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Bing recall heats up

By Zenobia Jeffries
The Michigan Citizen

Mayor Dave Bing

Mayor Dave Bing

DETROIT — Language to recall Mayor Dave Bing has been approved.

In a unanimous decision Nov. 5, the Wayne County Election Commission certified ballot language to remove Mayor Bing from office. “Mayor Dave Bing reduced the hours that police precincts are open to the public,” is the approved language.

However, State Rep. John Olumba, whose original recall language was rejected one week prior, says that’s not the only reason for the mayoral recall.

Olumba says Mayor Bing is poised to inflict “irreparable harm” on Detroit.

Olumba, and those seeking his removal from office, say the number one issue of the recall is the mayor’s decision to increase fire response time. He believes this will further diminish city services.

“This mayor is allowing neighborhoods to burn down because response times are greater than 8-10 minutes, which is a function of the program the mayor chose and after he chose it, he started to shut down fire departments,” Olumba said.

He added that the mayor’s push for a public lighting authority, which could lead to the sale of the city’s lighting grid, would also cause irreparable harm.

If the recall is successful, with the collection of 43,000 approved signatures, a special election could be held as early as the third week of February 2013.

Mayor Bing’s office said they were unaware the recall language was approved and had not responded for further comment by press time.

Olumba and three other Detroit residents submitted 15 different versions of recall language with the belief that at least one will be approved.

“They were all variations of the first petition that was rejected. Either the words were reversed or one or more sentences were taken out. But (it’s) all from the original,” he said.

As reported in the Nov. 4 issue of the Michigan Citizen, the Commission took exception with some of the language in the original language and voted it down 2-1.

“I still cannot figure out what was unclear,” Olumba said of the original language, which stated the mayor compromised public safety; discriminated against residents by designating only a portion of the city with proper fire emergency response times; closed fire stations, rejected concessions by city workers that would have saved the city millions of dollars, cut bus services, promoted a deal to lease Belle Isle, and more.

Olumba says the approved language was not the group’s favorite but says they’re not deterred.

Some critics have questioned the timing and cost of a special election with the mayoral election coming in November 2013.

Olumba says citizens don’t have 12 more months to wait for an election.

“The cost of special election is anywhere from $600,000 to $1 million. If it’s a one-issue ballot, we’re talking about $600,000 to 800,000. When you look at it, $600,00 to 800,000 to preserve people’s right to engage in democracy is not a lot of money.”

Olumba says the clerk is supposed to have accounted for special elections.

Those pushing for the recall have 180 days to turn in signatures.

Olumba says, with a collection of some signatures on Election Day, they’re moving toward their goal and believe they will exceed it.

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