February 15, 2014 at 1:00 am


Put a stop to Asian carp

The strongest measures available need to be utilized to prevent the menacing Asian carp from infiltrating the Great Lakes.

That’s why legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller should be acted on immediately by Congress.

The Defending Against Aquatic Invasive Species Act of 2014 authorizes the Secretary of the Army to completely separate the hydrologic connection between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan.

Miller said she introduced the bill to give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authorization to design and construct the barrier. It is the most expensive of eight alternatives the Corps detailed in a recent report on how to deal with the Asian carp and 12 other invasive species.

Although the $18.3 billion cost seems high, the stakes are even higher. The carp could destroy the $7 billion Great Lakes commercial fishing industry and significantly alter an ecosystem that provides more than 1.5 million jobs in the United States and more than $62 billion in wages annually.

Judge MacKenzie should follow the law

An Oakland Circuit judge’s ruling that Novi District Judge Brian MacKenzie ignored the law in dismissing or deferring sentences for convicted criminals is no small matter.

A judge, above anything else, should follow the law. Oakland Prosecutor Jessica Cooper complained that on at least eight occasions, MacKenzie took pleas in criminal cases without consulting the prosecutor, as required by law.

Judge Colleen O’Brien, in reviewing the complaint, found that “it is undisputed that Jude MacKenzie has given illegal sentences.”

MacKenzie defends himself by claiming judicial discretion the law does not give him. His sentences should be reviewed, and the judge should commit to following the law as written.

This seems now a matter for the Judicial Tenure Commission.

Pull the plug on electric regulation with care

Competition in the market place is the mainstay of America’s capitalistic society. The system has proven that when allowed to operate independent of government regulations, consumers and businesses thrive.

But numerous groups are concerned about an effort in Michigan to deregulate the energy industry.

A bill in the state House would do just that. Supporters say the competition would promote better rates for consumers.

Opponents say the process would cause chaos and result in not only higher electricity rates, but less reliable service.

The Michigan Jobs and Energy Coalition, whose membership includes the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, several labor groups and the Western Wayne County and Detroit NAACP chapters, opposes the bill. The coalition points to California, where deregulation in 2000 created massive outages because of an unstable power supply.

Since 2000, seven states, including California, that had deregulated reversed those laws. Lawmakers should approach such changes with care.