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Re: SG-W:/ State proposal 2



I admire your idealism, Steve.  I wish the world worked the way it ought to.
The fact of the matter is that politics, law, and public policy are subject
to Bismarck's famous dictum:  it's ugly watching them get made.

I don't believe that Prop 2 is perfect, but it's my current belief that it
beats the alternative of letting the monied interests get their way at the
state level, where citizen input is much diluted and much less easily
exerted -- if only because of geography [I'm presuming that you won't
suggest that everyone in the state move to Lansing to fix that problem
)  ].  As Andrew points out, Prop 2 is consistent with the state's political
history.

I think you raise a number of important points, but I disagree with the
statement that we have power at the local level.  That is precisely the
issue -- we have power at the local level only to the extent that we do what
the monied interests want!  If we don't, they get a state law passed that
pre-empts our local power, making that local power illusory.

That's why they oppose Prop 2.  I've always found it instructive to follow
the money.  Note that none of the groups that might benefit from local
subversion of stricter state environmental standards, labor standards,
health standards, etc. support Prop 2 . . .

The 2/3 requirement has precedent in the Constitution on certain matters.
At its core, it's every bit as arbitrary as the 50% requirement, the minimum
voting age, and the principle that 2 standard deviations represents a
significant level of confidence.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Bean" <sbean@berginc.com>
To: "Andrew Mutch" <amutch@waterford.lib.mi.us>
Cc: "Smartgrowth Washtenaw" <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>;
"Michigan Greens" <migreens@egroups.com>
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 12:07 PM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ State proposal 2


> Andrew,
>
> I understand the potential need for amending the constitution as you
> state. From the information you've provided, however, the constitution
> doesn't seem flawed to me--the politicians and their collective actions
> do. The "changes in society" you cite are the things that I contend are
> at the heart of the problem and must be corrected so the constitution and
> our democracy can work.
>
> At this point do you think Prop 2 embodies valid reasons for amending it,
> or do you agree that the solution lies elsewhere? Or are you still
> "consider[ing]"?
>
> Steve
>
>
> >Steve,
> >
> >You raise some valid points to consider.  In response, I would state the
> >following:
> >
> >"Home Rule" has been "enshrined" in the Michigan Constitution since 1909.
> >Its
> >inclusion in the Michigan Constitution of 1909 was in response to the
same
> >kinds
> >of abuses taking place today -- the state legislature was passing laws
> >undercutting [or specifically benefiting some] municipal governments and
> >hindering their ability to serve the local residents.  I believe the 1963
> >Constitution further clarified "home rule" with instructions that
"...this
> >constitution and law concerning counties, townships, cities and villages
> >shall be
> >liberally construed in their favor..."
>
>[http://www.michiganlegislature.org/law/GetObject.asp?objName=Constitution
> >-VII-34]
> >
> >With that history, Prop. 2 should not be viewed as a radical departure
> >from our
> >current form of governance but a clarification of a "conflict" that
exists
> >between the concepts of "home rule" and "state supremacy".  There is no
> >"perfect"
> >constitution and amendments are passed to address those areas where the
> >framers
> >of the Constitution either through oversight or changes in society were
> >unable to
> >address an issue of governance.
> >
> >Andrew Mutch
> >Novi
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >> This type of reasoning raises red flags for me. The more we twist
> >> democracy for reasons of expediency, the closer we come to breaking it.
> >> The unintended consequences of a jumble of flawed policies makes the
> >> practice of government by the people more difficult. Those with the
> >> wherewithal to find loopholes and work around intended roadblocks have
> >> further incentives to strive for those "solutions".
> >>
> >> I believe that bad policy is bad policy, and the only true solution to
> >> bad government is a combination of grassroots democracy and personal
> >> responsibility applied at the appropriate level. In this case, if the
> >> current office holders are the problem, we need to replace them. If the
> >> public is ignorant of what's going on, we need to educate them. If our
> >> political system is biased in a way that prevents or hinders such
> >> efforts, we need to reform it. If the media aren't serving our needs,
we
> >> need to overhaul them. If environmental values aren't properly
> >> incorporated into decision-making we need to revise the accounting that
> >> enables that.
> >>
> >> In addition, single-issue perspectives on changes to the state
> >> constitution are short-sighted, quick fixes that overlook the core
> >> problems of our democracy. That's not a shot at the organizers or
current
> >> supporters of this proposal--their intentions are good and they've
worked
> >> and thought hard to bring this problem to light and get a proposal on
the
> >> ballot.
> >>
> >> Is this an issue of decentralization? I don't think so. At least I
don't
> >> think that is the core problem. We have local power at this time. The
> >> real question is what is allowing our local decisions to be overridden
by
> >> the state? A deeper analysis of this issue is needed than what's
occurred
> >> so far. I think there's another option out there that isn't being
> >> considered. If this proposal passes, I expect we'll never find it.
> >> (Obviously, I don't pretend to know what it is, but I do have some
ideas
> >> where to look.)
> >>
> >> Finally, I wonder if there's any logical rationale for the 2/3
> >> requirement. Why not 3/5 or 3/4? Is there a clear reason for this level
> >> or is it arbitrary? (That's an honest question, by the way, not a red
> >> herring. I'd appreciate any insight into this.)
> >>
> >> The fact that this issue is turning into an Us vs. Them debate should
not
> >> blind us to questioning the underlying character of the proposal.
Siding
> >> with the opposition (the bad guys) for the right reasons is no worse
than
> >> siding with the proponents (the good guys) for the wrong reasons. My
> >> position at this time is that this proposal should not be approved, and
a
> >> broader analysis be undertaken to identify the true problems that
prevent
> >> sound policies to exist at the local level due to state governmental
> >> actions.
> >
> >
>
>
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