Unless the entire November, 2011 election is overturned as I had feared was the agenda of Mayor Daniels’ opponents, Ed Kempen is the logical choice for the replacement council member and swing vote.
Recent events in Troy should make it clear to all that there is a 3-3 tie as the ideological differences surfaced. Half the council voted to accept the binding recommendation of the Secretary of State and half voted to block this and potentially hold the Troy Charter above Michigan’s state election law. Whether the state sues Troy for violation of the law remains to be seen.
The three conservatives on council were OK with any of the three candidates being appointed mayor as long as a fiscal conservative was named to replace him or her. Unless the voters’ wishes last year are disregarded, that council member should be Ed Kempen.
Analyzing the election results from November 2011 makes it easy to discern what the voters intended. Voter turnout was normal for a city council election as the voters chose a 4-3 conservative majority where it had been 5-2 liberal. (I apologize for using the terms liberal and conservative to refer to our “non-partisan” council if it offends people; note that journalists use them too to save space.)
Of the candidates who ran for council, Jim Campbell got 6554 votes. Normalizing his vote count to 100, Doug Tietz got 116.3% and Dave Henderson 109.2%. Of those who weren’t elected, Ed Kempen got 99.1%, Bruce Bloomingdale 93.0% and Neil Yashinsky 77.2%. Other candidates not backed by the major factions in Troy got far less.
Appointing someone who did not run a campaign for council and does not meet the approval of all three conservatives would be a slap in the face to those who bothered to vote last November. It also disregards the wishes of the 48% of Troy voters who voted to keep Mayor Daniels after a year-long 100% negative campaign to oust her.
Voters in 2011 were clearly tired of the games that were played by the liberal majority on the council, holding the city hostage over the library. The mayoral race in particular was the biggest upset in recent history, where a political newcomer defeated a twelve year council member.
Budgets are one big pot and the council chose to let the library close rather than rework the budget to follow the voters’ clear wishes in previous elections: public safety first, then the library, then other services.
November 12 Council Meeting
There was an audible gasp when I nominated Ed Kempen for council Monday night. From Patch comments, it seems that most people were OK with Wade Fleming for mayor. Maureen McGinnis would have been my second choice; she showed class by stepping aside as Dane Slater pushed his way forward as the impasse was broken. We’ll see how he does if the state doesn’t sue the city for violating the law.
Since several people have accused me of calling former leaders crabapples (not true), I’m reprinting my speech so people can comment on what was actually said, not what they heard through their filters. The apple analogy meant no disrespect to anyone, merely pointed out people’s preferences.
Words Twisted into Pretzels
It’s tiring having my words twisted into pretzels by people who just want to win arguments. Some dismiss all my opinions as “radical right wing,” even though I’ve supported motorcycle helmet laws, public ownership of infrastructure, opposed all five of the recent constitutional amendments in agreement with the Detroit Free Press, and oppose lotteries as a regressive tax on the poor.
My purpose in offering opinions is to get people to think; in particular, to challenge those on the left that there is another valid point of view besides theirs.
I am learning more about other points of view and understanding them better. If we all understood each other better, knowing that we want the same good things for our community, it would be a huge step towards healing the wounds we have in Troy.
So with that as preamble, here is what was actually said Monday night:
Keep Crabapples out of the Applesauce
"Good evening. I’m here to nominate Wade Fleming for mayor and Ed Kempen to replace him on city council. I’m using first names in places to not waste everyone’s time and follow FDR’s advice: Be brief, be sincere, and be seated. I’ll save my extra words for blog posts for critics to throw rocks at.
My first choice would have been Doug Tietz or Dave Henderson as in the email I sent to the council. However, Dave sent an email back explaining that he and Doug would have to cut their terms short by three years and run a campaign next November. Troy has had enough extra campaigns and doesn’t need to cut short the terms of good people."
Wade Fleming for Mayor
"So that leaves Wade Fleming to preserve the current power balance: a conservative mayor and city spokesman with a conservative council majority. Mayor Daniels served us well, bringing a new focus on things that make for healthy communities. Past mayors have not been as engaged in doing that, but she has drawn nothing but criticism since the day she took office a year ago, with 100% negative opposition and generally negative coverage by the media.
The vicious comments by her opponents on the Patch after they won her removal by a slim margin validate my statement that this was a modern-day witch hunt."
Time to move on
"But Troy needs to move on and heal. The two recall supporters I spoke with on Election Day while campaigning for Martin Howrylak said that all but a few would support someone who will stick to city business. So only the hard core liberals will object to my nomination of Wade Fleming for mayor and former council candidate Ed Kempen to replace him on council.
I’d be OK with Maureen McGinnis or (Dane Slater - You lost my support with that comment. Hit pieces like that don’t “have to happen.” If Mary Kerwin had agreed to run a clean campaign it wouldn’t have happened.)"
(See previous article for more details on this. )
"as mayor if the recall margin was more than 60%, which would have been a rejection of Mayor Daniels’ policies and not the mere personal attack that it was. To be fair to the 48% who voted to keep her the current balance of power must be preserved. There is also a large benefit to incumbency for whoever is appointed mayor – that’s the reason we have term limits.
Wade Fleming has demonstrated his willingness to work across the aisle; in fact, many in town are unhappy that he worked past the December deadline for approving the transit center. This project did not have the universal support that was portrayed."
"To make the best applesauce or cider you need different varieties of apples. My personal favorites are Golden Delicious (Janice Daniels & Wade Fleming), Gala (Doug Tietz) and MacIntosh (Dave Henderson). Although many people like them, we don’t have any Red Delicious apples in our fridge (Maureen McGinnis, Dane Slater, Robin Beltramini, Jim Campbell and Mary Kerwin) or Granny Smiths (Louise Schilling & Jeanne Stine). (That refers to the tartness of their criticism and their power plays, not their age.)
This was a bad year for apples in Michigan, but Troy had a bumper crabapple crop. We can’t let the crabapples from either side of the orchard spoil our applesauce. Those from the left side won the removal of our mayor, but not by enough to warrant the power shift they want. We have a few of our own crabapples, but nothing like the left. Thanks very much."
Troy politics may be contentious at the moment since we have two healthy factions with nearly a 50-50 split, but they are nothing compared to past American politics, especially regarding slavery.
I recommend seeing the new Lincoln movie, which profiles the debate surrounding the passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. It is pretty accurate historically, without an obvious underlying agenda.
People can walk away keeping their preconceived notions, but everyone will learn something and be entertained without having their values assaulted. The audience even applauded after the movie ended!