Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Eve: Voting Reminders

Of course it's important that you vote, and remember--an educated voter is the best voter. To get your personalized ballot and read candidate statements, visit the League of Women Voters web site:

Another useful source of information is the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Look for information on their web site at:


Here are links to the pieces I've written about the election: 

School board races and more: 

2012 Washtenaw County Education-Related Items on the Ballot (with lots of links to other information)
This includes information about school board races across the county, including school board races in Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester, Ypsilanti, Whitmore Lake, Lincoln Consolidated, Willow Run, and Milan.

On the Ballot:

1. Non-partisan candidates matter for education (and I give some examples of why)

2. The proposals really matter for education (and I give some examples of why)

3. Washtenaw Community College board election (and I share some important background information) about why I am voting for Morton and Landau.

Ypsilanti/Willow Run Consolidation:

1. On the ballot: Ypsilanti/Willow Run Consolidation 

2. Thoughts about the consolidation from a guest poster (YpsiAnon)

Here are the things I am thinking about as I figure out who and what I am voting for:

1. In some of the cases above I've told you who I'm voting for:
For Supreme Court, I'm voting for Kelly, Johnson, and McCormack. I don't usually know too much about the Supreme Court candidates, but I had the opportunity to hear Bridget Mary McCormack, and she was truly impressive in discussing how the administration of law can change lives. Lots of educational issues do go through the courts (as I discuss, linked above) and I believe these three candidates will make an important difference.

2. On the proposals, I'm voting:
Proposal 1--No (ends the current emergency manager law)--as I explain, I see this as a civil rights issue--here is why.

Michigan Parents for Schools suggests you vote No on Proposal 1 because:
1) We urge you to vote NO on Proposal 1, the referendum on the most recent emergency manager law (PA 4 of 2011). A NO vote is a vote to repeal the law, leaving the previous emergency financial manger law in force (PA 72 of 1990).
Why? The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan said it best: "The great departure in PA 4 [from previous law] is the granting of powers to emergency managers that are significantly greater than those that may be exercised by locally elected officials and the extension of those powers into every aspect of the local government." [emphasis added]
In short, PA 4 was an unprecedented intrusion into local democratic control of our schools and communities. Emergency Managers of school districts were given power not only over financial matters but also over curriculum decisions. Locally elected school boards were stripped of all power and effectively disbanded. Perhaps the most startling use of this power by EMs was the decision to close local school districts and replace them with charter school networks in two Michigan communities.
While the state government may have legitimate cause to intervene in local finances when things go awry, the extraordinary powers granted by PA 4 take this much too far. We urge a NO vote on Proposal 1.

Proposal 2--Yes (puts collective bargaining in the constitution). I think teachers and other workers need this protection.
Proposal 3--Yes (energy)--I don't see this as an education issue but I'm worried about climate change.
Proposal 4--leaning toward Yes (home health aides being allowed to organize--I don't see this as an education issue)
Proposal 5--No (supermajority for taxes)--this proposal is probably the most important one on the ballot regarding education, and it's funded by Matty Moroun--please, please, please vote no (read why using the link above).

Michigan Parents for Schools suggests you vote No on Proposal 5 because:
2) We also strongly urge you to vote NO on Proposal 5. This proposal, backed by a narrow array of anti-tax groups and special interests, would require a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of the Legislature for any increase in taxes. This notion might be appealing to some citizens, but the consequences for our schools and our state would be devastating.
The share of state personal income which state taxes now collect is close to the lowest levels seen since the Headlee Amendment was approved in 1978. The Michigan Legislature has been underfunding education for years and has locked our school funding into a tax structure that is not keeping up with inflation, let alone educational needs. This proposal would give a handful of legislators veto power over all efforts to increase revenue for education and other public services. For example, as few as 12 State Senators could block new sources of school funding.
Proposal 6--No (bridge proposal--another proposal funded by Matty Moroun

3. Ypsilanti/Willow Run consolidation--Ypsilanti and Willow Run are very much between a rock and a hard place here. I don't believe that this is the best deal they could have gotten, and there are significant risks associated with it. On the other hand, this is the deal they got, and it might be better than the alternatives. You can read more about the choices at:

4. I know, you want to know how I'm voting for the Ann Arbor school board. I am voting for Deb Mexicotte. I appreciate that she works very hard, has educated herself on a lot of school issues, and appears to be honest and tell people what she's thinking and not necessarily what they want to hear. Having said that, I've had several occasions where she and I have not agreed, and if there were other candidates whom I thought agreed with me more I would probably support them. There aren't. At least not in this go-round.

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