Blight

Insiders & Outsiders – Race for Mayor

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inside outside

We are just weeks away from the primary and it looks to be ramping up.  Early voting has begun and some of us have done the deed.  Others are still undecided.

Today, we’re going to talk about the Democrat mayoral candidates.  They have five on the ticket.     A current city employee, former law enforcement officer, businessman, perennial candidate and one citizen (not sure of his occupation).

The BSU Democrat student organization sponsored their debate.  Hats off to the students for their hard work.  Below is the audio of the debate.

April 9, 2019, Democrat Debate

If you want to get a well-rounded view of the election, we would recommend you listen to all the candidates.  This is often a political blog,  and in case you didn’t know, there is an election on the horizon.  We follow all of the candidates.  We visit social media to get our fingers on the pulse of citizens’ thoughts on the candidates.  We carry on conversations with the people and sometimes we even interact with the candidates.   If they have a history, we review it, too.

After introductions, the candidates went into corruption.  Oh, boy, do we have it.  How many of those candidates voted for Dennis Tyler?  How many knew the history of Tyler and his cohort Nichols and still chose to place the corruption in the main seat of Muncie governance?    Until they need your vote, they stand silently by.  The opportunity was there in 2015 to get the city under control. That primary saw only two city council districts up for grabs.  District  2 (R) Conatser vs. Ridenour and District 6 (D) Anderson vs. Ivy.   Both parties fell short that year.  The corruption was just beginning to come to light.  It was going to be messy.  Thoughts on the lack of candidates…for another time.

Just a brief history.  In 2003, Dennis Tyler ran for mayor.  One of the biggest concerns was how much involvement would Phil Nichols have in Tyler’s administration?  Tyler said none.   However, after Tyler lost it was believed he and Nichols joined forces and set their sights on dismantling Center Township Fire Department and behind manipulating the 911 call center.    Some of the old-timers would remember. Not unlike what we are seeing from the Tyler administration today.  A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

Tyler and Nichols have been joined at the hip since birth.   In 2012 Tyler immediately appointed Craig Nichols as the Building Commissioner.  Well, we know the rest of the story.  Phil Nichols was privy to the private meetings with Mayor Tyler and others as they schemed to hide the crimes committed.

Oops, I digress…

One area of this debate centered on blight.  The interesting part of this is the previous mayor, Sharon McShurley, also campaigned on the blight.  She addressed the blight head on, looking for monies and the newspaper did “Blight Watch” keeping the people informed of the status and the challenges of the blighted community.    That all ended when Tyler took office. Why?

We wrote about the Hardest Hit Fund program.  When Muncie received notice we were selected, the city sat on the funds.  Mayor Tyler claimed the requirements were so stringent the city had a hard time implementing it.  Most of us believe Tyler was trying to find a way to funnel the monies to Nichols’ companies, et al.  Other communities were well into the program demolishing properties, and Muncie was not.  Everyone was on a level playing field yet Tyler’s administration just couldn’t get the program going.  Hmmmm.

That being said, here is our synopsis of the candidates:

Dale: Maybe the best of the bunch if being well spoken was a prerequisite for mayor.  He was involved in city government during the McShurly administration.  Not sure if he continued the same involvement under the Tyler administration.  He was part of the UNISON group which wanted to engage Commissioner President Todd Donati and the Commissioners as part of the Tuhey Pool plan in 2010.   Fortunately, that went nowhere.  Would he continue the MRC with Donati as president?

D. Smith: Focused on corruption.  Yes, this administration is filled with corruption and there are two Tyler appointed department heads on the ballot.  The first step in ridding the city of corruption would be to never place any person affiliated with Tyler in a position of power.   Mayor or council both would still be governed from 214 N. Walnut.

Bailey: Appointed to the Community Development office by Tyler.  In charge of the Hardest Hit Funds.  Consider looking at Larry Riley’s FB post and at the State Board of Accounts audits. Bailey said she did the duties of the deputy mayor with no added pay.   Bailey is the only mayoral candidate that has a history with the current administration and would be privy to the inner workings of this administration.

Riley: Saul is someone you would like as a neighbor, but not for mayor.

Davenport:  Was vacationing in Urbana, Il and couldn’t make the debate.  (just kiddin’)

In closing:  Not much dialog on the current public safety issues or how they would address the issue once in office.  No mention of the debt.  Or how they would improve upon the paving.   Candidates are fluffy nowadays.  They have lots of words but no concrete solutions.

 

 

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Saturday rambling: It was a mistake

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blighted house copy

Check out the latest on the City of Muncie’s demolitions.  This is a second in a series of columns Larry Riley has written.  The first had four properties which were vacant, yet the City Building Commissioner’s company demolished  four buildings.  There was no demolition permit attached.  The properties had been empty lots for years.  Several people commented on the article confirming the lots were vacant, too.

In the second article, Mayor Tyler said it was a mistake and gave the correct addresses which weren’t  close to the ones on the original invoices.   Not to mention, the cost of the demolitions were much higher than others by private companies.  Oh, wait, the building commissioner’s company is a private company.  Pardon me.

Oh, and there is no Conflict of Interest Muncie 2015 on file with the State of Indiana. Craig Nichols’ company is not there.   Class D felony for not filing.  I’m sure this missing conflict of interest forms will surface.  Probably in the desk of the former city clerk as she more than likely just forgot to file with the State.

And, and…the City of Muncie received $4 million from the State of Indiana who received millions from the Federal government for the demolition of blighted properties.  Nothing has been done with that money and it’s been a few years.  Probably the building commissioner’s company is way too busy tearing down vacant lots to take on any new city contracts.

Larry Riley: More lair-razing questions

This is about enough excitement one can handle for a Saturday evening in this fair city.

Until next time…..

Muncie Action Plan – Good for our city

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Muncie Action Plan

On December 7th, Muncie Action Plan (MAP) will be hosting their bi-annual community meeting.  For those of you not familiar with MAP here is a brief summary of how it began and where it is today.

Muncie Action Plan could best be defined as “Creating the first city-wide Action Plan”.  beginning in the summer of 2009 with funding from various sources and presentations from three different companies, ACP Visioning+Planning,  Columbus, Ohio  was awarded the contract.  

The next year would be a whirlwind of public meetings, presentations, and ideas presented until the final  plan was completed and presented to the public.     There was some negativity in the public forums of the local newspaper, but it didn’t seem to deter the plan from moving forward.  Our local newspaper did a fine job of reporting the progress and updating the public.

Some would say this was a waste of money, time and effort.  Other plans had failed and this one would also.  I disagreed as Muncie isn’t just a place with buildings and infrastructure, but a living, breathing organism.  The residents are the heartbeat of the city, we make the city what it is.  I had the good fortune to be completely ignorant of any previous  plans the city may have tried.  To me, this was an excellent idea, and so I supported  it from the start.

The Muncie Action Plan has five initiatives, and within the five initiatives are 47 actions. 

  1. Linking Learning, Health, and Prosperity
  2. Fostering Collaborations
  3. Strengthening Pride and Image
  4. Creating Attractive and Desirable Places
  5. Managing Community Resources

Nestled within the five initiatives, you will find  diverse and well-rounded “actions” to include. not limited to: 

  • Developing a Uniform Code of Ethics 
  • Developing the Downtown
  •  Blight removal
  •  Renovating Tuhey Pool
  • Implementing the Prairie Creek Master Plan
  • Early Childhood Development

The downtown has grown into a warm and inviting place (a far cry from the dull, dirty and dingy place it was 20 years ago) and a master plan is in the works.  If it is as successful and fast paced as MAP, Muncie’s downtown will become more vibrant, more inviting, more events, more shops!

We have seen more blighted properties removed, and creative ways to salvage and recycle the materials.  This has been a defining moment for the “war on blight”.

Within two years Muncie has begun to see the fruit of MAP’s’ labor.  Just this summer we saw the reopening of Tuhey Pool.  If you were unable to be at the grand opening day, it was a wonderful sight.  The pool is beautiful and is an asset to our community.

Prairie Creek Reservoir has just received a $150,000.00 grant to expand the Cardinal Greenway.  All part of the Master Plan.

Early Childhood Development, which is a long-term “action” has been extremely active.  Delaware County’s Vision 2016 Economic Plan, which includes early childhood development will partner with Muncie Action Plan.   The following are excerpts from the Muncie Star Press (5-21-11) on Vision 2016 and the importance of early education for our children.

“You have to start somewhere,” Mayor Sharon McShurley told The Star Press. “U.S. high school students rank 24th out of 30 developed countries in math and science.”  McShurley cited a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that maintained, for every dollar invested in early childhood education for children birth through age 5, “savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead.”

 Economist Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, gave the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce high marks for including early childhood education.

“Researchers have known for a long time that this was important,” Hicks said. “Few small or mid-sized communities (like ours) have yet to incorporate it into their planning, so in that respect they are progressive.”

Ray Montagno, a professor of marketing at Ball State who led the Vision 2016 sessions, said early childhood education was added to the plan because “it sends a message we take this seriously and it adds long-term value to the community.”

Cincinnati, OH began a similar program “Success by 6” over 10 years ago, and MAP was privileged to attend a presentation in October.  From what I gleaned, it was very exciting and everyone came back full of enthusiasm at  Cincinnati’s progress and success.

I hope you will agree, Muncie Action Plan has been good for our city.  If we have seen this much Action within two years, imagine what else can be obtained.

From a citizen’s view of Muncie Action Plan.

Please plan to attend.

Date: December 7th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Place: Minnetrista
1200 N. Minnetrisa Parkway ~ Muncie

Click on map for direction.

Muncie Action Plan Website