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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irony and Ignorance - Rhonda speaks out!

History has a funny way of repeating itself and it appears that Ed Kempen and TCU have determined that when you really want to get your way, slip in a Troy City Charter amendment petition because people will sign anything in front of the grocery store or library when it is presented in the barest of terms. 
"Wanna save the library?" SURE! That is a great way to get people to sign a petition without getting the facts about what that particular petition is going to do in the end.
That is how we got 3 bogus ballot proposals on the November ballot and the illegal Kempen "55 hour for no money" petition that he is now regurgitating in the form of this "new" petition that forces another UNFUNDED MANDATE on a cash strapped city without any plan behind it.
"Wanna force the city council to cut necessary services in other parts of the general fund, like police and street plowing and repair and force them to have a 55 hour library that may or may not be in the building we have now and probably won't be the full collection or may only be virtual and will not have any computers or programs and most likely be a reading room in another building somewhere in Troy?" "Oh, and by the way I am not going to prove that the money exists in the budget, either." 

HUH? Would you sign that petition? Because that is what this one is. It is another useless library petition and cynical in that it presupposes that people will not understand or seek out the fine print just like in 2008.

Am I going crazy here? What is wrong with this picture? 

The Citizens to Save Troy Public Library formed to find stable, sustainable funding for the library. We did our homework and we had a workable plan. We said that we were tired of the library being used as a pawn in a serious game of chicken for its very existence. And here we are, watching Kempen, TCU, Howrylak, et. al. doing just that. They don't care about the library... they care about "saving" the library so they can all run on that for the November election. Their dirty tricks to defeat Proposal 1 were all proven to be just that...disgusting politics at its worst. 
And in doing so, the library IS closing. Why?

The distressing thing here is that so many people are so terribly out of touch with reality about what is going on here. Let me point out a few:
  • Senator Pappageorge sends a newsletter to the residents of Troy telling them to take their children and get them library cards for March is Reading month. Really? Is the Senator unaware of what is happening in his district? Is he so incredibly out of touch to not even make an attempt to do something or even say something about our nationally ranked library closing in under 60 days?
  • Ed Kempen last summer did not know anything about the operation or budget of the TPL. He couldn't answer a single question, except one. When I asked him why he was willing to force an expensive special election on the citizens of Troy, he replied "that wasn't my choice, but I was overruled." HUH?! By whom?! Just exactly who is Ed Kempen doing the bidding for? He is clearly not thinking for himself. So, when he runs for city council this summer, people better realize they are NOT voting for Ed. They should find out who the puppet master is behind his words and actions. He also admitted after the election that he "should have gotten some more info" before he put his petition out there. Ya think?!
  • The CSTPL went to great lengths to put tons of information out about the PA 164 plan. TCU and friends have not had to put out ANYTHING to support their position. For any petition they throw out there. WHY IN HEAVENS NAME ARE THEY NOT BEING HELD TO THE FIRE ABOUT THESE PETITIONS? SHOW THE MONEY! WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO CUT (pensions and emergency funds don't work)? TELL THE PEOPLE OF TROY EXACTLY WHAT LEVEL OF SERVICE--HOW MANY DAYS A WEEK, WHERE THE LIBRARY WILL BE, WHAT SERVICES WILL BE OFFERED. Where are their public forums and surveys? But they won't or they will lie, because the ACTUAL library is not the end game.
  • The citizens of this community must demand answers of these petitioners. PLEASE DON'T SIGN A PETITION JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE ASKS YOU TO. Questions must be asked and answered, AND IF THEY AREN'T FORTHCOMING, DON'T SIGN IT. These petitions can be a terrible hoax that aim to do the opposite of what the people holding it say it is. OR it could have long term terrible repercussions on the city and it's management. Troy residents need to care about what is happening. 
    • Yard signs are NOT facts. 
    • 11th hour letters from councilmen are not the truth. 
    • Statements at the city council microphone are twisted, unsubstantiated lies.
Proposal 1 lost by only 677 votes. There have been hundreds of people I have heard from (enough to change the outcome of the election) that said they "didn't vote because they were sure Prop 1 would pass." Or, "I wished I had voted now." Or, my favorite "I didn't really think it would close." Honestly. We would not be discussing closure right now, we would be re-instating Saturdays, signing children up for summer reading programs, continuing job seekers classes and not losing MELCAT and other database vendors as we speak.
The library is closing folks. 
And if Ed Kempen wants to spend every day of his summer standing around for signatures for a November ballot, it will not change the  fact that on May 1 the library shuts it's doors.  Even if Kempen gets the signatures (which people must pay attention to the ramifications of this second horrible idea), then it will be closed until the following fiscal year, June of 2012. But it will take longer than that to figure out where the books will be moved to when they can't afford the building it is in. And they will have to find someone to staff it. 
Think of it this way. If the city council finds about say $100,000 for the library, that would just cover the utilities of the TPL. They certainly are not going to find the couple million dollars or more needed for a full service city department library. 

  • What KIND of 55 hour library do they think we can have with NO SUSTAINABLE FUNDING? Ed Kempen continues not to understand the nuance of what the "55 hour rule" means for public libraries in Michigan. He has glommed on to that and is hanging on for dear life.
  • The city will not be able to sustain the TPL as we know it for 55 hours on no money, thus that number means nothing. 
  • We will not be able to afford the other 8 rules for state aid (which is also being cut), so the 55 hours is a moot point. Imagine what a stupid idea this will be to strap the city to a 55 hour library and then have the state library perhaps decide that in tough times they would would consider dropping the requirement to 45. Holy cow, then we would be ridiculously strapped. Ed, please do your own homework and stop taking crib notes from someone else (Gosselin?) who knows nothing about the subject of library operation and funding.

The Oakland County Tea Party bragged to a Wall Street Journal reporter about having been the force behind Prop 1's defeat. Wow. That is great. Not, that they were sorry about the library's impending doom, but just happy they beat us. This is what is wrong in Troy politics right now and that is how I know they couldn't care less about the library and perhaps the city in the long run.
The library needs public support. It needs it NOW. It needs to be saved or it will be closed for no less than approximately 2 years. My son is a sophomore in high school, so he will NEVER get to use the library again. 

Is it possible that a new generation of Troy children won't even know what a library is or how to use it? 
Do they know about the children in line at the library with arms full of books and the pride of handing up their library card? 
Do they know about the unemployed that are going to be out of luck with no job seeking
assistance or internet access? 

What will happen to our schools and property values? Is that what the anti's are gloating about now? 
Or are they busy plotting their political end game agenda and the library is but a line they hope to put on their campaign literature?
I just read that parents of children in the Kinderplus program in the Troy School District upon hearing the school district was going to cut the program to some degree, told them they were willing to PAY MORE tuition to keep the program at the quality level that it has been. PAY MORE for quality services that are important to them. 

Really... that just happened. So what are the residents of Troy willing to PAY MORE for to keep the quality services that make the city what it is? The Troy Public Library? I know that it would have been a lot less than the tuition increase.
So, Troy citizens what are you willing to do to save the library now?
What are you willing to stand up for? 

My taxes just went down, and the $99 for Prop 1 would be a net gain for me to keep our library open 7 days a week in the building where it stands today. Friends and neighbors, hurry and pay attention, history is about to repeat itself.
And that is more often than not, a bad thing. 

Rhonda Hendrickson
Citizens to Save the Troy Public Library


  1. You make some great points. Somewhere in a very long rant...

  2. Troy is most definitely evolving right in front of us. We have two options. We can keep taxes as low as possible and not only keep Troy a cheap place to live, but continue the downward momentum. Alternatively, we could keep the services that attracted many of the residents to the city in the first place. I agree with you, it's a shame to see so many people taking the easy route, hoping that adding their signature to a piece of paper will be all they need to do to keep things the way they are. If only it were so easy.

  3. It's all or nothing with Troy city council. Ed's petition would have forced a middle ground, instead the council has decided to simply eliminate services.

  4. Feb 2010 - voters turned down millage for city and library
    May 2010 - council voted on budget with no library
    Nov 2010 - voters again defeat library only village

    Ed's petition killed Proposal 1 which would have saved the library.
    Ed's petition was an unfunded mandate.
    Our revenues are shringing 5-9% per year. The only middle ground his petition would have gotten us would have been a half a library the first year, which would have then shrunk to a closet-library within a couple years.
    People who love and care about the library know that only SECURE and DEDICATED funding can save our library.
    Did you vote NO in Nov?