Royal Oak is a pleasant community, but may be getting ahead of itself with a proposed human rights ordinance. (David Coates / The Detroit News)
Tax rates aren't everything
Re: The Detroit News’ Oct. 22 Editorial, “Put the brakes on proposed tax hikes”: The Detroit News’ repetition of tea party dogma of no new taxes is baseless and disingenuous. Consolidation and privatization cannot replace leaking roofs or modify entrances to block unauthorized access to Farmington schools that are 50 years out of date. Been there. Done that. The district is already composed of Farmington and Farmington Hills as well as a part of West Bloomfield, and this work already is privatized.
Combining too many buildings in one project also blocks smaller companies from bidding, thereby reducing competition.
Neglecting superficial building defects only leads to weather penetration and more expensive structural damage, so the only alternative, which is what The News’ editors are recommending de facto — to take from teachers or reduce services.
Nolan Finley and his minions will not be happy until teachers are working at minimum wage. But that doesn’t get you quality teachers.
I knew Farmington Hills was a high tax community when I moved in, but I chose quality of life over the low “Proposition A” limited tax I was paying in Detroit.
As I learned in Detroit, neglect of the school system is the fastest way to destroy a community and its property values.
A wise investor buys when the market is low, so now, while construction costs are lowest, is the time to invest in up-to-date school facilities. Maintaining first-class schools brings in young families and keeps a community vibrant with rising property values. Neglecting your schools is the same as neglecting your own house.
Dennis L. Green, Farmington Hills
Here’s a thought: Why don’t local communities generate revenue for local spending ... locally?
Why do taxpayers in Ishpeming have to subsidize the spending habits of those in Melvindale?
Does not Gov. Rick Snyder see that such a scheme is counterproductive to his goal of consolidation?
Why make the hard choices to give up local control if you can get a revenue stream from outsiders?
One more indication that we need a total overhaul of our tax system.
Carman Conforti, Chesterfield Twp.
The special rights ordinance
The Royal Oak “human rights” ordinance has many people demanding the church stay out of this fight and religious people keep their opinions to themselves. They boldly and incorrectly declare the “separation of church and state” provided in the Constitution demands it.
Of course, the Constitution never actually says anything like that. What it says is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ....” In other words, the government may not create a state church or prevent individuals from practicing their religion and exercising their rights of conscience. This ordinance will be used to do exactly that — to force religious people to perform acts against their conscience.
For instance, a Christian baker who refuses to bake a cake for a pro-homosexual event or a Christian counselor who will not counsel a man to have a better homosexual relationship will be in violation of the ordinance and subject to fines of up to $500 per day.
To be coerced by law into performing such acts constitutes the very discrimination this ordinance seeks to protect against.
Bernita J. Fenner, Royal Oak
Sadly, ordinances like Royal Oak’s human rights ordinance may cause and create unintended consequences. It is not the role of local city government to create social experimentation plans which are ultimately imposed by the force of law with penalty.
It opens the door for unknown and unlimited civil litigation on businesses and individuals, which is perceived as more government harassment.
Susan Sims, Royal Oak