Petition to recall Snyder over Flint’s water denied

Gary Heinlein
The Detroit News

Lansing — Flint’s water troubles briefly spawned a proposal to remove Gov. Rick Snyder from office for “putting people at risk of injury and death.”

Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers rejected on Friday a Detroit pastor’s hand-written petition to launch a recall of the Republican governor. The petition claims Snyder was “culpable” for allowing “corrosive” river water to endanger Flint residents’ health.

The recall application was submitted by Angelo Scott Brown, who told the board his petition “says what it says. Some of it’s just my thoughts from watching the news and reading the papers.”

Board members agreed with attorney John Pirich, appearing on behalf of Snyder, that Brown’s petition isn’t timely or clear enough to meet the requirements of state law.

Pirich said Brown has shown disrespect for state election law by previously participating in a recall effort in which he signed petitions multiple times. Brown later said he was involved in an effort to recall former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Member Julie Matuzak, a Democrat, told the pastor she agrees decisions that allowed lead to leach into water used by Flint residents are “deplorable” and someone should go to jail if an investigation finds negligence. But she added Brown’s petitions “probably are premature.”

Brown, who said he’s pastor of Jesus Victory Church in Detroit, vowed he will appeal the board’s decision. He said he was careful with his wording and doesn’t agree his petition language isn’t factual.

“I didn’t say Gov. Snyder gave the order,” he said. “I didn’t say Gov. Snyder stopped anything. I just said Gov. Snyder was culpable.”

The recall issue arose as Rep. Sheldon Neeley, D-Flint, and other House Democrats announced new bills declaring clean water a human right, enhancing protections against shutoffs and seeking safeguards against water testing mistakes involved in Flint’s problems.

“We clearly need to pass new laws that will ensure that this will never happen again in Flint or anywhere in Michigan,” he said in a statement.

Flint’s water troubles have been a setback for Snyder, whose remedial plan has included a return of the city from Flint River water to Detroit’s water system, improved filtration and continued monitoring of children’s blood.

Snyder also signed emergency legislation allocating $9.35 million to help resolve the problems, $6 million of it for Flint’s reconnection to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

The crisis developed after Flint officials’ decision in December 2014 to reject Detroit’s water rates and join an authority planning a system to supply Genesee County with Lake Huron water. An interim arrangement drawing water from the Flint River resulted in tests showing elevated blood-lead levels in children in the city.

Last month, Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant reassigned the state’s top water quality official and admitted his department botched corrosion control in Flint water pipes, which resulted in elevated lead levels.

Presidential candidates

The Board of State Canvassers approved a list of 14 Republicans and three Democrats for the state’s March 8, 2016 presidential primary. Candidates have until 4 p.m. Dec. 11 to withdraw their names.

Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders.

Republicans: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John R. Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump.