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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who's on Board?

One of the pivotal issues in the RECALL JANICE DANIELS campaign revolves around the Troy Transit Center.

For the last several years, Janice Daniels and her supporters have voiced dissent with the project.  Calling it trite names like "the train to nowhere," bringing in cronies like David Wisz, who called it the "mugger mover" and "heroin express," the intent was clear:  make residents fear and disparage it.  Cast doubt on the leaders of Troy and the business community who have long supported it.  Reference the national debt and claim that we could ill afford this project when the money could be given back to offset that debt.

Of course, all of that negative discourse was fraught with inaccuracy and fear mongering.  Though it was pointed out to her time and again that any funds refused by Troy would go to some other city for the same type of project, Mayor Daniels continued to insist that we give the money back for the national debt.  Though it was explained over and over again that the federal funding for this project could ONLY be used for the transit center, Mayor Daniels and another current council man often referred to the money being able to fund "three libraries!" during the fight to save the embattled Troy Public Library.

Of course, in statements this week, Mayor Daniels said simply those were "hyperbolic statements" made by a private citizen long before she took office...

Yet the attempts to mislead continue.  During her State of the City address, Mayor Daniels stated that "the current council and management must make certain that the full scope of the cost of this project sees constant light of day so that the taxpayers who are ultimately responsible for the maintenance and operating expenses are kept fully informed."  (This is taken verbatim from page nine of her address; read the entire speech here if you like - CLICK)

So the Mayor asserts that the taxpayers are ultimately responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operating costs, and asserts that we must be kept fully informed.

All well and good, right?


What the Mayor is leaving out is that the Troy Chamber of Commerce has stepped up and pledged to help raise revenue to cover operating costs of the project.   Amtrak has been working with the city to cover maintenance of the tracks.  Talks have been ongoing, and updates have been given frequently on public record during council meetings.  The time to formalize all of this is very, very close, and those on council and in the mayor's seat know this.

This has some residents claiming foul.  After all, nothing has been put in writing YET.  Councilman Dave Henderson called it this week merely a "loose commitment."  Never mind that the reputation of the Troy Chamber of Commerce is not only above reproach, but includes some of the largest business and tax donors in the city.  President Michele Hodges has been nothing but positive, forward-thinking and innovative in her approach to the project, and many others have worked tirelessly alongside of her facilitating this TEN-YEAR LONG project to find the best possible outcome for all, and to PREVENT Troy taxpayers from footing much - IF ANY - of the ongoing costs.

But let's talk about those costs anyway.  Estimates from the city for ongoing maintenance BEFORE the project was cut (eliminating all green measures that would have saved money in the long-term) were put at around $30,000/year.  With over 80,000 residents, that would hypothetically place taxpayer burden at$0.38/year.  That's right...THIRTY-EIGHT CENTS.  But let's be CONSERVATIVE.  Let's assume that cost could be even DOUBLED now that it will cost more to maintain because of the elimination of the green measures. Someone MIGHT be responsible for $0.76/year per resident  Now, I don't know about YOUR budget, but I know my addiction to a large diet Coke from McDonald's runs me about $1.06 per run through the drive-thru.

I'm pretty sure the Troy Transit Center will benefit me (and all of you) in far greater ways than that cooling beverage.

Another frequent claim is that the project has ALREADY cost us major dollars.  In fact, data shows approx. $406,000 has been spent over the span of the project.  That's approx. $5/resident TOTAL -- or about $.50/year of a ten-year undertaking.  Mayor Daniels and her supporters make much of that figure, emphasizing it as a king's ransom and claiming the city has been foolish to spend it.

The rest of the story is that $150K of that cost is being submitted for reimbursement, bringing total taxpayer liability down to about $0.35/resident.   

Gratuitous sarcasm: OUCH.  How will we survive this???

So let's recap:  many knowledgeable experts, business people, city employees and former mayors/council people have brought this project to near completion long before Daniels had any inkling of being Mayor, if she is to be believed that the decision to run was spur-of-the-moment last summer.  This has been a complex, multi-faceted and exciting project for a decade.  Efforts to make it work have included an eye to protecting taxpayer liability and costs.  Innovation and forward-thinking skills have been employed.  Many powerful and successful community, regional and state leaders have voiced support (including REPUBLICAN County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and  REPUBLICAN Gov. Rick Snyder). No one who has been involved in the long term wants to see this fail.

For Mayor Daniels to come in at the 11th hour and pretend to be our watch dog while leaving out half the story is disingenuous at's deceptive and deceitful at worst.  To then affirm in public on record that she MUST MAKE CERTAIN that we are to be kept fully informed and then fail to FULLY INFORM is another of her frequent failings.

Mayor Daniels is continuing to mislead the electorate.

Mayor Daniels must be RECALLED.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Scientific Evidence!

A common theme from the complaints about the Recall Janice Daniels effort from those who call themselves Conservatives is that the recall is all LEFT.

Anyone who supports it must be a Liberal.
Anyone who doesn't support the Mayor must be a Democrat.
Anyone who doesn't agree with one of them is surely bordering on Socialism.

And some of their reasoning?

They haven't YET seen a Recall sign in a yard with a Republican candidate...BUT THEY HAVE SEEN SOME RECALL SIGNS IN YARDS WITH DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE SIGNS!  GASP!

I mean...what more proof do you NEED that the Recall MUST be a left-leaning operation?  Surely every single one of the over 9,000 signatures collected represents a Democratic resident of Troy!

Never mind that those of us who collected those signatures were told by many a staunch Republican that they supported the recall...heck, some of those collecting signatures were the staunchest Republicans I've ever met!

ANYWAY...I digress.  Tonight I have for you SOLID PROOF that the Recall is NOT a completely left-leaning effort.

Of course...I now predict that supporters of Daniels will say that Knollenberg must not be a REAL Republican because anyone who supports the Recall wouldn't support a real Republican...


Clearly it's looking worse for Daniels.  Now a supporter of the Republican presidential candidate has shown his/her loyalties.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Imitation and Flattery

I'm on the Recall Janice Daniels e-mail distribution, and I received this last night:

Dear Recall Supporters,

This is what Janice has done to Troy politics.

If people who care about the library create "Friends of the Troy Public Library," because they care about the city, Janice's friends create "Friends of Troy Library with No New Taxes" to sow confusion amongst the Troy Voters.

If the people of Troy work hard
to get a library millage question on the ballot, Janice's friends circulate disingenuous petitions to get nearly identical questions on the ballot. All to confuse Troy voters.

If the city puts forth a 1.9% (CORRECTION BY KTS ON 9/26: NOT 1.9% INCREASE, 1.9 MILLAGE INCREASE) millage proposal, Janice's friends get together and start screaming that it's a 29% tax increase. Even though
Janice's friends know they're being deceptive.

I've attached a picture of the lawn signs Janice is using to fight the recall.
Notice a pattern in Janice's tactics?

Janice Daniels has surrounded herself with people who believe that lying is acceptable.

Remember, each an every one of us is vital in helping to Recall Janice Daniels.- The Recall Janice Daniels Team

The Janice response to recall:

The original for her pirated idea:

I suppose she thinks we should be flattered...after all, isn't imitation the highest form of flattery?
I suppose she thinks the voters of Troy are stupid and/or easily confused...after all, isn't this the most recent attempt to trick in a long line of such attempts? And before anyone can say she had nothing to do with it...check out the official filing (click to enlarge):

I suppose she hopes the voters are passive and won't attempt to "follow the money" to see that the person on the paperwork is none other than Janice herself.  That's Janice's address.  She cannot deny association with this particular sign or its intent.  And the treasurer named on the filing? That's Ray Watts, her friend, frequent shadow, speaker and supporter -- oh, and her campaign  manager/finance guy from the November mayoral election.  

The response from RECALL supporters has been quick and to the point:

-- Well, now we know why it took her so long to get signs made. She had to wait for ours to go up so she could copy them!
-- Appalling. Really. Reason # 384 to RECALL.
-- Why am I not surprised???
-- Smoke and mirror,s make the no vote look like a yes and vice versa. very old tactics. I hope she doesn't believe any of this to be original.
To be honest, the initial reaction IS to be somewhat incensed...that's what I've seen more of than anything.  But then this astute observer added:
Looking again, tho, this strategy is only perpetuating the RECALL brand, which the Recall folks smartly established. Yes recall, no recall, she's just spending more $$ to get people thinking about the recall. The more they see it, the more they think about it, the more they think about can only hope the right conclusion is reached. Keep it front and center. PR 101.
I have always said...give this woman enough time in front of a microphone, and she'll hand you enough material to prove her ineptitude.  Give her supporters enough time and a little money, they'll do the campaigning AGAINST her.  
Looks like they've succeeded again.
Spread the word about how Mayor Daniels is trying to flatter the recall team...and vote YES to recall her in November.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pillars of Sand

I attended last night's Troy Family Daze Opening Ceremonies...the second time I've seen that particular portion of the festival in any iteration of the festival itself. It's a very heart-warming and homey portion of the event.  Local Scout troops serve as Honor Guard, the Troy Community Chorus provides entertainment with patriotic songs, and the organizers of the festival have a chance to speak, share and  recognize each other's hard work.  Troy High School alumni and Fox 2 reporter Roop Raj was the MC.  Roop ALWAYS says nice things about our city, and it's so appreciated to have that support for what we all know is a great community.

Several local dignitaries were also in attendance, including  Councilmen Dave Henderson and Wade Fleming, County Commissioner Bob Gosselin, Mayor Janice Daniels and Troy's Distinguished Citizen Terry Knight.  The Mayor spoke briefly...albeit uncomfortably...and the reception from the individuals in attendance was cordial.

I couldn't help but notice, however, a distinct dichotomy from last year's opening.  First was the crowd...this year's was nearly half what I remember counting last year.  Then there were those dignitaries...last year, the entire council and several individuals from the city were there...some with family and friends.  Granted, the ceremony was a full hour and a half later this year, and I understand that personal commitments often interfere.  But even local candidates running for office, the mayor's own supporters (who are ALWAYS with her) and other recognizable local faces who attend nearly every political, social or family event were noticeably absent.

It was suggested that maybe it's merely another consequence of the Mayor's own actions since taking office.  Perhaps people are distancing themselves from her in growing numbers.  I have to say I was inclined to agree as I watched the ceremony come to a close.  What I saw later only cemented that hunch.

After the opening, a small group of us Recall Janice Daniels supporters walked the midway -- a noisy cluster of rides, food trucks, eager teenagers and frazzled parents of toddlers running excitedly through the crowds.  Though we wore t-shirts printed with a recall logo, we did not hand out anything nor purposefully engage attendees.  In fact, we often chatted about everything BUT the recall...our lives, our children, the fair, and so forth.  We would stop every so many feet and look at the nausea-inducing rides and marvel at anyone who could partake without losing their just-ingested corn dog or funnel cake.  We were approached many times, though, by other residents asking excitedly where they could get t-shirts.  We were asked by some, "Who is Janice Daniels?" and why should she be recalled.  We were told of  several "YES" votes for the November RECALL election.

A short time later, we noticed a solitary figure make her way slowly through the area.  It was the Mayor.  She was smiling blankly and looking at no one in particular, and did not stop to speak to anyone at any time I happened to see her.  Though she understandably averted her eyes (and rather dramatically turned her entire body away)  FROM US, she didn't appear to be avoiding anything or anyone else.   Two or three times she crossed our path in the small circle of the midway.  Only near the end of our tour of the area did I see someone purposefully approach her with an outreached hand to shake hers.

It was one of the Troy Family Daze workers.  He was carrying a bag of trash out to some dumpsters.  He smiled, she responded in kind and reached to shake his hand, and he said quite loudly, "DID YOU GET RECALLED YET?"  He didn't miss a beat or wait for an answer, and he walked away.  The Mayor let go of his hand and moved on as well...alone...again.

Now, it's no secret how I feel about the Mayor's ACTIONS.  I've written, spoken and shared on social media that she's been a disappointment to me and growing numbers of Troy citizens since long before she took office.  I don't like her POLITICALLY, but I don't know her PERSONALLY.

I do know, however, that what I saw last night made me feel  some level of sympathy for Janice Daniels, the person.  It's obviously lonely at the top of her particular heap.  It makes it even more clear that the most humane thing that could happen for her now would be to resign.

Because if the reception WE received by citizens willing to QUITE LITERALLY take the RECALL shirts off our backs is any indication...she's on her way out anyway...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hail to the Chief

At last night's City Council meeting, Troy Fire Department's Fire Chief, William S. Nelson, was scheduled to be recognized for being the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs "Fire Chief of the Year."

He was in the crowd at the meeting in his (impressive!) full dress uniform surrounded by his loving family.

About six minutes in to the meeting, Mayor Daniels read a short explanation of the award, the Chief's history and accomplishments, and his experience in Troy.  Then she asked him to stand so the room could applaud him.

Two minutes later -- eight minutes in to the meeting -- Mayor Daniels called the Director of Community Affairs to the podium to explain another ceremonial recognition.  This one was for Mayor Daniels's son in honor of his military service.  You can read about it in a recent post on this blog.

That portion of the meeting lasted over four minutes.  The Mayor's son was invited to the podium, the Mayor read the proclamation out loud to him, and she hugged her son.  The audience clapped.  Pictures were taken.

Both men deserve recognition.  Make no mistake about what I am saying here.  I honor and respect the Mayor's son's military service.  She has every right to be a proud mother and offer him the chance to be recognized as any other Troy resident serving in the military should be.

But Chief Nelson deserved more than he got.  He should have been brought to the podium.  He should have had a special commemorative proclamation written for him.  He should have had a presentation of the same and pictures taken as well.  I've seen countless similar presentations over the last few years.

The Mayor has seen the same...she's been at many of the same meetings I've attended where it's happened.

Her failure to recognize Chief Nelson appropriately and/or to encourage the rest of the council to do so is yet another failure of her leadership.  It gives the impression that NO ONE, not even the long-standing, highly lauded and accomplished Fire Chief, is above her or her special interests.

Shame on Mayor Daniels.

But HAIL! to Chief Nelson.  I applaud you, sir.  Thank you for protecting Troy.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Honoring all of our heroes?

This will be one order of business for the Troy City Council on Monday night -- praising Janice Daniels and her son. That's fine. 
I too thank him for his service. My brother also served. Many, many people do and we are very thankful to them.
This feels so very inappropriate because it is only about the two of them. No attempt is made to honor others.
And no doubt, the fact that Janice Daniels's son is home is her reason for moving the State of the City speech from the spring when it is always held, to the fall, when her son is available and she is entering a recall election. I feel a little embarrassed for the young man who has served his country and now has been forced into this publicity stunt by his mother.
Please read the perspective of another veteran below.

from Tim's Facebook page
The Troy City Council will be issuing a proclamation for the mayor's son for his service in the Marine Corps and welcome home. Many of you know that I served honorably in the Corps as well with combat service in Vietnam and I would never slight any honorable Marine or for that matter, any member of any service. However, I have a real problem with this act by the council and have sent the followi
ng email to each of them:

Whereas I appreciate the service of Cpl. Daniels as I served honorably in the US Marine Corps as well; I believe this proclamation sets a bad precedence. Are you planning to do this for every service member that returns from Troy? In our parish alone, there are over 30 young men and women serving in the US Armed Services that are residents of Troy. By only recognizing one person, you are slighting the accomplishments of these other fine veterans when they return to their home city.

Furthermore I believe that this proclamation is politically motivated by singling out one service member who is the son of the Mayor that is faced with a recall in November.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Who's that Dick Lanier guy?

Richard Lanier is one of Janice Daniels' loudest supporters, particularly on the second generation TCU Facebook page. Ever wonder about this man, who claims teachers, police and other people who give their lives to protect and teach our children are the looters of our society?
You won't be surprised. Selfish is as selfish does...

from Kelly

Based on the Troy Citizens United Facebook page (TCU), one Dr. Richard Lanier, DVM, appears to be extremely ANTI - big government and pro anything that is against any form of government, barring one Mayor Daniels. The problem, you see, is our gigantic, out-of-control government, incorporating all of the tea party "buzz" words you can imagine: "big government, liberal media, burying our grandchildren in debt, bring our country back." I have had the pleasure of dealing with Dr. Lanier regarding my very neighborhood. He seems to believe there is a thin line between public and private. Let me explain…

Dr. Lanier and I live in the same neighborhood. This neighborhood, like most in Troy, has a public elementary school within the confines of a 4 square mile. Dr. Lanier's home backs up to said public school. So his back yard is filled daily, for 9 months out of the year, with children walking the track, playing soccer, being, well, children. American children. Socialist children who rely on PUBLIC TAXPAYING DOLLARS for their education. The nerve.

Well, Dr. Lanier's home also happens to be situated right next to 12 feet of city property, owned by the city of Troy since the development was built. Always, always city property. One can assume the purpose of this city property was to allow for access to the above mentioned public school. Based on police recorded complaints filed over the years, a public walkway for children to access the school. Except for when Dr. Lanier felt that these children were bothersome or impeding on his beautiful landscaping. That is when he decided to tell those children, always when an adult is not present with the child, mind you, that they were not allowed to walk on "HIS" property, they must walk around the block through the teachers parking lot to access the school. That they may not access their very own public school on city property. He has even turned his in-ground sprinkler system on students (this is not hear-say - I will gladly refer you to the young adult who was the victim of this). Dr. Lanier has encroached on city property, planted trees and put up a fence in efforts to hinder usage of this city property - that the TAXPAYERS OWN!

Well, after years of children falling over concealed rocks hidden under compost, getting their bicycles stuck, being told they cannot walk on the grass, and sprinklers conveniently being put on at 8:45 am and 3:35 pm (school start and dismissal times) , we, the American taxpayers, had enough. We started a petition, appealed to both the city and the school district, brought forth a vote buy city council in November of 2010. And low and behold, Troy City Council narrowly approved that this city property was, in fact for public usage, and approved a sidewalk. Now - this did NOT cost taxpayers any additional funds. The cost came from the sidewalk repair fund, a fund in place for almost 20 years for instances such as these. Dr. Lanier demanded that no fence be put up on his side of the sidewalk. The city complied. Only when schoolchildren began walking or riding their bicycles close to Dr. Lanier's lawn did he INSIST the fence then be installed on his side to protect his landscaping. At the taxpayers expense, nonetheless.

Based on the Troy Times article from November 25, 2010, Dr. Lanier said this would negatively effect his property value, and he would lose all privacy in his dining room. It would seem to me Dr. Lanier should have considered this before purchasing a home adjacent to city property and behind a public elementary school. Score one for the American children. Surely this is the type of American Dr. Lanier wants to live in, right? Surely.