Jeff Simon survived a recall attempt in Riga Township Tuesday, but Ogden Township Supervisor Jim Goetz and Clerk Phyllis Gentz did not.
Ogden Township voters ousted both officials by similar votes – 253 “yes” to 203 “no” to recall Goetz, and 251 “yes” to 204 “no” to recall Gentz. In Riga Township, on a vote of 287 “no” to 268 “yes,” voters turned back the effort to remove Simon. None of the three were available for comment following the vote.
The Lenawee County Republican and Democratic parties will have 15 days from the time the results are certified to submit candidates to Lenawee County Clerk Roxann Holloway for Ogden Township supervisor and clerk. Those candidates will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot and the winner will finish the remaining year of the original terms.
Josh Van Camp of Ogden Township led the recall against Goetz and Gentz. In an email, he expressed his pleasure with the results.
“The voters in Ogden want responsible wind turbine siting. The ongoing conflict of interest that Jim Goetz and Phyllis Gentz had was continually coming up in the form of hindrances to meaningful regulation,” he wrote. “We have removed this obstacle and can move forward with responsible siting that puts residents first. We were able to do all of this despite robo-calls from the wind developers, despite all their signs, despite the unfair press coverage we received in the final week, we prevailed.”
Under state recall rules, neither Goetz nor Gentz can be reappointed and cannot run in November. Holloway said the rules state the pair could run again in 2012, if they so desire.
The recall attempts were sparked by the issue of wind turbines in southeastern Lenawee County. Three interests have been looking to put up wind turbines in Ogden, Riga, Fairfield and Palmyra townships. The generated electricity would be sold to Consumers Energy and DTE Energy.
Kevon Martis, former Riga Township planning commissioner, issued a statement on behalf of the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition (IICC), the anti-wind turbine group. He said the group was not an active participant in the recall, but individual members were. The group was pleased with the results in Ogden Township, but disappointed in the Riga Township results.
“Riga is disappointing but the narrow win certainly does not show a mandate for Mr. Simon,” Martis said. “We are very pleased by the results in the Ogden recall efforts. It is a clear victory for those who wish to have public officials who work with integrity.”
On July 6, the Riga Township board approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance regarding wind turbines. The action capped more than a year of work in drawing up the amendment.
Wind turbine supporters were disappointed by the restrictions the ordinance placed on where turbines could be built.
Ogden Township does not have a zoning ordinance, which gives property owners the discreation to use their property as they see fit, so long as it meets state statutes. Goetz and Gentz had both signed leases with a wind turbine interest to allow turbines to be put on their properties.
The statement from the IICC called the recalls a referendum on the issue.
“The results in both townships demonstrate what we know from wind developments across the country. They are extremely destructive to the social fabric of every community in which they are proposed,” Martis’ statement said. “The disparity between those who profit and those who endure the ill effects of the turbines is profound. We are fully committed to battling any effort by the wind leaseholders to reverse a hard-won, people-friendly ordinance by referendum.”
Holloway said the board of canvassers will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday to certify the election results.
Ridgeway Township Clerk Peggy Taylor-Albaugh oversaw the Ogden Township vote.
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