the will of the right white people

  4. Drolfe says

    Isn’t the problem, Michael, that the solution to urban Michigan’s problem has been turned into a political swear by 30 years of Republican ratfucking?

    MI’s cities need infrastructure and other spending to reverse the commercial flight. And that means borrowing while money is cheap and then spending it to make the cities more attractive to businesses and the thousands of employees that have fled to greener pastures.

    But can you say BORROW AND SPEND without being lynched in today’s politics? Why not?

  5. d cwilson says

    In fact I think the results in these cities reveal the results of what you get from the mid-20th century type of liberalism, where Reaganism was the motivation for Democrats to reform themselves into what I find to be a far more competent party at governing.

    I would say that the problem of Michigan’s cities is more a result of cronyism and machine politics rather than any liberal ideology per se. It’s the kind of problems that any level of government can experience when one party gains near-monopolistic control of the system. Lacking any serious competition, the party becomes bloated and corrupt. It’s members become more interested in trading favors than serious governing. If the republicans had managed to set up similar urban machines, the results would have been the same.

    Machine politics is particularly devastating to cities since they are the bottom rung of government. There’s nothing below them to pick up the slack if they fail to do even the most basic functions of government.

    Still, we can see the result of statewide machine politics in states like Mississippi and Alabama, where republicans now hold a virtual monopoly on power. Same with Texas, although there’s a glimmer of hope that the GOP monopoly is starting to fray there.

  6. baal says

    Um, whatever the ‘right’ solution; petty dictators self dealing on land development is not it(c.f. Benton Harbor).

    Throwing out a substantial compliance with the law on a technical violation is not ok. Worse, the board of interest is 2Dem +2 Rep and ties go to upholding the law. The 2 R ruling on the matter were the ones bringing the charge…yeah 100% total and complete conflict of interest there. Apparently, the dems do this too but it’s still corrupt.

    There is nothing laudable in the MI new anti-democratic (small d) emergency manager law; worse, it’s fundamentally unAmerican.

    Lastly, the US is a rich country. We have GDP/capita (numbers via the world bank) three times (47k vs 15k) Saudi Arabia and yet higher poverty and weaker social welfare safety nets. The problem with the US econ is one where the wealth is accumulating in ways that draw the value out of the US.

  7. says

    A problem now going into its fifth decade where a few cities bleed the state of cash with no corresponding benefit but instead spiral into ever-worsening conditions.

    “A few cities” containing what percentage of the population of Michigan? The Detroit metro area alone contains half the state’s entire population of 9 million.

    While I grant there may be serious mismanagement problems dragging down state finances, it’s not as though the money is being spent in areas affecting only a small percentage of the state’s population.

  8. abb3w says

    The problem with this sort of hyper-technicalities is that it’s likely to undermine the underlying respect for the rule of law. It’s just a few steps short in stupid from telling the torches-and-pitchforks mob at the gate that they have to leave because they don’t have a parade permit.

  9. iknklast says

    You know, I hear all this about a “few cities” bleeding funds – but if Michigan is like pretty much everywhere else, it’s often the rural areas that bleed the funds. In my state, much of the money paid by folks in the cities goes west to small towns to pay for their schools – and at least a few schools have the decency to notice that, and recognize the reason why the cities are howling in anger and pain.

  10. Jordan Genso says

    @3 Michael Heath

    I’d love to consider competing alternative approaches to deal with what has been a catastrophic problem for the state of Michigan.

    I have long been curious of that as well. My default position is that getting rid of democracy is a line we should not cross, and so I oppose the EM law. The only thing I can imagine would happen then without the law is some governmental units going into bankruptcy.

    Obviously, bankruptcy would have horrible consequences. But since democracy is not something I’m willing to “compromise” on, I would rather try to find a solution that mitigates the worst consequences of bankruptcy. Or if there is an option ‘C’, I’d much prefer to consider that.

  11. matthewgreenberg says

    Maddow’s piece on this was a doozy. if you haven’t seen it google it. i was so frothy mad about this story that i couldn’t share it fast enough. Democracy becoming irrelevant in Michigan should be a much bigger story than it is. the scary thing is that it may spread like wildfire. this is right up the GOP’s alley.

  12. Chiroptera says

    Jordan Genso, #15: My default position is that getting rid of democracy is a line we should not cross….

    Heh. I have long pointed out that US society, taken as a whole, has shown itself too uneducated, too uninformed, and too easily distracted to be able to govern itself, and predicted dire consequences for democracy in the US as a result.

    I wonder what these people who support Michigan’s Emergency Manager law would say if I were to continue and suggest that perhaps foreign management might be required to bring the US back up to accepted democratic standards?

  13. d cwilson says

    If Benton Harbor, one of the first cities taken over under Michigan’s EM law, is any example, then net result of the takeovers is not so much getting the cities back on their feet as it is having a fire sale on city assests.

    I’ve been watching the Michigan story with some interest because some kind of takeover/bankruptcy option is being kicked around for Harrisburg. One idea that keeps getting floated around is to sell off the city’s parking garages to pay its debts. This to me is like a person selling both his kidneys to pay off his credit card debt. Yeah, it will bring in a a short-term burst of cash, but the Parking Authority is about the only steady stream of revenue the city has. What are they going to do the following year?

  14. Michael Heath says

    drolfe writes:

    Isn’t the problem, Michael, that the solution to urban Michigan’s problem has been turned into a political swear by 30 years of Republican ratfucking?

    MI’s cities need infrastructure and other spending to reverse the commercial flight. And that means borrowing while money is cheap and then spending it to make the cities more attractive to businesses and the thousands of employees that have fled to greener pastures.

    But can you say BORROW AND SPEND without being lynched in today’s politics? Why not?

    As I stated earlier, those cities received an enormous amount of aid for decades, and burned through it. And this is not a red state, but a purple state, so they can’t do whatever they want for all this time. So no, this not solely a Republican problem, it is a bipartisan failure.

  15. Michael Heath says

    Taz writes:

    Can’t wait to see what Rachel Maddow has to say about this.

    I’m a Maddow fan, but she wildly misrepresented my previous Congressman Bart Stupak’s motivations during the healthcare debate, even imagining motivations everyone in the state who follows politics knew weren’t true. In defense of MSNBC, Chris Matthews got it exactly right, by asking the right questions rather than fantasizing Stupak was an amoral unconcerned politician merely seeking higher office. (His motivations were his fealty to the Catholic bishops.) The first couple of Maddow clips I saw on the EM gig were just as misrepresentative, completely avoiding the root causes which left these cities in a mess and the players who caused such. I haven’t seen any since.

    Maddow has an enormous of talent, but she on some topics she takes a partisan slant that ends up misinforming her audience. That was true of the early reports I saw her do on this subject.

  16. R Johnston says

    It’s even sillier than the petitions being rejected for the font being smaller than specified. In this case the state called for petitions to be in 14 point font, without specifying the font. The petitions fully complied with the state specification. They were in a 14 point font, just a font that prints smaller than most at 14 points.

    This one may be headed to court.

  17. juice says

    What are the origins of the EM law? How did it get on the books? Now that it’s being used, people want to do away with it, but at some point there had to be a rationale for it.

  18. Chris from Europe says

    @juice
    It’s about the new version of the law, passed by the current Republican majorities. There was one before.

  19. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier:

    I’d love to consider competing alternative approaches to deal with what has been a catastrophic problem for the state of Michigan.

    Jordan Genso responds:

    I have long been curious of that as well. My default position is that getting rid of democracy is a line we should not cross, and so I oppose the EM law. The only thing I can imagine would happen then without the law is some governmental units going into bankruptcy.

    Some of these cities would have gone bankrupt decades ago, instead the state has been funneling funds where the results have been ever-worsening conditions and ever-worse management of those cities. The political environment that created the opportunity for the EM laws was based on decades of failures. So for many Michiganders, including many liberals, there’s little tolerance for whining about this law without a compelling alternative recommendation which hasn’t yet been tried.

  20. Michael Heath says

    iknklast writes:

    You know, I hear all this about a “few cities” bleeding funds – but if Michigan is like pretty much everywhere else, it’s often the rural areas that bleed the funds.

    No one in Michigan that I’ve encountered denies the reality that decades of state revenues collected from areas outside of Detroit and a few other cities, were funneled into these cities, where those funds were squandered. Not even Detroit’s leadership.

  21. Michael Heath says

    d cwilson writes:

    If Benton Harbor, one of the first cities taken over under Michigan’s EM law, is any example, then net result of the takeovers is not so much getting the cities back on their feet as it is having a fire sale on city assests.

    I can’t speak to Benton Harbor specifically, but in general the cities who’ve sapped the most funds from the state with nothing to show for it are dying cities and have been for decades – which includes a loss of population. In some cases, like Detroit, there is no opportunity to bring them back at this time, so accepting rather than denying this reality is prudent. Flint’s suffered through the same systemic problems as these other troubled cities where their local leaders have done some inventive things, like consolidating neighborhoods in order to reduce their costs of managing far fewer people.

  22. juice says

    Chris from Europe says:

    It’s about the new version of the law, passed by the current Republican majorities. There was one before.

    Democracy strikes again!

  23. says

    Micheal –

    Personally, I would like to see an emergency management law that had significant safeguards in place to prevent abuses. There are absolutely situations wherein the state should and should be able to step in. At the same time, there needs to be some protection for the people who have invested their lives in the municipalities in question.

    First – there should be very strict rules governing the use and especially the disposal of public assets. It might be necessary in some cases for the state government to dispose of assets, but when it does so, it should do so in strict accordance with explicit rules. If exceptions need to be made to those rules, such exceptions should be approved by a legislative committee and some voice should be given the state reps of the population affected.

    Second – there should be strict legislative oversight, not by the committee that would have the power to make extraordinary decisions about the disposal of public assets. Representatives who have constituents affected by EM, should take an active interest in ensuring said constituents are being reasonably well served by state regulators. Any and all actions being taken by state regulators should be absolutely transparent, not only to the oversight committee, but also to the public.

    Third – the close secondary goal in the EM process (second only to dealing with whatever problems caused EM to be invoked) absolutely has to be doing what it takes to bring democracy back to the municipal governance. In some cases this may mean consolidating school systems or even municipalities. Such consolidations should, at the very least, require legislation.

    Finally – citizens affected by EM should have legal standing to sue state regulators (or the regulatory body) for mismanagement of their municipal government or school system. These folks have a lot of power, regardless of the safeguards we might put into place. We need to do everything we can to balance that power in favor of protecting the people who are losing their voice in their municipal government. While we can hope that reps will bring their constituent’s concerns to the legislative oversight committee, the people affected by EM should have further possible venues for redress.

    I am willing to grudgingly accept that an EM law is necessary. There have been and are some municipal governments that either mismanage their government to an egregious and unacceptable degree, or who simply don’t have the tools with which to govern reasonably – in some cases it is likely both. In other instances, there are simply too few people being served (I am not sure how prevalent this is in MI – I know there were some municipalities in OR that restructured to “share” redundant responsibilities with other municipalities, were absorbed into neighboring municipalities or which were dissolved and run by their respective counties (in one case it was dissolved because there was literally no one left living there). There are also some OR municipalities that share a school district).

  24. Jordan Genso says

    Me earlier:

    The only thing I can imagine would happen then without the law is some governmental units going into bankruptcy.

    Michael Heath responds:

    Some of these cities would have gone bankrupt decades ago, instead the state has been funneling funds where the results have been ever-worsening conditions and ever-worse management of those cities.

    So with that being the sunk cost, what would be the consequences of those cities now going into bankruptcy? I know the general assumption is that it would be apocalyptic (and I am in no position to dispute that, as I really don’t know what would happen), but the only thing specific I’ve heard was something along the “too big to fail” concept, where if one goes bankrupt, they all go bankrupt. Does anyone have a more clear understanding?

    If it is true that one city going bankrupt would lead to other cities failing, then that would not be an acceptable option either. But if a city’s failure could be contained to that unit alone, I would personally find that preferable to the EM dismantling democracy. Especially if your statement that they’ve squandered past “bailout” contributions is true (I am not informed on the topic).

    But for units that have not yet had a “bailout”, it may be worth exploring if it would help them (and the bailout could have strings attached to help ensure that the money would have a better chance of leading to success).

  25. Eric R says

    From what I’ve read the Emergency manager law is every bit as awful as Ed makes it out to be and this sort of hyperpedantic rules lawyering is certainly a joke, but since no-one else seems to have, I really do have to ask…

    If the law dictates a particular type size, just how effing hard is it to comply?

    I would be chanting with the rest of them but I sure as hell would be questioning the competancy of the organizers as well, because such requirements are hardly unique or burdensome.

  26. says

    Eric R –

    My guess would be that the person in charge of setting the petition probably went with the default that comes out of fucking MS Word 2010. Word 2007 was defaulted for the common requirement of 12pt “Times New Roman” (common for professional and academic style guides – which also translates into legal requirements for some court documents and, I would assume, some government documents). For some stupid reason, Word 2010 changed the default to an 11pt “Calibri” font.

    Not that this excuses the mistake. Considering the importance of the document, it was an absurd mistake. But I can understand how easy a mistake it is to make. I managed to turn in two papers in 11pt Calibri, because I just wasn’t on top of it. And while I accept responsibility for my mistakes, that is yet something else I absolutely hate MS fucking Word for. It is just an unnecessary irritation.

  27. Chris from Europe says

    @juice
    The Ermächtigungsgesetz had a majority, too. But it’s pretty obvious here that the representation of these people has been taken away. Many of these people voted for the minority in the legislature or the losing candidate in their district. Giving the joke that plurality voting is, taking away local democracy is especially bad.

    As always, you are a f-ing idiot.

  28. Michael Heath says

    Re DuWayne @ 28,

    I want to make clear I’m not necessarily* an advocate for the EM law. I’m instead attempting to present the context needed to understand why such draconian measures haven’t caused a huge uprising. Two liberals I know both voted for Rick Snyder for Gov. and support this EM law, in spite of their strong distate for Republicans at the national level.

    An important part of our context is liberal culpability at both the local and state level – which liberals here in the state do not deny like some liberals in this thread do or attempt to do, along with the fact these cities have received enormous funding from state taxpayers where their mismanagement at the local level, run by liberals, has been unconscionable. Michiganders have lost patience where that patience has been long-suffering for decades now. That’s opened the opportunity for such an extreme solution – which may very well not be an optimal or the most pragmatic yet still effective approach.

    This is all a bit of an ironic tangent from Naomi Wolf’s hypothesis that reactionaries gain power by a climatic event, in this case apparently reactionary solutions are entering a vacuum given the total meltdown of liberal local politicians’ ability to manage their cities; which has even many liberals passively allowing the EM law to take place.

    *I’m equivocating because like nearly all Michiganders, I want effective action, where I’m not aware of anyone offering a competing alternative solution. Given this I’m certainly not opposing the EM law while remaining open to better arguments. Your the first poster to offer meaningful solutions so kudos to you. This thread should embarrass liberals, the quality of discourse here is YEC-like; i counted dozens of rhetorical and logical fallacies.

  29. says

    Honestly Micheal, I don’t know that there actually is a reasonable solution that doesn’t involve allowing the state government to step in under certain proscribed circumstances. I would be tempted to assert that any and every action by the state, to take over the governance of a municipality or municipal body should require legislative action, but I suspect that having a reasonable law in place with clearly outlined criteria would make it possible to better minimize the potential for abuse. On the other hand, while I will admit that I know very little of the existing law, what I do know would indicate that there are minimal safeguards in place.

    I have a lot of concerns about this because ultimately municipal government has the most direct impact on it’s citizen’s daily lives. And it seems to me that the municipalities where this law would be most relevant are municipalities where the populations are largely marginalized already – being screwed both by the apathy of populations who are more concerned about getting shot and/or keeping a roof over their heads/food on the table than they are who wins an election and a lack of good potential leaders to vote for. I really don’t like the idea of those people being “served” by managers that have minimal oversight and a fuckton of power.

    When our state government is taking over the management of municipalities it has a responsibility to be a good steward, serving the best interests of those who have just effectively lost all voice in how their streets are going to be policed, how other emergency services are going to respond and/or how their children will be served by their public schools. I recognize that there is sometimes a need for the state to engage such measures on occasion and accept that. What I will not accept is allowing such measures to be engaged in a half assed fashion. While some (possibly many) of those impacted by these measures have made bad choices, in a lot of cases there are extenuating circumstances that caused it – not the least being an excruciatingly depressed economy, they do not deserve to get fucked even further by largely unregulated regulators.

    The bottom line: Unless I am seriously misunderstanding this law, it is a necessary law done very badly.

  30. d cwilson says

    In some cases, like Detroit, there is no opportunity to bring them back at this time, so accepting rather than denying this reality is prudent.

    But my question still remains, whether it’s Detroit, Benton Harbor, or my own Harrisburg: How does giving away the public assets at bargain basement prices benefit the long term needs of its citizens?

  31. Drolfe says

    “i counted dozens of rhetorical and logical fallacies.”

    Welcome to the Internet.

    You didn’t get around to commenting on how borrowing and spending is the right course of action yet has become politically poisonous. Austerity won’t work in Spain, it won’t work in Michigan. I know you know the Tea Party is wrong on this, so what gives?

    I think the bigger problem is that only one faction still believes that expertise matters. So in this case even when “liberals” have gotten it wrong for 50 years, or whatever line you’re running with, the alternative is clown shoes and trickle down.

  32. Michael Heath says

    d cwilson writes:

    But my question still remains, whether it’s Detroit, Benton Harbor, or my own Harrisburg: How does giving away the public assets at bargain basement prices benefit the long term needs of its citizens?

    And as I noted above, I don’t know enough about what’s going on in Benton Harbor to discuss the disposition of specific assets. What makes you think they’re selling them cheaper than their worth?

    In Detroit, winding down certain areas is prudent because those areas can not sustain a population – there’s virtually no jobs, little consumerism, and the educational system is a joke which bleeds the state of funds and leaves those kids with no effective education or skills. The number of unemployed in Detroit is above 50%, many of their schools can not educate their populace, which reinforces how many people do not have jobs. At point Detroit had 1.8 million people, now its down to around 700,000. The U4 rate is about 20%, my 50+% includes those are unemployed and aren’t actively seeking work and therefore aren’t counted in U4. Only about two-thirds graduate from high school, where the education of those who do graduate is largely crap with few exceptions.

  33. Jordan Genso says

    Michael Heath:

    This thread should embarrass liberals, the quality of discourse here is YEC-like; i counted dozens of rhetorical and logical fallacies.

    If my statements are included in that count, I would appreciate it if you could let me know. I am concerned that my position is weak- especially since the only thing I’m certain of in my position is that I can’t support getting rid of democracy -and I imagine I have committed fallacies, yet I’m not able to identify them myself.

  34. Michael Heath says

    Drolfe @ 36 to me:

    You didn’t get around to commenting on how borrowing and spending is the right course of action yet has become politically poisonous. Austerity won’t work in Spain, it won’t work in Michigan. I know you know the Tea Party is wrong on this, so what gives?

    I repeatedly pointed out that decades of [stimulative] spending by the state in those cities didn’t yield any benefit, but instead was squandered by the locals with increasingly bad results. The right strategy combined with horrible execution will not always return success; in this case it returned catastrophic failure. And I never argued for austerity.

    Drolfe @ 36:

    I think the bigger problem is that only one faction still believes that expertise matters. So in this case even when “liberals” have gotten it wrong for 50 years, or whatever line you’re running with, the alternative is clown shoes and trickle down.

    Not even the local liberal officials who participated in this failure deny liberals led and failed. Thanks for adding to the list of YEC-like fallacies. Another denialist bit is your quip about “trickle down”; on the contrary, state-level Democrat and Republican officials fed these failing cities with significant funding.

  35. dingojack says

    Michael – You’re somewhat aquainted with ecomonics. Can you explain ‘The Paradox of Thrift’?
    Dingo

  36. d cwilson says

    And as I noted above, I don’t know enough about what’s going on in Benton Harbor to discuss the disposition of specific assets. What makes you think they’re selling them cheaper than their worth?

    I’m basing it on what I’ve heard and read about the situation. Granted, it’s not first hand information, but what I’ve heard has been pretty disturbing, such as selling the city’s public beach to private investors so that they can build an exclusive golf club.

    I get that things are dire in Detroit, but I still don’t see how these “shock doctrine” measures of transfering public property into private hands are going to fix any of the problems such as a lack of jobs or good schools.

  37. says

    If this petition gets tossed, should we start a pool to see who gets closest to the number they get on the next attempt? I’m guessing that it will go up.

    DuWayne:

    Are you feeling alright? I counted ONLY four instances of some form of the word,”fuck” in your two comments. I mean, civility is great and, after all, you are talking with Mr. Heath–however, splenetic invective is an often underrated rhetorical device. {;.)

  38. Drolfe says

    I scare quoted your constant use of liberals since corrupt crony capitalists and machine politicians don’t seem representative of the term. The players involved almost certainly don’t self-ident as libs old or new. So you know just call them Democrats it’s more honest. I guess you’re trying to look post-partisan?

    Conservatives on the other hand really are generally willing to lie about trickle down being a panacea whether they are Republicans or not. Where’s the fallacies, homey? If not austerity, spending. Keynes, right?

    Anyhow I don’t know why you’re flipping out since I’m agreeing with you, Detroit etc needs competent, functional, that implies uncorrupted governments. But it is my opinion you won’t find that in the Republican party since they have largely sworn off expertise, evidence, and rationality in governance.

  39. Michael Heath says

    Drolfe writes:

    it is my opinion you won’t find that in the Republican party since they have largely sworn off expertise, evidence, and rationality in governance.

    True enough at the national level, but not necessarily at the state and the local levels. Our Republican governor is working hard to deliver better results based on a reality/expert friendly agenda. What’s frustrating about this is that his policies aren’t all that different from what the Democrats at the federal level can work with or even promote – the difference being MI’s Republican-dominated legislature mostly work with this governor because he’s a: not black and b: a Republican. “Mostly” because the governor developed a great deal for a badly needed new international bridge with Canada which Republicans in the state legislature are obstructing in the most obvious purchase of politicians I’ve ever encountered. A competing private bridge owner is bribing legislators in Congress to obstruct the new bridge where they happily comply, in spite of the fact its suppressing economic growth for Michigan and the adjacent states (along with Canada).

    And just to be clear, again, the incompetence that largely contributed to these cities fundamental failures at the local level occurred and is occurring under liberal leadership, with nary a conservative in site. Granted conservatives at the state level are big contributors to a weaknesses in Michigan’s overall economy which created an a difficult environment for the entire state, but it was now-abandoned liberal favored policies that caused their decades-long meltdown.

  40. Taz says

    I don’t see any problem with giving the governor dictatorial powers to overturn elections. What could go wrong? It’s not like politicians ever abuse this sort of thing. Just look at the sterling examples of eminent domain and asset forfeiture.

  41. Michael Heath says

    Taz writes:

    I don’t see any problem with giving the governor dictatorial powers to overturn elections. What could go wrong? It’s not like politicians ever abuse this sort of thing. Just look at the sterling examples of eminent domain and asset forfeiture.

    The catastrophe has already occurred; so armchair quarterbacking without a compelling alternative solution is less than compelling. In addition the governor doesn’t really have dictatorial powers, the emergency managers do similar to a bankruptcy judge – and only when cities are close to the point of bankruptcy due to failures under their direct control.

  42. Taz says

    Michael Heath writes:

    In addition the governor doesn’t really have dictatorial powers, the emergency managers do similar to a bankruptcy judge

    I said “dictatorial powers to overturn elections”, and he also picks the emergency manager, so I’m not sure why you’re nitpicking on that.

    so armchair quarterbacking without a compelling alternative solution is less than compelling

    Wrong is wrong. I think this law is worse than the problem it was intended to solve. We should get rid of it regardless of anything else.

  43. Chris from Europe says

    I think it’s irrelevant how much transfers these cities got. More interesting would be overspending in relation to the average per capita. Does anyone have a source for that?

    Previous measures by EMs failed. Why would the new improved EMs be able to solve the problems? What would be wrong with having a few checks on them? They should cooperate with the population after all, not work against them like some did. The example of the golf course in Benton Harbour’s public park is pretty transparent cronyism and excludes a huge part of the local population.

    Shouldn’t EMs be required to prefer actions that save money in the long term and avoid actions that will cost more than they save in the short term? The sale of the Silverdome was at least not prudent. From what I’ve read from Michael Heath I assumed he wouldn’t support such short-term measures, yet he does.

    Should actions be allowed that have no substantial benefit other than sticking it to the community?

    Is the support of certain liberals a good argument? Michigan liberals in part supported writing white privilege into the state constitution, for example.

    so armchair quarterbacking without a compelling alternative solution is less than compelling

    I don’t think one needs to provide alternatives when criticizing, especially not when the measure has aspects that are unacceptable.

  44. Michael Heath says

    Taz writes:

    I think this law is worse than the problem it was intended to solve. We should get rid of it regardless of anything else.

    Is Michigan going bankrupt an acceptable outcome? Is more of Michigan looking like it was carpet bombed coupled to us losing more generations an acceptable outcome? I don’t think you’ve properly considered the devastation already wrought, so I don’t think your rejecting my ‘armchair quaterback’ slam in good faith but instead avoiding it.

  45. Chris from Europe says

    Is Michigan going bankrupt an acceptable outcome? Is more of Michigan looking like it was carpet bombed coupled to us losing more generations an acceptable outcome?

    So you’re (not your) still pretending there is no other possible option (isn’t that a fallacy?) and the extreme version of the EM law will succeed where the previous failed?

  46. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier:

    Is Michigan going bankrupt an acceptable outcome? Is more of Michigan looking like it was carpet bombed coupled to us losing more generations an acceptable outcome?

    Chris from Europe:

    So you’re (not your) still pretending there is no other possible option (isn’t that a fallacy?) and the extreme version of the EM law will succeed where the previous failed?

    It’s not true I’m pretending no other options exist. In fact I lead off my very first post in this thread with the following:

    I’d love to consider competing alternative approaches to deal with what has been a catastrophic problem for the state of Michigan. A problem now going into its fifth decade where a few cities bleed the state of cash with no corresponding benefit but instead spiral into ever-worsening conditions.

    Showing me where I pretended another compelling option existed which I avoided. The poster claiming we merely needed a generic type of stimulus is obviously clueless to the fact that Michigan has already provided billions in stimulus for decades to these troubled cities. Where the money was burnt through resulting not only in worsening conditions, but conditions which worsen at an increasing rate.

    I’d argue the deniers in this forum are those who want to condemn the EM approach without being able to confront the culpability liberals have for Michigan’s situation, and have no competing approach to supplant the EM approach. DuWayne’s argument on how to modify the EM approach is compelling as I already noted.

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  2. […] The town has several valuable assets but perhaps the most valuable is the lake view property which is a park called Jean Klock Park.  Portions of this park were already being used for private development.  However, in recent time there was been a battle (lost) over whether it can be turned into an 18 hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.   In 2011 Emergency manager Josepth “Joe” Harris blocked resident from using the park for walking for part of the day, which appears to violate the charter.  The controversy is outlined in an article in the paper The Michigan Messenger.    Harris also drastically reduced the Fire Department and eventually combined it with the local Police department.   However, what really disturbed me is that when the voters of the state wished to put the controversial law which Governor Snider can use to “take over” and city, the signatures gathered to have a referendum on this controversial law on the upcoming ballot, all the signatures were thrown out.   Why, because according to the state board of canvassers  (in a 2-2 decision) they font size on the initiative document was “too small”. […]

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