State Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, is doing the right thing in the face of rightwing wacko Leon Drolet’s attempt at intimidation of Michigan lawmakers willing to make the hard choice and invest in Michigan.
Drolet is a former Republican state Representative, current Macomb County Commissioner and executive director of something called the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance (MTA). He has been in the news for months trying to intimidate lawmakers from voting to keep the state government going and avoid even spending further cuts with the upcoming budget facing a $1.8 million projected deficit.
According to the AP and others news sources, Drolet began filing paperwork to recall state lawmakers who may vote for tax increases, including Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, D-Redford; Marc Corriveau, D-Northville; Mary Valentine, D-Muskegon; Gino Polidori, D-Dearborn; Ed Gaffney, R-Grosse Pointe Farms and Richard Ball, R-Laingsburg. The Senate members are Glenn Anderson, D-Westland; Dennis Olshove, D-Warren; Gerald Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores and Valde Garcia, R-Howell.
Drolet said anti-tax organizers on Monday filed or intended to file with local clerks nine statements of organization setting up potential recall efforts, with another one against Garcia to come later this week. The moves will take care of paperwork so recall language can be proposed quickly if lawmakers vote to raise taxes, Drolet said.
Garcia, a conservative Republican from my hometown, said he’s researching the legality of how the paperwork for his potential recall was filed. “It’s an attempt to intimidate state legislators into not voting for a tax increase,” he said.
I agree, and I’m also very curious to see how he will try and pull this off. In my 12 years as a reporter I have seen a few attempted recalls of local elected officials, including a successful one – the only one I have ever seen – against the township supervisor in Hartland Township. Most never get past the petition stage if they get their recall language approved by the local election commission. It should be very difficult to launch a recall, and it should only be used if they are abusing their office or have committed a crime, not for a decision you don’t like. But I have never, ever seen a preemptive recall, or a recall for something that has not yet happened.
I’m also in the dark on how this intimidation campaign by Drolet and the MTA is not against Michigan campaign finance law.
The MTA claims it’s ”a true alliance in that its members are dedicated to stopping the state from increasing taxes from any segment of Michigan citizens. The MTA is a federally registered 501(c)4 organization dedicated to taxpayer education and advocacy for reduced state spending and a reduced overall tax burden.”
It seems to me meddling in state elections and overturning the will of the voters goes well beyond the scope of “taxpayer education and advocacy.” They are also taking monetary donations on their web site, and they are not listed as a Political Action Committee (PAC) or a ballot committee, and they are clearly playing both roles. I’m sure one of Drolet's flunkies will set me straight, but it does not pass the smell test. It’s just one more attempt, just like the deceptive named Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, for outsiders to come in and meddle in Michigan politics and elections.
The only good to come out of this is Drolet is truly bringing both sides of the political spectrum together to condemn him for what he really is, a bully and a wacko. I hope he does attempt his recalls. I don’t see eye-to-eye on much with Garcia, but he’s a nice guy. If he does the right thing and votes to invest in Michigan’s future I look forward to helping him fight off this ridiculous recall.
Fellow Republican and Macomb County resident Rep. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, even thinks Drolet is a wacko. But veteran journalist Jack Lessenberry had the best take on both the budget situation and on Drolet.
“Do we want to build a future for Michigan?
If so, we need to support our legislature by raising taxes in the most sane and sensible way possible. There is no other choice.”
I think most sane and reasonable Michigan residents agree with that statement.
“Our lawmakers indirectly taxed poor young people who are trying to improve themselves. That’s partly because they fear a guy named Leon Drolet, who travels around with a pink fiberglass pig and threatens to recall any lawmaker who votes to raise taxes. Drolet, by the way is a taxpayer-funded government employee.”
Very true. In fact, according to undisputed facts provided by the Michigan Democratic Party, “during his six years as a State Representative, Drolet cost Michigan taxpayers $1.1 million, including more than $91,000 for mileage reimbursements and $72,000 for his "expense allowance" – in addition to the $477,900 spent on his salary.
Drolet currently still has his nose in the public trough where he serves on the Macomb County Commission, earning $34,069 a year. He also pays himself $39,000 as executive director of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. He also receives free health care for the rest of his life at Michigan taxpayer expense for his entire six years of service. Ask someone who spent 20 years in the military how much health care they get.