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SG-W:/ Home-Rule Ballot Initiative

To all,

I sent Christina some info on the Michigan Municipal League's ballot
proposal and neglected to send it to the entire list.  Below is the message
I sent to her on Sunday.  Her message of this morning (Local Control) is in
response to that email.  Sorry for any confusion it may have caused.


Christina and others,

The ballot initiative was put forth by the Michigan Municipal League, made
up of local governments throughout the state.  I must say I am skeptical,
based on the info at their web site located at:
http://www.mml.org/progserv/sfad/ballot_initiative/main.htm.  Here is a copy
of the press release announcing the ballot initiative effort:
25 January 2000, Lansing - Let Local Votes Count, an initiative by Michigan'
s local governments, announced today it is starting a petition drive to
place the home rule issue on the November ballot.

Let Local Votes Count believes local government has the right to make its
own laws and ordinances rather than apply statewide legislation enacted
without regard for local needs or resources. The coalition's proposed ballot
question would amend the constitution so a two-thirds majority in both the
Senate and the House would be required to pass a bill that intervenes in
municipal matters.

"The state doesn't like it when Congress passes down mandates without regard
for Michigan's true issues or resources," said Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer,
who spoke at today's press conference at Lansing City Hall. "But the state
is trying to do the same thing to us. This ballot question would limit the
Legislature's ability to create policies out of touch with local citizens'

Archer was joined by Lansing Mayor David Hollister, Grandville Mayor Jim
Buck and George Goodman, executive director of the Michigan Municipal

"We believe Michigan voters will support an amendment to the constitution
that would make it harder for the Legislature to impose its will on local
governments," explained Goodman, whose organization represents Michigan's
cities and villages. "Let the people of the state decide in November and
send a message to their legislators that local values should be decided

Let Local Votes Count anticipates opposition from business interests who
want fewer local laws and more "one-size-fits-all" state laws they believe
will make it easier to operate in different communities, according to
Goodman. But Mayors Buck and Hollister emphasized this isn't a local
government vs. business issue.

"This is about preservation of home rule, something we're already given in
the state constitution," said Hollister. "Many local units enjoy good
relationships with their business community and don't want to jeopardize

Approximately 300,000 petition signatures will be needed by July 10 to place
the issue on the November ballot.

For those of us who care about environmental issues, I think this could be
potentially dangerous in the hands of those local governments who do not
view local control the same as we may.

Jeff Surfus

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