A group of Kalkaska residents says their community supports a recall of village president Jeff Sieting.
Kalkaska for Peace formed after posts on Sieting’s Facebook page went viral in June. In one post, Sieting compared Islam to “a flesh-eating bacteria,” and called for nuclear weapons to be used on Muslim cities.
“We were very concerned about the type of publicity that Kalkaska was receiving, and we wanted to do something about it,” says organizer Elizabeth Dunham.
Dunham says Kalkaska for Peace has been going door-to-door this month, gauging support for a recall.
“It is kind of a hard situation to navigate,” she says. “Everyone always feels like you’re asking them to pick sides. Many people just want to ignore it and wait for it to blow over. It is an issue, and I think that many people are very frustrated with the reflection that it has had on our town.”
Dunham says out of a sample of about 150 people, nearly half said they would support a recall.
“Even I was surprised with the amount of people who said ‘yes,’” says Dunham.
The group has not yet started gathering signatures for a recall. Michigan law says they would have 60 days to gather about 160 petition signatures to trigger a recall election.
Kalkaska for Peace is also pushing on online petition calling for Gov. Rick Snyder to denounce Sieting’s comments. They are also organizing a roundtable discussion in Kalkaska September 15. Dunham says a panel made up of Christians and Muslims will talk about how “the golden rule” applies to their faith.
Sieting did not respond to a request for comment.