Open Letter Captures My Thoughts Exactly

Fellow resident Rodney Curtis sends an Open Letter to the new Mayors and captures what I believe many Troy residents are thinking. Thank you, Rodney.

As the City of Troy begins to move forward, so many thoughts roll through my mind about the experiences this community has shared over the past year. 

Some of it has been downright unpleasant.

But in the midst of the unpleasantness has been an overriding sense of true collaboration, with people coming together not so much to fight against something, but rather to fight for something. 

Troy residents are paying attention and fighting for their hometown … for fair play … for logical decision making ... for dignity … for partisanship to be set aside and, (if we’re all being completely honest with ourselves), for the ability to stick our heads in the sand and simply not pay any attention anymore.

A fellow Troy resident sums this all up far better than I can with his latest blog post.  (Rodney Curtis is another example of a wonderful resident with an incredible back story.  I highly recommend going back through his blog entries for the posts he shared during his battle with leukemia.)   

And so I share here The Spiritual Wanderer and his Open Letter to Acting Mayor Maureen McGinnis and Councilman Dane Slater:

Dear Maureen and Dane,

I can’t wait to be bored again.

In my career as a journalist, I’ve covered countless city council meetings, discussions, conferences and planning sessions. They rarely make for good pictures and unless the topics are splashy, they don’t generally hold my interest.

I should be deeply invested in my community. I should be civic minded and a responsible citizen. Normally though, I leave that to other people, better people. Now that I’m no longer what you’d call a practicing member of the news media (I like to say I’m a recovering journalist) I find it hard to be interested in the normal, day-to-day goings on behind the scenes in my own town....

Read the whole letter here

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tim McGee November 10, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Oh so true...I long for the days when I only cared about what book I was going to read or what mindless sitcom I could fall asleep to on the television every other Monday night during the month! And if I do decide to turn on the council meeting telecasts; I look forward to enjoying the repartee between council and citizens and not the vitriol that has plagued us for years. As a participant of the 60s, give peace a chance!
Barbara Koehn November 10, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I so look forward to boring, mundane council meetings! I can only hope that the council decides on Monday night to set aside the rules and allow Maureen McGinnis to complete the office of Mayor! I just think we have had too much diversity within our council. I truly believe that Maureen would be a fantastic mayor. As an attorney, she knows the law, because she has been on council, she knows what lies ahead and is willing to meet the challenge head-on. My hope for this council is that they work together as a team, they put their politics aside and they all work for the betterment of Troy. You must regain the citizens' trust, you must reverse the negativity which hangs over you like a rain cloud. I have faith in your abilities-let's get to work and show the masses that Troy IS a wonderful city in which to live and raise our children!
Dale Murrish November 12, 2012 at 02:11 AM
As one who has survived a brain tumor and depression, I care enough about our country’s future and the immoral debt we are passing on to our kids and grandkids (40% overspending per year puts us on a fast track towards Greece) to be engaged in the process. With the help of the news media, Americans have chosen another four years of gridlock, blaming the obstructionist Republicans in Congress, etc. while President Obama tries to finish transforming our country into a European socialist welfare state. I’d hoped Obama would care enough about his legacy to bring America together into a purple country rather keep us divided into red and blue. But that lasted only a few days; he’s still using his Chicago politics to strong-arm the Republicans into a tax increase. Marvin Olasky of WORLD magazine has proposed a third option: allowing a top bracket rate increase but also offering tax credits so successful people could direct where the extra money they contribute goes. That fell on deaf ears when he first proposed it and is likely to still be ignored, since Democrats and many Republicans favor big government solutions rather than private solutions with more accountability for helping the poor.
Dale Murrish November 12, 2012 at 02:15 AM
You all can go back to sleep if you want, but some of us care enough about our country’s future to stay awake. Troy’s 3-3 council still has to appoint a mayor. Hopefully it will be a conservative who will represent the 48% of us that supported Mayor Daniels and the other conservatives who tried to block the unnecessary transit center spending. That project is still a boondoggle, no matter how you slice it. And don’t tell me again how it was money already allocated that would be spent in someone else’s town. We could have set an example for the rest of the country; if you don’t need it, don’t take the money. The only good thing about Obama’s win is the tax increases for Obamacare will take effect; we’ll have another four years of weak economic growth with ~15% real unemployment (blamed on obstructionist Republicans of course). Maybe then Americans will be ready to try some real economic growth solutions instead of wishful thinking and believing more government spending and debt will solve our problems.
John David November 12, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Dale, since Fleming and Slater developed the compromise resulting in acceptance of federal funds for the transit center, the only one who opposed follow on actions was Daniels. The only no vote on the budget was Daniels. The council doesn't seem to be that sharply divided. Ground breaking for the center is this month. You bringing the center up is beating a dead horse. The other issues you bring up are national and not within the abilities of the city council to address. I voted for Romney and Hoekstra. I understand your concerns at the national level, but again they are not the concern of Troy officials. The well-being of Troy should be what drives their decisions. It would be good for the city if we all could focus on local matters at city council meetings and not on matters Troy cannot influence. Maybe rather than blogging here about national issues you ought to move on to a different level than the Patch if you are going to continue on about national issues.
Chris P. November 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM
A comment above writes about "sending a signal" to Washington D.C. with decisions from the City Council table. I don't elect my Mayor and council members to do any such thing. I elect my senator and reps to do this. If, in D.C., they decide they need to pull funding, then so be it. In the meantime, when our Governor, business leaders, and a unanimous recommendation of a our Planning Commission point to a decision FOR TROY, that is what all of us should defer to. Leave the Federal and State decision making and posturing to those elected to do that. Therein lies an underlying point of the Open Letter: if our council is going to continue to legislate matters that transcend Troy's concern and undermine city planning and the very culture of the city, we all better keep paying very close attention.
Sue Martin November 12, 2012 at 01:09 PM
You would prefer we not affirm facts because they don't agree with your position? Sorry, Dale, that's not how things work in open discourse.
Wiley Coyote November 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM
In concert with Chris P., Here's a thought for council (wish I'd brought it up to Daniels a Dale a few times along the way, but oh well)...instead of worrying about the national debt and pro-life issues in our community, how about if council and the new mayor focuses on doing something to help find tenants for the hundreds upon hundreds of office buildings in Troy that all have For Lease signs in front of them. This is what drove me crazy about the previous mayor...it's not like we don't have pressing local issues to deal with that have a real impact on our community, yet our leadership spent countless hours on the transit center's effect on the federal deficit, marriage policies, haranguing the staff doing their jobs, etc., etc. Plow my streets on time. Keep police officers on patrol. Fix the sidewalks in front of my house. If you want to debate national matters, go to Washington.
mark ozark November 13, 2012 at 12:24 AM
mark ozark November 13, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Dale, its been said before. This is about Troy. Many agree that there are things that need to change at the national level, but the Troy City Council is not the appropriate forum for that. My only hope is that the current Troy Council make good, informed decisions for the betterment of TROY.
Dale Murrish November 13, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Two former council members ran for state representative. They have greatly differing governing philosophies, which deserve to be considered by the voters, not hidden in vague generalities. Former Troy City Council politicians run for state rep. So it does matter what happens in our little provincial town of Troy. That's why I wrote the neutral article about the Volt, offering them both a chance to comment and be photographed. My second article was endorsing Martin Howrylak, our new state representative. The hit piece on him and his family was beyond the pale. And Dane Slater lost my support for being appointed mayor with his comment tonight about the Michigan Citizens for a Better Tomorrow hit piece on Martin and Jane Howrylak: "It's unfortunate that things like that have to happen." No they don't. People can campaign cleanly; Mary Kerwin chose not to sign the clean campaign pledge offered by Martin Howrylak. She may not have known about this PACs mailing. I dealt with the misleading items in her campaign's mailings in my endorsement article for Martin. http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/kerwin-vs-howrylak-state-rep-candidates America is overspending at a 40% rate, headed on a fast track towards Greece. If we have the money, I'm OK with spending it. But we don't. We're immorally robbing the next generation by accepting "free" federal money.
Ellen Hodorek November 14, 2012 at 09:33 PM
This comment is offensive to me and harmful on so many levels. It casts Mary Kerwin and her campaign as having something to do with that mailer and that is absolutely false. They were as shocked by it as anyone else. If you are at all interested in helping the community heal you will please apologize for the false accusation. (The truth is, it likely harmed her more than it helped her and now she has people like you and the gentleman at Monday night’s city council meeting falsely linking her to it and maligning her character.) It seems strange to me that you would take issue with Mayor Slater for that comment when I have seen you defend comments by others that were truly offensive. He was AGREEING that the mailer was wrong. Talk to Mary Kerwin and she will also agree with you. You know what else was beyond the pale? The robocall from Howrylak's campaign long before the mailer you reference above was ever mailed by whatever outside group did it. The Howrylak campaign robo call falsely attacked Mary Kerwin and all-out lied. The call was paid for by Howrylak’s campaign, as were the mailers that came to my house attacking her. How do you explain those political tactics? Or do you defend them?
Dale Murrish November 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Sorry you missed the meeting, Ellen. You missed the tone of Slater’s reply and the context of all the other comments at the meeting. In my opinion, Mayor Slater was minimizing the complaint, while “agreeing” with it. “It’s unfortunate that things like that have to happen.” in a kind, gentle tone in response to a resident’s complaint about the hit piece smearing Martin Howrylak and his immigrant wife. As a former policeman, he’s probably calloused from hearing people lie. Maybe he meant to say, “Yes, partisan politics can get pretty ugly. It’s not right, but that’s the way the game is played by some unscrupulous people.” This could have been said with a steely glare at the injustice or at least a dry resignation, rather than the pacifying “let’s all calm down and play nice since the battle is over” condescension that was given. This year-long battle is indeed over but the Long War will continue for some time.
Dale Murrish November 16, 2012 at 03:26 PM
What exactly was said in the Howrylak robo-call you refer to? The only state rep robo-call I listened to was Jane Howrylak objecting to the hit piece that the resident was complaining about at Monday’s meeting. Everything I have received from the Howrylak campaign has been truthful and comparing votes or positions on issues, not attacking a person’s character or personal life, much less a family member. In contrast, two of the four negative items in Kerwin’s campaign mailing were guilt by association: “Howrylak’s Republican Party”; the others were questionable and dealt with in my blog article. http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/kerwin-vs-howrylak-state-rep-candidates Some individuals in “Kerwin’s Democratic Party” were certainly responsible for the hit piece on Martin Howrylak and his wife. Why does Mary Kerwin get a pass for this hit piece while Martin Howrylak is linked with people in his political party that he disagrees with in her official campaign mailing? Specifically what was said in the Howrylak robo-call? Can you produce a transcript? If not, then please don’t say it "falsely attacked Mary Kerwin and all-out lied."
Ellen Hodorek November 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I can not produce a transcript. It was a phone call I received. It did, in fact, falsely attack Mary Kerwin. It accused her of "refusing" to sign a clean campaign pledge that she had never even seen. A woman's voice repeated over and over again that Mary Kerwin was attacking him, with no specifics about the attack. Up to that point, all Mary had done was point out his horrible attendance record on council. I know Mary had never seen the pledge because, as the robocall directed, I contacted her. (The call even included her phone number.) She said she had no idea what I was talking about and had not heard of such a thing. The robocall came to me the night of the League of Women Voters event featuring the two of them. I have every right to say it falsely attacked her. Because it did. I heard it with my own ears. If you choose to not believe me, that is your business and it means you are accusing me of making this up. Know this: that call was consistent with Martin Howrylak's political tactics. Including sending the letter on Proposal 1 to Save the Library without checking his facts with the citizen who was leading that effort. Cristian Teodoridis told me one time it's all part of the game. That's what I take issue with: the games being played with Troy voters. It is, of course, your right to be ok with the games. It is my right to NOT be ok with them.
Ellen Hodorek November 16, 2012 at 04:38 PM
As for the Howrylak hit piece, I'm truly sorry Howrylak's political reputation precedes him in Lansing and I'm sorry there is a group obviously bent on creating trouble for him there. It is very sad. But please do not tie the hit piece that group produced to Mary Kerwin, her supporters here in Troy or her campaign manager, another woman I know very well here in Troy. Her family's reputation is stellar here and she would never have anything to do with a hit piece like that. When you have taken the time to talk to her and to Mary Kerwin to learn and understand the facts, then you can post comments about it. Until then you are spreading false and slanderous assumptions, something I don't think you really want to do. Each comment you type regarding this is it's own "hit piece," perpetuating negative discourse and spreading bad, false information.
cookiepro2 November 16, 2012 at 05:06 PM
That is interesting, Dale, how people can interpret the same thing differently. I thought I heard Dane Slater say " It is unfortunate that that happened" at the council meeting right after the commenter was done. He sounded sympathetic and heartfelt to me. He needn't have said anything, which technically he probably shouldn't have. I think the CM's are supposed to wait until the "response to public comment" time. Anyhow, I took his comment as spontaneous, genuine and with no hidden meaning to it.
Dale Murrish November 16, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I wrote down Slater's comments verbatim. I'm positive he said exactly what I wrote: “It’s unfortunate that things like that have to happen.” I took issue with his gentle, kind tone and his use of the words "have to happen." You're right, cookiepro2, people can hear the same thing and come to completely different conclusions depending on their viewpoint. That was the point Barbara Yagley made about giving people the benefit of the doubt. I expect conservatives will give Mayor Slater more leeway than the liberals gave to Mayor Daniels. We wish him the best.
Daffy Noodnicks November 16, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Dale: you don't speak for "conservatives". You speak for yourself.
Glenn November 16, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Let me get this straight Dale. You're upset with Mayor Slater because he spoke to you in a "gentle and kind tone" and agreed with you that the type of thing that you were complaining about happens? I guess technically, those things don't have to happen, but given human nature they always seem to and the impression I got from watching that night was Slater was agreeing with you. I'm not exactly sure what you were looking for as a response. Would you have felt better if he would have rolled his eyes and called you a nasty name under his breath?
Dale Murrish November 16, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Glenn, he wasn't speaking to me. He was speaking to the resident who had complained about the Howrylak hit piece. Were you at the meeting or just watching from home?
Dale Murrish November 16, 2012 at 06:25 PM
That's true; many others are silent or chased off the Patch by you and others. Remember? There are plenty of people who agree with my point of view. Three council members and a fair number of the 48% who voted to keep Mayor Daniels.
Daffy Noodnicks November 16, 2012 at 06:35 PM
That does not mean they are "conservatives" or they agree with you. People voted for and against the recall for a variety of reasons, many of which had nothing to do with the political orientation. I don't chase anyone. All I do is confront unfair falsehoods with facts. If people can't handle that kind of scrutiny, that is no fault of mine. Enough damage has been done around here by people riding falsehoods to achieve political goals without being confronted.
Really November 16, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Mr. Murrish is now misguided and wrong, again. Wow, he wants to make an issue of "in a kind, gentle tone". As opposed to what, the shrill, grating condensating tone of Ms. Daniels? Seriously, there must be something else for him to talk about. Of course, he wants to complain about a campaign his guy won. Let it go, already. And let's try to agree on the mudslinging issue. Both candidates swear that they had nothing to do with the garbage that was spread about the other. So, if we're now skip local issues, and talk about state and national ones, then neither PAC should be able to hide behind these types of vitrolic campaigning, neither one, they're both guilty. But that's not an arguement for here. Mr. Murrish is also very tiring in his oneness of thought,same ole if you disagree with him, you're a Liberal. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again Mr. Murrish.


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