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Opinion: By R. Al Bain
“Michigan must fix its Broken Redistricting Process”
Redistricting, a process that takes place just once every 10 years, can keep our communities together or split them apart changing whether we have representatives who feel responsible for our concerns.
Instead of drawing districts that accurately represent our communities, in many cases partisans will put their own interests first creating “safe districts.” This is something both parties do all the time and it needs to stop.
Michigan’s weak redistricting laws are unacceptable and an embarrassment. As long as there are a similar number of people in each district, lawmakers have significant leeway to draw lines as they see fit and that usually means districts that are solidly held by one party and voters that have little meaningful choice on Election Day. As a voter, your voice is being lost and your choices limited.
Redistricting needs to be open and transparent in Michigan, with significant opportunities for public input.
Local Governments County redistricting bodies must complete their processes within 60 days of the release of the final census numbers that means now. With games being played here in Monroe this is not a good sign!
The local County apportionment commissions who are charged with redistricting, to post proposed districts on their websites and encourage public comment.
County apportionment commissions should hold public hearings for discussion of proposed districts. Lines should not be drawn behind closed doors.
County redistricting bodies would be required to post written justification explaining how and why each district was drawn. Citizens should know how district lines are drawn for them.
These are common sense measures that will go a long way toward bringing more transparency to the redistricting process in Michigan.
Other states already have introduced measures aimed at removing partisan politics from redistricting why shouldn’t we follow suit here in Monroe?
Note: There was an error in communication in last weeks opinion in the “Bain Report” with the source, an elected Monroe County official. It has come to light by two individuals who attended the Republican Lincoln/Reagan dinner where there was a protest. It was 25 to 30 protestors not the 100 to 200 as reported. The source confused the prior protest held in Monroe, click the link below.
New Pension Tax Proposal all about VOTES!
As soon as I seen the new proposal for taxing pensions I said this is about votes! I see I’m not the only one who sees it this way. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out! There’s a huge voting block when it comes to our senior citizen population. Ted Nuggent sat down with Governor Snyder for a little chat and made these comments on taxing pensions. Nuggent: Your idea to tax pensions is so off the wall. Don’t you know that senior citizens vote in large numbers. Even a gun-totin’ wise guy like me knows that. Snyder: You sound like my advisors. They said the same thing, but none of them are from Ann Arbor, where we are always right, and on this one, I am right. I need that tax to pay for a $1.8 billion tax cut for all my friends in the business community.
Former Democrat Gov. James Blanchard, a Paid Consultant for Michigan
Heard on the Frank Beckmann Radio show Friday April 15 2011 that former Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard was being paid by the State of Michigan (The Taxpayers) for consulting on the Detroit International Bridge Crossing. He’s also being paid by the Candians as well for lobbying! Nothing like getting paid from both sides of the river! The ex-Ambassador to Canada also got money for lobbying to get support for DRIC. Perhaps one might also question why Canada wants to loan Michigan $550M when everyone knows that the money cannot be paid back because toll revenues will be insufficient! Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, said after looking over the traffic studies supplied by Warren-based Ambassador Bridge that she questions whether there is enough cross-border traffic to justify construction of a new bridge. Andy Dillon, who led the DRIC charge during a successful vote in the House in May, has been appointed by Snyder as state treasurer. Along with DRIC supporter Randy Richardville both appointments are hopeful signs the bridge will be built, Blanchard said. Let me see a Republican Senator is against this bridge but all the “Democrats” are for it!
New Autism Insurance Coverage Mandate Legislation for Michigan
Make no mistake about it your insurance rates are going up if this mandate passes! In March, Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, introduced two bills, Senate Bills 38 and 39, that would mandate insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorder treatments. They have been referred to the insurance committee chaired by Sen. Joe Hune, R-Howell. While I feel for the parents of autistic children I do not fell that it’s right for the taxpayers and citizens of Michigan to foot the bill. If this legislation passes does anybody really think the insurance companies will not pass this cost onto your insurance premium! What’s next mandates for Bi-Polar disorder, erectile dysfunction, or the many other disabilities that afflict the population? This is just plain wrong!
Your Tax Dollars, Pure Michigan and The Film Subsidy
There was $510,000 spent by a movie company while making a film here in Michigan. It received a $223,341 tax subsidy from Michigan taxpayers, or roughly 42 percent of the film’s total expenses. But that’s not all! There was $115,000 spent outside the state, which includes such things as out-of-state film crews brought in for the project. If you factor in just Michigan spending, the tax credits rises to 56 percent of the total money spent in state. The Michigan Film Office calls this “Pure Michigan” spending.
Michigan GOP Michigan Bobby Schostak ruffles some GOP feathers
Here’s a news flash! This is so typical of the status quo in the Michigan Republican Party. Michigan GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak stated when talking about Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) deciding not to challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) in 2012, stated in a March interview predicted that a candidate who is “head and shoulders” above some of the mentioned contenders would emerge. Businessman Peter Konechty (R) and Randy Hekman (R), a former juvenile court judge in Kent County have already announced that they are running. I guess if your not part of the Michigan GOP “good ole boy club” and are a constitutionalist agreeing with the “Tea Party” movement you’re not “head and shoulders” material! He also stated that Hoekstra “will always be a conservative leader” and will be “working closely” with the Michigan GOP in the future. I think some of these Republicans need to look up the definition of conservative before throwing that term around. Note: Hoekstra has joined the Washington law and lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP.
Political Corruption in Michigan
Nobody claims that corruption in Detroit is in the same league as in Chicago, or that Michigan’s elected officeholders would beat their Illinois compatriots in a Who’s-More-Crooked competition. Plus, due to increased accountability, audits, freedom of information laws and other safeguards, few contemporary corruption scandals are likely to reach the extent of the 1944 bribery scandal that enmeshed 20 present and former Michigan legislators and sent many of them to prison. But the recurring exposure of graft and dishonesty in the Great Lakes State remains disturbing. The fact that many of the dip-into-the-till, cook-the-books and pay-to-play schemes have been able to go on for years before detection demonstrates that current accountability measures and other safeguards are inadequate.
Michigan Looks to Add Cross-State Bicycle Route
In Michigan our roads are no better than in third World Countries at best and now there’s talk of a cross state bicycle route? Oh the insanity of it all! Does anybody remember the wasted tax dollars for the bicycle route along I-275 that today isn’t usable. Bottom line is our roads need to be top priority not a bicycle route!
Gasoline Averaging $4 a Gallon in 5 States
The average price of gasoline is now above $4 per gallon in five states, and it could rise to that level in New York and Washington, D.C., this weekend. This week, benchmark crude has mostly moved against the dollar. Oil, which is traded in dollars, tends to rise when the dollar weakens and makes crude barrels cheaper for investors holding foreign currency. Higher prices for goods and services point toward inflation.
Gasoline Prices up 40% this Summer
The only surprise here normally summer and weekends usually see an increase. But this year it will be considerably noticeable in the jump. Retail prices for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline will average $3.86 from April through September, up from $2.76 for the comparable period last year, said the Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the Department of Energy.
Consumers Feel the Pinch of Pricier Gas and Food
Americans are paying more for food and gas, a trend that threatens to slow the economy at a crucial time. Consumer prices rose 0.5 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Nearly all of the gains came from pricier gas and food.
When the people fear their government, their is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.