Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

election results

8. November 2006 • Bruce Fields
Email this article

The summary:

  • 1, 2, and 4 passed, 3 and 5 failed.
  • Both Ann Arbor millages (parks and roads) passed.
  • Granholm, Stabenaw, and Cox were reelected.
  • Democrats won the UM, MSU, and WSU races.
  • Cavanagh and Corrigan won the Supreme court race.
  • Democrats will control the state house, Republicans the state senate.
  • ...

Government data:

Other media:

Ed Vielmetti’s results page (thanks to Ed for the above links)

And while we’re waiting, Larry Kestenbaum has an interesting discussion of the security of the voting system we use in Michigan.

  1. I have links to all of the results sites I could find up, which you’re free to raid to update the item text.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Nov. 8 '06 - 10:12AM    #
  2. I am so disappointed by the proposals. Education funding was the only one I supported.

       —EdgeWise    Nov. 8 '06 - 03:46PM    #
  3. And, the Democrats not only took the U.S. House, but the State House as well!

       —Leah    Nov. 8 '06 - 07:46PM    #
  4. Prop 2 should have never been on the ballot in the first place.

    (Detroit, MI – August 30, 2006) Federal Court Judge Arthur Tarnow issued a scathing denunciation of both the so-called “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative” and of the state authorities responsible for protecting the integrity of Michigan elections. He also refused to issue an injunction stopping MCRI from proceeding to the ballot DESPITE finding that: “The evidence overwhelmingly favors a finding that the MCRI defendants engaged in voter fraud.”

    Yet what’s Coleman’s reaction?

    Ann Arbor News today:

    “After Michigan voters decidedly approved a ban on the use of race and gender preferences at the state’s public institutions, the University of Michigan is considering legal action to challenge the ballot proposal.

    “U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, who was expected to address the Proposal 2 results at a rally on the campus Diag at noon today, said she was ‘deeply disappointed’ with the vote banning the use of affirmative action, which the university uses in admissions and various other programs.

    “In remarks prepared for the rally, Coleman said she has directed university attorneys to ‘consider all of the legal options available to us in defending diversity at the University of Michigan.’”

    Just now considering legal action?

    But the fascinating thing is that buzzword, “diversity.” She’s just defending “diversity.”

    For those of you who don’t know, “diversity” is the state’s way of tiptoeing around admitting the racial inequality prevalent throughout the K-12 system. That’s why the issue is always framed as one of “needed diversity” rather than “needed racial equality.”

    Which is exactly how the “pro-affirmative action” University opened itself up to the whole “reverse racism” charge.

       —Adam D    Nov. 8 '06 - 11:50PM    #
  5. Green Party candidate and anti-Zionist Aimee Smith, got 9,445 votes in her Congressional campaign, according to the Michigan Secretary’s of State unofficial results. This gave her a respectable, though distant, second place finish against her opponent, the well-financed, 50-year incumbent Democrat John Dingell. Dingell outspent Smith by about 612 to1; 74% of Dingell’s $1,394,597 in receipts came from PACs with $655,075 from business PACs, according to his 10/18/2006 FEC report. In her first run for the seat Smith beat the three-time Libertarian candidate, Gregory Stempfle. The candidate and everyone who worked on her campaign can be proud of these achievements.

       —PeaceMonger    Nov. 9 '06 - 11:14AM    #
  6. In response to Adam D: The University relies on “diversity” for its afirmative action program, because that is about the only way that it could possibly be upheld legally. Under constitutional law, consideration of race cannot be used to redress past wrongs, unless the party seeking to use racial considerations has itself been found to have unlawfully discriminated in the past, which the U wasn’t. Then, the “reverse discrimination” may be a proper remedy. It cannot be used to redress general societal discrimination in the past. The U was able to get some court approval of its affirmative action program based on the rationale that a diverse student body is such an important part of fulfilling its educational mission that it justifies the consideration of race.

    As far as the “petition fraud issue,” I’m not very sympathetic. The behavior of the circulators was outrageous, but it’s important to keep in mind that nobody is required to sign a petition. If a voter doesn’t read what he or she is signing or know the circulator well enough to trust him or her, and signs anyway, the complaint about being defrauded rings a little hollow. Petitioning to put a proposal on the ballot is an important right, and we should hesitate to put up barriers to its exercise. The “fraud” only gets the question before the voters; it doesn’t decide the outcome.

       —Tom Wieder    Nov. 9 '06 - 11:17PM    #
  7. That’s all fraud did? Well, that’s really a trifle.

       —Dale    Nov. 9 '06 - 11:43PM    #
  8. In response to PeaceMonger: Wow! The Green Party candidate for Congress gets a whopping 5% of the vote in a district containing liberal Ann Arbor, beating the Libertarian candidate’s 4%! That is certainly an amazing achievement, though not nearly as good as Green Party candidate Nader and his supporters giving the 2000 presidential election to Bush. This year, the Green candidate in the 13th State Senate district received nearly 4 times the number of votes by which Andy Levin lost to John Pappageorge. Third-party supporters’ narcissistic view of what’s important in politics never ceases to amaze me.

       —Tom Wieder    Nov. 9 '06 - 11:51PM    #
  9. Dale- If you think that direct democracy, in the form of ballot proposals, is a good thing, you shouldn’t worry too much about how the questions get on the ballot. Does anyone really doubt that a majority of Michigan voters, rightly or wrongly, oppose affirmative action? As a supporter of affirmative action, I would have preferred that the issue hadn’t been put to a vote, but how upset can I be, in principle, that the majority of voters get their views enacted into law, even if the procedure for giving them their say is flawed?

       —Tom Wieder    Nov. 9 '06 - 11:59PM    #
  10. Permit me to be partisan for a moment here.

    By turning the 13th district state senate seat over to the Republicans, and hence giving them majority control over one house of the legislature, all kinds of progressive state legislation will be blocked indefinitely, or at least, for four more years.

    In particular, the Republican leadership of the state senate has been deeply hostile to common sense election reforms such as no-reason absentee ballot applications.

    They don’t just vote it down; their control of the process means it never reaches the floor for a vote. Even the support of the Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has not been able to dislodge election legislation: I guess they regard her as a turncoat for being less fiercely and greedily partisan than they are.

    When it looked like Democrats won both houses, I had started contacting people to get the random precinct hand count audit law moving forward quickly. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But the state senate Republicans are wildly unreasonable about this. Since it turns out that they kept their majority, there is not much hope for progress on this, or pretty much anything else in election law.

    I’m not happy to see the worst of our state senators rewarded for their deep hostility to the public interest.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 10 '06 - 12:16AM    #
  11. What do you expect from a bunch of #$%$^ Republicans, Larry?

       —David Cahill    Nov. 10 '06 - 12:47AM    #
  12. I think Larry’s beef is with the Greens. The two Green Party candidates in the senate districts where Democrats lost by a few hundred votes tallied several thounsand votes each. Yeah, yeah, those people would have never voted Democrat, would have voted Republican, it’s the Democrats fault for not turning out more voters, blah, blah, blah. The end result is that the Republicans will be in a position of power that thwarts the kind of agenda the Greens claim they support.

       —John Q.    Nov. 10 '06 - 01:31AM    #
  13. Ignorant, dismissive, hypocritical public comments from Democrats won’t help, gentlemen. Would it be sexist of me to wonder if Democratic women don’t share the same sentiments or if they are simply wise enough to keep their frustrations private?

       —Steve Bean    Nov. 10 '06 - 02:54AM    #
  14. Aw… nuts. I thought I’d be able to stay out of yet another trenchant “spoiler” argument, but here goes.

    Larry, Tom, the Democrats did not ‘own’ those 3,000+ votes that the Green got in the 13th race, nor the 2300+ votes in the 32nd race. They went to the candidate that those voters thought had the best take on things… period. In fact, Greens, while having platform items in the same general direction as the Dems, don’t really draw from the Dems when they get votes – just as the US Taxpayers and Libertarians only somewhat draw from the Republicans. ALL third party and independent voters are voting AGAINST the two-party system, which they can recognize is fatally flawed.

    And before you dare try to raise the Nader 2000 ‘spoiler’ issue yet again, look up just how many Democrats crossed over and voted for Bush – more than 4,000,000, far more than Nader polled.

    And before you cry about Andy Levin, the ‘good’ Democrat that lost in the 13th, gather these rosebuds from his website (

    “John Pappageorge’s allies who control Washington have failed to enforce and reform our nation’s immigration policies. Our current system of immigration enforcement is broken and our failure to enforce the law is driving down working conditions in the United States. We must address the issue in a comprehensive manner with smart policies that are tough and effective.”

    “Secure Our Borders
    Our government must stop illegal immigrants from entering the United States. Under the Bush Administration, the number of undocumented individuals crossing the border has gone up 30%. We must reverse this trend and bring more agents and improved technology to the security challenges presented at our borders.”

    “No Benefits for Illegal Immigrants
    We must prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded benefit programs. State and federal government must ensure enforcement of existing laws and prevent welfare, Social Security and other taxpayer-funded benefit programs from going to illegal immigrants.”

    “Fix Our Trade Policies
    Failed trade policies have fueled our immigration crisis. Globalization under the failed rules of the Bush trade policy has sent workers streaming across our borders.”

    With such a ‘good Democrat’, who would have been accounted an extreme conservative in Nixon’s day, I guess I’d be glad to belong to a ‘spoiler’ party, if I believed in that sort of thing.

    In fact, if you’re going to play the spoiler card, I guess I’d have to say that the Dems and Reps ‘spoiled’ the race for the Greens, yet again!

    PS Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about Libertarians, Reform, US Taxpayer etc. spoiling the Repugnicans? Because it’s policy and a tactic of the Democratic National Committee to go after the Greens, is why – not an issue of democracy (sic) or fairness.

       —Pete Schermerhorn    Nov. 10 '06 - 02:55AM    #
  15. No, they’re saying the same thing, not just here.

       —John Q.    Nov. 10 '06 - 02:55AM    #
  16. Pete,

    Thanks for the lecture. The reality is that if you analyze votes, these votes absolutely come from Democrat candidates. When voters consistently vote Democrat for other offices and then jump to the Green candidate when they appear on the ballot and then back to the Democrats, it’s hard to believe that voters are casting those votes based on the candidates. Do I know that to be the case? No. But I think the evidence speaks for itself.

       —John Q.    Nov. 10 '06 - 03:00AM    #
  17. Larry, John, et al – “Why vote for a second party candidate who isn’t going to win anyways?”

    Personally, while I generally vote for Dems, I will vote Green with the hopes of being seen as a spoiler if the situation demands it. Such as, if I think that the Democrats are off course.

    I personally have no power to, say, round up a primary candidate for a national (or even State) office who has a chance of winning.

    I personally have no ability to convince my higher-level representatives to change their policies towards my (admittedly rather fringe) opinions. I’ve never gotten a response other than a form letter/e-mail from a State or National elected official. A form letter that shows the sender’s staff didn’t even understand my position, but merely dumped me into the bin labelled “is concerned with issue x” is the best way to show me they’re not listening / don’t care.

    What I do have the power to do is to withhold my vote. The best way for me to send the message that I think the Democrats are out of line is to vote Green, and to encourage others to do so similarly. I openly encourage strategic voting for the purpose of knocking wayward Dems off-course and forcing them (individually and as a party) to check themselves against their constituents. I am perfectly happy to be seen as a spoiler when I vote against the Dems – that is, in fact, my fervent hope.

    Now, would I have voted for Nader in 2004? Nope – I saw a second Bush term as way, way too bad to justify a strategic spoiler vote. I don’t want my spoil to lead to catastrophe – just to send a message.

    Would I have urged voting for Greens for Michigan Legislature seats this week? (I didn’t.) Well, on the one hand, I see knocking Sen. Shirley Johnson (for example) out of her roost as way, way too important to engage in strategic spoiling. On the other hand, I had absolutely no idea that the Dems were in any position to take the State legislature! Larry (and others), if you want me not to engage in intentional, strategic spoiling, you need to convince me. You can’t count on my blindly voting Dem – if it’s a critical, take-control opportunity that you want my help with, you need to tell me so.

    (And, John Q. – you’re welcome to my lecture rant. Otherwise I wouldn’t have offered it.)

       —Murph.    Nov. 10 '06 - 06:30AM    #
  18. I must, of course, point out that the Dems took the US House, US Senate, and Michigan House, and kept Granholm on as Governor (while picking up six governors elsewhere in the country). How much of that did I think was likely 2 months ago? None.

    I’d say this is a time for strategizing on how to best take advantage of these victories – not a time for in-fighting and attacking people for their principles.

       —Murph.    Nov. 10 '06 - 06:32AM    #
  19. Tom:

    “Petitioning to put a proposal on the ballot is an important right, and we should hesitate to put up barriers to its exercise.”

    I just wonder about the wisdom of putting a race issue on the ballot. I’m not sure you get good outcomes by asking a white majority give an up or down vote on this.

       —Daniel Adams    Nov. 10 '06 - 07:25AM    #
  20. Dear John Q,
    The evidence does not support your claim.

    Jennifer Granholm [I] (Dem) 2,142,166 (56.35%)
    Dick DeVos (GOP) 1,608,694 (42.32%)
    Gregory Creswell (Lib) 23,496 (0.62%)
    Douglas Campbell (Grn) 20,000 (0.53%)
    Bhagwan Dashairya (UST) 7,078 (0.19%)————————————————————————
    TOTAL VOTES 3,801,434 (100.00%) [99.17% participation]

    Secretary of State
    Terri Lynn Land [I] (GOP) 2,090,858 (56.18%)
    Carmella Sabaugh (Dem) 1,561,151 (41.94%)
    Lynn Meadows (Grn) 69,956 (1.88%)————————————————————————
    TOTAL VOTES 3,721,965 (100.00%) [97.09% participation]

    There is a 14% point spread between D and R flipping between the governor’s race and the SOS race. That means the number of Ds willing to vote for Rs and vice vera far exceeds the number of either willing to vote for a G, L or UST candidate in the state of Michigan.

    In the future, I hope more people will be willing to vote for a party that shares the policy positions of a large percentage, if not the majority, of Americans. The Democrat and Republican parties are both driven by money, corporate interests, and powerful lobbies. Neither will end the war or stop torture. Neither will stand up to the Israel lobby. Neither will decriminalize drugs. Neither will address global warming.

    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens

       —Aimee Smith    Nov. 10 '06 - 09:56AM    #
  21. Regarding ballot initiatives, as I quoted in the discussion of Prop 2, “most politicians underestimate the public’s intelligence and overestimate its attention span.”

    I think complex issues like school spending, affirmative action, and yes, even dove hunting need more attention than our current media system allows. I cringe when I think about how many conversations I’ve had over the past 2 weeks with well-educated, highly-informed voters who didn’t even know what was on the ballot or what the issues involved were.

    I think our ballot initiative process is broken. It’s become a tool for special interests to side-step the deliberative democratic process and for parties to push base turnout (though by comparison, I think Arizona’s system is much worse. What was it, 13 ballot proposals?)

    Ballot initiatives, especially amendments to the MI constitution, are exremely hard to undo. Maybe they should have a higher threshold to pass them in the first place?

       —Chuck    Nov. 10 '06 - 10:07AM    #
  22. “The evidence does not support your claim.”


    In fact it does, you just didn’t go looking for it. Votes at the top of the ticket don’t really tell us anything. The real impact of the Greens is downticket where voters are more willing to vote to cast a “protest” vote because they don’t perceive that they are wasting their vote by voting for a third party where as they wouldn’t do the same at the top of the ticket.

    I can pretty much guarantee you that if you reviewed the results of any of the races, whether at the local, county or state level, you’ll find that the downticket Green candidates picked up higher vote totals than those at the top of the ticket. If people were really voting Green for the reasons you articulated, one would expect to see that impact at the top of the ticket, not for those voting for dogcatcher. But in fact, the reverse is true and makes it clear the spoiler role that Greens played.

       —John Q.    Nov. 10 '06 - 01:29PM    #
  23. Our winner-take-all election structure, from the presidential level on down, pretty well hard-wires the democracy into a two-party system. There is a powerful incentive to build a 51% coalition to take control of the entire executive branch. And even if a multiparty legislature were possible, it would be an extremely weak counterweight to a one-party executive (president, governor, mayor).

    Parliamentary democracies can be stable multiparty systems because the critical coalition building happens after the election, and small parties can join with others to be part of the governing coalition. By contrast, the only way a small party in the U.S. becomes relevant to governing is by becoming a major party. The last time that happened was 150 years ago.

    In a partisan legislative body, the #1 most important thing that any member gets to vote on, enormously more critical than any other single vote, is control of the chamber. This is especially obvious in the parliamentary system, but it’s just as true here in the U.S. The majority party controls the schedule, the committees, what bills reach the floor, etc., etc.

    Hence, anything a candidate for Congress or state legislature says about issues is very secondary to their partisan identification. No matter how conservative the Democrat or how liberal the Republican candidate for Congress, for example, the Democrat is a proxy for Nancy Pelosi, and the Republican is a proxy for Dennis Hastert.

    I have worked with the Greens on issues in the past, and I appreciate that the Huron Valley Greens took the rare and unexpected step of endorsing me in 2004.

    However, I’m very disappointed that Green Party intervention led to continued Republican control of the Senate—especially considering that it kills all election reform (such as hand count audits of the electronic tabulators) for another four years.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 11 '06 - 01:22AM    #
  24. Larry,

    You’ve just mentioned hand-count audits of electronic tabulators, and in a different comment you also mentioned no-reason absentee ballots as examples of election reform that must wait at least another four years.

    Do you have a some sort of annotated list of those and possibly other reforms you could post here or else give a link to the relevant post on Polygon?

    Also, besides the possibility of IRV in a very specific, limited application, (which you’ve discussed in many places, but perhaps not necessarily endorsed) are there any of these reforms that have a ‘local version’ that could be implemented by the Dems here in Ann Arbor?

       —HD    Nov. 11 '06 - 02:08AM    #
  25. “The Democrat and Republican parties….Neither will address global warming. ...”

    There’s this guy named “Al Gore”, actually, who is active on global warming. But you may never have heard of him. Who has?
       —David Boyle    Nov. 11 '06 - 10:49AM    #
  26. Dear David Boyle,
    Nice of Al Gore to wait until after leaving office to start a campagin to address global warming. But hey, better late than never, right?

    And what was his recommendation?

    Transform our global economy to one that is primarily local and focused more on meeting human needs than wasteful consumerism that is meant to grow the GDP and make a few wealthier and wealthier? Organize to make a movement that can demand the kinds of change needed to stave off ecological collapse? Build a political movement that thinks long term, as opposed to in terms of the next quarterly report as is done in corporate boardrooms?

    No, I believe it was “get a bicycle.”

    But what can we expect from the man who threatened South Africa with sanctions if that country’s government were to invoke the WTO provision entitling them to manufacture generic aids drugs to address the epidemic in their country?

    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens

       —Aimee Smith    Nov. 11 '06 - 11:53AM    #
  27. Dear Larry,
    I am afraid I am not as confident in your party’s willingness to promote real electoral reform as you are. I recently lived in what is for most purposes a one-party state. In that state, the Democrat Party controlled legislature repealled clean elections funding in the middle of the night with no roll call vote
    ( ) and instead of proposing and passing IRV, they were toying with the fusion idea instead.

    Add to that the fact that your party’s candidates for president in both 2000 and 2004 failed to press the vote fraud/voter disenfranchisement issue. Further, not one senator from your party in 2000 would support the call of the Congressional Black Caucus to object to the determination that Bush won the electoral votes of Florida. I hope this explains why I do not have the same confidence that you seem to that your party having control of the Michigan legislature would spell positive reforms for our electoral process.

    I am deeply disappointed that you are willing to refer to bonafide Green candidates running for office as “intervention.” Many people who vote Green would not vote at all if there were no Green candidate. And as the data I provided above demonstrates, many more Ds vote R and Rs vote D than either votes Green at this point in time. I suggest rather than discouraging people from participating in the electoral process that you instead keep focused on pushing for IRV and work to get candidates with better positions than Andy Levin had to offer.

    Meanwhile, I will do my level best to encourage people to vote (and organize) for their values and beliefs rather than the slightly better spoken wing of corporate rule.

    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens

       —Aimee Smith    Nov. 11 '06 - 01:01PM    #
  28. “And as the data I provided above demonstrates, many more Ds vote R and Rs vote D than either votes Green at this point in time.”

    That gets my vote for most pointless statistic of the year. It remains true if the Green party is replaced by any sufficiently unpopular party, and does nothing to establish the claim that “many people who vote Green would not vote at all if there were no Green candidate.”

       —Bruce Fields    Nov. 11 '06 - 07:17PM    #
  29. Aimee:

    I tend to agree with Larry: Getting a winning candidate and control of the chamber is more important than the satisfaction that goes with voting purely based on platform. I’m not voting for candidates that reflect my principles: I’m voting for policies that reflect my principles. Voting for your values/beliefs is fine, but in a first-past-the-post republic, a vote for a loser is largely a wasted vote beyond whatever expressive value you derive from the act itself.

    You don’t agree. That’s fine. But I take issue with the suggestion that a vote for a Democratic candidate is an unprincipled vote and a vote for the “slightly better spoken wing of corporate rule.” (What’s a vote for a Green then? A vote for a party which is largely irrelevant beyond a spoiler role and which uses its platform primarily as a vehicle to attack the establishment?) This is fine thing to say from the cheap seats, but suspect that, if given a chance to govern (like, say, the NDP in Canada?) it would play the game just like the Dems.

       —Daniel Adams    Nov. 11 '06 - 08:02PM    #
  30. I’m very disappointed that Green Party intervention led to continued Republican control of the Senate—especially considering that it kills all election reform

    Okay, Larry. I’ll give you a chance to convince me that convincing all Green-voting people, whether they are Greens, Green-sympathizing Independants, or angry-at-the-current-Dems Democrats, to vote Dem in the next State election will have a positive effect.

    If the Dems take both chambers of the State legislature and the Governor’s office at once, how will they fix the unfortunate winner-take-all phenomenon that collapses all meaningful politics into proxy voting for the two people at the top of either party? Obviously, this is not a desirable system – I think it’s totally awful, and you seem to see it as an unfortunate evil that we have to put up with.

    So, what’s the solution? And, if given free rein to fix it, how will the State Democrats fix it? Or won’t they?

    If the Dems won’t fix the system, I will continue to think that never-winning Green Party candidates play a valuable role in watch-dogging the Democratic Party, and forcing the D’s to realize that flying too close to the R’s is indeed a problem. Think of the Dems as Icarus and their total potential support base as Daedelus. If they ignore the electorate, then they’ll fly too close to the R’s, and have their support melt away and their wings fall off.

    And, yes, of course, Daedelus also warned his son not to fly to close to the sea, lest his wings become waterlogged and heavy. If you believe that a linear-political-sepctrum, two-party system is either the most desirable system or simply unavoidable, you must understand that each party cannot fly too far in either direction, lest its wings fail. Fixing the two-party problem, and a problem it is, would in my opinion strengthen the Dems, by allowing them to more clearly stake out positions without their wings falling off. In a system where the Dems pissing off their Green-minded supporters leads to Greens getting elected, the Greens are no doubt going to be allying with the Dems much more than with the Reps, while, in the current system, the Dems ignoring that piece of their base leads to the Reps taking control.

    You’re the expert here on electoral reform – how do we fix this problem? And, no, your suggestions so far, all of which can be summarized as “guilt-trip the Green voters”, don’t come anywhere close to a fix. I understand that you’re upset by what you see as a missed opportunity, but you’re not going to win any support by lashing out at the people who are already uphappy with the Party that you represent.

       —Murph.    Nov. 11 '06 - 11:32PM    #
  31. Heh. I haven’t been here in quite a while, but this is not what I expected to see in an election thread. Whining about the Greens’ ‘spoiling’ the Dems’ chances yet again? sigh What a colossal waste of time.

    I will say these two things, though: 1. Larry, control of the chamber means less-than-nothing to those of us who don’t support the Democratic party. Democratic governments between here and Lansing have had their opportunity to change the electoral laws and regulations in this state, county, and city. It hasn’t happened. How long are we supposed to wait for the good and wise benevolence of the Dems to be extended? We had to get the cooperation of vermin like Leon Drolet in 2001 to get even one aspect of the electoral law overturned (we could have elected a Sec. of State and still fallen off the ballot…) How many Dems were lining up to help with this effort? Ze-ro. Here’s a newsflash: the Dems think of us as a RIVAL; as they should. They are not willing to help us pursue our goals because our goals are not their goals. If they’re yours, vote for Greens. If they’re not, you may have to like what you get.

    2. As usual, Murph has the largest number of salient points. Glad to see you posting again.

    Now we sit back and wait to see what corporate kickbacks will be forthcoming from the ‘new’ Democratic Congress (Joe Biden, Senator from Allstate, you’re on the clock.) Should be a hoot…

       —Marc R.    Nov. 12 '06 - 12:20AM    #
  32. In our two-party system, Greens, Taxpayers Party, Natural Law Party, etc., will always just be cranks and spoilers.

    On the other hand, if the Dems or the Repubs ran candidates popular with a clear majority of the electorate, then no one would care about these cranks/spoilers. So I blame the major parties for not putting forth better candidates.

       —David Cahill    Nov. 12 '06 - 02:55AM    #
  33. “What a colossal waste of time… I will say these two things, though…”

    No one asked for your input. If you find this discussion tiresome, excuse yourself from it.

    “As usual, Murph has the largest number of salient points.”

    You counted? Are we keeping score?

    “Here’s a newsflash: the Dems think of us as a RIVAL.”

    Which Dems? When did this happen? Why would they think that?

       —Daniel Adams    Nov. 12 '06 - 02:59AM    #
  34. David: I agree on both points in #33.

    Daniel: I refer you to Larry’s and John Q’s comments, supra, on the Greens stealing votes from, therefore in competition for votes with, therefore rivals of, the Democrats. Any Dem who sees the Greens as a spoiler party must be thinking of the Greens as rivals. Do you disagree?

       —Murph.    Nov. 12 '06 - 03:44AM    #
  35. the unfortunate winner-take-all phenomenon that collapses all meaningful politics into proxy voting for the two people at the top of either party? Obviously, this is not a desirable system – I think it’s totally awful, and you seem to see it as an unfortunate evil that we have to put up with.

    Yes, exactly—I don’t agree that the two-party system as such is a problem that needs to be “addressed”. The political structure of the U.S. effectively mandates a two-party system. If you accept the American structure (e.g., the directly elected president and governor), you have to accept the two-party system.

    I’m guessing that very few Americans would be willing to give up a direct vote on the Presidency in return for a parliamentary system which would be arguably better in some intangible way. In other words, the U.S. structure is here to stay.

    That means that anyone seeking power or change or influence or whatever has a strong incentive to do so within the two-party system. That is reality, and since the structure isn’t going to change, that reality isn’t going to change.

    And given the two-party system, and given the people and ideology and interests that exist in this country, you pretty much end up with two parties that look a lot like the Democratic and Republican parties. The religious right, the secular liberals, the protectionists, the tobacco lobby, the dog owners, the truckers, Hollywood, all fit in somewhere, and you don’t get to wish any of them away.

    Each party is a “big tent”, and so no surprise, discordant factions within each party struggle for control of the party apparatus.

    Getting that control is not easy, because the Democratic and Republican parties are both colossal beasties. Each one has more Americans loosely affiliated with it than any other club or church or organization. So even intraparty struggles require communicating to huge numbers of people at the cost of millions of dollars. Yeah, that scale involves “corporate” levels of money. That’s because this is a big country.

    I’m a bit impatient with those who blame Gore or Kerry for not pursuing further all the allegations about Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004. Yes, especially in 2000, Democrats botched the election aftermath, but dragging things out even further would have alienated most of the country. That would not have been responsible behavior for leaders of a party that wanted to win the next election.

    Lest it be considered that I’m being overly hard on the Greens or anyone else, I should remind y’all that I have fought all my political life for more open ballot access for all parties and for independent candidates. I have frequently voted for (and even publicly endorsed) candidates running on small-party tickets. And I doubt any other elected official in Michigan has done more to advocate IRV than I have.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 12 '06 - 04:48AM    #
  36. Murph:

    It depends on what Marc meant by “rival,” but personally, I think that the concept of political “RIVAL” (In all CAPS, too, MFer) has to mean more than just, “We get some votes too!” Is every fringe party, every independent campaign, anyone who is going into the electorate and soliciting votes a rival of the Democratic Party?
    Maybe according to Webster’s, but that simply isn’t how I’ve ever heard the term used in a political context, and I don’t think that’s what Marc was intending to say.

       —Daniel Adams    Nov. 12 '06 - 04:53AM    #
  37. My usual intent when putting something in all caps in a message is to emphasize the word, not overemphasize its meaning. In other words, I’m too lazy to use the italics formatting.

    Murph is correct. If you as a Democrat are perceiving the Greens as a ‘spoiler’, then you perceive them as a rival for votes with the Democrats… which is absolutely correct, as they are fielding candidates on the ballot against Dems, GOP, Libertarians, and anyone else on the ballot who isn’t a Green.

    To be honest, everyone that does involve themselves in the electorate that is not a willing servant of the two major parties (or two halves of the lone major party, view it as you like) SHOULD (very lazy) be a rival of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, as it is those two institutions that have contributed most to the muting of the idea of democracy in this country in the past century. I find it mildly hilarious that so many Democrats are raising a hue and cry as if the dawn is emerging from the long night, when if you look at what kind of Democrat was elected to Congress (and the state house, with the exception of Alma Wheeler-Smith), you’ll find a candidate that 20 years ago wouldn’t have been termed anything other than a Republican. More of the same…

       —Marc R.    Nov. 12 '06 - 06:00AM    #
  38. “If you as a Democrat are perceiving the Greens as a ‘spoiler’, then you perceive them as a rival for votes with the Democrats.”

    I’m not sure why this was a “newsflash.” But whatever…

    You attack the Democrats for “muting the idea of democracy,” then in the very next sentence, mock their having put candidates on the ballot that people want to vote for. Responsiveness to the electorate: More of the same from the Democrats.

       —Daniel Adams    Nov. 12 '06 - 09:43PM    #
  39. So, Marc R., are you saying that you think Rebekah Warren would have been termed a Republican 20 years ago?

       —David Cahill    Nov. 12 '06 - 09:53PM    #
  40. If the Greens want to be taken seriously, maybe they should start running candidates who actually run for office. According to this article, the candidate who ran against Levin couldn’t even be bothered to show up for the candidates forums. Nice. That shows a real commitment to the political process.

       —John Q.    Nov. 13 '06 - 07:16PM    #
  41. John, no, I don’t believe the article – I believe Kyle McBee and the Green Party, which were shut out of every debate and most fora. Kyle hasn’t told me whether it was a lack of an invitation (happened with many Greens), an explicit statement that he was not invited (happened to some, including the Governor and US Senator races), or if working two jobs to make ends meet had the most to do with the pass on the fora.

    Yeah, I prefer to hear all candidates for office when I’m going to make a decision about that office. But Greens and other third parties, particularly in higher profile races, are consistently told to stay home, that we don’t matter.

    Well, obviously we do.

       —Pete Schermerhorn    Nov. 17 '06 - 02:46AM    #
  42. Pete-

    This is the kind of nonsense we’re used to hearing from the Greens. First, you state as a fact that the Greens were “shut out” of every debate and “most fora”, but provide no support for this. Then, you say that you don’t know why Kyle Bean passed on most of the fora. Which is it, shut out or passed? Oh, the Greens do matter, in a consistently destuctive way.

    Tom Wieder

       —Tom Wieder    Nov. 17 '06 - 02:54AM    #
  43. “But Greens and other third parties, particularly in higher profile races, are consistently told to stay home, that we don’t matter…Well, obviously we do.”

    This is completely insane.

       —Daniel Adams    Nov. 17 '06 - 04:45AM    #
  44. Petty sniping and scapegoating don’t reflect well on the largest political party in the country, guys. You all have better things to do. I’m sure of it.

    Greens want equal access to debates and other broadcast events for candidates. Apparently you don’t support that (at least not as much as you enjoy criticizing defeated candidates.) If Dems and the Republicans won’t work to improve democracy, then the Greens have a valid role to play. You could learn from Levin’s example of openness to that.

    John Q., Greens have held elected office around the country. One candidate does not make a party.

       —Steve Bean    Nov. 17 '06 - 06:27AM    #
  45. In general, candidates from all parties should be invited to participate debates and other fora. When I ran for city council in 1999, the LWV sponsored a televised candidate forum, and all candidates on the ballot were invited.

    A the presidential level, given the structure, perhaps you do need a threshold to qualify for nationally televised debates. For example, a debate could reasonably be limited to just those candidates that are on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C. Libertarians and Greens would meet that standard.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 17 '06 - 08:15PM    #
  46. Re # 20 from Aimee Smith:

    “...In the future, I hope more people will be willing to vote for a party that shares the policy positions of a large percentage, if not the majority, of Americans. The Democrat [sic] and Republican parties are both driven by money, corporate interests, and powerful lobbies. ...Neither will stand up to the Israel lobby…”

    1) If such a “large percentage, if not the majority” backed all the views you espouse as you imagine they do, then why does your party always receive such a minute amount of the vote, even in progressive areas like Ann Arbor? Could it be because only a small percentage, certainly not anything approaching a majority, supports your causes, especially your attacks—and far from relevant as regards the name of your party and what should be its primary struggle: to clean up our foul environment—directed against your favorite target, Israel?

    2) Show a little respect, please, or good grammar, at least! It’s the DemocratIC Party, not “Democrat” Party. The latter is a disparaging expression spread by Republicans to throw scorn at the idea that the oldest extant US political party might actually be democratic, something the GOP has shown little respect for, for quite some time, democracy that is. Democrat is a noun, not an adjective. A person is a Democrat. Democratic is an adjective or an adverb. Democratic Party. Vote Democratic. Would you be so brazen and ungrammatical as to label the other major party in the US the “Republic” Party?

    Unfortunately, even Democrats and other progressives and liberals (innocently) fall victim at times to using the nominal form when the adjectival or adverbial is demanded. This, unfortunately, is how successful the most ardently hate-filled Republicans have been in their smear campaign against Democrats and the DemocratIC Party. If you really hope to attract more votes away from the more progressive of the two major political parties (something I sincerely hope never happens), please learn your grammar, and kindly show a modicum of deference!

       —Mike    Nov. 22 '06 - 01:43PM    #
  47. Thank you, Mike!

       —Leah Gunn    Nov. 22 '06 - 05:29PM    #
  48. The voters speak truth. Who can argue with them? Statements to the point that voters somehow don’t know the issues or they were fooled or somehow don’t vote their true beliefs will not serve the green party. A2 is one of the most highly educated communities in the world. If A2 voters won’t look past the hype, properly understand the issues and vote for what they believe in, then who will? The Greens are clearly trying to sell but the voters are not buying.

       —Dustin    Nov. 22 '06 - 07:09PM    #
  49. Mike,

    From a philological point of view, the phenomenon exploited to great rhetorical effect (judging by the energy you’ve put into your comment) by Republican and Green Party candidates is known as a ‘back-formation’. For example, the vegetable we call a ‘pea’ in the singular and ‘peas’ in the plural was historically just ‘peas’ and not a count-noun at all (like barley). In the course of time, the final /s/ sound was analyzed as the plural morpheme and a singular ‘pea’ was back-formed from ‘peas’. Why did it happen that way? Well, the historical linguists have various stories to tell, but part of most of their stories is the force of the singular-plural grammatical pattern of /s/ sounds.

    So is there such a pattern to make the case for ‘Democrat Party’? Well sure. A Communist belongs to the Communist Party. A Green belongs to the Green party. A Progressive belongs to the Progressive Party. A Socialist belongs to the Socialist Party. A Republican belongs to the Republican Party. A Democrat belongs to the … ?

    Certainly, the party named the Democratic Party trades on the fact that its organizational name lays implicit claim to a virtue that provides the underpinnings of American society. It should not come as a surprise to any Democrat that Republicans and others who might oppose the Democratic Party on the grounds that it does not have much of a claim to being democratic, would pointedly (not innocently) call the Democratic Party the ‘Democrat Party’.

    To sum up, your grammatical argument for demanding the adjectival form doesn’t go through. An argument that might go through starts with the premise that “The official name of our party is the Democratic Party” From there you could try to construct an argument based on a claim that civil discourse demands, at the very least, that official party names be adhered to. Personally, I don’t think it’s obvious that referring pointedly to the ‘Democrat Party’ automatically fails a test of civility. Consider, for example, a synonymous way of expressing the same view: “The Democratic Party, which I believe is not actually democratic, ...” I think this very wordy way of expressing the same view is patently civil. Using the shorthand of ‘Democrat Party’ is simply somewhat more efficient.

    Arguing the other side, I would probably anecdotally cite my experience growing up fiercely resisting being referred to as ‘Dave’. I have vivid memories of sanctimoniously declaring, “My name is Dav_id_” It’s not very civil to call someone ‘Dave’ when they’ve just told you they want to be called ‘David’ So there’s something to that, although, it’s worth noting that since I’ve grown up—age-wise, in any case—I introduce myself as ‘Dave’. ‘Dave’ seems more like he could be your buddy, drink a beer with you, etc. etc.

    In arguing that side [for usage of official names], however, it might be worth reflecting on whether it’s strategically sound to emphasize the ‘ic’ in Democratic. It gives smart alecky people ideas … like spelling the name of your party as ‘Democrat-ICK’.

    Instead of grammatical arguments, or arguments based on civility, though, I think, it would be refreshing to hear local Democrats respond to the label ‘Democrat Party’ with slam-dunk examples of how very democratic the local Democratic Party is.

    For example, a local Democrat should be able to tell a story something like:

    “Okay, to start off the newly constituted Council, the first order of business was to elect a Mayor Pro-tem so the Mayor put a previously submitted resolution on the floor that it should be Chris Easthope, to be voted up or down, and Wendy Woods weighed in suggesting that a free and open discussion, (especially since no dicussion took place at caucus the night before) in the absence of a specific motion being on the floor for Eastope, would be most welcome. Greden weighed in saying he thought that Chris would do a great job, but that in the interest of democracy it would be nice to have that resolution withdrawn, even if only temporarily. The Mayor agreed and pointed out that it would up to either Teall and Higgens to withdraw the resolution, since they wrote and submitted it before the meeting. Easthope himself then said that he felt it was important to extend a certain minimum respect to any council member, especially a fellow 5th Warder like Wendy, who wished for a such a discussion in the absence of resolution currently on the floor and agreed with removing it from the floor, while taking pains to emphasize that he wanted the job and that he thought he’d done a good job at it in the past. Both Teall and Higgens said they were happy to withdraw the motion. The ensuing discussion, with the resolution off the floor showed that Council members had rock-solid confidence in Easthope, but did not have the same confidence in Wendy and were not persuaded by arguments to the effect that the Mayor Pro-tem should reflect more diversity than it has historically. The resolution for Easthope came back to the floor and was approved unanimously.”

    Problem is, the local Democratic Party can’t tell that particular story (Perhaps there’s other stories they can tell, and it’s not that I think the newly constituted Council won’t be able to accumulate stories like that.) That story diverges from reality at the end of the sentence that begins ‘Wendy Woods weighed in … ‘

    Does that make it a racist Council? Heavens no. Does that make it a sexist Council? Heavens no. Does that make it an un-democratic Council? Not if we measure ‘democratic’ by whether they followed the rules of order. Was there a different outcome due to the fact that there was no discussion? Probably not (but who knows?).

    I think it’s a fair point that there’s more to making a robust claim to democracy than following the procedures. And in the case of the first act made by the newly-constituted Council, there’s only a procedural claim to be made to being democratic—certainly not the robust one suggested by the name of the Democratic Party, of which everyone on Council is a member.

       —HD    Nov. 23 '06 - 12:11AM    #
  50. A little discussion, with public input, was not had.

    Letting in the public, with a public hearing, and THEN voting, makes more sense.

       —Democrats    Nov. 23 '06 - 01:33AM    #
  51. A public hearing on who should be mayor pro-tem? I dunno, I tend to think that’s where the ‘representative’ part of ‘representative democracy’ applies.

    And lest my comment above be misconstrued as championing Wendy Woods as the only real proponent of democracy as contrasted with the rest of Council, I think it’s a fair point to note that apparently Wendy herself did not bring up the issue of who’s going to be mayor pro-tem at caucus the night before, and explore how the issue might be treated at the Council table the next day. At caucus, she could have said, Hey, I want a chance to show that I can execute the duties of mayor pro-tem this time around, guys, how about supporting me on this? Can I get somebody to submit a resolution here? I mean, maybe at that point, Teall says, Hey, Easthope wants it and he hasn’t screwed it up so far, so I’m with Chris. Or maybe Higgins says, Oh, well this is the first I’ve heard you were interested (because I wasn’t paying attention to the primary campaign when you raised this issue), so sure, why the heck not?

    And it’s also a fair point to note that because she’s served a few years on Council already, Wendy knows how the mayor pro-tem has been chosen historically, so she’s not in the same situation as Ron Suarez, who expressed his disappointment at the lack of discussion, and attempted to abstain (but apparently that’s not an option, and so voted yes on Easthope).

       —HD    Nov. 23 '06 - 02:41AM    #
  52. You go public when you have lost confidence in your “representatives”.

       —Democrats    Nov. 23 '06 - 02:58AM    #
  53. The issues of assignments to council committees, the adoption of Council Rules, and the selection of Mayor Pro-Tem were brought up at caucus on Sunday evening. The consensus of those present was that more time was needed to see which committees required coverage given the departure of Jean Carlberg; to allow the two newest councilmembers to look over the Council Rules (changes are proposed); and to select a Mayor Pro-Tem. Councilmember Marcia Higgins asked me to send an email to the City Clerk requesting to have the items pulled, which I did. Asking to pull an item is not unusual. The issues would be put on the Dec 4th Council agenda. The City Clerk replied to me on Monday that she needed to consult with the City Attorney’s office. Attorney Mary Fales of that office later sent a reply to all of Council that the City Charter called for the election of the Mayor Pro-tem to take place at the Nov 20th meeting since technically the post was vacated after the election in November. My points raised in the Monday council meeting spoke to the issue of discussing who was interested in serving. I knew of at least one other councilmember who had expressed an interest in serving as Mayor Pro-Tem. The appointments to Council committees and the adoption of Council Rules were postponed to the Dec 4th meeting.

       —Wendy    Nov. 23 '06 - 04:14AM    #
  54. Re: #51:

    Dave a/k/a HD a/k/a Dav ID:

    The amount of energy that I put into my statement doesn’t hold a candle to how much you worked on yours, and how long-winded and obfuscating your comments tend to be. Much of what you say is not even vaguely relevant to my principal arguments:

    No matter how you slice, dice, or mince it, the use of Democrat as an adjective as in Democrat Party is a form of disparagement of the Democratic Party and its advocates. At no point did I make a claim that this party is lacking in defects. I merely point to the undeniable fact that the branding of candidates, people, ideas, and the name of the party itself with the nominal Democrat rather than the official name of the party as it is, Democratic, is nothing less than a vilification, not at all used by the detractors of the party and its members and supporters in any fashion that can be construed as harmless or accidental as you yourself aptly point out.

    Consult the Encyclopædia Britannica’s article on the Democratic Party, and you will not see Democrat used even once as an adjective but only as noun. In the 38 times that the party or any adjective describing its members, supporters, ideology, achievements, and policies are cited, these are invariably preceded by the proper adjectival form, Democratic. To wit:

    “Democratic Party: in the United States, one of the two major political parties, the other being the Republican Party. Historically, the Democratic Party has supported organized labour, ethnic minorities, and progressive reform. It tends to favour greater government intervention in the economy and to oppose government intervention in the private, noneconomic affairs of citizens.

    “The Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the United States and among the oldest political parties in the world…

    “…From 1828 to 1856 the Democrats won all but two presidential elections (1840 and 1848).

    “…Despite tracing its roots to Thomas Jefferson—who advocated a less-powerful, more-decentralized federal government—the modern Democratic Party generally supports a strong federal government with powers to regulate business and industry in the public interest; federally financed social services and benefits for the poor, the unemployed, the aged, and other groups; and the protection of civil rights…” etc.

    —“Democratic Party.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 22 Nov. 2006.

    The Columbia Guide to Standard American English very succinctly summarizes the argument against the use of the expression Democrat Party and the like, although it does admit that Democrat and Democratic are both used as adjectives, however the former in an obviously pejorative manner:

    “Democrat (adj., n.), Democratic (adj.)

    “The proper noun is the name of a member of a major American political party; the adjective Democratic is used in its official name, the Democratic party. Democrat as an adjective is still sometimes used by some twentieth-century* Republicans as a campaign tool but was used with particular virulence by the late senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, a Republican who sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic…”

    The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, by Kenneth G. Wilson. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

    *and obviously, 21st century, as well.

    Of course, there’s no law against Republicrooks, oops, I mean Repugnicans, oops, I mean Repigligans, or is it Republics and the Green-with-Envy Party (might as well help Repub candidates win, since we’ll never win one on our own anyway because our cause is that of the “majority”—yeah, dream on, Greenies!) using disparaging terminology such as Democrat Party, but maybe those who pretend at being civil might at least try to refrain from this depreciatory label, especially in their futile attempts at siphoning enough votes away from Democrats to do anything other than help Republicans win very close elections.

    Oh, and (adult) Dave, thanks for trying to make a simple matter of decency and respect into a complicated, obtuse, and obfuscating affair with your overblown rhetoric.

    In closing, I’d like to mention that today is a sad anniversary, the 43rd year to the day since John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The untimely demise the youthful and vigorous Democratic president brought an end to a brief era of great hope, excitement, and expectation. Let us honor his memory and contemplate what might have been had he lived to fulfill his promise and potential.

       —Mike    Nov. 23 '06 - 04:24AM    #
  55. Correction to the final paragraph in my previous message (#56), where I inadvertently omitted a preposition after the third word of the second sentence, so that the paragraph should read:

    Today is a sad anniversary, the 43rd year to the day since John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The untimely demise of the youthful and vigorous Democratic president brought an end to a brief era of great hope, excitement, and expectation. Let us honor his memory and contemplate what might have been had he lived to fulfill his promise and potential.

       —Mike    Nov. 23 '06 - 04:36AM    #
  56. Thanks, Wendy, for weighing in on AU to clarify the background to your comments made at the Council table on Monday.

    What strikes me as weird is that Higgins asked you to email the Clerk ‘pulling’ the items (I thought all Council Members were issued email-equipped laptops), but left in play the resolution that she had written with Teall nominating Easthope??

    Seems to me that even in the face of the need to choose a Mayor Pro-Tem at the meeting, a resolution calling for any Councilmembers interested in serving as Mayor Protem to identify themselves would have served a democratic party better than a resolution nominating Chris specifically. It was an awkward moment at the Council table, that’s for sure.

    Mike laments: “Much of what you say is not even vaguely relevant to my principal arguments”

    You’re not alone, Mike. Sorry. The story of how the ‘peas’ became the plural of ‘pea’ is generally a huge crowd-pleaser in this kind of situation. Maybe I told it wrong. Or maybe I need to seek out harder-to-please crowds for practice.

    Listen, no one can doubt the ardor and skill you’ve displayed in making the case that the prescribed official name of the Democratic Party is the ‘Democratic Party’. I would simply reiterate that this fact does not follow from inherent properties of nominal forms versus adjectival forms in a descriptive grammar, but rather from the prescriptive naming convention that the Democrats have adopted.

    Further, it is far more interesing to elevate the fact of the naming convention to the status of a premise and then to ask whether the perverse use of a different naming convention counts as uncivil discourse. Declaring engergetically that you think it does, surely counts for something.

    The historical factoid that McCarthy was especially fond of wielding the phrase ‘Democrat Party’ is interesting in this light. I think if it were more widely known (it wasn’t previously known to me … but that’s not a great metric) it might be invoked today with less frequency, on pain of the uncomfortable association with McCarthy.

    Or perhaps, Mike, part of the reason you equate the phrase with ‘vilification’ is because you automaticlly associate the phrase with McCarthy? In this light, what’s your take on phrases like “the Democrats’ party” or “the party of the Democrats”? Or for all I know, McCarthy recruited those phrases as well in his zeal to avoid saying “Democratic Party”

    By the way, in the future, when you’re listing off perverse mis-renderings of the Republican Party’s name, please don’t forget Republican’t Party, and Repuke-lican Party. And then there’s the pre-posed adjectival expletive rendered in Beetle-Bailey-style characters that David Cahill treats us to here on AU from time to time.

       —HD    Nov. 23 '06 - 07:22AM    #
  57. Some on this site have complained about council discussing things at caucus even though it is an open meeting. Now your complaining when discuss things at the meeting instead of in caucus???

    I watched the replay and there was a discussion of the election for mayor pro-tem and it was in the proper place, on television in an open council meeting.

    Woods did not suggest that she wanted the job but recommended Higgins. The funny thing was, Higgins wrote the resolution nominating Easthope so go figure.

    The mayor didn’t say much at all only that the original resolution could be amended with another name, no one moved another name. Greden did talk about Easthope doing a good job and somebody else said something and Woods spoke two or three times. If Suarez wanted more discussion he should have said something. It was not until everyone had said what they were going to say that the vote was called, no one tried to limit the discussion so get over it.

       —Dustin    Nov. 23 '06 - 08:35AM    #
  58. “no one tried to limit the discussion so get over it.”

    Part of leadership in a democratic society involves promoting and facilitating, even demanding discussion amongst colleagues of why decisions are being made. Your observation that there was opportunity for discussion that was not limited by anyone, which took place at the proper time and place, is some kind of case for democratic process, but it’s a fairly weak one. It is not the kind of strong case that could be made if the ‘story’ told in the comment above were true. But you obviously watched the same meeting I did. If your conclusion from the same set of facts is that democracy was well-served, that’s a useful data-point.

       —HD    Nov. 23 '06 - 09:34AM    #
  59. Thanks HD, glad my observation is valid. To go a little further into it… What more was to be said on this issue? The charter said they needed to vote on it Monday night. The floor was open for discussion, those who had something to say said it in an open, televised forum. Would some rather they had the discussion off camera?

    So everyone said their piece, voted and moved on. This was simple matter over a mostly meaningless position. I don’t believe democracy is served by dragging everything out with endless talk, little is accomplished that way. Government should be efficient.

    The absurdity of this whole discussion lies the fact that Woods wanted to nominate Higgins but Higgins had already written a resolution nominating Easthope. That’s why I said “get over it.” Sorry.

       —Dustin    Nov. 23 '06 - 07:55PM    #
  60. Dustin wrote: “So everyone said their piece, ...”

    Well, no, but perhaps your point is that apparently not very many people had a piece to say … so big freakin deal. Which is why you find more to be said about people not having a piece to say here on AU.

    To reiterate, your observation that protocol was met is a valid one. I made the same observation above [yes, the comment was overly long and anyone can be excused for not reading in detail, but it’s Thanksgiving, and what I’m thankful for is the fact that AU doesn’t have a length limit on posts.]

    What’s lamentable is that a stronger claim to democratic process can’t be made in the case of this decision.

    Should Suarez have said something if he wanted to say something when Hieftje, who runs the meeting, says ‘Further discussion on [insert resolution number here]?’ Absolutely he should have. It can’t be excused by saying, Well, he’s new on Council and maybe he didn’t know the rules and didn’t realize that was his last opportunity to say something.

    I have no doubt that Ron will learn quickly (having a track record of that) what the relationship is between the rules of order and verbal participation at the table. Part of the way you learn is to follow the model provided by experienced Councilmembers. That night, he followed the example of Johnson, Rapundalo, Lowenstein, Higgins, Teall, and Easthope in remaining mute and appeared to be taken a bit off-guard when the vote was called.

    As for the position itself, it’s possible to agree with you that it’s a “mostly meaningless position” while still focussing on the two parts that aren’t meaningless. (1) the prescribed function of filling in for the Mayor when the Mayor is not able to perform their duties—in every capacity except for veto (2) the political cachet attached to having Mayor Pro-Tem on your resume.

    Now if Chris Easthope runs for Mayor or some other elected office besides Council, maybe he won’t include the datapoint of having served as Mayor Pro-Tem as a part of his campaign. I’m guessing he will, though. And for heavens sakes, he should. It’s not just that he does a solid job at it (if you want an example of this, watch the replay of the working session on the Library Lot), it’s that he has colleagues on Council who think highly enough of him to choose him as Pro-Tem … again and again.

    I wish Council had an even higher regard for Chris and had the confidence to let him emerge as their Mayor Pro-Tem out of a thorough talking-through by everyone at the table

    “I don’t believe democracy is served by dragging everything out with endless talk, little is accomplished that way. Government should be efficient.”

    Score one for efficiency in the selection of Mayor Pro-Tem. What might have been accomplished with more talk (no one’s advocating for endless talk, the length of my efforts here notwithstanding) is that I would have been encouraged that our Council was interested in democractic process at a level deeper than simply following the law.

    And I’ll grant you, in weighing whether providing encouragement to me personally accomplishes a little or a lot, it probably accomplishes little. But surely some kind of case can be made that enthusiasm for the democratic process as reflected by Council is generated one person at a time.

       —HD    Nov. 23 '06 - 09:21PM    #
  61. You’re not alone, HD.

       —Steve Bean    Nov. 24 '06 - 09:49PM    #
  62. __________________________________________

    The Democrats are utterly dead, when it comes to introducing any frankly Affirmative Action program, to de-segregate higher education, and to fully funding K-12 education for all.

    They don’t.
    And they won’t.

    The same Democrats are utterly dead to calling for any immediate end to the war on Iraq.

    See this very recent article from the “Detroit Free Press”:

    “...Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., say they’ll oppose any effort to force President George W. Bush’s hand by ending taxpayer support for war.

    This means the Democrats will oppose you, yes, you, if you ask for any cutoff of funding for the Iraq war.

    You just heard it from both their official leaders.


       —Democrats    Nov. 28 '06 - 05:37AM    #
  63. You can count on your Democrats for nothing…

    “Although U-M President Mary Sue Coleman initially said U-M might challenge the legality of Proposal 2, or ask for an injunction delaying its implementation for the current admission cycle that is already under way, she and other U-M officials have more recently moderated their remarks on possible legal action.”

    —from today’s “Ann Arbor News”.

       —Democrats    Nov. 28 '06 - 10:22PM    #
  64. In our two-party system, Greens, Taxpayers Party, Natural Law Party, etc., will always just be cranks and spoilers.

    Wait a second, Dave. You’re not turning your back on your own political history, are you? Or do you forget your own role in Ann Arbor’s Human Rights Party?

       —Dale    Nov. 29 '06 - 07:56AM    #
  65. Not at all. Times were different then. The HRP was active locally as part of the big student movement. We actually elected people to office. But that was 30 years ago…

       —David Cahill    Nov. 30 '06 - 05:50AM    #
  66. I came across a Daily op-ed you wrote in 73 the other day. What was your motivation for joining? How long were you affiliated and what’s your analysis of why the party broke apart/lost influence?

       —Dale    Nov. 30 '06 - 05:58AM    #
  67. Dale, could you post a link to that Daily op-ed? I don’t remember writing it, and would sure like copy.

    I joined the HRP because it stood an excellent chance of bring real change to AA city government. The Republicans were evil (still are) and the Dems weren’t doing much. I was a law student at the time, and the HRP was very active with students.

    I left the party when it was captured by sectarians and changed its name to the “Socialist Human Rights Party”. It had stopped winning elections by that time and turned into yet another leftist cult before disappearing.

       —David Cahill    Dec. 1 '06 - 01:53AM    #
  68. That’s interesting. A couple works I have read said that the change happened after its decline (almost as a postscript, rather than as a reason for its loss of viability). In Ann Arbor, it looked to me like the redrawing of ward boundaries in 74 to split up the student vote in the 2nd ward was a pretty big factor. What’s your sense/recollection of this?

    I’ll post the op-ed (I found it heavily quoted in a dissertation by Anthony Smith) when I get my hands on the microfilm.

       —Dale    Dec. 1 '06 - 02:51AM    #
  69. Note that the HRP and the Republicans co-sponsored that redrawing of the ward boundaries. For the Republicans, it was a successful gerrymander that kept Democrats out of power for years.

    Today’s ward boundaries are very little changed from the 1974 gerrymander. Special irony: in 2002, when a minimal-change ward boundary plan was proposed and approved, it was referred to as “the Democratic Lock plan”.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Dec. 1 '06 - 03:32AM    #