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E-M:/ RE: / Granholm's State of the Environment



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The State of the State, I thought, was a terrific speech given that the fundamental news for the public sector of our state and most others is so incredibly dire.   With regard to environmental issues specifically as well, I thought Governor Granholm's comments on State Employees were also REALLY good to hear.  Specifically:
 
"Diversity gives birth to great creativity. An honored workforce brings forth dedication. Michigan state employees are Michigan's unsung heroes - men and women who quietly toil to keep the wheels of government turning in good times and bad. Often, the people who know best how to meet a challenge are those who face it on the frontline. We do not see our state employees as the part of the problem, but they are at the heart of the solution. We will aggressively seek their intelligence and input. And they have my deep thanks for giving more in these times of scarcity."
 
 
After decades of public servant/bureaucrat bashing, I am glad to see an elected official who actually thanks and praises state employees. In the environmental arena is so patently obvious that the greatest damage done to our environmental infrastructure, both in hard times in the 1980's and in mean and nasty times of the 1990's was the destruction of our state's human infrastructure. Although the huge pit that Gov. Engler left us in financially means that almost without doubt staff will be lost, it would be a pleasure to get away from the gratuitous and pandering civil servant bashing of the recent years.
 
During the last few months, as the red ink piled up in the closing days of Engler's administration, it struck me that for so very long the obsession has been with the cost of government, and no discussion has been had about the VALUE of our public sector, and about the critical and integral role government plays in our well-being every where in this country. What value does your property have if the road is impassable, if sewage is running into the streets, if you can't breathe the air or grow your own food because the ground has been contaminated by those around you, if the water flowing under or next to your property is so contaminated you can't use it?  As the axe falls and calls for new revenue sources continues, it is critical that the discussion be about the VALUE of what we as a society get from our government, not the simple, mindless blather about how there is so much more fat to be cut out. 
 
Anne Woiwode