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I have to disagree with the Powells on their assessment of the outcome of a vote.

The diplomatic process allows for a re-examination why a ballot measure failed or succeeded following an election. It was the wording of the Green Space initiative that got it defeated in 2008. And feedback on the Library proposal indicates that wording may be behind the defeat of that effort.

Given that the vote was so incredibly close, i don't think you can fairly assess that the "NO" was all that resounding of a forever and ever amen.

Whether its the district library, funding for a senior center, a green space initiative or other proposal, i think the signal is to examine the chosen wording and evaluate it prior to any campaign. If a NO vote is overwhelming, then it might be worth retiring a concept as soundly defeated. When a No vote is close, its reasonable and necessary to evaluate the language used to understand what the citizenry is communicating.

This is the democratic process and how we work towards compromise.

tammie heazlit
November 28, 2012


  1. print email
    Library Millage
    December 01, 2012 | 11:11 AM

    I would have to disagree with Tammie Heazlit. The fire millage passed in August of 2012 and not a single complaint was made about that proposals wording.
    To the best of my knowledge 30 others have not come forward stating that they voted erroneously.

    One man has claimed he voted no based solely on the notion that he thought 0.6% of this money was going to go to the CIA. Six tenths of one percent was enough to get this man to change his Yes vote to No?

    Suppose that he really believed that 0.6% of his money was going to the CIA. Shouldn't this part of the proposal have cleared up any questions he had? "The amount disbursed to the Sashabaw Road Corridor Improvement Authority shall be collected solely from properties within the Sashabaw Road Corridor Improvement Authority District."

    The Fire millage that was passed in August finished with the exact same verbage... "Shall be collected solely from properties within the Sashabaw Road Corridor Improvement Authority District." It was passed without a single resident complaining about the wording being confusing. Now it's confusing?
    The wording is very clear. 100% goes to the library from every property in the township except for CIA properties where 99.4% goes to the library and .6% goes to the CIA.

    Considering that state law requires this information to be put on every township tax hike proposal, will ignorance always be a story when township proposals fail?

    The agreement should have allowed for the appointment of officers for the first term only. Other district library boards are elected, but not under this library agreement. Why? Why did this agreement keep us from voting for board members and then guaranteed that unelected board another election? The public isn't well served by this agreement or by appointed boards. Appointed boards tend to answer to those that appointed them.

    Library board member Kay Robertson failed to identify herself as a Library Trustee in her letter to the editor. Why? She said: "Many chose to not even respond yes or no to the library proposal."

    Let's look at the numbers...

    Trustees had 58,912 total votes cast. Four votes were allowed per voter. 58,912 divided by four equals approximately 14,728 people voting.

    Brown, Palatta and Kittle had 13,052, 13,561, 13,848 votes each.

    The library millage proposal had 18,918 votes.

    Those numbers tell me that approximately 4000 more voters chose to respond to the library millage then they did to the candidates. The numbers don't lie, more people chose to make their voices heard regarding the library millage, not less.

    This is why board members should be elected, not appointed.

    Something to think about... A city of 800 residents got two seats on the board of an entity it didn't build (1 per 400 residents) and a township of 36,000 residents that have been supporting that building got 5 seats (one per 7,200 residents) Not very diplomatic of them, eh?

    Regards,
    Michael Powell


    Michael Powell
    Clarkston
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    Library Millage
    December 04, 2012 | 06:01 PM

    While I have great respect for the opinions of Ms. Heazlit and the Powells, I have to agree with Mike Powell on this issue.

    In addition to the issues raised in recent letters, city residents were being asked to approve a 1.25 mill increase in their taxes with the promise that the city operating millage would be reduced by .69 mills if the library tax increase was approved. A decision that would be made solely by the City Council, not the residents and taxpayers of the city. Township residents on the other hand were guaranteed the .69 mill reduction which means they were voting for a smaller tax increase than city residents.

    Even with that, township residents defeated this tax increase while a majority of city residents were in favor. Perhaps this is why the city has far more representation on the Library Board since they are obviously more supportive than township residents, and seemingly more willing to pay higher taxes. We can obviously all ignore the fact that there is no other legal or moral reason for this disproportionate representation.

    Even more interesting is that township residents could have voted higher taxes on city residents than on themselves even if city residents had been overwhelmingly against higher taxes. Hardly the local control our city leaders keep touting as the reason we must be a city and continue to pay higher taxes than our friends in the surrounding township who provide almost all our essential services.

    Then we have the undisputable fact that all our elected leaders, and appointed board of library supporters, have unanimously voted in favor of the higher library tax and will no doubt use their positions of power to promote it for the next two years at which time they will try again. This is not informing the public so they can make an educated decision but a few people dictating how the rest of us will spend what little money we have left.

    I like a library as much as the next person. I just don't understand why we can't get honest, unbiased information from which we can make a decision and cast a vote. A vote that will mean something instead of being reconsidered, or ignored, whenever it is more convenient for those who supposedly represent all of us.

    There is obvioulsy a lot of confusion on this issue, many misstatements and, what appears to be a complete misunderstanding of how property value related taxes are supposed to work. Perhaps this defeat and the next two years will give everyone the opportunity to understand the issues better and make an educated vote the next time.

    Cory Johnston
    Village of Clarkston
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