October 31, 2014

Omer man files recall petition against Granholm

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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INGHAM COUNTY — Paul Piche officially filed a recall petition against Governor Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday.

“I need 950,000 signatures,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

State Senator Jim Barcia (D – Bay City), however, says a recall is a taller order than it sounds.

“Every county has to participate equally in the percentage (of signatures),” Barcia said. “If a person, wants to do it, I wouldn’t discourage it. … Every citizen has the right to do it.”

Barcia added that he remembers recall attempts on former Governors – William Milliken (one recall attempt), James Blanchard (one attempt) and John Engler (three attempts) – that fell by the wayside.

Piche, a corrections officer for over 20 years, says he has worked at Standish Maximum Correctional Facility (SMF) since its opening and that he doesn’t believe the Governor can justify the recent closures to the people of Michigan.

“As a public servant, I cannot justify letting this happen. … I can’t sleep at night knowing what she’s going to do,” Piche said. “Where are 10,000 inmates (who will be released earlier than expected) going to work? … There’s no jobs in Michigan. They’re going to go right back to what they’re doing.

“There’s 120 prisoners that have been released, probation officers don’t know where they are,” Piche added. “I’ve got pages and pages of repeat offenders she’s let out.”

The SMF guard says the $120 million cut out of state costs via closing three prisons and five prison camps by Granholm and the Michigan Department of Corrections to balance the budget is putting the Michigan public in danger, adding another avenue could’ve been taken, such as a small raise in the state’s sales tax.

“Something else has to be done. … Possibly a one cent sales tax increase,” he said. “I don’t want to see a sales tax increase, but I don’t see any other way around.”

Barcia says a sales tax increase is a feasible option, and one he would support if it could stop state department cuts and help balance the state’s budget, but added the legislature doesn’t have the power to enact it.

“The legislation cannot raise or cut the sales tax, it has to be a vote by the people,” he said.

Piche says the next step in the recall process is a clarification hearing, which clarifies the reason for an attempted recall, that will take place July 8 in Ingham County Court, which is located in Mason, Granholm’s county of residence (which is where a recall had to be filed when removing a public official). Piche says he will be in attendance and plans on asking Granholm about repeat offenders and early releases for convicted felons.

“She needs to publicly answer these questions,” he said.

Piche says Granholm has hit three strikes with the recent closings of the corrections facility.

“Not only has she not brought in jobs, but she’s laid people off (state police officers) and she’s letting inmates out,” he said. “She’s got a year and a half left on her term, she can’t finish.”

The Omer native says that if Granholm is successfully removed, Lt. Governor John Cherry should get the message that the prison closures are not the way to go for a balanced state budget.

“People are going to be eyeballing him (Cherry) to see what he’s going to do,” Piche said.

He added that he plans on launching a Web site, recallgov.com, in the near future.

Barcia says that Rep. Tim Moore (R – Farwell), Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D – West Branch) and Rep. Jeff Mayes (D- Bay City) have joined with him in attempting to get a face-to-face meeting with Granholm, however the attempts have been fruitless. The four lawmakers, have, though, gotten Department of Corrections Director Patricia Caruso to agree to a meeting, time and date to de decided.

“What we want to do is lay out the facts about why Standish Max should remain open,” Barcia said. He added, also, that Piche and others fighting for the recall should go about it carefully.

“If he’s going to scream and use profanity (at the Governor) then he’ll be removed by the State Police immediately,” he said. “That would be even more of a reason for her not to meet with the delegation.”

Language of recall
Governor Jennifer Granholm has violated her oath of office to protect the people of the State of Michigan. She has closed 11 correctional facilities and released nearly 4,000 convicted felons. She is responsible for all the crimes committed by those prisoner releases and facility closures. A recall is needed to prevent the additional closing of three prisons and five more camps, and the release of 6,000 additional convicted felons. Check back for updates.

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