Saturday Morning Ramblings #3

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The local newspaper is devoting some decent coverage to the Tax Day Tea Party event.  Up until a few days ago, the best place to get any information was from websites, blogs and what some deem as “alternative news sources” i.e. Fox, Glen Beck, etc.

It has been noted that there is an attempt to stop this lawfully gathering which is protected in the First Amendment.  Some websites have been sabotaged and there is speculation that “plants” will be at many of the events to try and discredit these peaceful gatherings.  No, I am not some paranoid, anti-government nut…just telling it like it is. 

Some of the locals have complained to the newspaper when a link to this blog was posted.  The link offended them.  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.  We still have personal choices.  Not upset with the newspaper for their banning of this website on the forums, more concerned about the people who find freedom of speech offensive.    But, that’s another story.

Fortunately, many of us, Democrats, Republicans, Independants and Undecideds, have reach a consensus that both federal and local governments are out of control.  We have addressed issues, at least on a local level, with our elected officials and they refuse to listen.  In fact, they do the opposite.

Even our Senator Sue Errington commented on how the citizens have no faith in the local government.  Give the woman credit, she does listen.

So, to every American who absolutely loves this country, lets work to get our government under control and defend the rights that made this country what it is today.  Remember, many lives were taken for us to enjoy what we have today.  Many people left the safety of their homes and families to defend it.

First Amendment Credit to LII for this information.

Thomas Paine

I will leave you with a quote:

Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant. Electric light is the most efficient policeman. It has always been my view that when the people of this Nation watch their Government in action, they come to better understand how our governing institutions work and equip themselves to hold those institutions accountable for their deeds. If there are flaws in our governing institutions, including our courts, we hide them only at our own peril.

Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Other People’s Money, 1914

God bless!


Debt Free City! A Fun Video!

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Here is a youtube on an 88 year old mayor, she has been mayor for 31 years. Her successful philosophy? Keeping taxes down, bringing new jobs, watching out for the people and playing hockey! Enjoy.

Mayor Hazel!

Updated! Government Broadcasts!

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Update! The Star Press wrote an excellent article on CDCPTR and its efforts in bringing government programs to the people.

“The Citizens of Delaware County for Property Tax Repeal announced this week it would post video on its Web site of meetings that include city and county council, Delaware County commissioners and the mayor’s monthly chats.
“We’re just trying to cut through the bureaucracy,” said Chris Hiatt, president of CDCPTR. “We are sick and tired of people not having access to this stuff.”

You can read the full article at the Star Press on-line

The article mentioned the Mayor will be contacting Richmond which has a wonder public access channel. (Thanks to Larry Riley for his column a few days ago…he brought the Richomond information to our attention.)

A big thanks to the folks from CDCPTR for working so hard to bring local government meetings to the citizens.  Check out the Government Broadcast page for more information! For immediate viewing click on the link on this page. Heck, click wherever you want!

Delaware County – Entering the Stone Age

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It seems to me, instead of Delaware County becoming progressive and embracing change, we are quickly returning to the ways of “almost” days gone by.

In January we saw a brilliant political move by the county with their generous donation to the community centers.  The city carried the commissioners through…not the county.  Great voter support in the City of Muncie.

In February, we saw the fastest job creation and hiring for a son.  Nepotism is embraced by those who want to keep the old ways alive.

Now we find out the county commissioners want to re-instate the payroll deductions for political contributions, something that the city, county and state has put behind them.

What century is this?  All one needs to do is to study the past and we will see the future.  Delaware County can not afford to be governed like this.

That’s my .02.

Updated! Muncie City Council Meeting April 6, 2009

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Updated! Check out Jim Arnold’s view on the meeting. Guarantee you will find it entertaining. Go to the Pages section of the blog.

The usual abatements and ordinances were passed and every thing seemed to be moving at a good pace. Until, a motion was brought to the table to purchase a previously owned aerial truck from Pike Township. For the people at the meeting, it was a whirlwind of comments from the city council and members of the audience spoke. The MFD is a touchy subject among many people in the city. I will spare you the details and refer you to the Star Press article:

The issues with MFD and funding deserve a full page spread with more information than I am able to provide at this time. Just know, Muncie is not protected as she should be. One wonders why the MFD is not able to get their act together when it comes to equipment purchases. No sense in pointing fingers, we are at a critical point in public safety, and it is way past time to get it fixed.

On to some other interesting bits of information:

Nominations for the Tax Abatement Committe as follows: Bruce Baldwin, Mark Burkhardt, Cheryl Batt, Jerry Dishman, Jerome Petty and Jim Mansfield.

Appointed to the Modernization and Reorganization Committee is Billy Sheppard (have no idea if this is the correct spelling).

President Allison Quirk introduced a City Council or Community Plan. In this plan she would like to hold public meetings and include city council members to address services provided such as a better website, etc. Similar to the Breakfast with Gregory and Chat with the Mayor, as I understand it.

President Quirk would like to see two categories: Education and Empowerment.

Education is described as introducing the citizens to the roles and responsibility of government including a public access broadcasts (Channel 60) and a website for more transparency on subjects like how revenues are being used, etc. She would like to include better communication with other taxing units such as the library, MSD, etc. Her hope is to hold quarterly meetings. There has been some discussion on public forums as to the state Muncie City website. My hope is those who feel it is inadequate and have the expertise would volunteer their services. We can tap into the university pool of talented students as another resource.

Empowerment is encouraging more activism within the neighborhood organizations and becoming more active with local government. She also included the government departments becoming more involved. She will be asking council to think about their districts and what could be done to improve their areas. My thought is we are investing a lot of money and some community service into Thomas Park. The park seems to be prone to vandalism and getting the neighborhood community involved has been an idea batted around by citizens outside of that district. That can be a start if anybody wants to know my opinion.

I applaud President Quirk’s initiative to make government more transparent, it appears that at least some progress is in the works. The citizens of Muncie have been asking for this type of government for some time now.

A gentleman spoke on the closing of Conley Library and President Quirk said the library is a different taxing unit. She did offer to talk with the council appointee and relay his message. He commented about the community meeting on Conley and only 1 board member showed and it was not the board member appointed by city council. He stressed if they accepted these positions, should make every attempt to meet with concerned citizens. That must be frustrating. He asked to meet with Mayor McShurley. I have had the feeling Conley should be closed, yet after hearing his presentation on cost savings, will rethink that position. However you feel about the closing, you have to admire this man’s tenacity and spirit. I certainly identified with his frustration. We have all felt it over the past few years. A lot can happen when people begin to take ownership of their city.

President Quirk spoke about meeting with the department heads in 30 days when the finalized revenue came down from the state. She believes there should be a more pro-active approach and it could be spilt up among the council members. Mary Joe Barton made the comment that many department heads don’t even see their budget, that it is all handled by the mayor. When questioned what departments or percentage, she did not have any answers. Another man responded to the 30 days citing the Umbaugh study and saw no need to wait until the state gives the figures. Folks, this statement makes a lot of sense, and considering what a mess our MFD and city is in, time is of the essence. Get to work now.

At every city council meeting in the past year, budget shortfalls were mentioned. Yet, the big concern was parking spaces, life guards and fireworks. I can’t help but feel if it was addressed in January ’08, we would be so much farther along in getting the city on track. Let’s hope the ideas presented by Quirk are an honest attempt at fixing the problems, and not just a form of citizen appeasement.

Other points of interest from the meeting. The MFD was honored for their skills in saving a man last year and a woman this year from a burning buildings.

Brenda Brumfield from the Chamber of Commerce is scheduling a public forum at the end of the month. Look for more information in the newspaper or call the chamber at 288-6681.

The editing of the meeting was questioned by a citizen. The video is not edited; there is only a 2 hour air time. In the past, if the meetings went over it was broken into segments and aired. In this case, the unfortunate demise of Channel 60 never gave the community the opportunity to watch the public comment section of the meeting.

For more information, please email your requests to: (You will need to paste the address into your email client.)

Legislative Update 4-4-09

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Attended the Legislative Update today at City Hall.

The hot topic was property tax caps and reform.  As you know the caps were pushed through quickly and we should see it on 2009 pay 2010 tax bills.  Keep in mind this is not a permanent tax cap, yet.  We still will be able to vote on it.  Some legislatures were concerned local government would not have time to prepare for the loss of revenue.  Senator Sue Errington disagreed, citing the Umbaugh and Associates study.  The study was paid for by local governments to help determine their revenues and hopefully lead the elected officials into some good old-fashioned belt tightening. 

Another big issue was balancing the budget.  All agreed that every budget was balanced.  Jack Lutz commented he wanted a balanced budget without gimmicks.  Some may recall when the schools were denied money and the state borrowed to pay it back.  Certainly falls into the “gimmick” category.

Of course unemployment fund is another big concern.  As we know it is broke and broke.  How to fix it is another question.  Should we burden already struggling business and ask them to ante up?  Decrease benefits or just wait for the stimulus money to bail us out?  Remember, the stimulus money comes with strings attached.  We are the stimulus money, don’t forget. 

One of my favorite topics was addressed, which is the Kernan-Shepard report. Senator Errington has been in favor and sees it is as a viable tool to get government on track.  She said at least one part has been resurrected.  Moving mayoral elections to even years, saving cities millions of dollars, forbidding an elected official to hold a government job.  Maybe we can shed the conflict of interest papers, which nobody signs anyway.  In addition, putting school board elections on the November ballot instead of the primary.  Representative Lutz said it was hard for the house to digest, and Bill Davis thought it should be broken down.  He went on to say it is one way for government to become transparent and efficient.  Representative Dennis Tyler said he has not heard anything from his constituents on the report.  If you like what the Kernan-Shepard report has to say, get on the horn and give Mr. Tyler a shout, send an email or write a letter.  All contact information is available on this site along with the K-S report. 

I liked what Senator Errington had to say about the Kernan-Shepard report, Delaware County Modernization and Consolidation committee and tightening our belts.  She spoke on how the libraries are doing it, so it is possible, folks.

By far, my favorite is Mr. Bill Davis.  He seems in tune with what is happening and what needs to be done.  I liked it when he said the people are sacrificing everyday and government should too.  Right on, dude!

One item up for discussion was funding for 211.  211 is similar to 411, except it gives you information on where to go for assistance.  I used it once, and was I happy it was available.  Had an elderly friend who really wasn’t able to care for herself any longer.  I called every agency in the book, either a no call back or the agency was unable to help.  After dialing 211, they put me in touch with the correct agency and we got the ball rolling. I am making the ordeal simplier that it was…very frustrating situation until 211 came into the picture.

Other issues were addressed, and you can read my notes on the forum in the pages section of this blog.

Muncie Chamber of Commerce

Tax Day Tea Party April 15, 2009

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For anybody that is interested in the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party scheduled all over the country, some information and links to get you started on the journey.

“We’ve been fielding an awful lot of inquiries about Tax Day Tea Parties that will be going on around Indiana. Since we often rub shoulders with many of the various statewide citizens groups including the Indianapolis area, we have been aware for some time now of the planned Tea Party in Indianapolis. It appears to be growing very large in its anticipated attendence and is now getting national recognition.

If there is enough local interest, the CDCPTR would be more than willing to charter another bus (or two) to Indy on April 15th for this event. Think about it (but not too long!) and email your interest to: ”

Chris Hiatt
Muncie, Indiana

Coming to Indianapolis is Thomas Paine.  You may see him in action by clicking on the link “We The People” in Interesting Places.

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” (Thomas Paine, 1777)