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Thursday, December 22, 2011

More "accolades" for mayor Janice (or, forget 'Old Fogeys' -- they're "Hicks!")

Up until a few weeks ago, people were still defending Janice and her tribe of xenophobic, bigoted, anti-tax, anti-everything goofballs. They thought my friends and I must have some strange unposken grudge against these folks. No. We just knew them well. And now, so does everyone else.
And they're talking about the new shame of Troy.
from today's Detroit Free Press

Brian Dickerson: In Troy, an all-too-familiar fear of the other
Until a few weeks ago, it wouldn't have occurred to me or anyone else to describe the denizens of Troy that way. On its face, after all, the largest city in Michigan's richest county is a pretty sophisticated place.
Troy boasts a diverse and cosmopolitan population, award-winning schools and Fifth Avenue retailers such as Kate Spade and Armani Exchange.
And even if you were inclined to disparage its modernity, what 21st-Century pundit would invoke such a dated pejorative? When was the last time you heard anybody called a hick?
Or, for that matter, a queer?
Hick is a word from an earlier time -- an era when certain out-of-the-way places and the people who lived in them were presumed impervious to the homogenizing force of interstate highways and television. Hicks, by definition, lived in the sticks.
But it has been awhile since significant numbers of Americans dwelled in such isolation. Even in the most remote locations, it's hard for people to live entirely off the grid without making heroic efforts to barricade themselves against the satellite signals, social media and global marketers that strive to bind us in one giant, interconnected hive of economic activity.
To be a hick in 2011, then, is to be in a state of denial -- which is why "hicks" is precisely the right word to describe Troy Mayor Janice Daniels and the like-minded elected city leaders who've sent Troy reeling backward in time, grasping for a past that is not so much racist or unsophisticated as it is, well, past.
Hardly anyone outside of Troy had ever heard of Daniels until last month, when a months-old Facebook post criticizing New Yorkers for sanctioning the marriage of "queers" unleashed a storm of rage, resentment and ridicule.
The local chamber of commerce was still doing damage control on that episode when Daniels and her colleagues pulled the plug this week on a transit center the federal government proposed to erect near the intersection of Maple and Coolidge.
Daniels & Co. invoked a series of spurious arguments to defend their decision, including the claim that they were striking a blow against federal spending. (In fact, the federal money that had been earmarked for the Troy transit center will now be disbursed for similar projects elsewhere, although not necessarily in Michigan.)
But their real motive was transparent: the fear that outsiders currently disinclined to visit Troy may do so if enticed by a modern train station and convenient parking, at an incalculable cost to Troy taxpayers and their way of life.
This paranoid insularity is hardly unique to Troy, of course. It's epidemic in Michigan, a state whose percentage of native-born residents is second to only Louisiana's.
Nor is it unique to the relatively affluent suburbs. In fact, the closest parallel to Troy's Mayor Daniels may be Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, whose reflexive suspicion of suburban outsiders mirrors the concern Daniels and her allies express about transit riders from the region beyond Troy's borders.
To dismiss this sort of thinking as bigotry is almost beside the point; it's simply bad policy, predicated on a world that no longer exists.
There may have been a time when communities could compete effectively for residents and employers by making themselves less accessible to surrounding municipalities, but that time is a distant memory. The era when the absence of public transit was a boon to property values may never have existed at all.
Among those disappointed by the transit center vote were the executives of two dozen major employers who'd championed the project. A lobbyist for Magna International, one of the city's largest employers, said he'd encourage the company to "reduce its footprint" in Troy and look elsewhere for expansion opportunities.
Magna International, Beaumont Hospital and other companies who backed the transit center aren't social engineers seeking to make Troy more diverse; they just want to make it easier to connect with their customers and employees.
And now that Troy is electing hicks to make important public policy decisions, who could blame such companies if they threw away their "I (heart) Troy" bags and took their business someplace else?


  1. I think I'm going to start telling people I'm from Sterling Heights. Because being from Troy is just too embarrassing.

  2. I'm moving back to Birmingham.

  3. Janice Daniels, mayor of Hickville. Sounds about right!

  4. Doug Tietz in a damage-control interwiew with WDET yesterday said he wanted to see businesses "put some skin in the game" toward the operating costs. What a crass phrase to use. I'd heard one of the more extreme xenophobic public commenters at the last council meeting say it but never thought one of our council members would also adopt that phrase. Also, what is the precedence for a private business paying operating costs for a public facility, show me an example. Second the money saved by not having a 7-day library (which would have meant dipping into the general fund) that Janice Daniels was espousing last month, could easily cover the Transit Center costs.

  5. I don't always agree with Mr. Dickerson, but he nailed this one.
    The Mayor and her supporters aren't conservatives, they are Luddites hiding behind a conservative facade in order to attract a certain block of voters. We can't go back to the two-lane Big Beaver Road days. It was forward thinking people that envisioned the Troy we enjoy today and worked to get us here. A bit of irony in the Transit Center vote, it was federal funding that helped build I-75, the road that made Troy. By the way, Troy is the safest city in Michigan even with a major "public" roadway running through the center of town.