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Posted on Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

2012 Impact policy forum in Ann Arbor to put spotlight on statewide ballot proposals

By Ryan J. Stanton

The lineup for this year's annual Impact forum in Ann Arbor includes some of the biggest names supporting and opposing two statewide ballot proposals.

With a focus on Proposals 2 and 3, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber will hold its annual public policy forum at the Kensington Court hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12.

Proposal 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot would require electric utilities to get at least 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources — including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower — by 2025.


Andy LaBarre

Proposal 2 would grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions, and invalidate laws that limit the ability to join unions.

Journalist Tim Skubick will moderate during two panel discussions on the so-called "25 by 25" and "Protect Working Families" ballot initiatives.

"I'm really looking forward to what questions Tim Skubick asks the panelists, because I think he won't let them stick to talking points," said Andy LaBarre, the chamber's vice president of government relations.

Doug Jester, principal of 5 Lakes Energy, will be speaking in support of Proposal 3 on behalf of Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs.

Speaking in opposition will be Ken Sikkema, former Michigan Senate majority leader and policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. He's representing the Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan Coalition, a group opposing Proposal 3.

Ken Brock, campaign manager for Protect Working Families, will be speaking in support of Proposal 2, while Stu Sandler, CEO of Decider Strategies, will be speaking in opposition on behalf of Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution.

Washtenaw County resident Phil Power, founder and chairman of the Center for Michigan, is expected to deliver the keynote address.

This year's Impact forum will be an interactive event. Attendees will have an opportunity to not only ask questions, but also weigh in during instant polls immediately following each panel.

"We welcome folks to come with open minds and hear the arguments for and against both proposals, and they'll have a chance to weigh in directly," LaBarre said. "These are fluid issues that are yet to be determined, that people are still making their minds up on."

The chamber has taken a stance against Proposal 3, arguing such a renewable energy standard should be put in place through legislative action and not a constitutional amendment.

The Ann Arbor City Council just passed a resolution in support of Proposal 3, arguing Michigan's current renewable energy standard of 10 percent by 2015 has been shown to be achievable with little impact on customer prices and a positive impact on jobs, the economy and pollution levels.

State Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, also joined Zingerman's co-founder Paul Saginaw and officials from the American Wind Energy Association this past week in endorsing Proposal 3, arguing it will create 94,000 Michigan jobs. The Ann Arbor Democratic Party also endorsed it.

A candidate mixer with federal, state and local candidates for public office will immediately follow the panel discussions from 4 to 6 p.m. and is free for attendees.

For more information on this year's Impact forum or to register online, visit Admission is $60 for chamber members and $75 for the general public.

The League of Women Voters in Ann Arbor also announced on Friday it will examine this year's crop of ballot proposals on a special program televised on CTN.

The program, which presents both the pros and cons of all six state ballot proposals as well as local ballot questions in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, will begin airing next Wednesday. In addition, the league invites voters to prepare for the upcoming election by visiting

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

I am not in favor of making any of the Proposals part of our Constitution... That frightens me. Being forced to change my lifestyle through the Constitution leaves a bad taste in my mouth...

Joe Baublis

Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

On Proposal 3, the green energy agenda research I did indicates that various nations around the world are claiming that green energy has created national bankruptcy. Apparently the actual costs of the programs are not disclosed until it's too late at which point tax-payers in every nation are on the hook. The reports I saw indicated that poor people who most distressed by the results of the green agenda because energy price increases on them are the worst. Don't forget that Proposal 2 will prohibit the peoples' representatives from discovering the true nature of public sector labor unions financial scams and their costs to Michigan tax-payers. When Wisconsin broke up their public sector collective bargaining, that State discovered the cause of the $3 billion yearly deficit was that the labor union was running it's own health insurance scam and collecting payments from tax-payers to fund it. When the scam was broken up, the deficit disappeared. And by the way, that insurance scam was NOT something that the benevolent public workers admitted to. No, they kept it secret because they are protecting themselves first and foremost.


Tue, Oct 9, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

Proposal 2 does much more than just guarantee collective bargaining. It will roll back ALL laws recently passed and put public unions in a position to pass legislation through the courts or political influence. If you want to give up your democratic right to vote and turn our government over to union autocrats then prop 2 is for you. If you believe in democracy then vote no on propsal 2.


Mon, Oct 8, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

Like the fox in the hen house any proposition that local politicians , unions , and the rest of the " give me " crowd want is a positive " NO " vote .. If 2 and 3 god forbid win you can kiss jobs and afforadable energy in MI. good bye ...the only " green " in the energy will be your tax $$$ fluttering in the wind...gotta love the big $$$ special interests spend to pluck the sheeples emotional heart strings and promote lining their pockets with our money...wake up ...


Mon, Oct 8, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

Really want fair and secure employment for the men and women of Michigan? Really want green energy for Michiganders (and the U.S. and the rest of planet Earth)? Easy to do. Make energy itself the basis of all green (money). Tell the politicians to tell the Fed to back its dollar with Ergs (energy units) or Watts and watch what happens. Anyone with access to some sunshine for sale suddenly has a job and instant cash. But then Koch & Co. and the mighty 1.0 % might suddenly find their paper wealth to suddenly be worth about as much as it should be - kindling. Drill faster baby, drill faster.


Mon, Oct 8, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

LXIX - Who is backing Proposal 3? If you do a little digging you will find it is the Wall Street Hedge Funds and Private Equity firms - more than 80% of the funding is coming from out of state. Right now the average person in the US uses as much energy as 6 humans can create working 24/7. So if I understand your proposal LXIX - that means we all need to spend our time creating energy - on a treadmill? Bicycle? or do you mean something else? I don't know any homeowners who know how to create their own solar cells from scratch and if solar cells were the basis of money - the price of them would rise very quickly. Anyone in an urban apartment would be very poor - since they own so little surface area to gather either wind or solar.


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Who do you believe? Ann Arbor City Council or local Business people? "The chamber has taken a stance against Proposal 3, arguing such a renewable energy standard should be put in place through legislative action and not a constitutional amendment. The Ann Arbor City Council just passed a resolution in support of Proposal 3, arguing Michigan's current renewable energy standard of 10 percent by 2015 has been shown to be achievable with little impact on customer prices and a positive impact on jobs, the economy and pollution levels."


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Ryan - Why do you and other journalists continue to misquote the MSU study? The study talks about Job-Years - so the 94,000 you use is really only talking about 3,000 or so installer jobs - totaling almost half of the job years in the MSU study. The rest of the job-years are manufacturing jobs. All - Proposal 3 has a very weak clause that says that the state will do what it can to encourage the use of Michigan facilities and people. There is NOTHING in the proposal that mandates any JOBS at all be in Michigan or that any facility be built in Michigan. There is nothing the proposal that CAPS RATE INCREASES overall, only those directly associated with renewables, and they don't spell out which costs are direct costs. If we build new Dams to store the energy from the wind farms is that direct or indirect? New transmission lines to move the energy - direct or indirect? Why is biogas (Farm methane and landfill gas) excluded from the list of qualifying renewables in the proposal? They both have separate legal definitions in state law and regulation, so they are specifically excluded by the language in the proposal. I want more renewables in the state, I really do but this is full employment for lawyers and the wrong way to get more renewables.

Tom Todd

Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Support Families not wall street. vote yes on 2


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

It would be great if the event were held at a time when people who work could attend.


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

This is for the professional political class and the media, not for Joe Public.

Susie Q

Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

You are so right. Unfortunately, I think these things are scheduled like that by design. They don't want a large crowd.