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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You want to lead Troy, Councilman Howrylak? Then lead already!

from Ellen

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my father’s passing … a member of the greatest generation, WW II veteran, career Michigan Bell man, father of five, husband to my mother for 60 years.  My Dad.
Before his passing, I’d known of the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief in only in a purely academic way.  I’ve now lived them and know them from first-hand experience.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Ironically, the experience has paralleled – for me – what has gone on here in Troy.  I have accepted my father’s passing and have a certain sense of peace as I feel him guide me in my life now.  
My feeling about the situation here in Troy is moving from depression to acceptance.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am actually beginning to accept the situation we’re in … as well as the fact that I’m personally powerless to do anything about it.
With that acceptance comes my complete belief that those who actively worked to take down the millage last February and Proposal 1 in November need to now own developing a proposal – a specific strategic plan – for keeping the library open while making sure you don’t break the backbone of our city service infrastructure.
Councilwoman Beltramini brought this up during council comments at the December 6th meeting and I agree with her.  Folks need to get in a room and hammer out a viable solution.  Quit your whining.  Quit pointing fingers.  You think there’s a way… propose it in the form of a plan that can be juxtaposed with the ICMA report when it comes out.
The Proposal 1 folks gave up their summer.  It’s your turn.  Give up some holiday time and get ‘er done. 
And because I’m in total acceptance mode, I think Councilman Howrylak should lead this effort.  I’m accepting he will run for Mayor next November, so I think the experience of actually leading a team to a productive outcome would look awesome on his campaign literature.
(As an aside, I must admit I do not know the Councilman’s background in terms of work experience.   The only bio I found on the City website is for Mayor Schilling.  In the interest of transparency and trying to know and understand perspectives better I would like to propose that all council bios be uploaded to that site.  It would be good for everyone to clearly understand what each of you brings to the council table above and beyond partisan perspective.)
With that aside, I have to pray that he DOES have the skillset to develop a viable plan. He seems to know something I don’t.   I find it hard to believe that all he, the Troy Citizens United, Ed Kempen and the people who come up here in support of you all each week have to offer is the whining about salaries and such.  If that’s all ya got, well, shame on you.
The thing is, I’m sick of seeing Troy Citizen’s United whine about salaries and such.  If that’s all they’ve got, well, shame on them.  Maybe it has been my grief-stricken state of mind, but since November I could swear all I see is finger pointing from this torch and pitchfork anti-government crowd.  I have not heard one solitary solution.  It’s an austerity-driven mindset beset with partisan paranoia punctuated with putrid politics.  To continue the alliteration, it’s pathetic.
I mean, honestly.  Last meeting when folks were talking about the “no” advocates being up against the Proposal 1 folks and they likened themselves to David versus Goliath, it was ridiculous. 
I mean come on.  In actuality, it was more like Marion the Librarian came up against Mama Grizzly.  While Marion held her own, Mama Grizzly cheated and beat her up over in the fiction stacks. 
I would love to volunteer to help.  But, honestly, no matter how hard I try I just don’t get where the naysayers are coming from.   I’ve read and heard outright misinformation that people buy as truth and scratch my head.  It’s sort of like a mob mentality.   I listen to the talk about how the new library board would have added “bureaucracy” and that it would have been charged for the books and the building and such and I’m flummoxed.  Comparing the whole thing to when the City bought the old troy high from the school district.  Huh?  What?  Talk about comparing apples to oranges.  Sorry.  I’m not buying it. 
And a sense that something is better than nothing.  Really?  
A half-baked approach isn’t what I’m about.  Count me out.  That’s completely inadequate.  It falls short of what’s happening in communities all around us.  And, quite frankly, I don’t want to be part of something that doesn’t represent the best that this community can be.
With as open a mind as I could muster, I have attempted to understand where this group is coming from and, more importantly, what their proposed solution is.  I’ve listened as Councilman Howrylak justifies the leadership role he took in campaigning against the Proposal.  And I’ve heard members of the TCU come up and rail against several members of this council while defending their own political tactics – tactics that I personally find reprehensible. 
It just doesn’t make sense to me.  I can’t get inside your heads.  And, frankly, whatever grape juice these folks are drinking, I don’t want any of it.  And if there’s one thing my father is telling me from that great golf course in the sky, it’s “honey don’t waste your short life on pettiness.  Be part of a positive solution or get the heck out of the way.”  
So, I’m getting the heck out of your way.  I’m going to continue to focus my energies on the community groups where I seem to have something in common with their members:  a sense of trust in leadership, the ability to set a vision and try to achieve it, an open, giving spirit, a “can-do,” the glass-is-half-full mentality and the willingness to make sacrifices to do what’s right.
I do so with the clear and unequivocal belief that Councilman Howrylak and Ed Kempen who championed taking down Proposal 1 should put their big boy pants on and start walking their talk.  The stalling starts with you and can stop with you.  The finger pointing starts with you and can stop with you.   Get Bob Gosselin, Janice Daniels, and the Witts and that whole merry band of anti-tax zealots who worked to get people to sign the Kempen petition and knock yourselves out. 
If you’re so certain there’s a way to do it, then stop asking other people – including City Staff – to do it.  Go do it yourselves.
Do it for the Greatest Generation who helped rebuild this nation and those who put together this incredible community with civic mindedness.   
Quit your whining and just do it. 


  1. Halleluah! Thank you for having the fortitude to say it!

  2. You said: "I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am actually beginning to accept the situation we’re in … as well as the fact that I’m personally powerless to do anything about it."

    Please know that you do have power. I understand that you feel powerless in the situation, but you have so much power to educate the rest of us. I stumbled across your blog weeks ago and have learned SO MUCH. I'm sure there are plenty more like me who had no idea of the real issues behind Troy's troubles. I want to say thank you, and please keep it up!

  3. I'll take credit for the blog, though this piece was written by Ellen. Please do pass the blog on to friends and those who don't get it.
    People in Troy have so bought into the TCU disinformation campaign that they believe Troy has higher taxes than everywhere else (no, among the lowest), that the city hasn't cut its budget (unrepresented workers going into second round of salary cuts, continuing layoffs). They've done a great job creating a perception of incompetence that is utter nonsense. But it will get them elected next fall and hoo boy, look out folks.