Jul 22, 2009
Recall group calls fighting back against this intimidation attempt a conspiracy
HOWELL – The group trying to recall three of the four Howell Public School Board members for casting a vote they disagree with is seeing black helicopters and conspiracy theories because the targets of the intimidation tactic are fighting back.
As you know, there is a misguided effort underway to recall three of the four Howell Public School Board members who voted to fire Superintendent Theodore Gardella after just a year on the job last month. Apparently, the recall organizers are up in arms because the spouses of two of the board members targeted in the recall sat in the parking lot of the Baymont Inn on July 9 when the organizational meeting was held, according to a story in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.
According to the story, “Members of the group leading the recall effort said they’re worried that their opponents would monitor an organizational meeting and count the number of people showing up. They believe this type of behavior could be the start of more aggressive and possibly illegal activity.” Are they for real? What illegal activity are they talking about? Fighting the false charges?
There was nothing illegal, shady or creepy about it, and they should have gone inside to the meeting. I can only speculate the reason they didn’t go inside was, perhaps, to avoid a confrontation.
Monitoring the recall is a common and accepted tactic, and they should be doing it. You will remember the recall attempt in 2007 when Republicans tried to recall Democrats who voted for the tax increase that kept Michigan’s government up and running. This, like most recalls, is nothing but raw intimidation, and this is also just an attempt to circumvent the election process.
Only the recall of Speaker of the House Andy Dillon was successful, and Leon Drolet and company had to lie and bend the law to get signatures. It made it on the ballot, but was soundly defeated by voters. The other recalls failed to get enough signatures. They fought off the recall by having people “shadow” the people collecting signatures to give the other side of the story and to stop them from telling lies.
There were a few mild confrontations involving dueling video cameras, but that was because Republicans did not like being exposed and challenged. The sane and rational people opposing this recall/intimidation attempt should do the same thing. It’s legal and an accepted tactic.
In a move I have never head of before in 12 years as a reporter covering school boards and local government, the recall group has hired a Lansing-based attorney. It’s unclear who or how he is being paid. He claims, “surveillance is often the first step of more aggressive steps that could be illegal,” and he also he said “their actions and mind-set could evolve into something more serious.” Really; Like what?
The parking lot incident, apparently, came to light because the recall group, allegedly, “intercepted” emails between a board member and Doug Norton, a retired teacher who previously served as president of the Howell teachers’ union. The recall group and extremist rightwing board member Wendy Day are using that as proof of a conspiracy between the rest of the school board members and the teachers’ union.
Day’s anti-union views – as well as her anti-government, anti-teacher and anti-pubic school views – cloud her judgment.
Day, along with her co-conspirator Vicky Fyke, are founding members of the apparently defunct anti-gay hate group known as the LOVE PAC - (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) that embarrassed the community nationally when it tried to ban Pulitzer-Prize winning books.
Day is actively participating in the recall of her colleagues; a rare event, and perhaps the first time that has ever happened The irony is that the board has been criticized in the past for not working together. When this recall fails, how do they expect to work with somebody who pulled this double-cross against them?
It may appear that the “LOVE” group is not dead, and this is their way to circumvent the election, which are what these type of recalls are deigned to do.
“LOVE” went underground following the school board election in May 2007 when voters soundly rejected the two “LOVE: backed candidates in favor of, ironically, two of the three board members being recalled.
Fyke on this very blog wrote, “I look forward to the next election when we will add two more like-minded people to the school board, and get our important changes accomplished.”
She is not waiting for the election, and this is how she plans to get “like-minded people” on the school board.