2017-12-14 / Letters

Keep townships in charge of rentals; don’t follow Mackinaw Center

To the editor:

The Mackinaw Center (MC) was given editorial space in the 11/23/17 edition of the Leelanau Enterprise. The op ed claims MC is “a research …institute that supports fiscally sound solutions…” and advocated for Michigan legislation usurping local community authority and autonomy. Based on its website description, the MC’s “focus on economics draws support from market-oriented libertarians, moderates and conservatives.”

Although a non-profit entity, the MC does not take public funding. Funders according to Source Watch, include the Koch Brothers, DeVos family, and other private corporate sources. An opinion piece coming from Mackinaw Center (MC) is written as an “advocacy” piece on behalf of its funders, not one summarizing university-level, peer reviewed research.

The legislation MC supports has the potential to usurp local control relative to the operation of a business within a residential area. An editorial claiming research-backed proof of a particular stand should come with an asterisk to note the lens through which the research was produced, especially when it is used to influence a community’s ability to make decisions that have wide ranging implications for property usage. In a call to Rep. Vanderwall’s office, it was shared he opposes this legislation on the grounds of supporting local control. The aide also stated that the Michigan Realtors Association lobbyists are pushing for the state restrictions on local zoning control. Each of us knows someone on our local planning commission, or township/village board and any of us can attend an evening meeting of our local government, comprised of neighbors, working on property usage issues. Rather than accept the MC’s opinion, dig deeper, attend local township meetings, and call your legislator to get information that will affect all who live in Leelanau County.

Susan Cocciarelli
P.O. Box 15, Maple City

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