Controlled by one party

EDITOR:

Generally, it is not good to have all branches of government controlled by one party.

Witness what has happened in Michigan these last few years. The State House of Representatives, the State Senate, the governorship and the State Supreme Court are all controlled by the same party. Some voters continue to re-elect the same people, out of loyalty, out of inertia, or because the candidate is a “nice guy.”

The result is that party’s extreme wing gains the power to run roughshod over the will of the people, for who is there to stop them? Because they have control over all committees, they get to decide what laws will pass or even be debated.

In a statewide referendum, the voters clearly stated that they did not want the new Emergency Manager law, which removes local control. Immediately following that vote, the legislature again passed the same law, but with special language to ensure that it could not be overturned by a vote of the people.

The governor assured us that he did not plan to make Michigan a Right-to-Work state, then he turned around and signed a bill that made Michigan a Right-to-Work state.

They gave a large tax break to big business, and paid for it by taxing senior pensions,and cutting the child tax credit for the working poor, among other things.

They’ve vastly expanded charter schools. Nothing against charter schools, but many of these new schools are privately owned, for-profit schools. We fund them with our tax dollars, pulled from public schools, to the tune of a billion dollars every year.

They still get to call it “aid to education,” but there is no accountability. These schools answer to no public, no union, no elected school board. They do, however, spend a ton of money lobbying the Legislature.

Make no mistake: Our public schools and local control are seriously threatened by the drive to privatize. And speaking of privatizing: Common sense would indicate that if it is necessary to take a profit off the top of a taxpayer-funded service, there are only two ways to do it … either to decrease the number and quality of services or to lay off the professionals and replace them with lower-paid, lesser-trained workers. Or both.

Did you read this paper’s report of the food workers who were fired for having sexual contacts with inmates in a Michigan prison? “More than 80 workers have been banned from prisons for various infractions since (private company) took over the food service in December.” (The Daily News, 6/17/ 2014) More than 150 prisoners have suffered food-borne illnesses, and maggots have been reported in the food in two of the prisons served by the same private food service. Do we save money, and do we get our money’s worth?

Attorney General Bill Schuette used our tax dollars to file two briefs in the Hobby Lobby federal case. No matter how one feels about Hobby Lobby, or Obamacare, or contraception; no one ever asked us if that’s how we wanted our money spent

It seems these people are drunk with power, and they’ve cleverly gerrymandered to ensure that they stay in power. The people be damned.

Lola Johnson

Kingsford