The results of a survey released this week by the Joyce Foundation show people in the Great Lakes region have strong feelings about the importance of the lakes and the need to protect them. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Gretchen Millich has more:
The results of a survey released this week by the Joyce Foundation show people in the Great
Lakes region have strong feelings about the importance of the lakes and the need to protect them.
The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Gretchen Millich has more:
In it’s opinion polls over the past year, the Joyce Foundation found people have deep concerns
about the Great Lakes, including lower water levels and talk of exporting water to other regions.
Most people who were polled assumed the lakes were polluted, but were unsure of the causes of
that pollution. Spokesperson Mary O’Connell says the foundation will give out 16-million
dollars over the next three years to groups working to protect the lakes. She says the money will
also be used to improve policies on land use, agriculture and transportation, all of which affect
“There is very strong popular support for preserving the lakes and we would hope that through
our funding we could translate some of that support to our public policies that will protect the
lakes for future generations.”
The Joyce Foundation, which also contributes funding to the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, is
based in Chicago and has financed many efforts to clean up the lakes.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Gretchen Millich.
As far back as the Boston Tea Party, taxes have stirred passions. In campaign season, the word “tax” is tossed around like a grenade, often prompting politicians to duck and hide. But Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator, Julia King, thinks politicians should stop running from the “Tax-and-Spend” label and instead defend taxes – and the many vital services they fund:
As far back as the Boston Tea Party, taxes have stirred passions. In campaign season the
word “tax” is tossed around like a grenade, often prompting politicians to duck and hide.
But Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator, Julia King, thinks politicians should
stop running from the “Tax-and-Spend” label and instead defend taxes – and the many
vital services they fund.
Despite a shaky economy, a looming war, despite rising numbers of uninsured
Americans, somehow there are still politicians who peddle tax cuts as cure alls.
It’s about time we clear something up: When a candidate says, “I’ll lower your taxes,”
he’s put forth only half of an idea. The other half of that idea involves cutting programs
that could be important to many of us.
I recently stood on a Northern Indiana lakeshore and admired a crisp, autumn scene. But
instead of inspiring me the quiet water and the changing landscape filled me with a dull,
nagging worry. I imagined a future without such places – or at least without public
access to them.
Like countless other venues around the country, the Indiana Department of Natural
Resources recently suffered the loss of 8.2 million dollars in permanent budget cuts, cuts
that forced the elimination of arts and cultural programs in state parks, the closing of
some parks, and the “downsizing” of many that stayed open. Still others were turned
over to private operators who increased fees to cover actual costs, making visits now
unaffordable for some people.
Few politicians seem willing to admit that slashing taxes means shrinking public service
and even public safety. Yet this is the time to connect the dots, to thread together rhetoric
and reality. It’s a long list of things that make a society — our society — livable. A
thriving park system is just one piece of the delicate mosaic we call civilization.
Is there ever mismanagement of public funds? Sure, and it deserves attention. But,
seriously, when’s the last time you saw a park naturalist in an Armani suit or behind the
wheel of a Rolls Royce? For the most part, government employees are not whooping it
up on your tax dollars. And never mind Enron – in Indiana the salaries of just 10 of our
highest paid executives could support the entire Indiana Department of Natural
Resources’ general fund. That’s a story that plays out in nearly every state across the
Right now — in the midst of campaign season — is the time to sort through national and
local priorities. Whether anyone acknowledges it or not, cutting taxes means cutting
away at the fabric of society.
Surely if our nation can find the money and the will to fully fund war and death, we can’t
claim poverty when we’re challenged to enhance life.
Julia King lives and writes in Goshen, Indiana. She comes to us through the Great Lakes
Election Day is right around the corner. About 70-percent of the voting age population in the United States is registered to vote. If national voting patterns hold true, only about half of those registered voters will go to the polls in this off-year election. A still smaller group of Americans will have laid the groundwork leading up to election day. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator, Julia King, asks if you’ve done your part for democracy this season:
Election Day is right around the corner. About 70% of the voting age population in the
United States is registered to vote. If national voting patterns hold true, only about half of
those registered voters will go to the polls in this off-year election. A still smaller group
of Americans will have laid the groundwork leading up to election day. Great Lakes Radio
Consortium commentator Julia King asks if you’ve done your part for democracy this
There’s an election coming. Have you done your fair share of the work?
Can I let you in on a little secret? Some of us were talking the other day and we’re tired of
carrying most of the democracy load while the rest of you sit on your bums.
What’s that you say? You VOTE? Ha! That’s a mere drop in the proverbial ocean of
Have you ever volunteered your time for a candidate? If you don’t like any of the
candidates, have you encouraged a decent, competent person you do like to run for office?
Have you considered running yourself? Have you ever worked the polls? A whole 14-
Have you ever written a check to a candidate? One that’s big enough to help, but not so
big that it’s an attempt to finance an unpopular agenda (like federal funding for circus
Have you talked civilly with your friends and neighbors about the issues? Asked others’
opinions – from the political left and right – and told them yours?
Have you stuffed envelopes, delivered yard signs, organized a candidate forum or debate?
Have you asked local media to do a better job of covering elections – reminded them that
the most crucial coverage comes not on election night, but in the months and weeks leading
Yes, yes, everybody’s busy (and yes, I’m aware that I’m preaching). But democracy
doesn’t just happen. Somebody’s got to do the work. If you’re one of those people who’s
been doing your chores, pat yourself on the back. Keep it up.
If you’re one of the people who’s been coasting up until now, consider pitching in. But
like the third grade teacher who ends the lecture with ‘You know who you are,’ these
words aren’t for everyone. There are countless Americans whose lives are already
bursting at the seams with inescapable poverty or tragedy, or both. Those citizens are
already doing their fair share.
These words are for the other countless Americans – the ones who throw great dinner
parties and find the perfect pair of shoes, or build model airplanes in the garage, or never
miss the West Wing. These words are for happy, healthy Americans who benefit the most
from democracy and simply give too little back.
So if you fit that description, this is for you: Get off your bum and do some work for
democracy. There’s an election coming, for goodness sake.
Julia King lives and writes in Goshen, Indiana. She comes to us by way of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.
Seven of the eight Great Lakes states have governor’s races next month. One analyst says the results of those elections could affect how well the states work together on the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
Seven of the eight Great Lakes states have Governor’s races this month. One analyst says
the results of those elections could affect how well the states work together on the
environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports.
There will be at least four new governors in the Great lakes region, due to incumbents
stepping down. Political scientists say a fifth incumbent may be voted out of office.
Barry Rabe is a professor of environmental policy and public policy at the University of
Michigan. He says the eight governors have traditionally agreed on some issues like
diversion of water. But Rabe says the upcoming elections could affect more contentious
“I think where other challenges emerge are on issues like air pollution – where you
literally may have prevailing wind patterns so that say, the pollutants that begin in Illinois
may wind up in Michigan and other states – and how states could work cooperatively to
resolve those issues.”
Rabe also says more of the Great Lakes governors may soon have to work together on
water quality and global warming. Democrats hope to gain several governor’s seats in the
region. But Rabe says for cooperation purposes, personality may be more important than
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.