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Bing recall still alive

By Zenobia Jeffries
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — The recall effort to remove Mayor Dave Bing from office is ongoing despite a 2-1 vote by Wayne County Election Commission’s Oct. 23 against the petition language.

Commission members Judge Milton Mack and Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz opposed it. Clerk Cathy Garrett voted to approve the language.

State Rep. John Olumba, who filed the recall petition language, says he’s convinced the language is clear but submitted new language he hopes cannot be rejected.

“I submitted more language, with the same reasons, but phrased differently,” Olumba told the Michigan Citizen.

Olumba says he disagrees with the Commission’s ruling, which came down to a matter of the “style and grammar” of the first sentence.

Olumba referred to the rejected petition language which reads:

“The mayor has compromised public safety in Detroit.  He discriminated against residents by designating only a portion of the city with proper fire emergency response times. He closed fire stations, which has led to prolonged response times for the remaining parts of the city.”

“The probate judge (Milton Mack) presiding said the reason for his decision to disapprove the language was because of the first sentence,” Olumba said. “My position is that the whole line is the reason (for the recall) not just the first sentence. The rest lays out the reasons why.”

Nevertheless, he says they’re moving forward and a hearing date for new language has been set for Nov. 5.

“We’re galvanizing the people right now and have a number of different groups (who have committed),” Olumba said about the organizing effort. He says the initiative is garnering interest and many have already volunteered to collect signatures. “People feel like their backs are against the wall. There’s a backdrop to knowing leadership … this isn’t it.”

While campaigning for his second term as a state represesntative, Olumba said he met with thousands of residents who were dissatisfied with the Bing administration.

“Many people asked me, ‘Was this on the horizon?’”

Olumba says Bing has failed to lead the city.

“This executive has lost total control over the city and we’re not headed in a positive direction. He asked for $100 million in concessions to save us from financial struggle. Workers gave (the city ways in which it could save) $150 million … and he told them ‘never mind.’ Now, months later, they are saying we’re facing a bankruptcy.”

The mayor “hasn’t been honest,” says Olumba.

“So in the wake of money moving around, unrest in the city and difficulty among the ranking officials in the cabinet of mayor, 41 appointees in upper cabinet left. We went quite a bit of time without a CFO. Respected individuals are leaving his administration … If he were held to a corporate standard, he wouldn’t have held his job this long.”

If Bing serves as mayor any longer, says Olumba, he will have caused irreparable harm to the city.

Olumba first filed the recall language Oct. 11, following a letter he sent to Attorney General Bill Schuette seeking a corruption investigation in the mayor’s office.

Mayor Bing’s office has denied any allegations of corruption.

Contact Zenobia Jeffries at  zjeffries@michigancitizen.com

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