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In an effort to remove the Mayor of Troy from office, members of the Recall Janice Daniels campaign filed nearly 9,300 signatures on 909 petition sheets of paper last week at the Oakland County Courthouse. This is 15 percent more than the 7,985 signatures required by law.
“We feel good. We’re very pleased and really happy with the tremendous outpouring of support,” said Troy resident and campaign organizer Matthew Binkowski about turning the petitions in to the Elections Division of the Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds office.
The petitions were collected by 125 “dedicated and tireless” volunteers over the past three months.
“Most people we approached didn’t need education on the issues surrounding Janice Daniels. About three-fourths of them signed the petition when asked. Her supporters, about one-fourth, were usually quiet and they just declined to sign,” said Binkowski. “However, a few got vocal. Some got upset when you refuse to debate them for hours on end on their porch. We actually had one guy heckle a volunteer at the library. Another guy followed a volunteer on his bike. Other than that, they were relatively harmless.”
For those who weren’t aware of the issues, the volunteers carried postcards which explained some of the reasons for the recall efforts, as well as providing the campaign website address for more information. “Our volunteers can usually summarize the situation in a minute or so. After hearing the facts, most people signed the petition,” said Binkowski.
Mayor Daniels has been the center of controversy, both in Troy and nationwide, since December of last year. Binkowski said her conduct provides an overwhelming case for her recall.
In a recent press release, he reiterated the reasons why. “By referring to the City Charter as a ‘whimsical’ document, the Mayor demonstrated her lack of respect for the city’s own Constitution. By repeatedly voting against the Troy Transist Center, Mayor Daniels put her ideology over the best interests of Troy residents and business community. By attacking city employees with false and irresponsible accusations, Mayor Daniels has driven out John Szerlag, the former City Manager, described by L. Brooks Patterson as ‘one of the best.’ Finally, with her controversial remarks, Mayor Daniels has brought embarrassment and shame to the entire community.”
She faces further criticism following her radio interview last week with Talk Radio 1270 host Charlie Langton. Mayor Daniels once again compared the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle to the dangers of cigarette smoking.
“What I said while I was mayor…I was in a business meeting, I come from a business perspective…I said that I would bring a doctor into a meeting that would say that the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous,” said Mayor Daniels on the air. “Had I been with a group of smokers, I might have said I would like to bring a doctor into this meeting to say that smoking is dangerous.”
After Langton asked whether the mayor felt it was dangerous to be gay, Mayor Daniels said she had no opinion, but noted, “I think that doctors can make a case for it, certainly.”
Mayor Daniels told the Troy Patch she does not agree with the reasons she is being recalled. “The recall process is part of the representative republican form of government that we have, so we let the process work the way it was intended to,” she said. “I think it’s designed for when elected officials commit a crime, and I’ve committed no crime.” Mayor Daniels said she believes the failed recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proof that citizens do not like recalls. “I hope people will go to my website, janicetroymayor.com, to find out more about me,” she said.
Crime or not, Binkowski pointed out that Michigan’s Constitution and subsequent legislation (MCL SS 168.951-168.976) permits recall for any objectionable conduct during the elected official’s term in office. “In contrast, when an elected official has committed an illegal act, the officer can be removed in accordance with MCL S 168.327, a completely separate and distinct procedure,” he said.
Binkowski said an in-house verification of signatures was conducted to make sure the names and addresses match the registered voter database. The Elections Division has seven days to inform them whether or not they have enough “facially valid” signatures and within 22 days must verify that each signer is properly registered. Mayor Daniels has 30 days after the date of filing to challenge any signatures, according to the clerk’s office, and a final review by the Elections Division must occur within 35 days after filing. Once the signatures are certified, the issue will put to Troy voters in the Nov. 6 ballot, alongside the presidential election. No special election will be required and thus, no extra cost to the taxpayers.
As far as the Recall Janice Daniels group is concerned, their next project is fundraising and getting the message out to the voters.