November 28, 2012 - Heartsick over defeat, but appreciative of yes votes
I am just heartsick the millage proposal on the ballot for the newly established Clarkston Independence District Library didn't pass. It went down by just 30 votes and I had envisioned it passing by many more than 30! I was on the Library Yes Committee – what happened?
My memories floated back to the early 60s when the Clarkston Library was located in the small white building in front of the old Township Hall. Great minds the likes of Merle Bennett, Virginia Leonard and Janet Rose suggested Clarkston might be ready to support a larger library facility. With support and cooperation from the Clarkston Women's Club, a Story Hour was announced sort of to test the waters and what a response. Had there been chandeliers, kids would have been hanging from them. As it was, they were in every corner, 5 years and younger. The original plan had been for one reader. Luckily, three people had volunteered and we were able to break the children into smaller groups. There was no doubt the interest was there. The Independence Township population was so much smaller then, that Women's Club members could easily split up and go house to house seeking donations and pledges. The seed was now planted to form a library at 6495 Clarkston Road. The original building was dedicated in April 1969.
The Library Yes yellow information sheet clearly stated where we stand with neighboring communities in regard to millage received. We have not had a millage increase in eight years. Even if our millage had passed we would still have had a lower millage rate and spending per resident than surrounding areas. Yes, things have changed. Population in the township has increased two-fold and evidently this information didn't reach enough people. Many chose to not even respond yes or no to the library proposal.
No question we have a blue ribbon librarian who has a very accommodating and informed staff. All are aided by superb volunteers. The Library Yes co-chairs worked endless hours to do what they could in a short time. I might be heartsick right now but at the same time I am so appreciative of those who did vote "yes" for the library proposal. Thank you so much!
Kay Robertson, Independence Township
Voters set up for another tax hike for library
We have 9,473 reasons why the Clarkston Independence township library tax increase failed and why the library district agreement should be dissolved today. 9,473 voters didn't support this tax hike. Those 9,473 voter's will be disappointed when they hear that their NO vote did nothing more than put the very same proposal on the August 2014 primary election.
Here's the dirty details that the Clarkston Independence Township Library Board President neglected to tell you when the August 2014 election date was announced last week.
The "automatic termination" clause of the district library agreement gave the library board until Aug. 10, 2014 to get this tax hike passed. Three years since it's inception to get a tax hike passed? Unbelievable! Why was the August 2014 date picked as the cut off date for passage of this tax hike proposal? Aug. 10, 2014 is the week ending date of the August 2014 primary election.
Instead of respecting your No vote, you were set up from the get-go for another election if the first attempt were to fail. Of course the same terms didn't apply if the tax increase proposal succeeded. That would be unthinkable!
The library board president announced less then a week after the election that this tax hike will be on the August 2014 ballot. This shows taxpayers that the agreement's termination date was drawn up with the understanding that taxpayers would have to vote this tax hike down twice. Now we know why there was no urgency to "educate the public", supporters knew that the failure of this proposal virtually guaranteed them another attempt. Not only is this sneaky, it's dishonest to voters. The claims that some voters may have mistakenly voted is not a legitimate reason to re-visit any election. We could never know whether a voter disliked the outcome and is lying about voting improperly.
We believe that it's indefensible for the township to have set-up voters for two elections before a single vote was cast in the first election. That is exactly what has occurred. Not only does this disrespect voters,before they vote, it's unethical and wrong!
We find it a stretch of the imagination to believe that 9,473 people who voted no didn't know what they were voting for, at the same time that those who voted yes did.
We hope that the new township board works to correct this type of dirty politics. Yes or No, all voters should find it upsetting to hear that an outcome of a tax hike proposal deemed unfavorable by their government was purposefully set up to trigger another election that would favor a tax hike's passage.
There are some in this community who refuse to accept no for an answer time and again. Clearly the library agreement was drawn up by one of those people. Please let both boards know how you feel about an agreement that gives Yes voters a second chance, while not affording those same opportunities to No voters if this proposal had passed.
The people have spoken, they have said no, that should have brought the discussion of all future library funding back to our elected township board, not a board that doesn't have to answer to the people.
Michael & Lori Powell,