Delaware County

Mayor Sharon McShurley or Dennis Tyler?

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Dear Friends and Supporters concerned about the direction Muncie City will take should Dennis Tyler become our next mayor.

Earlier, I had given you a list of some of the things we have seen happen under Mayor McShurley’s administration.  One of the biggest and most productive for the citizens, is the fiscal management.  The city has lived within its means, and has not borrowed to make payroll, pay for utilities, etc.  Borrowing money, in and of itself is costly, as interest is tacked on to the money. 

We skated through the proposed income tax increase by former president of city council, Alison Quirk.  I doubt we will be this fortunate should Dennis Tyler become mayor.  One of the  things he will do is support increasing your taxes.  We already know, current candidates, Alison Quirk, Nora Powell, Mary Jo Barton will support the passage should they get elected. 

As Todd Donati’s eyes were upon the COIT increase, and he eagerly waited for the city to pass the LOIT, Dennis Tyler will be just as eager for the money. Donati said when COIT was increased, he would include cuts in spending.  It never happened.  This same fiscal principle will be applied to the city.  More money, more spending until we find ourselves in the same boat as the county. 

Millions of dollars short.  If you think we suffered from the hands of the foolish cuts made in the 2010 budget, hold on to your hat, a foul wind is about to blow across our city.

In Larry Riley’s column on Wednseday, he penned Tyler authored 10 bill since 2006.   Six years in office as a State Representative and the average of his bills would be less than 1.5 bill per year.  Hardly something to applaud.  But, ah, take a look at these bills and his voting records and you will find even less to crow about.

There is a difference between the position of a mayor and a house representative. Their level of governing is defined by their roles.  That aside, their accomplishments should be an indication of their ability to get the job done.

Still, we can look at Mayor Sharon McShurley and see there is at a minimum of 45 things which have been accomplished over her four years as mayor.  Compare her average of 10 per year to Tyler’s 1.5 per year and there should be no doubt in any person’s mind, who is the best person to run out city.  All this in four years, without the support of many city council members.  Remember this, Muncie City could have been farther along if the legislative body of City Council had not placed so many blocks in the way of progress. 

Mayor McShurley was in the minority. 

I doubt Dennis Tyler will be able to interact well those outside of his sphere of influence.  Doubt he will be asked to attend economic summits, let alone be part of a group which works to attract businesses.  Dennis Tyler will be in great need of a deputy mayor, as he won’t be able to comprehend the scope and responsibilities associated with running our city in the 21st Century. 

Dennis Tyler is a dinosaur.  He operates  in an antiquated mode.  Unable to move from the “old” ways into the new.  Lacking any progressive thought as demonstrated by his lack of bill authoring.

Let’s compare the ability to work under adverse conditions and still get the job done. 

Mayor Sharon McShurley: From 2008 to March of 2009, had faced the worse opposition imaginable.  Battling with some City Council members during this time frame  and all over her willingness to present updates on the Muncie City.  Not to mention some of the most vile, horrendous and wicked rumors and lies which spread through the city like wildfire.  Grace Under Fire.

Dennis Tyler: Appointed as the State Representative in 2006.    Suddenly, he is in minority status.  His actions were nothing less than cowardly and shows his inability to handle what he considered a “tough” situation.  Not even after six years of experience.

McShurley stays.

Tyler runs.

And this is the bottom line, folks.

We need people, which have proven results to run our city.  This includes the city common council, too.

Not Getting Along

Had enough?

Vote Informed.

Saturday Ramblings and an Election Year

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Hello, October!

I love the fall season, except for the fact we have to say good-bye to summer and it’s a constant reminder winter is at our doorstep!  I feel melancholy and in the mood to just ramble.  It’s perfect morning for it.

Sipping a hot cup of Trader Joe’s java and bidding you all a top of the morn.

As you all know, this is an election year for municipalities and Muncie is nearing her peak of the season.  I take elections very seriously.  This is one opportunity as American citizens to have our voice be heard.  I encourage everyone to get out and vote.  Just as important is knowing your candidates, understanding government and the issues facing our city.

Often times, the public on-line forums will give us some insight into voter’s minds, other times you wonder if you have returned to the beloved high school student council elections…In other words, its more personality than issue based.  It seems easier to discuss the superficial while the weightier things are left untouched. 

Yesterday a letter to the editor in support of Mayor McShurley was published in the local newspaper.  One poster commented the letter was staged, and then proceeded to list the following: 

The mayor’s quest to shut down Muncie. 

Hired friends from Anderson for leadership positions.

Endangered residents by cutting public safety.

Lied about her residency.

Lied about her taxes.

 It’s obvious this was more rumor than fact.  In other words, it packed a punch, or at least the person hopes it does.  So, let’s take a look at these five allegations.

The first would be the quest to shut down Muncie.  I am not sure what exactly the quest may be, nevertheless, if any will recall the 2010 budget cuts crafted by some members of the city council you may wonder how the person arrived at his or her conclusion.  Excluded in the final budget cut meeting was one member of the finance committee. .  Go figure. (He probably wouldn’t be welcomed at Democrat Headquarters where the budget cutting was done, anyway).

 The city council cut street lights, fuel for MPD, animal control, water hydrants, personnel and then created a “Rainy Day” fund which was illegal.  This is a brief listing, I’m sure you get the picture.

My favorite one is the hiring of friends for leadership positions.  As opposed to what?  Family members or political supporters regardless of their abilities or lack thereof? 

 Doug Zook as the Park Superintendent took a failing parks system and turned it around.  He came to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience.  He couldn’t vote for the mayor.   He provided excellent leadership and “gasp” he didn’t live here. 

Pete Heuer the current superintendent of Streets and Public Works, is an Anderson resident, too.  Like Zook, he has come to the table with qualifications, knowledge and experience.  With the influx of tax dollars for maintaining our streets, Mr. Heuer has done wonders with the paving and snow removal.  He tackled the big job of addressing the city council’s street light budget cut in the professional way.  It was really a waste of our tax dollars as he was forced on a quest to correct the council’s inability to understand the budget.

Two professionals which don’t live in Muncie working diligently to help her succeed.   Go figure.

 Let’s move on.

Public safety has been addressed ad nauseam.  One full year with a decreased force, and certainly if public safety was such an issue, one might wonder why the city council voted down the purchase of trucks in April ’09.  Perhaps, it was the “quiet” deal between President Alison Quirk and President Todd Donati to use funds from the Morrison TIF.  Another “Go figure”.

 Lied about her residency.  Now, this one really has me puzzled.  I think the commentator is confused between where the Mayor worked and where she lives.  Personally, I find this one hilarious.

She lied about her taxes.  I am sure he or she is referencing the double homestead.  No, the mayor didn’t lie and neither did the other 59 people.  Included in the group were two city council members.  Alison Quirk and Monte Murphy.  The mayor sold the house in 2006, filed a quit-claim or  quick-claim deed as it is sometimes referred,  and moved on.

 I suppose if one has lived in Muncie all their life and been a die-hard Democrat local party loyalist, they would feel comfortable voting in candidates which have benefited from tax dollars.   Like current candidate Nora Powell, which was allowed to live in a home designated for low-income families, courtesy of the director which was also her mother.  Or Dennis Tyler which voted himself a raise, then received $86,000 as a retirement benefit, and voting for a state budget overloaded with spending, all at a time when the homeowners were battling an overwhelming increase in property taxes. 

Or why it is a cardinal sin for one to have a double homestead (before taking elected office) and perfectly acceptable for others (in an elected office).

All this aside, here is what really needs to be understood before we cast our votes. 

First, we should look at the voting records and  what the candidate has or will bring to the table.  We must understand the people we elect will be spending and allocating nearly $30 million dollars in tax money.  They will make decisions which will affect our city for the next four years and beyond.  The elected officials will have the ability to increase your taxes, or use revenue wisely or unwisely.

The elected officials will be appointing department heads and board members. 

I personally feel, returning to the past, which some candidates and elected officials feel “was the good days” would be a step back into the stone age.  I suppose if one feels federal investigations, tax increases, constant borrowing to make ends meet, poor roads and city filled with blighted properties is the “good days” puts into question their ability to think progressively, be pro-active and place people before politics. 

Had Enough?

Vote Informed.

An Example of “Working Together” It Ain’t Pretty, Folks!

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Just how much gets accomplished when the local elected officials work together?

Using the Modernization/Consolidation as one  recent example.  City Council voted yes on the resolution in April ’08. In July of that same year, some members of the city council felt they had  been excluded  (Did they not read it before voting?). So, they held a special meeting, rescinded the original resolution and appointed their own to the committee. One council person voted yes on his own nomination.

Then in November ’08 the ordinance was tabled. Nearly a year after the first ordinance was approved, the council finally said yes and the planning began. For another full year the reorganization committee met. The public and elected officials were invited.

Once the plan was completed and given to both city council members and county commissioners, it sat idle with no movement for almost 11 months until the governing bodies hired a firm for $70,000 to assess the financial aspect. Delaware County and Muncie City took nearly three years to come to a consensus. Compare to Yorktown and Mount Peasant’s one year of planning. 

Or our neighbors on the southwest corner of the state where Vanderburgh County Commissioners , spent just five months meeting and discussing their consolidation with Evansville.

VANDERBURGH COMMISSIONERS VOTE FOR MERGER: Vanderburgh County Commissioners have taken one of the final steps needed to place a question on merging city and county governments before for the voters next year (Gootee, Evansville Courier & Press). During their meeting Tuesday night, Commissioners Marsha Abell and Lloyd Winnecke supported the resolution which enables a referendum in November 2012, while Commissioner Stephen Melcher voted against it. Now for the plan officials have spent the last five months discussing to get onto the ballot, the Evansville City Council must approve the exact same resolution as the commissioners. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal Sept. 26. Melcher’s lone dissenting vote came as no surprise after his own proposal adding a so-called voter threshold died without a vote after neither Abell or Winnekce seconded it. Under a threshold, city voters and those who live outside city limits would have had to give separate majority approval for the two governments to merge. The proposal being considered requires a simple countywide majority from voters at the polls for the new government structure to take effect in January 2015.

The City of Evansville passed the ordinance on September 26, 2011. 

The March 2011 Common Council meeting saw no discussion on the modernization. With the meeting about to adjourn after 15 minutes, a man approached the council. His question was valid. “What are your thoughts about the consolidation?” Silence, until the citizen prodded for an answer.  Alison Quirk said we would hear the city council’s thoughts at the public meeting. Council woman, Linda Gregory, spoke to the issue. Marshall said he thought Gregory was on the reorganization committee.  He can read a plan about a woman’s daycare idea, but knows nothing about the consolidation committee?

Here is an excerpt from a letter to the editor on that meeting:

“It made me wonder whether council members had seriously studied the proposal. Had council members actively engaged their constituents about the proposal? Were council members waiting to receive a script to follow or to be informed how to vote before they spoke?”

Linda Gregory had studied the issues and complexities of government reorganization. Linda Gregory had discussed reorganization with her constituents at her monthly meetings. Linda Gregory did not wait for the party leadership to tell her what to think or how vote or when to speak or not speak. And Linda Gregory shared her ideas with the audience.

Friends, words and deeds tell us much about ourselves and the candidates we elect. So does silence.” Muncie Star Press April 21, 2011.

After three years of voting it up, voting it down, public hearing, no discussion, not reading the finished plan, and paying $70,000 for a “fiscal study” only to come up with two changes.   The  67% voting threshold, a political move designed to lessen your vote, and protecting the public defenders.

This is what happens when the elected officials currently in office “work together”. Nothing gets done and it ends up costing the citizens.

Folks, this is not good government. It is Muncie City Council government.

Had Enough?

Vote Informed

Democrats Pledge a Clean Campaign and Why I Believe it is a Crock of Moldy Butter

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So, the local Democrat Party decided to run a clean campaign.  I just love an election year, don’t you?  First, let me say this, I don’t believe for a minute the local Democrat Party has any intention of running a clean campaign.  I do believe Dennis Tyler is “Imagining the possibilities of working together” with his local party loyalists, though.

Let’s taks a short trip down memory lane and look at some examples of “Working together”.

Shirey has the political misfortune to occupy a seat that has been targeted by commissioners and their Democratic advisers, current party Chairman Dennis Tyler and past Chairman Phil Nichols . While Shirey might see the trustee’s office as an opportunity to help people and to move the community forward, Democrats see it as a prime outlet for political patronage and a vote-buying attraction for poor-relief clients.

With that in mind, they took their first shot at Shirey during last month’s county fair. They publicly criticized him for putting trustee business cards on parked cars at the fairgrounds — during Republican Night at the fair. Shirey’s cards had nothing to do with encouraging votes, other than to suggest (with a nod toward the local scene) that people who fail to get involved in politics are destined to be ‘governed by their inferiors.’  August 2002 Star press

Oh, by the way, Dennis Tyler was the Democrat running in 2003 for mayor, and then like now, he is trying to play down partisian politics.  Always promising, and never producing.

Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman Dennis Tyler might distance himself from the Democratic Central Committee if he runs for mayor.

Tyler, a Muncie fire captain, said he might name a director of the central committee to play down partisanship with his campaign — if he runs for mayor.

Continuing on in the 2003 race for Muncie mayor, we find another interesting Democrat figure making a bid.  This is what was reported in the newspaper in February 2003.  You may find some similarities in this primary to other primaries if you look hard enough.

The all-important top of the ballot was claimed last week in the Democratic primary for Muncie mayor.

However, restaurant and bar owner Lewis Coulter does not believe he will hold the top spot for long.

Coulter, who ran for mayor in 1999, recalled how a truck driver named Bex also filed for the Democratic nomination for mayor that year. Bex bumped Coulter out of the top spot, and never campaigned.

 Coulter expected another candidate with a last name beginning with an A or B would show up on the ballot this week. The filing deadline for the May 6 primary election is noon Friday.

In 2011, the Democrats took a little different approach to alphabatizing the primary ballot.  This time, they placed one of their own, Nora Powell, at the top spot.   But, I digress.

Still, another candidate for mayor, Chuck Leonard, had some problems with his campaign, too.  It seems all of his campaign materials kept falling from the window of Democrat Headquarters.  Perhaps the headquarters should invest in tape with more sticking power.  Nevertheless, Chuck took all his campaign parphanelia and with his campain manager, Jerry Thornburg, headed down to visit, none other than Dennis Tyler.

‘I feel it is the responsibility of headquarters to make sure that all Democrats have a level playing field,’ Leonard said.

Tyler, who stepped down as county Democratic chairman to run for mayor, told Side Remarks he had nothing to do with Leonard’s signs falling down from the window.

Thornburg reminded Tyler that he had promised a level playing field when he became chairman after the 1999 city election.

Harold Mason running against Monte Murphy was denied election materials, including poll books.  Some barbs were thrown Mr. Mason’s way and his campaign manager said the Democrat party needed to be more inclusive.  The primary election netted 486 abstentee votes that year (neary 1/3 of the registered voters.  Mason lost by a mere 136 votes.  Murphy was later indicted and found guilty of voter fraud.   Absentee votes declined after the investigation began, probably just a coincidence.

Imagine the possibilities when we work together…..

2004 saw a decent campaign season.  Tracy Barton and Tom Bennington sparred a bit.  But this is what I found interesting in the race between John Brooke and Bob Wilson.  Civility and a gentelmanly campaign.  Here is what these two guys had to say.

‘I can’t speak for John, but I made a promise for myself I was going to stick to the issues, present a positive image and let the people decide,” Wilson said.

‘I don’t think either Bob or myself generally view politics as something you have to sling a lot of mud,” Brooke said. ‘Maybe the fact that we’re first-time candidates might also add to our naivety.”

Asked about the worst that could happen if Brooke was elected, Wilson replied, ‘With all the traveling that he does [representing clients as an attorney for the fireworks industry], I’m afraid that he might be an absentee commissioner, and this is not the time to have absentee commissioners with all the problems we have.”

In answering the same question about Wilson, Brooke said, ‘The worst that can happen is that both Republicans and Democrats continue to be polarized against each other and don’t want to work together to get something accomplished.”

John Brooke won that race.  We will read more about Mr. Brooke later.

2007 saw little action in the primaries.  So, let’s move on to 2008.

John Brooke, Democrat Commissioner elected in 2004, began to work accross party lines.    That was his down fall in the eyes of the Democrat party.  So, party leadership took to discrediting Brooke and in his own defense Brooke penned a letter to the precint committeemen. 

Brooke was reluctant to talk about difficulties between him and Democratic Party Chairman Dennis Tyler when contacted Friday.

In late March, Brooke wrote a letter to local Democratic Party precinct committeemen. Committeemen in the county’s precincts form the central committee of local political parties and have the power to name the party’s chairman.

In his letter, Brooke noted that former Democratic Party Chairman Phil Nichols had — in a recent public forum — ‘raised certain questions about my involvement in the commissioners office.”

Brooke wrote that he took ‘great offense” at Nichols’s comment that Brooke was not a ‘true Democrat” and had been ‘going to the press” to talk about government and politics.

‘Mr. Nichols has no basis to question my party loyalty and affiliation,” Brooke wrote.

Brooke said he believed that county residents wanted ‘leaders that can solve problems and work with other elected officials.”

Neither Tyler nor Nichols could be reached for comment Friday. Tyler did not return a message left for him at party headquarters.  April 2005, Star Press

  Don Dunnuck, party insider announced his bid to run against Brooke.

County Democratic Party Chairman Margie Landers introduced Dunnuck to a group of supporters as “my man.”

Without mentioning Brooke by name, Dunnuck spoke out against Democrats who “follow their own dictates,” stay away from party headquarters and don’t stay grounded in party politics.

“When we’re elected, we need to act like Democrats,” Dunnuck said.

Dunnuck declined to comment afterward on whether his words were focused on his opponent.  February 2008 Star Press

Just like Coulter and Bex, the Democrats recruited Bilbrey to run in the race with Brooke and Dunnuck.   Brooke lost.  2008 was an ugly election year.  With the Democrat party working against Democrat candidates Tom Canon and Linda Wolf.  They won.

Imagine the possibilities when we work together…..

In 2010, it is widely believed, the Democrats fielded several unknown people to run on the Republican ticket.  Ghost candidates, if you will.  I believe the Democrats were worried voters, possibly Republicans and Democrats and Independants would cast a vote for Democrats not supported by the Democrat leadership.  

There was no love loss between party leadership and Larry Bledose, and the Democrats clearly showed their choice was another Democrat insider, Bill Smith.  Larry’s downfall, like Brooke, was to work for the citizens and not the party.  It was a clean sweep of Team Democrat candidates.

2010 primary election night was a nightmare for the losing party favored candidates.  But, instead of embracing the winning canidates and preparing for the fall election, they chose instead to enter a public on-line forum and proceded to trash the Democrat winners.  People tend to follow the dictates of their leaders.  As the leadership goes, so goes the supporters. 

2011 Dennis Tyler faced with being in the minority runs off to Urbana for five weeks while his campaign slogan “Imagine the possibilies when we work together” grows mold.

I have just given you a few examples, as any more would talke a small book to write.  But anyway, this is why I don’t believe for one minute the Democrat leadership is all that serious about a clean campaign or promises of working together and giving volume to your voice.

I hope the voters are paying attention.

Had enough?

Vote informed.

Meeting of Land and Traffic Part 3 ~ Choo! Choo!

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 Well, folks, we now have our third meeting of Muncie Land & Traffic committee behind us. 

You may remember the first meeting was canceled because the committee forgot to post a public notice.  The second meeting allowed no public input as the Land & Traffic committee’s goal was to get their questions in order and prepare a guest list for the next meeting.  Last night was the third meeting. 

Forgive me if I seem just a little testy, a little short-tempered and little angry.  How stupid is it folks, to not invite the railroad to a public meeting on….the railroad?  I am trying to figure out what is going through the minds of the Land and Traffic committee.  Obviously, not much.

If you had attended what could only be called an “organizational meeting”, you would have noticed the chairperson, Mr. Julius Anderson, had taken on the responsibility of contacting various representatives which would offer valuable input into the closings of these railroad crossings.  The list was short, but concise.  The guest list included, Board of Public Works, Police, Fire, EMS and Norfolk-Southern Railroad

You may have noticed at the second meeting of Land & Traffic most of the questions and the conversation centered around Norfolk Railroad.  Chairperson Anderson, Jerry Dishman, Alison Quirk, Mary Jo Barton and Mark Conatser all came to the consensus the railroad was the important factor. 

At last night’s meeting, Julius Anderson announced he didn’t want to invite the railroad, so he didn’t.  I don’t know about anybody else, but I find it truly amazing he decided to not invite the representative from Norfolk Southern Railroad.

 “I know the railroad wouldn’t have acted on their own,” said Anderson, adding that someone in the administration must have signed off on the closings.

So, how does he KNOW this? 

At the July common council meeting, with a representative from Norfolk in our midst, Mr. Anderson asked no questions of substance.   He had done no homework.  In fact, he and the others didn’t even show any interest at the prospect of our city gaining $4 million dollars.  In fact, does any of the city council know we received $1.1 million for railroad improvements?  Probably not.

Jerry Dishman asked if there was any documentation.  Like documentation would really matter.  They don’t read anything.  What is so hard about taking the initiative to do some research on this issue, or any issue concerning the city?

Let’s recap:

  • First meeting canceled – no notice
  • Second meeting – disorganized
  • Third meeting – no RR representative

So, either this was a planned political stunt, which would make their Democrats pledge to run a clean campaign 9-9-11  null and void.  Or it was sloppy and lazy governing, which would make them poor representatives of our city.  Or we may have heard how closing these crossings could benefit our city, and that would never do.

Regardless if it is one or all three, this is bad for Muncie City and bad news for her citizens.

All this, and we don’t even have an ordinance on the table.

Tempers flare as crossings mystery goes unsolved 

Hear the Train

Choo Choo Part 1

Choo Choo Part 2

Had enough?

Vote informed!

Common Thoughts = Double Trouble

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Sometimes it’s good to have common thoughts.  Other times common thoughts can be trouble.

A perfect example, would be two Muncie city council at-large candidates sharing the same common thought, doubling your taxes.  As previous president of Muncie City Common Council, Alison Quirk introduced LOIT (Local Option Income Tax) at its highest percentage.  Standing at the podium urging the council to act upon this tax was Nora Powell, currently running for at-large seat.

Nora Powell, which hoped to take Monte Murphy’s seat “should he go down” began to diligently seek the favor of the local Democrat Party in early 2008.  The most effective way, apparently, was to agree with everything city council did. 

Common thoughts.

So, if you are unhappy with how city council has been run for the past four to eight years, would you vote in the same model of governance?  Probably not.   If a candidate has supported nearly every decision made by council, it stands to reason this is the type of governing most pleasing to the candidate.

Nora Powell’s campaign slogan is “Giving Volume to Your Voice” which makes it nothing more than a catchy phrase.  Consider how city council has reacted to their constituents’ voice and Nora Powell sharing their core values leads one to believe it will not be YOUR voice being heard.

Common thoughts.

I  would imagine the LOIT will be introduced as early as possible in 2012.  This will give County Commissioner President Todd Donati the opportunity to raise the county option income tax (COIT).   President Donati embraced the additional taxes and promised to couple the tax with budget cuts back in 2009. (We have seen no cuts, just additional spending and waste.)

What is the denominators that unite Alison Quirk, Todd Donati and Nora Powell?  Common thoughts and taxation.  Recipe for disaster.

Muncie City Council needs new faces with fresh ideas.  Not a candidate which shares the same ideals of what we have today.

Had enough?

Vote informed. 

City Council Meeting with Public Hearing @ 6:00 PM & Things That make You Go Hmmmm….

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On September 12, a public hearing at 6:00 PM on Ordinance 38-11 Budget and Tax Rates.  There is nothing to really to be said about the public hearing.

Some highlights you can expect at the city council meeting will include Ordinance 24-11 amending Ordinance 20-08 Meijers-Menard annexation.

Ordinance 17-11 vacate 9th & 10th Streets at railroad tracks.  Now, this one is really interesting.  If you will recall, a meeting to discuss the closing of these streets was canceled due to no official public notification.    A second meeting was held  and this one was just to get the invite list together for the public meeting to be held on September 14th.

In July the ordinance was tabled, in August there was an attempt to bring it back on the table by Linda Gregory.  That didn’t happen.  Yet, the Land & Traffic committee is holding a public meeting on an ordinance that hasn’t even been introduced.  You have got to love the peculiarities of how the city council operates.  I would imagine this ordinance will be introduced Monday night.  Finally.

Another interesting thing.  The superintendent of Public Works, contacted Julius Anderson and asked if Anderson could forward the questions the city council wanted answered on the closing.  Unfortunately, Anderson didn’t have the questions as he said the recording equipment was broken.  No it wasn’t.   Anderson suggested he contact a member of Citizens of Delaware County for Good Government and see if someone had a copy. 

Hear that train….

Choo Choo part 1

Choo Choo part 2

Friday, the Democrat Headquarters’s supported candidates held a press conference and pledged a clean campaign.  Democrats pledge to run a clean campaign 9-9-11.

The signers of the pledge (not to be confused with the signers of the Declaration of Independence) although this could become a historical document:

Dennis Tyler

Alison Quirk

Nora Powell

Mary Jo Barton

Jerry Dishman

Julius Anderson

Doug Marshall

Phyllis Reagon

Yep, it’s an election year in Muncie, Indiana.

Delaware County Budget And City Elections=Why the County influences the city and is it good or bad?

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The county is beginning its budget meetings.   Delaware County is looking at $8 million shortage, lay-off of 100 employees or at the very least three-hour reduction of work week or 8% cut in pay.  According to Larry Riley’s column today, the county council submitted a budget which is higher than the 2011 budget. 

 As many of you know the county was unable to meet this year’s budget and 25 people were laid off from their jobs.  I am trying to comprehend how the county council could submit a 2012 budget higher than 2011.  Is it a shuffling of money?  In other words, is the 2012 budget higher in order to cut and thereby giving the appearance the county has done due diligence to meet the $8 million dollar shortfall? 

We all know it is common practice to submit a budget higher than needed, that way cuts can be made, the county  can function like normal and everybody is happy.  Times are different.

During the spring budget meetings this year, the county borrowed from the rainy day fund.  Most understood the fund would never be paid back.  It would be impossible considering the current financial climate.  Today’s articles confirmed it.  We do need cuts, and there are plenty of things that should have never been done.  Additional hiring, $7 million dollar bond, forgiving a loan and receiving land as payment, changing lawyers and losing nearly a million dollars in taxes because of it, a county broke in 2009 and so on and so forth.

Every warning signs were ignored, poo-pooed as just citizens making a stink about elected officials.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.   The simple fact is, who we have in office is a detriment and it can’t be any clearer in light of the financial mess.

When I think about how our city council is a mirror image of the county officials, I can’t help but feel a tinge of uneasiness with the November election.  The very thought we would vote in the same people again and place Dennis Tyler as head of the city is extremely unnerving.    And it should be.

When members of our city council tried diligently to shuffle animal control to a county that was flat broke and lacked any real experience.  Giving away every asset paid for by city tax dollars, you and me, and give up any control the city would have in running the shelter, is amazing.  The city council paid no attention to the county’s finances or even considered how the county could afford the additional cost of animal control.  And they didn’t care.

This is nothing but dereliction of duties on the part of city council.  When a woman from Albany, Indiana stood before the council imploring them to take the county deal, and many of the city council members listened to her, while the people who vote, live and pay for this service were ignored and treated as if their involvement and concern for their city was nothing more than excrement to be scraped from the shoe.  We knew we have no representation on city council.

Now, the simple fact is this, city council never looked any further than the immediate.  It’s a good thing the Mayor of Muncie, Sharon McShurley vetoed this proposal or we would see our selves without any form of animal control at all.  Gregory, Polk and Conatser , city council members, saw the future and changed their votes.

I can’t stress this enough.  We can’t just look at the immediate without considering the future.

I implore all city voters to consider our future and vote with this in mind. 

I don’t support Alison Quirk, Mary Jo Barton, Jerry Dishman, or Nora Powell. Mark my words, having these people along with Dennis Tyler as mayor will see us in the same boat as the county.  If this is what you want, then this is what you will get.

But, if you have a strong desire to see our city move forward, then you will replace every single person that has hampered our progress and created nothing but drama for our city.  It’s your choice, vote informed.

Delaware County County council begins 2012 budget hearings

County fiscal crisis moves on briskly

Meeting of Land & Traffic Part 2 ~ Choo, Choo, Choo

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Things are rolling down the track. With the second meeting of Land & Traffic since 2007 under our wheels, you may be asking “What the heck was this meeting about, anyway?”

I can fully understand why they chose this to be a venue without public input, as it was obvious they hadn’t a clue on the issue before them or what they were supposed to be doing. So, I am going to recap as best as possible on what happened.

The full committee was there, Mary Jo Barton, Jerry Dishman, Julius Anderson, Alison Quirk and Mark Conatser.

The committee’s goal was to discuss the ordinance 17-11 which is to close the tracks permantly on 9th & 10th Streets. It wasn’t about the quiet zone. Julius Anderson was the facilitator of the meeting.

Mary Jo Barton began the meeting by saying the neighbors don’t want it closed. She said she found paperwork on when it first started. She believes it began with David Dominick wanting more parking for the convention center. Mary Jo Barton said the plan was quickly shut down by the council.

I was trying to picture the convention center and the proximity of 9th and 10th streets. There must be a link to connect the two…somewhere.

When asked what year this took place, she shuffled through some papers and said she didn’t know. Why she didn’t have the articles or a synopsis available is strange. Mary Jo Barton said the railroad can’t close down the tracks.

Conster said he believed the railroad could, and I tend to agree with him. He had spoken to someone at Norfolk Southern a few years ago when he tried to address the trains stopping on the tracks in his neighborhood.

Mary Jo Barton said it was up to the city and not the railroad to close the crossings.

A link to Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook – Revised Second Edition August 2007 outlines the procedures for railroad crossings. I want to be upfront, I don’t know if this is current, but it is a read, nevertheless, on the questions of who is responsible for closing the crossings.

Alison Quirk said this is an ordinance to vacate a public street. (Something the city council has done several times.) She said the purpose of the meeting was to determine who to invite to the public meeting in September. Mary Jo Barton reiterated it was to vacate/permanetly close the streets.

Allison Quirk stated the purpose of the meeting was to put our (committee) concerns in writing. She had no opinion, just wants to make an informed decision. Then she began to list the questions/statements. Not sure if I got them all, but here is what I believe she asked.

1. Why two crossing next to each other?

2. Who is responsible for maintenance?

3. Who determined 9th & 10th Streets closed?

4. There is an agreement and wants to know who has a copy of it?

5. She wants input from Police, Fire, and EMS.

6. What is the signage if the streets are closed?

7. What is the community impact?

8. What will the closing look like? (Drawings/rendering of the closings.)

9. Impact on businesses.

10. Who assumes liability?

Now, we are getting to the crux of the matter. She heard the railroad would compensate the city. What is the amount of money, how could it be used and would the money be appropriated by city council. (I thought they appropriated the money now.) What is the estimated cost for ongoing maintenance?

Mary Jo Barton said she believed it would be $4,000-$10,000 per year. I am just going to have to take her word for it, and that makes me uneasy. (Stole that line, but it is fitting in this case.)

Jerry Dishman asked some questions. More like a recap of Quirk’s list.

Conaster had no questions.

Jerry Dishman said the sound of the engine was as loud as the horn. (Huh?) Financial was his biggest concern. (Sure it is Jerry, which is why they paid $35,000 for a fiscal study on the consolidation plan after having it for nearly a year.)

Mary Jo Barton said she didn’t understand the vacate verbiage. 16 years on the council and she still doesn’t understand the word vacate.

Dishman thought the railroad would do the maintenance and the city would reimburse.

Quirk said she thought the railroad should be at the next meeting.

Anderson asked what are the codes? Need to talk with the department of transportation.

Barton forgets her question.

Quirk has pictures of the crossings.

Anderson will work with clerk on getting people notified.

Meeting adjourned.

The crossings have been closed for several years, the land & traffic committee hasn’t meet since 2007 and suddenly we have this concern for the public. Nearly four years to consider the impact and nary a word said. It’s an election year.

Don’t be fooled as Alison Quirk said at the 2007 candidate forum when asked if she had to cut the budget she would look at public safety, meet with department heads and work with the mayor. None of which she has done.

Sorry if this is a little jumbled, it’s the best I could do with what little I had to work with.  The spell check stopped working so I had to eyeball it.  We depend on technology for everything! 

Have a great evening, folks.  Sleep tight and know our city is in good hands….(not).

Tuhey Pool ~ Lookin’ Good! ~ Muncie, Indiana

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Periodically, I would drive by Tuhey Pool to assess the progress of the construction.  It wasn’t all that exciting and  not much changed from trip to trip.  The last visit was about a week ago.  What a difference a few days can make.  

A welcome sight to find water flowing into the pool, and the lifeguard stations up.  What really tugged at me was the slide.  A beautiful blue and white circular slide, although stationary, was full of movement.  The sun glistening on the color and contrasting to the crystal blue water was so inviting.   The picture taken with my phone turned out far better than I imagined.

All sorts of images ran through my mind as I snapped the few shots.  The most vivid was imagining the children on the slide.  delightful laughter, smiling faces and surprised looks as each one hit the water. 

Just being kids.

Last week there was so much construction debris I wondered if it would be finished by this summer.  To the untrained eye, all that is left to be done today, is the landscaping and finishing touches on the building. 

  Click on the pics for enlargement.


Tuhey Pool Bond Passes 

Tuhey Pool Groundbreaking