Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All Politics is Local -- Thoughts on an upcoming election

In a week from now, the citizens of Troy (at least some of them) will go to the polls. They'll elect school board members at a time when schools face massive reductions in state support. They'll also elect three new city council members -- one candidate is an incumbent -- and the Council faces major financial issues. What is true for Troy is true elsewhere, the question is -- will those running for office provide leadership at a difficult time?

Over the past few weeks I've posted some on this issue. I've spoken out about a City Council that is controlled by a right wing cabal, that is more ideologically driven than concerned about solving problems. They chant an anti-tax mantra, but fail to recognize that when revenues are falling its generally a good thing to find new sources of revenue. Citizens understand this -- if they're given the relevant information -- and will support new revenue sources, even if that means paying more in taxes. In this case, the falling property values mean a reduction in assessed taxes, so even if a millage increase was passed it likely would not result in increased taxes for homeowners, just a stabilization of them.

It is unfortunate that there are so few sources of accurate information in this city of nearly 85,000 people. The city is served by two small, once a week papers, and then more regional papers, one published in Pontiac, the other in Royal Oak. There was a twice a week paper, but it folded. The Troy blogosphere is almost completely empty, with the exception of a couple of right wing blogs.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've seen the incumbent in action on cable access and am not impressed, and he seems the best of the bunch on his "tax fighters" slate. I've met the three challengers recommended by the Troy Leadership Coalition, a group that is committed ‘to engage and educate the Troy community on the serious challenges and opportunities facing our City and to foster, promote and elect leaders who will serve the diverse needs of our community’.

Those candidates are Dane Slater, Will Molnar, and Maureen McGinniss. I believe that they will give a different, more pragmatic voice to the council. None of them are ideologically driven. I know that one candidate is a former Republican who got disgusted by his party's right wing tilt and joined the Democrats. I don't know the affiliation of the other two, but that doesn't matter because this is a non-partisan race. Let's get people into leadership that will do what's necessary to improve the city, not elect ideologues, people who are committed to the common good not just to what is politically expedient.

3 comments:

Country Parson said...

Local politics is tough. It may be the breeding ground for future political stars, but it's also the repository for mediocrity to the nth degree. With one exception, it seems that hard core conservatives are more willing to take tough positions and hold them, while most local politicians are more adept at waffling until they find a safe place where their vote will not get them into trouble. My city is just luke warm with leaders that are skilled at avoiding anything that might look like controversy. I wonder if that's why Jesus had such nasty things to say about Capernaum after spending a few years there? Or consider his letter to the church in Laodicea, accusing them of being neither hot nor cold but only lukewarm. Yuck. Maybe we both need a little Saul Alinsky style community organizing.

Anonymous said...

Bob,
Lets hope and pray that the people of Troy realize the seriousness of this election. Also that what they hear is the truth. I've heard too many people saying they believe this is all a scare tactic, (they have been given scare tactics in the past, so it seems as thought there is a lack of trust) they need to realize the seriousness of what is going on, open their eyes and do what is best for their city. I've yet to talk to anyone in Troy who wants to lose it's incredible city services.
Mrs.DavidMc

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

My biggest concern is that one of the candidates, Doug Tietz, is an extremist ideologue who has moved in recently, maybe to run for a seat here on the tax fighter's slate.