Letters

Letters 07-28-14

Worry About Legals

I can’t figure out what perplexes me more, the misinformation everywhere in the media or those who believe it to be true. Take the Hobby Lobby case; as a company that is primarily owned by a religious family, they felt their First Amendment rights were infringed upon by the “Affordable” Care Act...

Stop Labeling and Enjoy

I have been struggling to find a simple way of understanding for myself the concepts of conservative, liberal, and moderation as it relates to our social interactions with each other...

Proposal One & The Public Good

Are you kidding me? Another corporate giveaway with loopholes for large corporations who rule us? Hasn’t our corrupt and worthless governor done enough to raise taxes, provide corporate welfare, unjustly tax pensions, and shut down elected officials with his emergency manager racket...

The Truth About Road Workers

Apparently Mr. Kachadurian did not catch on to the fact that the MDOT Employee Memorial in Clare is a tribute to highway workers who lost their lives building our transportation systems. It was paid for by current and former MDOT employees who likely knew some of these people personally...

Idiotic and Misguided

As a seasonal resident, I always look forward to reading your paper, if only because of the idiotic letters to the editor and off the wall columns...


Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · New Constitution a bad...
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New Constitution a bad idea

Stephen Tuttle - August 30th, 2010
New Constitution a Bad Idea
Michigan’s November ballot will include a proposition asking us whether or not we wish to convene a Constitutional Convention in order to rewrite the state’s constitution. To suggest this is a bad idea is roughly akin to suggesting nuclear weapons might cause a little damage.
Our state constitution, one of the youngest in the country, was written in 1963. One article requires us to evaluate the document every 16 years and vote as to whether or not we want to rewrite it. In 1978, 78% of us said “no”. In 1994, 72% again rejected the idea. So, here it is again.
How does this process work? The devil really is in the details.
Vote “yes” on Proposal 2010-01 on November 2 and a cascading series of events are triggered. The first of those is another statewide primary election, likely in February, and then a general election in June, to elect delegates to a Constitutional Convention.
These elections will be fully partisan with each party nominating candidates, one from each State Representative district and another from each State Senate district. Sounds fun already, doesn’t it?
Who will these delegates be? The most likely candidates are those with a built-in fundraising capability and a natural voting constituency. In other words, legislators and other professional politicians. If a sitting legislator is elected to be a delegate, the governor will have to appoint a replacement. Before we’ve even been able to catch our breath from the November barrage we’ll get a repeat of the forests of signs, robo-calls, negative campaigning and other foolishness that accompanies these things. As a bonus, you might end up with an appointed legislator instead of whoever you just elected.
The issues on which they’ll run are almost too frightening to even contemplate. Just imagine the worst idea you heard during the regular elections and then imagine that as part of the state constitution and you’ll get some idea of how terribly wrong this could all go.
Let’s assume the voters, in their infinite wisdom, decide we need a new constitution and vote yes in November. And let’s assume we somehow manage to get through the special elections and now have delegates. Just for fun, let’s even assume we’ve not elected a coterie of miscreants and reprobates to write our new constitution. Now what?
First, the lobbyists will descend like locusts. This is a rare chance for special interest groups to get their pet projects actually codified in the state’s constitution. The temptation will be too great to pass up.
There are a couple of other details. We’ll be paying the delegates for this work. We’ll be paying for a place for them to conduct the work. We’ll be paying for the staff and computers and office furniture and letterhead and everything else they’ll need. They will have a virtual carte blanche when it comes to spending.
How much? Early estimates are at least $45 million. It seems likely it will be more.
And our legislature will find itself in a bit of a pickle. Will the laws they’re passing be constitutional in two years? Will the new constitution itself resolve the problem for which they’ve just enacted legislation? How in the world does any of this work? No one knows for sure.
To be fair, if you are absolutely confident the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will agree with you on most every social, economic, environmental and criminal justice issue, and you’ve no problem adding $45-$50 million to the state’s burgeoning budget deficit, this is a great idea. If, on the other hand, you’re not that confident about the delegates or the spending or the actual need to rewrite our constitution, this could be a nightmare from which you will not wake for 16 long years or however long the delegates decide it should take before we get another crack at their new constitution.
Once they are done with their work and the special interests have been satisfied and the money spent, we will vote on whether or not to keep the new constitution or revert to the existing document.
Some who support this idea, like Gov. Jennifer Granholm, say we need a constitution that better reflects the reality that Michigan must move away from an industrial-based economy and into... well... some other kind of economy.
But we don’t need a new constitution to accomplish that. To make the changes Granholm and others suggest, we need smart legislation, an occasional executive order from the governor and, if absolutely necessary, a constitutional amendment.
We don’t need a new constitution or another contentious, partisan election or another wave of unanticipated multi-million dollar spending. We need new leadership with fresh ideas and an understanding that they work for us, not the other way around. We can accomplish that by making wise choices in the candidate races in November while rejecting Proposal 2010-01.





 
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