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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Letters from the Mayor: How Old Are We?

From Nov. 30...

Dear Council and Mayor,

Today, Mayor Daniels put a plea on her Facebook page to citizens. She asked that we tell council that we want you to vote to suspend the rules and allow longer public comment time for a presentation by Mr. David Wisz to take place at an upcoming council meeting.

I must strongly implore you NOT to do any such thing for the following reasons:
-- It is a precedent that should not be set going forward
-- Mr. Wisz is not a transit expert
-- Mr. Wisz has written outrageous, reprehensible and racist statements in public forums
-- Mr. Wisz is not a Troy resident nor a Troy employee

Ms. Daniels claims that by allowing Mr. Wisz to speak, we will be privy to the oppositional viewpoint of those against the transit center. She further maintains that the information we've had from the city and the contracted experts in the field have been "pro" voices. What she fails to realize is that the information thus far from the city and the contracted experts has been NEUTRAL. The city entity is merely an information gathering source who then presents that information to the governing body and its residents.

And then there's the matter that we've heard from citizens with personal interest in the issue week after week both for and against the project. Asking Mr. Wisz to speak is nothing more than another attempt to force her will and her personal ideology on the people of this city. It asks us to listen to an individual who is not someone I'd like to be associated with Troy or, frankly, with anyone in charge of making decisions for the city.

Ms. Daniels's request must be denied.

The Mayor's response on Dec. 1, copied to the City Manager and City Attorney, but NOT to her fellow council mates...

Thank you Sue for your comments.

Living in Troy is not a criteria for an opinion on the transit center. Our President of the Troy Chamber of Commerce doesn't live in Troy.

Mr. Wisz is a free man living in a free country. The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of our United States Constitution protects our right to speak our opinion, whether that opinion is right or wrong or whether anyone else agrees with our opinion.

*As you get older I would hope that you would learn to be a little more tolerant of other people's ideology. Everyone has a right to their opinion whether you agree with them or not.

I don't have time to scrutinize everyone's facebook page and quite frankly I asked Mr. Wisz to make a presentation to the community because I had seen his work on the transit center and I knew it to be detailed, logical, factual and interesting.

I have been elected to represent the people of this community and so I think it is incumbent upon me to try to bring balance where I believe it is needed. I will always advocate for full disclosure and it is with that goal in mind that I want a presentation that offers a serious look at the risks of this project.

Best regards,

Janice L. Daniels
Mayor of the great City of Troy

[Please note especially the part I bolded and put in italics...]

My next response to her, also copied to Mr. Szerlag and Ms. Bluhm,

Dear Mayor, Mr. Szerlag and Mrs. Bluhm,

In response to the Mayor's comments, I am attaching a document showing the kind of man she wishes to bring in to speak to our good residents of Troy in a special presentation beyond the scope of public comment. This was, ironically, sent to members of TRUST from one of Ms. Daniels own former supporters. [Sue's update: apparently not a former supporter, from what I've gathered since...from someone rather concerned with her anyway, however...] It is also posted on the TRUST Facebook page, and it has been sent to all major media outlets in the area by various individuals in the community and business sector.

Regarding the Troy residency issue, notice I stated that Mr. Wisz also does not WORK in Troy. I believe that as the President of the Troy Chamber, Ms. Hodges interests are quite clear and obvious. I don't believe Mr. Wisz has any more basis for being considered an expert than any other of Ms. Daniels's campaign contributors. Moreover, I find it reprehensible that she would continue to force this man and his obvious biases on us.

However, he obviously has the Constitutional right to speak to us AND DID, and there is no further need to change the rules to allow him to speak longer when it is quite clear the majority of the council chose not to allow it in the first place.

We have had full disclosure in all ways on this project; it is merely that Ms. Daniels doesn't happen to agree with the leading majority view. I don't need to be as old as Ms. Daniels to see that. I'll thank Ms. Daniels from referring to my age in the future when she has no better argument against my opinions.


A few things, given the way thing have unfolded over this past weekend...

Initially, my ire was for her apparent dismissal of my views due to my age. I wonder how Ms. Daniels even knows how old I am, but more importantly...what it matters? The statement was condescending, and it's implication clear: my opinion was worthless to her because I wasn't old enough to think it.

Ironically, it's been the young voices coming forward in all of this who could perhaps teach Ms. Daniels the greatest lessons of all. Read this and this and in particular this one featuring Zach Kilgore.

Their young voices express the true spirit of what Troy has always been to me. While I'm sad that they are not privy to growing up happily oblivious in a city that always ran well with people more concerned with ALL OF US than themselves, I am insanely proud of the poise and grace they possess while dealing with the fall-out of Ms. Daniels's reprehensible behavior.

Back to Ms. Daniels's response to me...her statements were also off the mark. She is implying that I did not feel Mr. Wisz deserved the chance to exercise his Constitutional rights. Au contraire...HE ALREADY HAD at this point. Daniels wants us to believe she's all about fairness. What she's really arguing is that she be allowed to give UNFAIR treatment to her own cronies and campaign contributors.

But looking over that one particular statement now, there really is only one question worth asking:

I'm wondering if Ms. Daniels knows the definition of "hypocrisy?"

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