Governor, representative recall drive comes to area
July 27, 2011 - Dennis Martin was doing what he called "one-stop shopping" on the public right-of-way near Goodrich High School, 8029 S. Gale Road, on Tuesday morning.
|From left: JoAnn Sandlin and Mary Heron at Goodrich High School July 26. Photo by Susan Bromley. (click for larger version)|
Martin pulled his vehicle off the road when he saw signs reading "Recall Snyder" and "Recall Scott."
Volunteers who had petitions for the recall of Governor Rick Snyder and State Representative Paul Scott looked up as Martin leaned out his window and asked, "Where do I sign?"
He explained his motivation simply: "I'm a retiree and they are taxing pensions."
The Grand Blanc resident was just one of several passersby who stopped to sign the petitions within about an hour. Not long after, the volunteers with Citizens Against Government Overreach, which organized the petition drive to recall Scott, moved to Goodrich Plaza to set up shop next to the more heavily traveled S. State Road (M-15).
Jill Welch, a Grand Blanc resident and teacher at Dylan Elementary in the Carman-Ainsworth School District, said she was volunteering her summer to assist in getting the 807,000 signatures that are needed statewide in order to recall Snyder. Since July 21, when a judge approved the petition language for the recall of Scott, she has been out everyday for 8-10 hours in 90-plus degree heat gathering signatures for both recalls.
"I'm here fighting because of all the hits education is taking," she said.
She and her sister-in-law, Leanne Welch, showed literature they were passing out that urges registered voters to sign the petition to "Recall Paul," citing "over $1 billion in cuts to K-12-education; raised taxes on seniors by taxing retirement income; voted to eliminate the homestead property tax credit; and voted for state appointed bureaucrats to null and void your voice on local issues."
The volunteers need 8,000 signatures of valid registered voters in the 51st District to recall Scott, and in order to put the recall of both politicians on the November ballot, enough signatures must be gathered by Aug. 5.
Jill Welch said their efforts were receiving a mostly positive response.
"The people who sign can't wait to sign their name and wish they could do it over and over," she said.
Debbie Hergenreder stopped to sign the petitions. The retired Hurley Hospital nurse and Davison Township resident is frustrated that she spent more than 30 years working and paying into the system, saving her money and budgeting for retirement only to learn that now her retirement income will be taxed and change her planned budget.
"They want to tax my retirement so I can support businesses and CEOs," she said. "As a retiree, I pay my own health insurance and I don't feel I should have to pay theirs, too. I knew when I retired what my bills and finances were and now they want to change that.... Snyder and Scott are also not supporting education and I have a son in 8th grade. They are not doing the younger generation any favors, they're selling them out. I voted for Snyder, but he did not tell us this was what he was planning to do. I am recalling him because I feel we made a mistake."
Leanne Welch said she had 1,200 signatures to turn in Tuesday.
"We're on pace for what we wanted to hit, we've been getting at least 150 people per day and got 245 signatures between Grand Blanc and Fenton yesterday."
Tom Bryant, a 1996 Brandon High School graduate, started off as the Genesee County coordinator for the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder. Now it's turning into a near full-time job for the UM-Flint student who was inspired to join the recall effort because of the state education funding cuts and emergency financial manager laws that he believes grants too much power to the governor.
"If you own a home or have a good-paying job or have kids and are in the state of Michigan, you should watch out for what (Snyder) is doing and step up to take action to protect yourself," Bryant said.
He has worked for the committee answering phone calls and e-mails, taking petitions and dropping them off, working from the time he gets up until he goes to bed.
"We are doing very well," said Bryant, although he said the committee doesn't release the number of signatures obtained. "Right now, I think we are on target. This will be making history, there's never been a recall of a governor in the state of Michigan on the ballot."
Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard confirmed that Michigan has never had the recall of a governor on the ballot, nor does he believe it will happen this year.
"The number one fact about the Snyder recall is... there is no way a citizen organization can get 800,000 signatures statewide as a practical matter," Bullard said. "Most recalls that need a lot of signatures, even 300,000, they pay people to get them. It would cost millions. No governor will ever be recalled without paying an organization to gather the signatures. It's been proven it can't be done with just volunteers."
Bullard added that if by some miracle enough signatures were gathered to put the issue on the ballot, the recall would not cost taxpayers anything additional if they lived in a community that already had an election scheduled for November. However, if there were no school board or other election planned, the recall would cost money. He did not know what kind of costs might be incurred for the hiring of Secretary of State staff to count and verify signatures prior to placing it on the ballot.
"It could cost tens of thousands of dollars," he said. "That is my opinion, because this has never happened before."
Bryant said if the goal is not hit by Aug. 5, volunteers could continue gathering signatures until Aug. 18 to place the issue on the February ballot.
Anyone interested in signing a recall petition for Snyder or Scott can visit the "Recall Paul" headquarters at 6153 Dort Hwy., Grand Blanc. Activists will also be at the Flint Farmers Market and Grand Blanc Farmers Market this weekend. For more information, contact Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville