GUEST COLUMN: County officials, media let us down on Howell tweet case

Kurt Skarjune

When Livingston County citizens follow the history of the Howell tweet made by a State of Michigan worker on May 30, we are left to believe that we have all been let down by both our elected officials and some of our local media.

As a reminder: on that date, (just days prior to planned City of Howell BLM Protest), a young State of Michigan worker tweeted “the first city in Michigan to burn should be Howell, all in favor say I.” This tweet garnered over 2,500 likes. It also garnered a felony warrant request by the Howell Police made to the Livingston County Prosecutor.

Where does it stand now? The worker received a paltry 10-day suspension from her job with Department of Health and Human Services, and over two months later, no warrant has been issued. Why?

First, why was the first warrant request by Howell Police sent back by our Prosecutor when a warrant request for a 17-year-old Howell High student back in 2017 who threatened to shoot up the school was approved the same day with subsequent arrest made and bond set at $100,000.

Now we’re told that more investigation is needed along with a possible search warrant. I thought search warrants were secret so suspects could not destroy any evidence that might be seized. Could this fumble or handoff of the football have been the cause of the recent landslide defeat of our elected prosecutor?

So far, mere lip service on this incident has been given by a couple of officials we sent to Lansing as our representatives. However, a concerted effort to pull together other elected officials from Livingston County, such as the Howell mayor, Howell City Council, and county commissioners to question Gov. Whitmer on the justification for such a slap on the wrist has not occurred. Why?

Isn’t it hypocritical on the part of Gov. Whitmer to come out publicly (with full statewide and national media coverage) chastising and requesting that a Leelanau County Road Commissioner resign for a racial slur he thought he made privately before a public meeting? The Howell tweeter (a state worker nonetheless) put out her dangerous statement (on Twitter) which shockingly received over 2,500 positive replies. Is Whitmer the type of vice president candidate we would want to be one heartbeat away from the presidency?

Lastly, some of our local media — our so-called daily newspaper and radio station — failed to do the questioning and the full coverage we’ve long taken for granted as our “beacons of the truth.” For whatever reason, they have given less coverage to this more-serious offense than the other less-serious incidents that were mentioned earlier. Why?

Where does this leave us, the citizens who really are victims of this crime? Are our hands tied? Should we be violent and destructive to gain our demands? Of course not. We are decent, hard-working, tax-paying, God-fearing humans who do the right thing, and we expect the same from others. Do we have the right tools to find the truth? Yes. The only tool we need to accomplish that goal is not a brick or a Molotov cocktail; it is our single finger to vote in the next election. A single finger to cancel our newspaper subscription or turn off the TV. Yes, this power we have is impossible to beat. Use it and vote Nov. 4.  Maybe then they will listen.

Kurt Skarjune, a Livingston County resident since 2011, retired from the Oak Park Department of Public Safety after 23 years. He is active in condo association matters in both Michigan and Florida.

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