Mark this date down: Monday, March 28.
This is the date that Martin Howrylak, Troy City Councilman, said something with which I actually agree. Well...a few things, actually. He said:
"Council OWES IT to the public to address this library law issue that would allow them to levy up to one mill to create an independent public library."
In fact, they COULD HAVE done it all along and chose not to...chose not to even MENTION IT. Several members of council will give you a laundry list of why they haven't if you corner them into answering a question about it. And to be fair, there are some problems with it. Mary Kerwin even addressed some of the major issues right after Howrylak's bombshell. For one...HE HIMSELF advocated against an independent library last fall by saying it would create "a new governmental agency," and his friend Edward Kempen warned against the "new taxing authority" of an independent library. Rationally, we know this is not exactly how an independent library works. But they planted that seed of doubt in many people that led to the defeat of our library. And though we would HOPE that saner heads would prevail and keep an independent library in the same spot as the REAL library...there is no guarantee.
Still...I've been saying for weeks that we need an explanation...I've sent at least one letter asking them to address it, and I've brought it up in public engagement.
Why HAVEN'T any one of the council members said anything publicly until now?
He also said:
"It makes NO SENSE to close the library down NOW if we plan to open it LATER."
Opening it later isn't guaranteed, and it could happen any number of ways. The council COULD levy this millage, thereby making Martin Howrylak the savior of the library. They could "find" some money in the budget, thereby UNDER-funding something else. They could dip into fund balance as a stop-gap measure, putting us at risk in other ways. But how many of us have said this very same thing, OVER AND OVER? It makes no sense. It's NEVER made sense. WHY would anyone close it, lay off all that staff, pay to maintain the building...all while you intend to RE-OPEN it someday??? Naysayers will tell you, "Well, it may never re-open!" Some of us waffle between believing that or not. Somewhere deep down in my Pollyanna heart, I still refuse to believe anyone will ever let it close.
Because what kind of heartless, spiteful person COULD let it???
More and more, I'm seeing this issue for what it truly is. My firm belief is that Council majority voted for the budget that eliminated library funding because they felt Proposal 1 would pass. I believe they put all their faith in that CITIZEN INITIATIVE, and they let the public hold the bag of responsibility for saving the library so funding could be spread around elsewhere after the February millage failed.
It could have been a win-win situation, really...we'd have had DEDICATED funding for an INDEPENDENT library that would have been free of the political game-playing we get to see at the council table week after week.
Instead, we've had a year full of shenanigans. And who was at the CENTER of the shenanigans???
Both by his own hand and by becoming the poster boy for the radical anti-tax advocates who sing his praises daily...MARTIN HOWRYLAK has been instrumental in creating this entire fiasco.
So yes, I'm stunned that I finally agree with something he said. He's right: we are owed an explanation, and it doesn't make ANY SENSE to close that library. Thank you, Mr. Howrylak, for finally addressing what we all have been waiting to hear. Many of us SINCERELY want to believe this is it. We want to believe that you now plan to do something to save the library instead of continuing to work against viable plans to support it.
We want to believe you, Mr. Howrylak.
But what we REALLY want to know?
What are you going to do NOW?