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  • STAFF: William Tingley, Executive Director ~ Bridget Tingley, Editor ~ Mary Green, Office Manager

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June 16, 2008

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Bob Carr

Good points. At first blush what Conservative would be against smaller gov. As you point out this will only make less representative gov. The places that cutting should be done is on the non elected officials of the bureaucracies and the interest groups that fund them. Not the only leverage the citizen left. Our elected representatives.
Regards Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

spirogyra

This post admits that the Mich Supreme Court is highly political when they are supposed to be non-partisan. It is the court of all the people.

The Supreme Court workload has decreased over the years as has that of the swollen (28 member) Court of Appeals. The caseload at the circuit court level has increased and according to many media sources, the RMGN proposal would add 10 new circuit court justices to deal with that increased workload. I like that idea.

The notion posted in this article that 110 Reps and 38 senators is "not a large number of legislators" is totally wrong. Michigan has more representation per capita than the state of California which has three times the population. We could shed half of them and still have more representation than citizens of most states.

From what I saw of the petition when I signed it was that it tried to neutralize the partisanship through lobbying restrictions, roll call votes in committees, financial disclosure of all including all three branches of government. The redistricting to make competitive districts will finally break down the monolithic districts of Detroit and Wayne County.

What is your problem?? If you are going to run a blog, at least post facts.

T. J. Griffith

Spirogyra,

You live in a dream world if you think that our judicial system is non-partisian. Especially higher level appointees such as those found on the appeals and supreme courts. One only has to look at decisions made in the last decade to see that judges are legislating from the bench. They aren't enforcing laws they are creating them. A wee bit of a violation of our constitution. We have three branches of government meant to check one another. Problem of course is each branch seems to have forgotten how to check the other.

And, lobbying shouldn't be restricted. It's allowed under our constitution and should be done. Remember Amendment #1 that states the people have the right to peacebly assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances? Check your history, it's been a-ok for a long time now. It's how citizens are represented at the government level as it would be impossible to see every citizen one by one. As long as bribes, fraud and the like is not done, lobbying can and should be done.

Wanting to reduce representatives in government is just a liberal ploy to concentrate more power in the hands of the few. Much like libs want to institute the fairness doctrine on talk radio to shut up conservatives on the air. Libs love to take control legally when they can't get Americans to change their minds and vote their way by choice. Libs overcome this defeat by using the court system and changing laws instead.

Americans are too smart to fall for that once again. Research, educate and vote smart. The truth is always in the details.

L.A.W., we always enjoy your take on things. Good article.

Tina

spirogyra

Tina, you invoke the constitution in your support of lobbyists but yet dismiss it for the judiciary. The language is clear in intent in Article VI, Sec. 2. It is to be non-partisan. Therein lies the problem. The University of Chicago Law School analyzed the Supreme Courts of all 50 states and concluded Michigan's to be the worst and most partisan.

And now about those lobbyists. To use your own words "As long as bribes, fraud and the like is not done, lobbying can and should be done." Well guess what? Lobbying today has become that very thing. You are suggesting Quid-pro-quo being a first amendment right!

And again using your words "One only has to look at decisions made in the last decade to see that judges are legislating from the bench." Do you mean Engler's appointees? The so-called non-partisan conservatives? They do after all control the court and have in the period you mentioned.

And as far as loss of representation, Michigan has more per capita than the state of California which has almost four times the people and has an economy which exceeds that of most countries around the world.

spirogyra

It seems the "conservative" posters here are no different than our national party. Talk smaller government, cut cost of government, make it more efficient, and then when given the chance, you find more reasons to support the status quo which is big, inefficient government.

Its no wonder the traditional conservatives are forming a schism within the party. It also explains the mindset of average Americans in saying their is no difference between the two major parties. They both love the status quo.

The Executive Director

Spirogyra,

You don't seem to get the difference between supporting a larger number of legislators to make the people's representation in government more effective and opposing "big government" in terms of its reach into our lives and the number of bureaucrats on the payroll. It's apples and oranges.

As for your comparison to California, are you suggesting that the California state legislature is a model of good government? It is precisely because of the small number of legislators, which leads to large districts that entrench incumbents, that a few kingpins can rule the roost there.

And if you think fewer legislators is better, then why not cut the state legislature down to three? One Democrat, one Republican, and one tie-breaking independent?

As for lobbying, you are certainly no friend of the First Amendment if you oppose it. Everytime you write your congressman to do this or that, you are lobbying -- i.e., petitioning -- him. If you decide to get together with like-minded citizens to hire an advocate to make your case to your congressman -- i.e., a lobbyist -- there is nothing pernicious in that. Indeed, it is the way representative government is supposed to work. And if you can't trust your congressman not to support a lobbyist's cause because he bought him dinner, then the problem is with your congressman, whom you should vote out, and not the process of petition.

Regards,
Bill Tingley
Executive Director, L.A.W.

T. J. Griffith

Bill,

Thanks for clarifying to Spirogyra what I clearly couldn't. You said it better than I ever could.

Spirogyra,

If I left the impression in my post that only libs or lefties are a problem, I apologize. Although I do believe libs are mainly responsible for taking our country in a direction that is extreme (over-sexualizing kids, broken families, over-taxing, big government, too many environmental restrictions, poor border and national security, lack of faith in a higher power, broken educational systems, etc.), I also believe both sides of the aisle have sold out to those they owe the most to. The citizens of this country who voted them in office in the first place. Dems and Rhinos have been bought out by extreme groups on each side and middle America has gotten lost in the shuffle.

True conservatives are speaking out and getting angry because they are being sold out by those who vowed to support and protect them. The Dems got in trouble for being in office too long and the Republicans did the same when they got in power too.

It's high time all parties either get a clue or get booted out of office next time. Voters in Utah just took a stand against a long time congressman, hopefully the rest of the country will follow their lead and make those votes really count next time. Out with the old. In with the new (especially the Senate and the Congress).

Tina

The Executive Director

Hi, Tina.

Glad to help out, and thanks for the kind comments in your earlier post.

I agree with both you and Spirogyra that the two major parties are the same in "selling out" voters in that are institutionally committed to increasing the power and prerogatives of their members. The Democrats may bang the drum for equality while the Republicans thump for liberty to get votes, but neither will advance their agenda if doing so puts their seats at risk.

I argue that this entrenchment of the status quo is an effect of overly large legislative districts that tend to homogenize the electorate in favor of one party or the other and so give incumbents a lock on their seats. This coupled with campaign restrictions that favor incumbents cushions legislators from the mood of the public and allows them to ignore constituents, at least until they reach the boiling point.

This is not the way representative government is supposed to work -- at least, the lower houses of legislatures. Smaller districts would break up the oligopoly that characterizes today's Congress and many statehouses.

Regards, Bill

Dark Knight

Another "cryptic" outfit is the misnamed Center for Michigan. Their guy, Charles Ballard, wrote a July 2 Free Press column praising this proposal up and down. The Center for Michigan, funded largely by Democrat Phil Power, claims it is a nonpartisan "think and do tank." Looks like in this case, the Mackinac Center was doing all the thinking as well as the doing.

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L.A.W. Highlights

  • Yeah, and Summer is Hotter Than Winter
    The Grand Rapids Press ignores science to promote feel-good politics on the environment and becomes the watchdog that doesn't bark.
  • When Will It Stop?
    Enough of the repulsive tactic of accusing everyone of bigotry who doesn't kowtow to the racemongers.
  • Thirty-Six Bucks
    Balancing the City budget: Maybe it's time for those making a living on the taxpayer's dime to give up a little instead of sticking it to the taxpayer one more time.
  • The Problem With Teachers
    Why teachers are the professionals least suited to run a school district -- or even a school.
  • The Pig in the Python
    The dirty little secret behind the success and failure of every school reform that the education establishment, the public school bureaucrats, and the teachers unions will never reveal.
  • The Fool's Gold of a College Education
    Most kids who get a college degree today have nothing but an expensive credential that lands them a job that any high school graduate could have gotten a generation ago -- WITHOUT the heavy burden of paying back a student loan.
  • The Fixer
    A four-part series about the local attorney behind the demise of Autodie, Butterworth Hospital, Amway, and Old Kent. Warning: Strong accusations of corruption, greed, and skullduggery. Not for the feint of heart.
  • Poison
    The nasty nature of the 26,000 tons of poison that The Boardwalk's developers dug up and then dumped upon the rest of us.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: The Demise of Quixtar
    The re-branding of Amway as Quixtar put lipstick on the pig, but none of the crappy way of doing business changed. Now comes public scrutiny around the world to control its kingpins and clean up the dirty "tools" business.
  • Lost Cause
    A story of how River City lost its way to a secure economic future.
  • Living Wage Kills Jobs
    City pols support a Marxist policy that, like all Marxist policies, hurt the very people they say it will help.
  • El Dorado, Big Rock Candy Mountain, and the Grand Rapids Public School District
    Those of us not in straitjackets are fairly certain that lands of fabulous wealth free for the taking do not exist. No El Dorado, no Big Rock Candy Mountain, no Shangri-la, and no GRPS with money growing on trees.
  • Defenders Who Do Not Defend
    Excessive plea-bargaining, lack of preparation, shoddy to non-existent representation, conflicts of interests are rife among lawyers taking public defender cases on the taxpayer dime.