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No EFM Vote? No Bridge

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Michigan took another hit on April 26 when the State Board of Canvassers, in a split 2-2 vote, struck down the petition to bring Public Act 4 (The Emergency Financial Manager Law) to the November ballot.  The people of Michigan had gathered 203,238 signatures; 40,000 more than were needed. The signatures were all approved as legal. The board is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. All four are appointed by the governor. A winning vote can only come from crossing party lines. There was no way either side was willing to budge on Public Act 4. Republicans Jeffrey Timmer and Norman Shinkle voted against the petition. Democrats Julie Matuzak and James Water were in favor of bringing the issue to the people.

The reason the Republicans denied it? Font size. Printer Bruce Hack, of the Inland Press, said he certified the type size met legal requirements before printing the petitions.

Public Act 4 is an unconstitutional law. This law gives Emergency Financial Managers sole power and control over the city they are appointed to. They can cancel all contracts, oust city council, and leave a mayor without merit. They can sell property to the private sector. They are granted exectutive power, too much power, and they answer to nobody but Governor Rick Snyder.

Of course, it is all a part of privatization. Snyder isn’t going to crawl out of the Koch Brothers’ or Waltons’ pocket without a fight. I have an idea: lets see how much power Snyder really is willing to take from the voters and the people of Michigan.

The same board that denied allowing Public Act 4 the vote in November did push through the vote on Snyder’s pet project: The New Bridge. He is going to try to sell it to the people as a boost to the jobs market and our economy. He will say Canada is willing to give us $550 million toward building the new bridge. The truth is Canada is willing to loan us $550 million on a project that is going to cost how much? Oh yeah, $3.6 billion!

The voters haven’t forgotten that the elderly and education paid for the cuts to Michigan’s richest at $1.8 billion. Where is Rick going to pull $3.6 billion? Who is going to pay for that? I got it, the teachers, or maybe the hungry and the poor, or the EFM savings from sold land and cut services.

But I have a brilliant idea. I say we turn out, in record numbers for the vote. I say we should cast our vote against the new Detroit to Canada Bridge. It would infuriate Rick almost as much as he has insulted the residents of Michigan. Maybe then Mr. Snyder will understand the meaning and the message in the power of the vote!

He has robbed the people of their vote with EFM’s. If we refuse the new bridge through voting, maybe, just maybe, he’ll get the picture. Vote no on the new bridge in November!

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About Pam Messingham

  • Hugh McNichol

    Dr Dreadful,
    if the courts rule with the board of cavassers, that optin will be open to the petitioner, but there may not be adequate time to collect the necessary signatures by the deadline. The magnifying glass is not an option as the type sized is specified in law.

  • Hugh McNichol

    Yes Pam, an enhanced driver’s license is a passport equivelent document for travel between the US and Canada or Mexico. There were a couple of years before Michigan started issuing enhanced driver’s licenses when only a passport would work. With luck, the enhanced drivers license should return us to the days when crossing the border was a relatively simple exercise.

  • Igor, agreed, except the greed of snyder and the waltons (walmart) and kock brothers are going to do everything they can to keep it from going private…at least to the man who owns it now…they seriously want to get their greedy little hands in the mix…the bad thing about snyder…he will take the money from the places in the budget that can’t afford it, like the schools or the old people…I totally agree with you.

  • Hugh McNichol

    The bridge proposed by Michigan and Canada would also be a toll bridge, requiring no government money and paid for by actual user. It is the same model that was used for both the Blue Water bridge in Port Huron and the international Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie. And the only reason the private sector proposal looks cheaper that the government proposal is because it does not include improvements to the access roads on either side of the border, something the governments would have to par for and not be reimbursed by tolls.

  • Igor

    It appears to me that there are two competing plans for a new bridge:

    -the private owner of the existing “Ambassador” bridge wants to build a new one alongside, which he claims will cost him $500million. I suppose he’ll charge tolls to use it.

    -Gov. Snyder wants to build a new bridge at government cost for about $1.8billion. I don’t know if there’ll be a toll or not.

    At first glance it seems to me that the private offer is best because it requires no gov. money and usage fees are collected from actual users.

    I invite you to tell me where I’m wrong.

  • no not a passport…an enhanced drivers license…and that’s only been in the past few years…so no…no passport needed to go to Canada…

  • Hugh McNichol

    Also, you didn’t need a passport, or its equivelent to cross the border in 1977 ….you do now.

  • Hugh McNichol

    Actually, the Koch Brothers, through thier group Americans for Prosperity, are opposed to the new bridge

  • Oops sorry Igor!

  • Okay…your point? I don’t get it. You are talking about the current owner wanting to build a new bridge…I am talking about Snyder and the koch brother/waltons. Same thing…As for increased security since 2001…no, you don’t travel to Canada often, do you? There wasn’t any increased security. I had a much harder time crossing the bridge in 1977 than I did in 2001…so…I’m done arguing this issue. Your post just made my point…Have a great day. ~ Pam

  • Here’s a wacky idea:

    Reprint the petition. In the correct typeface.

    Or give the board members a fucking magnifying glass.

    Jeez. Did I wander into an alternate sodding reality or something?

  • Hugh McNichol

    Yes, Overall traffic is down since 2001 as a result of increased security requirements at the border (i.e. you can no longer pop across the border for lunch because the added delay of the customs inspection extends the time well past what most downtown workers have available for lunch)
    However, truck traffic has continued to increase up until the recent recession, and is currently rebounding from that downturn.

  • Igor

    The Detroit Free Press has interesting articles about the bridge situation: Detroit Free Press

    Here’s an abstract:

    Just about everyone involved agrees a new bridge is needed to replace or supplement the Ambassador Bridge. The fight is over location and control.

    BY John Gallagher AND Chris Christoff

    Powerful Moroun family pours $1.5 million into political races

    Tax-free fuel sales are bonanza for Ambassador Bridge owners

    Q&A: An interview with Matthew Moroun
    Editorial: A second Detroit River crossing: Just build it

    There are big names on both sides of the bridge debate
    List of supporters for Detroit-Windsor New International Trade Crossing
    PDF: Who pays for what parts of the new bridge (314 KB)

    Owner: Businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun

    Future plans: Moroun hopes to build a replacement span for about $500 million alongside the Ambassador and then renovate the Ambassador Bridge.

    Historical fact: When it opened, the Ambassador Bridge was briefly the longest suspension bridge in the world.

    Ownership: To be jointly owned by public authorities to be created by U.S. and Canadian governments

    Projected cost: $950 million for bridge alone; total project costs of $3.8 billion, including new connector highway through Windsor to Canada’s 401 expressway.

    About this series

    Today: A Free Press analysis of what’s truth and what’s hyperbole in controversial ads and statements about the bridge controversy

    Monday: A look at the Moroun family’s duty-free bonanza.

    Tuesday: A look at the Lansing politics in the bridge controversy.

    First of three parts.

    Part 2: Tax-free fuel sales are bonanza for Ambassador Bridge owners

    Part 3: Moroun: Defeating public bridge isn’t only goal

    Today, the Free Press separates the swirling exaggerations from the truth in the border showdown critical to Michigan’s future.

    On one side: Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun, wielding the family fortune and political connections to defeat a proposed publicly owned span that would cut deeply into his business.

    On the other side: the U.S. and Canadian governments, with strong support from business groups that want a new crossing between Detroit and Windsor to speed commercial truck traffic across the busiest trade crossing between the U.S. and Canada.

    The weapons: muscular lobbying by the Morouns, with controversial TV ads and arm-twisting in Lansing, to convince lawmakers and the public that a second Detroit River bridge is unnecessary and a potential burden for taxpayers.

    Gov. Rick Snyder and his aides have the bully pulpit to muster support for a publicly owned bridge. They say they have bulletproof legislation to protect taxpayers against use of any significant Michigan money to build a new bridge.

    The stakes: control of the border crossing. And key decisions are expected in coming weeks from Lansing.

    An interesting graph shows that traffic is actually down.

  • Not bad research…but you believe what you want to believe.

  • Hugh McNichol

    Bad Research is the same as no research at all

  • Research research research…

  • Hugh McNichol

    I’m no fan of Gov. Snyder. But you clearly do not know what you’re talking about regarding the proposed new bridge. Would like to know where you got the cost figure from if it wasn’t a TV ad, because the number you used is almost double the estimated cost. The studies justifying the bridge were completed during Gov. Granholm’s administration and she was a supporter, but unable to get the legislature to move on it.

  • I am so not Tea Party…but I am smart enough to see exactly what Snyder is doing. If you live in Michigan and support him…good for you. That’s your right…at least for the time being. Michigan is a state that has been taking from all the wrong people and giving to all the wrong ones as well, some people aren’t blinded by the trees. Michigan is a very scary place. As for your tv advertisement comment. I don’t even turn on a television, but good try. As for Tea Party…nope…wrong again. I have signed many petitions against Snyder and I will continue to do so. The man, in my eyes, is not only a tyrant, but as Anti American and Pro Corporation as they come. You support him…good for you. Your choice. Me, I will vote against the new bridge. That’s just my opinion……..

  • Hugh McNichol

    Upon this this blog, I’m surprised that this Blog isn’t called Tea-Party Pam’s Recipes for Michigan. I’m not a big fan of the EFM law but the courts will decide which side properly meassured the typeface.
    Petitioners do have the option, not exercised in this particular instance, to have the form of the petition reviewed by the board of canvassers before one starts collecting signatures, to avoid exactly this kind of problem.
    However, your suggested remedy is a classic example of tea-party logic. You clearly have no clue about the rpoposed bridge or the proposed ballot question that is associated with it. The board of canvassars did not approve the ballot issue for the bridge, they just approved the form of the petitions, that among other things, they had th right typeface. If you think the proposed new bridge is Snyder’s Bridge, then its clear you get all your information from television advertisements. You have the cost of the bridge wrong, the intent is for the bridge to be a toll bridge, just like all three of the other international bridges in Michigan, and the Mackinac Bridge, which means the users of the bridge will pay for it, not the citixens of Michigan. The proposal for a new bridge is supported by every living former Governor of the State of Michigan, both democrats and republicans. It’s importance to the future well-being of the state of Michigan cannot be understated. One can only hope that all people take away from you blog will be the actual tea recipes, I;m sure you serve a mean cup of oolong.