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Monday, November 1, 2010

Today's Howrylak debacle -Oy!

Well, that was fascinating. I was a pro-Proposal 1 person attending the disciplinary meeting on Councilman Howrylak's letter today. I was late and so stuck out in the hallway with a bunch of angry folks from the Troy Citizens United, who support Howrylak.
It was a bit of a circus. I was there with a neighbor who also supports the library proposal. First Janice Daniels paraded in holding a makesift sign that said, "Howrylak for Mayor" and told her folks to move over so she could hold it in the doorway to annoy the mayor.
Then people started yelling inside the room to prevent the meeting from happening. Then people out in the hall  around me started shouting in from the doorway and the mayor adjourned the meeting and left.
My neighbor didn't want to be a party to such nonsense so I took her home. Apparently I missed the rest, but here it is as described by the Free Press.
It's mysterious that Mr. Howrylak charges the public wasn't given the chance to participate, as if that was what the trouble was about. But for the record, the pilice standing at the door were giving people slips to fill out so they could have a chance to speak.
It's nice to hear that Councilman Fleming and Councilwoman Betramini, unlike Councilman Howrylak, say they will support the people's wishes after the election tomorrow. That is all we ask.
November 1, 2010

Troy council meeting erupts in shouts, jeers
A Troy City Council meeting melted down amid shouts over censuring a councilman, ending in minutes today with the mayor walking out.
Councilman Martin Howrylak -- the reason Mayor Louise Schilling on Friday scheduled the special meeting for 10 a.m. today -- then led about a hundred people to the Troy Community Center to listen to their comments. 
Schilling called the meeting for council to discuss the appropriateness of a letter Howrylak sent to residents asking them to vote Tuesday against millages supporting the creation of an independent library board in the city.
Yelling began after Schilling called the meeting to order in a room with a 49-person capacity, because election preparations were taking place in the regular council chambers. That left more than half of the audience members standing in the hallway.
"We demand to have a meeting in a room where we can all participate!" one yelled in from the hallway, met with a chorus of "yes!" from others in the crowd.
"This meeting is adjourned," Schilling replied, gaveling the meeting to a close before she walked silently out. 
"Go wipe the egg off your face!" said one audience member.
"Good-bye, you coward!" added another.
Most of the audience members held signs supporting Howrylak but not Proposal 1, the main Troy Library issue on Tuesday's ballot. The measure breaks the library -- and funding -- off from the city, creating an independent library board and funding with a .9885-mill ballot issue, which would raise $4.2 million in the first year. Three other measures -- which some say were put on the ballot to confuse voters -- propose nearly the same millage, with one number difference in the amount.
Howrylak sent out a letter at his own expense, addressed "Dear Neighbor," advising residents to vote against all four measures. The letter instead recommends that residents sign a petition supported by the Troy Citizens United group that asks the city council to keep library control. If the city refuses, the initiative will appear on a ballot for voters to consider sometime next year. 
After Schilling walked out, Howrylak questioned whether she violated open meeting laws by not allowing the public to speak.
"I think she felt there were more people in opposition (to her) than support," he said. He said he understood why people were shouting.
"If people's rights to speak have been violated, then obviously their reaction is going to be one of frustration and anger," he said.
Audience member Patti Koerner, who moved to Troy five years ago from Madison Heights, had tears running down her face by the time people were clearing the small meeting room.
"This is what they city has become and I don't want to see our city destroyed like this," she said. "It started with the library. Now it's this. Our city's literally being torn apart."
Councilman Dane Slater said he was surprised by the turn of events.
"I came with an open mind, to listen to all sides and then proceed whether to proceed further," he said. "I'm disappointed in the crowd. You cannot conduct business with people yelling from the hallway and their seats."
Councilwoman Robin Betramini said she supports Proposal 1, but she went over to the Community Center to talk to the group of residents.
She negated Howrylak's contention in his letter that a new library board would have to pay for a new building and books, contending those things could be donated by the city.
"I believe our library will not survive without additional funding, because the city council has written it out of the budget," she said. But she said she wanted to talk to community members in person. 
"I wanted you to hear that from me, straight up," she said.
Mayor Pro Tem Wade Fleming, who also followed Howrylak to the Community Center meeting, said he's against Proposal 1 but wanted to hear from residents.
"Whatever the voters decide tomorrow -- and I can't wait for Wednesday to come -- if it's yes, I'll work with the council on the transition," he said. "But if it's no, I'll do what I can to fund the library going forward."

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