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Granholm & arts tax are easy picks


Jennifer Granholm is clearly the superior candidate for governor. Southeast Michigan should flex its muscle for Granholm.

Her opponent, Dick Posthumus, has campaigned like a punk. He is a denser, more naive version of John Engler, which means he's a chucklehead and a rigid ideologue. Posthumus' ideas are even more reactionary than Engler's, if that's possible. He offers all of Engler’s scorched earth, but none of his sophistication.

By rejecting Posthumus and his appalling politics of division, voters can send the message that such tactics won't be tolerated.

Granholm possess the skill, intellect and heart to reverse the economic slide that Engler/Posthumus have wrought. As Ronald Reagan so aptly illustrated, a cynical devotion to profits over people is bad for business. It is not wholesome or sustainable, let alone moral, and today even Engler's most favored patrons suffer the consequences of his beneficence.

Though Detroit has long been demonized by Lansing, the city and environs are undergoing a remarkable renaissance. Granholm understands that the destinies of Michigan and Detroit are conjoined, that Detroit's role in the state — its economy, its culture, its fiber — is essential. One must embrace and complement the other. Granholm is the right person to shatter this debilitating case of Wolverine schizophrenia.

A relative newcomer on the Michigan political scene, Granholm's ascendancy is nonetheless well-deserved. She is well-rounded, she hears a genuine call to serve, she is a skilled communicator. Her tenacity and confidence are inspiring.

We trust that once Granholm is established in office, she will become, pardon the expression, liberated — more of her own person and less a reflection of her political and partisan alliances, some of them less than savory, most of them far beneath her.

The possibilities for such a personage are sublime.

For voters in Oakland and Wayne counties, Proposal K should also be an easy choice.

The result of a years-long campaign, Proposal K would create a modest half-mill tax (costing the owner of a $100,000 home $25 a year) to raise about $43 million in 2003 for arts and cultural organizations. Two-thirds of the money would go to operating costs for17 large institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Zoo, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. In return, those major organizations pledge to reduce or waive admission fees for K-12 students, to tie their offerings more closely to public school curricula, and to create more programs for seniors and others.

Meanwhile, one-third of the money raised in each village, township and city would be returned there for operating local cultural and recreational programs and maintaining their facilities. The tax would be in place for 10 years.

We’d like to think that this money could help bolster the renaissance in southeastern Michigan. What we do believe is that the money can be a lifeline for worthy but struggling institutions, that it could let our biggest institutions make a major step toward filling their mandates, and that the sum spent on arts and culture can enrich lives in ways that the dollar amount alone can never reflect.

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