An Open Letter to Judge Steven Rhodes, Emergency Manager for Detroit Public Schools

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Sun, 05/08/2016 - 15:17

8 May 2016

Judge Rhodes,

Detroit Public Schools is indeed in a fragile state.  It's long-term survival depends on the integrity, skill and dedication of its employees, but also on many factors outside their control.  It therefore needs a champion at the top of the organization who can forcefully advocate for its benefit to those who do exert control.  Unfortunately for all concerned, your actions since you assumed the position of Emergency Manager make me doubtful that you are the right person for that role.

Detroit's Future, Fractured

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Sun, 07/28/2013 - 03:02

So, Detroit is bankrupt.

It's somebody's fault. It's lots of people's faults. It has 100,000 creditors. Some are more important than others and need to be made more whole.

Regardless of who's at fault or who comes away less scalped, Detroit needs to be left in a functional, sustainable state at the end of the process.  It can't be left in a condition that forces it into another insolvency some years ahead.

I'm Going to Change Michigan's Constitution

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 19:20

[02/14/2018 Editor's Note:  The web site for this campaign has been taken down due to lack of funds available to pay for another year of hosting.  The facebook page "Voters fo Fair Use of Ballot Referendum - Michigan" is still up.]

[03/23/2013 Editor's Note:  Keep reading if you like, but the "official" web site for the project is now here:]

I hope to place on the ballot in 2014 a proposal to amend Michigan's constitution.  It will be a proposal to expand the power of referendum.

Poisoning the Well

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 00:00

I have read many times recently that Democrat's use of the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform will "poison the well' for any future cooperation with Republicans in getting legislation passed.  I fail to see how this is much of a threat.  Republicans have shown so little appetite for compromise on any legislative efforts, their opposition is assumed.  Threatening to withhold future cooperation only means they're going to continue the status quo.  Democrats need to call their bluff and finish the legislation.  

Supreme Court Inherits the Wind Passed by William Jennings Bryan

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Sun, 02/14/2010 - 04:00

The Supreme Court's recent majority decision to grant a stay prohibiting the closed circuit broadcast of the proceedings of the Proposition 8 (gay marriage ban) trial in California was presented as being simply based upon the trial court's failure to follow its own guidelines for amending court rules.  You have to read the dissent, however, to realize how political the majority had to have been to take the action they did.  The dissent states that by six criteria the Supreme Court should have refused the stay.

Detroit Public Schools and Hope

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Thu, 12/17/2009 - 01:52

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), administered in association with the U.S. Department of Education, is used to measure what students know and can do in academic subjects.  For the first time in the test's 40-year history, Detroit Public Schools students took part this year. The mathematics results for large urban districts were released last week.  Detroit students scored the worst that any district's students had ever scored on the test.  

Eliminating Mark-to-Market is a Stupid Idea

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Thu, 03/12/2009 - 14:58

MarketWatch reported yesterday (11 March 2009) that the "Republican Study Committee", a group of conservative Republican lawmakers, is recommending the elimination of mark-to-market, or fair value, rules which require financial institutions to value their assets at the price they would currently fetch in the market.  They seem to believe that banks will be considered well-capitalized if only they can continue overstating their net assets.

Merit Pay for Teachers

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Tue, 03/10/2009 - 18:36

President Obama today (10 Mar 2009), as part of his call for renewed focus on education in the United States, repeated his call for using merit pay to reward teachers.

Teachers' unions have consistently opposed merit pay provisions in their contract negotiations.  Perhaps they mistrust who will be passing judgment on the merit of each teacher.  Considering that favoritism is a potential problem in all areas of economic relations, that is a valid concern.

Expiration of Affirmative Action

Submitted by Bill Lucas on Fri, 01/09/2009 - 16:27

Affirmative action got its start with an executive order signed a few weeks into John F. Kennedy's administration.  Expanded by further executive orders and court interpretations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the programs eventually required organizations receiving federal funds to demonstrate that a percentage of their workforces and subcontracts were reserved for minorities.