Tuesday, November 06, 2012

MI Ballot Proposals: How I'm Voting and Why

(Feel free to copy my answers. Crib sheets are allowed in voting booths)

Michigan has six proposals on this year's ballot. I am voting NO-YES-YES-YES-NO-NO on them.

I have two main issues that drive my political activism. As a writer and artist, my number one issue is the right to freedom of speech. There's a reason our Founding Fathers made freedom of speech our first amendment. I've had my speech revoked from me once by my local politicians and police and it was the worst experience of my life. I don't wish that on anyone. My second main issue that makes me as passionate as I am is our fundamental right to Democracy. So it's especially upsetting to me to see democracy being attacked in any form. The very first proposal addresses the suppression of democracy as it has been victimized by the Emergency Manager Law. I support the law as it had originally been signed as the Emergency FINANCE Manager law, put into effect by Governor Granholm. But Governor Snyder has morphed the law into something it was never meant to be, in an overreaching tyrannical power grab and a way to break union contracts. Now Emergency Managers can take over a city and render its elected city board powerless. What this means is every person who voted in that city's election – no matter who they voted for – all of those votes were in vain because the officials elected to do a job can be ousted by an Emergency Manager on the request of the Governor. This is an insult to the very idea of what it means to be American. (On a side note, Debbie Stabenow's opponent Pete Hoekstra wants to repeal the 19th Amendment and go back to the time when state legislators choose the Senators to each state.) Is Democracy dead in Michigan? Why the hate?

So I urge you, if you vote on only one proposal, make it the first one. And vote NO.

The second ballot proposal is nearly as important, as it will protect workers' rights to collectively bargain and unionize and thereby thwarting efforts to make Michigan a “Right to Work (for less)” state. You might remember what Scott Walker did in Wisconsin? Let's try to avert such lunacy here by voting YES to allow collective bargaining rights to be safeguarded in our state Constitution. The naysayers are spreading falsehoods that unions will lead to repealing background checks for school employees and safety regulations for bus drivers, but that's a slippery slope argument. The right to unionize will only guarantee workers the right to bargain with their employers. What they bargain for will be whatever their employers will be willing to give them. Nothing less. Nothing more. Proposal 4 also addresses the right to collectively bargain, this time for home care workers, so I urge you to vote YES on that one as well.

Proposal 3 is to establish a higher standard for renewable energy. If it passes, electric companies will have to get 25% of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. These sources are clean and green – wind, solar, biomass, and hydrogen. Naysayers claim that electric costs would rocket, but the proposal buts a cap in place for the rates would not be allowed to increase more than 1% each year. I think that's a good investment for clean energy, so I vote YES to proposal 3. In the long run, it will save tons of money, and our environment. Michigan is a beautiful state. Let's preserve it. Thirty other states have similar measures on the books, and it's time we caught up.

Proposals 5 and 6 are less important to me, but I plan on voting NO to both.

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