Detroit News. November 20, 2021.
Editorial: Panel must obey clearly written redistribution law
There is no wiggle room in the language of the constitutional amendment that established the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission. The law clearly states that the commission “will conduct all of its business at public meetings.”
And yet, the 13-member panel that is redrawing the state’s political boundaries seems perplexed by this unequivocal mandate, as do some of the so-called experts who offer it advice on how to conduct its business.
On Thursday, commissioners heard from Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians, who suggested they should conduct secret votes on the cards instead of voting in a public meeting.
“As you move towards the final vote… we hope you adopt best practices like putting all the cards on the same ballot and voting by secret ballot,” Wang said.
Wang’s voice is influential because his organization spearheaded the voting initiative that brought the “People, Not Politicians” proposal to voters. She should know better than to argue against the transparency the law demands of the process.
Secret votes are not a “best practice” in any circumstance in which the affairs of the people are decided.
While we hope and expect the commission to ignore Wang’s exhortations and adhere to the law, our confidence is not high, given the panel’s track record.
On October 27, the committee abruptly closed its meeting, calling on the media and the public to discuss a report by its lawyers on the voting rights law. While the panel did not meet again in secret, it also did not respond to requests to make public the information that was discussed behind closed doors.
State media are considering legal action to force the panel to live up to its commitment to transparency. Attorney General Dana Nessel has yet to issue an opinion that could avoid a legal confrontation.
Michigan taxpayers, as well as Michigan newsrooms, have a better use of their resources than fighting in court for a mandate clearly spelled out in Michigan’s constitution.
Additionally, earlier this month, the Redistribution Commission ignored the advice of its own legal advisor and set limits on when members can submit proposed individual cards. It also appears to conflict with the wording of the constitutional amendment.
“We are clarifying our interpretation of the law or the constitutional amendment,” said commission chair Rebecca Szetela. “We are not rewriting or redefining the constitution. We’re just defining how we’re going to interpret it.
It sounds a lot like the President is very much in agreement with the “redefinition” of a clearly written law, and it is not for her to do so. These offhand comments undermine the credibility of the commission.
This new redistribution process has every potential to be exactly what was promised – a transparent, non-partisan exercise that will help restore confidence in the electoral process.
This will not happen if the members flee behind the scenes where cronyism and self-centeredness have prevailed in the past.
Traverse City Record-Aigle. November 21, 2021.
Editorial: We all know what to do to crush the curve
Looks like we’re alone.
The “we” refers to Michiganders. And ‘on our own’ is all that needs to be done to curb the now explosive wave of COVID-19 that has spread like wildfire in our state over the past few weeks.
This peak shows no signs of abating – hospitals statewide, including health facilities in Munson, are reporting an alarming increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19. State data shows record daily positive test results and a week where positivity rates exceeded 17% statewide.
During the same period, dozens of hospitals reported near or full capacity patient numbers – at least one Spectrum hospital in Grand Rapids adopted a plan to convert a cafeteria into patient space last week.
These are milestones that a year ago would have sparked a deluge of state or local public health orders, a stack of state agency public notices and speeches from Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her top officials. of public health.
Yet last week state and local health officials and the governor remained largely silent. State officials have issued a public health notice encouraging mask wear on vacations and family gatherings over the next several weeks – a measure they remind us of is helping mitigate the spread of the virus at times when it saturates our communities.
No universal masking order for schools or public places. No recommendation for schools to suspend in-person learning as classrooms become hotspots for the spread of the virus. No restrictions on major events.
No, the governor’s only substantive statement was a statement encouraging those who qualify to line up for booster doses of the three available vaccines – the most effective tool available capable of preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and illnesses. deaths from the virus.
This change in direction is life-changing and sends a clear signal that we are alone, that the trajectory of the escalation that is now worsening is in our hands, that we all know what needs to be done to alleviate the worst. -the nation is increasing the cases of COVID we are seeing.
Some communities will do little or nothing to combat this peak. Their inaction can make crowds sick, overwhelm local health systems, and some – most of them unvaccinated – will become seriously ill and possibly die. Others, with decisive local leadership and collective sacrifice, will stop the tide before it is too late.
Some would argue that this new approach to the pandemic, which emphasizes a Darwinian approach to personal responsibility, should have been the march of heads of state from the start.
Others will say that the lack of leadership will engulf innocent people whose pre-existing conditions or vulnerabilities make them cannon fodder for the empowerment experiences of others.
We all know what we can do to prevent the already overwhelming wave of COVID patients flooding our state’s hospitals.
And if we care about the well-being of the people who care for us when we are sick, and the vulnerable people in our lives, vaccinated or not, we will do what needs to be done.
Wear masks in assembly places, get vaccinated, and stay home if we are sick or exposed to someone who is sick.
We all have a role to play in making sure everyone around us enjoys a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
Our collective actions over the next few weeks will determine our collective outcome.
Le Journal des Mines (Marquette). November 19, 2021.
Editorial: McBroom deserves Detroit News honor
We were extremely pleased to see recently that State Senator Ed McBroom was named one of Detroit News’ Many Michiganians of the Year.
McBroom, 40, a Republican farmer from Wacedah Township, was on the list because of his chairmanship of the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee, charged with closely examining the 2020 election in the state of Michigan.
To everyone’s surprise, the GOP-dominated panel found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud in the ballot.
“I wanted to have the answers that I thought people wanted and deserved,” McBroom said for a Detroit News article on the subject. “It was difficult to have them. It was difficult to dig things into it.
McBroom received a nasty partisan beating for his work on the committee. Many Conservatives have condemned the committee’s findings in general and McBroom in particular. Even former President Donald Trump got involved, releasing a statement alleging that McBroom and his Republican colleague Mike Shirkey were working to “hide the truth” about the election.
It was, of course, nonsense, but it didn’t stop the stacking – in Lansing and here on the Upper Peninsula. It was unfair, mean and 100 percent undeserved.
The Detroit News quoted Shirkey in his description of McBroom: “McBroom is a man of great integrity and determination.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Senator McBroom did the right thing while doing the wrong thing was the easy game. He stood up for honesty when many in this state and beyond did not.
Do we agree with all of his political decisions? No. And in the future, it is likely that we will continue to disagree with the senator as matters arise.
On this issue, however, he won our respect and support.
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