Voter Guide to Detroit/Michigan Elections

This voter guide is based on my personal research and conversations, and is not a complete reflection of all the positions that are up for election this year. Some positions, such as Member of the State Board of Education and several judicial positions, are not included, not because they are unimportant races, but rather I was unable to develop an informed choice by the time of this posting (and will probably just decide on the day I vote). Every voter should do their own research, but if this voter guide helps, please feel free to print it out and take it with you to the polls!


As an environmentalist, I wasn’t that impressed with what she and her administration was able to carry out during her last term. But it was a much better scene than the nightmare of Engler. Overall, I believe in Granholm’s potential. And I can’t bring myself to let her opponent win.

Secretary of State: CARMELLA SABAUGH

Attorney General: AMOS WILLIAMS
Longtime commitment to social justice.

I wish I could vote for Deborah Stabenow. She showed a lot of leadership against the Canadian trash issue, I’ve had good experience working with her staff, so I generally thought of her as an important political figure. Unfortunately, her vote for the pro-torture Military Commissions Act changed my mind about her. As a Green, David Sole has a much better platform.

US Representative in Congress: CAROLYN CHEEKS KILPATRICK

State Senator: HANSEN CLARKE
Hansen has always been very supportive of our initiatives at the Detroit Asian Youth Project, and he understands environmental justice issues.

State Representative: MARSHA G. CHEEKS

Wayne State University Board of Governors: MARGARET GUTTSHALL

Wayne County Commissioner: JEWEL WARE

District 36 Court Judge: RUDY SERRA

Prop 1: YES
As an outdoor enthusiast, I think it is important that the fees we pay to access outdoor recreational areas and greenspaces be used to maintain these very places. Often in the past, the state would dip into recreational/conservation funds and use the funds to supplant deficiencies in the general fund. This negatively impacts the amount of funding we have to promote tourism and outdoor recreational activities. Voting “yes” would make sure that the fees we pay only go towards further preserving outdoor parks.

Prop 2: NO NO NO NO NO
Voting “no” would preserve the use of affirmative action.

Prop 3: NO
I would rather not sanction the killing of any living beings.

Prop 4: YES
This proposition will prevent the State from using eminent domain for private/corporate uses of the land. This is very important to establish because of a recent US Supreme Court ruling on a case in Connecticut that sanctioned the use of eminent domain for private use. Voting “yes” would mean to protect the misuse of eminent domain for private interests, and give more power to landowners (i.e. it is meant to prevent landgrabs).

Prop 5: YES
Vote “yes” to support the financing of our educational system.

You can also find ballots in your local community here, and if you don’t see one in your area, create your own! This great service is hosted by the League of Pissed Off Voters (Hopefully I get around to putting the one above in their database. ) Here’s an example of the voter guide a group of us in Detroit produced in 2002, based on the League’s model and approach. Additionally, omnicrisis posted a voter guide-like letter from Elena Herrada, Detroit activist in the Latino community, who shares her perspectives on the elections.


  1. Thanks for this, I’m gonna link to it on my page. Welcome to A2 otra vez ….

  2. Proposal 2: Voting YES on Proposal 2 would maintain affirmative action programs. It would eliminate those programs that grant preferential treatment such as U-M’s admissions program that makes race a determining factor. Outreach programs wouldn’t be wiped out. The University of California still maintains programs that assist minorities and women. For example, the goal of UC’s Louis Stokes California Alliance for Minority Participation is to significantly increase the number of degrees granted to underrepresented minority students in science, engineering, and mathematics. In addition, UC’s Society of Women Engineers conducts programs such as Girl Scout Day to expose the world of engineering to K – 12 grade girls.

    Feel free to check UC’s site for confirmation on both facts:


    California proves that affirmative action does not have to be a zero sum game. Some of us believe in equal treatment. That’s why we don’t favor trying to fix discrimination with discrimination.

    Proposal 5: The problem with this proposal is that it does not provide accountability. It’s actually a nice bait-and-switch by the National Education Association which provided nearly all of the funding for promoting it. Everyone looks at the mandatory increases of funding by the rate of inflation and figures that’s a good thing. Well for the past 10 years, funding has increased by 40% and actually exceeded the rate of inflation to the tune of $1 billion. The insidious part of this proposal is what the NEA doesn’t want promoted. This proposal caps a local school board’s liability for pension and health care benefits. This means local school boards can continue to agree to lucrative benefit packages and the state (i.e. taxpayers) foot the bill. The idea behind local school boards is local control and accountability. I think teachers should be well compensated (and they are in this state). However, my employer must be pay attention to the bottom line. That’s why I have a 401K and pay for a portion of my health insurance. Proposal 5 is for the union, not the kids.

  3. These are classic arguments, Steve, and it’s pretty clear that we have very different stances on the issue of affirmative action. For the purposes of healthy discussion, I will share that the Citizens Research Council of Michigan states the following with regards to Prop 2:

    “With respect to state and local government, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have already barred the use of quotas and set-asides, and have made it illegal to have an affirmative action preference program without a compelling governmental interest (i.e., remedying the effects of past discrimination). Even when a compelling governmental interest can be proved, the government must use means that are narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

    And the US Supreme Court in 2003 ruled that using race is a compelling governmental interest, and that the U-M Law School process was narrowly tailored. That’s it for now, as I will try indulge in a longer response next week, as I am about to undergo some knee surgery tomorrow. I invite other readers along the whole spectrum of this issue to share their perspectives.

  4. Well they are classic arguments because they go to the heart of the opposition’s claim. You claim Proposal 2 eliminates affirmative action but it doesn’t. It eliminates some forms of affirmative action – those that classify and divide by granting preferences. California has proven you can have affirmative action without granting preferences.

    I think we both desire the same result – equal opportunity. Unfortunately, you can’t get to that through programs that discriminate.

    Best of luck on the knee surgery. Hopefully it won’t keep you away from the polls. ;o)

  5. Please delete this guys comments because he is wrong about what has happened in California. I do not see any comments about the many law suits men have filed to gain access to shelters for women and children (often the abuser of said women and children).

    Affirmative Action in its current form does have problems, I think it should focus more on the economic disparities while still considering that race is real in the United States and in all post colonial empires. Color blind merit is a myth. It is a gift to the upper class and the rulling class. They have convinced White men that they are members of the “club” because of their skin and that women and people of color are getting unfair treatment.

    It is telling that these people don’t put their money or propose a change to affirmative action to make it more fair. Instead they want to completely eliminate it. It is also short sighted because once again White men vote against thier own interests by voting down affirmative action. Most of them enjoy comfortable middle class lifestyles because their White wives and mothers work. You wouldn’t enjoy your current lifestyle whatever it is, if your wife and or mother did not work.

    If you really want fairness then you would fight for an equitable distribution of educational resources across the board regardless of race. However, clearly you are not for equality because you won’t work to help change the current program you just want to toss it out totatlly.

  6. Delete my comments? That’s your argument? You must be a member of BAMN. That was their tactic. Silence the MCRI. Several failed lawsuits later they gave up. Now the people will vote on it as they should.

    I presented evidence that California still maintains outreach programs and you claim I’m wrong about it. Visit the websites. See what programs they offer. I didn’t make them up, UC did.

    Comments about the lawsuits? No one brought it up until you did. Are you talking about the ones that dismissed by the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2003? These dismissals were upheld by the California Court of Appeals in 2005. I’d provide the web sites so you could read the decisions but it would take a few minutes to get them and I don’t think that would make much difference to you.

    I find your talk of colonialism and White men’s club offensive but I won’t call for your silence. I will continue to call for our government to be colorblind when dealing with us. It is wrong. Obviously you believe it is justified. I disagree. Therefore I will vote YES.

  7. I am not a member of BAMN and I wouldn’t become a member of BAMN. Let me explain exactly my problem with your position and why it needs to be silenced (albiet temporarily).

    White males, historically, and therefore contemporarily hold a position of priviledge GLOBALLY. Even a White male in the lowest social economic positions globally are still more priviledged than a female or Person Of Color from the same socio-economic class/strata.

    If the world was a different place, and White men, (the current exclusive holders of priviledge and power), did not make decisions even slightly or by default based partly skin color, hair texture, phenotype, ethnic origin, religion, sex, gender expression, and sexual orientation THEN and only then would it not be necesary for many programs to make more fair what is inherently unfair.

    If you really do believe in fairness you wouldn’t vote yes on 2 you would vote no on 2. You would recognize that their still is a tangible and real value in white skin and therefore people that are not white, heteronormative, upper class males are unfairly marginalized at every level of American society and therefore globablly.

    Affirmative Action programs have problems, for example, I think there is not enough focus on the economic disparities that have resulted from the racists institution setup by white, heteronormative, upper-class males. However, getting rid of the program itself does not help anything at all.

    It is better to work with the current programs to make it work better so that nobody is discriminated against and there is an acknowledgement that the standards for admitance to institutions of higher education are culturally and racially biased in favor of heternormative upper class white males. That is not fair to EVERYONE, even to these males.

    Additionally, it has taken very creative people committed to the values of diversity in the University of California system ten years to get the numbers somewhat close to where they were in 1996 when the racists prop 209 championed by Connerly et.Al. made them over 90% upper class white male enviornments.

    I do not know why you are offended about the “White Male power & wealth Club”, look at the world. You are offended because I mentioned the fact of the “White Male power & wealth Club” be offended that there is a white male power and wealth club, of which, (If you are not a heternormative upper middle class white male) then you have been fooled by them into believing that their adgenda benefits you. Most white people depend on the education and therefore the income of a white woman. You can be sure that if you are then, I understand why you take that position on prop 2 because you are afriad that if you give up anything you are giving up everythying.

    If prop 2 passes, Michigan will become the bastian of racists ignorant white people. If you are not a racists white person then you will gradually, but surely be surrounded by them. This will happen because people of color will increasingly exit a place that does not value them.

    Things have changed in the world, and people of color do still have some options (affirmitive action gives us access to more options) if Michigan voters don’t recognize that race and sex are still salient issues when considering higher education admission and highering, the people of color and others that value diversity will move for the same reasons that they left the south they will leave Michigan.

    On the final note of deleting your comments, unfortunately the people behind MCRI and prop 2 are wealthy and have done a lot of illegal and intellectually dishonest things in promotion of this measure, so one less blog with your color blind lie I think is helpful.

  8. I am offended because you imply I am racist. But as I said, I would not censor you for it.

    One last item before I drop out of this “debate”. If California did not become a “bastian of racists ignorant white people” after passing Prop 209, why do you believe it’s Michigan’s destiny?

    I’ll leave you with the last word.

    If wsoftheart believes I should be silenced, then delete my comments. Thankfully (and in spite of the efforts of the anti-2 forces) I still have my vote.

  9. Classic! I never called you a racist. But I am going to continue this on your blog.

  10. hmm well I think I’ll post it here also.

    California had much more diversity and integration before prop 209 in 1996 it would be very difficult to transform California into a bastion of white racists.

    However, it is very easy for Michigan to become the bastion for white racists because it pretty much already is.

    Michigan is the most segregated by race in at all socio-economic levels of all of the states in the United States.

    The Detroit metro area is the most segregated of all metro areas in the United States.

    For many years, the leader of the KKK lived in Livingston County. That is only to say that proportionally, Michigan is a place where white racists feel comfortable.

    Classic! I never called you a racist or even implied that you are.

    I do not even know what your race or ethnicity is. All I know is that you are a male that lives in Farmington Hills Michigan that is planning to vote yes on prop 2.

    As far as I am concerned how you experience race can have nothing to do really with your position. Unless you think it does.

    Fairness should be fairness, if you are a person committed to fairness your various group affiliations shouldn’t matter.

    It may help inform your decisions, but you should be able to stand away from your relative privilege or disadvantage to understand a few things about global white male privilege.

    A person committed to fairness would understand that 30 years of a quota free (again the supreme court struck down quotas in the 1970s) program that does consider race, and sex in admissions, government contracting, and employment interviewing (again entities may have diversity goals, but affirmative action only says they must consider a qualified candidate of color it does not require that they hire one) does not come close to balancing the scales for people of color.

    30 years can only be enough time if white males agree that a wrong has been done and are willing to share the prosperity of opportunity that resulted from their privileged positionalities.

    Regardless of whether or not a persons family was slave holding, many people (some of them people of color) have benefited from the white skin privilege of their ancestors. The same why wealth and poverty is inherited and passed down so is the privilege of being white.

    All white people have unfairly benefited from the oppression and discrimination of people of color. Even if that benefit is simply having the option to exist in a world that is void of people different from them.

    If you don’t think there is privilege in being white (if you are white) how much would you charge to give up being white to become exactly the same, but only black?

    The legacy of white male privilege is seen today in Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb I should add where I once lived.

    If you are opposed to prop 2 because you believe in fairness and you think sufficient gains have been made, then ask yourself why is it that the people of color that purchase homes in Farmington Hills Michigan average a higher education level and income than their white neighbors.

    Why does a person of color need more education and/or more wealth/money to purchase and live in the same neighborhood as a white person on every socio-economic level?

    People of color are still working to overcome the legacy of the 400 years of bondage and the 98 years of American Apartheid (Jim Crow) that immediately followed.

    Additionally, women only got the right to vote 86 years ago, the past he past 30 years of affirmative action programs have benefited women, especially White women the most.

    However, despite this, these women still earn about $0.75 to every $1 a man earns. Women still face unfairness that begins at the education level from steering them out of the sciences or to be nurses instead of doctors to environments that disregard their contributions.

    Women have to have demonstrated an ability above and beyond men to even get a seat at the table.

    A seat at the table of opportunity is all people of color and women are looking for.

    Nobody is interested in removing white men from the table.

    Affirmative action programs have served as the ‘shoulders’ of these people to help make room at the table.

    Again, I reiterate, if you are committed to fairness and equality, you would not only VOTE NO ON PROP 2 but you would work with various organizations that want to improve these programs to include a larger emphasis in people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

    However, the United States is still not color blind so it only serves to marginalize to the outer fringes people of color when an institution of higher learning (especially the elite) does not take into consideration the persons color/race etc. when attempting to educate.

    It is important for a democratic society that everyone at all levels of the socio-economic class and strata be represented in elite institutions of higher learning and in all levels of government because this is where the future leaders will be educated and create policies for everyone.

  11. Well, well, it looks like a lively debate has ensued during my absence. I don’t see the need to delete any comments (though I maintain the right to do so at my discretion in the future). I have seen very ugly dialogues play out on the blogosphere. With affaxn being such a hot/emotional topic, I think it was very close to happening here, but I appreciate that folks have not let it slide down that path. With that said, thanks for providing your perspectives and data t. zac and steve.

    Again, I encourage undecided voters to keep researching the issues. Talk to people. Make your own voter guide. Take a look at who’s behind each proposal, what motivates them, then make your decisions if you believe they have the best interests for our state in mind.

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