April 22, 2008
I have been added to the list of speakers at Annual Liberation Day, which will be held in downtown Detroit from Noon to 6:00 PM. I am seeking the Libertarian nomination for US Senate, and will be speaking in that roll. As many LPM members know Leonard Schwartz is seeking the LP nomination for Vice President.
Liberation Day 2008 to feature John Sinclair, Peter Werbe, Adam Brooke, a great band and more, at Grand Circus Park. DETROIT The annual Liberation Day event in Detroit this year will be bigger and better. Held once again at Grand Circus Park, both sides of the park will have festivities, including speakers, a drum circle, an ongoing video presentation, band, sign contest (which always lends a colorful tint to the festivities), and several human-rights and marijuana legalization organizations. A march through Downtown Detroit will commence at 4:20 pm.
This is a great opportunity to reach out to freedom minded people who may not yet know they are libertarians.
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State Legislature on Offensive Against Initiatives, and the State Senate may be voting on it today. According to an online newsletter article by Marijuana Policy Project Assistant Director Karen O'Keefe:
"On Wednesday, April 16, the Senate Committee on Campaign and Election Oversight passed a bill that would restrict the initiative signature-gathering process. The full Senate could take up the bill as soon as Tuesday, so there's no time to lose: Please ask your legislators to oppose this unconstitutional bill.
The bill, SJR K, proposes a state constitutional amendment to require signature gatherers to collect at least 100 valid signatures from 42 of Michigan's counties. It would also let the legislature make that threshold even higher. SJR K would also require an initiative to include the signature of at least one registered voter from each of Michigan's 83 counties. It would violate equal protection and dramatically increase the cost and energy needed to qualify a statewide ballot. It would also give the voters of any single county — including one with only about 2,000 voters — veto power over the rest of the entire state.
A federal appellate court found that a similar requirement in Nevada violated equal protection by giving voters in sparsely populated counties more of a voice than voters in densely populated counties. In addition to being unconstitutional, SJR K could cost Michigan voters tens of thousands of dollars, since Nevada had to pay the attorneys' fees who litigated against that state's unconstitutional signature distribution requirement."
She goes on to point out some ways in which the bill could hurt the whole initiative process:
"You might wonder what this has to do with marijuana policy reform. If it wasn't for the initiative process, Michigan voters wouldn't be able to decide whether to allow the medical use of marijuana this November.
In a span of less than six months, more than half a million Michiganders signed a petition to put the medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in November. Dozens of people volunteered, and even quit their jobs, to give voters a chance to protect patients.
A signature from someone in a sparsely populated county shouldn't count any more a signature from Wayne County. Under SJR K, even if half the state's voters signed a petition, it would not qualify if petitioners couldn't find a person from a remote 2,200-person county who was willing to sign it. It's wrong to give a tiny portion of the state's population veto power and impose enormous costs on petitioners."
The deadline for the May-June Michigan Libertarian will be this friday. Please submit all articles, advertisements, and photographs to MichiganLibertarian@gmail.com.
Port Huron continues to reduce cost of local city government aided by additional resolutions from Libertarian Party member and 1st term city councilman Mark Byrne.
In March Councilman Byrne introduced a resolution to require city employees who take city vehicles home to reimburse the taxpayers for each mile driven to and from work that is outside the city limits at the current IRS rate. Byrne argued that the original intent of city employees taking vehicles home so that they could respond faster to emergencies was no longer applicable as several employees lived more than 20 miles away. In addition the argument was made that this would encourage emergency responders to live closer to the city they are responding to. The initiative passed on a 5-2 vote and in just the police department a savings of $49,000 a year will be achieved. With that amount being the same as cutting 1 patrol officer from the budget the change was well received by the taxpayers.
In April Byrne took advantage of the current Police Chief’s retirement announcement to introduce a resolution to reduce the Police Chief salary by 24% and the Captains salary by 5% which would go into effect on July 1st which is the day the current chief retires. The City administration prepared a 5 page report and did a presentation at the televised city council meeting disputing the resolutions claim the Port Huron was paying above average for a police chief. After the City Manager’s presentation Byrne presented his data and pointed out the reasons for the difference between his and city managers calculations were that the City Manager used cities on average 33% larger than Port Huron and used the maximum salaries listed on the Michigan Municipal League’s Website while he used the mid point between the minimums and maximums from the MML web site and calculated two ways. First using cities with up to 10,000 more or 10,000 less residents. Second using the next 4 larger cities. In both cases the average came up to less than the Proposed new maximum pay for the next Police Chief. The resolution passed 5-1.
In other actions Port Huron privatized the management of 1 of its city owned marinas which was operating at a $200,000 a year loss. Combined their central dispatch service with the counties saving the city taxpayers $325,000 a year. These proposals passed 5-2 and 5-1 with the Libertarian voting and arguing in the majority.
In a defensive mode Byrne was the lone voice arguing against a proposal to purchase software to make property tax information available on line 7 days a week and 24 hrs a day. Once Mark pointed out that the same information was all ready available on the county website the administrations proposal failed 4-3.
Vice Chair, Libertarian Party of St Clair and Sanilac Counties.
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