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Re: SG-W:/ Home-Rule Ballot Initiative

Thanks, Mike, for the good info. This is a tough call, and the right to farm 
bill is a good example. Was it done to allow horrible hog farming like the N 
Carolina disaster or to protect local farmers from newer subdivision 
residents? It's a very tough call, and I was on the opposite side from my 
many environmental friends on that one, as I fear my local government and 
their ordinances infinitely more than I fear the factory farms. But that 
could change in an instant if a factory farm moved into Pittsfield, or, in a 
better scenario, if people I trust take over local government. Regional 
planning is important, but our Supervisor's influence at the county level 
also gives me pause, as he is no friend of the environment OR agriculture 
(FYI, Sup. Woolley suggested to my mom that everyone who moves into 
Pittsfield shoud sign a paper saying they agree that there will be no 
agriculture here. And he was serious!). Anarchy, anyone?

>From: mike garfield <michaelg@ecocenter.org>
>To: smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net
>Subject: Re: SG-W:/ Home-Rule Ballot Initiative
>Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 10:05:10 -0400
>If the MML proposal makes it onto the ballot, environmentalists and land
>use activists will need to think hard about its pros and cons.  It's not an
>open-and-shut case.
>The proposal was initiated by Dennis Archer after the legislature passed a
>bill that prohibits cities from requiring that their employees live within
>city boundaries.  These kinds of laws are common, especially in large urban
>areas.  Archer was horrified that some Detroit employees might move to the
>suburbs in a year when city officials are trying to make sure every single
>resident is counted in the census, so the city doesn't dip below the
>one-million population figure.  If it did, the city would lose out on an
>enormous amount of revenue sharing funds.
>The city employee bill was enacted at virtually the same time as the
>"right-to-farm" bill mentioned by Tina.  The latter bill was fought
>vigorously by state environmentalists because it appeared to protect the
>interest of large animal feeding operations (like the huge "hog hotels" in
>North Carolina which have caused awful water quality problems) than small
>family farms.  The MML proposal would presumably apply to this sort of bill
>I would argue that, in most cases, state government only steps into local
>issues when influential business interests are being challenged.  In recent
>years, the Michigan Legislature passed a law which preempted local
>pesticide ordinances (which invalidated about eight such ordinances) and
>another law which preempted local wetlands ordinances (which invalidated or
>changed about 20 such ordinances).  I suspect that the MML proposal would
>protect innovative and progressive local ordinances like these.  The
>problem, of course, is that many local governments are unfriendly to
>environmentalists, and that regional land use planning would be a smarter
>approach than our current, highly fractured, township-by-township process.
>So I guess you have to roll the dice on this proposal, and try to answer
>the question:  Who is more likely over the long haul to be a more forceful
>agent of positive environmental change:  Michigan's 1800 local units of
>government or the state legislature and governor?  I think I'd stand a
>better chance of winning big at one of Dennis Archer's new casinos than
>answering that question correctly.

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