[nfbmi-talk] Jo Ann Pilarski's letter

Larry Posont president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
Sat Feb 25 18:29:30 CST 2012

Dear Michigan Federationists:
     Here is a letter from an individual that I thought you might like to see.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jo Ann Pilarski" <pilarskij at charter.net>

    Dear  Director, Commissioners, former
Commissioners, Consumer Presidents and Friends,

In 2011 I brought to the table the  question of
whether we should be proactive and begin to write
to the Governor about why this Commission should
stand on its own.
I spoke of us coming together to work in a
cooperative way to save what we have, and to not
use our time to tear down.  I resigned, in part,
when I was persuaded that that was not the
direction we were going to agree to take.

It will be a great time to point fingers of blame
all over the place.  Again, what a total waste of
time that would  be.  It has proven out that when
we judge others, we just invite judgment back. We
go nowhere. I think we have seen that that is not
the way to effect positive change.

You can just not know how angry and stunned I am
at the attitude of this administration.  We have
had a  republican - led congress with an attitude
of power and control, rather than one of
servanthood to its people.  It began to negate the
blind community with its 11th hour action to not
reinstate Margaret or Michael t our Board,
usurping the power of Governor Granholm at that
time.  this is not a political
statement on my part; it is my experience and
observation.  I urged our blind community to go
beyond their respective politics and come together
to correct that action with a collective voice.
It did not happen, collectively.  I was saddened
again, because after speaking with Congressional
reps, I kept getting totally different answers,
and I felt the dishonesty and intentions toward
our blind community were not in anyone's interest,
but were a predictor of what was coming.

I have seen, as a former teacher, the
ramifications of playing politics with our
teachers, state employees and lives of our
children.  That, of course, is my opinion, but it
is from experience that I speak.  I have
experienced firsthand, the ors, under this
administration arbitrarily dissolve parts of
insurance coverage that are financially very
costly to me.  I have seen my pension taxed an
extra $100 per month , after i  was blessed my
entire life to work and put into that pension,
pay more, by purchasing the mip Plan.  Contracts
and word of honor mean nothing
to our politicians and, in particular, at this
time, a Republican Administration.

The attitude continues, and grows.  It has
continued  as we see actions which are now
occuring by our Governor.   Contrast the attitudes
of Gov. Granholm and Gov. Snyder toward the blind
community in your own minds.  At the very least,
the overall tone of Gov. Granholm was one of
understanding and inclusion of all people in State
Government.  This Governor and his people have
shown by their actions a total lack of value for
blind folks.   We are now not a State, but a
business, and people are not
what matters.  Humanity and decency toward one
another are just not efficiency priorities.

Our Governor states that we are on the rise.  How
is that working for each of you??

This week I heard that Camp T costs have made
using Camp T prohibitive.  Ask Donna Possant for
her beautiful letter about Camp t and what it has
meant for our kids.  Are those actions by our
State Board respectful to our blind community?
Do they honor the intent of Camp T?

Now consider the abolition of our Commission, the
movement of bep, the overriding of P.A. 260., the
abolition of a director's role.  Do you have
doubts about what this Administration feels about
blind citizens in Michigan?

Consider the time and energy put into the
appointments to our current Board.  At the very
least they have put in much time and energy in the
faith that they were appointed to serve.  Consider
that Mike and Margaret had put in the time and
energy as well, and were just dismissed.  You now
know that feeling of disingenuine and
disrespectful attitude toward your time and to our
blind community as a whole.

There were consumers who were pretty sure that
they had connection, or at least an in-road to
this Administration, both with Snyder and Kelly.
It appears that they were given a picture that was
untrue and insincere.

What I am coming to, here, is that we may not be
able to change this at this time.
But elections are coming.  I pray that we think
about how we can come together to turn this horse
around.  I pray for a more important reason that
we choose to
work together to right this wrong.  We are human
beings, brothers and sisters under a higher
authority, and we must, must not attack one
another, but attack the system decisions here.  It
is my opinion that we attack with positive energy,
collaboration and cooperation, with an agreement
to not make ourselves appear
as an entitled group without a care for anything
other than having our own way.
Services for lbind people are good for all people.

I'm pretty sure that this Administration views us
as nonessential, not worthy of their time, not
worthy of citizenship.  If we can show them that
we are a reasoned, determined group of citizens
with needs different from those with sight, that
we need an agency, that we will not go away, that
we will not give in to hatred and rhetoric and
bashing and fear and control tactics, maybe we
have a chance.
Divided we will fail.

I question anymore if this is my country, and now
I question whether, indeed, this is my state.  I
will try, and I urge you to try, to word letters
to the editors of your paper, at least stating
what the abolition of our Commision will  mean to
you. The power of personal stories has been
brought home to me so many times s I listened to
stories of changed lives, in particular the story
of Joanne Wilson.  I urge you to state what
appears to be the attitude of our Governor and
Congress.  Ask your questions.  If you write, then
I urge you to consider how to  make your case
without bashing, as it could very well backfire,
as has happened in the last couple of years.
I urge you to study the candidates in the coming
elections. Tim Skubek stated that
it is such a waste to base your vote upon ads, as
they are all distortions.

Look at the candidates.  Look at the direction
which has been taken.   You can effect change by
voting.  we have no guarantee that these decisions
can be reversed, and it will take much time to
bring back something that was tossed with a
signing of a document.   We may not know future
candidates, but we can certainly see what we have
here and now in Congress and in our Governor.
Make your votes count to swing the tide and tone
of what is happening.

Above all, I pray that we regard each other in
kindness and respect, just refusing to
allow the voice of blame and destruction to
prevail.   You do not go onto the streets and
physically hurt someone. You choose not to do so.
Be unique, in that you choose to respect each
others' opinions.  HOW we react will carry the
day, either way, more than what we say.

Write letters to your Congresspeople; write to the
papers, to at least let others know what is
happening and how it affects you personally. Tell
your stories.  vote!!!


Jo Ann

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