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Hartland Couple Leading Snyder Recall Effort in Livingston County

Mike and Dawn Lewkowicz oppose new emergency financial manager power, cuts to education.

Wearing a red T-shirt saying "Recall Snyder Sign Here," Mike Lewkowicz of Hartland spent Thursday along M-59 in front of Target collecting signatures amid frequent honks, cheers and jeers.

"You've negated my right to vote. It's a big one for me," said Lewkowicz, an Army veteran who decided to take up the cause after Gov. Rick Snyder signed changes to the emergency financial manager law that empower a state official to cancel contracts.

Lewkowicz, a retired Pinckney High School teacher who still works for Baker College, and his wife, Dawn, have been leading the recall signature collection drive in Livingston County for more than a month.

She said the group has more than 120 volunteers and is manning a half-dozen sites, including the one in Hartland. It's a location where signatures will be collected Friday and all next week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4-7 p.m. The group also is collecting in the Brighton area in the car pool lot at Spencer Road and I-96, at the Brighton Farmers' Market and during the gazebo concert series.

"When did we become the enemy here?" said Dawn Lewkowicz, a special education teacher in Howell schools who is concerned about cuts in education. "I'm tired apologizing for being a teacher. I do it because I love it. … We just can't watch (the changes) go by. We've got to do something about it."

But Sara Wurfel, the governor's spokeswoman, said changes to balance the state's budget made under Snyder are now starting to pay off. She noted a recent Fitch Rating upgrade to the state's outlook, something that's "a big, big step in the right direction."

"Our comment on this would be regardless of recall efforts or not, the governor remains fully committed to making the tough decisions that ensure Michigan turns the corner and sees brighter, stronger days for all," she said in an email to Hartland Patch. "He’s hopeful that Michiganders will realize and witness that firsthand over time and that his approach of relentless positive action will make a difference."

The drive also has been met by skepticism from political experts such as said Bill Ballenger, editor of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter, who noted that no governor has ever been recalled despite previous organized efforts, in a Detroit News article.

Such doubt about its success only increased when the group announced it would miss its goal of qualifying the question for the November ballot and after news emerged that it had raised about $25,000 — a number considered small for a statewide petition drive, according to a Detroit Free Press article.

But the group isn't giving up and is now targeting February as an election date, according to its Facebook page, and it would have to submit all signatures by the end of October.

Dawn Lewkowicz said the drive can succeed without large funds because its volunteers are motivated.

"(Statewide) we got 300,000 plus signatures in July and that's been huge," she said. "We've got people rocking in this county it's unbelievable. They were not disappointed that it was extended … They are ready to go."

slavegirltoqueen August 05, 2011 at 07:38 PM
"Profit Without Honor" by Rosoff, Pontell, & Tillman is great read for facts on corporate deviance. We lost our 20 year family Michigan retail business due to the unregulated abuses on Wall Street. Our lender pulled its floor plan and working capital loan (never missed a payment) with only a sixty day warning, out from under us in October, 2008. Ever watch a 63 year old man break into tears when the realization hit that he couldn't meet payroll and had to close his locations and let his people go that had been with him for decades? The worst was opening Fortune magazine only to find the bank profited 178 billion dollars the following year. It made my hands shake and my stomach sick that such imbalance exists. Yes, I consider that a big, mean corporation. Bad legislation effects us all from federal down to state to county to local. The culmination of deregulated banks, unfunded tax cuts for the past 10 years that the country couldn't afford, big pharma price gouging, and labor sent overseas contributed to this. Private sector is needed, as we are a capitalist economy. What is not needed is putting small business and workers in harms way because the corporations that can afford to won't do the responsible thing and support the very society where they made their profits from. If they have the money to contribute to campaigning and lobbying, then they have the funds to abide by protective regulations and pay their workers properly and operate responsibly.
Jordan Genso August 06, 2011 at 11:52 AM
It's not appropriate to spread rumors that are unsubstantiated. Please have the dignity to avoid "well I heard" statements that don't have any real evidence. The recall effort has raised $25,000, according to the article. To think that they are paying for signatures is incredibly unlikely, and it's much more likely that the opponents of the recall are willing to spread falsehoods about the recall organization to try and tarnish them. Please don't partake in such immoral behavior.
Jordan Genso August 06, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Can't we all agree that telling those who disagree with you to move is about as un-democratic as you can get? I strongly disagree with Cara's position, but I would never tell her to move to another state/country. Instead, I would try to demonstrate to her and others how her position is flawed. If I succeed, the state is better off as a result. If I don't... well that's part of the democratic process. And there is no better alternative to democracy. So how would I demonstrate that the "those who disagree with me should move" proponents are wrong? By pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in such a position. Advocates of 'TWDWMSM' only feel that way on issues where they agree with the status quo. On other issues, where those individuals are in the minority, they would never heed their own advice. Why? Because they can't. There is no state in the country where an individual would agree 100% with the status quo. So citizens in this country have no choice but to live in a state where they will disagree with some public policy. Either the 'TWDWMSM' advocates consciously or unconsiously know that to be true, but don't have the intellectual honesty to change their position. Cara, if that argument is not convincing to you, let me ask you this (and I'm assuming you are conservative- if not, the question will have no impact): Abortion is a legal procedure in this country. Do you feel that anti-choice advocates should move to another country, rather than try to get the law changed?
Jordan Genso August 06, 2011 at 12:35 PM
"Can't we all agree that telling those who disagree with you to move is about as un-democratic as you can get?" On second thought, I can answer my own question. And that is 'no'. There is one thing more un-democratic than taking the 'TWDWMSM' position, and that is Gov. Snyder's EFM law.
Dawn K. Lewkwoicz August 07, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Bill Rogers needs to go too!
Voyager August 07, 2011 at 01:45 AM
Kelly teachers are NOT untouchable! Teachers are evaluated 12 times in 4 years BEFORE they are granted tenure - if an administrator or a superintendent cant figure out after 12 evaluations AND observations that they have a crappy teacher then that is not a teacher problem - that is an administrative problem! Obviously Kelly you are NOT familiar with how the educational system works and therefore your input in not accurate nor appreciated as accurate or helpful input!
Voyager August 07, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Again Kelly - you are misinfomed - $3.00 x 300,000 + signatures hmmmmm does not equal $24,000.00 . It is illegal to pay for signatures and the VOLUNTEERS ARE NOT PAYING for any signatures - Rick snyder has managed to piss off everyone, especially since 300,000+ signatures can be gotten in ONE month! Time to take a math class! Obviously you didnt have a good math teacher in YOUR school!
Voyager August 07, 2011 at 02:01 AM
Well Laura - I am glad for you, but thanks to the cuts that education is taking AGAIN - we now have 191 students per day. Teaching more than 3 - 4 subjects. There is no job that I can think of - in the private sector - that has contact with 191 employees per day, gives each of them a task , lesson or lecture, collects, corrects those tasks and gives feedback to them for 180+ days. Business will not come to Michigan IF we do not have a decent educational system. If you are making too much money - feel free to give it back - but I for one, am only asking for equal pay for equal work. What teachers are making is not equal pay - if someone was doing this in the provate sector they would be making so much more and have a huge benefit package to boot!
Amie August 07, 2011 at 12:30 PM
I agree with Laura O'Boyle. Everyone wants to complain about the state of our state but NOBODY wants the cuts to hurt them. I give these new governors credit for plowing forward to do the hard work. Our federal government should take note. As for Voyager you don't know much about the private sector. Many of us are working longer and harder for less money. Companies expect employees to do the same amount of work with less people while they freeze our increases and ask us to pay more for out benefits. And we are the lucky ones, we still have jobs. There are many in our community who have been laid off who would love to be over worked! Don't get me wrong I have much respect for teachers and the job they do but to think they shouldn't have to suffer the same realities that the rest of us do is wrong. As for this recall stuff, I hope it goes way. Let Rick Snyder do the job he was elected to do, get our state back to work and out of debt!
Democracy means rights and representation August 08, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Your complacency will ensure that we continue to lose our democratic rights. Everyone has a right to free speech in any public place they choose. The EFM law ensures you lose the right to representation in your local government, with no accountability measure in place for those in charge. Are you ready for a dictatorship? Or do you want to maintain your rights? I hope your children are able to enjoy the same freedoms we have grown up with.
Angela August 08, 2011 at 03:54 PM
What was it that Obama said? Oh yeah - "We won." Here's my prediction - the EFM will become Michigan's version of the Patriot Act. The liberals will wail and moan about it until they actually win a few elections and find themselves in a position to overturn it. At that point we'll see that they actually only wanted to grab the powers contained in it for themselves. These people have never been opposed to using the power of big government to supersede local regulations and values, so it seems absolutely illogical to think they've suddenly become huge believers in local rights. If you don't like the new laws, then move to Chicago, or at least Detroit. The people there share your values, so it's a win-win.
Cara August 08, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Free speech is fine as long as they do it in a safe place that does not put other peoples lives at risk.
Angela August 08, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Mr. Genso just made my point with abortion. It used to be decided locally, by each state, but the liberals weren't content to just let the locals run their own lives. They used the power of Federal Government to usurp local values instead of using the proven effective method of "voting with your feet," - relocating to an environment that you personally find more favorable. LIke I said, there's no reason to believe the liberals aren't actually looking for the opportunity to grab this power and use it for their own objectives, because history shows again and again they have absolutely no real interest in letting local governments call their own shots.
Democracy means rights and representation August 08, 2011 at 04:07 PM
All people have the right to voice their opinion and choose what happens in their community.
Angela August 08, 2011 at 04:09 PM
You are absolutely right. Their tenure at governing has left the city of Detroit looking like a war zone, and the entire state is a sad shadow of it's once former glory. I didn't hear them wailing about laws and democracy when Obama stole ownership away from the GM bondholders and handed that equity to the unions, over the objections of 75% of Americans. They have zero credibility in matters of democracy and the rights of local government. The bright side is that the more they spend on this, they less they'll have for the next elections. And the more teachers I see getting involved, the less likely I'll be to support the next bond issue that shows up.
Democracy means rights and representation August 08, 2011 at 04:15 PM
All people have the right to voice their opinion and choose what happens in their community.
slavegirltoqueen August 08, 2011 at 06:00 PM
The core democratic values of these United States are: equality, democracy, and freedom. There's a difference between core democratic values and personal values. Core democratic values are for all citizens within this country, regardless of community and location. Personal values are our own, individually. Again, no one should be told to move, because they have the same right to exist peacefully as you and yours do. When one votes with their head, instead of their feet, the nation is stronger for it. Without the ability to question governance or make grievance to it, we would have the opposite of democracy. The answer does not rest in excluding and segregating people and silencing them. The answer rests in inclusion, proper education, and compassion for all. I have no problem with a government that protects equality, democracy, and freedoms, whether it be local or federal. However, when states do not abide by the core democratic principles of the nation (equality, democracy, and freedom), they must be guided back to toward them.
Jordan Genso August 08, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Angela, your thought-process is very intriguing. I suggest that those who take the 'TWDWMSM' position should see if it applies to the issue of abortion and whether or not those who are anti-choice should move to another country, and you say that abortion is an issue that should be treated differently depending on which state you are in. Would you hold the same position for laws banning inter-racial marriage, since they too "used to be decided locally, by each state, but the liberals weren't content to just let the locals run their own lives"? Slavery is another example where some felt that if a majority of residents in a state support it, the Federal Government shouldn't "usurp local values". That is a tangent though, so I'll come back to your other point: "LIke I said, there's no reason to believe the liberals aren't actually looking for the opportunity to grab this power and use it for their own objectives..." While that is flawed from the outset, let's act for a second as if it is true. If you really do believe that liberals want the EFM law in place so that they can abuse its power, shouldn't you oppose the EFM law as much as the 'Recall Snyder' volunteers? Shouldn't you join the side that is fighting against the EFM law now, to prevent that nightmare scenario you just described? You don't have to believe the Democratic leaders when they oppose the EFM to hope they succeed (and help them).
Bezhodeer August 09, 2011 at 05:05 AM
Angela, Today a New York TImes article wrote about GM's bankruptcy process. The author stated, "The federal government holds nearly 61 percent of the new company, with the Canadian government, a health care trust for the United Auto Workers union and bondholders owning the balance." Also,"...G.M. said 45,000 union workers would receive profit-sharing checks averaging $4,300, the most in the company’s history." It was also written that, "Earnings were $1.77 a share, compared with 55 cents in the quarter a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $1.73 a share." http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/general_motors_corporation/index.html So, Obama rescued GM from going out of business, shared profits with the workers who made multiple concessions to keep their jobs and GM alive, AND because of management and employee sacrifices and hard work, increased the value of GM stock for all its shareholders. Your claim is false. I didn't vote for Obama. However, I don't support spinning facts and lying about his actions or accomplishments.
Bezhodeer August 09, 2011 at 05:35 AM
A teacher should know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not Fox News, is the authoritative voice concerning job growth. Rockford, Illinois has the largest unemployment decrease in the nation, NOT Wisconsin.
Angela August 09, 2011 at 03:00 PM
@Bedhozeer: The reality is that Obama usurped the normal bankruptcy process, stealing the equity from the bondholders who were legally entitled to it and handing it over to the unions. Here's CNN: http://am.blogs.cnn.com/2009/06/01/bondholder-furious-over-gm-bankruptcy/ but if you'd like, I can point you to some drier accounting and legal opinions too. According to the article you wrote, the GM workers are now getting record profit sharing checks, while the government (meaning me and everybody else who doesn't work at GM) lost at least $50 BILLION (http://on.wsj.com/nHdIuR) on the deal. How much does that work out to, per job, exactly? Put aside the appeals to emotions (he saved jobs!) and look at the cold hard facts: We're socializing the losses and privatizing the profits - great gig if you can get it.
Angela August 09, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Yes but slavegirl, with rights come responsibility. As long as those smaller governments are taking tax money from the state and, by extension, the federal government, they have the responsibility to run their fiefdoms responsibly. When they can't or won't do that, the bigger government comes in and takes over. Just think of it as being for the greater good.
Angela August 09, 2011 at 03:18 PM
You're proving my point. Like it or not, abortion was treated differently depending on which state a person lived in for the first 150 years of the nation's existence. The ability to govern locally was the whole point of originally setting up a republic as opposed to a democracy. Can your talking points bet any more cliche? "Slavery!" Racism"! Please. Slavery was constitutional, and it was the big federal government that originally enabled it, to the point where the northern states were literally breaking federal laws when they rightfully refused to return fugitive slaves to their "owners." You don't get it both ways - you don't get to use the big federal government as the shield from civil rights abuses when historically its been the biggest offender of those same abuses. I support fiscal responsibility. If a town can't manage the money it gets from the state, then the state has an obligation to protect its interests. You wait - when the Democrats their majority back - the movement to repeal this law will disappear faster than the opposition to America's wars. You call it flawed, but apparently consistency confuses you.
Ann August 09, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Yes, Angela, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said in the 19th century, " Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".
Ann August 09, 2011 at 05:01 PM
"A FOOLISH consistency...." sorry for the misquote, Angela.
Bezhodeer August 11, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Angela, you incorrectly attributed authorship to me of the NYT article I posted, which I assume was unintentional. The Both the NYT and CNN articles clearly hold that bondholders were not excluded from ownership.. Thus, your earlier claim is false. I'm not denying that bondholders lost money. I'm saying bondholders did not experience a total loss, like a theft. I'm also saying that investments always carry a risk. A lot of other people who invested in GM (and other companies), including GM workers and other stockholders lost money too. Since bondholders got a share in the GM, the cold hard facts are that profits haven't been privatized. That jobs were saved is an observable fact, not an appeal. Workers took huge hits to their wages, benefits and personal investments (their own stocks, bonds, etc.) in order to help keep GM afloat. In addition to profit sharing, what workers get in return is security for retirees health care benefits. The equity goes to the health care trust for UAW union, not the union per se. What bondholders got is a reduced stake in GM. Hence, your claim of stolen ownership and equity being handed over to the unions is emotional and misleading. The real question here is, who got hurt the most by the bail out? If GM fails in spite of TARP funding, THEN taxpaying investors (some of whom are GM employees and GM retirees) will have taken the biggest hit. But that hasn't happened yet.
Bezhodeer August 11, 2011 at 04:09 AM
You don't understand the Constitution. Having it both ways doesn't apply, since the Constitution was written by representatives from the original 13 states. It formed the basis of the federal government, and gave guidelines for its operation and authority. As part of the republic, states must enforce the Constitution, which enumerates the rights of US citizens. Therefore, states cannot make laws that violate rights set forth in the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights and later amendments). It doesn't matter that the original version of the Constitution condoned slavery. Congress didn't create that abuse, neither were they the biggest offender of civil rights abuses. State representatives set up the Constitution that way. But, it was also set up to be a living document. By 1865, three quarters of states recognized that slaves were also people, and thus entitled to liberty. Congress then voted to abolished slavery, untying the hands of the government and allowing them to enforce abolition.
Angela August 12, 2011 at 04:51 AM
Bezhodeer, I can assure that I understand the constitutio better than most, because I didn't stop studying history in the 8th grade. You're right. The GM bondholders refused to back down, thus forcing the company into bankruptcy. It was the Chrysler bondholders that got hosed when the SCOTUS refused to enforce the law: http://open.salon.com/blog/closureisamyth/2009/06/10/supreme_court_screws_chrysler_bondholders
Angela August 12, 2011 at 04:55 AM
If the profits aren't being privatized while socialize the losses, when can we expect them to pay back that $50 billion the rest of us lost on the deal?
Bezhodeer August 14, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Angela: As I pointed out earlier, people gained and lost on the deal. We all experienced loss. So many people have had their retirement finances ravaged. Time will tell how and how much of the fifty billion is repaid. History isn't as useful in understanding the Constitution as studying political science. In either discipline, It doesn't matter how long one studies. Understanding , remembering and being able to apply lessons is what matters. Based on your previous comments about slavery, civil rights and the Constitution, you've misunderstood a few things. By the way, the federal government of the 1700's was new and small, not "big federal government" as you claimed.

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