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Friday, March 22, 2013

Hoping We're Not Paying Attention...

And speaking of misinformation regarding the library...remember Proposal 1, the citizen initiated attempt to fund an independent library?

Many of us knew that then-Councilman Howrylak was aware of the 'fake' ballot proposals, yet did not disavow those fraudulent attempts to stand in the way of democracy.  He himself then sent out a VERY misleading letter with inaccurate and misleading information regarding the formation of an independent library.

NEVER did he meet with Cathy Russ to get the information straight.  NEVER did he meet with the REAL Friends of the TPL to get the information straight.  And now??  Now, as a State Rep., he's trying once again to interfere with the library and the will of Troy voters.

From Rhonda Hendrickson...

Our new State Rep. Howrylak, is currently in Lansing and Troy trying to get support and a co-sponsor to change the PA 164 library bill (that was used for Prop 1) to make it harder to get a petition on the ballot for libraries across the state. It would have terrible repercussions for small communities across Michigan.

He is arguing of course that this is meant to stop fake ballots proposals. But his bill is asking for more signatures than it would take to get your name on a ballot for US Congress. He thinks that it should be harder to change laws (especially ones he doesn't like). This from the man that changed our city charter and put this city into a tremendously damaging headlock when he made it impossible for our city council to make decisions about funding our city adequately.

Most libraries across Michigan are already PA 164 or district libraries. There are few that are city departments like the Troy Public Library. So, why is he doing this on a statewide basis? Because this is about Troy. He is teeing this topic up for the 2016 millage renewal to come.

It is his intent and those who support him (and we know who they are now) to force the city to reabsorb the library budget into the city general fund and do away with the millage. There is groundwork being laid here and while everyone that fought to save the library isn't looking and enjoying the library, there are efforts to go back in time on this issue.

Why doesn't Rep. Howrylak just write a bill that makes it illegal to put fake proposals on a ballot? That would be a more wide-ranging bill covering many issues. Because that doesn't advance his personal agenda. It doesn't undo the thing he is mad happened and something the majority of Troy voters support. Plus, that is a tactic that has proven affective for his backers.

The library is operating well under the current millage, administration and monies. As Cathy Russ said in the special council meeting with the current staffing and money they are "running in place" but not getting much ahead. Remember that the voters approved a .7 mils, 6-day library millage. Going back under the umbrella of the general fund would pit the library against police, roads, infrastructure and name a thousand other categories for funding. While the city may have gotten some concessions from contracts this year, once again it is a one and done event. Can you say SUSTAINABLE and reliable funding for the library over time? That is what our millage accomplishes.

So, library lovers and warriors, keep your eyes on Rep. Howrylak, he is moving stealthily around Lansing and Troy trying to make it harder to save our library in the near future. He waxes poetic on his Congressional website about transparency, and yet when I emailed him a month ago asking for any and all information regarding this bill he is working on... well, I am still waiting for a response. So, he is about as transparent as ink.

Email him, go to his office hours. Tell him to stop playing political games with our library.

Enough is enough.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear Councilman Henderson:

Dear Mr. Henderson,

Over the last year of your service to our city, I've seen you grow and learn.  I've seen you attempt to ask the right questions of yourself and city administration.  I've heard words come out of your mouth that hint at a new understanding regarding the city budget and its limitations.  I've seen you reach out to meet with local residents --- and though you often refer to them as political "activists," they really are no different from you: concerned Troy citizens wanting what is best for all of us.

But (and you knew there was a "but" coming, right?) in the past, you were one of the loudest voices claiming that we didn't need the library millage.  You said the money was there in the fund balance to support it without a new tax, and that once in office you'd ask to refund the millage to the people. 

You stated that not only did we not need the millage, we likely wouldn't need it to be renewed in five years. Honestly, I understand how you could have come to that conclusion.  I understand the atmosphere of mistrust and misinformation that was being fed by all forces in the city. 

Like many others, I studied every detail of that budget.  Everything I pored over told me you were wrong about "then." And I sincerely hope that you are right about five years from now.  Because I can't think of anyone in this city who would be displeased with allowing that particular millage to disappear.  Having it do so would mean we've recovered enough to continue funding our world-class library from increased revenues. 

It would be a win on all levels.

So we disagreed about then...and we share the same hope for later.

But (another "but!") let's look at NOW.  Recently, you listened to Cathy Russ present her strategic library plan, which included the possible necessity of hiring more employees.  You said that you'd support the hiring of new library employees as long as it was covered by that same library millage.  Are you beginning to recognize that taking it from fund balance wouldn't have been wise...and that being able to use the reasonable funding from the millage was best?

Given all of that, we want to ask you something: Is it possible that you were wrong about that millage?  Can you see that the money was never there?

And if you can...will you say it out loud?

I do not ask seeking to embarrass you, nor do I ask with rude intent.  Rather, I ask with heart felt sincerity because I believe that you wish to do good for our city.  I ask with the desire for your help in continuing to patch the divide.  The divide is slowly closing, but that could still use a bit more TLC.  I ask so that the last traces of mistrust and misinformation can be wiped away.

Please, Mr. Henderson, consider admitting you were wrong. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Taste of Troy today

Went to last year's Taste of Troy and it was all political intrigue.
Now Janice Daniels is out of office, the city is being run calmly and beautifully and there is no reason to vote for anyone for mayor but Dane Slater.
Janice Daniels' supporters are backing Marty Knollenberg, the anti-tax politician who keeps running for offices to live off our tax dollars. Let's not return to the disastrous overtly political leadership this man offers.
Let's Keep Troy Calm.
Keep Dane Slater!