Jelinek takes area’s pulse on key state issues

Published 7:03 pm Monday, October 20, 2003

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - Chris Siebenmark of State Sen. Ron Jelinek's office reported results from Jelinek's survey Thursday to the Cass County Board of Commissioners:
Should the preservation of $2,500 merit awards scholarships for high school graduates who score successfully on the MEAP test remain as a budget priority (yes, 1,770; no, 550).
Should Michigan expand casino gaming to allow video slot machines in our horse racing tracks - 'racinos.' The bill's also being touted as an ag enhancement. (yes, 466; no 1,875).
Should the state expand its recycling program to limit the amount of trash that goes in our landfills? (yes, 2,018; no, 301). "The issue of Toronto sending all of its trash over and the out-of-state trash. I live in Three Oaks, where we have a landfill, and I see a lot of trucks coming in from Indiana, Illinois and New York. They should be held to the same standards that Michigan people have to as far as the trash we put in our landfills," Siebenmark said.
Would you support a moratorium on the issuance of new billboard permits? (yes, 1,562; no, 600). "People don't want to see too much advertising on our highways and county and state roads. That's quite a clear answer," Siebenmark commented.
Should Michigan voters have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman only? (yes, 1,940; no, 395).
Should Michigan adopt a comprehensive plan to curb urban sprawl, even if that may result in less local control? (yes, 1,111; no, 1,079). "The only surprise," Siebenmark said. "Believe it or not, the difference was only 22 votes. Ron's almost thinking people looked at it as two questions, and that might have thrown them off a little, because everywhere we go, whether it's county, village or township, it's, 'Leave the state out of zoning. Leave us alone. We can make that call best.' Actually, this says, 'Yes, we'll give up local control for a state urban sprawl program.' There's a mixed answer there. They might have looked at it as two issues. The governor put together a 26-member, bipartisan land-use council. They came out with a report in August, but quite honestly, there wasn't a whole lot to work with. There was nothing that was new policy and some of the ideas were asking for funds we don't have right now."
Siebenmark said survey responses continue to come in at a rate of about 50 a day. "Maybe I'll have a final tally next month if anything changes," he said.