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Recall petition moves forward against State Rep. Al Pscholka

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Calls to "recall Pscholka" have been made for several weeks. This protestor carries a sign during a protest against Benton Harbor's emergency manager on April 27th, 2011. Pscholka introduced the bill that grants emergency managers broader powers.

One of the four petitions Benton Harbor City Commissioner Dennis Knowles filed to recall State Rep. Al Pscholka (R-St. Joseph) was approved by Berrien County election officials this morning.

Knowles needs to collect 6,718 valid signatures in Pscholka's district before the November 18th deadline. But the signatures are only valid for 90 days, so he has until that deadline to collect that many signatures before they expire.

Officials decided Benton Harbor City Commissioner Dennis Knowles’ first recall petition wasn’t clear enough. They gave him some pointers though, and let him know he can file more than one recall petition for judging at a time. This time, Knowles presented four different versions. All of them say he wants to recall Pscholka for supporting Michigan’s new emergency manager law.

“On some note, for me, it is personal. It’s personal because I’m a representative of, by and for the people who duly elected me to represent their common needs," Knowles said this morning.

Benton Harbor’s emergency manager was the first to really take action under the new law. He took most of the city commission’s powers away – including Commissioner Knowles.

In a written statement, Pscholka says he's not surprised about the recall effort. But says he stands by the new emergency manager laws.

"What some fail to understand is that the city is part of the State of Michigan, and therefore, all taxpayers are liable for the city's deficit and financial mismanagement. I will continue to work hard for positive reforms and change that will benefit all of the residents of our state."

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Enterprise Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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