Michigan — December 5, 2011

Tea Party mayor of Troy, Michigan thinks homophobic comments are “funny”

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The mayor of Troy, Michigan, Janice Daniels, a proud member of the tea party, updated her Facebook status in June with this:

“I think I’m going to throw away my I love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married.”

She refused to apologize for this insulting public statement until this morning.

Daniels apologized for the comment on the Charlie Langton show this morning.

“I absolutely do regret it, I shouldn’t have used such language, and while I do believe marriage should be between one man and one woman, it was inappropriate to use that language…For me to have said it, it was a poke in the eye and it was inappropriate and I do apologize.

“It was meant to be a joke, just a funny, just a poke, just a silly thing.”

Better late than never. No word on whether or not she’s changed her views on whether or not homophobic comments are still “a joke” or are “funny”.

In a related story, Daniels and several Troy City Council members are trying to scuttle a new mass transit development in their metro Detroit suburb.

After a decade of planning, a transit center tying together train, bus, taxi and future light rail service in Troy appeared to be near fruition this fall.

The facility is supposed to open by October 2013, but a shakeup at City Hall has put construction in doubt. Mayor Janice Daniels, elected last month on a tea party platform, and several City Council members want Troy to halt the project, forfeiting $8.4 million in federal funds and ownership of the 3-acre site.

The City Council approved an agreement with the Michigan Department of Transportation in September that requires the city to award a contract for architectural and engineering services by mid-December. The council is to vote on the contract Dec. 19.

“If we don’t move forward, the project won’t move forward,” said Councilwoman Maureen McGinnis. “The process that we went through to be selected for the grant was arduous. To get this far and essentially drop the ball would be a definite black eye.”

Daniels said the federal government is already trillions of dollars in the hole and she doesn’t want to accept its “debt money” to fund the project.

There is no question about her tea party credentials, I’ll say that much. Fighting against an investment that could ultimately help revive the economy in her region simply because she doesn’t like President Obama’s attempt to jump start the economy is tea party purity at its finest.

  • aielman

    A gay joke doesn’t make one homophobic any more than a racial joke makes you a racist. It’s about context and audience…and of course it has to be funny.

    This comment had none of the three.

    As to the rail project…they’re boondoggles that don’t provide half the jobs they purport to, and end up costing the municipality/state that gets them a helluva lot more than the federal government gives them to get started.

    There’s no way, in this economy, I’d start a rail project. The state will end up picking up the tab for finishing it when the cost overruns the original budget from the federal government, and then will get stuck with the cost of running it when fares don’t come close to meeting the expenses.

    • Daniel G

      She is the mayor of the City of Troy and not an ordinary citizen.   She is supposed to represent all residents of the City, including gays.   Gays heavily frequent Somerset mall.    Her comment was disrespectful.  It’s inappropriate for a mayor of a city like Troy to make such comments.    And we need to move into the 21st century.  Our infrastructure needs a boost and rail projects make the most sense.   The Tea Party agenda has no place in the City of Troy.

      • aielman

        Like I said…context and audience. You’re right. It was disrespectful.

        Still doesn’t make her a homophobe.

        Rail projects make no sense in this economy. You’ll end up paying for maintenance on a system you can’t afford in this economy. There’s better infrastructure projects that will create as many or more jobs and not leave you saddled with an ongoing cost that won’t pay for itself.

        Reference Amtrak if you’d like to see what I’m talking about.

  • fightHATE

    Join in on the community discussion at http://www.facebook.com/fightHATE

  • Sjxena

    To correct Aielman, I’d like to point out that the Troy project is not a rail project, but a transit center tying together many different types of public transportation. Public transportation will become much more important in the future as fossil fuels become both scarcer and more expensive. Also, to correct another misperception, Amtrak is in better shape now than it has been in years. It’s had a steady increase in ridership since the early 2000’s and is now recouping 85% of its costs from fares, lessening the burden on taxpayers.I’d also like to point out that ALL public transportation in the U.S. requires government subsidies, including highways, airports, and air traffic control systems. 

    • A most excellent comment. Thanks so much.

    • aielman

      My mistake…I didn’t dig deep enough and it sounded like a standard rail project.

      And yes…Amtrak has enjoyed a surge in ridership recently, primarily due to high fuel prices. So now it’s only hemorrhaging to the tune of around $950M annually with a $237.53 federal subsidy per 1k passenger miles traveled. (1k Auto traveled miles is a -1.01 subsidy, by way of comparison). Rail transport is by far the most heavily subsidized form of transportation in the US.

      Even with it’s recent spike in ridership, it’s still only running at a 50% load capacity. By way of comparison, the airlines operate at 80% capacity.

      An independent analysis found that the average operational loss per passenger on all 44 of Amtrak’s routes was $32 in 2008.The only profitable line was the higher-speed Acela Express in the Northeast Corridor.

      Rail travel is too much money for too little payoff. In general, in most areas, Americans won’t use it for the same reason they don’t like to carpool. They like the independence of having their own car. Which Michigan needs to be thankful for or you’d be even more screwed financially.

      • Willie Green

        That’s why people won’t fly, either… because they don’t like carpools.
        Regional passenger rail is much more fuel efficient than short-hop commuter airlines.
        And unlike the airlines, they don’t have to pack people in like sardines to achieve a high “load factor”. For peak travel periods like holidays, all they have to do is add a few more cars to the train and they become even MORE fuel efficient while adding the extra passenger capacity.  You can’t do that with the airlines, can you? Not unless you expect them to start towing gliders like they did in WWII. LOL!

  • Sjxena

    You sound a little like Tom Murphy, General Motors’ president, back in the mid-1970’s. I interviewed him for a Detroit Free Press story and asked him why GM wasn’t producing small cars. He said Americans liked big cars and always would. He was dead wrong. (Remember when GM went bankrupt??)

    The Big 3 Automotives essentially killed mass transit in metro Detroit back in the 60s and 70s, when it could have been built for less. I believe the more available, convenient, and affordable mass transit becomes, the more people will use it. 

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