Benton Harbor leaders speak out against recalls from mayors | Port of Benton
BENTON HARBOR – Several leaders in the Benton Harbor community gathered on Tuesday to support Mayor Marcus Muhammad against recall petitions they called “frivolous.”
Community activist Trenton Bowens, who led Tuesday’s press conference near the steps of Benton Harbor town hall, said repeated petitions divided the town at a time when unity was needed to resolve the main crisis.
“It’s personal, vindictive and it’s a plot to destroy and undermine African American leadership,” Bowens said.
Benton Harbor resident Quacy Roberts filed his fourth revocation motion against the mayor on Monday, citing Muhammad’s vote to declare a state of emergency. City commissioners declared a state of emergency at a meeting on October 18 to allow Muhammad to focus full time on the main crisis. Roberts filed his third recall petition on Nov. 22, stating that the mayor had voted to increase water tariffs.
“We wanted the mayor to declare a state of emergency,” Bowens said Tuesday. “Now they are trying to recall the mayor for declaring a state of emergency.”
These are the third and fourth recall petitions Roberts has submitted. The Berrien County Election Commission had previously rejected the first two in clarity hearings, respectively, over inaccurate language and legal issues.
Bowens alleged that strangers were persuading residents to submit these petitions, saying Reverend Edward Pinkney – who does not live in the town of Benton Harbor – played a role.
“Leave that stuff in Benton Township, leave it where it belongs, but that’s enough,” Bowens said.
Former City Commissioner Ricky Hill and Benton Harbor School Board Secretary Reinaldo Tripplett also spoke about the unit at Tuesday’s press conference.
Hill said the first African-American mayor and the first African-American woman mayor of Benton Harbor both faced recall petitions. Now Hill has said the city’s first Muslim mayor is receiving a removal request filed against him.
“We are destroying good leadership in the town of Benton Harbor …” said Hill. “We are running away from our good leadership. “
Those who remember Muhammad don’t have a plan, Hill said, and would likely remember who they intended to elect next.
Tripplett said he was there to support Muhammad. As a former fifth grade teacher to the mayor and basketball coach, he said he was proud of Muhammad’s leadership.
“We have very involved and intelligent citizens in this community,” said Tripplett. “And I have every confidence in the world that we continue to work in the right direction, for the right reasons, for the right things for the citizens of the community of Benton Harbor.”