Recall group calls opposition tactics illegal
Sandra Groth of Plymouth Township United Citizens at Plymouth District Library meeting
Dec. 17, 2014 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
“They are lies intended to exploit, manipulate and scare the weakest among us; most notably our senior citizens.”
By: Don Howard
Supporters and organizers of the recall effort against four Plymouth Township elected officials met some strong tactics from the opposition last week as they gathered for their first pubic organizational meeting.
Several residents in Plymouth Township reported receiving anonymous ROBO calls with a recording that claimed the grassroots citizen’s activist group attempting to recall four township officials, “is a movement to raise our taxes by over $40 million.” The recording also claimed that the recall group is an effort to “build a performing arts center,” a claim that the group soundly denies and cites as blatantly untrue.
Organizers said the reasons for the recall have nothing to do with any proposed recreation center and are based solely on the performance of the four targeted officials: Township Supervisor Richard Reaume, Township Clerk Nancy Conzelman, Treasurer Ron Edwards and Trustee Kay Arnold.
Sandy Groth of the Plymouth Township United Citizens group said, “They are lies intended to exploit, manipulate and scare the weakest among us; most notably our senior citizens.” Groth said the $40 million mentioned in the ROBO call was a cost for the PARC recreation project (Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex). “People wanted a feasibility study for a project of this magnitude to decide if it is desirable, something we never got. All we want is people who will represent us with respect and to let voters decide.”
Chris Hunter, a local attorney and member of the recall group, said he is looking into the matter to identify and trace the parties who are involved in the false information in the ROBO call claims. Hunter said he has also received calls from township condominium residents who say they were threatened eviction by representatives of their homeowners associations and a management company if they sign a recall petition or post a sign supporting the effort. Hunter says the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is also interested in pinpointing the connections. Hunter said these tactics are an infringement of civil rights and the U.S. Constitution.
One of those called, Hunter said, was an 80-year-old condominium owner who was seriously distressed and frightened by the tactics. The resident, who asked not to be identified fearing retaliation, said that people in his condominium development were told supporting the recall movement, “would be grounds for eviction.” The ROBO calls also urged residents to call E.G. Nick’s restaurant, where the fundraiser for the group took place last week, “and urge the business to stop financing the recall.”
“The draconian tactics and abuse can not be tolerated; it’s but another sign these people need to be removed from office,” Hunter said.
Frank Agostini, owner of the popular downtown restaurant, said he was shocked at the harassment tactics when he has made no political statement or taken any position on the recall effort. The restaurant is frequently used for all types of events, funerals, baby showers, political parties-both Republican and Democrat, plus various ethnic groups. Agostini said none of these events are ever interpreted as his business support of any cause or political party.
“I’m simply a vendor. I’m a businessman. I don’t ask people their political views or religious affiliation when they book a party here. This is just ridiculous in a town like Plymouth,” Agostini said.
“These tactics are deplorable and show the real character and purpose of this recall against people who would use lies, scare tactics and illegal threats to retain their access to power, influence and finances in our community,” Groth said. “To go so far as to threaten seniors and smear a business that constantly gives back to this community speaks volumes about why these people should not be in office.”