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Letter to the Editor: Writer Criticizes Dwyer's Position on Redistricting Bill

A Farmington Hills resident says HB 5187 changes 50 years of redistricting procedure after the fact.

Former Detroit cop, high profile Farmington Hills Police Chief, Warren Police Chief, and now Oakland County Commissioner William Dwyer said of HB 5187, the "We're Tyrants - We can Steal Power - and We Don't Care About Honor, Democracy, or American Fair Play" bill that it "speaks for itself. I think it's positive in the respect that it saves money by reducing costs". ()

Clearly, Commissioner Dwyer has joined the Unabashed & Unashamed Power Grab movement within the Michigan GOP.

When running for office in 2010, had anyone heard any mention of his intent to run for Oakland County Commissioner so he could overturn 50 years of redistricting procedure? Was there any hint of angst about there being too many commissioners, or the pay overly burdensome on the county? Was there any drive to reduce the amount people pay for the commissioners – or even an offer to take a pay cut?

The answer is no, of course. In fact, Dwyer's own "newsletter" reported "The Oakland Board of Commissioners’ Finance Committee has completed hearings into the 2012-2014 county budget presented by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson in July.  General Fund spending will rise to $412 million in 2012, up from $410 million in 2011.  The revised, recommended budget is balanced for the next three years – the only triennial government budget in the country." (oakgov.com)

Clearly, "saving money" by reducing the number of commissioners wasn't a necessary part of the vaunted budget – the GOP was not looking to cut spending, they increased it! Note Oakland County Executive Patterson's new opportunistic outlook, heretofore unexpressed to the County Commission: "Patterson said he supports the bill 'first and most importantly' because it 'requires a reduction of Oakland County government. There is no need for Oakland or any other county to elect and pay for more than 21 elected commissioners.' " (Detroit News). Wonder why he didn't factor that sentiment in when working on his "budget" for the next 3 years? 

It is further amazing that Dwyer has the temerity to equate "losing Farmington" under the current court approved Oakland County redistricting plan with this whole power grab. ("I didn't yell when they took Farmington away from my district. These things happen in politics." - Detroit News) His lament is a bit curious: the City of Farmington was moved from one district that included a large part of Farmington Hills to another district that includes a large part of Farmington Hills. What would he have to "yell" about?

Nevertheless, changing 50 years of redistricting procedure after the fact is "every day politics" in dictatorships or rogue regimes, where someone is grasping desperately to power, but not here in America. 

Where is Dwyer's outrage at his own GOP buddies for splitting Farmington from Farmington Hills and placing it in a separate congressional district? In fact, looking at the abomination that is the GOP state redistricting plan, allowing the GOP tyrants on the Oakland County commission free and unfettered hand in redistricting the county would yield even worse outcomes for the people of Oakland County - save for the politicians who would be drawing their own districts, of course.

The steps taken by the state GOP power grabbers were unfair, un-American, and unconstitutional. Commissioner Dwyer should consider Commissioner Nash's call for the Commission's members to act with honor and actively reject this crass, unconstitutional, and explosively divisive power grab.

Darryl C. Conliffe
Farmington Hills

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