Calumet Trustee Recall Petition: Election panel OKs signature collection

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The Calumet Village Council took no action in to opt-in to the state’s medical marijuana law at its regular Jan. meeting. Repercussions from that non-action continue to reverberate through the village.

CALUMET — The Houghton County Election Commission Friday approved a circulation of recall petition submitted by village resident Barbara Yannatta against Trustee Virginia Dwyer

According to the petition submitted to the election panel on May 17, Dwyer voted against to a motion by Trustee Peggy Germain and seconded by then-Trustee Jim Camp to pass an opt-in ordinance for the Michigan marijuana law at the Jan. 16 regular meeting of the Calumet Village Council.

Michigan election law requires the county election commission to review the language of a recall petition before the petition is circulated. A clarity/factual hearing is the starting point of every recall effort launched in Michigan, according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

Under Michigan law, the commission is composed of the county clerk, county treasurer and chief judge of Probate Court.

The person submitting the recall petition must registered to vote in the electoral district represented by the officer.

At the Jan. 16 meeting, more than 20 village and township residents voiced their opposition during the public comment period, citing that taking no action on the opt-in law would force the closure of the medical marijuana dispensary Zen Garden, owned by Alicia Roundtree.

The dissenting position taken by Dwyer and Village Council President Dave Geisler sparked a disorderly protest in which protesters marched through sections of Calumet, terminating at the homes of the two council members, involving loud shouting.

As a result of the protest, Geisler requested a motion from the council to remove Nathan Anderson from the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The motion passed in a divided vote.

The Michigan General Law Village Act states anyone being considered for removal must first be issued a letter and given a dismissal hearing. Neither provision was fulfilled.

Dwyer was among the votes in favor of removing Anderson.

With the approval of the county’s Election Commission to circulate the petition, based on the population of the village, only 18 signatures are required to have referendum for Dwyer’s removal placed on the November ballot, said a source involved in the petition filing, who does not have authority to speak on behalf of the petition sponsor.