Thursday, July 10, 2008

Michigan does not need a constitutional convention

Over on Right Michigan, there is a debate over whether Michigan should have a constitutional convention. Dennis Lennox, most known for being a thorn in the side of Gary Peters, eloquently makes a case that Michigan should have a constiutitonal convention and sited term limits and the snake oil "reform" proposal by the democrats for support of the con-con. Despite sharing his opinion of term limits and the snake oil ballot proposal by the democrats, I could not disagree with him more strongly for several reasons.

First off, too many elitist types will hijack a constitutional convention to get rid of our top safeguards against tax increases - the Headlee Amendment and Proposal A. If the constitution is opened up, that is fair game, as is our version of the 2nd Amendment (Article 1, sec 6) and a host of other issues.

The main pushers of this group pushing for the conbention is the current bunch at "Citizens for Michigan" lead by elitist democrats and liberal republicans. People like newspaper publisher and former UM trustee Phil Power (D), tax hike supporter Joe Schwarz and his buddy Harry Gast, Former AG Frank Kelley, Debbie Dingell, John Hertel, and Dan DeGrow. That gets my guard up if there ever was one. Most of those legislators were not exactly the epidomy of greatness while in Lansing. Anyone in Southeast Michigan who reads the Brighton Argus, Livingston County Press, and Observor and Eccentric Newspapers know the leanings of Mr. Power.

Back in late 2006, they had a study with several recommendations to change our constitution. Their recommendations are as follows.

1. Increase Term Limits

I do not have a problem with that. I oppose term limits at the state level. Thanks to term limits, we had our fee increases by Rick Johnson and company back in the end of 2004 - which I think is part of the reasons we lost the state house in 2006.

2. Make it harder for constitutional amendments to be passed here.

This was in response to the holy grail of the elite and the Richard Florida crowd - affirmative action. That's a large part of what spun this into action. Now the left is trying to gore our ox on the ballot initative. Maybe so, but that's not a good reason to throw this out.

3. - Eliminating the state Natural Resources and the Agriculture commissions and allowing the governor to appoint her entire cabinet

Why should Granholm have all the power? We need checks and balances in this state.

4. Allowing the governor to appoint members of the State Board of Education and the governing boards of the state's three largest universities, subject to advice and consent of the State Senate and a partisan balance. Currently, members of the State Board of Education, regents of the University of Michigan, trustees of Michigan State University and governors of Wayne State University are elected.

Again, why should Granholm have this power? While I'm not a fan of the convention nomination system and prefer old fashion primaries, I at least have SOME say with that system. I'd rather let people have the say as opposed to the elite. Maybe it's just my Jeffersonian roots. If this is going to be changed, let there be primaries.

5. Allow the governor to appoint Supreme Court Justices to a single 10-year term with partisan balance on the high court.

HELL NO! Dealbreaker right off the bat. Partisan balance does not exist and will not as long as there are appointments. The most powerful branch of government needs to be balanced by the people and not by politicians. While I do not agree with a convention nomination system, anything that takes away the checks and balances away from the people is damn wrong. If Stephen Reinhardt is appointed under this new proposal, I have no say whatsoever in opposing his disregard for the constitution. Under the current system, I can vote him out.

6. - Levy an additional statewide mill to fund school district building programs that over time would reduce bonding mills at the local level

A tax increase. No way.

7. Eliminate super-majority voting requirements spelled out in the constitution. Banking code amendments were one example of voting requirements.

Why? Why was there a supermajority in the first place?

8. - Eliminate restrictions on local taxation, particularly for transportation

No. I remember the days of the runaway millages back in the late 80's. People were taxed out of their homes. We need fiscal responsibility instead and less taxes. I don't have Phil Power's money.

9. - Eliminate the Headlee rollback provision in Article IX, Section 31

That is the number one goal of the leftists who want to have a constitutional convention. Eliminate the barriers so our taxes go up.

10. Alter language regarding local elected official recalls so that the only reason for recall would be malfeasance or misfeasance

The democrats are still mad about losing the state senate after the 1983 tax increase. Tax increases are a damn good reason for a recall. It's another check and balance the leftists and the elitists want to take away from us since they believe they know better.

11. Allow the governor the option of a "pocket-veto"

We do not need to give the executive any more powers. We have the veto and override. That's good enough.

There's a reason why we do not have a lot of constitutional conventions. People are rightly suspicious when it comes to changing it. I really would not want to see the elimination of Headlee or the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, ex post facto laws, or tax safeguards in this state. They were enacted for a good reason. Government abused its power, and people moved to limit it. With a constitutional convention, all these safeguards are on the table to be removed. That is unacceptable.

I will say this. If there will be a constitutional convention, I will run for constitutional delegate and will knock on 15,000+ doors and try and raise $50,000+ if I have to win that delegate spot in an election. Freedom will be attacked, and it must be defended with absolute vigilance.

In the Right Michigan post, I also missed one reason more than any other why it needs to be opposed. Outside Lansing and Oakland Politics blogger Chetly Zarko pointed it out. He said this.

I agree with RM here, with this addition, copied from my response to DL on his item.
The RMGN debacle is evidence of what bad can come from convention.

Special interests will own the delegates, particularly since the Dems are sitting on the reform Marty Knollenberg proposed in Oct. 2007 that I pointed out to him last year. The Michigan Campaign Finance Act of 1977 forgot - understandably due to the rareness of conventions - to include delegates in reporting category defintions. And limit definitions.

Democrats - I'm calling Ward Connerly if there's a convention and there no law to say he can't give me one giant donation, which I'd never have to report. And I will run if there is a Con-Con, despite my hatred for it - largely to protect MCRI, but also to protect the initiative process, Headlee, and all that the people have earned in the last 40 years in at least marginally checking government excess.

Republicans - Stryker nightmare.

It's not individual candidates that evade the radar - its the potential for competing blocs of "sponsored" candidates. A Herculean battle would occur.

You think the raw costs of a convention in terms of administrative costs, staff, space, etc. are high. The political costs, and the subtle changes that can only ultimately favor the elite power interests since they are best positioned, are huge.

Fight both the Con RMGN and the Con of the Con-Con.


That is something I missed completely and is why it the word assume makes an ass of "u" and me. I assumed these are covered by the campaign finance laws. Nope. Billionire radical Jon Stryker can dump his billions into these races without anyone knowing. He can also call his sister out of state so she can dump her billions. All the Lansing and DC interests can dump their money, and George Soros himself could dump money in there, without any one of us knowing about that. All those that want to increase our taxes, earmark spending, grab our guns, criminalize certain speech (Colorado just did it), and do whatever they can think of can get their people in there.

If "Hell No" was an option on this constitutional convention, I would vote for it. I'll have to settle for "no." The prospects of what can happen at the constutional convention are about as frightening as facing the business end of a gun.

1 comment:

keithr said...

You don't replace an entire engine when it needs a tuneup or few minor adjustments.

Nothing I've read or heard has convinced me that the state constitution needs a wholesale rewriting.

If it needs changes, do it through revisions, one at a time, so voters in Michigan are able to weigh in on potential changes.