The Free Press has a very revealing article about the Reform Michigan petition drive.
A spokeswoman for Reform Michigan Government Now!, an organization whose origins and finances are shadowy, said Tuesday she believes enough voter signatures will be collected -- at least 380,000 are required -- by Monday's deadline to get on the November ballot.In other words, they don't have enough signatures yet.
Not that we didn't already know, but we now have confirmation that the "reform" proposal is a sham to benefit democrats.
A Democratic Party insider, who requested anonymity, said Democratic strategists have been working on the ballot plan for about a year, with the goal of improving their chances of controlling the Legislature.The article also addresses the question of whether democrat legislators are on board with the idea.
Democrats have grown increasingly frustrated that state legislative districts are drawn to benefit Republicans, even though Michigan has voted Democratic in presidential elections for two decades.
The party insider said focus groups were organized to gauge voter interest in various reform ideas. They indicated that to win approval of a new redistricting mechanism, a ballot proposal had to be dressed up with changes that might excite voters, such as shrinking the Legislature and cutting lawmakers' salaries and benefits.
State Rep. Dale Sheltrown, D-West Branch, believes some Democratic officials aren't satisfied with the kind of Democrats elected to the House.The article also addresses redistricting.
"I think it's the result of disappointment by those on the political left, who thought they could take over the House (in 2006) and everything would be fine," Sheltrown said. "But to do that, they had to elect moderate Democrats like me, who don't always vote with the party.
"If you draw districts up so it's more equal, not only would Democrats have a better chance of taking over the Legislature, but they'd have Democrats closer to the kind they want."
The government reform campaign would take redistricting out of the Legislature and put it into the hands of a new, bipartisan commission. The nine-member panel would have four members chosen by each party and the eight partisans would then choose a chair, who would be nonpartisan.This redistricting plan would totally disenfranchise independents and third party supporters, who would have no role in the process.
The funders of the petition drive remain mysterious, but we can safely assume that it's people close to the democratic party.
We also know who the mystery Republican supporting the petition drive is.
Committee organization documents name Harland Nye of Hastings as the treasurer of Reform Michigan Government Now!Can anyone actually verify that he is a Republican? Apparently, having a single random self-identified "Republican" supporter is all it takes to make a proposal bipartisan.
Nye, an 80-year-old retired high school band director and life-long Republican, said he's a member of a group of activists in Hastings who frequently talk about public policy.
If Republicans are smart, they will file a hundred different legal challenges to the language of the petition and get it thrown out in court. That would be ironic.