Rumors have it that the upcoming Aug. 3, 2021, Howell City Council primary — the first one I can recall in at least the last 20 years — is fueled at least in part by Unmask Livingston in the hopes of the group gaining enough seats on the council to disband the Howell Police Department, or at least cause it a lot of grief.
So what does Unmask Livingston have against the Howell Police Department?
Rumors have it that Unmask Livingston is angry because the Howell PD said that while it wouldn’t patrol for mask violators, it would enforce Michigan’s mask mandates if situations arose.
And we all know how angry Unmask Livingston can get.
So, there you go: Unmask Livingston supposedly wants to punish the Howell PD for following the rules.
It gets even more weird and interesting.
Should the Howell PD ever disband, the city would most certainly contract with the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department for coverage, just like other communities do in Livingston County. The irony would be that the Sheriff’s Department very publicly said it did not have the time and resources available to enforce the mask mandate. So, in punishing the Howell PD for enforcing the state mandate when called on to do so, Unmask Livingston would also be rewarding the Sheriff’s Department for the opposite.
If this all sounds pretty crazy, buckle up because it gets even crazier: Facebook has at least temporarily yanked the group’s private page yesterday for not following the social media giant’s community standards of “violence and incitement.” You can read WHMI’s excellent coverage by clicking here.
Let that sink in for a second.
The Unmask Livingston page was actually one of the worst-kept secrets on Facebook. Several members of it were so taken aback by some of the content posted that they leaked information that made its way to media sources like WHMI and here at the LivPo.
Several anonymous sources actually recorded the videos Unmask Livingston posted of its now-infamous April 12 storming of the Howell Public Schools Board of Education meeting. When the board was forced to adjourn the meeting when the unmaskers wouldn’t mask up, the unmaskers yelled and slung taunts and insults about. The LivPo and WHMI posted the recordings of those videos, and they were up for a bit until Unmask Livingston had them taken down from YouTube, which gives you some idea of how badly behaved those Unmaskers on video were.
But I think Unmask Livingston learned a lot from that meeting, that the community doesn’t take kindly to people who treat public servants badly. They removed their damaging videos, and they’ve toned down their volume and rhetoric at recent meetings of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, where they’ve been downright soft-spoken and uber-polite, though they still traffic in debunked conspiracy theories gleaned from social media.
I will be the first to admit that this rumored attempt to get rid of the Howell PD feels like one of the Rube Goldberg-esque “Pinky and the Brain” plans to take over the world. First they get on the ballot; then they survive the primary; then they win the election; and THEN they take over the world (or at least the city).
Stranger things have happened.
There are three seats up for re-election, with two incumbents throwing their hats into the ring. It only fuels the rumors when one of the candidates is Kriston Detmer, wife of Mike Detmer, the candidate famous for his selfie with members of the Proud Boys at an Unlock Michigan rally in Lansing, and who has already announced a second run for the 8th Congressional District seat. Kriston Detmer’s nominating petitions were circulated at the “Let Freedom Ring” event sponsored by Unmask Livingston on April 10 in Howell.
And then there’s the rumor of at least one other Howell resident pulling a petition not to run for city council, but to “send a message” about the police department’s mask enforcement.
Does all this add up to an attempted Unmask Livingston coup?
Like I said, stranger things have happened.