After reading a number of disparaging comments on the Facebook page of First Shift with Tony Trupiano, aimed at the organizers of Michigan Rising (formerly known as the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder, CRRS), I thought it would be a good idea to dig deeper and sort out truth from fiction.
I have a piece up today at A2Politico titled “Michigan Rising: Aiming to Recall Snyder—While Disgruntled Former Volunteers Target Michigan Rising” that is the result of my inquiries.
In the process of preparing the article, I met with most of the core organizing committee for Michigan Rising. I spoke with folks from Daily Kos and Fieldworks who helped them in the latter stages of the first recall effort. I spoke with former CRRS spokesperson Tim Kramer who was let go from his position last summer and I reached out (unsuccessfully) with some of Michigan Rising’s detractors.
What I found was that, as is typical of any large scale grassroots organizing effort, there are some people who felt the effort was not being run properly. Many of these people put in long hours and lots of hard work and, understandably, came away disappointed. In some cases, people felt they were lied to or treated shabbily, and some of these people are now taking to the internet to undermine the organizers, particularly CEO Julius Muller and Public Committee Chairperson Marty Townsend.
However, I found nothing unethical, illegal or out of the ordinary on the part of Muller and Townsend or any of the other organizers.
What I did find is a rejuvenated recall team. They have spent the past few months preparing training materials and strategic plans for the second recall attempt and are now working to raise funds for the new recall attempt.
Here is a snippet from my piece and I encourage you click through to read the rest and share it widely.
Michigan Rising’s detractors claim to be part of a large number of unhappy former volunteers. The facts suggest otherwise. While their complaints about being treated poorly may be valid, none of their accusations center around anything illegal or unethical. The worst offense one can accuse Muller and Townsend of is being novices and, perhaps, of having somewhat poor management skills.
These disgruntled former volunteers frequently talk about their passion during the recall and how hard they worked. Given what they put into the effort, an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful, it’s understandable why they feel as they do. What is unfortunate is that they are now seeking to discredit and, arguably, derail a second recall attempt.
Before my meeting with the Michigan Rising organizers ended, I asked them why they were doing this again. Why, with the odds stacked against them and a small group of former allies who seem determined to undermine them, would they willingly do this again? Muller has since left Michigan because of the economy, but remains committed to recalling Snyder. He puts it this way: “My experience in South Africa showed me what can happen when those in power disenfranchise their citizens. Governor Snyder and the Republicans have done more damage to Michigan in one year than has been done in the past 60 years. Anyone with an interest in Michigan knows we can not afford to wait. There is no time to waste.” [...]
The name Michigan Rising may turn out to be a very aptly-chosen moniker. Muller, Townsend and the other core team of organizers are clearly much better positioned this time around than they were last summer. They have a clear strategy, have developed comprehensive training materials and are diligently working to raise funds. They appear poised to rise again—this time armed with knowledge and experience that will aid their endeavor.
I will be supporting Michigan Rising as their recall effort moves forward and encourage you to do the same.
UPDATE [1/25/2012]: There are allegations that I did not “lend equal time or attention” to the people who are working to discredit Muller, Townsend and the other members of Michigan Rising. The facts are otherwise. I reached out to a number of people who were posting negative comments on Facebook about the group. Except for Tim Kramer, none of them would respond to my attempts to contact them. I just wanted to be clear about that.