Michigan ballot proposal backers are for the birds
We almost canceled Talk Back this week. Almost. We had heard that Byrds co-founder Roger McGuinn was performing that Saturday, and since we love ’60s music, we had to be there. After all, the dude is 79, so who knows how much longer he’ll be shoving his magic 12-string twanger. Only one small problem. He was in Edwardsburg, Illinois. 463 miles further. And the DeLorean was in the store.
Unless we missed our show, we would never get there in time.
That’s when we remembered. With Edwardsburg in the central time zone, we had an extra hour. Prime! So we headed to the local Tickets R Us to snag some primo seats, and what a waste! A mop maniac was bouncing like a ping pong ball – maybe he was 8 miles tall – leaping onto the roofs of cars, whipping the crowd into a frenzy and waving his arms wildly while shouting into a megaphone .
“The Byrds aren’t real!” The Byrds aren’t really!”
Obviously, he was some kind of weirdo. And then we remembered something else. How McGuinn had once changed his name to Roger from Jim. A fake name? That fixed the problem. Mr. Tambourine Man and his Rickenbacker were nothing but a bunch of hooey. Just like A Flock of Seagulls. And Sheryl Crow.
And Marc Fidrych.
Now, don’t let that ruffle you. Save that for the really important stuff. Like the handful of people who spend millions of dollars on professional signature collectors because it’s the only way to get the number required to put their most favorite questions on the ballot. Or better yet, bypass voters altogether by sending them directly to Lansing so that a sympathetic legislature can directly enact them.
Without the possibility of a veto from the governor.
This year, a dozen or more proposals may appear on the ballot – all with one thing in common. They are funded by contributors with deep pockets. Take the newly formed Michigan Guardians of Democracy, which has invested $1.4 million in recent months in a campaign to make photo ID mandatory at the ballot box. Plus an additional $790,000 to limit public health orders to 28 days, unless extended by state or local government. And an additional $100,000 to provide tax credits for public and non-public scholarship donations. This one also received a quarter of a million from four additional donors.
And another $1.4 million from two DC-based groups whose backers remain undisclosed.
But that’s nothing compared to the committee wanting to enshrine in the state constitution the current practice of allowing voters without ID to sign an affidavit of ID instead. Nearly $2.5 million of the $2.7 million raised comes from out-of-state donors, led by the $800,000 Washington, D.C.-based Sixteen Thirty Fund, a half-million philanthropist from Oklahoma Lynn Schusterman and $125,000 from director Steven Spielberg.
With money like that, forget about the 10 points you were going to send. They will never miss it.
That’s how it is in the new world of citizens’ initiatives. From voting requirements and public health to payday loans and minimum wage, we’re all stuck with the best laws and constitutional amendments that the well-heeled — most of whom don’t live here — can. to buy.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining.
The Eagles, O’Jays and the Partridge family will play a triple header next Thursday, and we’ve just scored the best spots in the house and… what’s that? They aren’t real either? Well, we only have one thing to say about that. The same thing we say to those interlopers who finance the polls.
May the bird of paradise fly to your nose.
Talk Back with Doug Spade and Mike Clement is heard every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon EST on Buzz 102.5 FM and online at www.dougspade.com and www.lenconnect.com.