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Recalls Underway in Michigan After Contentious EMF Law Passed

July 12, 2011

The man who authored the newer version of Michigan’s EMF laws, Rep. Al Pscholka, has been notified of the recent recall regarding his candidacy.  Remember Al Pscholka is also best buds with the notorious Gov. Rick Snyder, who billed himself originally as “one tough nerd,” but has since been called a racist by people of  Michigan.  He seems to focus much of his “legislation” on poor, minority neighborhoods when limiting the rights of voting constituents.  This has earned him the ire of people like Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others.

Here is a copy of Rep. Al Pscholka’s notice:

April 28,2011Representative Al Pscholka
Michigan State House of Representatives
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, Ml 48909-7514Re: Receipt of Recall WordingDear Representative Pscholka:You are hereby notified that pursuant to provisions of Section-168.952 of Public Act 456 of 1982, that presentation of “reasons for recall” from your office of 79th District State Representative was made in this office on this date. The recall wording was filed by Mr. Dennis Knowles and a copy of said wording is attached.You are further notified that a clarity hearing of the Berrien County Election Commission has been scheduled for 8:30 A.M. on May 9,2011. This hearing will be held in the County Clerk’s conference room on the first floor of the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.The purpose of this hearing will be to rule on the clarity of the reasons for recall as provided by said Act 456 of 1982. The hearing is open to the public and attendees will be given the opportunity to address the Election Commission if they so wish.If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.Sincerely,
Chief Deputy Clerk
Berrien County, MI

I have read that Pscholka’s campaign takes the recall effort “seriously,” but believes it’s really aimed at 2012 elections.  I don’t believe this.  I believe that people seriously want Pscholka out now, not in 2012.
Some people do believe that the recall effort is going to be rough:
Al Pscholka is a former aide to Congressman Fred Upton and now represents the area that includes Benton Harbor. He is also the father of the odious Emergency Financial Manager bill that was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder and gave sweeping powers to the EFMs including breaking contracts, selling off the assets of a municipality and dismissing the elected officials (as has been done in Benton Harbor.)Once the wording is approved (similar to what was done this past week for the recall of Governor Rick Snyder), petitions signature collection can begin. This will be a tough effort given that, outside of Benton Harbor, Pscholka’s district is VERY conservative.
Conservative, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable. Pscholka thought he had done a good thing by writing the EMF law, and in fact, I have taken the liberty of providing you with a copy of the text from his website where he affirms his own ideals:

“No one wants a bunch of emergency managers running around,” Pscholka said. “That’s not good for our cities and school districts, and it’s certainly not good for our state. The preventative response system that is now law will go a long way toward making sure we have less financial emergencies, not more.

“We want to advocate the understanding that the right to govern is dependent on fulfilling the oath to do it responsibly.”

Too true, “no one wants a bunch of emergency managers running around,” but why is it that the minority cities are the first ones to have a bunch of emergency managers running around?  And why is it that the minority leaders now have a new standard of governing, above and beyond the Constitutional guidelines of being elected?  Now they have to be determined “responsible” by a white majority? Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Pscholka has written a response to the recall in which he first whines about how he “came to Michigan to work,” then calls others’ efforts to recall him “shameful” with some nonsense of political agenda (which would be why it’s called politics), and then ends with saying that fiscal responsibility is hard (so quit whining you overspending communities):

“I understand that language seeking my recall has been submitted to the Berrien County Clerk’s office. I respect the process and the law.

I came to Lansing four months ago to work hard, solve problems and get Michigan moving again. I will continue that effort and will not be afraid to stand up to those who want to protect the status quo of fiscal mismanagement and unchecked spending. I have and will always remain honest, open and direct about myself and my work on behalf of Michigan residents.

It is sad and shameful that there are some who want to use others as political pawns on behalf of their own agenda to take the spotlight off their own poor performance. Despite positive changes in our state’s ability to respond to financial disaster and preserve local solvency, there are those who would skew the public dialogue with false information and incite baseless fears among our honest, hard-working residents. This is precisely the spirit of self-service which has driven local governments into collapse.

I will continue to work hard to represent Southwest Michigan in the coming days and look forward to the challenges ahead. I understand change is difficult, but being fiscally accountable and having financially stable communities are vital to promote job creation, economic growth and positive outcomes for the future of our great state.”

His comments about representing Southwest Michigan seem disingenuous to me.  Obviously, there is some discrepancy about whom he represents, or there would not be a recall effort underway. Personally, I wonder how “getting Michigan moving again” happens to coincide with invading poor minority areas and selling off their beachfront property to rich, white investors.

While Pscholka may be facing a recall, he is not alone in neglecting to answer the recall agenda, other reports show that the elected choose to focus on their current work at hand:

There’s a growing list of Republicans battling recall campaigns – Governor Rick Snyder, the leaders of the House and Senate, lawmakers who supported controversial measures, and lawmakers who approved changes to the tax structure.

In all, thirteen Republicans must stave off petition drives. But that growing number may not be what sends shock waves through the Capitol, according to the editor of Inside Michigan Politics, Bill Ballenger:

“I don’t think it’s even a question so much of how many recalls there are, the question is just scaring the living bejesus out of all incumbents thinking no one is safe, they’re coming after us, and it only takes one recall successfully completed,” said Ballenger.

Ballenger says successful recalls are rare and difficult, and the question of whether politicians should be recalled for the policy they support is open and ongoing.

“Many people have said the only basis on which there should be a recall is gross criminal neglect, misfeasance, malfeasance, whatever,” said Ballenger. “Not for differences in policy. However, as long as the law is written the way it is, there can be a difference on policy decisions.”

A recall campaign against Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville was given the green light this week.

Other top Republican officials facing recall campaigns include Governor Rick Snyder and House Speaker Jase Bolger.

All three say they are focused on their work and not on combating recall petitioners.

The list is growing in Michigan, and it’s a palpable measure of the discontent with the last election, as well as a tangible reminder that when elected members pass their own legislation, they are always vulnerable to losing their jobs. Just this last week, the Michigan Education Association has signed on to support recalls against legislators who pushed for cuts to schools.

Adding to this impact, we are coming into an election year in 2012, and there has been a good amount of restructuring with regards to voting districts.  In other words, the people who elected the current politicians may not be in the base to re-elect them or keep them in their seats.  In other words, the politicians are uniquely vulnerable in 2012, and they know it.

As one commenter states,  Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics:

“I think it only takes one recall to send a cannon shot through the Capitol and have everyone scattering and running for the exit signs in a panic,” he says.

It’s true, but seriously, people, did they they think legislation like that would go unchallenged?  Did they seriously believe that there wouldn’t be any blow back? While most incumbents say that they are in touch with voters, I wonder if they have checked in with the dissent, because it’s a large and growing group.

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