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Delaware County Primary – A Scary Tale

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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.

Polling places haunted?

If you are up to reading the scary ghost story of 2016, please check out Larry Riley’s column.

A quick look at primary surprises.

 

 

Saturday rambling: Filing for election

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voting imageThe 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…

Who’s minding the store?

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American Dollars Falling from the SkyOn April 14, Delaware County Treasurer, John Dorer, was arrested.  Per the Muncie Star newspaper Dorer saw “47 criminal charges that accuse him of repeatedly mishandling, and in one instance stealing, county funds.”  No one from the local level to the Indiana Statehouse can say with any certainty if money has been stolen on more than one occasion.  The books are in such bad shape, it is impossible to follow the accounting records, making it easy to siphon off funds unnoticed.  

As would be expected, varied opinions on his guilt or innocence appeared in the story chats.  Some went as far as to say he was framed by the local Democrat Party.   The Democrat Party may be in control in our little neck of the woods.  Doubtful their power extends to the state government.   Dorer is a Democrat, but divorced his affiliation from the Headquarters and instead ran on the Team Democrat “ticket”.  He won in 2008 and again in 2012.

Rather than take the newspaper’s word as gospel, decided to head to the Indiana State Board of Accounts and read for myself the audit reports.  Having read audits on the Muncie Sanitary District, City of Muncie, Muncie Public Schools and other various taxing units I gleaned quite a bit of information on the workings of Delaware County. One common theme seems to be the same mistakes are repeated again and again.  You’ll find the audits below:

2012 Treasurer audit

2011 Treasurer audit

2010 Treasurer audit

John Dorer is responsible for his actions and should he be found guilty will need to be accountable to the State of Indiana and finally the taxpayers of Delaware County.    The treasurer is the start of the financial chain and may even possibly be the leading cause to  Delaware County’s  fiscal woes.   The Treasurer’s Department prepares the financial information and submits it to the Auditor’s Office, which in turn disseminates the fiscal information to the County Council and County Commissioners.  If the records are in such disarray from the start, then it’s obvious their decisions are based on faulty accounting.  That’s a problem, folks.

Who’s minding the store?

At the close of every audit, an exit interview is conducted by the State Board of Accounts with sundry elected officials attending.  No action is taken by the elected officials to insure the violations are curbed, the same happens again the next year.  Again and again.    Public servants, elected, have ignored the audits while untold millions in taxpayer money slips into the abyss of shoddy management.

While we point our fingers and cluck our tongues at Dorer’s arrest, we refuse willingly or out of ignorance to ask our elected officials what role did they play in all this?  By their inaction, plenty.   When they knock on your door, seeking your vote, gently ask of them  “Who’s minding the store?”

If you have some time to kill, take a gander at other State Board of Accounts audits.  Imagine allowing non-bonded employees  to collect cash; employees paid cash without any paperwork;  one cash drawer (City Clerk lost $13,000); no contracts for services rendered; $3,500,00.00 with no internal controls(2012 Redevelopment audit), etc, etc, etc.

State Board of Accounts website

“Governmental units should have internal controls in effect which provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial information and records, effectiveness and efficiency of operations, proper execution of management’s objectives, and compliance with laws and regulations. Among other things, segregation of duties, safeguarding controls over cash and all other assets and all forms of information processing are necessary for proper internal control. (Accounting and Uniform Compliance Guidelines Manual for Counties of Indiana, Chapter 1)”

Public Question and Delaware County 2012 Ballot

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Public question: Shall Delaware County, Indiana and City of Muncie, Indiana, reorganize as a single political subdivision?

Supporting consolidation and modernization, vote Yes.

So, here we are at the brink of voting for reorganization and modernization in our county.  After nearly five years, it’s on the ballot.

You might be asking, why do I support consolidation?  I believe it will usher in a smaller and more transparent government.  Currently, there are 47 separate taxing entities in the county.  Most can’t recite even four.  I can’t.  Nevertheless, we have on the table a plan for reorganization.

To give you a little background.  The reorganization began in 2007, when a group of citizens garnered over 2200 signatures to get the ball rolling.  From there it was voted up, voted down, board disbanded and new appointments made, until the finished plan was completed in 2010.  From there it sat gathering dust for nearly a year, as neither Muncie City Council or Delaware County Commissioners bothered to meet and modify the plan.  One wonders if they even read the plan.   I know members of City Council were asked their thoughts on the reorganization, and they sat  looking blankly at the citizen.  Where’s the Democrat handlers when you need them?

Finally, Linda Gregory spoke and defined the plan perfectly.  She would as she spent time explaining the plan to citizens at her monthly meetings.

But today, we have a wealth of misinformation being circulated by those that have never even bothered to read the plan.  You ask how I know this?  I’ve been out and about listening to people explain why they are voting No.  So, I wonder, are these elected people ignorant of the plan or does their agenda include spreading as much false information as possible?  Don’t know.  Either way, it does the citizens a disservice.

To make it fun, let’s discuss some of the things being said.

“Public safety is in danger and we won’t have a sheriff.”  No, public safety won’t change.  Muncie will still have MPD and the County will still have Sheriff Department   The sheriff position is in the constitution, so this position is here to stay.

“Dennis Tyler will control the county.”  No, the mayor position will be eliminated and Dennis Tyler isn’t qualified to be the county executive.

“Your taxes will go up.”   That may be a possibility and really has nothing to do with reorganization.  Remember, your property is capped, so you do have a level of insurance.

“They just want to get rid of the elected officials.”  I’m not sure who “they” may be.  Consider this, the reorganization began in 2007 and there has been a turn over of elected officials.  Realizing the comment lacked credibility, it was continued to single out along-time city council member.  Yep, we spend all our time on modernization and consolidation to rid ourselves of Mary Jo Barton?

Some of the reasons are comical, as the Barton one, some are serious accusations with no basis in fact.  I would suggest you read the plan, if you haven’t already and decide for yourself.

I’ll leave you with this opinion piece from the local newspaper.

Learning from Nashville Experience

Vote Yes For Reorganization

Dis-FUNctional – Are we having fun in Delaware County or what!

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Delaware County is so political, it takes the fun out of being dis-FUNctional.  It  doesn’t matter what the topic, or flavor of the day,  it’s political.  Payback can be good or a detriment, depending on what side of the “dis-FUNction” you sit, stand or walk on.  Sometimes you get a job, or your truck paid off or even a construction contract.

Case in point.  The Muncie Sanitary District and Mayor Dennis Tyler.   Mayor Tyler claimed at the mayoral debate, he was able to work across party lines, he just can’t seem to do it.  Supporters of the mayor never said a word about Economic Development Income Tax funds going to pay for a law firm just so Mayor Tyler can gain the last bit of control over the $168 million dollar storm-water project.  So, the political games continue and the taxpayers and citizens will be forking over more money.  That’s the way it has always worked.

First we had the Justice Center, talk about the political football!

With the political appointments made to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) was filled to over-flowing with party supporters.  By the time it was all said and done, Delaware County was on the hook for additional bonds (covering the cost overruns), purchased a boat-load of  Bull computers…and even got to pay for storage of the dis-FUNctional pieces of modern technology and a lawsuit in which one attorney lost his license to practice.  The County Commissioners, even gave the poor unemployed attorney a pass on his fines.  Later he won his appeal on a technicality getting his license reinstated.  Witnesses for the prosecution were placed in the same room…that’s a no-no.  He was good to go.

We made national news on that one.  Along with the lady who shot her toe off because she had a corn.  No, I’m not making this stuff up.

Are we having fun yet? Read the rest of this entry »

Money ~ It doesn’t grow on trees, or does it?

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Money – It doesn’t grow on trees.

As a teenager, my Mother would often say “Money.  It doesn’t grow on trees.”  I would roll my eyes and let her know in no uncertain terms that I knew money didn’t grow on trees.  I didn’t sleep through Biology, ya know.  At least not every class…

I would marvel at her refusal to get me the new Stingray bike with the banana seat.  “You have a perfectly good bike and money doesn’t grow on trees.”    There she goes again.  It was a great bike at 10, but now I’m 13 and EVERYBODY has a Stingray bike with a banana seat.  Their parents didn’t say “money doesn’t grow on trees.”  Of course, not everyone had a Stingray and I’m sure my Mom and Dad knew it.  So, I did what any thinking teenager would do, I got a job.  First it was babysitting, then on to the doughnut shop and then pay-dirt!  I got a job as a cashier/stocker at the local dime store.  No, I never bought the Stingray, though.  It was to expensive.

Money.  It doesn’t grow on trees, you know. Read the rest of this entry »

Somewhere over the rainbow…

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Coming up Wednesday May 30, 2012, there will be a special meeting of Delaware County Council.  Some of the topics and decisions to be had will be, returning the pay and hours back for the county workers,  bond issues and amending the salary ordinance.

Some of you may remember last fall when Delaware County  voted to close the County Building on Friday and decrease the pay by three hours as a cost saving measure.  I haven’t heard the savings and one wonders if the county has suddenly found itself solvent since last year. Read the rest of this entry »