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Catching a new bus

A couple of weeks ago we rolled out a new online-only column called, "Riding the bus with Gary Winslow" in which Winslow chronicles his travels via public transit. Many of our readers are pleased with the new addition, although there are concerns with some of his predilections toward misogynistic dialect.

Site user "Yolanda" says, "What an amazing gift of observation of human behavior Gary Winslow possesses. Every character he wrote on was so vividly described that I felt as if I was a passenger on the bus. Reading this story was like experiencing a little slice of everyday life for people in the big D. This story put a big smile in my heart. I would love to read more."

Site user "Fred Ziffel" says, "This seems to be Gary's second blog post, and I hope that means it's going to be a regular feature. Best thing the Metro Times has published in a while: Compelling, well-written, and a whole hell of a lot of fun to read. Thanks Gary, and keep up the good work."

Facebook user "Kit Bruce" says, "Sad to see misogynistic bullshit being perpetuated: 'If this little bitch actually and magically grew some balls ...' Boo."

Losing it with Jack Lessenberry

Each week Jack Lessenberry contributes a column to MT about politics in Michigan. Politics and Prejudices generally gets plenty of reader response — good and bad — but every once in a while a reader really goes off the deep end.

To the Editor:

Is Jack Lessenberry losing it? He repeatedly complains about how screwed up Michigan's government has become, yet for a proposed solution he obsesses about holding a state constitutional convention, which he admitted in his last column to be an unrealistic prospect.

Ordinarily, a con-con proposal can't get on the Michigan ballot until 2026, unless the legislature places it on the ballot before then, which Lessenberry admits isn't going to happen.

Along the way, Lessenberry whined about the landslide defeat of the 2010 con-con proposal. Democrats opposed this proposal not out of "rank cowardice," but out of realism. Con-con delegates would have been elected from state legislature districts, and these districts are gerrymandered Republican. With delegates chosen in a low-turnout special election, there would have been a lopsided Republican majority. In all likelihood, the con-con would have had a bigger proportion of tea party extremists than the legislature, and the proposed constitution they would have produced would have been even worse than the current one. In his column, Lessenberry failed to address this concern.

After citing Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson lamenting the 2010 con-con proposal defeat, Lessenberry asked, "But where was the Freep then?" In fact, the Free Press supported this proposal, running numerous editorials and columns urging a "Yes" vote. But the denizens of the Free Press editorial page were extremely vague about what they wanted to see in a new state constitution, thereby making an unconvincing argument.

As it is, Lessenberry has only mentioned three changes he wants to see in the state constitution: allowing for a graduated income tax, repealing term limits, and establishing a reapportionment commission to prevent gerrymandering. It isn't necessary to do a full constitutional rewrite to achieve these proposed changes, when each can be enacted as an individual amendment. The Michigan Constitution has been amended more than 30 times since taking effect in 1963, and the amendment procedure is quite simple. First, draft a proposed constitutional amendment. Next, conduct a petition drive to put it on the ballot. Finally, run a campaign to get it passed.

Will Lessenberry ever get it? Or will that make too much sense?

Dave Hornstein

Birmingham, MI

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