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Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Advice to Recall Supporters

For the last few elections I have volunteered to stand at my precinct and hold the sign of the cause I supported. Always, the folks from Troy Citizens United, the group Janice Daniels was a spokesperson for (do a Google search of the Oakland Press) were against me.

Their one and only issue has always been taxes. They care about taxes more than they care about libraries, schhols, children and community. Don't believe me? Here's a quote from a Janice Daniels letter to the Oakland Press on May 22, 2011:
"What about those folks who prefer to keep the hard earned fruits of their labor in their own pocketbooks instead of in the taxman’s coffers or the politico’s war chest — Guilty — Uncaring, unconcerned, uncommitted to the advancement of (you fill in the blank for the issue of the moment: Children, libraries, home values, poor people, old people, safe streets, parks, museums, fairs, Washington insiders). The list of issues that you should be ashamed of yourself for not supporting is as endless as the requests for taxes or retributions or contributions or revenue enhancements or commitments or condemnations."
That is how Janice and her friends think.
They originated, supported and got passed the Tax Cap Amendment of 2008, which led to all of the budget crises we have had since. Capping our taxes when times were good meant that when property values went into free fall, our city lost a huge percentage of its revenue. Dozens of wonderful people were laid off or left the city. Dozens of services were lost. The library was put in jeopardy. All thanks to the TCU and their band of extremist, merry tax haters. 

In November of 2010, I was supporting the Troy Public Library-saving Proposal 1. It was very difficult because at the time, Ed Kempen, a Troy resident and TCU member and friend of Martin Howrylak and Janice Daniels, was distributing a petition which he claimed would save the Troy Library for free! Of course, it was nonsense. They even called the petition the “Friends of the Troy Library with No New Taxes.” Of course, many people stopped listening after the “Friends of the Troy Library,” which is the name of a REAL group of TRUE library lovers.

They thought our trusted supporters of the library were behind Kempen's petition. They were not.

The name, like so much else the TCU folks have done, was a trick.

These people are full of cheats and tricks.

Even in front of the Troy Public Library and at the precincts, these people stood in front of Troy voters and insisted that they could save the library with no new taxes. They convinced enough people to change their votes that Proposal 1 was defeated by only about 600 votes.

The day of that election, I took a break from standing outside with a sign in support of Proposal 1 to go in to vote.

Inside, a woman was going to the poll workers and begging them to explain to her why there were four library proposals. I heard her tell them that she wanted to vote yes to save the library for ten years, but she didn't understand why they sounded so similar.

Stone faced, the poll workers told her she would have to do her best to figure it out. The woman began to cry.

I walked over to her and explained that Proposal 1 was the real proposal, and that the rest were fake proposals put on the ballot by anti-tax extremists, like Janice Daniels, Ed Kempen and Martin Howrylak, to confuse the issue. Bob Gosselin has reportedly taken “credit” for the fake proposals. (Remember all the fundraisers he had at his house for Janice Daniels? They are very fast friends!) The voter was very grateful and voted for the right one.

I was inside the precinct for only about 5 minutes and experienced one person panic over the dirty political trick played by the Troy Citizens United. Imagine what it was like all day in there! Imagine how Howrylak, Daniels and Gosselin laughed and laughed and laughed.

What a disgrace! (This year I even had the occasion to ask Mr. Howrylak why he and his friends had done that. All he had to say was, 'wasn't it stupid that the law only required 50 signatures to get a petition on the ballot?' And he wants to be our State Rep? Sigh.) 

In 2010, Howrylak also put out a thoroughly deceitful, anti-Proposal 1 letter just days before the election that misled Troy citizens into believing they would have to pay millions of dollars for an all new building and books. He claimed it didn't mislead them, but I was in the rest room with 5 women from a council meeting who repeated that lie – saying they learned it from Howrylak.

I went back outside the polling place, and stood calmly showing my sign, as anti-tax, anti-library people swarmed around citizens who were walking in to vote, shoving their fake petition in their faces, demanding they vote no on Proposal 1. There I stood helplessly, a short woman surrounded by all of those aggressive men. I also felt that if I approached the very aggressive anti-library extremists in front of other voters, I would endanger myself and the vote.

This is how they work. Lies and intimidation. And they often win that way.

Word is out that on Tuesday, Tea Party friends of Janice Daniels from around the state will come en masse to bully people at the precincts once more. Stephanie Jasky, a huge friend and supporter of Janice Daniels (her son was the first mayor for a day, chosen by the mayor!), wrote this last night about Janice Daniels, our Tea Party mayor and the election:
The radical Democrats and gay activists are trying to recall Troy Mayor Janice Daniels, co-founder of the Troy and Central Macomb Tea Parties. They did a huge glossy mailing calling her the Tea Party ATTACK! Lets show them what we are all about!  Lets keep our Mayor!
(Point of order -- you don't have to be an extremist to be against Janice Daniels, you only have to be normal!)
We already know that the leader of her PAC is from Alpena. That PAC person said that as Janice Daniels goes, so goes the Tea Party movement in Michigan. That is her signal to Tea Party nuts that this is a do or die election not just for our Tea Party mayor, but for the party itself. 

They are desperate.

They will do anything.

If you volunteer for the Yes Recall side at the polls, I personally recommend you be prepared with your elevator speech of your reasons that Janice Daniels should be recalled and tell as many people, as nicely as you can. Bring printed materials, if possible.

And if the volunteers from the other side become aggressive, obnoxious or unpleasant, take video and make a police report.

If you are voting but not volunteering, perhaps you should park as close as you can so you don't have to run through the pro-Janice gauntlet.

Or if you are REALLY brave, engage the pro-Janice people so they waste their time on you and leave other people alone.

These people are skilled at aggressively trying to flip people at the polls, at any cost.

One more tip. If you are volunteering at the end of the night when the polls close, you are permitted to walk in at 8 p.m.and hear the results read out. The results at my precinct have usually been the same as the whole Troy vote. Share what you learn with other volunteers.

I am not a leader in this recall movement, only a volunteer. These ideas are my own and no one else's.

Let's win this thing!


  1. More advice from a poll place worker in previous elections. Try not to stand out there alone. There are usually other candidate supporters there, (Kerwin, Syed, Schilling, etc.) try to stay in their cluster. Do not hesitate to call or talk to the people inside the polling place if you suspect wrong doing by the opposition. Good luck and thank you for taking up this cause.

  2. I thought it was illegal for them to engage people going to vote.

    1. You are fair game to be engaged, although not harassed, until you are within 100 feet of the entrance door of the Precinct.

    2. What is the difference between being engaged and being harassed?

    3. Look Anon 6:01 PM, I don't mean to be rude, but if you don't know the difference, I'm not going to waste my time explaining it to you. I suggest that you consult a dictionary.

    4. Well golly gee, John. My question was not specifically directed to you, and believe me your rudeness is not going to ruin my day.

      Perhaps my question was not clear. According to Troy ordinances, or whatever revelant law(s) may apply, there must be a difference between agressively engaging someone and harassing them. I would like to where the line gets crossed. I'm sure the dictionary does not reflect local laws in this way, and nobody should escalate things unnecessarily.

      I thought a pollworker might have this knowledge or be able to direct me to where to look. Incidentally, John aren't you holding yourself out as an expert on voting law? Perhaps you might be able to understand what I'm asking. If noone knows, I will find out.

  3. You once again mischaracterized something that I just corrected you on. And throughout your missive you are mixing your opinions and facts together. That's all I'll say about that because my zeal for accurate reporting may lead some to believe that I don't support the recall.

    Until 2009, I was a poll worker for many, many years. I'm relatively sure that not much other than the introduction of laptops has changed.

    You say: "Inside, a woman was going to the poll workers and begging them to explain to her why there were four library proposals. I heard her tell them that she wanted to vote yes to save the library for ten years, but she didn't understand why they sounded so similar.

    Stone faced, the poll workers told her she would have to do her best to figure it out. The woman began to cry."

    Your use of the term "Stone faced" would lead one to believe that you are implying that the poll workers were uncooperative. When in fact, they were doing exactly what they were directed to do by the City Clerk. Poll workers cannot interpret the ballot for the voters.

    You also say:

    "I walked over to her and explained that Proposal 1 was the real proposal, and that the rest were fake proposals put on the ballot by anti-tax extremists, like Janice Daniels, Ed Kempen and Martin Howrylak, to confuse the issue."

    What you did is illegal. You are not allowed to "help" a voter interpret the ballot within the polling place. If the poll workers were aware of what you were doing they should have stopped you.

    If you don't believe me since I am an "outsider" and as such my facts would be suspect, you can verify these points with Aileen.

    Please understand that I am trying to be helpful. I wouldn't want you to accidentally get yourself arrested even though you are not one of my favorite people.

    You also say:

    "And if the volunteers from the other side become aggressive, obnoxious or unpleasant, take video and make a police report."

    That may make you feel good later, but it's not going to help anything for the rest of the day. But if I may suggest, you can do something to get it stopped right away. Once when I worked the polls there were some overly aggressive types that harrassed a couple of women when they were coming to vote. The women reported it to me so I went out and confronted the miscreants to no avail. I then had the City Clerk's office contact the police. The police did indeed come out and talk to the offenders. There were no more problems after that.

    Thanks for letting me know you'll be at the Precinct. I'll be sure to vote absentee as you might harrass me at the Precinct since I support Mr. Howrylak.

  4. I said they were stone faced and indeed they were. You are correct. I didn't mean to insult them. I meant to insult the anti-American people in Troy who would toy with our ballot.

  5. I helped that woman as a citizen. I told her what she wanted to know.

    1. It was clear that you helped that woman as a citizen and that you were not acting in any kind of an official capacity. It was clear that you told her what she wanted to know. I have no idea why you are repeating that and ignoring the issue. The issue being what you did is ILLEGAL even as a citizen and likely a Federal Offense since it involves the sanctity of the voting place.

      That was a nice thing that you wanted to do. However, you should have taken her outside beyond the 100 foot marker and explained it to her there.

    2. John, if what Sharon did was illegal, why didn't the poll workers present stop her or give her the advice (discuss it beyond the 100 foot marker)? Every time I've voted, it's been remarkably silent among voters, so it would've stuck out like a sore thumb someone telling someone else how to vote. It sounds to me like the poll workers in this example were complicit and it was up to them to have informed Sharon of the law. Maybe they were relieved that this upset woman with potential for creating a scene got her answers.

    3. Look Anon 6:29 PM, there's no "if" about it, it was illegal. You ask: "why didn't the poll workers present stop her....". Although I'm one of the sharpest knives in the drawer, I'm not clairvoyant so I can't answer that question. I wasn't there and I assume neither were you and what happens when you vote is irrelevant. The scene here could be entirely different than what you experience when you vote. I already told you that the poll workers should have stopped her. That's their responsibility and part of the job. Again I wasn't there, I don't know why they failed to do their job. Yes, they should have informed Sharon of the law. However, it was still illegal regardless. As far as "Maybe they were relieved.....". They could have been just as relieved if the discussion was taken outside where it belonged and the woman got her answers there.

  6. Yes, please call the police if thugs harrass you at the polls.

  7. Is the thing you said you corrected me on about Janice being involved in the Tax Cap? I don't know who you are so I don't know what advice of yours I have ignored.
    I am glad to hear you are voting to recall our mayor.

    1. Yes. Aren't I the only John who has been posting here recently?

    2. Well there are probably some Johns posting anonymously, And when I click on your name nothing happens. For all I know you are actually a Moira and I am a Janice!

  8. A couple other things I remember from poll worker training years ago is if you are going into vote 1) You are not allowed to bring campaign literature in with you thus I always hide my cheat sheet of who/what I am voting for in my pocket or purse 2) You can't wear any campaign apparel or pins, so leave the Recall pins and t-shirts at home when you go to vote.
    Polling precinct captains are well aware of the rules of how close campaigners can be to the entrance and how they engage voters. If you feel you are being intimidated or that they are too close to the entrance, do complain once inside. The polling supervisor will call the city clerk and/or police. Also I believe there are usually poll watchers from both political parties present inside the precinct to ensure fair voting practices.
    Thanks Sharon & April for the tips. My spouse has a shift at a polling place and I hope he doesn't get beat up by the anti-recall, Tea Party bus people from out-of-town...I'll tell him to find some Kerwin, Taj, Burns supporters to hang around!

  9. OK, John, what do you call people who work together? Fellow travellers? Janice may not have been part of the 2008 cap, I don't know. Her current friends are all the people who were. And the tax cap and their thwarting all attempts to save the city by raising taxes -- elections the cap FORCED -- did help end up in Janice's election. That is indeed my opinion, but I think you would agree it is true, if you thought about it.

    1. Yes, I use "Fellow travellers" terminology on occasion, I love to use it where it fits like a glove. Yes, a couple of her "friends" worked to get the "cap" on the ballot in 2008. If Janice had been engaged at the time, she LIKELY would have jumped on it. However, she wasn't, so that's why I object when you overreach and add that to her long list of "what not to do". You have plenty of legitimate data, you don't need to embellish.

      I have given it a lot of thought. Way more than I should have. But, I can't agree on what helped her win the election, because I really don't know and I don't think you can honestly say that you do either, if you really, really rethink it. Bear in mind, I'm not saying it didn't, I'm saying it's a big unknown. One could make the case that if there had been no cap and the city had raised the millage by 1.9 mills that she would've won by an even bigger margin because a lot of tax adverse people would have been ticked about that. Here again, Im not saying that would've happened, but it's possible. Think about it.

      And by the way, while these people who you don't like were successful in getting the "Tax Cap" on the ballot, they are not the only ones to blame if you don't like it. How about all our friends and neighbors who actually voted it in? Or didn't vote? Why do you absolve them?

      And while I'm at it, you give the Mayor an abundance of blame for the terrible things she does, which she justly deserves. But here again, how about spreading some of that blame around. Maybe some of the blame should go to the 74% who couldn't get off their butts to vote and thereby enabled her. Maybe then the Mayor wouldn't have had the opportunity to generate all this angst because she wouldn't be Mayor!.

      That is indeed my opinion, but I don't expect you to agree even if you can see the logic, if for no other reason than because I'm not a sacred T/FT.

    2. I voted against the cap and started this blog to try to save the library. When Janice Daniels ran I did my best to let people know what I knew about her. The media (except the OP - Bonnie!) never ever mentioned that she was a founder of several tea parties, even though it was easy to find out.
      I do blame others -- voters and the rest -- for the cap. I knew in advance what it meant, though yes, I too couldn't have predicted the recession. I remember a TCU member blamed John Szerlag for not predicting the recession!!! LOL.
      I say Janice benefitted because the folks who conceived of the tax cap (was it an ALEC idea?) are the ones (including janice) who spoke of misconduct and malfeasance on the part of council and Szerlag because of the mysterious decline in money around city hall, when of course the decline was due to the recession. I knew well that before the tax cap, the council could have raised taxes temporarily (as they had done about a dozen times, I believe, ask Randy Husk) to get us through the crisis.
      I not only blame the voters for voting foolishly, I blame all of the people still fighting the economic battles in Troy who don't mention that cap EVERY DAY and try to get it overturned.
      I know people were hurting when the tax proposals came up. My family was hurting and still is. But that's precisely why we all needed the library. When times are really bad people use the library for job searches and even printing out or emailing resumes. And my kids needed the library for BOOKS. That's why paying $8 bucks a month to save the library for 10 years was a great idea! Do you realize the library tax we voted on in 2011 will come up for vote again in 2016! But the TCU told many untruths about Proposal 1.
      But I digress. I feel I know more about the economics of Troy than our illustrious mayor does. That her supporters say she is a whiz and is saving the city (they claim she balanced the budget for the first time -- the budget has always been balanced!!!), when she admits she said nothing during the months of meetings over the budget because she was overwhelmed!
      Anyway. I know you think I am crass and rude, but someone needs to shout this stuff from the rooftops to get someone to listen.
      I said in an article in the Oakland Press about 2 years ago that I felt like a Who living in Whoville (Horton Hears A Who), because I had to scream pretty loud to be heard and prove that we who love our city and our library and understand the economics of running a city ARE HERE! WE EXIST!
      I'm hoping to retire from local politics after this election. Either because we have succeeded in getting the people of Troy to pay attention, or because I see that my efforts for these two years have been hopeless.
      But no matter what happens on Tuesday, I agree with you that the problem IS the uninformed voter. I have heard MANY people say that after the Janice fiasco they will never vote for a candidate if they don't know enough about them to make an educated decision. Come whatever may, that, at the very least, is a win.

  10. There will also be some Romney supporters who will be voting YES on the recall you can probably hang out with.

  11. Thanks Sharon. I am one of the many Romney supporters voting Yes on the recall. To me there is no other choice. I want to save our city's reputation and get rid of the circus type environment Janice and her supporters have caused.