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November 06, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-06

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4A - Monday, November 6, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position ofnthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed
articles and illustrations represent solely the views ofntheir authors.
On the ballot
Yes on 1, No on 2, No on 3, No on 4, Yes on 5
T he Michigan ballot has five initiatives this year -
you've probably heard of one of them, perhaps two.
Today the Daily discusses the "forgotten" ballot pro-
posals. Look for Proposal 2 in tomorrow's newspaper.



wins today."
- DANIEL ORTEGA, the Sandinista
leader seeking the presidency of
Nicaragua, predicting he'll emerge
victorious in the election held on
Sunday, as reported yesterday by
The Associated Press.

Partisans and impeachment

alancing Michigan's budget has
required creative financial maneu-
vering on the part of state legisla-
tors, and the state's economic situation
gives little indication this will change.
But the need for flexibility is not an
excuse to reject Proposal 1, which would
guarantee the retention of funds collect-
ed through user fees. The Department of
Natural Resources collects park entrance
fees and license fees for the mainte-
nance and improvement of Michigan's
parks, but the state has raided some of
these funds in the past. Proposal 1 would
amend the state constitution to create

a Conservation and Recreation Legacy
Fund, ensuring that fees collected by the
DNR are retained and used within the
department. The state Legislature itself
placed this initiative on the ballot, asking
Michigan voters to protect DNR funding
from budget balancing raids. The DNR
is responsible for the largest public land
base east of the Mississippi and plays an
important role in natural resource con-
servation. To send the message that the
Great Lakes and other natural resources
are a priority, even in times of economic
trouble, Michigan residents should vote
YES on Proposal 1.

"The President, Vice President and all
civil Officers of the United States, shall
be removed from Office on Impeachment
for, and Conviction of
Treason, Bribery, or
other high Crimes andr
outline of
offenses in Article II,
Section 4 of our good IMRAN
old U.S. Constitu-
tion - in all its glori- SYED
ous vagueness. Now,
if I didn't know better, I would say the
Founding Fathers left that door so wide
open that President Bush could have been
impeached about 12 times by now. What
does "high Crimes and Misdemean-
ors" actually mean? Whatever it is, the
accepted norm is that it's up to the House
of Representative to decide. Once Ameri-
can politics became a charade of democ-
racy chained to the whims of partisan
sails (say, around 1800), what is and isn't
appropriate grounds for impeachment
of a president depends mainly on which
party is in power.
I'm sure President Clinton lied about
his relationship with Monica Lewinsky,
but you better believe that would not be
an impeachable offense to a Democrat-
controlled House. Similarly, only some-
one drinking the Bush/Cheney Kool-Aid
straight from the punch bowl would
argue that every thing the president told
the country before invadingIraqwasctrue.
Whether Iraq had enriched uranium, or
partially enriched uranium, or uranium
that could potentially be enriched, or
something that looked like uranium or
whatever, clearly there was some fudging
going on. Colin Powell said so, Richard
Clarke said so and Bob Woodward seems
to almost have the president on record

saying so.
A quick recap: We went in for weap-
ons of mass destruction because we were
told they posed an imminent threat to
America. We didn't find weapons of mass
Oh wait - Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-
Mich) and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.)
think we did find WMD, but they need to
get a clue. What was found were a couple
hundred old shells that weren't in usable
condition anyway. Even senior defense
officials of this administration have
declared that Hoekstra and Santorum's
WMD are "not the WMDs this country
and the rest of the world believed Iraq
had and not the WMDs for which this
country went to war."
OK, so no WMD, just a war based
on false pretenses. Is that grounds for
impeachment? Not to a Republican-
dominated House, not when it's filled
with representatives like Hoekstra who
will walk into what they swear is a gold
mine, find a penny on the ground and
pass it off as proof. But that's what elec-
tions are for.
Last week, an op-ed page in the Daily
highlighted key congressional races
that could give Democrats control of
one or both houses of Congress. These
races are important, but any shift in the
nation's mood, any step toward "enough
is enough" will have to go beyond these
toss-up races. Ifa shift in partisan winds
is to bring change, it must sweep up some
"safe" Republican seats.
One such seat is the one occupied by
Thaddeus McCotter, a Republican who
represents my home district - Michi-
gan's 11th, just east of Ann Arbor. Thad's
been in Congress only four years, but
boy, have they been hectic. When he's
not working to defeat disgusting menaces
like federal financial aid for students and
potentially lifesaving embryonic stem-
cell research, Thad found time to party

with the who's who of Congressional
douchebags, accepting thousands of dol-
lars from disgraced representatives Tom
DeLay (R-Texas), Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and
Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.).
But if Thad's been naughty, he's count-
ing on the good people of my district to
look the other way. He's outspent his
Democratic opponent, radio host Tony
Trupiano, by about 8-1, touting himself
as a Reagan Republican. In community
forums, he's cold and brusque, barely
acknowledging his opponents.
I am reminded in this case of Wyche
Fowler, the Democratic senator from
Georgia who once thought he was hot
stuff too. He was smug and he had his
head in the clouds - but before youknew
it, he lost his seat to dark horse Paul
Coverdell (who later died, yielding his
seat to Two-Face - I mean Zell Miller).
Safe seats willfall,andiftheydo,they'll
fallto the Democrats. Trupiano's election,
though still far from likely, is closing in
on conceivability. And he's already made
it clear that if elected, he would take the
lead in the Bush impeachment process.
With party leaders like Rep. John Cony-
ers (D-Mich) calling for impeachment
and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich) also
unofficially leaning in that direction, our
state might be in an unexpected political
spotlight this time nextyear.
So take this time to remove the
impeachment of Bush from the "Demo-
cratic delusions" file in your brain and
slip it into the "stranger things have hap-
pened" drawer. Impeaching Bush may
not be the right thing to do, but it'll be a
whole hell of alot more justified and rel-
evant than Clinton's impeachment. And
as long as we deal in partisanship, a Bush
impeachment is only fair.
Imran Syed is a Daily associate
editorial page editor. He can be
reached at galad@umich.edu.


fterthestate Legislaturerepealed
a 100-year-old ban on mourning
dove hunting, leading to a lim-
ited hunting season in the fall of 2004,
opponents gathered enough signatures
to suspend the next dove hunting sea-
son. Proposal 3 will let voters decide
whether to re-establish a hunting sea-
son for mourning doves. Hunters argue
that rejecting the proposal is an assault
on their right to hunt other animals and
keep guns. But dove hunting and deer
hunting are entirely different matters,
and Michigan's long tradition of hunt-
ing ensures the state Legislature would
never undertake any of the doomsday

scenarios that worry hunters.
The real issue comes down to whether
this specific form of hunting should be
permitted. Hunting fast game birds can
cause accidents more easily than hunting
other game - just ask Dick Cheney. Also,
many dove hunters may mistake endan-
gered bird species for doves. But perhaps
the best reason to vote against Proposal
3 is simply that unlike other game, doves
are little more than target practice, with
even hunters admitting that each dove,
weighing three to four ounces, yields
little meat. There's no good reason to
add doves to already lengthy list of game
birds; vote NO on Proposal 3.


The debate over the moral valid-
ity of a government's powers of
eminent domain has been ampli-
fied following the U.S. Supreme Court's
decision in Kelo v. New London. That
ruling upheld the government's ability
to take private property and transfer it
to another private entity for economic
development purposes, an idea that
many find antithetical to the American
Dream. Proposal 4 is a state consti-
tutional amendment to ban such uses
of eminent domain. However, what-
ever beliefs one holds on the subject
are irrelevant, because the Michigan
Supreme Court has already ruled that
such land takings are illegal. Its ruling
in Hathcock v. Wayne County clearly

outlawed the use of eminent domain for
economic development purposes, and a
court reversal is unlikely.
The real impact of Proposal 4 would
be felt in the constraints it places on
a government's ability to condemn
blighted areas. If Proposal 4 passes,
governments will have to compen-
sate landowners with 125 percent of
their property's fair market value and
would be forced to condemn properties
through an arduous case-by-case basis.
Proposal 4 is an unnecessary measure
that would hinder cities' ability to revi-
talize downtrodden areas at a time
when urban renewal is integral to fix-
ing Michigan's struggling economy. On
Election Day, vote NO on Proposal 4.

Prop 2 unwise for Michigan


The ballot proposals voters will
face on Tuesday are contentious
in two ways: We must decide
both on the substantive implications of
the proposals and also on whether the
proposed mechanisms are the best way
to carry out the intended goals. Pro-
posal 5, drafted in response to fears that
potential cuts in state funding would
undermine education in Michigan, was
conceived for the right reasons. Ensur-
ing funding to education - the budget
item most essential in catalyzing Mich-
igan's transition to a knowledge-based
economy - is a worthy goal. However,
the fiscal logic behind the proposal is
questionable, making the decision to
vote for Proposal 5 difficult.
In recent years, the state Legislature
has been no friend of education. State
appropriations to public universities
were cut by 15 percent between 2000
and 2004. Meanwhile, K-12 funding,
especially scarce in some urban dis-
tricts, remained basically flat over that
time period. Certainly the Legislature
faces a budget squeeze, but it's time we
accept that improved education at all
levels is a prerequisite for Michigan's
economic rebirth. In this vein, and fac-
ing a Legislature that's proven all too
willing to throw education in the trunk,
Proposal 5 is a vital step.
Opponents of the proposal claim that
the ballot language lacks adequate provi-
sion for administrative oversight, which
could hinder the proposal's impact on
the quality of education. Many worry
that the discretion given to local school
districts in determining how their funds

are allocated will empower teachers'
unions at the expense of students. The
proposal would also cap the contribution
districts would have to make to retire-
ment costs, shifting the remaining costs
to a fiscally troubled state. Still others
predict that a provision in the initiative
which stipulates all mandated funds in
excess of the state's budget for education
must be drawn from the general fund
does not bode well for other essential
welfare measures. Proposal 5 will cost
no less than $565 million in its first year
alone, and the struggling state will be
left with two methods of generating the
additional revenue - increasing taxes or
cutting other programs paid for out of
the general fund.
Although the dataamassed against the
proposal seems to provide a clear case
against its viability, it is better to have
some security for education funding
than none at all. If Proposal 5 is defeated
now, there's no promise of a more per-
fect proposal coming before voters any-
time soon. On the other hand, if voters
pass Proposal 5 now, we can still work to
perfect its specifics in the future. (It can
be amended or overturned by a three-
fourths vote in the state Legislature.)
The proposal's provisions will force
the Legislature to re-evaluate which of
its projects are truly essential for the
economic and social well-being of the
state, and education must always be
near the top of that list. Despite its many
imperfections, vote YES on Proposal5
because the substance of the measure is
salvageable and its spirit is both timely
and necessary.

One of the most prevalent and insidi-
ous arguments made against affirmative
action has been that it gives preferences
to unqualified female or minority can-
In fact, it is that very belief which
proponents of the so-called Michigan
Civil Rights Initiative, also known as
Proposal 2, are counting on to carry
them to victory on Election Day.
Yet nearly every expert in the area of
affirmative action and civil rights law
rejected that fallacious argument fol-
lowing close examination of the policy.
So did the U.S. Supreme Court itself in
the historic 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger
decision, which upheld the University
of Michigan's use of affirmative action
in its law school admissions program.
In a competitive global economy, we
need all hands on deck in Michigan.
Everyone has something to unique to
contribute to our shared progress and
understanding, and when we allow
everyone to have a seat at the table,
Michigan becomes stronger and more
But, quite frankly, neither of us needs
to read a Supreme Court decision or
any scholarly journals to appreciate the
importance of affirmative action and its
necessity in making our state and nation
a fairer and more competitive union of
different people and cultures.
We are both living proof of the ben-
efits of affirmative action - and proudly
so. Affirmative action is about opening
doors, not closing them.
As a young boy growing up during
the 1940s and '50s in a poor but loving
family in Cassopolis, Michigan, a young
Dennis Archer could not have possibly
dreamed of one day becoming a sitting
Michigan Supreme Court justice and
later the mayor of one of the largest and
certainly greatest cities in the world
- Detroit.
And as a young girl growing up in
California, as the daughter of immigrant

parents who never had the privilege of
going to college, the governor's office in
Michigan was not even a distant dream
for a young Jennifer Granholm.
Yet through an amazing and truly
American convergence of historical
events in the 1960s and '70s, such as the
civil rights and women's movements, we
were able not only to break through bar-
riers to positions that were once almost
the sole province of white males - such
as the Michigan Supreme Court, state
attorney general and the governor's
office - but also to open up the doors of
opportunity for others.
And while we certainly have become
known because of high-profile posi-
tions, we are not unique in understand-
ing how expanding opportunities for
people of color and women have posi-
tively impacted our state and nation.
Voting no on Proposal 2 is important
for Michigan's economic development
and growth. Business leaders from
across the country oppose this amend-
ment because they know that diversity
in the workplace increases productivity
and creativity. We're trying to attract
new high-tech companies like Google to
Michigan by convincing them we have
an open, diverse and welcoming soci-
ety. To enshrine something that would
end up being viewed as discriminatory,
negative and exclusive would be a ter-
rible statement about Michigan.
In fact, the real success of affirmative
action is in the way it impacts us by ulti-
mately leveling the playing field so that
everyone benefits. The growth in female
lawyers, doctors, professors, police and
firefighters along with skilled trade pro-
fessionals - and yes, even female politi-
cians - is a direct result of opening the
door and allowing people to be given a
chance to prove themselves.
You see, success is not a zero sum
If women, African Americans, Lati-
nos and all other minority groups are

treated fairly and have every opportuni-
ty to succeed and partake in the benefits
of our multiracial and democratic soci-
ety, then all of America will prosper.
This objective fact is borne out in the
emergence of a new American middle
class as a direct consequence of the civil
rights movement. Colleges, office doors,
professions and trades once closed but
now opened to racial minorities and
women allowed a new generation of citi-
zens to fully participate in the American
dream by ensuring they had equal access
to the same opportunities which were
once the sole province of white males.
This allowed for women and people of
color to become more economically and
socially independent and to increase
their earnings and ability to be much
more productive citizens - and taxpay-
ers. Most important, it helped motivate
their children and others to strive for
higher and different goals in life - per-
petuating wealth and middle-class val-
ues, and generating a greater impact on
our culture, economy and society.
And no one would argue that Ameri-
ca is not a healthier, wealthier and more
prosperous nation as a result of our
society being more open and willing to
invest in its greatest natural resource
- its citizens.
Don't let people who are neither vest-
ed in our state or believe in the ultimate
greatness and potential of all our people
deceive you into voting for a proposal
that takes us back to the bad old days of
exclusion and marginalization.
We are better than that - and it is the
very success of affirmative action which
proves it.
Jennifer Granholm is the governor of
Michigan. Dennis Archer is the former
mayor of Detroit and is currently the
chairman of the Dickinson Wright law
firm in Detroit and of the Detroit Regional
Chamber of Commerce. This article was
published in The South End on Nov. 2.





Editorial Board Members: Reggie Brown, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda
Burns, Sam Butler, Ben Caleca, Devika Daga, Milly Dick, James David
Dickson, Jesse Forester, Gary Graca, Jared Goldberg, Jessi Holler, Rafi
Martina, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Katherine Seid,
Elizabeth Stanley, John Stiglich, Neil Tambe, Rachel Wagner.


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