It took six days for the news to filter through all of the hullabaloo about President Obama’s re-election, but I am pleased to learn today of the successful recall of Troy Mayor Janice Daniels.
Ms. Daniels’ tenure as Troy’s Mayor serves as an object lesson in how one should not conduct themselves in local politics. Ms. Daniels, in allowing herself to be painted as using her position as a bully pulpit on social issues, outraged the socially liberal half of the public. Unfortunately this overshadowed some of her better-considered ideas, and it lost her the faith of a majority of the electorate. Note to Paul Smith: when confronted with an unfortunate statement from your past, it’s best for your political objectives to not double down and amplify it. Ms. Daniels, when given a choice between trying to be the mayor for all of Troy or just the mayor for the people who happen to agree with her social stance, chose poorly. She has now paid what is considered to be for a politician the ultimate price. Now she will no longer have the opportunity to advance her ideas because she couldn’t learn how to graciously accept–not condone, but simply accept– the views of people with whom she disagreed.
In the meantime, Daniels attempted to turn down federal grant money to upgrade the train station apparently based on a weird “principle” that federal spending is automatically wasteful and should be blocked in all cases. As a fiscal conservative, my view is that federal spending should be tightly controlled, and taxation should be as light as possible — minimal, actually — in order to foster the free market and provide maximum benefit to citizens. That is not to say, however, that if some of the of the federal government’s tax money were to find its way to a worthy project in Sterling Heights that I would be automatically opposed to it. Indeed, we do deserve to get something out of our hard-earned taxes, and each situation should be debated on its actual merits, not the political ideology of the debaters.
Here in Sterling Heights, our council and mayor are far from perfect, and I have frequently been willing to point out why this is so. However, I have to give them credit: their predominant focus seems to be on the job they were elected to do, which is to act as the people’s voice in the administration of the city. Even Paul Smith, as crazy as it might seem, is actually representing his weird little constituency with his wrong-headed approach in opposing tax abatements for local businesses. I hope council’s focus on the objective of running the city remains the case. Our local government does not need to become an echo chamber for pundits seeking to argue social issues.
In the meantime, traces of the Tea Party movement remain here in Sterling Heights. Yes, they have some of the right ideas, but they really should turn down the volume on the vitriol. Regardless of who you are or what your political ideology is, the focus should be on moving us all toward what everyone truly wants: a healthy city government with sustainable budgetary practices. Save the ideology for church.