LANSING, Mich. — Earlier this year, Lansing City Councilman Brandon Betz faced criticism after sending vulgar and mocking text messages to a Black activist.
He’s since had all of his committee assignments stripped from him and been asked to consider resigning by the Ingham County Democratic Party.
Now, one of Betz's constituents is starting a recall effort, saying he’s unfit to represent the city's first ward.
“Brandon you should go,” said Undra Brown, who has filed a recall petition with the county. “He doesn’t want to. So, we will force him. It’s our right as the people to kick him out of office and that’s what we will do.”
As a new resident to the first ward, Brown said he’s ready for Betz to stop representing him and his neighbors on the City Council, and even though Betz’s term is up in 2023, Brown said he wants to see him gone way before that.
“Now that I am in his ward, I feel like we’re facing a taxation without representation, and that’s because council has stripped him of all his committees,” Brown said.
The Council voted to censure Betz in February after he sent combative text messages to activist Michael Lynn Jr. While Betz doesn’t have as many responsibilities, he’s still getting a salary of more than $26,000 for being on council.
“We don’t need this wasteful spending on someone’s salary, in my definition, that doesn’t have a role,” Brown said.
Betz didn’t agree to an interview but sent an email saying he thinks the language used in the petition contains factual errors, because he believes he’s been performing his duties on the Council.
Betz also said he doesn’t see the petition’s language getting support from the Ingham County Election Commission.
“If they decide not to approve, then the filer certainly has the opportunity to appeal that through circuit court or to refile different language,” said Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum. “If the language is approved, then the council member has the option to appeal that decision through circuit court and if they don’t appeal, then the filer can start circulating those petitions and getting signatures.
If Brown’s petition makes it to that step, he will have 180 days to gather signatures to place a recall on the ballot. But, it’s important to note that each signature is only valid for 60 days.
“We need a little over 2500 but we hope to collect 3500,” Brown said.
The Ingham County Election Commission is scheduled to review the petition on Nov.15.