Abolishing redistricting commission smells like a big mistake

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Doug Spade, Mike Clement and Major.
Doug Spade, Mike Clement and Major.

We’re sticklers for correct spelling. Not to say we don’t mess up from time to time. After all, we’re only human; we’re supposed to make mistakes. If Billy Joel says so, it must be true. Nevertheless, whenever we spot an obvious error, we always fix it. Take the word “olfactory.” Everyone knows that’s supposed to be two words, not one.

As in, “I used to work at the ol’ factory. But then it shut down.”

We still remember the time we made that correction in the school paper, and boy did we ever wind up with egg on our faces. Talk about embarrassing. How were we supposed to know that when tossing those things back and forth you’re supposed to catch them in your hands instead of your mouth?

Or how long that rotten egg smell they left behind would last.

None of this should be surprising. People who study the brain — we think they’re usually called mind-readers — say the way it’s constructed leads to smell and memory being very closely linked. The more intense the emotional connection, the more vivid the recollection. Which explains why turkey baking in the oven so often evokes fond memories of Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.

And why Princess Leia so quickly recognized — the moment she was brought aboard the Death Star — Governor Tarkin’s foul stench.

He may not have used precisely the same words, but Michigan state Rep. Beau LaFave last week made it clear even a mere whiff of Michigan’s new legislative maps is all it takes for his nose, much like Trinculo’s in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” to be in great indignation. And so eight days ago, the Iron Mountain Republican introduced a constitutional amendment to take care of that little problem once and for all.

By pulling the plug on the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission.

Never mind that more than 60% of Michigan voters chose to divorce lawmakers from the map-drawing process. Nor that a Glengariff Group poll found more than 78% of those familiar with the new districts want the commission to be retained while fewer than 5% favor giving it the heave-ho. For in Rep. LaFave’s world, the commissioners are incompetent, did a horrible job, and wrecked his House seat by making it stretch all the way from Sault Ste. Marie to Marinette, Wisconsin. Not that he can run again.

He's term-limited at the end of the year.

But why let a little thing like that get in the way when the commission’s been an abject failure on so many fronts? None of its members are from the Upper Peninsula. They dismantled his home county of Dickinson. And their map-drawing process was totally void of transparency. Because hearings around the state and 30,000 public comments account for naught. All of which makes one thing perfectly clear, as Rep. LaFave says: "The commission is made up of a bunch of idiots."

Well now, we can’t have idiots running the show, can we? Fortunately, we can all rest easy knowing the good representative is working day and night to bring such hijinks permanently to an end. By restoring to politicians what the big bad public stole from them nearly four years ago. The power to choose their voters.

Instead of the other way around.

Think it won’t happen? Rep. LaFave claims roughly 75% of the House and Senate are on board — more than enough votes, if true, to put on the fall ballot his plan to turn back time. We like Cher, but this reminds us more of what Lynyrd Skynyrd said while cleaning out the stables.

Ooooh that smell.

Talk Back with Doug Spade and Mike Clement is heard every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern Time on Buzz 102.5 FM and online at www.dougspade.com and www.lenconnect.com.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Talk Back: Abolishing redistricting commission smells like a big mistake