This is a tough election choice at the top of the ticket. On the one hand, we have John Engler, the sumo wrestler hell-bent on doing anything and everything for the pro-business lobby. On the other, Geoffrey Fieger, the fighter for you who talks a good progressive game but generally seems a loose cannon and has little on record to back his idealistic commitments. With these options, it almost seems that our state would be better off without a governor these next four years, and yet there will be a governor. Should we go with the devil we know will do the wrong thing (anti-choice, anti-environment, pro-corporate welfare) or the devil we're not sure of? The Metro Times endorses Geoffrey Fieger for governor of Michigan.
Divining who should next occupy the Frank Kelley memorial attorney general chair is a bit easier. The Republicans shoved John Smietanka down Engler's throat at the state convention. The Democrats' Jennifer Granholm is the Wayne County corporation counsel and, amazingly enough, enjoys almost across-the-board support from what passes as the party establishment. The bottom line is that the attorney general position is the last refuge for progressives in a state where the governor is so blindly pro-business. Frank Kelley endorses Granholm and so does the Metro Times.
In Congress, with Republican majorities in the House and the Senate standing ready to railroad the president and the nation, it's important to have progressives in place to attempt dialogue on the real political issues affecting our country. Fortunately southeast Michigan has a number of candidates with histories of by and large supporting progressive causes. The Metro Times endorses David Bonior, Sander Levin, Lynn Rivers, John Conyers Jr., Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick and John Dingell.
In the state Supreme Court where Democrats hold a 4-3 edge, it's again important to keep people who won't cave in to the corporate lobby and sell the state down the river. From a field of nine candidates the Metro Times endorses Carole Youngblood and Michael Cavanagh.
Proposal B, the Merian's Friends initiative calling the question on assisted suicide, is the hottest button this year. Merian's Friends ran a grassroots petition drive to get it on the ballot, but are being outspent by the religious right and other conservatives. In a democracy, people should have the right to death over suffering if they choose. Vote yes on Proposal B.
Vote likewise on Proposal C, which authorizes state bonds for environmental and natural resources protection. In the best case scenario the business that polluted should pay to clean up the mess. Since Engler has already let them off hook it's up to the public to foot the bill. Vote yes on C.
A couple of Detroit ballot proposals merit mention. The Detroit Living Wage Ordinance, which requires employers doing business with the city to pay its employees at least $7.70 per hour, creates hardships for some small groups doing good work, but it certainly is a step in the right direction. The proposed living wage is the federal poverty level, and Detroit should stand for getting people out of poverty. That is especially important in these days of taking people off welfare and into work. Let's not create a peasant class that functions to keep wages low. Vote yes on the Living Wage Ordinance.
There are two Detroit City Charter ballot questions. Each gives more power to the mayor. One allows the mayor rather than the city council to appoint members to the Civil Service Commission. The other eliminates the citizen district councils. Vote no on both of these.