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I wrote a series of open letters to the Governor of Michigan.  This is the first of the series, written and sent to him via fax on December 15, 2012.  This letter was previously published on a friend's diary at http://www.dailykos.com/...

Obviously, we now know that Governor Snyder is a total weenie and doesn't bother to listen to any of the citizens of the State of Michigan unless they have contributed heavily to his bottom dollar.  This entire series of letters was a total and complete waste of my time and effort, but they were excellent therapy for me and served to refocus my mind and give me the push I needed to continue fighting against Rick Snyder and the policies will ruin this state.

Dear Mr. Snyder,
    How dare you?  I watched your press conference after the signing of Right to Work for Less legislation the other day. How dare you stand before the cameras and tell such bold faced lies?  How dare you claim to be a friend of labor unions?  How dare you claim to be pro-worker?  How dare you claim that there has been ample discussion on the matter of RTWFL?  Your GOP legislators are in the habit of deleting opposing posts on their Facebook pages and banning users who disagree with them.  How is that ample discussion?  Your GOP legislators frequently refused to see citizens during office hours to discuss RTWFL.  How is that ample discussion?  Your GOP legislators have had their staff hang up on people who were telephoning to voice their opinions on RTWFL legislation.  How is that ample discussion?  Your GOP legislators have had people removed bodily from Town Hall meetings for voicing an opposing opinion on RTWFL.  How is that ample discussion?  Your GOP legislators filled the gallery with members of their staff in order to keep citizens out of the chamber while they were voting on RTWFL.  How is that ample discussion?  That is not ample discussion – that is called “Cram it down our throats bullying” – and you are as guilty of that as your GOP legislators.  That’s all on you – you own that.

             Are you vying to be the most hated man in Michigan?  Congratulations, because I believe you may have actually unseated John Engler for that title when you signed the Right for Work For Less legislation.  You are not a governor.  You are not a leader.  You are nothing but a pen for the GOP, which has gone completely wild and seems intent on turning this state over to ALEC and the Koch brothers.  This state and her citizens aren’t yours to give and we will fight for the freedoms you have been taking from us since your inauguration.  I am asking you, after watching the idiocy in both the House of Representatives and the Senate last night, to get out your VETO pen and be the moderate that you continuously claim to be.  The legislation I watched roll out of our GOP dominated House and Senate is pure far right conservative wet dream material.  That the men and women we have elected to office would choose to use their power so recklessly is just unbelievable.  I urge to you to VETO every piece of legislation that came out of either chamber on the 13th of December.  

    Let’s talk about your track record, shall we? You pushed for and signed the Emergency Manager Law, PA4 of 2011.  You claimed it was necessary to save insolvent communities from bankruptcy.  That is pure and unadulterated BS and you know it.  It does not hurt communities to file bankruptcy – it hurts the bond holders who lose when those debts get discharged.  Do you know who holds a good majority of the bonds for the City of Detroit?  Of course you do, and so do I, but I’ll address that on another day.  The reason you needed the extended Emergency Manager Law is to take over communities and school districts to bleed them dry.  Your Emergency Managers are not fixing communities.  They are selling off assets for pennies on the dollar and leaving those communities with no means to obtain the tax revenue to sustain themselves into the future.  Selling assets isn’t the answer for these communities.  You need to teach these communities how to utilize what they have in a better way.  That is the way to fix ailing communities.  You claimed that you were enacting this law for use as sparingly as possible.  To use this law sparingly, anyone with common sense would think you might train a couple dozen people as Emergency Managers.  Yet you trained over 400 people to act as Emergency Managers within months of signing this law.  What does that tell the citizens of this state?  It tells us that you are planning a widespread use of this law to take over any community in this state that has assets you want to sell.  We didn’t want that so we organized the repeal effort and gathered signatures to put it on the ballot.  You, or someone close to you, paid people to try to keep us from voicing our desires with the manufactured FontGate fiasco.  

            We busted our tails and collected signatures and fought for the right to vote on the Emergency Manager Law and we very clearly stated that we don’t want it.  We did not “misunderstand” what we were voting on.  We knew exactly what we were voting to repeal.  That doesn’t mean that you can resurrect the old law and use it while you institute a new law to replace the one we voted out of existence.  We do not want Emergency Managers in Michigan.  PA72 of 1990 was repealed by PA4 of 2011, which you signed.  We voted, with a clear conscience and in our right minds, to repeal PA4; therefore, in accordance with MCL 8.4 (those are Michigan Compiled Laws, in case you need some clarification), “Whenever a statute, or any part thereof shall be repealed by a subsequent statute, such statute, or any part thereof, so repealed, shall not be revived by the repeal of such subsequent repealing statute.”  I’m not a lawyer like you are – I’m just a mom - but that language seems pretty cut and dried to me.  PA72 was repealed by PA4 and cannot be revived.  That means that everything you have done since the suspension of PA4 in August has been illegal (but you already know that, don’t you?).  There is no Emergency Manager Law in Michigan at the moment and you have been operating illegally on the premise of one man’s opinion.  You’re a lawyer – you ought to know better.  That’s all on you – you own that.
I urge you, please, do not sign any new Emergency Manager legislation into law.

    Let’s talk education, shall we?  I am after all, just a mom, and the education of my child is very near and dear to my heart.  Last year, under the PA4 Law, you instituted the Education Achievement Authority.  The EAA was doomed to fail from the outset, but you don’t see that.  Instead, you seem to see the EAA as the salvation of all Michigan schools.  Parents and educators see it as the death of public education.  It is a poorly managed excuse for the privatization of public education.  Your choice for a Chancellor was not well researched, unless you specifically brought someone here to destroy our public schools.  Let me ask you a few questions.  Would you allow your daughter to attend a school that plops her in front of a computer monitor and tells her to teach herself by performing rote tasks until she has memorized the correct answers and can traverse the online course without an error?  Of course you wouldn’t.  Would you allow your daughter to attend a school where the teachers are paid an hourly salary barely over minimum wage and are not required to hold any type of teaching certification?  Of course you wouldn’t.  Would you allow your daughter to attend a school where students don’t have text books or proper school supplies?  Of course you wouldn’t.  Would you allow your daughter to attend a school where she was required to sit for hours in an auditorium because they didn’t have teachers for her classes?  Of course you wouldn’t.  Parents in Michigan don’t want that either, but that is exactly what is happening in the pilot EAA schools in the City of Detroit.  Think about what you would accept for your child. If it wouldn’t be acceptable for your child, it shouldn’t be acceptable for ours.

             As you are planning to revise the School Aid Fund and rewrite Proposal A, think about whether or not those changes would be acceptable for your daughter.  The revisions offered by the Oxford Foundation to the way our schools are funded and structured are totally and completely unacceptable.  Try going back to the drawing board and bringing in some educators and parents to help devise a “right fit” solution to helping our public schools.  Bean counters and lawyers that developed plans and programs under former Governor Engler do not have the answers, nor do they have the best interests of our state or our children in mind.  We didn’t want those policies then and we don’t want them now.  Those people, quite frankly, don’t know squat about teaching children.  The people who know about what works with our children and education are the teachers you have waged your war against for the past two years and the parents who raise those children.  Stop the war against teachers – they are not your enemy.  You are screwing up people’s lives listening to John Engler, Dick DeVos, the Mackinac Center, ALEC, and the Koch brothers.  They are your bullies – not the citizens of this state.  If you stand up to them and stop travelling down this dangerous path you have chosen for our state you might find that we would stand behind you.  Right now, though, you are public enemy number one.  That’s all on you – you own that.

              Be the moderate you claimed to be while you were campaigning for office.  Do the right thing and VETO all of the legislation that was processed on the 13th of December, 2012.

Marion Townsend
Dearborn, MI     
December 15, 2013

Originally posted to Just A Mom on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:57 PM PST.

Also republished by Michigan, My Michigan.

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