Michigan GOP ex-lawmaker can't be retried on bribery, extortion charges, judge says

Saturday Shorts: Stop union bullying at work

The Detroit News

Bullies aren't tolerated in schools, and they shouldn't be accepted in workplaces either.

Yet there are reports of Michigan employees who have been harassed and bullied because they have opted out of union membership, thanks to the state's right-to-work law.

Two bills in the Legislature would give these individuals some relief. The measures would offer public and private employers the option to forbid the posting of names of workers who have opted out of unions — a practice that goes on now.

State Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Lum, is sponsoring the legislation and says constituents have complained to him about being targets of harassment when it is revealed they have opted out.

"This is bullying, plain and simple, and it should not be allowed in any workplace in Michigan," Daley says. "If people decide they no longer desire to be a part of organized labor, then that should be a personal and confidential matter between them and union officials."

We agree.

Workers should not be exposed to intimidation and strong-arm tactics just for exercising their rights.

Hold Detroit officers to high standards

Police officers, particularly in Detroit, need to be held to high ethical standards. When they fall short of expectations, swift disciplinary action should follow.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig was more than justified in suspending Sgt. Alex Vinson for allegedly taking a murder victim's watch. Vinson reportedly was found wearing the watch after it was discovered missing from the victim's personal belongings. The victim has not been identified, and the homicide case had gone cold. Vinson was the officer originally in charge of the case. Detectives discovered the watch missing while reviewing the case.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig holds his officers to a high standard.

Stealing is stealing, whether it's from a next door neighbor or an unidentified crime victim. If Vinson took the watch, with no regard for the victim or his survivors, then he should be punished.

The Detroit Police Department has greatly improved its efficiency and its image. It doesn't need officers who fall below the highest standards of conduct.

Moving ahead with water deal

Macomb County has become the fourth member of the Great Lakes Water Authority, which will oversee the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Previously, Oakland and Wayne counties as well as Detroit joined.

The authority is the best option suburban communities have at this time for a voice in the operation of the department. A six-member governing board will be established composed of two appointments from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan; one each from the executives of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties; and one appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

It should also limit the skyrocketing water and sewer rates. Increases will be capped at 4 percent over the next 10 years, although municipalities can still tack on more for costs.

Detroit will lease infrastructure to the suburbs for a 40-year, $50 million annual fee and an annual $4.5 million payment assistance fund. The $50 million must be used for Detroit water-related repairs, maintenance and improvements.

It's understandable many in the suburbs are leery, but something had to be done to break the stalemate over the system's future.