Finally, Indiana has been on the list of States to watch during this primary season. Crazy, huh? Trump and Sanders cleaned up and we can expect heated debates all the way to November.
Here in Delaware County ,we saw some movement, an increase in voter turnout. Somewhere around 34%. The Republican ticket saw more votes than the Democrat ticket. And a relatively unknown candidate which never campaigned won the highest vote count and ousted a long-time sitting official.
We’re used to “ringer” candidates appearing on the ballot. You can spot them immediately. Mostly, it’s the brainchild of the local Democrat party. How do you spot a “ringer” also known as a “ghost” candidate?
First to qualify to be a ringer candidate on the Democrat ticket, there needs to be someone running who is despised by the local Dem leadership.
Second, the ringer candidate will alway appear before the unsupported candidate.
Third, the ringer candidate will not campaign, send out literature, rarely if ever have any signs. The ringer will not respond to any debate requests, phone calls from the paper, and not well known in the community.
Fourth, the ringer will have a sparse campaign finance report.
Sometimes the act of placing a “ghost” on the ballot does exactly what it was intended to do. Other times, it fails. Take for instance the ’08 primary when the Democrats successfully ousted incumbent John H. Brooke using a ringer candidate. Other candidates made it through the “ghosting” as we saw with Sue Errington in ’12 and Linda Gregory in ’15. The practice has been applied to several other elections.
In 2010, the Democrats upped their ante by getting ghost candidates to run on the Republican ticket. As far as we can tell, this was a first.
If you are up to reading the scary ghost story of 2016, please check out Larry Riley’s column.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. James Madison
Please take a look at Muncie’s financials.
These two reports ran in January 2016 and February 2016. The latest report shows a debt increase of $10 million.
Muncie revenue received for the years 2011 to 2015. The revenue sources includes property taxes, federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, fees, donations and grants.
Detailed Receipts 2011 to 2015
If you would like to look at the revenue streams the reports below give details. As you can see, property taxes have been on a decline since 2011. This should have been the first clue.
When revenue begins to decrease while debt increases it would be wise to consider the cost of debt and what it means. The first cost was public services which could only be fully funded with a tax increase. The second cost is economic development and it will only partially be funded with the recent tax increase.
You do need to consider the cost. If the debt can not be met, and there are no more taxes to increase what then? Fees? Fines? You don’t need to be in the dark when it comes to Local and State government finances any longer. In fact, it is imperative, for our future, to be well informed.
James Madison was a wise man giving wise advice which is still relevant today.
On Thursday the Muncie newspaper reported on the purchase of a property by Muncie Sanitary District. The District purchased the property for $395,000.
On Friday, the newspaper reported the property was appraised by unlicensed appraisers.
I would like to point out the quote from Mayor Tyler:
Mayor Dennis Tyler said Friday he wasn’t familiar with The Star Press report about the purchase of the flea market building in the 1700 block of East Main Street.
“All I know is that the city of Muncie and sanitary district have to get those levees recertified,” Tyler said. “It’s an expensive process they’re going through.”
In December 2014, the State of Indiana audited the District finding eight projects paying over the quoted prices. The lowest percentage was 22% and the highest was 822%. The total amount over the quoted prices was $300,763. Knowing an expensive process is in the making, perhaps Mayor Tyler needs to be more cognizant of how tax money is used. Read the rest of this entry »
The deadline for filing ended on Friday. One surprise, Democrat James King filed on the Republican ticket. He switched parties and the Republican chair, Will Statom, gave the blessing. Last year, Stephen Smith with a record of Democrat voting, asked to be placed on the Republican ballot for mayor. Will Statom said no.
Not surprising is a candidate, Traci Allbee, who has been a fixture in past elections. She has no intention of campaigning or even serving the public. Her sole purpose is to garner votes in hopes to keep a candidate the party despises from making it through the primaries.
Every election, it’s the same old song and dance. Most are what we call “ringers” or “ghost candidates”. To keep things interesting, the tactics are changed slightly. Like the 2010 primaries when the Democrats filled the Republican spots with their very own candidates.
Delaware County Voting Polls Are Haunted! (click here)
The Republicans beat the Democrats at their own game by filling nearly every spot with their candidates. “Foul!” the DHQ cried. That’s funny, I don’t care who you are.
In 2011, Nora Powell filed with her maiden name and showed on the ballot as Nora “Evans” Powell. Again in 2015, she pulled out her maiden name to be listed at the top of the ballot, reverting back to Powell after the elections.
So, you say?
2011 saw another candidate who filed with her maiden name. Unfortunately, not being chosen by the DHQ elite, she was subjected to all manner of scrutinization. Nora was not held to the same standard.
Of course, Powell is not a “ringer” candidate by any means. Just one who hopes to cash in on the 7% of voters known to select the first name on the ballot. 2015 saw “ghost” candidates in an unsuccessful effort to unseat the popular Linda Gregory.
Let’s go back to 2008 when the Democrats were successful in removing an elected official by placing a “ringer” on the ballot. Bilbrey comes before Brooke. Bilbrey received 6,000 votes and never campaigned. DHQ was successful in getting Brooke out and their man Dunnuck in by employing the “ghost candidate” ungolden rule. Sidenote: Bilbrey later sued Mayor Dennis Tyler. Don’t know the outcome.
In addition, just a few months prior to the November ’08 election, the Democrat Headquarters went on a campaign to get Vote Centers instituted. The Republicans were not against Vote Centers. Just the timing and the implementation was close to the election date.
Democrats, of course, making it a political football claiming it was an effort to suppress the vote. Funny thing, after the election, with a Democrat Clerk and a Democrat-controlled election board, they never made any move to implement Vote Centers again.
Democrats as well as Republican are successful in inciting emotional outrage where none exists as well as claiming the Voter ID law limits voters. You need an ID to cash a check. Surely an election should fall under the same scrutiny. Based on unknown candidate Bilbrey’s 6,000 votes, not sure elections and its process all that important.
Simply put, placing fake candidates on the ballot is a covert manipulation of your vote. Sincerely hope people recognize it as such and just say no.
Gotta go…see you all when I see you all…
Walking down memory lane
Let’s take a walk down memory lane. 2013 was the year when MCS planned to stop bus service unless the referendum was passed. The Democrat Party held a press conference in support of the $45 million tax increase. At that time, Democrat Headquarters property was tax exempt. This property would be exempt from paying the tax. I’m not sure if they pay a voluntary PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Property Taxes), it does seem if there is so much concern for safety, they would gladly pay PILOT.
Plans, plans and more plans
Muncie Community Schools claimed they were working with the City of Muncie on a plan to get children back and forth to school safely. At the public hearing in December 2013 before the Indiana Department of Education, no one from the City of Muncie presented any plan. In fact, not one representative from the city spoke on any plan. A member of the IDOE board asked if there was a plan. The answer was no. No fiscal plan and no safety plan.
Income tax increase
Fast forward to September 1st, 2015 when Mayor Tyler announced the LOIT tax would be passed. 43% increase in income taxes for employees all over Delaware County. Muncie was denied renewal of the SAFER grant and although the Mayor assured the public the city had enough money to continue public safety, we didn’t. Hence, the passing of the tax in 14 days.
The 2016 City budget had been crafted in August 2015. Neither the Mayor or Muncie City Council ever mentioned the possibility funds would be short. Leading citizens to believe public safety monies were available in the budget. Mayor Tyler presented the LOIT tax, and I suppose the lack of funds which no one seemed to notice may have been justified. Still, if safety is foremost in the Mayor’s mind, he certainly didn’t seem to be monitoring it closely.
The Great Debate – Safety
The big debate now is if the Muncie Community Schools should be closed or delayed because of weather. It shows up every winter season. Yet, MCS has a history of no delays and seldom closes. The winters of 2014 & 2015 were certainly out of the norm. Extreme weather conditions warranted the closing of schools, businesses and canceling of events.
Mayor Tyler did not miss the opportunity to weigh in through his Twitter account.
Words vs. Actions
This brings me to aligning words with actions. While the Mayor feels compelled to criticize Muncie Comunity Schools, he seems to be oblivious to the children, teenagers and adults which are forced to walk in the streets because the City of Muncie doesn’t enforce the ordinance of snow removal from sidewalks.
Certainly, it is a difficult ordinance to enforce. Yet, not that difficult it seems. Last year, a property owner was clearing the sidewalks of his property. The ordinance police showed up and wanted to levy a fine against the owner for complying with the city ordinance. As it goes, the citizen had blown some snow into a street which had not yet been plowed. Police were called and nothing came of it. To my knowledge, no one from the city addressed the incident.
Yet all around the vicinity were sidewalks that had not been cleared. Go figure…
Speed limits and stop signs
The City of Muncie is busy lowering speed limits on streets and installing stop signs in obscure locations, they can’t seem to come up with a safety plan or a way to enforce their own ordinances.
If safety is a concern, might one suggest the Mayor use some of the tax dollars he increased to make our sidewalks safe to walk on in the winter months? Not sure how safe Memorial or Tillotson is for foot traffic, especially in the early morning and evening hours.
All this just to say, align their words with actions. So, I’ll leave you with an op-ed cleverly written and laced with humor: