Great article tells the whole JD tale...
By Megha Satyanarayana
Detroit Free Press Staff WriterClipboard in hand, Troy mom Jen Hilzinger began knocking on doors near Wattles Road and Coolidge Highway.
Dave Plancon answered, and Hilzinger started to explain that she was with the recall effort against Mayor Janice Daniels.Before she could finish her spiel, Plancon had taken the clipboard and started signing.
"I don't like the way things have been handled," Plancon said of Daniels.The signature-gathering phase of the Daniels recall effort is only a few days old, and organizers said they have amassed nearly 20% of the 8,000 signatures they need to put the measure on the November ballot. Volunteers have been canvassing neighborhoods and camping out at the library and community center in an effort to oust the mayor, whose four-month tenure has put the quiet, diverse community into national headlines.
The spotlight on Troy has also spawned recall petitions against City Council members and has led to the city manager possibly leaving for a job in Florida.Daniels -- the tea party-backed candidate who became mayor by 600 votes in an election with a 27% voter turnout -- has stared down criticism for her personal and political views on everything from homosexuality to public transportation.After being elected, word spread that Daniels used a gay slur on her Facebook page before the election, and then, during an effort to smooth things over with members of a gay-straight student alliance, referred to homosexuality as dangerous.
In public meetings about a hotly contested transit center, which narrowly passed after two votes, a speaker Daniels brought in made references to Chinese government that some Asian Americans found offensive.Daniels created a website, www.janicetroymayor.com, where she asks for funds to fight the recall, and, in a recorded message, asks for patience as she adjusts to the job.
"I was elected by the majority of the voters in Troy to address fiscal transparency and integrity in budgeting," she wrote on her website regarding the recall effort. "I ask each of you to join me in our effort to help unite us to create a better place to live, work and play. Please donate today to help me fight this recall effort."
To her supporters, the mayor is still a hero of tea party politics. She has stuck to her guns in shooting down spending, they said. She need not apologize to groups she may have offended because she has done nothing wrong, they said.
"Right now, she's doing a good job," said Nicholas Cherasaro, a Troy resident who is trying to recall three City Council members who voted in favor of a multimillion-dollar transit center that would serve as a bus and train hub at the Birmingham-Troy border. Cherasaro represents the Committee for the Recall of Tax Wasters. The group's petitions were approved Wednesday. Efforts to gather signatures have not begun.
The Troy Chamber of Commerce said its officials agreed to pay an estimated $30,000 in yearly maintenance.
Michelle Hodges, president of the chamber, said since the flap over the transit center, she has heard from businesses in Troy that said they want to do business elsewhere. Though unable to immediately put a dollar amount on money lost from the city's struggles, she said anything that affects the city's appeal is her concern.
"We have to maintain an investment-worthy community," she said.
And although a compromise has been reached on the transit center, Daniels' hard line may have cost the city city manager John Szerlag. In early January, Daniels publicly accused Szerlag, who came out of retirement to run the city in 2009, of not providing her accurate financial information and for opening mail addressed to the mayor.
Szerlag said Daniels had damaged his reputation. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson came to Szerlag's defense.Several days ago, the City of Cape Coral, Fla., announced that it offered Szerlag a job running its city. Szerlag did not return calls seeking comment.Read more here.