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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another business man is disgusted with "pro-business" mayor

 from Troy Patch
Dear Editor,

I am a small business owner who lives in the area, and I'm looking to possibly relocate sometime next year. I attended last night's Troy City Council meeting, partly because of the recent controversy surrounding the mayor, partly because of the transit vote, but mostly to see how those who were in charge of running the city did their job.And I must say, I was embarrassed for your city.

I went into the meeting with an undecided view on the transit center. I had read the information surrounding it and was leaning toward the idea that it was good for the city. I knew that there were going to be some pretty big movers and shakers at the meeting, so I figured that I would leave myself open to hear what they had to say before I made up my mind.
It was clear to me as 30-plus people approached the podium that those qualified to make an informed recommendation all supported the council voting for the transit center. The City Planning Commission, the Chamber of Commerce (including many large local businesses), countless engineers, architects and businesspeople stood up in an unprecedented show of unity to show that this transit center was good for the city and something the people really wanted. My mind was made up, it was clear that adopting the resolution supporting the transit center was the best thing for the city.

What also became clear to me, however, was that some members of the City Council were so strapped to their ideology that it seemed that nothing anyone could say would change their minds. Regardless of who came up and spoke, it appeared as though it was all in vain as the elected officials who are supposed to represent the people did nothing of the sort, and only stuck to their own beliefs and "facts" most of which had nothing to do with the situation at hand.
Councilman Wade Fleming, in particular, used this as an opportunity to try and save his public image by offering a so called "compromise" that he knew was impossible to move forward with, just so he didn't look like he was the one responsible for voting down the measure. It was an undeniable smack in the face to the people who did the research, and the businesses that actually depend on the City Council of Troy making the right decision. More hurtful, perhaps, the was obvious disregard for the people who live in the city – the people whom these folks are supposed to be serving.

I was particularly surprised with the candor of Councilman Doug Teitz, who made it clear with his actions, body language and demeanor that he had better things to do than sit there listening to concerned citizens. His mind was already made up, giving the message to the people that he was going to vote as he pleased, and wanted to move everything along so he could get out of there.
Between those two and the mayor herself, it was clear that the voices of the people of Troy aren't being heard, and that the opinions of the professionals (including our Governor) who almost unanimously supported this transit center, take a back seat to the political ideology of those in power. I was taken aback that such a complete disregard for the people of Troy and factual information could take place. The whole situation left me floored.

What was perhaps the most disturbing was the aforementioned members of the council sitting for two hours "listening" to and humoring those making impassioned and educated pleas to support the transit center, knowing full well nothing brought to the table would change their already made-up and misguided minds.
Even though they were given everything they asked for (including a show of solidarity from the business community), they made it clear that it was all meaningless and that the will of the people who pay the taxes that pay their salaries is too. The whole two-hour-plus ordeal seemed like a waste of time.

When an outcome isn't known, the best option is to trust the opinions and information presented by those who have knowledge and experience. Every single person who had the credibility necessary to render a meaningful opinion on the transit center supported it. Yet it was the selfish and theater-like antics of several members of the council that robbed Troy of this pretty amazing opportunity.
If this is how the city of Troy treats it's intelligentsia, then why should I believe my voice would matter if I moved to your fair city? In an era where the global image of Troy has been tarnished and the people embarrassed by the actions of the mayor, the City Council had a chance to make a really positive step forward. And just like the transit center, they decided against it.

Though there are many vacancies within city limits of Troy, this whole situation has made it clear that it is best for my family that we don't decide fill one of them. I hope the members of the city council really think about how their actions reflect not only the people of Troy but also they city's image the next time they have to make an important decision.

All the best,
Gabe Downey

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