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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A lovely Memorial Day tale

I couldn't find this in time for Memorial Day, but found it today. It's wonderful.

Surprise surprise!

Janice Daniels' bright idea for an essay contest which she ran privately, not through the City of Troy (as it is designed to benefit herself, not the city), and with the help of conservative TV commentator and alleged objective debate moderator Charlie Langton, has born its fruit.
One of the winners is the child of an extreme, anti-government, anti-tax Tea Party leader in Michigan named Stephanie Jasky who writes the blog FedUp USA. If you want to choke on some goofy, extreme diatribes, go take a look.
As with all other aspects of Mayor Daniels' "rule" of Troy, the fix is in and NO one is surprised.
Only those in her club get to play. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Observer and Eccentric Letter to the Editor - Recall Janice Daniels

Recall Troy mayor

President Kennedy's speech echoes in my head: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” He was a true American hero, a motivating speaker and leader during a critical time in U.S. history. The residents in the city of Troy are in desperate need of that level of leadership.

Troy's mayor, Janice Daniels, continues to prove that she lacks leadership qualities important to the position of mayor. Rather than unifying the city of Troy with positive energy and calm, she throws “fuel on the fire,” igniting every hot social, anti-government button. Unfortunately, voter apathy dished up this unknown, unqualified candidate to serve as mayor — an embarrassment to the highly educated, diverse population proud to call Troy home.

Troy's infamous mayor uses disparaging words to belittle and discriminate. She associates with like-minded extremists, and now holds a position of power, appointing narrow-minded, intolerant people to serve on Troy's boards and commissions. Discrimination, hate and bigotry have no boundaries, negatively impacting all of us. Like a cancer, it grows and spreads until it's too late to fix the damage. It's not too late to stop Troy's “cancer” if the 56,790 registered voters care enough to make a difference by recalling Mayor Janice Daniels.

Thanks to the positive thinkers on council and the dedicated, professional staff working for the city, we have a balanced, three-year budget, a dedicated library fund and a 100-percent federally funded transit center coming soon to Troy.

Detroit had the Kwame Kilpatrick drama. Wayne County has Robert Ficano's fiasco and Troy's story is being written.

Have you signed a recall Janice Daniels petition yet? June 14 is the end date.

Toby Gosselin

Troy

Trying to explain

Linda tries to explain to Janice Daniels why certain gentlemen do not appear to be fit for office, and why her support of them, makes her unfit as well...

Ms. Daniels,
I apologize for not responding earlier, as I had some issues with my e-mail.
Mr. Schepke is ill-informed and reflects poorly on our city. His disparaging
comments do nothing to exhibit integrity or professionalism. He is also not
as qualified as others who were nominated.
As far as Glenn Clark being an active participant in the political process, that
does not equate to having integrity or professionalism. It has been proven
that Mr. Clark is less than truthful and will stoop to any level to achieve his
goals. I highly doubt this is what the founding fathers felt should be the norm
for the political process. Wasn't this country founded on freedom and to fight
tyranny? If Mr. Clark will lie to achieve any goal he has set forth, what else might
he be capable of. Also, the fact that his campaign finance methods are in question,
just lends more to his deceptive and unethical means being a part of his normal
method of operation. Is this the picture you want of our fine city? One that
incorporates those who do not value integrity and respect, but rather the end result,
no matter what the cost. And, who is to say what his end result is?
It is time to stop all this political posturing and power grabbing. We need leaders
that are thinking about the City of Troy. The City of Troy was a world class
destination for families and businesses alike. Today that is not the case. The
damage done to our fine reputation will take a long time to repair. These two
individuals will only shed a continuous shadow on how Troy does business, thus
dissuading families and businesses from locating here. Also, is this what we want our
children to grow up believing in? That you don't need integrity to get your
way, just do whatever it takes, even if that includes bullying and lying. It is ironically,
interesting that you are taking an interest in the children of our community, while
still supporting individuals such as these two.
As shown in previous history, hubris can be an individual's nemesis. The City
of Troy does not need leaders or individuals on committees and boards who
possess this trait, as it will ultimately result in the demise of what was once a
fine city.
It is said that selective outrage is merely acknowledging that different people get
upset about different things. Well, I am upset about what is happening to my city. A city
that I have lived in for 38 years and love to call my home. This is beyond the political
games. It has to do with the future of my "COMMUNITY." I take exception to those
that continuously use lies and unethical tactics just to get in a seat of power and
prey on those citizens that, unfortunately, have not done their homework. I take
exception to those that are using the municipal level of government to push their
ideologies regardless of what the city's needs are. So you can (and will) call this
whatever you wish, but the bottom line is that it is unacceptable!
Let's put an end to the damage being inflicted on our fine city and start
electing and appointing those with knowledge, integrity and professionalism.
The City of Troy is a "COMMUNITY," not a political volley ball and it's time
we started behaving as one. We need leaders dedicated to this "COMMUNITY."
This, Ms. Daniels, is why there is so much interest in the process to recall you.
Linda Marie Kajma

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial

It's been relatively quiet on the blog this week...lots to do in real life that keeps busy writing moms from pontificating.

But I'm struck today by the recent success of a brilliant campaign.  The campaign was engineered by Leo Burnett, Detroit, last summer to help us battle the anti-tax zealots over the eventual saving of our beloved Troy Public Library.

This was the campaign:  Click.

It's still timely if you ask me.  It's still timely because the forces trying to inflict their dangerous anti-tax at any cost agenda on the City of Troy are among us.

They are led by Janice Daniels, Mayor of Troy.  She must be put out of office.

She must be recalled.

If you have any time in the next three weeks to help us gather signatures toward that effort, please contact the good people at Recall Janice Daniels to help.  We're almost there...victory is at hand.  But we need the final push to succeed.

Let's remember why we started this battle...watch the award-winning campaign video by Leo Burnett.  And get fired up to burn out this mayor.

Let's Save Troy again!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Gordon Schepke said that is causing the firestorm


Here is what Gordon Schepke said at the last city council meeting that has created so much fury. It truly shows that this man, personally selected by Mayor Janice Daniels to be a member of the extremely important Planning Commission, is rude, is a fool and does not have the temperament to serve on the commission.
He should step down.

He said:
Good evening Mayor and Council. I appreciate the opportunity to be up here tonight. I
too have been watching the budgeting sessions, and, a taking it in with great interest. A, course I think probably my conclusions are going to be a little bit different, than a the conclusions that many people have reached tonight, a that have come up here. My
conclusions is a this default that our City Manager talked about four years down the
road is a bunch of bunk. Itʼs a bunch of bunk because weʼre taking his word and his
figures that he claims are 98 to 98% effective when he has no accountability what so
ever. Heʼs leaving. Heʼs leaving in a few days, so he doesnʼt have to stand on those
figures one way or another, and it really shocks me that this council would pass a
budget, first of all budget, the budget that was presented right there budgeting is a
process, not a set in stone set of figures and I didnʼt, a, there, thereʼs many ways of
setting a budget and to me this looked like this was just a rubber stamp from an
unaccountable person. The best, the best indicator of whatʼs going to happen in the
future is whatʼs happened in the past, and John Szerlag has been far from stellar in my
opinion. Especially with his handling as executive director of the Downtown
Development Authority, and his letting that budget run away. He says, well the Council approved it, that will be the first thing heʼll tell you, but he doesnʼt tell you, just like he came to you and gave you statistics on the budget warning you this or that or the other thing on the Downtown Development Authority he rubber stamped everything right down the line and there was no a there was no fighting or challenging of that budget what so ever. So, a, I, I have no credibility with, I think he ought to resign right now. The, the everyday that manʼs here he creates another problem, gives Troy another black eye. All the papers needed is Troyʼs going into default. Troyʼs going to have a appointed receiver from the State come down and help him and stuff like that. If he is so smart, if he is so smart we should run his budget without that increase you guys just passed for a couple years and find out if heʼs, and find out if his figures are 98 - 99% right. Thereʼs an old saying that a, figures donʼt lie, but liars figure. And Iʼd like to find out if we have a lair or we have a visionary man. And, Iʼll tell you right now, I think his past indicates far from a stellar, a stellar performance. And, I would like to, it really disappoints me that this Council would more or less rubber stamp. I was there in most of those Council meetings most of the time. A, one night I came in late. But, it really makes me feel bad that this man with no accountability is has is going out the door in full control even allowed to appoint his successor to a degree, a with Mr. Darling. No, Mr. Darling, Iʼve never heard of a resume on him. I donʼt know what kind of qualifications he has as a manager.
And, another thing, that grinds me is the Transit Center. I want to see that stay on a
separate budget so that we can track what itʼs goinʼ to cost and I wanna see the
Chamber of Commerce held accountable for all of the, a, all of the, a running of this, of the budget for running and keeping the Transit Center going on a yearly basis. This has to be tracked or to me theyʼve lost all credibility with this community also.
Weʼve got a city manager right now that needs to hit the road, so that we can let the
new man do his job. And, we need to we need to get this city back on track. This is a
great city and we canʼt reach our full potential when we got people playing around with the residents, and playing around with our, with our, with our financial, our financial involvement. And, thatʼs all I got to say. Thank you.
Thanks to Tom for taking the time to transcribe this!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Can you trust Schepke's judgment?

This story shows why blindly following your ideology is a really super bad idea. 
Poor judgment.

Trial begins in major investment scheme
Article by: DAN BROWNING
Star Tribune
April 20, 2012 - 9:20 PM

A federal prosecutor spent nearly three hours Friday explaining to jurors in Minneapolis how the government expects to prove that three former associates of Trevor Cook helped him to defraud hundreds of investors in the second-largest Ponzi scheme in Minnesota history.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David MacLaughlin detailed myriad entities that he said the defendants used as part of Cook's bogus currency investment scheme, which he said bilked nearly 700 mostly elderly investors out of more than $190 million.
He described a separate scheme in which one defendant allegedly used investor funds to try to defraud the National Hockey League into believing he was a billionaire so he would qualify to buy a piece of the Minnesota Wild. And he said jurors would learn how the defendants reeled in investors through radio programs and investment seminars.
Cook pleaded guilty to running the scheme and is serving a 25-year federal prison sentence. MacLaughlin said he wouldn't call Cook to testify because he's a scoundrel and a liar.
In a nod to the complexity of the case, MacLaughlin told the jury of nine women and seven men that he'd just given the longest opening statement of his career, "and I've been doing this for 15 years."
"If the case seems like a mess," MacLaughlin said, "it's a mess on purpose."
The defendants didn't want anyone to "untangle the spaghetti," he said. "But it's not about unwinding the spaghetti."
MacLaughlin said the case boils down to a question of whether the defendants lied to investors. He promised jurors that they'd see that in documents and hear about that from victims themselves -- one of whom is 96.
"This is a case about people getting hurt," MacLaughlin said. "Very, very badly hurt."
The three defendants, alleged to be among Cook's top lieutenants, are:
• Jason "Bo" Beckman, 42, of Plymouth, a securities broker who claimed to be one of the nation's top money managers and who attempted to buy into the Wild hockey team.
• Gerald Durand, 61, of Faribault, an entrepreneur and longtime Twin Cities salesman.
• Patrick Kiley, 73, of Minneapolis, another longtime Twin Cities salesman who promoted Cook's currency investment program on some 200 radio stations and a Christian amateur radio network.
Each defendant faces various counts of wire and mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. Beckman and Durand also face several tax charges. Durand faces an additional count of concealing cash transactions.
Beckman's attorney, Douglas Altman, reserved his opening statement until he puts on the defense. In the past, Beckman has insisted he was duped by Cook and was a victim himself.
Durand's attorney, Brian Toder, agreed with the government about Cook's "despicable character."
"He's a drunk and a gambler. He would go down to Rio de Janeiro two or three times a year and do terrible things," Toder said. But the attorney said Durand broke away from Cook about June 2008, making Durand "more of a whistleblower than anything else."
Until the break, Toder said, Cook's strategy seemed to be working and Durand believed it was legitimate.
Cook's on the list of potential witnesses for Kiley.
H. Nasif Mahmoud, Kiley's attorney, said his client was fooled by Cook. He blamed Cook for misrepresenting Kiley on a website and in correspondence as a "senior economist" with more than 40 years of investment advisory experience for big corporations.
"You can't hold Mr. Kiley responsible for something he did not know about and was not involved in," Mahmoud said.
MacLaughlin and his co-counsel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Perzel, anticipated that strategy. MacLaughlin said the government would prove that there was no meaningful accounting or record-keeping at any of the myriad business entities involved in the alleged scheme and what existed was a fiction. None of the defendants did anything significant to alert investors long after they had evidence that the investment program was a sham, he said.
Jurors can expect to hear from Christopher Pettengill, a former associate who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government in hopes of getting a lighter sentence. They'll also hear from several "unindicted co-conspirators," including former Star Tribune business columnist Gene Walden, who worked closely with Beckman, and James Pieron, a Michigan entrepreneur who formerly had a tech company in Switzerland.
Gordon Schepke, a 73-year-old retired pipefitter from Troy, Mich., was the first witness to take the stand. He said he and his wife listened to Kiley's radio show every week for years and that he talked with Kiley on the phone for hours before they invested about $500,000 in cash, collectible coins and precious metals stocks.
Schepke said he was influenced by Kiley's age, purported investment experience and record of financial success, together with his conservative Christian values.
"I built up a personal trust in him," Schepke said. "Now that I look back on it, I feel like I was being groomed like a pedophile would groom a child."

Letter to Troy Patch: Planning Commissioner's Remarks 'Inexcusable'

The following letter to Troy Mayor Janice Daniels was submitted to Troy Patch Editor Jen Anesi for publication in response to a public comment made by Planning Commissioner Gordon Schepke during the May 7, 2012 Troy City Council meeting.

Mayor Daniels:

I was appalled by the public comments made tonight by your supporter, Gordon Schepke. Obviously, he stole a page out of your book when he publicly attacked City Manager John Szerlag for no apparent reason. Please explain to me why you and your supporters find it necessary tobelittle Mr. Szerlag during city council meetings, especially now, when Mr. Szerlag is about to depart this city. What purpose does this serve?

I'd be curious if you thought Mr. Schepke's comments were justified; not only what he said but, more importantly, regarding the abusive manner in which his message was delivered. As mayor, do you care to respond?

Now, here is one of your supporters (and close friend) who never misses an opportunity at every meeting to "grandstand" at the podium. Every meeting, he presents his "holier-than-thou" speech about how we all must set a positive example to our children and publicly show respect to one another. And what does he do? He follows your lead and publicly attacks City Manager Szerlag during tonight's meeting, just as you did at the January 9, 2012 council meeting. Why?

Of course, what makes his actions even more inexcusable is that Mr. Schepke was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Troy Planning Commission, and he was your nominee. Are you proud of him, now? How dare he show such a lack of respect for a fellow member of this city council! Mayor Daniels, you certainly taught him well!

Thank goodness Mayor Pro Tem McGinnis called Mr. Schepke out for his actions. Mayor Pro Tem McGinnis appropriately pointed out that Mr. Schepke, as a member of the Troy Planning Commission, should be held to a higher standard since he now represents the city in his new role. She, rightfully, admonished him for his poor conduct and requested that he show respect to his fellow Troy citizens the next time he steps up to the podium.

Yet how did you, as Mayor, respond to Mayor Pro Tem's McGinnis comment? Exactly how I knew you would. You selfishly attempted to shift the focus back to yourself by posing, once again, as the victim. You totally misunderstood Mayor Pro Tem McGinnis' point. But then, why am I not surprised?

Nice try, Madame Mayor, but we all have you figured out.

Finally, I would hope that Mr. Schepke be removed from his seat on the Planning Commission as a result of his inexcusable remarks and his unprofessional conduct.

I would appreciate a response.

Sincerely,
Jeff Williams
Troy resident since 1985

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why won't Bob Gosselin pay his taxes????

As Bob Gosselin, who had multiple fundraisers for Janice Daniels at his own extremely valuable Troy home last year, is the puppetmaster behind all of these anti-tax nutjobs who have destroyed our city with their 2008 City Charter Amendment and all the rest, I guess we can't be surprised that the man doesn't even pay his own city taxes.
Again, this is the holier-than-thou religious fella who wants to force people into his brand of Christianity, even while he's getting arrested for soliciting prostitutes (well, cops pretending to be prostitutes), and wants to decide how we pay our taxes, but won't pay his own!!!???
Could these people be bigger hypocrites? Read more about Bob here and here)
So the question is...
Bob, when are you going to pay up?
Or should we bring back the debtors prison, as you seem to prefer the Dickensian-type world, put you in and throw away the key?
Here's the public evidence from The Oakland Press--2009 taxes that hadn't been paid by December of 2011?
Wish I could do that, but I'm not a Oakland County Commissioner and buds with all the bigshot politicians and pals with the County Clerk like he is.


Janice Daniels' self-serving webpage

How is it that Janice Daniels has a website that is separate from the city's, even though the header reads, "Janice Daniels - Mayor - Troy Michigan?"
Because the site is completely inappropriate in so many ways. It is not information of value to the city, but intended to promote Janice Daniels' good works and community outreach.
Ha!
We heard that when Troy played host to the South Oakland County Mayor's Association (Troy was the regular host, in spite of Daniels making it sound as if she organized, planned and paid for the party), Daniels hired a private photographer to get photos taken of her with other mayor and then put the photos on this, her campaign website, as if to hint that these other leaders support her. Apparently several mayors called and told her to take them down (True?).
Note the current front page that shows an essay competition being run by alleged journalist Charlie Langton. The city didn't choose to run that either. The essays are limited to 50 words or less, meaning it could have been held on Twitter!
Beyond that, Daniels breathlessly logs her many "Community Outreach" events on the site, including

  • March 11 - Attended 9:15am service at Faith Lutheran Church (my home church) 
    • Um, going to her own church is worthy of note? 
  • March 5 - Chaired Troy City Council Meeting 
    • Um, what else would the mayor do? 
  • March 9 - Signed Letters of Appreciation for High School Student Volunteers 
    • OK 
  • March 9 - Dinner with State Senator to discuss public relations opportunities 
    • Perhaps it was Pappageorge? Doug Tietz's boss? 
  • March 11 - talked to high school students at Subway restaurant 
    • Um, I gather she was eating at Subway and someone talked to her? 
I mean, good golly Miss Molly! If this is all she has to brag about, not much is happening. Although she spends a great deal of time at churches and promoting right wing causes, which perhaps we don't really need to know about.
By the way, the South Oakland Mayor's Association met in Southfield this past week, but don't expect THAT to go on her future calendar. She was a no-show. 
I guess she couldn't pretend to make it all about her, so why go?
Ha!
But of course my favorite image on Daniels' page remains her photo next to all the little credit card symbols!



Just the Facts

Let's take a look at pure facts regarding residential increases in the new budget cycle. 

The information below is presented from the city...verbatim...from an e-mail I received from Tom Darling.  I've added no information to it, no spin, no double-speak:

The increase per resident based on the 2012 average taxable value of $96,775 is as follows:
Refuse @ 0.09 mils - $8.71 per year
Debt @ 0.2 mils - $19.36 per year
In addition, the 2013 average residential taxable value increased $967 from 2012 ($96,775) to 2013 ($97,742) generating approximately $10.00 per residential household.

Due to the factors above, the total average residential property tax requirement increased approximately $38 from $986 in the 2012 fiscal year to $1,024 in the 2013 fiscal year.

Water/Sewer increases based on an average residential household of 3.9 mcfs per quarter are as follows:
Water increase of $2.25 per mcf- $8.78 per quarter
Sewer increase of $1.90 per mcf - $7.41 per quarter

The average increase of 8% is directly related to increased costs charged to the City from Detroit Water Sewer Department, Southeast Oakland County Sewerage Authority and the Evergreen-Farmington Sewerage Authority.


So, adding this all up, an average resident will pay $44.26 a year more for refuse, water and sewer service plus debt service (a mandated fee increase per residential vote years ago).

That's $3.69 a month.   The average cost of a latte from Starbucks is over $4 each.  How many of those do you drink a month?

Or $0.85 cents a week.  A large diet Coke from McDonalds is $1.06.  Do you ever think twice about spending a dollar on a pop?

I think I can handle this increase for the sumptuous luxury of flushing my toilet and having someone else take my garbage to the landfill.

Can you?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

All Wet

A reader raised the following concern this week:

Apparently there was a vote on the water rate last night (Monday, May 7th) and the Mayor voted no, saying she didn't support a millage increase?  That wasn't a millage increase.

The water rate has nothing to do with a millage.  The rates are set by the City of Detroit.  The City of Troy has been a benchmark city in terms of keeping our water rates low.  The recommendations from the City in terms of avoiding peak use times, odd/even watering, etc., all have been pivotal in terms of keeping our rates low. When I worked at the City, other municipalities were coming to learn from us how we accomplished this.

To clarify, the votes on Monday were both for the annual budget AND a separate agenda item vote on a water service increase.  Within that annual budget vote were millage increases for two specific areas -- the refuse collection and the debt service administration.  Neither one of these millage increases funnels into the GENERAL fund...both pay ONLY for the increase of costs to the refuse collection and toward paying debt service.

[Somewhat relevant side note] It might also interest you to note that many of the city's commercial/industrial taxpayers also pay the refuse tax, but they NEVER USE THE CITY'S REFUSE SERVICE.  The Somerset Collection, for example, is our city's largest commercial taxpayer.  They pay the city for refuse collection they DO NOT USE, then contract out their own collection service.  They are a donor to our refuse collection, and when you pro-rate out the total cost of picking up our trash divided by the number of entities that pay for it...that helps KEEP OUR OVERALL RATES LOWER.  I've never heard them complain about a) paying for refuse in the first place or b) complaining about paying the nominal increases that come up periodically or c) helping us pay less.  Perhaps we should stop charging them and see what that does to our rate...who's happy the way it is NOW?

Back to that  rate increase for our water service.  This is what is called a "pass through" increase -- the city is passing on to the end user the EXACT increase the city is being charged.  There is no profit made, there is no millage tied to it...it simply covers the increase to the cost of using water.  The rates are not set by the City of Troy.  They are set, as stated above, by the City of Detroit Water and Sewage Department from whom we receive our water.

Using water is a privilege we enjoy as citizens in a free country.  Using water in Troy is even better...Troy is considered, as the reader mentions above, the leader in the area for conserving water, encouraging residents to do the same, and thus keeps overall consumption rates down.  When overall consumption is down...we all PAY LESS.  And we only pay for what we use ourselves.

Daniels voted down the balanced budget.
Daniels voted down the water rate increase.
She was the lone dissenting vote on both.

Had the council as a whole had voted like Daniels on even just the water increase, we'd have a quite different situation here.  Consider the words of another reader: 

If they (the city) didn't pass that Detroit Water and Sewer Department rate increase along to the water customers, then the excess would have to come out of our tax payments to the city. You can see how unfair this would be when comparing a homeowner with no sprinkler system to one with a sprinkler system and/or a pool. "Why should I have to subsidize my neighbors lawn sprinklers?"

Well, Daniels would rather we all subsidize each others use.  She wants to bleed the infamous "fund balance" to cover this increase.

Like she wanted to do with the refuse increase...
Like she wanted to do with the debt service increase...
Like she wanted to do with keeping the library open seven days...
Like she wanted to do with keeping the library open in the first place...

As my grandfather used to say...in life, either you pay or you pay.  We've paid reasonable amounts of money over the years to get stellar services in Troy.  People like Mayor Daniels have now made sure we pay a lot less to get a lot less.  And now she wants to make sure we don't pay one dime more so we can eventually get what that will yield:

NOTHING.

Would rather pay a little bit now...or pay a lot more later on every level for not doing so?

Let's vote no to political ideologues like our mayor.  Let's vote to Recall Janice Daniels.


Monday, May 7, 2012

On the Hunt

During the budget study sessions last week, City Manager John Szerlag answered a question about future cuts with a metaphor.

He said that up to this point, the city has hunted all the elephants it could find.  Now there are only rabbits left.  The essential message is that all the big, impactful cuts have been made.  What's left to cut is small...less meaningful...harder to get in sight and cut.

The elephants that were most recently hunted yielded a $1.9 million dollar bounty.  That's on top of all the cuts we've talked about for the last year, which included the following:

-- the elimination of 1/3 of the city employees
-- the 10% cuts to the rest of the work force IN ADDITION to all previous cuts
-- the near elimination of the Parks and Rec department
-- the elimination of the library funding (thankfully saved by a new millage voted in by the electorate)
-- elimination of the museum and nature center (funded mainly by private donations) from the budget
-- the spin-off of the Community Center to be a self-funding enterprise
-- the privatization of golf courses
--the privatization of the building department
-- other cuts that have rendered the city to a leaner, cheaper and stepped-down version of what we previously were.

All of that puts us where find ourselves today:  operating leaner than ever in recent history, down to 1978 police levels and on "reactive" status vs. "proactive," not enough employees to provide the service level we've always had, programs cut, and quality-of-life venues on life support.

There are no more $1.9 million elephants out there that won't hurt.  A lot.

There is always talk of privatizing the police -- the largest part of our budget.  That would be a devastating blow to our city. We've already lost what made the police force the best around.  In fact, the schools now have to provide security out of their budget to pay for what the Troy Police used to provide.  Guess where the schools get their money?

Your taxes.

Guess what gets cut when they have to pay for something the taxes used to cover?

Your child's education.

There has also been talk of operating part-time as a city.  Janice Daniels has even been quoted as saying we don't NEED a full-time city.  Employees are already supposed to be taking furlough days...though many don't actually stay home on those unpaid days.  There is simply too much to be done.  And can you imagine if we received even LESS service for our tax dollar?  Already some of the loudest anti-tax, anti-government voices are complaining if they don't receive the same, high-quality, stellar service we used to enjoy.  You heard it all last winter when there wasn't enough money for 24-hour now removal.  It's always something. For example, check out this discussion led by Cristian Teodoridis, one of the losing school board candidates from last fall, on Councilman Dave Henderson's PUBLIC Facebook page (that's a whole blog issue on its own):



I don't see how anyone who has fought so hard against any recent millage increases, watched the cutting that has taken place, and seen the devastation of the budget can sincerely complain because he didn't get a personal notice that his driveway was going to be next in an ongoing project. 

You get what you pay for, sir...or rather...you don't get what you are unwilling to pay for.

So we can hunt rabbits from now on...try to keep cutting ourselves out of inevitable bankruptcy if revenues don't increase.  Heck, we can even try to do what we do in private school -- ask the end-users to donate stuff.  Residents can bring in Kleenex, pencils, toilet paper, paper towels...whatever we need here in Troy! 

Or maybe...just maybe...an educated electorate can rise up and stand for what is right.  We can remember that Troy has ALWAYS been run in a fiscally responsible way. 

We can SAVE TROY.

(Let's start be recalling Janice Daniels...)


Rubbish

Troy's mayor Janice Daniels posted these thoughts on her FB page today:
In case you hadn't realized it before, she's not fond of taxes.  She's not fond of government "taking" her dollar and giving it back to her in services, schools and safety in the great city of Troy. Indeed, during the latest round of budget talks, she stated very clearly that she could not support a budget that included any millage increases.

Troy's proposed new budget includes a millage increase of $7/year on average for residential garbage pick-up.

Janice Daniels feels that she should govern and vote the way she campaigned.  According to her comments during these talks, she'd rather cancel Troy's participation in our garbage program (which includes a negotiated low rate along with several other communities) and try to bargain alone.  She'd rather risk residents paying MORE on their own or in a new contract than simply voting in the new refuse millage rate.  In some local communities that do things this way, residents pay up to and above $200/year.

Troy residents pay about $96 now...just over $100/year with the proposed increase.  But again, Janice Daniels wants you to know that she'd rather you potentially pay MORE than vote for the $7/year increase because she said she wouldn't raise your taxes.

The only problem is that you don't govern based solely on what you said while campaigning.  You should govern based on what is RIGHT for the community.  You govern based on big-picture thinking.  You govern for ALL, not just those who voted for you.

The way Janice Daniels governs?  Well...it stinks a little bit like garbage.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Just how extreme is Doug Tietz?

I wrote about him before, long before anyone was listening.
Here is an article mentioning Tietz and his anti-affirmative action crusade in Nebraska (he also ran the much-maligned Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (read the part about Michigan). I stumbled on mention of his dirty campaign at The Henry Ford Civil Rights exhibit. There was information about this dirty deed right there next to Rosa Park's bus. Tietz must be so proud.
The first article defines him thusly:
Doug Tietz, a graduate of Morton Blackwell’s Youth Leadership School, is the former chairman of the Michigan chapter of Young Americans for Freedom and also served as secretary of the national board of YAF. He was reportedly the person who videoed a confrontation in Oklahoma over whether a signature gatherer was engaging in deceptive practices.
When Doug Tietz ran for office, he said he was a simple family man just trying to help out his town.
Bull!
Read on ---
Family man?
College extremist?
California Connection?
Funders?
Angry about library?
Old fogies!

Now they will tell you this is all about me being a political assassin on a witch hunt.
I say, if this is the man who preaches transparency, how come he hasn't made sure everyone knows his political background? Why does he hide it?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why is Doug Tietz so obsessed about race?

I wish I knew.
The fact that one of his good buddies is racist David Wisz is a pretty good hint, I'd say.
Look who signed this:
http://www.adversity.net/supertuesday2008/WashTimes_final.pdf
Poor, poor white males. Mr. Tietz seems to think they've got it pretty rough.

What kind of Troy? The principle-over-sanity crowd will run Troy into the dirt

I thought I'd posted this before, but couldn't find it.

In an episode of This American Life, they interview people who admit they would rather pay more for their own services than contribute to the common good for less.

Here is the description of the show:

What Kind of Country: All across the country right now, local and state governments are finding they can't pay their bills. Schools are losing teachers, street lights are going dark, garbage is piling up in public parks, and cops are suddenly an optional expense.
This week we travel to Colorado Springs, to Trenton and to the office of Grover Norquist to ask: Is this the kind of country we want? One where government gets smaller? Or should we all pay higher taxes, and keep government bigger?
PROLOGUE.In the town of Nowthen, MN, residents held meetings to debate whether a police force is worth the cost. And in Springfield, IL, the state police motorcycle division has been cut, leading to an increase in highway fatalities. Host Ira Glass talks about these and other examples of the battle between proponents of small government and those fighting to maintain public services. (4 minutes)
ACT ONE. THE SOUND OF SIRENS.New Jersey governor Chris Christie has led some of the most sweeping budget cuts in the country. Producer Sarah Koenig reports from Trenton, where one third of the police force has been laid off, leading to dramatically increased crime. (14 1/2 minutes)

ACT TWO. DREAM COME TRUE.Perhaps the biggest proponent of smaller government in the United States is lobbyist and activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. He envisions a government reduced in size by half, and has compelled scores of conservative politicians take pledges to never raise taxes. Host Ira Glass speaks with Norquist about his strategies and beliefs, and learns which side seems to be winning. (14 1/2 minutes)

ACT THREE. DO YOU WANT A WAKE UP CALL?After the recession hit, Colorado Springs was in rough shape. City services were being cut left and right. Then one man wrote a manifesto—a blueprint for how the city could solve its problems. Planet Money's Robert Smith tells the story. Robert is a member of the Planet Money team. (27 minutes)

I'm convinced that the source of this Tea Party-induced hysteria is that these Tietz's and Hendersons and Daniels's of the world believe that the rest of us are "undeserving" people who are slackers or laborers or sexually deviant or the wrong religion or color or nationality who are taking advantage of them by using their precious tax pennies to do useless things like read books at the library, get a cop to show up to their homes when they have a burglar and have their trash collected.
They are selfish, paranoid and extremely dangerous.
Just listen to the man in the radio piece who admits he would rather pay $300 a year to have streetlamps lit at night only in his neighborhoods, than pay $100 a year to have streetlamps on in the whole city. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/459/what-kind-of-country
It's principle over sanity!
This is how your leaders think, Troy.
Please pay attention!

Pay-For-Play: The High Price of Low Cost Government

You've heard of pay-for-play in the schools, right?

If you want your child on a sports team, a club or some other school-sponsored activity...you have to pay a user fee.  This was instituted because the school budget can only cover so much.  The 'extras' that make a school district great either have to go away or be supported by the 'users' (students) to keep them in the program.  We could argue how this is really just a way to 'tax' the residents who have children in schools, but the fact remains that if we want our children to have a well-rounded education...we have to find a way to provide it.

Well, Councilman Doug Tietz wants you to "pay-for-play" for your garbage pick-up.

The City of Troy has always provided that service to the residents as part of our property tax payment.  However, as costs increase to the city, the city passes on that increase to us.  It's nominal; the proposed increase to have our garbage collected at our curb for the next budget cycle is $7/year.

That's right...$7/year...not even a dollar a month...to pick up your garbage. 

Doug Tietz doesn't want to pass that cost on to you.  He wants to see the city move over to a system like in Rochester Hills where residents contract their own refuse collection.  I've heard of some families who pay upwards of $200/year.

In Troy?  We're paying roughly $106 WITH the increase, as stated last night during the budget study session.

Doug Tietz wants to NOT vote in a $7 refuse millage increase so that you can possibly pay up to TWICE AS MUCH for your garbage collection.

Even more disturbing is that Mayor Daniels seems to agree with part of Tietz's argument: she's against raising the refuse millage on principal.  You see, she CAMPAIGNED on being a tax fighter.  She seems willing to vote down the entire city budget -- all 300+ pages of it that have been worked on for years and explained in lengthy sessions to her and all of council -- over a $7/year residential increase because she thinks she told everyone she would never raise your taxes.

She wants us to absorb the cost in the fund balance.

Did you read yesterday's blog post?  Did you read this article on the Patch?  Have you watched the budget study session?

Janice Daniels wants us to bankrupt ourselves even sooner over $7/year because she's anti-tax.

She's apparently also anti-common sense.  She's acting -- AGAIN -- on her own personal ideology without looking at the big picture of what is best for Troy as a WHOLE.

Janice Daniels is dangerous to Troy.


Recall Janice Daniels.



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dire Straits

Monday night's special study session of the Troy City Council regarding the new budget was stunning.

It was stunning in revealing just HOW BAD the situation in Troy is...and it's not all because we could be bankrupt in five years.  It's due in large part to the complete ineptitude and ignorance of our Mayor.

After seeing a particular projection of how revenues and expenditures - combined with infusions from "fund balance" (think savings account) to balance the budget, there was rather shocked silence in the room for several moments as the information was digested.  Then discussion begain.

Councilman Tietz stated, reasonably, that the projection was only true if we did NOTHING.  By his earlier comments over the last several weeks and months, his ideas of doing something seem to involve cutting more departments, privatizing and denying funding to quality-of-life venues like the Historical Museum.

Councilman Slater asserted that was true...but that we have to do SOMETHING on both sides of the equation -- perhaps cut but ALSO generate revenue.  By Slater's past experience, we know that he would be agreeable to a reasonable millage request.


As would any clear thinking person after seeing the evidence before us...

Now keep in mind...the five-year projection was based on information that has been historically correct to about 98-99%.  Of course there are always some unknowns...the property values COULD bounce back sooner than expected.  For example, current projections show that it will take until 2034 to put us back at 2008 levels.  If we're lucky, maybe it'll only take until 2030. 

We could cut more police, more city departments, and go to a part-time municipal structure.  Of course, some of that cutting from the municipal budget means adding costs elsewhere.  The schools now pay for added security in the high school buildings, to the tune of about $400,000+, if I heard correctly last night.  That means some other area of our children's education is lacking to make up for the increased spending.

So we have that going for us.

And then we have our new mayor. One need only watch any council meeting since she took office to see how ill-equipped she is for the position of mayor.  But no scenario made it as clear as perhaps this one from last night did.  Following is an exchange between her and Councilman Slater just after the sobering news that we could likely trigger an emergency financial manager by year 2017.


Slater:  And if we would have not had the library millage, we’d be worse off this year, next year and the year after.  And that's the simple truth.

Daniels: The library would be closed if we didn’t have the millage.

Slater: The library would have been closed, but there were some people who were telling us that there was money there without the millage.

Daniels: I know, and I was one of them.

Slater: That's correct...

Daniels: and I think...

Slater:  ...and that's not true.

Daniels: ...we were right.

She thinks she was right.  She just sat and watched the presentation that shows that WITHOUT paying $2million+/year for a library out of that fund...we're bankrupt by 2017.  With the library?  It would surely be just a year or two before we hit a fund balance level that triggers an emergency manager.

Stunning.

RECALL JANICE DANIELS.