I think that we should all think long and hard about the decision of our legislature and Gov. Granholm to change Michigan‘s drunk driving laws. The press releases and spokespeople tout it as a win-win idea. We will save lives and $11.5 million with the stroke of Granholm‘s pen, they say. Maybe I‘m just stupid or something but I don‘t get it.
I culled the following text directly from www.michigan.gov.
“Under Michigan law, it is illegal to drive:
When under the influence of, or impaired by, alcohol, illegal drugs, and certain prescribed medications.
With a bodily alcohol content of 0.10 or more (driving while under the influence).
With a bodily alcohol content of more than 0.07, but less than 0.10 (driving while impaired).“
So lowering the DUI (Driving while Under the Influence) threshold from a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.10 to 0.08 does not change the fact that a BAC of 0.07 (DWI, Driving While Impaired) is already illegal in Michigan. And how will we be saving $11.5 million? That money isn‘t a gift. Those are Michigan tax dollars that are owed to us. The federal government threatened to deny the return of that money unless we complied with their wishes. So what was the point of all this?
Maybe it‘s frustration with Article X of the Amendments to the US Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.“
Does anyone out there remember the federal government‘s “55 Saves Lives“ campaign? The feds threatened to withhold the same tax dollars if the states didn‘t lower their speed limits. Does everyone understand that the federal government will not return Michigan tax dollars designated for school lunch programs if our schools don‘t comply with federal curriculum standards?
Personally, I would like to see Michigan adopt a single BAC limit of 0.05. or maybe even less. Driving after consuming anything more than a single drink is unwise, unsafe, and absolutely unnecessary. But that does not diminish the fact the federal government has no right to hold hostage the tax dollars that are due to be returned to our state in order to circumvent the constitutional limitations of their authority. If they want to make drinking and driving a federal crime, they can amend the Constitution and pay to enforce it. Or better yet, offer Michigan some of the dollars wasted on “pork barrel“ projects so we can spend it on better enforcement of the laws that we already have.
Charles Russell Williamsburg & Ann Arbor
McManus & Clous
As a member of the Traverse Group of the Sierra Club, and a college student who cares deeply about the future of our planet, I am outraged over the wetland fill in East Bay township by Bill Clous.
State Sen. Michelle McManus is clearly overstepping her boundaries, for whatever reason, by going to bat for Mr. Clous. The citizen she is acting on behalf of has illegally filled in nearly 90 acres of a wetland, listed as “Critical Wetland 2“ in the Mitchell Creek Watershed Protection Strategy. Two classified trout streams, along with a third stream, have been destroyed.
If Mr. Clous truly plans on farming the land, why does he need permits to build bridges and create a pond (ironic, isn‘t it -- -fill a wetland -- create a pond)?
My grandparents were farmers. My great-grandparents were farmers. Trying to convince people that he plans to farm the property is an insult to farmers and also to responsible developers who follow the law and obtain necessary permits. It‘s not the exemptions for farmers that is the issue here. It‘s that an entire wetland has been filled without the proper permits. Anyone who breaks the law should be punished. Anyone who breaks the law so blatantly, should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. No matter who their friends are.
Gabe Evans Honor,
Recently my husband and I visited the beautiful Charlevoix and Petoskey area. We greatly enjoyed bike riding on the paved bike path between these two cities.
During our rides we experienced other riders overtaking us and passing. We would like to remind all riders that it is not only good manners, but also an important safety measure to alert riders in front of you that you are going to pass. If riders are not aware of your presence, they could move in your path and cause an accident or be startled and lose control of their bikes. Merely shouting out that you are passing and on which side is sufficient or as we have done, equip your bike with a bell to alert persons ahead of you that you are overtaking them. These simple measures can also apply to passing walkers on the trail. Remembering to do this could save others and yourself from injuries.
Jane Conley via email