Recall petition approved against Troy mayor that blocked $8 million transit center grant

From the Detroit Free Press:

The Oakland County Election Commission unanimously approved language Thursday for a recall petition challenging Troy Mayor Janice Daniels’ vote against millions of dollars in federal funding to build a transit center near the Troy-Birmingham border.

But the commission denied approval of petition language challenging her views on homosexuality, her behavior during her swearing-in and a possible breach of City Council meeting rules.

Both petitions had been submitted by a group called Recall Janice Daniels, a grassroots organization that describes itself as dedicated to restoring competent leadership to Troy.

“We’re extremely excited that we were able to get one petition approved, which means that we can continue to press forward with our campaign,” said Matt Binkowski, one of the members of the group in attendance at the meeting. “On the other hand, we’re slightly disappointed about the outcome of the other petition. But we still feel supremely confident we can move forward and get the necessary signatures to reach our goal. We’ve had an incredible amount of support.”

Once a petition is approved, its supporters have 180 days to submit 7,985 signatures, which need to be gathered within any 90-day period within the 180 days to get the measure before city voters.

Attempts to reach Daniels by phone and e-mail were unsuccessful.

The meeting with the election commission took place in the Oakland County Courthouse in the packed courtroom of Chief Probate Judge Linda Hallmark and included commission members Bill Bullard, Oakland County clerk and register of deeds, and Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.

The second petition was denied by a 2-1 margin by both Bullard and Hallmark. In commenting on his decision, Bullard said, “It’s not our role to debate the merits of the allegations of the petition, just to decide on its clarity.”

When she was sworn into office in November, Daniels changed the oath, eschewing a part that pledges allegiance to the city’s charter. She called the charter a “whimsical” document, changed at the will of the council.

About a month later, reports surfaced that before she decided to run for office, she posted a Facebook status update ridiculing gays.

Daniels twice voted against accepting federal funding for a transit center in the city. A measure to accept $8.5 million in funding failed Dec. 19. A $6.3-million measure passed Jan. 17.

At a council meeting in February, Daniels read a five-page document outlining her concerns about the transit center, surpassing council meeting rules that prohibit members from addressing a topic for more than five minutes.