Twice now I have been on the opposite side of the folks of TCU in an election. Twice I have seen the lowly level to which they are willing to sink in order to win.
In February I was on the City Council's Ethnic Issue Advisory Committee with a young man named of John Witt. I knew nothing about him. But just before the special election to raise our city millage by 1.9 mills a four-page TCU mailer came out. It was filled with untruths and dis-information, just like the one they used in the subsequent November Library millage. But the most distressing bit of information was on the back page.
The mailer claimed that "Members of these city committees recommend voting NO on" the millage. And there was my little committee endorsing a NO vote. It was Friday before the Tuesday election. There was no time to fix it. Calls to committee members by our chairwoman proved that no one she could reach had anything to do with the mailer. Everyone was voting YES. Then I learned that Mr. Witt was in a leadership position in TCU.
When I asked Mr. Witt how he could have done such a thing, put lies in that mailer and send it out just before the election so there was no time to correct it, he said to me, in City Council Chambers, "That's the way the game is played."
And thus began the radicalization of Sharon of Troy.
The library, the city's welfare, the city's amenities are not a game to me nor to my family. This is our lives we are fighting for, not some bullet point on a political resume.
Our committee virtually censured Mr. Witt at the next meeting, voting unanimously that no one should use the committee for such political purposes in the future.
In the months after the February election, I began to see the TCU pattern of destruction and how the same suspect's fingerprints are always on everything: Howrylak, Witt, Daniels, Clark, Gosselin.
On November 22, 2010 Keep Troy Strong blogger Sue Martin and I spoke before Council, as is our right, I believe. And we took some heat from a woman who I have often seen pointing fingers at and being rude to Mayor Schilling. She angrily criticized us for being mean to Mr. Howrylak and repeatedly called us Angry Women.
The woman completely defended Mr. Howrylak and said of his letter, asking voters to vote NO on Proposal 1, "You're giving Councilman Howrylak way too much credit if you think he could influence the election by 700 votes."
But then why would he bother?
Why would the TCU put three phoney proposals on the ballot if they didn't think it would help kill Proposal 1?
Why run the Mandate Petition to Nowhere if you didn't think it would influence the election?
Why would TCU cheat so much if they didn't think it would work?
After Proposal 1 was defeated, Councilman Martin Howrylak's dad Frank told a newspaper that he is, "humbled" by the election results. I guess our councilman's daddy is proud of his boy's achievements, even if the nice lady last night doesn't think he has the power to influence elections.
They know cheating works. That's why they cheat.
This is my problem.
I don't want the cheaters to decide Troy's fate.
I don't want the cheaters to win every time.
I don't want the cheaters to run this city, either. Because they prove by all that they say and do that;
- They don't understand how city government works (e.g., you can't change legally-binding, arbitrated pension plans ala Janice Daniels' claim that you just go ahead and do it, law be damned, apparently), or
- They don't care about the truth and say whatever they have to say to win.
And we have to keep telling the truth.
And hope someone is listening.