Colbeck Recall Petition Approved But Will It Yield Results?

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck is among more than two dozen state legislators facing recall attempts.

A new governor. A struggling state economy. Controversial changes coming down from Lansing.

That was the recipe for the history-making recalls of two Michigan state senators almost 30 years ago.

Recalls are heating up again in Michigan, and around the country, this year. While an effort aimed against newly-elected Gov. Rick Snyder has commanded most of the attention, recall petitions are also being circulated locally against state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and some two dozen other Michigan legislators. Petition language was recently approved by the Wayne County Elections Division.

For organizers of Colbeck's recall, votes on cuts to school funding and business taxes are inexcusable.

But how fruitful will recall organizers' efforts be?

“We don’t know how many will even make the ballot - there’s just one I’m aware of that looks like it will at this point,” said Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics and a longtime observer of the state’s electoral landscape.

Stakes are high but so are the odds

Snyder’s recall is seen as a long shot by most political observers. No Michigan governor has ever been recalled and only two sitting governors have been recalled in the past 90 years.

But a recall of Colbeck and other GOP legislators could shift the balance of power in the state Legislature, halting new-found Republican momentum on everything from taxes to the state’s new emergency financial manger law.

"Our wording is simple," said Mary Kelley, the Northville resident who took out the recall petitions against Colbeck. "People don't want an unelected bureaucrat running their cities or schools." Kelley said she's part of a group of 423 people, including petition circulators, who are working on the recall.

For Kelley and her fellow petition circulators, the issues run deeper.

"There's the feeling that Sen. Colbeck doesn't really represent the interests of people in the 7th District - whether it's cutting $470 per student from our public schools to a $1.8 billion tax break for business," she said.

Cuts in per-student spending, mitigated in part by a one-time $100 per student "best practices" grant for districts that follow select financial procedures, and changes in the state's business tax structure are two key elements of the budget balancing and economic development strategies put forth by the governor and approved by the Republican majorities in the state House and Senate.

Colbeck, a Republican who represents the 7th Michigan Senate District, has called the recall effort wrongheaded and says he's doing his best to bring jobs and revenue back to Michigan.

"It is unfair to taxpayers to spend their money on recall elections when an elected official does their job and casts a vote as they were elected to do," Colbeck said in a statement to Northville Patch. "If we disagree with a lawmaker's philosophy or voting record we can work to vote them out of office at the next election."

Colbeck said he remained convinced that his congressional voting record was the right thing for Michigan.

"I have cast every single vote based on what I was elected to do by an overwhelming majority of the voters in my district, which is to restore financial responsibility to our state government and create an environment for job growth."

The state Senate district stretches from the Northville area to Grosse Ile and includes Plymouth, Plymouth Township and Canton Township, among other communities.

Ann Wisniewski September 15, 2011 at 11:32 PM
Bryan, The money is certainly not coming from the "trickle down" effect. I've been waiting 30 years to see that happen.
Real Life September 16, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Let's face it, it's not about "the children". It's about retaining generous benefits and salaries for teachers and (even more so) administrators. It's about time that the realities of the 21st century are faced by by public sector employees and their radical union bosses. The party is over. Let's not punish Patrick Colbeck for speaking truth to power.
ConcernedParent September 16, 2011 at 02:14 AM
That's the party of a public education that can compete with other countries in the world? The party that actually wants qualified, committed, experienced people in charge of our childrens' education? I don't want to go to the party if it's with underpaid, unqualified people in charge of our children. And if you thought about it for more than a minute, neither would you. No one who has set foot in a public school in the last 10 years would criticize teachers in this way. If we want a successful public education system then we have to respect and value our educators like they do in Finland, Japan, and in all those countries that have education systems that are beating the cr@p out of ours right now. The reality of the 21st century is that the US will be left behind unless we fix this.
Ann Wisniewski September 16, 2011 at 02:28 AM
From my personal experience, most teachers really don't think about the "benefits and salaries" because they are more preoccupied and concerned with their daily and often nightly duties keeping up with all that it takes to do the job of teaching children year after year. If you haven't been there, you will never understand.
Denise Nash September 16, 2011 at 03:23 AM
My dear Mr. Bentley - I am repeating word for word what this teacher from the Belleville system told me - his salary was cut 1,200 a month. He is not a starting teacher, however. I would guess he was a little closer to perhaps 20 years. His daughter looked to be between 7-10 so that's about right, I think. Just to inform you, there is a West Bloomfield teacher that I have become acquainted with that had his 10 year step pay increase taken back retroactively so they could balance their budget. He told me that he owed the district $3000 and they were charging him 6% interest. This summer his internet was cut off, and he was also behind on house payments. You may not believe that teacher's pay has been cut that drastically, but I do believe it.
Denise Nash September 16, 2011 at 03:24 AM
Mr Bentley, I'm afraid that Concerned Parent is correct. I ran into a friend who's husband is a teacher. His classroom has 32 kids in high school chem. There are labs for 27. Ooops.
Denise Nash September 16, 2011 at 03:29 AM
They have laid off teachers, and I understand there are some not called back. Before they settled the contract, I understand that they had an assistant band director scheduled to teach 4 sections of English, and had a high school math teacher ready to start teaching middle school Spanish. I have no idea what open positions are available at this time - I haven't checked. And hopefully these "shuffles" never came to be, I don't know what happened after they settled the contract. One thing for SURE is that there was an article in the Northville Record with interviews of certain Northville Board Members, who had the nerve to fault the teachers for not being able to bring back the entire staff. Wake up people - it's not their fault. The Governor of this state took the money away. Recall Rick Snyder.
Denise Nash September 16, 2011 at 03:46 AM
I would agree that the teachers had a very agreeable benefit package - but not great salaries. Administrators, certainly are very well paid and have perks like car allowances - many of them have doctorate degrees, too. Teachers are not rich people - why do you act as if teachers are getting rich on the public dime? There is no "party" here and there never was - what are you talking about? My guess is that you OR Patrick Colbeck couldn't last 10 minutes in a room of second graders! I ask myself why teachers are so hated. The only thing I can come up with is that people are jealous of their union representation, and their summers "off". Yes, they have some time off in the summer so they can take the classes they need to stay certified, which they pay for out of their own pockets. What is with you, Real Life? Teaching is a profession, just like whatever it is you do. Why not have some respect for it? School is a whole lot better now than it was when I was a kid. I have been very impressed with teachers in Northville and their partnerships with parents. Do you have children? Are you part of this system? Or are you just ticked off because some of your taxes pay for the excellent schools we have (had) here? I just want to understand the hate, that's all. I've been dealing with it all summer and I just don't understand.
Bryan Bentley September 16, 2011 at 04:19 AM
Ms. Nash, I do not deal with he said/she saids, or what a friend's hubby said. I deal with facts. You all can say I am wrong, but I would refer you to my source of facts. On a funny note, I found it under "district facts" at the Northville Public School District website. http://www.northville.k12.mi.us/district/pdfs/facts-2009-2010.pdf I have only one more thing to say to you Ms. Nash, and that is GO BLUE!!!
ConcernedParent September 16, 2011 at 04:29 AM
I'm not sure why you want to argue about facts which are easily to check. The numbers you quoted are LAST year's numbers (look at the dates again). Over the Summer 57 teachers were laid off, 26 brought back, and the class sizes are as I stated. I know because I am in the school, my children are in those classes. Phone the principals if you don't believe me. If you look at who they are hiring you'll see there are no teaching positions open. But arguing seems a little absurd.
Denise Nash September 16, 2011 at 05:03 AM
ha ha...Mr. Bentley - Go Blue yourself! I have a boy in grad school at UM, and a girl a senior at MSU, so both Blue and Green are well represented in this household! It is a fact that there is a chemistry class at NHS with 32 children and 27 labs in it. FACT. There are, by law, only 15 kids in a special education classroom, which lowers the figures you see on the website.
Jennifer September 16, 2011 at 11:00 AM
That may be the district average. I was just at the Amerman open house on Wednesday night. My child's 5th grade class has 31 students. Last year his class had 32 students. We have two classes at the school that have 34 students. 2 years ago his class had 21 students. A section was dropped and a teacher laid off.
Bryan Bentley September 16, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Well Ms. Nash - It seems we can agree on one thing probably, and that is that Notre Dame has to go down Saturday. It would then be a perfect sweep for our Michigan schools. I know that you want a perfect sweep for your daughter in her college career (God Bless Her Green & White Heart), but the Maize & Blue will beat MSU this year I think. I noticed you mentioned special education classrooms, and the numbers which lower the figures. If Northville is doing that, then they are being unethical. We never blended those numbers in the regular classes to lower the average. That would be fuzzy math. Speaking of special education, I must say that there is no more dedicated educator in the world than a special education teacher. They are truly heroes in my book. I always considered any teacher one of the true heroes in our society, along with doctors, nurses, first responders, and of course our brave men and women who serve in our military, but I'll always have a special place in my heart for our special ed teachers based on many of the things I have seen in my life. They are true heroes. Interesting side note that is gonna drive ya nuts. Thad McCotter's brother is a special education teacher in the school district that my boys attended. Thad and Dennis are good guys.
Andy Brandt September 16, 2011 at 11:36 PM
Some one has been very busy today lopsiding this unscientific poll. These numbers don't add up. Public Sector Union jobs make up less than 20% of the Michigan population. Don't be fooled, not that many people agree with this recall effort. Don't fall for the game, lets get Michigan back to work with private sector jobs and give the legislation and Governor a chance, don't go back to the failed past eight years that exacerbated this current mess.
Denise Nash September 17, 2011 at 04:15 AM
@Andy - Not everyone that disagrees with Colbeck's policies are public sector workers! OMGosh - do you really believe that? Teachers/policemen/firemen on one side of the room and everyone else on the other? No. Everyone that has had a child with a great public education will be against him, if they are being true to themselves. Everyone that thinks that policemen that put their lives on the line, do a great job of protecting you - they are against him, too. And firemen, don't get me started. Maybe the people the firemen keep safe saw this poll and thought - wow - this Colbeck dude is against the very people that educate my kids and keep me safe! Also, sir, do you *really* think, that with more people out of work than ever, a tax break is going to create all these wonderful private sector jobs? Where is the demand for the products they produce? The demand comes from people working! As more people are out of work, more people are worried for their jobs. No one is buying anything because they are afraid for their jobs. Supply/Demand. More supply than demand, price goes down therefore less production. Does no one understand this? The extra tax money will go directly into executive over-compensation! The legislature put no job-creation strings on it! Mr Brandt - I was more than willing to give this administration a break, but the very second I heard that they wanted to cut public education so their buddies could have for-profit schools, he was finished!
Andy Brandt September 17, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Denise, please don’t make this personal by painting me as not caring about others suffering. I live here too, my budget is reduced, my work budget reduced, we lost 40,000 co-workers so don’t impugn me of not known pain. That is exactly my point. Apparently, some people don’t want to make the same sacrifices and instead want to focus on blaming our Governor and Senator. One major point you are translating in reverse. Demand comes from businesses that create jobs so people buy things based on the stability of their jobs. If it worked the way you say our US economy would be growing fine with nearly $1Trillion that was dumped into it by our Government. But it isn’t is it? A major portion of the stimulus monies where dumped into public sector jobs wasn’t it? How is that working out? It’s not! The current economy continues to suffer through the longest recession on record (fact). PS. Senator Colbeck is on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for State Police and Military Affairs; I think they passed their budgets and didn’t ask for the Senators resignation. Colbeck cares about our Police and our Military and this State! He does not deserve this distraction of a recall while people like him and trying to save this state. This recall is a total waste of time, money and effort. More the same is just wrong.
ConcernedParent September 17, 2011 at 01:34 PM
The 'job creators' are doing pretty well. Many of our businesses are making record profits and yet they are still laying people off, and/or sending jobs overseas. I know of no small company (and I work with many) who is just waiting for a tax cut so they can go out and hire! The last stimulus was successful. I still have my house, what about you? Sacrificing our schools is simply not an option if you want business to come here or stay here. Do a little research on how businesses plan relocations and how individuals decide where to live. Always in the top 3 is SCHOOLS. One we destroy our schools, we have lost the battle. I'm guessing you don't have children in our public school system right now or you wouldn't be so willing to let them be the ones to suffer while the Governor tries to fix the State. Remember the SCHOOL AID FUND HAD A SURPLUS and it was stolen.
HeyMon September 18, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Denise Nash. You seem to know a lot about western Wayne county politics. Why did Marc Corriveau drop out of politics so ultra-abruptly? It's a question that everybody in the world wants to answer to.
Denise Nash September 18, 2011 at 05:52 PM
@HeyMon - I really don't know that much and I wish I did know why Marc C. dropped out so suddenly. He would have won the senate seat easily, I think. Everyone seemed to like him as a rep. This is one reason I am working to recall Mr. Colbeck, I don't think that he truly represents this district as a whole. I think he was elevated by the sudden departure of Marc C, and the rest is history.
vivi September 20, 2011 at 04:33 PM
The state is in an economic mess; the budget needs to be brought in line; MI businesses were being taxed dramatically more than other states which repels new business; Snyder's plan was to remove the MBT to make MI more competetive; in order to remove the MBT TO MAKE THE BUSINESS CLIMATE MORE COMPETITIVE AND ATTRACT NEW BUSINESS (not to "give it to his cronies) every level of the public sector - just like the private - is feeling the pinch. If they weren't , the gov. wouldn't be doing anything and we might as well have Granholm-the-useless-cheerleader back. I despised her and her policies, but I didn't start a recall campaign, even after 6 or 7 years, let alone a few months. But you're absolutely correct: it is your right. I have to say, though, that I think we start a dangerous policy when recall petitions are started because someone doesn't agree with policy. Gee, it seems like that could be about 50% of the people, all the time. I agree with you that the majority of teachers don't make a ton of money, but then again, I think they do pretty well here considering they get well over 3 months of vacation time. It's one of the perks of the job, no? But it's not the salaries that are as much an issue as it is the benefit packages - we can NO LONGER sustain the Cadillac medical and retirement benefits of the past. Times are a-changin' folks, and it's not going to get any better with our multi-trillion dollar pres. Personally, I think there are much bigger fish to fry!
Denise Nash September 20, 2011 at 07:29 PM
vivi, I agree with some things that you say about MI needing Tax Reform. However, with the current business climate and with Texas being the lowest rung on the ladder how is Michigan going to attract new business? There is NO new or expanding business except in super low wage countries! Oh wait, yeah, Charter School companies...there's the ticket. Ugh. Well, we won't attract business with our exemplary education system with 30-40 kids in each classroom! I am not a teacher - but I know for a fact that they are required to take classes to maintain their certification. Classes they pay for themselves. I can't think of another profession that pays in the realm of $40k a year where you are required to improve your education as part of your job. As far as the recall goes, I believe that if Snyder or Colbeck had said before the election that they were interested in cutting education funds, taxing pensions and increasing tax breaks for businesses they would not have been elected. Don't you think it's strange that all these bills are coming through congress, so many in such a short period of time? Well, ALEC has their name on these bills. http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed Who funds ALEC? Big business, especially the Koch brothers. So, these people are now, basically, writing MIchigan's laws. *Who* does this benefit? I stand by my comment that this benefits Snyder and Colbeck's business friends - it in no way benefits the people of Michigan.
Bryan Bentley September 21, 2011 at 12:20 AM
The Center For Media And Democracy? Really? The website oozes with the smell of George Soros money. George Soros is an evil human being. Keep drinking Goerge's & Arrianna's Kool Aid Dahhling....
Andy Brandt September 21, 2011 at 09:15 AM
Marc didn't like to see me in his little cofffee's with his union friends asking questions about data. In very simple terms. Public employees on average make 20% more in pay and benefits than private and teachers work 8 months of a year to boot. I think teacher and public employees should get pay for performance like the rest of us. Guess they don't want to be accountable. I am done. I pray this recall effort goes that way of the Dodo Bird.
Ann Wisniewski September 21, 2011 at 01:35 PM
Andy, FYI : Most teachers work a 9 to 12 hour day or more. What if the school year were stretched to 12 months? Would that satisfy you? Or maybe teachers should be getting unemployment compensation during the " 4 months" they don't teach. Ouch!
Denise Nash September 22, 2011 at 03:20 AM
Bryan, I have no idea about Soros, but if you are unaware of ALEC, I suggest you educate yourself. It has nothing to do with Soros. It has everything to do with business contributions - basically buying legislation, which is then sent to the states for the republican state congress people to tweak and then introduce into their respective committees. This is why all this legislation is being introduced and moving through congress so quickly - you didn't think our reps were actually working hard, did you? It's the businesses, who have successfully bought our state. If you want to know which corporations are involved, say so, and I'll dig up the data for you. Suffice it to say, the BIG corps that pay no taxes, such as GE and Exxon are involved, and if I remember correctly, Amazon. That surprised me until I remembered that they want to keep states from charging sales tax on online purchases. Doesn't look like that worked, though, based on today's introduction. :-)
Andy Brandt September 22, 2011 at 09:36 AM
What the heck you think I have been doing for 30 years Ann? "Real Life" said it perfectly. Time to work and be compensated like rest of us and stop blaming business, the government and the citizens that pay your salaries. This is not a conspiracy by business; this is real grass roots activism shedding light on the realities of what we are dealing with. Quit wasting your time trying to finding someone to blame to make you feel better. The train is coming from the fiscal conservatives of the world. Time for real change based on data; not social change based on emotions. The more you attack each of us as "Know Nothings" and OMG comments only sheds more light as to what is driving this recall of the Gov and Senator, emotion! Not the facts. Attack all you like, you are making our case.
Bryan Bentley September 22, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Denise, If you want to tie GE to ALEC, you must also tie GE to Dear Leader Obama. I'm sure you know that the chairman of GE is Jeffrey Immelt, who Obama, named to head the Economic Recovery And Advisory Board, and will be the Chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which Obama is creating for him by Executive Order. You are talking about that GE right? The GE which just announced this July that they are moving their Xray operations from Wisconsin to China? That GE? I would say Denise, that GE is tied much more closely with the Obama Administration than ALEC. Could it be that Jeffrey Immelt was a major bundler in 2008? :) I'll tell ya what Denise, you progressives can just keep dancing to the beat of Arrianna Huffington & George Soros, and I will honor your right to do so, but do not expect me to buy into the "hope and change" kool aid, because he has failed, and as for Michigan, we were not "blown away" by Granholm's 8 years, and that is why Snyder is your Governor, and Colbeck is your State Senator. Good luck with your recall effort dahhling,you will need it...
Andy Brandt September 22, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Nice job Bryan! Progressives go quiet when you to point out the reality of their leader they are try to distance themselves from; POTUS!
Bryan Bentley September 23, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Denise, If you feel the need to use vulger terms for people, our conversation is over... #RUDE
Denise Nash September 23, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Sorry. Deleted my comment.


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