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...