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November 9, 2013

Detroit And Two Unjust Laws

Legally 2013 has been a tough year for Detroit. First, Detroit was taken over by the state under an emergency manager law that was hastily passed by the state legislature shortly after the voters rejected an almost identical law in November 2012. Secondly, a write-in candidate for Mayor was elected due, in no small part, to contributions received from non-citizens through a Super PAC.

Let me make clear I believe Mike Duggan will best serve Detroit as Mayor because of his planning and operational skills in addition to his drive to just do it and implement. I also agree that Detroit is in serious financial trouble and needs help. Sometimes the right results happen for the wrong reasons and this is Detroit. The rest of the state, and nation for that matter, needs to take heed and correct the short comings of the the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case and Michigan's emergency manager law.

Citizens United
Here is an early filing of the Super PAC that supported Mike Duggan. Benny Napoleon indicated he was outspent by $4,000,000. A large portion of the Duggan's contributions came from non-residents of Detroit. In an election money matters. It matter because of the exposure given to a candidate that can advertise often and in a professional manner. It matters in the quality and quantity of staff one can hire to develop and implement winning strategies. It matters in the quantity and quality of the polls that can be conducted to help the campaign focus on what the voter wants and what the campaign needs. In accepting the Super PAC money Mike Duggan did nothing wrong.

What is wrong is the ruling by the Supreme Court that effectively changes the outcome of elections from one man one vote to one dollar one vote. Hopefully this ruling will eventually be overturned so the rich cannot buy elections in any part of the country they desire.

Emergency Manager Law
Here is one of the most important comments made by Judge Rhodes during the hearing concerning Detroit's bankruptcy. Every citizen of the state of Michigan should be concerned about this. The quote below is from the Detroit News on November 8, 2013
“Am I missing something?” the judge asked Matthew Schneider, chief legal counsel for the state Attorney General’s Office. “So putting an appropriation in the bill has the effect of denying what would otherwise be a right of referendum?”

“But plenty of bills have appropriations,” Schneider countered.

“Do they?” the judge asked. “There’s no evidence of that. Let’s assume that’s true. Does it show anything other than that the Legislature often violates the right of referendum?”

What should voters do with a governor and legislature that creates a law just months after the people of the state reject the same law? Detroit indeed had an emergency, but this does not allow anyone to abuse the citizens.

What affects Detroit today may very well affect other parts of the state tomorrow. It may not be this particular law but it sets a precedent. I am concerned our elected officials are getting a "God Complex".

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