Response from Gov. Snyder on Paul Smith
Recently, a reader who has asked to be referred to only as “Malcolm”, forwarded me a copy of the response he received from Governor Snyder’s office regarding his request that the Governor act under his statutory authority to remove Paul Smith from his post on City Council.
The request email and the letter in response is republished below. In short, the official response was that the request did not follow the prescribed method of filing such a complaint, and as such the governor’s office was precluded from making any determination as to the merits of the claim.
I have met “Malcolm” personally and although I don’t know him well, I believe he was earnest in his desire to see the councilman removed from his office.
Mr. Smith may well chalk this up to the fact that he has political enemies, and that people will act on such differences however they may. I think it bears mention, however, that Mr. Smith’s tenure has aroused both conservatives and liberals alike, and not in a positive manner. The rules of Council are being amended to rectify some of the loopholes he has exploited in his outrageous behavior. And he has withstood a public rebuke the likes of which have not been seen before in Sterling Heights politics to my knowledge. I think it’s fair to say that the mark he has made on council during his term has not been the success he himself hoped for, having now been reduced to being the single “no” vote on many issues to little consequence.
I still think it would be best, Mr. Smith, for you to step down.
Text of the complaint and image of the response is below.
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:26 AM
Subject: Request for Action against Councilman Paul Smith of Sterling Heights
My name XXXX, and I am a resident of Sterling Heights Michigan.
Over the course of the past week, an incident has occurred in our city that has resulted in the Sterling Heights City Council passing a resolution asking for the resignation of City Councilman Paul Smith. The vote was 6-1 in favor, with Councilman Smith casting the lone ‘no’ vote.
Under our city charter, there is no direct local mechanism to remove city officials. Instead, the charter is written to defer to state law; which means either a long and costly recall election, or a direct appeal to the governor to remove the official under (I think) Section 168.327 of Michigan act 116 of 1954.
I am writing to you today to inform you of the circumstances concerning this incident and to ask you to remove Councilman Smith from his position as City Councilman of Sterling Heights.
Should you wish to verify the facts as I lay them out, you can contact the following city officials to verify the details:
Here are the facts as they are known:
Paul Smith was elected to his first term on the City Council on 11/8/2011, receiving 9,627 votes in our city of 129,000.
On or about Monday August 6, 2012, a video surfaced showing Mr Smith at a local tea party rally that was held on April 15, 2009. A link to the video can be found here:
During this rally, Mr Smith was seen holding signs that showed the following:
- President Obama with his head cut off on top of a spear with the caption ‘he turned America into Uganda’, and the caption ‘one more day is one too many’
- (former governor) Granholm with a noose around her neck, the caption ‘she turned Michigan into Detroit’, and the caption ‘hang her high’
- An image of Nancy Pelosi with bullet holes in her head, with captions claiming that she ‘loves’ ‘wetbacks’ and ‘fags’
While these actions occurred prior to his being elected to office (and probably wouldn’t fall under your removal power)… his reaction to the scandal as late as last Wednesday DID occur while he was a public official, and is (in many ways) just as bad.
The above video laid buried and unnoticed on the internet until it was noticed last Monday. On seeing the video, Smith was approached by a reporter for one of our local TV stations (WDIV channel 4), who filed the following story:
In the story, and in defense of his 2009 video, he accused the President of treason, suggested that murdering the President would be OK, and actually defended Adolph Hitler.
During the same story, he also defended his use of the racial, ethnic and homophobic statements on his signs as being ‘acceptable’.
Immediately after the story broke, the city administration issued the following statement disavowing Smiths original comments and his recent defense of them:
Then, two days later at the regular meeting of the City Council, a resolution was written and passed asking for Councilman Smith’s resignation:
(Note: once you’re at this link, click on Index Point #4 to jump to the motion, public discussion, and vote)
Even after the news story, the public outcry, and the unanimous resolution asking for his resignation, Councilman Smith continues to defend his actions and refuses to resign.
At this point, the story has even reached the national level, being featured in the ‘Huffington post’ and garnering over 2000 comments in the few days since the story went national.
Our city charter is specifically designed to defer to the state on matters as important as the removal of an elected city official.
In his comments, and specifically in the manner in which (as an elected official) Councilman Smith has defended his statements and actions, Mr Smith has proven himself unworthy of the trust laid upon our elected officials.
I IMPORE you to take action on this matter. I ask you to recognize the unanimous will of our city council and city administration, and I ask you to save our city the extended cost, time and heartache necessary to mount a recall effort by using your legal power as Governor to remove Councilman Paul Smith from office.