Cooper and appointed incumbent council members fall in November 2011 Election!
Voters finished the job in the November 2011 Shores municipal election, rejecting Mayor Cooper and appointed council members David Galbenski and Brian Geraghty in what the Detroit Free Press called "one of the biggest political upsets" in Wayne County.
For the first time for many years, Grosse Pointe Shores has not only a mayor but an entire sitting council who were all elected by a mandate from the electorate. No mayor who was anointed as heir apparent by his predecessor! No council members who gained access to their seats by virtue of appointment by their cronies.
Unofficial election results follow. Of the current council incumbents, only Dan Schulte was retained by the voters:
Note that only unknown newcomer Elias Ropotos received fewer votes than did ex-Mayor Cooper.
Sincere thanks to all the Shores recall supporters who promised that the time for real change would come this November. You more than kept your promise and evicted Cooper from office by a stunning margin!
Remaining Incumbents Just Escape Recall in May 4th Grosse Pointe Shores Special Election.
Voters were clearly energized by the Shores recall movement. With over 1300 votes cast, more than half the electorate participated. Unofficial results show that:
James M. Cooper: survived by only 40 votes
City council members:
Victoria J. Boyce: survived by only 40 votes
Robert E. Graziani: survived by 89 votes
Brian J. Hunt: resigned rather than face recall!
Frederick K. Minturn: resigned rather than face recall!
The city voters were split by Vernier Road, with the South end Precinct 1 voting to recall Mayor Cooper and his fellow incumbents. The incumbents managed to barely hold on to their seats by garnering more votes in their home North end Precinct 2.
For details of the unofficial vote breakdown by precinct, click on this hyperlink.
Thanks to the legion of volunteers who circulated the recall petitions, the 552 Shores citizens who signed them and put the recall on the ballot, and those who voted on May 4th! The incumbents barely escaped by the skin of their teeth and failed to obtain the mandate they sought. While falling a bit short in the vote count, the recall process has sent a strong message. Hopefully all seven members of our current council will take this message in to account as the city moves forward: Shores voters desire a higher level of accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency from our officials. As a result of the recall, Shores residents certainly are better informed about the sorry state of our city finances.
While higher taxes were the basis for initiating the recall, other events and serious issues provided the basis for the solid support Shores residents provided to this democratic effort to hold the Cooper incumbents accountable. During their campaign to survive, the incumbents did almost nothing to objectively address the serious issues behind the recall. One thing the Mayor Cooper and the Shores council can rest assured of, the recall supporters are not going away and will continue to stay engaged until their concerns over the issues enumberated during the recall process have been resolved!
During a recent council meeting, a key anti-recall supporter speaking for the incumbents took issue with a quote from Thomas Jefferson that I had up on the website. It was clear he was taking Jefferson’s message in a purely literal context. With his simplistic way of thinking he could not grasp the real meaning behind:
“When the people fear their government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people there is liberty.”
I can only hope that having just barely survived the recall process that Mayor Cooper and his fellow incumbents have come away with a better understanding of Thomas Jefferson’s admonition. This sage message stands as true today as when Jefferson helped penned the documents that established our democratic system of government.
While the frequency of the web postings may diminish now that the recall election is over, the Shores Recall Web Site will be maintained as a testament to the power of engaged citizens working to effect change in local government. As always, your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
Yours for a better Grosse Pointe Shores,
Dr. Robert E. Lee
Sponsor, Shores Recall Committee