Should I sign the Snyder recall petition? What are you planning to do?

snyderpetition

In the wake of evidence surfacing that proves the Snyder administration knew of a connection between Flint’s water and a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease a full ten months before they took action, and Snyder’s subsequent refusal to testify before a Congressional committee as to what happened in Flint, it’s not surprising that even the conservative Detroit News is beginning to turn on our “tough nerd” of a governor, using phrases like “cover-up,” and demanding that he step out from behind the FOIA shield and share his correspondences on everything Flint-related.

As bad as is to have played a part in giving dozens of children lead poisoning, apparently it’s worse to have had a hand in the deaths of ten constituents.

So, whereas a week ago it would have shocked me to have heard word coming out of the Michigan Attorney General’s office that their investigation in Flint could lead to manslaughter charges being filed due to “gross negligence” and “breach of duty,” it didn’t really surprise me today. Everyone, it would seem, is beginning to take this seriously… or at least they’re making a concerted effort to give that impression.

So it would seem that things are finally beginning to turn toward the more serious after last week’s decidedly less weighty Cakegate affair… And that’s a good thing.

Now, it looks like we have a decision to make… Do we want Snyder to stay in office and fix the mess he helped to create, or do we want to exert our power and kick him out of office in dramatic fashion? A week or so ago that second option wasn’t on the table. Now, though, thanks to a unanimous vote by the State Board of Canvassers, it is.

Yesterday, the State Board of Canvassers, in a 4-0 vote, approved recall petition language directed against Snyder. Given that both of the Republicans on the board approved it, and that the petition was drafted by a self-described Tea Party conservative, my first thought was that perhaps we might be watching a conservative conspiracy against Snyder beginning to unfold. “Do you think it’s possible that this petition was approved because DeVos, or other important conservatives, have made the decision that Snyder is no longer useful to them?”, I asked a friend of mine in Lansing. “Could it be that they’ve decided that Calley, who would take his place if he were voted out, would be better suited to push forward their agenda?” While I still think it’s possible, this friend of mine, whom I respect, told me it was probably just that the Board of Canvassers, who had voted not to approve about ten other petition drives focused at removing Snyder from office, just couldn’t find justification to keep this particular petition from moving forward. Furthermore, he said, if they really wanted to remove Snyder from office, the would have approved one of the petitions that was more clearly tied to the Flint disaster.

The petition that passed the board, you see, has nothing to do with Snyder’s handling of Flint. It was brought to the Board by Ben Lazarus, a member of the Warren Consolidated Schools Board of Education, and has to do with Snyder’s decision in 2015 to move the state School Reform Office to a department under his control by way of executive order. Lazarus, explained his motivation to the Detroit News as follows. “(Rick Snyder) has a toxic disdain for the rights of local government,” he said.

While Lazarus doesn’t have any kind of infrastructure behind him to meet the demands of an intensive petition drive like this, he suspects that he can find common cause with people and organizations that want Snyder out of office for their own reasons. The following clip comes from the Detroit News.

…Snyder used a March executive order to move the School Reform Office under the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, a move the state Board of Education quickly called “unconstitutional.” Lazarus noted the School Reform Office last week appointed a chief executive officer to run four East Detroit schools.

Lazarus told The News he does not have an established organization capable of running a statewide petition drive but is curious to see what other groups might be interested in partnering with him. He suggested animosity over the Flint water crisis could help the cause even though his recall language is not directly related.

“The next step is really to reach out to those coalition partners,” Lazarus said. “It is a daunting task, but I believe it can be accomplished, particularly in light of all the news in regards to Flint”…

It, by the way, is an incredibly difficult thing to pursue a petition drive such as this in Michigan, in part because of legislation that Snyder himself signed in 2012, which not only added rules about how such petitions had to be worded, but shortened the length of time people had in which to execute such drives. Before 2012, people had 90 days to get the required number of signatures. Now they only have 60. And that’s an incredibly short period in which to get 789,133 valid signatures, even with real, paid staff on every busy street corner, and a brilliant marketing campaign.

So, as I sit here wondering whether or not I’ll sign the petition to fire Rick Snyder, assuming it comes to fruition, there are two questions that come immediately to mind. First, I think we have to ask ourselves, is it in the best interest of the people of Flint who have been poisoned? And, second, I think we need to consider whether or not it leaves us in a better position to move forward as a state, putting the failed, non-democratic experiments of Rick Snyder and his Republican majority behind us?

And I’d love your feedback on this, as I’m torn. On one hand, I love the idea of the men and women of Michigan rising up, locking arms, and forcing the Governor from office for what he’s done. I think it would send a powerful message, and that, in itself, would be hugely impactful. Sending Snyder into retirement a full two and half years before he’s due to be term-limited out of office could mark a real turning point in Michigan. It could bring people together across party lines, create new coalitions, and bring young people to the table in a meaningful way. It could usher in a new era of reform in Michigan. And it might also send a signal to those out there like the Koch brothers, who are bankrolling similar administrations in other states, that the American people have finally had enough, and intend to fight back.

[In Michigan, an individual is limited two four-year terms as Governor, and Snyder’s second term started January 1, 2015. This means that, unless someone removes him from office, he still has roughly two years and 10 months to serve.]

On the other hand, however, if we’re able to collect the required signatures, get his removal from office on the ballot, and successfully vote him out, there’s no promise that things will get better. As stipulated in Michigan law, voting Snyder out would not trigger a new election. It would just mean that Lieutenant Governor of Michigan Brian Calley would assume the office and serve out Snyder’s term. And, Calley, as we know, is even more of an ideologue than Snyder. So I think it’s highly unlikely that we’d see him as an improvement over Snyder. Furthermore, I think it’s fair to assume that Calley would not feel the same responsibility toward the people of Flint that Snyder feels. And by saying that, I don’t mean to suggest that Snyder is hugely motivated to fix what happened in Flint because he cares deeply for the people he’s harmed. I just mean to say that, as the person who was ultimately responsible for the poisoning of FLint’s people, he’s likely more motivated than Calley to set things right, if only to improve the way he’s viewed in history. Furthermore, I suppose it could also be argued that such a petition drive could be a distraction from other work that desperately needs to be done in this state.

So, with all of that said, I’d like to know where you stand. Do you want Snyder out at any cost, even if it means bringing in someone just as bad? Or do you think that we should instead keep the pressure on Snyder, demanding that he set things right in Flint, while, at the same time, fighting to win back the House and working to identify, support and develop a candidate that can successfully run against the likes of Candice Miller, Bill Schuette, and Brian Calley when the time comes?

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38 Comments

  1. Posted February 9, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    And I really am seriously interested to know what you’re all planning to do. My first instinct was that I should get a petition and start collecting signatures. The more that I think about it, though, the more I wonder if that’s really the best course of action. I’m seriously on the fence about it.

    Also, I didn’t really come out and say it in the post, but I really do think that removing Snyder from office could work to the advantage of folks like DeVos and the Koch brothers, who I’m sure would like nothing better than to stop hearing about how Snyder, through policies that they backed, poisoned Flint.

  2. Posted February 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I don’t know either. If he gets booted, and Calley gets all nice and settled in, we won’t have a chance of winning in 2018 (not that I’m sure we will anyway….). But it’d be so awesome to fire him!

  3. Posted February 9, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I think it would be hugely exciting to vote him out and have a big party in Flint. I think that might make it worth it.

  4. Meta
    Posted February 9, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    “Gov. Rick Snyder not welcome here, say protesters on U-M campus”

    With the Flint water crisis ongoing, organizers at the University of Michigan Law School indefinitely postponed an event that was to take place Tuesday featuring Gov. Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s former emergency manager.

    But the cancelation of the panel discussion about Detroit’s bankruptcy didn’t stop a group of about 70 mostly U-M students and other Ann Arbor residents from holding a “Snyder’s Not Welcome Here” protest outside the law school.

    The rally went on as planned Tuesday afternoon in Ann Arbor, starting near Hutchins Hall, where protesters gathered before marching along State Street to the Central Campus Diag, chanting “Flint lives matter!” and issuing calls for Snyder’s arrest.

    Read more:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/02/governor_not_welcome_here_say.html

  5. stupid hick
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    If I must pick between the two choices offered in the final paragraph, either sign a petition, or to simultaneously “keep the pressure on Snyder”, “fight to win back the house”, and “develop a candidate” for Governor, I will sign a petition. Sign my name is something I know how to do. I won’t sign up for option number two, because I don’t understand specifically what you’re asking for. “Keep up the pressure on Snyder”? I don’t have any influence with him, he doesn’t need me for anything, and there’s nothing he wants that I can deny him. Do you mean stake out a place like West End Grill, hoping he might show up so I can yell at him? No, I’m not going to do that. How does one “develop a candidate” or “fight to win the house”? Is it something an ordinary stupid hick can do?

  6. Anonymous
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Don’t sign and we will win the house.

  7. Peter Larson
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Another recall.

    Why bother with elections anymore?

  8. Conspiracy
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    It may not be happening yet, but I think the right is going to force Snyder out at some point in order to protect the “advances” they’ve made in Michigan since 2011. Right now they’re at risk of losing everything.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Don’t sign. He’s up on Manslaughter charges. There’s no need. Why the hell recall him when who you get instead is much worse. This is exactly the problem with calling for heads (which is different than calling for accountability) It diverts energy from the larger issue. What this shows is how the political diverts from governance. If we care as much as we say we do about the fate of the people of Flint, we will leave him in office, until the police remove him. Political solutions rarely help anyone but other politicians. Be careful what you wish for.

  10. Demetrius
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Each day reveals more evidence that Snyder and his administration participated in a serious crime and cover up. He should resign a.s.a.p. If he won’t do that, he needs to be recalled – not for retribution, or politics – but because it is the right thing to do.

    Regarding who might succeed him, I think the real question is this: Given that Michigan’s finances, schools, cities, roads, bridges, water systems, etc. are a complete basket case, why do we all just assume that Schuette, or Calley or whoever the else the Koch brothers and the DeVos family anoint should automatically succeed Snyder in the next election?

    Why is there no viable, popular, challenger waiting in the wings … someone who is a natural ally and champion of the poor, middle-class, seniors, students, workers, urban residents, etc.? Why is there not a critical mass of allies ready to take over the legislature?

    Who is going to help lead us out of the malaise that Michigan has been living in for the past 30 years, and begin slowly rebuilding this state from the “Michissippi” we have become?

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Jesus Demetrius. You are a serious victim of the liberal-progressive A2 regional bubble tank Because that’s how the process works. If Snyder is recalled his Lieutenant Governor– Calley–is next in line. There’s no end-run to that. It’s not something we the people can over-ride for 2.5 years. (And frankly we may not have the votes then to do it anyway if Snyder is gone) If we truly care about the fate of the people of Flint, we will wait until the police charge him, so the team in charge of the fox can at least be in place, funding secured and a strategic plan drawn up. Otherwise, there is zero accountability possible for 2.5 years.

  12. Demetrius
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    So, you’re suggesting we need to leave Snyder in office so someone will be in charge to look out for the interests of people in Flint?

    Interesting logic.

    Is ensuring a”smooth transition” more important than (or does it even rule out) consequences, accountability, justice?

  13. Susan
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I am going to adjust my messages, and now fight for keeping the spot light on him. Making sure he does the right thing, each step of the way. And, there’s a lot more heads that need to roll in the Flint water crisis who also deserve closer inspection – MDEQ, EPA, and the corporate interests trying to privatize our water. I am going to help focus on all that. But if that MF**ker comes into one of my downtown haunts while I am present, I fully intend to speak my mind. Loudly.

  14. Susan
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I will admit I changed my mind on the recall, and can now see further. I am, however, completely in favor of incarceration. And that will take time, probably very near finishing out his term. Chalk has helped me with the bloodlust, and I am still quite interested in making downtown Ann Arbor inhospitable for him.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I’m suggesting we leave Snyder in office until the police pull him out in handcuffs. I’m suggesting that Calley is far worse than Snyder. Snyder cares most about his reputation. He will want to salvage it. Calley will just abandon any effort to help Flint and simply say there’s no money– and then make sure there is none from the State. Guaranteed. He will tell the right they are not responsible. It’s not a systemic problem, it’s a Snyder problem and he is gone. So back to our old tricks.

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘smooth transition.’ I never said that phrase. The transition is written into law. Calley takes over. Recalling Snyder is a much smoother transition to a new unsullied GOP leader than an election would be.

    Again, you appear to be under the impression that some other result is possible than Calley taking over if Snyder resigns, but that is not the case.

  16. Jeff
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Shockingly, 3 years of Calley could be worse. And set him up for re election.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Central to your premise Demetrius, is that Snyder is worse than the rest of the GOP in Michigan. That’s simply not the case. Any of them could have done this. The whole house of cards needs to come down. Sacrificing a fall guy is the standard political method to avoid any larger accountability in a fiasco.

    Some of us have been saying this from the beginning. And we were called apologists etc etc. Whatever. I’m so tired of liberal self-congratulatory identity politics that is strategically unsound and hurts the people we say we want to serve and the environment we say we want to serve. I wish I had another fucking label to pin to my chest.

  18. Leslie Sobel
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I am torn for precisely the reasons you articulate. The investigations seem unlikely to implicate Calley and I’ll be surprised if they actually charge Snyder with anything either.

  19. Bob
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I feel exactly the same way. His replacement is even worse. Snyder needs to be removed though. I hope he finds himself broke as he fights lawsuits for the rest of his life too.

    Peter, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? You really just get increasingly more ridiculous. No one is impressed with your old-man punk nihilism.

  20. Aruna
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Actions require consequences. Ultimately, the dude screwed up in a way that shows him to be unfit of running the state. He should be removed from office, regardless of whether it is more politically convenient for him to stay in. I’m usually not a fan of recall elections, but this was a complete abdication of duty and he must be removed.

  21. Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The more I think about this and read the other comments, I think it is best to leave him there. I have my doubts that any structural/policy change will happen to help our friends in Flint, but I KNOW nothing will happen if we get rid of Rick. The NeoCons will clap their little hands and kick their little feet and say, “You got what you wanted!” and then…nothing (except they will light up cigars with $1000 bills and laugh at us).

    That said, it would be fun to watch him crawl out of town like we banished him like they did back in the olden days. We could put him on a donkey and just let him go.

  22. Ilana Houten
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Arrest the idiot! Who needs a recall?

  23. Mr. X
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Alan Stamm atDeadline Detroit is wondering the same thing.

    “Let’s Hold Snyder Accountable Without a Recall, Arrest or Resignation”

    http://deadlinedetroit.com/articles/14251/stamm_let_s_hold_snyder_accountable_without_a_recall_arrest_or_resignation

  24. Jim
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    A recall of Snyder might be the best possible outcome for him and the GOP. Given his demonstrated disdain for Michigan’s voters, he wouldn’t view a recall as much of a repudiation, and he would spin it as an electoral lynching during a year of angry populism. It would be more effective to keep him the face of the Michigan GOP and work on getting voters to turn out in November this year and in 2018 when we can effect real change in Lansing.

  25. anonymouos
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    While I don’t think that I will sign the petition, as I don’t think having Calley in office will help the people of Flint, I do agree that a real grassroots movement to remove Snyder from office could be a positive step in the restoring democracy to Michigan.

  26. Gary
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I think the petition’s chance of proceeding is slim, and there is the issue of Calley. However, signing it also indicates one’s indignation and outrage that an elected official could, or would, make so many mistakes. It’s not only Flint, it’s over-riding the voters rejection of the emergency manager law, the lack of interest in the public schools in favor of his campaign supporters in the private school sector, his campaign double speak, his disengagement with the people of Flint (remember the birthday party) and his lack of administrative ability revealed by the poor internal communication about the Flint water crisis. I say sign it. The larger the number of signatures, the more we indicate our displeasure and disgust, whether there is an actual recall or not.

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Bob– Pete may make his points in extreme fashion, but he was right on this one. He said, in his way, that the political was a diversion from helping the poor and that, once political bloodlust was satisfied, the poor, not just in Flint but everywhere, would continue to be underserved. Nihilism would be saying ‘fuck the poor.’ I think what Pete is saying is fuck political agendas. That seems far from nihilistic. Of course he won’t care what you think, because he’s swimming in a warm bath of defeatism these days. I think, in general, it would be cool if we could all start listening to one another a little more. Mark’s pretty good at that. This is the most interesting thread in a while, because there is some self-reflection here.

  28. Kirk
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Who’s got the redistricting petitions?

  29. jcp2
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I would think that Peter would be better suited with a tepid bath of defeatism. Warm baths are for the victors.

    Also, the recall petition makes no sense in a nose, face, spite sort of way.

  30. Demetrius
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    This “fuck political agendas” philosophy is naive and counterproductive.

    It was a low-tax, less-regulation, trickle-down, government-is-the-enemy political agenda that caused the situation in Flint – and it will take an entirely different philosophy to solve it, and to prevent future crises.

    I’m not necessarily talking about “Ds” and “Rs” … I’m talking about a fundamental re-assessment of the way individuals see themselves as citizens in a so-called “democracy,” and the proper role of government in terms of protecting their rights.

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    http://crcmich.org/a-call-for-redistricting-reform/

    Link above lays out the plan to try to get citizen lead redistricting on the ballot. Trying to find out more. May be dead in the water as there’s not much out there. Or Flint took up all the public interest bandwdith.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    JCP– I think of warm as the same as tepid. I suppose that shows my unrelenting negativity. And I think there must be something soothing about disaffection. They say happiness comes from low expectations.

  33. Jean Henry
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Worth a listen for those who would like to see a sea change in state politics. 40 open seats in the State house without incumbents. Here, find a possible avenue to Dem control of the House plus an outlining of redistricting vulnerabilities.
    http://michiganradio.org/post/split-government-open-seats-2016-could-give-democrats-chance-state-house-control

  34. stupid hick
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be, like, a bummer, man, but only in a liberal daydream fantasy does Snyder get arrested for manslaughter. Put down the bong, sycophants. Mark said something about cultivating a candidate, not cannabis!

  35. Paul Heckbert
    Posted February 10, 2016 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but as a state whose water quality is under increasing threat due to fracking, I’m sympathetic to the problems in Flint.
    If I were in your shoes I would do everything to remove Snyder ASAP, to set an example for future governors.

  36. Meta
    Posted February 23, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    A new recall petition has been approved, and it’s focused on Flint.

    The Board of State Canvassers on Monday unanimously approved a petition to recall Gov. Rick Snyder over the Flint water crisis, rejecting five other attempts to recall him and one to recall Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

    The approved language would ask voters to recall Snyder based on the fact that “Governor Richard D. Snyder declared a state of emergency in the County of Genesee and the City of Flint pursuant to the constitution of the state of Michigan and provisions of Act No. 390 of the Public Acts of 1976, filed with the Secretary of State on January 5, 2016, and ending on February 1, 2016, unless extended as provided by Act No. 390.”

    The language was submitted by David Bullock, who said he’s working with Quincy Murphy and Benjamin Lazarus, who had a petition to recall the governor over an education issue approved earlier this month.

    But the petition they circulate will be the one approved Monday, because it’s directly related to Flint water.

    “Residents have had to pay for bad water for over two years,” Murphy said.

    He said people in other cities are also affected, because fixing the mistakes and Flint has cost all Michiganders.

    Now that the petition language is approved organizers have 180 days to use it. But they have to collect 789,133 valid signatures in a 60-day period within that 180 day window. They will be the first in the state to attempt that after lawmakers changed it from a 90-day to a 60-day window in 2012 legislation.

    Read more:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/02/petition_to_recall_gov_rick_sn.html

  37. Michigan Policast
    Posted February 23, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    It is significant to know that the approved language was submitted by Rev. D Alexander Bullock of RainbowPUSH. Bullock was a key player in our coalition, Stand Up for Democracy, which successfully repealed PA 4 in 2012. He understands the cost and the mechanics of the process. Our group faced every challenge and obstacle they could throw at us, and yet prevailed. In short, Rev. Bullock knows what he’s doing.

  38. site admin
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Snyder says he won’t resign: “I said I was sorry and I’m going to fix it.”

    http://michiganradio.org/post/i-m-not-resigning-i-m-going-fix-it-says-snyder-amid-growing-calls-step-down

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  1. […] us, and focus on serving those who so desperately need our help.” Up to a few weeks ago I was somewhat torn as to whether or not we should expend our effort attempting to drive Snyder from…, but he’s done very little since then to prove to me that he’s capable of either […]

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