Ballot Chameleon: Events Change, Constitutions Don’t
When we go to the polls this fall and we get to the ballot proposal section, we can’t make our decisions solely based on current events.
These constitutional amendments and city charter shifts could hold for decades, through all sorts of conflicts.
In Detroit, there are four ballot proposals for people to decide on in addition to six statewide proposals. These city proposals are mostly clarifications and amendments to the city’s governing document, the charter.
An example of current events affecting city laws came during the charter revision process that started in 2010. People were caught up on the Kilpatrick scandal, they wished, at that time, that the law department had more power over the scandalized mayor.
The decision to give city attorney’s independent power was supposed to provide some sort of insurance to make sure this never happened again.
But that backfired when a new situation arose. The State and the City entered into a consent, or turnaround, agreement and when the city’s top lawyer, using her new found power, tried to stop it, there was nothing the Mayor or the Council could do about it.
Now the question on the ballot is whether the charter says that city lawyers have this power or not. It’s a clarifying question that has been seen through current-event shades.
That goes to show us that the amendments proposed this November can’t be changed on an issue by issue basis. They have to stick through all sorts of police weather and economic shifts. They have to be versatile.
Just because it’s unpopular for a city attorney to have power right now after the Crystal Crittendon consent fiasco, the scene may change next year.
So when we vote on these long-term decisions this on Election Day, we have to keep in mind: things won’t always be like this. These people won’t always be in power. Times change. Are these laws versatile?
Is EMU President Martin A Drunk?
The Eastern Michigan Board of Regents seems to think so. The Board sent a letter to University President Sue Martin asking her to control her drinking or face losing her job.
In the letter they suggested that she seek help:
“We are supportive of you seeking help from professionals ...” the letter stated, adding, adding:
“We are concerned that your misuse of alcohol could result in liability to the university.”
But the incident in question that prompted the letter—a dispute between Martin and EMU alumnus Michael Ferens over a former univeristy mascot was described as “minor” and “brief” by Ferens, Martin and witnesses of the incident according to a report on AnnArbor.com.
Is one dispute over drinks enough for a warning from the Board of Regents?
It seems like there’s more to the story than this one incident. Outside of the brief argument with Ferens, Martin has not had any drinking related problems since she got a DWI in 2005. Could Martin be the victim of political jousting? Possibly, although that is purely speculation.
Martin has publically admitted to acting out of line and apologized for making a mistake. Suggesting her hectic lifestyle led to the inappropriate her behavior. But have there been other unpublicized incidents or does the EMU Board of Regents just want Martin out?
How it relates to Detroit:
In June, Martin attended the Michigan Chronicle’s Pancakes and Politics forum with DPS emergency financial manager Roy Roberts and the chancellor of Michigan’s new Education Achievement Authority (EAA) John Covington.
EMU is a major partner in the creation of the EAA, which is being piloted in Detroit and there’s a lot at stake both for EMU and students entering the new system. Any instability with EMU could reflect poorly not only on the University but on the EAA as in launches in Detroit.
Hopefuly this controversy will be resolved and Martin will continue to serve as president and do so without alcohol related squabbles.
CLICK HERE to read the letter the Board sent to Martin.
CLICK HERE to read the letter Martin sent to the Board.
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