Friday, December 31, 2010

My wish for 2011

from Sharon
I hope that Troy citizens will begin to understand that we can't have a decent city for free. 
As our property taxes continue to plummet and our millage rate stays locked arbitrarily at 9.1 mills, we will continue to lose the city services that made Troy a desirable city.
If, in 2011, we elect the folks who have worked so hard to starve our city of revenue to rule for the next few years, Troy will have no library, no amenities, no police force, no skilled employees, and no hope for our kids' futures. 
Those who seem hell-bent on destroying Troy to save themselves a few bucks are
  • Martin Howrylak
  • Ed Kempen
  • Janice Daniels
  • Glenn Clark
  • Tom Burke
  • the whole gang at Troy Citizens United, and
  • the man behind the curtain, pulling all those political strings, prompting all those lies and political dirty tricks--Bob Gosselin.
Elect them, or even trust them, at Troy's peril.
(I'm baaa-aaaack!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The general idea...

From Sue...

IN GENERAL...those on the right side of the aisle are in favor of tax cuts like those President Obama just extended. I'll add my name to that list, thank you very much. That extra 3% in our paychecks is needed and appreciated.

IN GENERAL...those on the left don't like those tax cuts. They wish that the highest earners in our society would pay more.

I've always wondered at the audacity of someone telling another how much they were entitled to make and keep. Is it jealousy? Bitterness over poor personal choice of vocation? Low self-esteem?? I just don't agree with the sentiment that simply because one is positioned well and makes more than I do that one should have to pay a higher tax than I do. On THAT BASIS ALONE, it does sound a lot more like jealousy to me.

So take the public servant; many studies show that IN GENERAL, even though base salary is often lower in the public sector than the private, benefits tend to be better. Now, being upset with alleged fat benefit packages I can see...I've experienced self-employment and paying for our own benefits. I've been shut out of benefit packages because of not being a full-time employee. And I've seen benefits from employers being ratcheted down inch by inch gradually until finally...we wonder how anyone can afford to live on what's left.

I understand that it's tricky when it's a public servant employee, too...because my taxes pay for their salary and benefits. IN GENERAL...I think many public servants have reaped the rewards of this, especially during fat economies. It's understandable when the common worker, who has lost so much these last several years, looks at some of the public servant packages and wishes we had the same.

What ISN'T understandable is to then apply all these GENERALIZATIONS to specific cases where it is not warranted.

Time and again, day after day...all anyone in Troy hears is how overpaid our city employees are. John Szerlag has to justify over and over how his salary is warranted even though he also happens to collect a pension from the city. Janice Daniels of the Troy Tea Party/Troy Citizens United continues to call for an "across the board" cut of wages, benefits, perks, etc., to make way for "fiscal responsibility."

Perhaps she didn't hear Councilwoman Kerwin recently when she stated that we could just outright CUT COMPLETELY the twenty or so top paid employees in the city and we STILL wouldn't have enough to fund a library. Perhaps she's ranting so loudly she hasn't heard Mr. Szerlag state over and over again that the city HAS CUT wages, has renegotiated packages as they come up for renewal, and has cut the employee base. Oh, and how his salary costs the city less than just about any other city manager we could have hired.

And by the way...not every city employee is over paid, has a car allowance, or is getting excessive benefit packages. Many are part-time and hourly and get nothing beyond wages. Should they, too, receive "across the board!" cuts?

Would Janice Daniels want to work for what she's proposing? Or is she -- a realtor -- jealous and bitter because the real estate market is so off that she's been losing ground in a commission based vocation?

My understanding is that someone like Janice Daniels and those with which she stands are against someone else making decisions for them about how they have to spend their money and how much they have to give back. Who, then, gives them the right to tell Troy city employees that they are too well paid how much they should have to give back?

That sounds a lot like the complaints I hear every day against Mr. Obama and the Democrats. And if I'm right, then IN GENERAL, that is some fine twist of irony right there.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vocabulary Improvement

From Sue...because there are some who need to learn this word...

hyp·o·crite

–noun

a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

There has never been any subterfuge from me. My thoughts, feelings, and beliefs on the hotly contested topics in Troy have not wavered. I've never pretended to feel one way and acted another, I've never professed a dedication to unbiased expression of those feelings, nor have I denied anyone else their right to express their opinion however they feel led.

There are others who have.

There are others who claim to want open and equal expression of beliefs on all these same topics...until it gets too open and equal. Then suddenly, anyone with an opinion different from their own is "spewing invectives" in a "narrow minded" way. Suddenly we are unworthy of Christmas wishes because certainly we are unChristian or anti-holiday because we believe in a better Troy achieved through measures unappealing to them.

These same people will call me all sorts of names anytime it serves their purpose. They will argue that name calling is horrible while they are calling me names. They will call me an angry woman while angrily telling me how angry I am.

They are hypocrites.

I suppose that counts as name calling to them. When we point out lies, we are chastised for calling someone a liar. They subvert the issue with their blustering self-righteous anger, hoping the attention is off their shortfalls and on our perceived misdeeds.

It's obviously more than a vocabulary problem. But we can start there.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't Go Away Mad...Just Go Away

From Sue...who would like to preface this with the announcement that yes, I call people names below...

Probably the most common insult hurled at anyone upset with the
outcome of the last two ballot measures is that we are “crying” over
our misfortune. It is said patronizingly, with rancor, as though we
are sniveling losers who cannot face reality.

We’re also called babies, sore-losers, told we’re eating sour
grapes…you name it, and it’s hurled at anyone in favor of increased
revenue to sustain what used to be a full-service city.

Members of Troy Citizens United, supporters of their ideals, and other
citizens are hurling these names. They stand up at council meetings or post online
like chest-pounding gorillas, vociferating with ire at the “angry
women” who come and express unhappiness with what has transpired.
They call the council evil and disparaging names. They cry foul every
single time someone points out an error in their thinking or
mathe-magic, telling us we just don’t get it…we’re too stupid or na├»ve
to understand…we’re tax-and-spenders, taxocrats and downright
UNAMERICAN!

They want us to shut up...go away..."accept the will of the people."

Well, guess what? It's not the will of quite a lot of people. And wanting us to be quiet about it is suspect. One has to ask...WHY DO YOU WANT US TO SHUT UP?

Of what are you afraid?

Are we getting close to uncovering something?

In the same breath, these proud citizens...guardians of our tax
dollars...chest-pounding gorillas...are whining like sniveling babies
about every single cut the city is making, calling it “punishment.”

For weeks and months and years, they’ve been calling for fiscal
responsibility. They’ve been asking the city to make “tough
decisions.” They’ve wanted a decreased governmental structure. They
refuse to ante up for anything, claiming poverty.

But give them one snow fall to realize what Troy has now become, and they're unhappy. They're crying. They're sniveling. They're claiming conspiracy in every move made by the city, the road commission, Mother Nature herself, probably! Wouldn't surprise me to hear one of them intimate that she was somehow bribed by the city government!

You know that old saw..."be careful what you ask for...you might get it"?

Guess what? You got just what you asked for. Suck it up and stop
whining now, you cry-baby sore-winners.

Might Bob Gosselin have had a hand in this?

from Sharon
Jeepers, why are all these construction associations going after Troy less than 6 months after we privatized our building department? Hmm, isn't Bob Gosselin a builder and belongs to all these groups? Hmm, doesn't this article use all the TCU talking points? Talking about making the cops rich? Gouging? Calling fees "hidden taxes"?
So what, Troy privatized to save money and now they want to take away every penny we saved? 
This is terrible for Troy and it's B.S. And if the associations win, I guess Troy is one step closer to the brink.
From today's Oakland Press.
Keys to remember when reading this - 1) the fees did NOT go up and the association folks never say they did go up, 2) the associations seem to think if the city saves 20% by privatizing, that 20% is "profit" even if it continues to be a fair, low fee. What? They think they get it back as a discount? 3) Obviously they are seeing the same thing in other places, so why does the headline read Troy is "gouging"? 4) Why sue Troy? 5) Why doesn't Bob Gosselin move to some other place and destroy their city....please?

Builders sue Troy; allege fee gouging

Thursday, December 16, 2010
By ANN ZANIEWSKI

Of The Oakland Press
Three building industry associations have sued the city of Troy, alleging the city is charging excessive fees for building permits and using that money improperly — allegations that the city’s attorney has adamantly denied.
The Michigan Association of Home Builders, Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan and the Michigan Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association want a judge to intervene in what one building official said could be a precedent-setting case.
“We’re not going to let a program to protect public safety be turned into a checking account for local governments,” said Lee Schwartz, executive vice president of government relations for the Michigan Association of Home Builders.
The associations say in a lawsuit filed in Oakland County Circuit Court that Troy privatized its building department effective July 1, using a company called Safe Built of Michigan, Inc.
Safe Built conducts inspections and performs other functions that used to be handled by the city’s building department.
Under the contract, the city pays Safe Built 80 percent of the fees collected for building department services, and the city keeps 20 percent. If the fees exceed $1 million during a fiscal year, the city gets 25 percent.
According to the lawsuit, the city puts the surplus money into its general fund, rather than using it for building department purposes as required by the state’s Construction Code Act.
-snip-
But Troy Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm said the city is in compliance with the law.
“We did our homework ahead of time,” she said. “We’re certainly aware of the requirements of the state Construction Code, and we certainly believe we are absolutely in compliance with the requirements of that act.”
Bluhm said it’s inaccurate to refer to the 20 percent figure as a profit. She said the money is used to cover other city building department-related expenses that come out of the general fund, including record keeping and administrative functions.
“We have building code officials who are city of Troy employees,” she said. “We certainly have to pay for them out of the general fund.”
Bluhm said Troy did not increase its fees when Safe Built began handling building department services. She also said the city’s fees are low compared with other communities’.
“It’s disappointing that the home builders would chose to target us when we probably have one of the lowest fees structures in the entire state,” she said.
Schwartz said in the first three months of Troy’s contract with Safe Built, $140,000 went into the city’s general fund.
“We’re suing because this is starting to spread across the state already,” he said. “When you have local units of government in financial difficulties, and you give them a free source of income, they’re going to try to create it.”
Schwartz said in Genoa Township, where Livingston County had provided building services, officials earlier this month approved creating a new township building department using Safe Built.
He said the city of Pontiac recently put out requests seeking bids from companies to provide building department operations that said: “Develop fee structure that guarantees a revenue stream to the city based on a percentage of gross income.”
Schwartz said the builders don’t have a problem with privatization “as long as it’s done within the structure of the law.”
In the lawsuit, the builders are asking a judge to declare that Troy is violating the Construction Code Act. They want an injunction prohibiting the city from charging building department fees that are not reasonable and using funds derived from building department functions for any purpose except providing building department services and a construction board of appeals.
The plaintiffs are asking for an injunction prohibiting the city from violating the Headlee Amendment and requiring the city to reduce its building department fees.
read more here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who is Janice Daniels?

from Sharon
Incomprehensibly, Janice Daniels has been given yet another Guest Opinion piece in The Oakland Press. Ultimately, it's probably a good thing. No doubt she is going to run for city council in Troy. She is a public figure, as the Co-founder of the Troy Tea Party and a leader of Troy Citizens United and a desciple of Councilman Howrylak, who gushes his praises at every city council meeting. It's good to know what and how she thinks.
So, speaking of incomprehensible, let's see what she has to say...
The essay is called, "We need to fight terrorism without giving up our rights"
It's about the silly scare back in early December that airport officials could see us naked in those scanners. Yup, she actually says that.
The opening paragraph:
Not only do we have the legitimate fear of an airline terrorist attack, we are just as likely to suffer anxiety at our airports from the fear of groping and naked exposure by the TSA. The look on the faces of all law-abiding United States citizen travelers should be one of dismay, if not outright anger for this carte blanche intrusion on the privacy of law abiding citizens.
We dummies don't know how bad we've got it, she says.
A large segment of the United States citizenry is apathetic, submissive and condescending to anyone who sees these new and intrusive techniques to be an abridgment of our right to keep our own persons safe from unwarranted search and seizure. 
We must look for real life solutions that will balance the absolute need for national security at a time of war with the inalienable protection afforded legal citizens by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is the part of the Bill of Rights designed to protect us by requiring judicial sanction and probable cause before we are ever searched.
OK. That's fine. So how does she recommend we change this problem so nobody sees our generic nude outlines? To her credit, it's not by racial profiling. Rather, 
Janice Daniels thinks the solution is to let the officials dig into our private backgrounds every time we buy an airplane ticket.

Whenever a ticket is purchased through any of the major airlines, each passenger already provides enough information about themselves to allow a thorough vetting of our travel history, our criminal background, our residency and our tendency to subversion before ever knowing the color of our skin or our religious affiliations.
Huh? 
What does "our tendency to subversion?" mean? I mean, not just the grammatical incomprehensibility of the writing, but the THINKING?
And just how would the big, evil government decide whether I am a subversive type? Because I read a magazine that the government doesn't like? Because I joined a certain club in college? Because I'm anti-TCU?
I, for one, would prefer to have some cartoonish image of my body prove that I'm not carrying a gun on an airplane, than to have some government office dig into my life to decide whether I'm "subversive" or not.
Does Janice Daniels think before she writes?
Are these the types of grand ideas she has in store for Troy?
Does The Oakland Press read her drivel before they print it?

Don't kid yourselves. Perception is not reality, folks

OK. I am getting really tired of this perception, perpetuated by the people at Troy Citizens United--who are destroying Troy--that the city is "punishing" taxpayers by dumping our all important city services. 
Nonsense.
WE the people have made our own bed. And now...well, here we are lying in it.
In Troy we are all to blame for the fact that our library will cease serving the public in April of 2011.
In 2008, a majority of Troy voters voted to amend our city charter so that our tax rate, or millage, could never be raised by a vote of the city council as it always had been. Due to that amendment’s passage, any increase in the city tax rate has to be approved by voters. And guess what? People don’t like to raise their own tax rate, even when their taxes are going down every year.
No other city has volunteered to tie the hands of its local government this way. No other city is suffering with budget cuts because of limitations they put on THEMSELVES! This is lunacy.
So as our taxes continue to plummet, and thus Troy’s city revenues continue to plummet, all our city council can do to balance the budget is cut, cut, cut.
Cut the Nature Center, cut the library, cut the museum, cut the cops! Bob Gosselin thinks that outsourcing our public safety would be a great way to save money. And trust me, Gosselin sets the agenda in Troy.
Our city is going to hell, not because of any sinister city government actions, but because the people voted YES on the charter change in ’08 and they voted no on both millage elections to save our amenities. Of course it didn’t hurt that the likes of Troy Citizens United and Councilman Howrylak and a host of shadowy political operatives spread cynical dis-information campaigns to convince Troy voters to vote AGAINST THEIR OWN INTERESTS.
But the people are to blame too. Guess what? If you keep voting to weaken your city, you will have a weak city.
So the two times we have voted on millage increases—the city-sponsored initiative in February and the citizen-sponsored library saving plan in November—the people voted no. The library lost by just 700 of 30,000 votes cast.
So will those of you who voted no feel proud when the library closes in April? Will that show the city council something? Ha ha ha. Or will it simply hurt our community, HURT or property values and HURT our children’s opportunities to study and research in a safe environment?
Troy Citizens United (Kempen/Howrylak/Gosselin/Witt) has been behind all of these “anti-tax” schemes. They pushed the tax cap amendment in 2008. And they cheated to defeat the special millage in February and library-saving Proposal 1.
Yet on their website this group, a Scrooge-like group that values pennies over community, dares to ask the question, “If the County of Oakland is committed to balancing its budget without a millage increase, why can’t Troy do the same?” Well, the answer is that the city is balancing the budget, Troy Citizens United. That is why our library is closing next April.
Mr. Howrylak, as you insisted you “personally” not officially asked Troy citizens to vote against Proposal 1 because you had a better plan.
So what’s the plan, Councilman Howrylak?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kempen Initiative update

A judge has granted Troy's request for an ex parte order.
The city will get the extension it requested to deal with the initiative.
The judge also set a hearing date for January 19, 2011.

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. 


Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts for the season

from Linda
Well, having seen what TCU is up to lately, it is apparent that they are determined to divide the city council, and further the divide in this city.  Are these really people who want what’s best?
This is the holiday season.  A season for comfort and joy.  So let me share with you my wish for the season. 
My wish this Holiday Season is that the residents of Troy be healthy, safe, and warm and continue to be blessed.
 My wish is that as we gather with our friends and families, let’s remember how fortunate we are to live in this fine city and wonderful country.  Let’s count our blessings and look forward to 2011 with an understanding of who we are and how we got here.
Let’s take the time to understand our system of government and do our diligence to come together as a community to get Troy back to the fine city we became. 
My wish is that we put aside our power struggles and work toward mending the divide that is causing this city its fine reputation.
Let’s make a resolution to be dedicated citizens that take the time to understand our government and get to the truth ourselves.
My wish is that we all stay fine tuned to the issues and be an integral part of the solutions.
Let’s get back to the city that is a glowing example of providing the finest services at the lowest tax rates.
My wish is that we all take time to be thankful for those in the city who serve us on a daily basis, for it is they who are the intricate part of making this city run successfully.
Many of us take for granted what our taxes provide.  Let’s put aside our agendas and be grateful for what we have.
I also hope and pray this Holiday Season that we can become a community who works with one another, not against, to do what’s right for all, not just ourselves.  This is the season to be unselfish!
This is a season to be thankful and think of others.  However, this shouldn’t be only during this season, for that my friends is what a community is all about. 
I would like to end with a quote from Oren Arnold that sums up the season:
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
I wish you all a very Happy Healthy and Blessed Holiday Season!

Bob Gosselin wants to outsource our safety?

from Sharon
Last week I wrote about murmurings heard among the so-called "Tax Fighter" set, that a good way to save money in Troy would be to outsource public safety to the Oakland County Sheriff.
Then we could be secure like Pontiac.
At today's city council meeting, council members and the police chief said they understand Bob Gosselin has said that would be a fine idea.
Gosselin not only lives in Troy, he is a leader or supporter of Troy Citizens United and attends Tea Party meetings (the two groups have identical leadership), takes credit for the crushing blow of capping our tax mills on his website and takes credit in public for putting the fake library proposals on our ballot to confuse and cheat Troy voters. He is also an Oakland County Commissioner for northern Troy.
He is one of our defacto city leaders even though most people have never heard of him.
Let city council know what you think of him.
What's happening in Troy is Bob Gosselin's vision already. As Troy voters continue to buy into the TCU'/Gosseling/Daniels/Howrylak message and vote their way, our city is falling apart.
Want to continue down this road?

What's the plan, Howrylak??

from Sharon
At tonight's city council meeting Councilman Martin F. Howrylak repeatedly whinged that council is shirking it's duty by not looking for a plan to save the library. He said that the Kempen Initiative was a plan, but it was not a plan because there was no funding. 
And after all, lack of funding is the reason our library will close to the public on April 30. 
The only plan that would have saved the library was Proposal 1 and Mr. Howrylak sent out letters and plotted and planned with TCU to defeat it.
Because Mr. Howrylak helped kill the only viable plan, why doesn't he spend the next month finding the money to fund our library.
Where's the money, Howrylak?

Libertarians, Ayn Rand and Christmas?

from Sharon
Just curious...
Since it is Libertarians who wish to take over Troy, I'm just curious if someone could explain to me how they reconcile Atheist/Anti-religious Ayn Rand and Conservative/Right Wing Christianity.

Here's Ayn Rand on Christianity

Rand Excerpt: On Christianity

The following excerpt is from a letter to Sylvia Austin dated July 9, 1946, in Letters of Ayn Rand, p. 287:
There is a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism -- the inviolate sanctity of man's soul, and the salvation of one's soul as one's first concern and highest goal; this means -- one's ego and the integrity of one's ego. But when it came to the next question, a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one's soul -- (this means: what must one do in actual practice in order to save one's soul?) -- Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one's soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one's soul (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one's soul to the souls of others.
This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This is why men have never succeeded in applying Christianity in practice, while they have preached it in theory for two thousand years. The reason of their failure was not men's natural depravity or hypocrisy, which is the superficial (and vicious) explanation usually given. The reason is that a contradiction cannot be made to work. That is why the history of Christianity has been a continuous civil war -- both literally (between sects and nations), and spiritually (within each man's soul).
All emphasis was in the original. All punctuation and spelling is from the original.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A reminder about the voices here

From Sue...
This blog was set up as a way for different voices in Troy to share how they see what is happening in our city.

My voice is but one. But it's mine. You may not agree with me...and that is your right and privilege.

But that doesn't make your view more correct or true. It just makes it yours.

We all see things through our own particular lens. I am attempting, however, to try to see through as many lenses as I can. Perhaps some of you will try the same.

Should you wish to contact me regarding my view...you are free to do so. Comment below, and I'll be in touch.

Ping-Pawn

From Sue...

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.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The latest TCU mailing

from Sharon, 139 days before the library closes


If you look in the dictionary at the word "disingenuous" you would likely see a picture of the Troy Citizens United leadership, starring Janice Daniels.
Every time I went to a city council meeting before the election, Ms. Daniels was there in full regalia, huffing and puffing that Troy doesn't need no stinking library. Many of us are still quoting her brilliant line, "As a real estate agent I can tell you, no one moving into Troy ever asks if we have a library, they only care about the taxes." (I hope she always tells them that we have the lowest tax rate in Oakland County -- unless you include crappy cities, which Troy--thanks to Ms. Daniels--will soon become).
Daniels also made fun of those of us who begged people to vote yes on Proposal 1 for our children's sake. She and Burke loved to joke about how we library fans kept talking about "children" in order to pull at folks' heartstrings. Apparently they don't know that libraries are relevant to both property values and children's education.
In the TCU's current mailer, which claims to be from a group called "Save Our Library" but uses Janice Daniels's PO Box as a return address, the TCU leadership calls city council members anti-library. What a stitch.
The TCU was anti-library ALL SUMMER LONG. Trust me, I know. I saw, up close, the lies and dirty tricks they played to ensure the defeat of Proposal 1.
Mr. Howrylak promised he had a plan, but then sputtered nonsensically every time he was asked what his plan might be. Did Daniels, Howrylak, Burke, or Kempen have any plan to keep the library open in the spring or summer? No.  Martin Howrylak missed every budget study session back in the spring, as a matter of fact. They didn't care then and they don't care now.
Here's the truth. City council voted on a budget that did not include the library, in order to balance the budget with shrinking resources. Then the TCU robbed us of the only workable chance to save it.
Whether they look at the budget today or in January, there's no pot o' gold hiding behind a rainbow.
The TCU is using the library to make political hay, plain and simple.
Daniels, Howrylak, Burke, Kempen and Co point fingers in every direction, making claims as to who is to blame for the library's imminent closure.
If only they would point at themselves. Then, for a change, they would be correct.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Some day our library will be saved?

from Dawn 
I am very intrigued by reading the posts at Keep Troy Strong.  I keep trying
to think of other options and imagining what life will be like in Troy
without a library.  Here's a scenario that just entered my little brain.
April 30th rolls around and the City Council truly was not able to locate
the funds to keep the library in the budget.  They weren't lying.  The
revenue just wasn't there.  So, the library closes and we all return our
checked out books by the correct date.  
Out of the 15,000  (or whatever the number was) people that voted NO, only a small percentage really don't care if we have a library or not.  These are the EXTREME TCU folks (some living in those homes valued at over $500,000!).  So the portion of the 15,000 that
were fooled by the Kempen petition and Howrylak letter are now realizing that they were lied to and they really want the library.  
In addition, many other people in Troy are realizing that Troy without a library is a huge mistake, and they are regretting that they did not vote.   I also have a hope (maybe it's unrealistic) that with our diverse population, those that care about our city and education and culture and quality of life will consider getting their citizenship so that they can vote.   I'm not sure how many of those folks are out there, but wouldn't it be great if there were a
couple thousand that could make a difference. 
I'm not sure how long the library can sit with all the books intact (six
months, one year???)  Then I'm hoping that everyone gives the Troy Library
one more chance with one more millage proposal in the near future.  This
time, the library is saved. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Gosselins gave quite generously to the anti-Proposal 1 campaign

from Sharon
On Monday night Tom Burke also beamed with pride that the Citizens to Save the Troy Public Library spent many times more to try to save the library than the TCU spent to try to close it. He compared TCU to David in a David and Goliath battle.
Creepy, huh?
But let's take a little look at the legal documents that show who donated what, shall we? They are here.
Bob Gosselin is an Oakland County Commissioner who has a very expensive house here in Troy and apparently lots of money to throw against the library. (Also had a little trouble with the law not so long ago--see Wikipedia or here)
I reported earlier that Gosselin gave $500 to TCU to fight against Proposal 1, which would have saved our library.
Now I see by looking at the recent public filings from the election that his wife gave another $500 to fight saving the library and his daughter gave yet ANOTHER $500. They all live at that same $750,000 house in Troy.
How interesting. 
These two ladies are 1) a homemaker and 2) an assistant manager at a sandwich shop. Whose money was it really?
Why are the rich people so dead set against our library?
I worked my butt off to save our library, but my family certainly couldn't afford to give $1500 to the effort. Nor did we have the power and political knowledge to mess with politics in Troy the way Gosselin does.
As things are looking a bit grim for my husband's small business, we have been relying more and more on the library in a rough economy.
Excellent sources say that Bob Gosselin was the political operative that put those fake proposals on the ballot -- a blatant dirty trick.
I spent 100s of hours knocking on doors. Gosselin spent a few minutes messing with our ballot. Now, who is David? Who is Goliath?
So we ask why?
Why does Bob Gosselin hate the library so much that he will pay $1500 to fight against it?

Business as usual in Troy? Not at all.

from Sharon
One Troy Citizens United rallying cry is that the city hasn't done anything to cut costs. Tom Burke loves to say that at city council meetings. Then he sashays out the door before the city council and management explain all of the cuts they have made. At this week's meeting the city manager said - "I've responded to these same claims so many times before I won't waste the council's time doing it again."
It is tiresome.
Here's an Oakland Press article on cost cutting in snow removal.
A snowier drive in Troy: City cuts back on snow removal
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
By BONNIE CAPRARA
Special to The Oakland Press

Drivers may want to take extra caution in Troy this winter as the city will clear all streets to bare wheel tracks, similar to a two-track, within 24 to 72 hours.
It’s a cost-savings move that will more evenly allocate the city’s $600,000 road clearing budget with a $150,000 allowance it receives from the Road Commission for Oakland County to clear snow and ice from 80 miles of county roads.
County roads include Adams, Crooks, Dequindre, John R, Livernois, Long Lake, Maple, South Boulevard and the city’s most heavily traveled thoroughfare, Big Beaver, which handles 65,000 cars and trucks on an average day.
Troy’s road clearing budget was reduced from $1.4 million last winter and does not include provisions for backup contract snow removal, which is twice the city’s cost.
“We decided as a council that we could not be paying to clear county roads,” Mayor Louise Schilling said.
Traditionally, Troy had cleared all city and county roads to bare pavement within 24 hours. However, the road commission allowance is based on the estimated cost of clearing roads to a quarter-inch slush within fours days after a snow event of four inches or more.
Two years ago, Troy spent an additional $349,000 to clear county roads to city standards.
Also, an extended time period to clear roads of snow and ice between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. shifts will cut down on overtime.
“It’s cheaper if it snows in the middle of the day than if it snows in the middle of the night,” Councilman Dane Slater said. “There are many variables. It’s our due diligence to cut costs as much as we can. We need to make a change.”

read more here 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Way or Another???

This week we received a glimpse of the kind of city Troy is becoming under the current revenue shortfalls from which we suffer.

Councilwoman Robin Beltramini shared some interesting thoughts on a possible future for our library during the latest city council meeting. She mentioned changing legislation to turn the Troy Public Library into a sort of “pay for play” entity. She admits this would cause the grave loss of valuable services now guaranteed by a truly public library. It could mean replacing existing and experienced personnel with outsourced employees. It could mean the end of reciprocity with other libraries.

Simply put…it could completely change the face of the library as we know it.

Respectfully, Mrs. Beltramini, a great many of us in this community don't want a library "one way or another," as you stated. We want OUR library the way we know it...the award winning library that we deserve. The TPL has served and sustained this community for over 40 years and was made great BY THE CITIZENS.

We do not want the library to be redefined as an outcome of the troubling political landscape that is Troy.