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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Who is your neighbor?

from Edna

I have a question for the citizens of Troy.  That question is:  Who is your neighbor?  It’s a question that was asked by a wise and compassionate man over 2,000 years ago.  It’s a question that transcends time, space and faith.  So, I ask you......who is your neighbor?

Is your neighbor someone who would put a copycat library millage proposal -- or 3 copycat library millage proposals -- on a ballot for purposes of confusing voters?  Or someone who would not disavow such actions?

Is your neighbor someone who would use “fuzzy math” to claim that the aforementioned millage was a 29% tax increase when the reality was that itmight have cost residents $8/month?

Is your neighbor someone who would hijack the name of “The Friends of the Troy Public Library” just so that people would be more likely to sign his petition?

Is your neighbor someone who would intentionally misrepresent the wages and benefits of city staff to make residents believe that they had not made any concessions?  And keep claiming that the City Manager makes more money than the Governor?

Is your neighbor someone who would claim that the City asked voters in Troy to approve a Library millage five times when the real answer is that the city only asked once?

Is your neighbor someone who would push their political beliefs into a non-partisan, municipal election - an election that's about protecting our city’s best assets and ensuring long-term financial stability, not about being pro-life or pro-medical marijuana?

Is your neighbor someone who would use their position as a City Councilman or County Commissioner, to send letters to residents that appear to be “official” but only furthers their own political agendas? 

Is your neighbor someone who would proudly describe herself as the co-founder of the Troy Tea Party and a “true” Republican and suddenly becomes an “independent” when running for mayor?

Some of you would say that no such people live in Troy, that I must be overstating the situation.  I wish that were so.  

Up until a couple years ago, I didn’t pay much attention to governance of the city.  I never really had a need to - streets were plowed within 24 hours, there was a 7-day/week library, my toilets flushed, and drains were kept clear.  Why mess with a good thing, right?  

But, in September 2009, when the funding for the quality of life services - the library, the Nature Center, the Aquatic Center - was up in the air, I became interested - very interested - in the city's governance.  And believe me, I was ready to blame the city for poor fiscal management, greed and worse.  I went to budget study sessions and implored Council - sometimes not so politely - to keep the quality of life services in the budget.   You can imagine my anger and resentment when the budget without funding for quality of life services passed last year. 

I decided to channel my frustration into the only productive avenue possible -- I decided to learn as much as I possibly could about the city, the city’s budget, and the overall political climate of the city.  I discovered three surprising things:  

First, I discovered that the State of Michigan and all three credit agencies acknowledge Troy as a LEADER in fiscal responsibility.  I also learned that draining the fund balance to pay for quality of life venues would have been short-sighted and detrimental to the city’s long-term financial position.

Second, I discovered that there is a group of extremists in Troy who care more about furthering their own political agendas then they care about Troy.  There is no lie or myth they will not create and perpetuate to get their own way. 

Third, I discovered that I wasn't alone in my quest for truth and fact-finding and I wasn't alone in my disgust with the no-holds-barred political shenanigans.  Myself, and a group of like-minded individuals banded together just 10 months ago to form a group, called TRUST, Troy Residents Unified for a Strong Troy.  We are mothers, fathers, and grandparents.  We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  We are your neighbors.  Our aim is to help Troy residents collectively achieve our civic potential by advancing ideas, enabling understanding, and provoking constructive dialogue throughout the community while promoting outcomes that benefit the entire community.   Our mission is to be a respected, diverse and nonpartisan coalition that helps Troy residents collectively achieve our civic potential by advancing ideas, enabling understanding, and provoking constructive dialogue throughout the community while promoting outcomes that benefit the entire community.

I have spent much of the last two years attending and watching city council meetings.  I've spent countless hours fact-checking what the mayor, the city council members, and city staff have stated and posted on the city's website.  I've been closely observing those who speak during public comment, listening to the tone, tenor and content of what they are saying.  I have a pretty idea of who my neighbor is.....and who isn't.  

Please join me, and my TRUST colleagues, in voting for our neighbors on Novermber 8th:  ROBIN BELTRAMINI for mayor, and BRUCE BLOOMINGDALEJIM CAMPBELL, and NEIL YASHINSKY for City Council.

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