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L. Brooks Patterson to GOP state reps: insurance industry No Fault "reform" compromise is like johns "negotiating with the street prostitute"

Patterson sends letter to all Oakland County reps on why the GOP proposal to change Michgan’s No Fault Law is misguided

L Brooks Patterson

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has been a strong proponent of  preserving Michigan’s invaluable No Fault insurance system.

I had the opportunity to interview Brooks on this subject, and he openly shared his feelings on the No Fault “reform” proposals that are being pushed on us by the insurance industry. Brooks explained, better than I could, how keeping our current No Fault insurance system is more cost effective for taxpayers, will better protect seriously injured automobile accident victims, and will be great for Michigan jobs.

While the current No Fault insurance reform proposals, best encapsulated in House Bill 4612 will almost certainly now die in the legislature, another proposal is expected shortly.  Although it has yet to be released, it is supposed to “sweeten the pot” so to speak, and there is talk of increasing the proposed $1 million No Fault insurance cap to a higher number. There is even talk of the insurance industry proposing a new No Fault “reform” plan with a $5 million cap on benefits.

And so Brooks is speaking up again. He recently sent a letter to all Oakland County elected officials, reminding them that the fight to preserve Michigan’s No Fault insurance laws is not over — and the fight is more important now than ever.

Of the possible proposal to cap No Fault benefits to $5 million, Brooks wrote:

“Really? That reminds me of the story where the johns were negotiating with the street prostitute. And the line that cut was “We’ve already established what you are; now we are just quibbling over the price.” I resent, and I’m sure my courageous friends in this fight equally resent the implication that we can be bought, that there is a price that we will settle for that overrides the principle we are defending. A principled position has no price.”

In his letter, Brooks Patterson makes several other notable points. Here’s the full letter:

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke

November 5, 2013

Dear Oakland County Representative,

Every legislator in Oakland County who gets this letter I consider to be a good man or good woman. To be a “Good Legislator” requires certain leadership attributes you all share. The most import one I think is
courage. At some point in your political career you will be tested – your commitment to principle will force you in to the ring to square off with somebody who is much bigger, stronger and more powerful.
Figuratively you climbed into that ring and you squared off against Speaker Bolger, Governor Synder, on the issue of Auto No‐Fault. Understand the fight is lopsided in some respects, but the righteousness of your cause brings a great deal of hope to those who could be victimized again and a great deal of admiration from those constituents who watch you stand and fight for principle.

Senator Bobby Kennedy had a great quote about the politics of it all. He has said, and it has been repeated many times, “Do the right thing and the politics will take care of itself.” The right thing in this fight over so called Auto No‐Fault reform is to defend the most vulnerable in our society… the catastrophically injured.

Twice our position in this important struggle has gone to the ballot and twice the insurance lobby has been soundly told by the voters to leave Auto No‐Fault alone (1992 and 1994).

State Representative Peter Lund, and his Demi‐God Speaker Jase Bolger have turned a deaf ear to the
voters they allegedly represent. Shame on them.

Since there’s absolutely no transparency in Lansing these days we hear second‐hand and third‐hand what the Lund/Bolger axis is up to. We don’t know for sure what their next move is, or when it is, but we are hearing more and more testosterone grunts behind closed doors as they gird for battle. I got a lot of calls that think they are going to offer a $5 million cap. Really? That reminds me of the story where the johns were negotiating with the street prostitute. And the line that cut was “We’ve already established what you are; now we are just quibbling over the price.” I resent, and I’m sure my courageous friends in this fight equally resent the implication that we can be bought, that there is a price that we will settle for that overrides the principle we are defending. A principled position has no price. We are either right or we are wrong. I believe in my heart that we are on the side of the angels in this fight. I heard a couple days ago they are going to try to move the whole Michigan Catastrophic claims fund from under the MCCA over to the Legislature. Without casting any aspersion on their motives for that transfer of control, one has to ask sarcastically, “How many bridges can you build? How many roads can you pave with a $17.2 billion windfall?”

Our opponents are operating behind closed doors with a total lack of transparency and with an alarming
lack of collegiality with their fellow legislators. Bolger and Lund are planning a sneak attack that will make December 7, 1941 look like a simple miscommunication.

If everybody who gets this letter stays true to what Representative Gail Haines has called “the Oakland
County block” the mischief being brewed by our opponents can’t go anywhere. Do not let them peel you
off, keep in mind you got into this fight for the right reason and we are determined to continue to do the
right thing.

I spoke a couple weeks ago at a CPAN dinner (Committee to Protect Auto No‐Fault) at the Kellogg Center. I told the audience that when I lost my son on February 9, 2007, I was completely devastated, as I’m sure
you would understand. It was more than a kick in the stomach, it was the loss of dreams and aspirations
that this young man and I talked about frequently. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my son Brooksie.

He left beyond a beautiful wife and three young children. I told the audience I was able to get back on my feet and return to work with the support of my friends, a lot of prayers, and some introspective reading that I did. One of the books I remembered reading was entitled “Why do bad things happen to good people?” There are all sort of philosophical answers to that, but bad things are about to happen again to some very good people who have been seriously victimized once already. And why do bad things happen to good people? Well because as Edmund Burke said “… good men do nothing.” You are good men and good women. Please don’t let anymore bad things happen to these innocent people.

Cordially,
L. Brooks Patterson
Oakland County Executive

P.S. ‐ Here they go again. If a cap of $5 Billion doesn’t buy your vote, maybe some cocktails and fine

Country Club hors d’oeuvres funded by our friends in the insurance agency will bring you around. They just don’t get it. I heard the NERD fund was going to buy 110 Ferrari’s…”

Related information:

Open letter from L. Brooks Patterson: Michigan No Fault is the “country’s best coverage for auto accident victims

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