2012.10.31 Keith Pennington: Reader explains ballot proposals

Written by David Green.

Ballot Issues

As I look through this year’s Michigan ballot proposals I think, “Could they make the ballot language any more confusing?”  I know the result that I wish to see on the issues, but many times the language is so confusing that I don’t know whether a yes or no vote will achieve that result. This year’s ballot is particularly troubling in that the last five ballot issues all seek to change the Michigan Constitution.  

Citizens ought to be very cautious when asked to change the Constitution. The Constitution should not be used to achieve special interests that cannot be achieved through the legislative process.  

As a citizen, I hope to see the following results:

Proposal 1- Vote Yes 

Voting yes will uphold current law that allows the state to assign an emergency manager to a school or municipal government if the local parties have been unable to get their financial house in order. It has only been implemented a handful of times in the years of its existence. It brings unions and boards together to do the hard work needed, avoiding your tax funds from being used to bail out cities and schools that have been irresponsible for decades. 

Proposal 2 – Vote No 

Voting no will keep laws protecting the collective bargaining process within the existing state law and not enshrined within the constitution.

Proposal 3 – Vote No

Voting no will keep the state’s renewable energy policy within the existing law which mandates 10 percent of the electric power will come from renewable energy sources by 2015.  Voting no will also keep electric rates lower. The proposal seeks to enshrine within the Constitution an increase of renewable energy use to 25 percent, while dictating which renewable energy source will be used.

Proposal 4 – Vote No

Voting no will keep in place current state work laws for home health care professionals. The proposal seeks to force through the Constitution a requirement for home health care workers, who you choose to employ at your residence, to join a collective bargaining union or at least pay the union fees.

Proposal 5 – Vote No

Voting no will maintain “majority rule” concept by continuing the requirement of a majority vote of the elected members of the House and Senate to change taxes levied. The proposal seeks to enshrine within the Constitution the requirement of a two-thirds super-majority to change the tax code.  As we have seen at the federal level, a super majority requirement really gives the decision making power to the minority one-third. 

Proposal 6 – Vote No

Voting no on this proposal will leave the decision of whether to build a bridge or tunnel to Canada with our elected representatives. Backers of the proposal seek to remove this authority from our elected officials and instead enshrine within the Constitution the requirement for a vote of the electorate directly. 

In summary, I’m voting Yes on the first ballot proposal and No on all the rest, which seek to change our Constitution for special interests. Please consider voting likewise.  

– Keith Pennington

 Silver Creek Drive, Morenci

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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