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Friday, October 29, 2010

More on the "Mandate Petition" to nowhere

City Councilman Martin Howrylak has sent a letter to Troy residents urging them to vote no on Proposal 1. The city council will meet on Monday to decide whether this was an unethical move on his part.
The purpose of this letter is apparently to advertise the "Mandate Petition" brought to you by Ed Kempen and the Troy Citizens United.
Let's take another look at it shall we?
Does it demand that the city re-open the library (next summer) at its current address, with its current staff and all the books intact? No. Does it ask for $3 million a year? $2 million a year? Any budget at all?
NO.
It asks for 55 hours. That's ALL. What the heck good is that going to do?
Here is the exact wording of the petition: "In order to assure access to quality local library service, the City of Troy shall operate and maintain a public library open to the public for not less than 55 hours each week."
Is it intentionally worthless just to act as a bait-and-switch so some people will sign the peition believing they are saving the library? I wish I knew. 
Remember this
1) The mandate is not on the November ballot, so it's irrelevant.
2) The city attorney seems to believe it may be non-binding because it goes after an administrative issue (hours open):
"According to one of the speakers at the September 20, 2010 City Council meeting, it appears that the petition proposes an ordinance that requires the City to operate a library for 55 hours per week. State Statute limits the initiative process to legislative matters, and does not allow for ballot questions on administrative matters. This distinction between administrative and legislative matters led to a Charter Amendment ballot proposal in November 2005, seeking authority for advisory ballot questions. If filed, City Council would determine if the proposal meets the legislative criteria. Council could decide to place an administrative proposal on the ballot as a non-binding advisory question. (source, City Attorney's Administrative Memorandum Sept. 29, 2010)
3) If it is correct language, but the city council turns it down, it will be required to go to an EXPENSIVE SPECIAL ELECTION within 150 days.
This is so exhausting. Why won't they simply let us have our library????? Have a fair election without all this interference?
My taxes have gone down $800 in two years. I can pony up $100 to get the library away from city council members like Martin Howyrlak.

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