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Thursday, October 28,2010

Endorsements

by City Pulse


This story was corrected on Oct. 28.


In 2008, the Lansing area joined the rest of country in demanding change.


We
said enough to Republicans who use human beings — gays, lesbians,
African-Americans, the transgendered, etc. — as wedge issues to exploit
the fears of the masses.


We
said enough to Republicans who take treasure chests of campaign dollars
from insurance companies, "big oil," pharmaceutical companies and Wall
Street executives for policies that make them rich at the expense of our
right to court, our jobs and our environment.


We
said enough to Republicans who give big breaks to the rich on the
illusion that the money will "trickle down" to use. Instead, they can
exploit workers in third-world countries with lax labor laws, earning
them more money. All the while, they claim they're doing us a favor by
stocking WalMart with needless cheap, made-in-China crap.


And
change is happening.


Take a step away from the theatrical screaming
heads on FOX or the silly Gadsden flag-waving undereducated malcontents
who somehow hold "government" responsible for their personal struggles.
Who thinks good government doesn't cost anything?


We
elected an extremely capable man to lead our country. We didn't elect a
wizard who can wave a wand and transform a nation of 300 million into
Utopia. The change President Barack Obama pledged is happening.


Appreciate
that we have a president who prevented our biggest job provider,
General Motors, from being liquidated into non-existence. That health
care won’t be determined primarily by income. That we had a stimulus
package that kept hundreds in this area employed. That we, regular men
and women, have an advocate in leadership.


This is progress. This is something all of us should be proud of. This is absolutely not the time to turn back.


The
Nov. 2 election gives Lansing an opportunity to embrace the successes
Democrats have brought. It's change we can be proud of.


For
this reason, City Pulse is excited to endorse the following, who we
feel will keep this country, state and region moving in the same
progressive direction.

Governor - Virg Bernero

"Get rid of the politician." It's a popular theme this year, but interestingly, voters are always willing to keep their local politician. He or she is doing a good job. It's always someone else's politician that's the problem.


Well, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is our hometown politician and, quite frankly, he's a darn good one. Remember downtown Lansing before he took office just five years ago. Sometimes it's underappreciated how broke city government is, and Bernero was able to balance the budget without raising taxes or decimating our adequate police force.


Bernero has exhibited a take-charge personality that well suits his position as public executive. He's a populist when we need a passionate advocate. He's a visionary when we need a clear path to success. And he’s showing an increasing sense of diplomacy.


He understands the need for business and development but can work with organized labor. Maybe more important, he understands the job of governor. As a former legislator, he understands that a $1.5 billion hit to the budget can't be made up with some hocus-pocus boardroom lingo like "value for money budgeting."


Bernero is also pro-choice and OK with gay marriage.


We commend Republicans for at least picking a relatively moderate voice as its nominee. This state could do a lot worse than Rick Snyder, whose willingness to bring people together is a refreshing change from the empty political rhetoric we heard from Mike Cox or Pete Hoekstra.


But we think Snyder underestimates the challenges of getting 20 votes in the Senate and 56 votes in the House to advance his agenda. It will take longer than he expects to become comfortable behind the wheel of state government.


Bernero has the experience we need now.


Secretary of State - Jocelyn Benson


The Democrats finally have a candidate whose genuine excitement for the job is contagious.


Benson isn't on the ticket because she fits a demographic category. She wasn't reluctantly pulled out of the air days before the convention by organized labor. She isn't a flunky of the gubernatorial nominee.


She is pledging to keep the convenience of her voters and customers as a top priority without sacrificing integrity.


Republican Ruth Johnson's willingness to throw transgendered individuals under the bus at her party's state convention on the driver license gender identification issue is disturbing and raises questions about whether she will manipulate the office to advance a backward ideology.


Attorney General - David Leyton


There's having experience and having the right experience. The Republican option on the ballot has no shortage of government experience, but our state's attorney general should have some courtroom experience and some background in running a team of attorneys.


Leyton, the Genesee County (Flint area) prosecutor, has made sure justice is served in his struggling community with limited resources. Unlike his opponent, he's not hung-up on the limited law enforcement aspect of the job.


He's willing to go to bat to protect our environment and our public health without getting hung up in meaningless political gestures like Attorney General Mike Cox's frivolous attempt to repeal Obama's critical health care reform.


Leyton may not have voted for the medical marijuana ballot proposal, but at least he didn't run the campaign against it. He's acknowledged that the public has spoken and is willing to embrace the new law, not try to undo it.


U.S. Congress, 8th District - Lance Enderle


We appreciate Rep. Mike Rogers' public accessibility and personable demeanor, but he's way too conservative. Rogers stood in the way of change by voting no on health care reform and the economic stimulus package.


Enderle willingly picked up the progressive banner after former Democratic nominee Kande Ngalamulume's ridiculous hokey-pokey dance. He's put his heart into the race and should rewarded for his efforts.


U.S. Congress, 7th District - Mark Schauer


The most important vote an Eaton County citizen can make this year is one for Schauer. The hard-working Democrat brought federal stimulus money to mid- Michigan, unlike his opponent, former U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, whose shallow super-conservative ideology led him to vote against projects for his own district during his one two-year term.


Schauer didn't hide behind political expediency when Obama needed tough votes in Washington. He's not pandering to "birthers" through insulting demands that the president present his birth certificate to prove he's U.S. born.


The socially aloof Walberg is so off the reservation with his views, it's amazing Republicans re-nominated him.


State Legislature - Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (23rd Senate District), Rep. Joan Bauer (68th House District), Rep. Mark Meadows (69th House District), Rep. Barb Byrum (67th House District)


Ingham County is spoiled by its Capitol delegation. Whitmer may be in line to be the Senate Democrats' next leader. Bauer is a hard-working, likeable, even-tempered, rational legislator.


Meadows is serious about finding real cost-cutting reforms in state government. Byrum is a middle-of-the-road voice who gives any tax or fee increase a thorough critique.


With redistricting a first item of business for the next Legislature, a Democratic majority in the House prevents Republican from gerrymandering new political districts. Retaining Bauer, Meadows and Byrum may be Ingham County's biggest vote in 2010.


State Board of Education - Elizabeth Bauer and Lupe Ramos- Montigny


The Democratic-run board has kept student performance its top priority. It's also had the foresight to keep forward-thinking state Superintendent Mike Flanagan on the job these last several years.


University of Michigan Board of Regents - Paul Brown and Greg Stephens


Republican Andrea Fischer Newman is old pals with John Engler. Republican Andrew Richner was a conservative yes-man as a state representative. Enough said.


Michigan State University Board of Trustees - Colleen McNamara and Dennis Denno

McNamara is sympathetic
to organized labor without being its tool. She's been an independent
voice on the board who encouraged Lou Anna Simon to prosper as
president. Denno, like McNamara, supports domestic partner benefits and
brings up a good question: Why does MSU need two lobbying firms on the
payroll?

Governors of Wayne State University - Ed Bruley and Brenda Moon


Democrats have kept this board going in the right direction.


Ingham County Commission - Democrats In Districts 1-12, 14 and 15; Republicans In District 13 and 16


From
Hawk Island to Potter Park Zoo, the Democratic-led majority of the
board gives this community well-kept resources without breaking the
bank. Republican incumbents Randy Schafer and Don Vickers, who are
running unopposed, are responsible commissioners. While incumbent
Republican Steve Dougan in the 14th keeps his constituents well informed
of the goings-on in Mason, Liz Kranz is a moderate Democrat who would
serve them just as well.


Michigan Supreme Court - Alton Thomas Davis, Denise Langford Morris


The
former Republican-nominated Supreme Court was an agenda-driven body
that was activist-like in its frequent overturning of judicial
precedent. We can count on Davis and Langford Morris to be more fair on
issues involving consumers, civil liberties, the environment and
judicial access.


30th District Circuit Court - Clinton Canady III


Rated
"exceptionally well-qualified" by the Ingham County Bar, Canady has
well-balanced experience in the community and in the legal profession.
He's not a rigid "textualist" who will not apply a one-size-fits-all
solution to every matter that comes before him.


Canady
was upfront in saying he voted against the anti-gay marriage and
anti-affirmative action ballot proposals of '04 and '06. We're convinced
Canady will serve Ingham County with dignity and distinction. And we’re
disappointed that his opponent, Billie O’Berry, has habitually failed to
pay parking tickets on time.


55th District Court – Donald Allen Jr.


Challenger
Paul Joseph has a strong legal background, but so does Allen, the
two-year incumbent appointed by the governor. Allen gets the edge.


Proposal 1 - Constitutional Convention - Yes


For
all the talk about the cost of a constitutional convention, has anyone
talked about which community benefits from all that money being spent?
Ours. The convention of 148 delegates along with their administrators
and staff likely would be taking over the Lansing Center for months,
injecting hundreds of thousands into our restaurants, hotels and service
industry.


Outside
of that, the only way we're going to really cut the size of government
and eliminate overlapping layers of oversight is by constitutionally
eliminating it. Why are all the interest groups against Prop 1? It
changes the rules by which they've been able thrive for years. If we're
serious about "reforming" government, let's stop nibbling around the
edges. Let's do it.


Proposal 2 - Felons As Elected Officials - No


This
cynical measure assumes voters aren't in the best position to choose
their elected officials. Give voters some credit. We elect people we
feel are in the best position to lead our communities. We should be
given the opportunity to decide if someone is reformed or not. We don't
need the a one-size-fits-all blanket ban imposed on us.


Millages - Yes all around


OK,
when you add them up, it’s a chunk of change at a hard time. But
Michiganians have lost enough pride as our reputation slips to something
akin to Mississippi. Let’s dig a little more and keep our public
services and institutions as strong as we can. We support them all.



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