Friday, October 5, 2012

NOVEMBER'S BALLOT PROPOSALS; A HALLOWEEN NIGHTMARE?



Michigan’s Ballot Referendums May Require a Philadelphia Lawyer


Proposal 1: A REFERENDUM ON PUBLIC ACT 4 OF 2011 – THE EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW
Public Act 4 of 2011 would:

• Establish criteria to assess the financial condition of local government units, including school districts.
• Authorize Governor to appoint an emergency manager (EM) upon state finding of a financial emergency, and allow the EM to act in place of local government officials.
• Require EM to develop financial and operating plans, which may include modification or termination of contracts, reorganization of government, and  determination of expenditures, services, and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.
• Alternatively, authorize state-appointed review team to enter into a local government approved consent decree.

Should this law be approved? (Yes or No)

NO –   This referendum appears to obtain the consent of the voters once emergency managers are in place. It is as if the State wishes to gain voter approval after the fact, to satisfy any dissenters. This includes City of Highland Park, Hamtramck and the City of Detroit where economic crises dictate that some other government entity step in to resolve issues and prevent a collapse of local school districts or municipality government.

On the surface, the Referendum as written is the only logical choice.  However, it does not define the “criteria” in assessing finances when it becomes clear that an EM (Emergency Manager) is necessary. Who develops this criterion? Do local governments have a say and a part of the decision process?

The biggest fear is the clause regarding the termination of collective bargaining agreements as it can destroy long-term salary, benefit and retirement benefits! This will have a devastating effect on the employees and their families. It is wrong!  What is to prevent the State stepping in based on “weak criteria” with “breaking collective agreements and contracts” to save money or possibly transfer retirement accounts to that mystery account, the General Fund. We may as well have BAIN Capital step in, make profits, and destroy lives as well as the schools or local municipality.



Proposal 2: A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION REGARDING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

This proposal would:
• Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
• Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees’ financial support of their labor unions. Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.
• Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
• Define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.

Should this proposal be approved? (Yes or No)

ABSOLUTELY YES!
The denial of the most critical life support tool for all American workers is diabolical at best. Coal miners, auto workers, manufacture line workers gave decades of their lives to fight this battle for organized labor and several shed blood and gave their lives to win this most human right among working people that supports the Middle Class. For Employees now, to vote for the end of collective bargaining is abhorrent to those who died for this privilege will now amount to financial suicide.


Proposal 3: A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ESTABLISH A STANDARD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY
This proposal would: • Require electric utilities to provide at least 25% of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, by 2025.
• Limit to not more than 1% per year electric utility rate increases charged to consumers only to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard.
• Allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25% standard in order toprevent rate increases over the 1% limit.
 
• Require the legislature to enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents.

Should this proposal be approved? (Yes or No)



ABSTAIN. When in doubt, it is best to refrain from making the wrong decision. As voters, we are not compelled to vote on every proposal or to choose nine (9) candidates for a board or city council when you only feel positively about three (3) of them.
This proposal shows great promise forward but can it be realistically achieved and in a timely manner. What are the repercussions if the desired outcome fails to be met? This proposal lacks an appropriate discussion in a public forum for most to make a clear choice.


Proposal 4: A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ESTABLISH THE MICHIGAN QUALITY HOME CARE COUNCIL AND PROVIDE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR IN-HOME CARE WORKERS
This proposal would:

• Allow in-home care workers to bargain collectively with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council (MQHCC). Continue the current exclusive representative of in-home care workers until modified in accordance with labor laws.
• Require MQHCC to provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks, and provide financial services to patients to manage the cost of in-home care.
• Preserve patients’ rights to hire in-home care workers who are not referred from the MQHCC registry who are bargaining unit members.
• Authorize the MQHCC to set minimum compensation standards and terms and conditions of employment.


Should this proposal be approved? (Yes or No)

Qualified NO. There is a feeling by the wording and the number of “small” issues here that it is apparent we are being given only the “positives” the underwriters want us to know. Something nags at me that the State of Michigan is scrambling here to get out from the accountability they chose to ignore for years within the prevue of DHS and DCH. Somehow, one gets the idea that certain executive bureaucrats (past and present) are looking to “draw” a “Get of Jail Free” card with this proposal. Again, ALL the FACTS are not open and on the table.


Proposal 5: A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO LIMIT THE ENACTMENT OF NEW TAXES BY STATE GOVERNMENT
This proposal would:
Require a 2/3 majority vote of the State House and the State Senate, or a statewide vote
of the people at a November election, in order for the State of Michigan to impose new or
additional taxes on taxpayers or expand the base of taxation or increasing the rate of
taxation.
This section shall in no way be construed to limit or modify tax limitations otherwise
created in this Constitution.

Should this proposal be approved? (Yes or No)


Reluctant NO. As written, this would remove the ability of the Governor and Legislature to enact new taxes during a financial crisis where time is of the essence and much more money and time would be wasted with a statewide referendum. This proposal should include enactment of a transparency law that will apply to all members of our State Legislature, as our Constitution does not require it now. Without financial disclosure of our legislators opens the door or the temptation for legislators to chair or sit on standing committees that will serve their purpose in their prior or current employment and open to unethical voting on issues.


Proposal 6: A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION REGARDING CONSTRUCTION OF INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES AND TUNNELS
This proposal would:

• Require the approval of a majority of voters at a statewide election and in each municipality where “new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles” are to be located before the State of Michigan may expend state funds or resources for acquiring land, designing, soliciting bids for, constructing, financing, or promoting new international bridges or tunnels.

• Create a definition of “new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles” that means, “any bridge or tunnel which is not open to the public and serving traffic as of January 1, 2012.”

Should this proposal be approved? (Yes or No)


NO! This proposal only exists on the ballot due to one greedy executive who happens to have a monopoly on bridge traffic and trucking due to ownership of an International Border crossing unheard of anywhere else in the world. The sole private ownership of such a vital business and security site is surreal. The referendum should be defeated and the next one proposed for a vote is for the “people to utilize eminent domain” to take ownership and control of the bridge in the interest of National Security and a Free Economy. Compensation to the billionaire only need be paid 1930 dollars as this monopolist has enjoyed huge profits and unknown wealth of political power at our expense in money and the health hazards we have endured for decades. Ask those of SW Detroit and Mexican Village about their experience in diminished quality of the air they breathe and life. Ask yourself how long the deficiencies and violations due to the current bridge arrangement would be tolerated if the population was not Latino?

Please Note: The opinions above are those of the author and in no way wish to degrade any individual group, person or corporation. Any individual vote may change subject to new information forthcoming from the proposition support or more likely due diligence in research.