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Friday, June 13, 2014

Martin Howrylak: Paid to Produce Gibberish!

When Martin Howrylak campaigns, he joyfully lists all the things he has stopped from happening. He sends out glossy mailers listing all the things he's fought against.
Did Martin Howrylak want a the pension plan for city workers? No! Did Martin want a city subsidized convention center in Troy? No! Did Martin Howrylak want Sanctuary Lake golf course? No!
So we know that Martin Howrylak is fully capable of saying no.
But that was then. This is now.
As you probably know, the Michigan Legislature failed miserably to back Governor Snyder's plan to fix Michigan roads.
But just what is Howrylak's position on Governor Snyder's plan? It is a “yes?” Is it a “no?”
Well, Martin Howrylak told us exactly what he thinks. On June 5th, Martin held a “town hall” meeting to address Michigan's crumbling roads. At this town hall he was asked, point blank, “Will you back Governor Snyder's proposed $1.3 billion new funding for Michigan roads?”
This was his answer:
I presume that one's for me. The, the, the challenge is “how,” because, uh, I need, I need, I need a package of bills that will be presented to me and, uh, the leaders in both chambers are not inclined to put a bill up on the, on the board, the voting board, that is going to fail. And so, the um, my desire, and I think I alluded to it earlier was to create that funding, uh, the revenue stream into the Michigan Transportation Fund to accommodate the needs of uh, transportation in the State of Michigan and I will add that there is also a need for other transportation alternatives in addition to roads but this is of course, uh, a roads town hall but, um, I think we need to come to the realization that there's a limitation on the ability, if you will, to cheaply move far out from a population center and commute in to a population center for work and that's the whole “can you have your cake and eat it too” thing so, um, inevitably if you're going to have transportation, roads, any sort of a cap on infrastructure, you need to have a mechanism in place to maintain it and, uh, as we build out and there's more to maintain and build so, uh, and then finally I will add that, um, I think the fuel tax, whether that's diesel or gasoline is the simplest way of, of, of getting critical mass when it comes to transportation funding, and so that earlier chart that we had put up that had the blue line and the red line shows that if they had back in the late 90s built in a mechanism to accommodate the increasing costs which would be labor and materials for the most part of maintaining roads we probably wouldn't be here today because it would be self correcting and so ideally and the governor, I will tell you, in many different areas, and I like to say it because of his accounting background, likes to set a, um, a self correcting mechanism, adjustments in whatever that rate is so you don't have to keep coming back to the legislature and people won't accuse you, it's politically unpopular to be advocating for adjustments which are perceived as tax increases but the truth is that labor costs go up, asphalt costs go up, other road material costs go up, so you need to find that right balance and I think realistically, it's going to be a piece of this and a piece of that will get us to that, to that level and there's a real desire especially after the, the long period of economic decline in the State of Michigan to prioritize in two areas, one roads and, uh, excuse me, I'm not trying to say “one or two” but two main areas are roads and education and to use expanding revenue from the economy that is on the rebound in to those two areas before we put it into other areas. That's unequivocally hearing, um, if you feel differently let me know and I'll make sure I try to accommodate your needs as well, but those are the two areas where there's a great desire to really focus on and we are seeing increased tax collections and fee collections as the economy rebounds and those, those collections are increasing at a much greater rate than the rate of inflation, not to belabor the point, yes I do want to see our roads taken care of.
Don't believe me? Go watch it for yourself.
Yes, folks, when asked a direct “yes” or “no” question about fixing Michigan roads, Martin Howrylak now produces gibberish worthy of a below average toddler.
But here's the really sad part. Michigan is currently under single party rule. Republicans control the house, the senate, and the Governor's office. And they don't have enough courage to address the single most important issue to Michigan's voters.
And now Martin Howrylak is on summer vacation, getting taxpayer money to tell you about all the wonderful things he's doing as your Representative. But remember, when you hear him talk, be careful not to step in the gibberish. Getting that stuff off your shoes can be tricky.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Martin Howrylak – The Little Truck That's Bad at His Job

Troy City Council meetings have become boring affairs ever since the ol' teabag was tossed into the trash with the banana peels and coffee grounds. But there are still things to be learned at City Council meetings.

Like how bad Martin Howrylak is at his job being Troy's Representative.

Come with me to a recent City Council meeting.

At the May 19, 2014, City Council Meeting, Troy police officer Milt Stansbury gave a presentation about the enforcement of the frost laws in Troy. Frost laws are regulations in effect during the early spring thaw period when roads are prone to thaw-weakening. This year, the frost laws were in effect from March 19th until April 28th, the longest period enforcement that he has ever seen.

Because of the frost laws, businesses are required to either reroute each vehicle or lighten the loads to the per-axle statutory limit. (By the way, Michigan's statutory axle limit is the highest in the nation, at a maximum of 164,000 lbs. per truck. That makes Michigan's axle weight the highest in the nation and more than twice the federal weight limit.)

Now, the question arises as to whether or not such high axle limits damage the roads. According the Michigan Department of Transportation, the answer is “no,” as long as as the weight is evenly distributed over an appropriate number of axles.

In Troy, there are only two uniformed officers on patrol for trucks with loads evenly distributed and within their axle limits. Last year, these two officers stopped 120 trucks to discover all of them were well past their axle limits. The most dangerous of these overloaded trucks was an 11 axle monster, well past it's load limits, with 10 of it's brake lines completely non-functional.

To repeat, for clarity, last year, Troy police officers discovered an 820 ton truck, severely overloadedwith less than 50% of it's brakes in working order, driving on Troy's roads.

And here's the rub: According to Officer Stansbury, the trucking industry knows that there is very little enforcement of axle limits in urban areas. So the industry routinely overloads semis, knowing they won't be caught. Which means that Troy PD stopped only a fraction of the overloaded trucks throttling down our roads.

Now, I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have 820 tons of steel and God-knows-what barreling down at me without reliable brakes.
Which takes me back to Martin Howrylak. I would expect that, after his many years on Troy City Council, Howrylak would know this. And because his current job is to represent Troy, he would do something about it.


Instead of doing his job, Howrylak has sponsored a bill to place a second amendment monument on the capitol grounds. He's sponsored a resolution to declare April 27-May 3, 2014, as Black April Memorial Week. But he sure hasn't sponsored any laws to stop an industry endangering us all by knowingly breaking the law with impunity.
In the end, Martin Howrylak either knows about this problem or he doesn't. If he does, he's done nothing to fix it. If he doesn't, what is he doing in Lansing?

More proof that Martin Howrylak is bad at his job.