Have you heard of the phrase "Catch-22"? It's a bit of pop culture that has come to be used colloquially to mean a "no win" or lose-lose" situation Effectively, it's when an individual or group must act in a way that will end up displeasing all or most of those involved...but they have to do whatever it is they are doing anyway.
Consider the survey being put forth by the City of Troy to elicit voter opinions on issues facing us currently: the city services like snow plowing, the closing of Troy Public Library, the lack of revenue to run a sustainable city. The survey costs approximately $22,000 dollars...quite a considerable amount, to be sure, especially when residents are being told that there isn't enough money to plow streets in under 24 hours or run a library.
Now, RATIONALLY we know that $22,000 won't do either of those things, either...RIGHT?
Yet we still hear all manner of OUTRAGE being directed by the spending of this money. And I admit...it's frustrating that it must be done. The loudest detractors will say, "We've already TOLD THE CITY what we don't want! How DARE they spend my money this way! Two failed ballot measures told the city we don't want new taxes!!!"
Except...those ballot measures were not in any way fair fights, were they? We all remember the very disingenuous, inaccurate and misleading mailers that accompanied both. We remember the spurious ballot measures mimicking Proposal 1 language placed on a ballot by political operatives who stole the very same ballot language from Proposal 1 backers. We remember our very own council member, Martin Howrylak, who sent a compelling (but MISLEADING) letter out to some of his electorate to convince them to shoot themselves in their own foot by turning down affordable millage increases to sustain city services.
Catch- 22...vote for a millage that will raise your taxes slightly...or turn it down and lose your services.
Others will say, "Of course they should spend this money! They haven't LISTENED to what *I* want, and I want it heard now!" The ones in that camp know how hard-fought a battle it was to nearly save the library last November...to only have lost by 600 votes, many of which were swayed at the polls by surly, burly men intimidating voters. We know the purposeful confusion being nurtured by those stupid, empty proposals meant only to spawn no votes on everything. We know there were lies being told that we could keep our library "with no new taxes!" and the baseless, useless and empty petition by TCU scapegoat Ed Kempen.
Catch-22...votes yes for Proposal 1, have a guaranteed library with a slight tax increase...believe TCU/Howrylak/Kempen and keep a library with no new taxes and lose something else.
Spend it...don't spend it...we have it...we don't have it.
No wonder the electorate is confused. NO WONDER OUR COUNCIL CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO ON THEIR OWN.
Catch-22...ask the voters one last time to make sure of what they want and maybe have the courage to levy a tax to save a library AND sustain something else WHILE GARNERING HATRED AND ANIMOSITY...or just levy the tax the save the library and something else and and STILL GARNER HATRED AND ANIMOSITY.
The council can't win no matter what they do. The anti-tax-at-any-cost advocates want everyone to believe the deal is done no matter how dirty a fight they waged. The sustain-the-ctiy-with-a-slight-increase folks feel they weren't given a fair fight in the battle.
And in the end, we have to spend $22,000 that could have been saved if everyone had played fair in the first place.
Catch-22...fight dirty and win elections only to awaken the silent majority who figured out they were played...or fight fair and raise your own taxes to sustain a strong, vibrant city. Oh, wait...
THAT'S A WIN-WIN.