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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beyond Sorry

From time to time I feel the need to come to this blog to rant and rave. It’s cathartic. Thanks for indulging me.

I am part of a group that is reaching its one-year anniversary: Troy Residents Unified for a Strong Troy. We work hard to get accurate information out about issues in Troy and we formed because a political group was purposely sharing misinformation with residents, thereby misleading them into poor voting decisions that do anything but keep our community healthy.

The tipping point for many of us was when the three fake Library proposals were placed on the November 2010 ballot. They say misery loves company. So do people who know they have been victimized by crazy political games – including a subversive letter from a councilman issued just before a vote filled with misinformation. Republicans, Democrats, Independents and people who aren’t even sure (or don’t typically even care) came together. It’s one of the nicest groups I have ever met. We came together to figure out the facts of the matters here in Troy. Together, we fought for the Library Millage in August. (Success!) We also worked to get Robin Beltramini, Bruce Bloomingdale, Jim Campbell and Neil Yashinsky elected this past November. Only Jim Campbell made it. (Not so much success. But we’re glad his business know-how has a seat at the table.)

Fast-forward to now. We recently listened to the audiotape of the Meeting with the Mayor with the two teens at her open office hour at the Troy Community Center. Imagine our wonder when we clearly hear one of her campaign supporters and the Mayor say that TRUST is the cause for all of the mayor’s negative media coverage. It’s all about our tactics to politicize her, apparently. We learned that we are bullying her. We’re creating the media frenzy. Holy Mary, Mother of God! Go figure! Turns out this is our fault.

Wow. Ok. Really? Well. If it will help, I will step up and accept responsibility since the Mayor has failed to do so in a meaningful way.

Following is my fantasy Media Statement in response to the allegations against TRUST made on that tape:

We are sorry that we did not have the foresight to tell the Mayor she should take her personal Facebook down and no longer keep a personal page, but if she were going to keep a personal page she should remove anything remotely close to objectionable because she is now representing a large, very diverse city and, as such, her posts would be subject to scrutiny.

Since we neglected to do that, we are deeply sorry that we did not contact the mayor and urge her to remove the Facebook post immediately upon its discovery (Friday). It never occurred to us that she would leave it up for the entire weekend, up until Sunday night.

Further, we’re sorry we don’t have the technical know-how to keep something from going viral; we’re sorry so many people were finally paying attention to her. Perhaps that’s because she changed the Oath of Office and drew a whole pile of attention to herself? (We’re sorry she didn’t ask us about that; we would have told her to leave well enough alone, especially as a newbie.)

We are also deeply sorry that we did not have an opportunity to coach her to immediately -- that very same day it started to go viral (Friday) -- issue a heartfelt, tear-filled apology; an apology that would include a mention that the Facebook post had already been removed and that she was deeply sorry for offending anyone. We would have noted that refraining from issuing a gay marriage stance would be in order. We’re sorry we didn’t do that. (Listening to the tape, she seems to think Monday is “immediately;” we’re sorry that’s not the case in this era of the 24-hour news cycle and we’re sorry we didn’t let her know this was the case.)

We are also sorry we didn’t tell her to just stay away from the student protest so that those folks that we cannot control in any way (because we weren’t there to participate, though she assumes were were!) couldn’t chant bad things that would become television news eye candy.

We’re also very sorry we didn’t tell her to take full advantage of the opportunity to be part of the anti-bullying event being planned by two amazing teens and a classy, smart adult who mentors teens and knows how to do this kind of stuff. We should have told her it would be a “no-brainer” thing that she would just have to show up to and say a few words and then reap the reward of the positivity. We should have also made sure she didn’t offer an opinion, especially a rather harsh one. Because – and we’re sorry we didn’t try to help her understand this point – the event proposal was not about her.

Yes. We clearly fell short. We’re very sorry that we’re the issue. Sure. Go ahead and blame us.

Should we also accept responsibility for her thumbing her nose at our business community and Governor Snyder on the Transit Center vote?

And for attacking the city manager in a position paper filled with so much wrong he had to waste time writing a lengthy response?

Are we at fault for that, too?

Come on, now.

Truth be told, what we’re really sorry for is this: that we failed to get Robin Beltramini elected. We just couldn’t get people to pay close attention. Yep. That is so true it hurts. Many voters truly thought candidate Janice Daniels was what she described herself as in the Troy Times: a grassroots Independent. And we couldn’t get people to see the truth of the matter. For that, we’re beyond sorry. We truly are.


  1. I won't be sorry when she is recalled.

  2. If I only had a nickel for every time my husband says "why didn't we try harder to get Robin Beltramini elected". Really, he says it every time we hear something about JD. I'm sorry too.

    1. Watch Janice send out a press release saying TRUST has apologized! Lol

  3. Excellent article, Ellen! While we are apologizing to Mayor Daniels, I think we also need to thank her.

    Thank you, Mayor Daniels. Because of your ignorant, rude, degrading and deceptive words and actions…

    - a diverse group of Troy citizens have come together to form TRUST to hold you accountable for the damage you do every week to Troy's reputation;

    - this same group continues do their best to Keep Troy Strong and make it a great, vibrant and friendly place in which to live, work and shop;

    - many friendships have formed among the people in TRUST who may not have met otherwise;

    - the citizens of Troy have had a front row seat in learning about how the council-manager form of government works (something you still don't understand);

    - the citizens of Troy and beyond have learned that the best way to earn someone's respect is to NOT insult them over and over again (which you seem to do every time you speak);

    - the citizens of Troy have learned that you are nothing more than a puppet and Bob Gosselin and Glenn Clark are pulling the strings;

    - the citizens of Troy have learned that you are doing everything you can to impose your revisionist Tea Party views on the rest of city;

    - and because of that, you are a danger to freedom, liberty and democracy; and

    - the citizens of Troy and beyond have learned the importance of studying the issues and candidates and asking questions BEFORE they vote to prevent them from electing someone like you.

    So, THANK YOU, Janice Daniels. The damage and embarrassment you have brought upon Troy during your short time in office has provided the citizens with a painful lesson that will not soon be forgotten nor – God-forbid – ever be repeated.

  4. This reminds me of a moment while watching a city council meeting, the one involving the slander scandal, a very young voter came to the podium to thank the mayor for showing her the importance of voting. Yes, I believe we need to thank the mayor for this painful lesson in politics. I know I have learned so much.

  5. Ellen is one of the most kind and respectful people I have met. She always tries to see the positive in a situation and battle for it, before reluctantly recognizing the sadder side. (I can relate:) She deserved the recognition that she received from Leadership Troy last year...and everyone knows that. Thanks, Ellen.

  6. I lost so much respect for some of the council members when this whole Daniels scandal broke. Instead of rebuking her and stepping away from the stink of her mess...they chose instead to point the finger of blame elsewhere.

    Why would you want to DEFEND her actions in this way? What would make you blame the media, concerned citizens, ANYONE else for what the Mayor did and how she handled it???

    Shame on Daniels...and shame on anyone who defended her statements and actions when they were revealed.

    No one newspaper...NO ONE AND NOTHING is to blame for this but Janice Daniels. Anyone who attempts to say otherwise is revealing their own true character.

  7. Sue, Right on! YOU SAY IT, YOU OWN IT!

  8. Janice Daniels has a big ego problem. Furthermore she is surrounded by poor advisors who must be reinforcing her views. Time (3 turbulent months) has shown that NOTHING has the power to get through to her, she is relentless in her agenda to fill Troy with people of her mindset, and to demoralize city staff. Recall her is our only option.