Petition language related to Dewey Hill cross approved

Dewey Hill cross
The controversial cross on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven. (Courtesy photo)

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Brandon Hall and a group known as “Save the West Michigan cross: Vote May 5th” have received approval of petition language in a recall attempt linked to the decision to change the cross on Dewey Hill to an anchor.

The intent of the recall is to remove Robert Monteza from the Grand Haven City Council.

A 1964 file photo of the cross on Dewey Hill. (Courtesy Loutit District Library in Grand Haven)
A 1964 file photo of the cross on Dewey Hill. (Courtesy Loutit District Library in Grand Haven)

The petition language, approved Thursday by the Ottawa County Election Commission, reads “On January 5, 2015 Grand Haven City Council Member Robert Monteza voted to restrict access to Dewey Hill.”

Monteza was one of three commissioners who voted to change the cross. The other two are not eligible for recall because their seats are up for election in November. Two other council members voted against the change to the cross.

If the measure gets on the ballot and is approved by voters, the decision to change the cross would not be affected immediately. However, supporters hope replacing someone who voted to remove the cross with someone who wants to keep it could lead to a different outcome if and when the board takes another vote on the issue.

Hall and his group have until Jan. 30 to collect 953 signatures from Grand Haven residents in order to get the recall on the on the May 5 ballot.

If they miss the January deadline — but get the required signatures — the recall could be placed on the November 2015 ballot.

A controversial cross on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven. (Courtesy photo)
A controversial cross on Dewey Hill in Grand Haven. (Courtesy photo)

Hall is a former Grand Haven School Board member who resigned in 2010 after being convicted of stealing from a school charity.

He was later charged with misdemeanor election fraud for allegedly forging petition signatures in 2012 in an attempt to help get Chris Houghtaling on the ballot to run for judge.

In November 2014, Hall waged a write-in campaign to get back on the Grand Haven School Board but fell short.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office originally charged Hall with felony forgery charges, but an Ottawa County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals both ruled misdemeanor election violations were the appropriate charge.

Those decisions are being appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.

**Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story referred to the group behind the petition as “Save the Grand Haven Cross” due to information provided by Brandon Hall. It was later brought to our attention that this is a different group supporting the cross and “Save the West Michigan cross: Vote May 5th” is the correct group behind the petition.

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