Why Paul Smith should resign
Update 2: The City of Sterling Heights has published an official disavowal of Mr. Smith’s sentiments on the YouTube video here.
Update: Local 4 News has picked up on the story. You can see their coverage here.
Paul Smith has come under fire during his brief tenure both here and in other places for his outrageous behavior at City Council meetings. During the several past months, Smith has:
- Accused City Manager Mark Vanderpool of illegally distributing material to council.
- Repeatedly accused the Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Manager and department heads of incompetence.
- Accused AMC Theaters of lying on a liquor license application and defrauding the city.
- Accused Waste Management of deceptive pricing practices.
- Accused Experi-Metal of unethically and unlawfully trying to influence council members into granting the firm a tax abatement. (Story here.)
- Accused four Council members of accepting bribes in exchange for votes on a tax abatement. (see link above)
- Used his position on council in an to attempt to bully city businesses into not applying for the tax abatements they are entitled to under the law
- Accused Chrysler and Ford of taking advantage of the city via their tax abatements
- Claimed that a local coin-op entertainment business is a gambling hall
- Insulted one of the Police Dispatchers in a public meeting by suggesting she look for a job elsewhere, thinking he was making a joke
In my opinion, these ten items are enough to indict Mr. Smith of incompetence and failure to serve in the best interest of the residents.
Recently, however, a video of Mr. Smith’s participation at a 2009 Tea Party rally has surfaced.
In the video, Mr. Smith appears while holding signs that are graphically violent in nature with regard to the President of the United States, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, suggesting they be decapitated, shot and hanged, respectively.
Only three of the signs are clearly visible in the video, which I will describe for you below:
Sign 1: Picture of a decapitated President Obama’s head on a pike, smoking a cigarette.
Slogans on the sign:
- “He changed America into Uganda”
- “Shit on a stick”
- “One more day is one too many!”
Sign 2: Picture of (former Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi with bullet holes in her face and a hammer/sickle”
Slogans on the sign:
- “Extreme left bitch”
- “Won’t die soon enough”
- Bribes from Importers
- Your pay
Sign 3: Picture of Jennifer Granholm in a hangman’s noose
Slogans on the sign:
- “She changed Michigan into Detroit”
- “Hang Her High!”
- “Are you blown away yet?”
Mr. Smith was interviewed by the person filming the video. Here is a transcript of their exchange:
Interviewer (I): “I’m looking at your sign and it’s very, very graphic.”
Paul Smith (PS): “Yes!”
I: “What’s the reason for that?”
PS: “Well, to show our governor, our President, Speaker of the House what we really think of ’em! That these people are anti-American, they’re un-American, basically, they’re worse than any of the enemies America’s ever fought against.”
(Catcalls from crowd): “He’s a set-up! Don’t believe him! It’s a set-up!”
PS: “It’s not a setup, uh, we fought against communism for 46 years in the cold war and basically we’ve let a Communist in the White House. Uh, he’s not just a Socialist, he’s an out and out Communist, he’s taken over the auto industry, he’s taken over the banks. Uh, Socialists have high taxes, Communists take over businesses, take over ownership, and that’s what he’s done, that’s why I’m against him.”
The public discourse surrounding President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Jennifer Granholm became very ugly at times in 2009 prior to the mid-term election in 2010, however, as evident in the transcript above, Mr. Smith’s anti-Obama sentiments were too extreme for even Tea Party members. Paul Smith certainly had, and has, the freedom to express his political sentiments guaranteed to him by the First Amendment. However, there is a line of impropriety that should not be crossed by a public official, or someone who wants to become a public official. I think Mr. Smith crossed that line on that day back in 2009.
In addition to the disgusting nature of the slogans on the signs, was Mr. Smith advocating violence with the words “one more day is one too many” next to the depiction of President Obama’s decapitated head on a pike? In addition, he seems to be advocating hanging the (now former) governor of the State of Michigan, and shooting (former Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi. Again, these signs are political speech, which is generally protected, however, lesser things have become the topic of investigation by the Secret Service.
Also highly questionable is Mr. Smith’s written assertion that President Obama is “Shit on a stick.” Mr. Smith, are you making a racist comment with that sort of language? Or is that a term you use to describe every politician you disagree with?
I don’t know how a man with Mr. Smith’s apparent feelings and beliefs managed to make it into office. As you may recall, I myself did not endorse his candidacy in this space, however I allowed that I would probably vote for him, thinking he had better budgetary skills than the incumbents, and I unfortunately did vote for him and congratulated him personally on his victory. Had I seen this video prior to the election, my published reflections on his qualifications for office would have been considerably different, and I would have personally refused to vote for him.
As we have seen in these past few months, Mr. Smith is no stranger to the low blow, the unsubstantiated accusation, and slander of his fellow public officials. Had this video surfaced during the campaign, the good residents of Sterling Heights might have opted to vote in one of the other challengers for office.
As time goes on, what we learn about Paul Smith and his political sentiments, as well as the actions we witness during city council meetings become progressively uglier and uglier. The city can survive a Paul Smith on council; there have been similarly bad council members in the past. However, he is not doing one bit of good there, and he ought to consider the greater good of the residents of the city over his own personal political career.
Paul Smith, you should resign immediately.