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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. 


  1. Henderson will admit to nothing. It's just not in him to do so.

  2. Maybe he will surprise the most cynical of us. He has done it before. I would also like to add my request to Sue's. Please Councilman Henderson. Will you stand up for what is right for our city and acknowledge that the library millage was necessary and was the appropriate approach to funding the library? Tell the citizens of this city that there was no hidden money for the library. Tell the citizens of this city that protecting the fund balance is the prudent thing to do.

  3. "I do not ask seeking to embarrass you, nor do I ask with rude intent"
    Yes you do Sue. It must be hard for you to be so righteous. You have been a monkey on Mr. Henderson's back for as long as I can remember. I've witnessed tremendous growth from him, and I'm satisfied with that. You, on the other hand, by virtue of another feeble attempt at pot stirring, would never be satisfied.

    1. I'm glad you are satisfied with Mr. Henderson's growth.

      I'm not glad you aren't hoping for wrongs to be righted or for accountability to be shown. I think we all deserve to hear what we know Mr. Henderson must have figured out by now: the money was never there to support an ongoing, long-term-albeit-stepped-down library WITHOUT that millage.

    2. Anon: 7:54: Give me a break. Mr. Henderson was loud, raucous, obnoxious and willful in stirring the pot for years before Sue ever posted a thing on this blog. He and the TCU riled this community. He said he was running for office to get on the "inside" and learn more. He's there. He owes the community an answer. He has tremendous power to completely remove the pot from even existing in the first place. Will he? Will he share what he now knows about the realities of the Library millage?

  4. Rhonda HendricksonMarch 21, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    It hardly seems right to bring this up when this fight to save the library is still a healing wound. But 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.

    1. Thank you, Rhonda, for these latest troubling developments at the State capitol.

      I saw a segment on the Today show recently that mentioned the public library as one of the key components for this family that lives on $14,000/year.
      Here's the link if anyone missed it:

      Check out particularly 1:00 - 1:52. This family "takes advantage of community resources".

      It brings home to me that the Tea Party/Troy Republican Party is the Me party and although they tout being for the Poor Taxpayer they are really for the Rich, who can afford Kindles and Kindle subscriptions and don't want to fund libraries.

      Other than using public libraries and I imagine public schools, this family lives by obstensible Tea Party principles: no credit, pay cash, and would be a picture postcard model for them.

  5. Seriously, you think he's silly enough to reply to a post like this? Not trying to embarrass or have no rude intent? I'm not sure you are capable of refraining from either on this blog. Council is doing a great job of governing these days, why pick the scab? Unless of course your only intent is to embarrass or be rude. Mr. Henderson if you still look here, now that the Mayoral issue is basically over, I urge you to ignore this and just continue to do the right things for us, as you have proven you can.

    1. Don't worry Anon 2:23, Mr. Henderson will ignore this. He doesn't have the guts to own up and correct the record. He's busy being a member of the Tea Party. Facts don't matter.

  6. This blog raises a very fair question that deserves an answer.

    Some people in this city have been extremely loud about freely accusing other people of dishonesty and bad intent about the library, despite all evidence to the contrary. I believe it would be accurate to say Mr. Henderson would be one of those people. I would like those past comments to be justified with real evidence or disavowed. Some people profess to be all about personal responsibility and holding public servants accountable. Does that only go for certain public servants?

  7. I think it's possible that we will hear more from Councilman Henderson on this when the Budget Study Sessions occur in April. He gives every indication that he is working to understand this better. I see that he is working to do what is right for the City. He has called for everyone to help make the Transit Center a success, for example, recognizing no matter how we all felt about the plans before, the fact is now it is best for Troy if it is successful. My observation is that he has worked hard to understand what it takes to do the work at City Hall. While his partisanship influences him, I also think he is truly working to understand what is right for Troy. Let's see what unfolds with the Budget. (And, honestly, I think he would even consider this a fair question/discussion given his stance on the millage.)

  8. When Dave was running for council, he said this:

    "Do I support the library tax. I did not since the money was there to keep it open without a new tax. The question goes further to ask if I support an extension of that beyond the 5 years we just voted for. I can't answer that for certain, but we didn't need it now, I'm betting with a city that is run better, we probably won't need it then either."

    So Dave thought we didn't need the money then. And he didn't believe that we would need it now.

    Which is why Dave Henderson will NEVER admit to being wrong. He can't admit to being that wrong for so very long.

  9. Since Dave Henderson believed that a new tax to fund the library was not necessary, then he should either (1) make a motion to reduce the city property tax by 0.7 mills (the amount of the tax that was passed) or (2) simply admit that he was wrong and apologize for misleading the people of Troy.

    Which is it going to be, Mr. Henderson?