Making Democracy Work

LWVGP Local Positions

I. Wayne County Government

Support of efficient, effective, flexible charter county government.
Standards are:

A. For the Charter Commission
1. Disqualification of local and county officials for election to the commission.
2. Adequate salary for the commissioners.
3. A reasonable time limit for completion of commission work.
4. Adequate operation funds for the commission.

B. As to structure, a more responsible and more efficient form of county government. 1. There should be a single executive with power to appoint and remove heads of administrative departments, prepare and administer the budget and formulate long range plans. If an elective office, the executive should have veto power over legislation.
2. There should be no election of county clerk, register of deeds, sheriff, county treasurer, county auditor, or drain commissioner. The auditor should be appointed by the elected legislative body. The functions of the remaining listed officials should be assigned to administrative departments, the heads of which should be appointed by the county executive.
3. There should be a small elected legislative body of not more than 15 members. Districts should be of as nearly equal population as possible, and gerrymandering should be avoided.
4. Elected county officials should serve four-year terms.
5. Most county functions should be carried on by departments directly responsible to the executive rather than by semi autonomous boards and commissions.

C. As to substantive powers, we favor:
1. In areas in which it is given power, the county should be allowed to set minimum standards for services to be provided by the municipalities. It is assumed that minimum standards would be set by the county only in areas of welfare, health and safety. The county should be allowed to set up special service assessment districts in order to furnish and fund services as requested by communities or as required by county standards. Some general fund assistance should be available for areas of low property value. The charter should provide for the initiative and referendum in all areas other than appropriations where it is already prohibited by the state constitution. Wayne County should have available taxes other than the property tax.

II. Solid Waste Management

The League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe recognizes the problems of solid waste in the Grosse Pointes.

Based on the positions established through consensus at the National and State levels of the League of Women Voters, we support the use of all resource recovery methods to reduce the quantity of waste. This includes reduction, reuse, and recycling. We support the use of recycled products by residents, communities, organizations, and the Grosse Pointe Public School System as a means of completing the recycling loop.

The five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods should work together to maintain a cost effective and environmentally safe waste management program.

III. Human Services

Support policies and programs staffed by sufficient well trained personnel to provide preventive, protective and rehabilitative services to serve the needs of people of all ages.

IV. Library Position

The League of Women Voters Grosse Pointe believes that the Grosse Pointe Public Library is of central importance to our community. Therefore, it supports a full service library system that has the following characteristics:

A. The Library is responsive to the needs of the community, relying on significant staff and community involvement in strategic planning, capital projects, collection selection, technological resources and space requirements.

B. The Library maintains an ongoing commitment to attracting and retaining quality staff.

C. The Library Board of Trustees is selected in a manner that allows for community input and involvement, in an open and transparent process that makes Trustees accountable to their constituents. Each community served by the District Library should be represented on the Library Board of Trustees.

D. The Library Board of Trustees maintains and makes available, both online and in the libraries, any governance records that are of interest to the public. These records should include notices of Board meetings; meeting Agendas; meeting Minutes; current and past Budgets; operating policies; overviews of major project plans; and names, terms and qualifications of current Trustees.

E. The Library operates on a sound fiscal plan. Its operating budget should be fully funded by tax dollars and not rely on private donations. Capital projects and specials programs should be funded by a combination of tax dollars and private donations actively raised in the community with the assistance organizations such as the Grosse Pointe Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Grosse Pointe Public Library.

V. Education

A. Support the concept of community education.

B. Support and encourage the public schools to
1. provide appropriate class size for effective teaching
2. provide an adequate school social worker program
3. meet the needs of children with special requirements

C. Support Wayne County Community College.

VI. Land Use and Recreation

A. The Grosse Pointe League of Women Voters supports long-term comprehensive planning for the orderly development of the Grosse Pointe communities. There should be community participation, both lay and professional, in the planning process. This participation should include fact finding, public discussion of choices and alternatives. There should be efforts to obtain total community involvement and cooperation (business, professional, educational, and civic groups).

Each of the Grosse Pointes has a master plan for its development. These plans are continually being reviewed. The master plan should be available to the citizens of each community, and citizens should have the opportunity to participate in these reviews. Opportunities for possible coordination of the plans of different communities should be utilized. Appointments to the various planning boards and commissions should reflect the values and needs of the community at large.

Zoning practices should permit a variety of choices in housing (single family, multi family dwelling, housing for the elderly and handicapped, low and moderate income families.) We support the rehabilitation of present buildings and a careful review of the use of land as it becomes available.

B. Support the establishment of a recreational planning committee for the five Grosse Pointes composed of representatives from the municipalities, community institutions, and citizens involved in recreation.

C. Support all communities, the Grosse Pointe Public School System, and local organizations that work for:
1. Equality in financing of and access to recreational facilities without regard to sex,
2. Increased enrollment in physical fitness activities to be enjoyed by all ages.

D. Support efforts of the communities and the Futuring Process group to develop a master plan for land and facility use, establish a land acquisition process, develop new facilities and upgrade existing sites. Encourage local governments to develop a unified plan to complement existing master plans.

VII. Transportation

A. Supports a Detroit Metropolitan Area Regional Transit System.
1. includes all governmental units under a single transportation agency. Governmental units should not be able to opt out of this system.
2. Goals should be to
a. provide transportation services.
b. revitalize the urban area.
c. reduce air pollution.
3. Primary attention should be given to:
a. increasing mobility throughout the area.
b. helping the general population to get jobs.
c. reducing the use of the private automobile.

B. Supports a Transportation Agency governed by an appointed board of 8-13 members.
1. Term of office should be 3-4 years, overlapping, part-time, and with minimal salaries.
2. Board members should represent both population and governmental units.
3. Appointments should be by a combination of agencies to include SEMCOG and the Governor.
4. The Mayor Detroit and the County Board of Commissioners could be included in the appointing combination of agencies.
5. If there is an elected board:
a. The election should be nonpartisan
b. public officials or employees should not be restricted from holding office, but each potential appointee should be carefully evaluated for possible conflict of interest.
6. Board members, whether elected or appointed, should not be for an indefinite number of years.

C. Supports a minimum level of service provided to all.
1. This should include:
a. Urban and outlying areas.
b. The elderly
c. The handicapped.
2. The greatest level of service should go to heavily populated areas. Job locations should be considered in establishing transportation routes.
3. There should be a mix of linehaul (buslines of straight routes) and specialized bus service to outlying areas for those individuals who are dependent on public transportation for mobility.
a. Curb-to-curb and door-to-door should be available such as paratransit (new terminology defining other than "linehaul") types of services.
b. Park-and-ride type services should be available to avoid single occupancy vehicles.
4. There should be selected fare reductions for the handicapped, the elderly, the young, and students.

D. Supports funding for public transportation from a combination of federal, state, and local sales taxes that supports modes of public transportation.
1. Vehicle-related taxes and taxes from other sources, such as general revenue and sales taxes should be included.
2. Extra local demand-responsible transportation should be funded mainly by the community served. A mix of other funding sources may be more appropriate for most types of special service or to meet the needs of certain populations.
3. There should be coordination among various types of special and linehaul transportation services.

E. Supports statewide general purpose transportation fund.
1. Allocation from the fund should be determined by need.
2. State Department of Transportation should give equal attention to all modes of transportation.
3. The director of the Department should have experience in all modes of transportation.

VIII. Housing

Support of equal rights for all regardless of race or sex. Action to provide equal access to housing. Promotion of equal housing opportunity and encouragement of stability of integrated neighborhoods in the Detroit metropolitan area through implementation of open occupancy laws and promotion of an adequate supply of housing for lower income families.

IX. Wastewater Treatment/River Basins

Supports treatment of a river basin in its entirety. Work for adequate studies, consideration of all the needs of the river basins, coordination of actions of governmental agencies, protection of the floodplains from misuse and filling, evaluation of the need for improvements, and elimination of water pollution. Recognizing that watershed boundaries rarely coincide with governmental boundaries. LWVGP believes that wastewater management, whether undertaken by one government or a combination of governments, should be planned, coordinated, and reviewed on a regional basis.

Wastewater Treatment

A.Goals of a wastewater management system should include
1. Consideration of long range social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits, as well as immediate effects.
2. Improve water quality.
3. Concern for Lake Erie.
4. Preservation of natural drainage systems, including lakes, rivers, floodplains, and wetlands.
5. Health protection and resources recovery.

B. To achieve these goals, and recognizing that local conditions vary, methods of wastewater management will vary, but could include:
1. Pollution control as close to source as possible.
2. Retention/detention, screening and/or filtering of storm water runoff.
3. Separation of storm and sanitary sewers.
4. Industrial pollution control.
5. Preventive measures such as street sweeping, catch-basin cleaning.
6. Limiting the use of deicing materials, fertilizers, etc.

C.LWVDMA Supports measures that:
1. Encourage saving and planting of vegetation.
2. Protect wetlands and floodplains.
3. Require on-site detention in areas of new development.
4. Encourages open space preservation.

D. These can be accomplished by:
1. Enactment and enforcement of local ordinances and resolutions.
2. Requiring local governments to prepare an EIS when projects significantly affect water quality.
3. Participation of local governments in watershed councils.
4. Discouraging the establishment of mosquito abatement districts because of adverse effects on water quality.
5. Encouraging tax policies as an incentive to preserve drainage systems.
6. Having factual information provided to citizens so that there is an opportunity for meaningful public input at all stages of the decision-making process.
7. Local officials should:
a. Take water quality into consideration when making land use decisions.
b. Consider the secondary consequences - economic, social, and environmental - when planning sewer development.

E. Water Treatment Plants
1. The degree of water treatment should depend on local conditions, most importantly on the condition of receiving waters.
2. Secondary treatment is a minimum goal and advanced treatment should be sought.
3. Should be built with the potential for advanced treatment.
4. When siting treatment plants, the following should be considered: a. The water quality and quality of the natural river system b. The efficiency of operation. c. Surface water flow in natural areas. d. Cost effectiveness, including transportation of sewage, ability to handle emergencies, social concerns, and vulnerability to disaster.
5. Should be required to use methods to detect and treat severe types of polluted influents.
6. We favor modular construction and monitoring to prevent breakdowns of systems and to protect receiving waters.

F. Recognizing that the treatment of water is costly, both financially and in terms of energy consumption, we favor a public education program in water conservation.

Measures to implement the League goals in the Rouge River Basin.
A. Coordinated long-range planning by state, county and local authorities for the entire River Rouge Basin in both flood control and pollution abatement, with special attention to environmental factors.

B. Establishment of a basin policy for river basin management at the state level.

C. Legislation that will protect and encourage proper treatment of the River Rouge and its flood plain and sufficient funds and machinery to enforce such legislation.

D. Management and development according to a basic policy and appropriate to the particular environmental needs of the River Rouge area.

E. Machinery that provides for research of alternative flood control and pollution abatement measures and an adequate framework to analyze alternative measures and make intelligent decisions.

F. Procedures to provide ample information and opportunity for participation in planning and policy decisions which will affect the future of the River Rouge Basin area.

G. Termination of future plans for channelization of any portion of the River Rouge Basin because channelization:
1. Causes soil erosion as a result of cutting back of river banks and accompanying removal of plant growth.
2. Destroys plant and animal water life from sedimentation from soil erosion.
3. Causes more flooding in adjacent river and floodplain areas due to quicker runoff.
4. Induces pollution because the natural pollutant removal through plant root systems has been eliminated.
5. Destroys nesting and spawning areas of aquatic and small animal life.
6. Depletes groundwater due to quick runoff.
7. Does not in any way upgrade the water quality of the river.
8. Is a very expensive process for the dubious benefits derived.

Please Note: Articles VII, VIII and IX are based on studies done by the former Detroit Metropolitan Area League of Women Voters and adopted by the Grosse Pointe League of Women Voters on May 3, 2014.

For the state and national levels

Go to LWVMI.ORG for its positions.

Go to LWV.ORG (LWV-US) to see its work.