Monday briefing and open thread

“When we get this going, I want to have a formidable array of organizations helping us gather signatures, and I want those organizations to be from across the political spectrum, … This is a good governance issue and not a partisan issue.” ~ Ferndale resident Bill Lucas

Lucas is talking about his petition to change the State Constitution so that the legislature cannot deny the people a vote on an issue by attaching an appropriation.

He said Michigan’s right-to-work laws are the most recent example, but the issue first came to his attention a couple of years ago when the Legislature overturned the state’s item-pricing law. The 2011 law included a $100,000 appropriation.

“My attempt is to clean up the framework, so it doesn’t continue in the future,” Lucas said. “Citizens should have the right to take laws to referendum even if they have appropriation.”

Of course he’s absolutely right, we should have the opportunity to vote on issues like that. And don’t bother to tell me that this is a republic and individuals aren’t supposed to vote on issues because I’ll punk-slap you into understanding that we’re not talking about legislating by individual. We’re talking about our right to have a vote on a particular issue, and that right is given freely when the lawmakers do not attach money to a law. The appropriations process is used only to deny us that right, and that tool should be taken away from the lawmakers. Additionally, removing the appropriations – referendum relationship will help lawmakers because they will be free to attach appropriations without locking the public out of the process.

Snyder raised $202,000 last year but I don’t know why we care. Although, this is interesting:

More than two-thirds of the money Snyder raised in the last quarter came in the form of a $50,000 donation on Nov. 2 from James B. Nicholson, president and CEO of PVS Chemicals Inc. of Detroit. That donation brought the total Nicholson had donated to Snyder’s PAC for the year to $60,000.

In 2011, Snyder named Nicholson to the Michigan Investment Advisory Committee, which reviews investments by the state’s retirement funds. His term expires near the end of this year.

Crazy coincidence.

Aging mobsters and the stories they tell. We might actually find out where Hoffa is this time, but I think we’re equally as likely to look like buffoons again. Personally I’m way more interested in DB Cooper than Jimmy Hoffa. Now there’s an interesting fella.

Susan Demas has a very good column on Snyder’s poll numbers and 2014. It’s from last week and you’ve likely seen it by now but I am including it anyway.


Fraser Public Schools has just completed the largest 1:1 iPad initiative in Michigan:

The District’s hefty 1:1 mobile device initiative, funded by the passing of the District’s $19.9 million bond in 2011, is the largest iPad deployment in Michigan and ranks in the top 15 largest K-12 iPad deployments in the world.

What? You mean the public supported funding the initiative? That’s crazy.

Hey just for kicks, remember when the House Democrats wanted to distribute iPods? That was before the iPad. Remember how the Republicans jumped on that?

We wonder how financially strained Michigan residents will feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else’s kid an iPod.

That they would include such frivolity in a crisis budget plan indicates how tough it will be to bring real spending reform to Michigan.

Looks like they feel pretty good about it.

A Detroit News blog on ‘God-given rights’

The idea of God-given rights isn’t about God and it’s only nominally about rights. It’s an attempt to make one’s political positions rubber-stamped from above and thus not subject to argument. Taxes aren’t a rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, they are theft, a denial of sacred property rights. Making it harder for people to get their hands on guns isn’t a matter of public safety, it’s a violation of the sacred right to self-defense.

Snyder wants to go after the film industry again. He sucks.

My new best friend:

Census Daily Monday, February 18th. Black History Month highlights not only past achievements, but continued progress in the African-American community. There are just under 2 million black-owned businesses, representing a gain of more than 60 percent in just 5 recent years. These businesses employed more than 920,000 people — a growth of more than one-fifth in the same period. Retail trade, health care and social assistance sectors account for 27 percent of black-owned business revenue, which totals more than $137 billion. Among cities, New York has the most black-owned businesses, at just over 8 percent of the U.S. total, followed by Chicago, Houston, and Detroit.


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There are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Follow me on Twitter - @christinebarry
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