League of Women Voters’ permit for candidates’ forum rescinded by township supervisor
UPDATE: LEAGUE FORUM TO GO ON MONDAY AT 7:00 PM-REAUME INSISTS ON WITHDRAWAL, SCHEDULES BOARD MEETING TO ADOPT A NEW POLICY… CANCELS AT LAST MINUTE…VOTERS ARE ANGRY.
July 12, 2012 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
A special meeting of the board of trustees at Plymouth Township Hall was reportedly going to be scheduled tonight to determine the township policy on “political meetings” at the building.
The League of Women Voters had planned a candidates’ forum for July 16 at the township hall and had been granted permission to use the building, according to Paula Bowman, vice-president of the group.
The League of Women Voters had requested the use of the building for the meeting from Township Clerk Joe Bridgman who sent the request to the township attorney for review. Bowman said she received permission July 2 for the candidate forum and proceeded to schedule and publicize the meeting.
She received a call from Township Supervisor Richard Reaume which she returned on July 5. He informed her that the clerk “had overstepped the bounds of his authority” and that the township had a policy against political meetings of this kind.
Further investigation proved that Reaume’s assertion was incorrect and that no such policy was in effect or had ever been voted on by the board of trustees. When the lack of official policy was called to Reaume’s attention, he asked Bowman to withdraw her request. When she refused, he said he would schedule the special meeting to adopt the new policy and make it “immediately effective” thereby legalizing his previous refusal.
Bowman said, “We are a group of volunteers who are only trying to disperse information to voters. We never oppose or support a candidate. Our mission is to bring information to voters.”
The League of Women voters sponsored a candidates forum June 27 at Northville Township Hall and at Canton Township Hall on July 19 and frequently use Livonia City Hall for such meetings, according to Bowman.