2018 Ballot Proposals

We live in times of quick change. We also live in a time when fact and opinion are often confused and perception of a “narrative” shape public opinion. The goal today is: who can tell his story (with its elements of untruth) most convincingly? When looking for the actual text of the laws and constitutional amendments we will enact, it is easy to find summaries. I will give you the website addresses where you can read the actual full text of these proposals for yourself.

All three of these have a “one-sided” approach to the issue. Any future changes to these would need a super-majority of both houses, which is almost impossible.  Because of these two reasons, my first natural decision would be to vote “NO” on all three ballot proposals unless there is overwhelming need for the change.

The address for the full text of Proposal 1 https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Full_Text_-_CRMLA_635255_7.pdf

This is completely new legislation so there are no specific changes listed to existing law. The understanding is that this law takes precedence over any existing law contrary to this language. I have already given an overview of that proposal in a previous article.

The address for the full text of Proposal 2 https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Full_Text_-_VNP_635257_7.pdf

Proposals 2 and 3 are amendments to the constitution. When you read these documents, the print in regular font is the original text that is not changed. Text that has the strike through (this text is the present law) is what is being changed and eliminated. The text that is in all caps (THIS IS THE NEW TEXT TO BE ADDED) are the changes that you will be voting on.


The text of this ballot proposal is gerrymandering at its worst. These “communities of interest” (which are not defined) insures a new “non-partisan” gerrymandering. This bill is falsely claiming to eliminate gerrymandering. Read this section of the amendment and judge for yourself.


To me this is legalized gerrymandering. Who will decide how much advantage these “communities of interest” will receive under this undefined section.


A majority of districts by this “fairness” doctrine could be drawn with the advantage to one point of view.  Can a district in Detroit be drawn to not advantage one side or can a district be drawn in Livingston to not advantage the other side?

Changes in Section 1 limit the full authority of the legislature as the sole legislative body in Michigan.

Changes in Section 2 and 3 eliminate the counties as the first consideration in drawing the district lines. Livingston now has 3 voices in Lansing. The new boundaries would most likely divide Livingston to be part of an Ingham County district on the west, part of a Genesee County district on the north. part of an Oakland county district on the east and part of a Washtenaw district on the South. Livingston would be lucky to have one dedicated representative.

These sections will also make both the senate and the house based on population only.  The cities and their concerns will dominate both houses in Lansing and the rural and upper peninsula points of view will likely be lost forever. This is not a good prospect for the unity of the state. Presently the senate has a little different criteria for districting so that you have the possibility of at least two different points of view between the two chambers.

Section 6 gives this unelected commission the place of a “permanent legislative committee in the legislative branch.” This is also undefined in the proposal. What powers will this committee have? Their work cannot be questioned or changed in the smallest way by your elected  legislators or Governor and only in a limited way by the courts

Section 6.2 Puts the Secretary of State in charge of the whole process of choosing the members. This power could at sometime in the future be misused.

The address for the full text of proposal 3


I fully support the right for everyone to vote…once. Voter fraud like double voting or voting by non-citizens should be verifiably prohibited.  This has the most merit of all three but registering by mail (without a personal appearance) seems problematic. Same day registration and voting up to and including the day of an election also seems to open the door for undetectable fraud. Provisional ballots now take care of this problem of people wanting to vote when they for some reason are not on the voter registration list. These ballots must have the proper authentication before they are actually counted.

We as citizens have been given this right to legislate directly. If you expect your representative to read and be informed before they vote, you should expect the same of yourself. Read them through before you vote. A good representative thinks not only of himself, but also of the long-term effects of his/her vote on the whole community.

Doug Helzerman County Commissioner



2018 General Election Message

I was drafted into the military in 1969 and served for two years.  All but 3 of my advanced-training class (50-60 people) went to Viet Nam.  I was one of the three who were sent to Korea. Going almost anywhere in the world makes you very thankful that you have the privilege of being an American.  Though no one showed me disrespect when I walked through an airport in uniform, I could feel the tension. In retrospect, we can imagine that much of the Vietnam protest was not just organic, but had a certain level of funded organizers, and the “trusted” media had an agenda to legitimize the claim that the war was unjust.  We recently visited the “wall that heals” when it came to Livingston County. It helps to put history in context. My wife and I witnessed an older couple who came to see one name and have a veteran sponsor help them “trace” the name on a piece of paper. This was perhaps their first experience of the wall and the honor finally given to their loved one.  Was it a son or a nephew? Did they contemplate what might have been as they viewed the name? I stand with all veterans and greatly revere those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. We can’t all do that, but we can each do our part for our families, our communities, our counties, and our country.

I believe in low taxes and limited government.  Government has two basic purposes. One is to protect each person and group from tyranny, to keep the peace so that we can dwell in safety, and to protect our personal property.  The other is to provide for services, in areas that can better be addressed by everyone together instead of one alone, such as maintaining roads, etc.

As a County Commissioner, I have sought to be a team player and have asked many questions to understand the issues before the board instead of making snap decisions.  I have encouraged the forward movement of our county to more efficient government, but that which is also responsive to the everyday needs of citizens. I support money-saving measures where sensible, because a dollar not spent this year is a dollar decreased in next year’s budget.  I have advocated for the new state-of-the-art 911 dispatch center now underway. I agreed with “piggy-backing” a smaller project with the 911 project so as to save money on the smaller project, which was building a structure to house tactical vehicles giving them a longer life and making them available for immediate use in all weather conditions.

We are presently considering two major expenditures: the first would be a one-time infusion of money to roads in a way that will leverage state and federal funds in conjunction with local money; second, to build a permanent building for the Meals On Wheels program that serves 1500 meals 5 days a week to residents in Livingston and Oakland counties.  Again, there is a sizeable grant that will help to buy property and build the facility in Livingston County. To initiate the grant, money will need to be given by both counties. Even for a limited-government person like me, it makes sense that some expenditure now, to insure that a worthy program has facilities for 30 to 50 years into the future, has merit.

I see that part of my responsibility as a commissioner is to exercise oversight of the volunteer boards to which we appoint voting members.  The Veterans’ Affairs committee is an example. Information during this election cycle from a political party has served to highlight this duty.  I have done research and asked questions to make myself aware of the actual facts of this matter. The board has no authority to “micromanage” these committees, but to ask for reports on activities, which we are currently doing.

The PFAS issue must also be considered outside of the political realm.  We all want clean water and a pristine world to live in. Thankfully, the governor has taken action uncovering the problems in the Huron River watershed.  The major sources so far are outside of Livingston county. Our Health Department, who reports to us twice a month, is on the front lines in handling this issue.  I will completely support their approach to find and minimize the effects of this pollution wherever found in our county.

I ask for your vote on November 6th so that I may continue to represent you, the residents of western Livingston county.  It is a privilege I enjoy.