2012 Federal/State/Local Endorsements for Grand Rapids, Michigan

November 6 is less than a month away, but already the battle lines are drawn. Herewith are my personal endorsements for candidates and my recommendations for sundry ballot proposals that we face on the state and municipal levels.

President of the United States

Only Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have what it takes to correct the wild fiscal imprudence and geostrategic incompetence of Team Obama. Whether it’s “leading from behind” — as Iran ticks closer to the Bomb — or taking over one-sixth of the U.S. economy with a one-size-fits-all approach to socialized medicine, Barack Obama (D) has been a miserable failure whose ego is outmatched only by his ham-handed management of the federal treasury. America deserves leaders like Romney and Ryan, men who understand what it takes to get Americans working again and how to keep our public finances sane. We need Mitt and Paul. Vote Romney/Ryan!

United States Senator

As far as senators go, Debbie Stabenow (D) hasn’t been bad. But she hasn’t been a leader, either. With the Senate in a state of mortal combat, Stabenow could have shown courage to resist the worst of Harry Reid’s bumbling machinations. Instead, she blithely sings to the majority leader’s hyperpartisan tune. We need someone who’s not just average, but someone above average — someone like Republican Pete Hoekstra, whose bipartisan leadership of the House Intelligence Committee and keen grasp of the issues we face as a nation make him the right man at the right time. Vote Pete Hoekstra!

United States Representative, 3rd District

Steve Pestka is a good guy. He’s a Democrat, but no one’s perfect, and he’s more of a centrist than most. Republican Justin Amash is a socially awkward acolyte of Ron Paul — someone who opposed defunding Planned Parenthood because it was “a bill of attainder.” (Do you see that? It’s the sight of a blogger’s eyes rolling.) Inasmuch as I’d love to have a solid Republican to support, we’re stuck with a libertarian in sheep’s clothing who’s been written off even among the GOP Congressional leadership. Endorsement goes to Steve Pestka.

Michigan Representative, 75th District

No endorsement. Neither candidate has done anything whatsoever to inform voters about his positions.

State Board of Education; Regents of the University of Michigan; Trustees of Michigan State University; Governors of Wayne State University

No endorsements.  Radio silence from all the candidates.

Kent County Prosecuting Attorney

Republican William Forsyth is running unopposed, which makes sense because he’s been a stalwart who gets the job done. Vote for Forsyth.

Kent County Sheriff

The long-time sheriff, Lawrence Stelma, is up for re-election. I have no personal reason to oppose him, but there’s been a lot of talk among some locals about the need for a change. Democrat James Farris is endorsed instead; Farris was a deputy chief who was passed up for the top slot in the Grand Rapids Police Department. Some say it’s because he’s black. I don’t know about that, but I do know that people who are clued into local law enforcement say Farris has served with dignity and grace even when he was passed over. Time for a promotion to the sheriff’s office, methinks.

Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds

This one’s easy; Republican Mary Hollinrake runs a clean and efficient operation and deserves re-election. Vote Hollinrake.

Kent County Treasurer

Like the clerk, Republican Kenneth Parrish is not flashy, but he is effective. Vote Parrish.

Kent County Drain Commissioner

Drain commissioner nod goes to Bill Byl, who’s been an able local public servant over the years.

Kent County Commissioner for the 17th District

No endorsements.  Radio silence from all the candidates.

Judicial Elections; Grand Rapids Public School Board

None of these are contested elections at the local level, except the six-year term for the Kent County Probate Court. In that race, I endorse the non-partisan incumbents Patricia Gardner and G. Patrick Hillary for re-election.

For the Michigan Supreme Court’s non-partisan ballot, I endorse the re-election of Justice Stephen Markman and the election of Judge Colleen O’Brien for full eight-year terms, and I endorse Justice Brian Zahra for re-election to a partial term.

Michigan Ballot Proposals

  • Vote YES on Proposal 1.  The wording on this is sneaky; if you favor the Emergency Manager law — and you should; it keeps Detroit from totally collapsing — then you need to vote YES on this proposal to keep the law in place. This is a referendum to keep PA 4, which established the emergency-manager role for Michigan.
  • Vote NO on Proposal 2.  How clearly can I say it? Vote HELL NO to enshrining a constitutional right to unionize into the Michigan Constitution.
  • Vote NO on Proposal 3.  Support Prop 3 if you’re in favor of rolling blackouts, since this initiative, if passed, would require Michigan to get 25 percent of all its energy from renewable resources while capping rate increases to 1 percent per year. Gee, who pays for this Green-energy bonanza? Let me guess … the CFL bulb fairy?
  • Vote NO on Proposal 4.  The state constitution isn’t the place to enshrine new bureaucracies. This proposal would seek to create a home-care council to serve as a quasi-public labor union for home-care workers. Vote this nonsense off the island, posthaste.
  • Vote NO on Proposal 5.  Beware Geeks bearing gifts: This proposal looks good at first glance, but it’s a poisoned pill. The proposal would require a 2/3 vote to modify tax law. It also requires a 2/3 vote to reduce taxes. Better to staff the legislature with solid fiscal conservatives than to screw around with supermajorities.
  • Vote NO on Proposal 6.  Just say no to sour grapes. This bill would stymie Gov. Snyder’s necessary drive to get another bridge to Canada. Prop 6 is pushed by the guy who owns (and thereby profits from) the current Ambassador Bridge. Tell this yahoo that the state ballot isn’t a place to solidify his rent-seeking.

Grand Rapids Municipal Proposals

  • Vote NO on Proposal I.  This proposal, if adopted, would make the City Comptroller a position appointed by the City Manager instead of an elected job. No point in reducing the public’s influence on City Hall — particularly when the man in charge, who isn’t elected, leads a city with a weak mayoral structure.
  • Vote NO on Proposal II.  This basically legalizes pot in a big way — making it (at most) a $100 fine and darned difficult to prosecute.

Remember — it’s your civic duty to vote; it’s your moral duty to vote as I prefer. 🙂