TCU claims the only people responsible for the closure of the library are the four council members who voted in favor of City Budget Option 1, setting the library up as a political pawn by its defunding in that budget.
Many of us in favor of Proposal 1 to form an independent library blame disingenuous political operatives like TCU for manipulating voters and causing the ballot measure to fail, slamming the pawn that is now our great library right back into the wastebasket.
Some blame a supposedly bloated governmental salary structure and John Szerlag, the supposed poster child for the fat-cat paycheck mentality.
Still others blame our "high taxes," which in reality are the lowest around for a full-service city structure like Troy has provided...until now. And citizens have to admit...it's pretty hard to defend the claim that we pay "enough" taxes when our taxes have gone down and will continue to do so. It's pretty hard to defend the claim that "we can't afford any more!" as we drive our fancy SUV's, talk on our fancy cell phones, and go home to our large (albeit mortgaged for eternity) homes.
You can point fingers at Martin Howrylak and his childish antics and mailings. You can point fingers at the Mayor for the failed censure attempt. You can point fingers at anyone on the council who will speak out against Howrylak and TCU in private, but not in public. You can point fingers at the citizens for bitterly arguing and whining and fussing whether we're winners or losers in the election fall-out.
There is more than enough blame to go around.
And there sits the library...in the death throes...not even on life support, really, since its budget has been decimated, its workforce depleted, and its spirit sagging.
With it sags the self-respect and spirit of this once-great city.
If the council can revisit the budget, make some cuts and find a way to fund some semblance of our library, TCU will lambaste them. The next spurious campaign cooked up by them -- replete with their typical mathe-magic numbers -- will point to supposed political trickery and manipulation. They say they want to save the library, but what they mean is that they want it to be their way, on their terms and with them as the winner.
If the council can revisit the budget, make some cuts and find a way to fund some semblance of our library, citizens will cast a wary eye on city hall. Too many of us remember John Szerlag's claims from over a year ago that he would have to, essentially, shut the city down without the millage increase proposed on the February ballot. Too many of us remember Mayor Schilling's claim that the defeat of the ballot measure in February obviously meant we were all in favor of funding police over our library and other quality of life venues. The entire bid for increased revenue stunk from the outset in its approach to voters and in the analysis of what the outcome really meant as explained to those of us too naive to know, apparently.
The bottom line is that in this endless game of "ping-pawn," no one can win the game as it stands right now. Tempers are too high. Motives are in question. Battle lines have been drawn.
Perhaps it is time for an armistice. Perhaps we need to let the city regroup, revisit the budget process, and reunite as a productive entity in this battle for the only possible acceptable victory: the resurrection of our city from the ashes of the political ping-pawn game that has been played this past year.