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journalism

P.S. This is a typewriter…

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photograph of a vintage typewriter on table
P.S. This is a typewriter. Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com

Following on the heels of Riley’s Fb post comes another editorial you might find interesting.  It’s not about news anymore, it is getting the first big story.  Facts may or may not come later.  There are many instances when the media jumped the fence and released breaking news.  Some to the destruction of innocents.  Take for example the Colorado theatre shooting in 2012.  Obtaining the name of the shooter, the media linked it to a person with no connection to the real murderer, James Holmes.

If we want to stay informed we need to understand most will be chasing the almighty ratings.  So often we hear this or that is “fake” news.  Sometimes it is, sometimes not.  One thing we do appreciate is links to substantiate the information.  It could be a newspaper quote or article.  Or a government document or a study.  Or perhaps just an opinion.

Anyway, enjoy this editorial.

‘Richard Jewell,’ Nicholas Sandmann and the media mob

Larry Riley – January 12, 2020

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Six months before The Star Press discontinued my services as a twice-weekly columnist in 2016, I became concerned that the newspaper was growing more enchanted with the Dennis Tyler city administration in Muncie. The mayor himself had long complained to me personally that I was too critical of him. I had to remind him that when I thought he had done something good, I was quick to acknowledge and congratulate.
* * * * *
One such issue was the downtown hotel, the new Marriott Courtyard. While I disagreed with underwriting the financing of the hotel by the city and committing the Food & Beverage Tax for 20 years to the parking garage, I still wrote that Tyler single-handedly deserved credit for bring the hospitality giant downtown. I even told the mayor I got flak from readers who said I shouldn’t be applauding the mayor, but I told them they were wrong.
* * * * *
Yet the mayor kept complaining, not just to me, but to the top editor at The Star Press, repeatedly, and once asked the editor to come to the mayor’s office so Tyler could air his grievances. Around that time, one of my columns got spiked—newspaper parlance for getting pulled from publication. The column was an important one about the difference between municipal “bids” versus “quotes” for a public project.
* * * * *
The difference is that bids on a project are open to any vendor who wants to compete for the work, while quotes are only from “selected” businesses—including firms that don’t even do the type of work the project calls for. That’s one of the problems that brought the city into the FBI’s sights and a major transgression I first brought to light.
* * * * *
Tyler’s Building Commissioner, Craig Nichols, son of the retired firefighter mayor’s good friend and fellow MFD retiree and fellow former Democratic Party chairman locally, had submitted bills from his private business for demolishing houses on properties where, for starters, no houses had stood. But he got the contract because the only other business quoting the work didn’t even do demolitions and had quotes higher than Nichols, hence Nichols won. Quotes were rigged.
* * * * *
But the newspaper’s top editor killed my column because I had quoted a city employee, Gretchen Cheeseman. The editor had evidently become convinced Cheeseman was the bad guy in an ongoing battle—playing out in public—in Muncie’s Community Development office. The editor didn’t want me to use Cheeseman as a source. I said I could rewrite the piece without quoting Cheeseman, and later did. Cheeseman, whom the administration wanted out of the way, got dismissed on trumped-up accusations.
* * * * *
Spiking my column did make me think The Star Press’s was leaning more and farther into the administration, buying into the mayor’s complaints. Four months later, the newspaper jettisoned me. Yet the FBI’s investigation into city wrongdoing intensified, since resulting in indictments of two high-level Muncie Sanitary District officials and three contractors, all on charges of fraud and kickbacks. And a conviction of that crooked Building Commissioner. And, of course, the indictment of former Mayor Tyler himself, on charges of accepting a bribe to steer business to a contractor.
* * * * *
And Gretchen Cheeseman was as honest as anybody in the city’s employ. In fact, she was the only obstacle between Community Development’s $4 million federal house demolitions grant and the shell corporation of Tyler’s cronies aiming to siphon that largess into their pockets. The principal crony will spend most of this year in prison. Cheeseman, meanwhile, is new Mayor Dan Ridenour’s Community Development director, replacing the woman who wrongly fired her. Delicious irony.
* * * * *
One new piece of evidence arose last week that continues my theory about the newspaper as chief apologist for the Tyler administration: the lead for the front-page story about the Muncie City Council’s refusal to appropriate money for fire department equipment purchased by Tyler last year without legal authority. A reporter wrote that Council members “refused to sign off on what they considered a mistake by the old administration.”
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“Mistake”? What? No, this was no mistake, this was a crime, and that’s what Council members thought. If you rob a bank, you won’t be arrested for “making a mistake.” Spending city money without authorization was no mistake. The Tyler administration purchased $1.5 million in equipment without approval. To their credit, the new City Council refused to abet the crime

Missing Larry Riley

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As we get closer to the November elections we are beginning to see the 214 Democrats hard at work.  

Earlier Muncie Politics wrote about the unintentional candidate for a position as a Democrat precinct committee member.  Although, no elected officials, not the County Clerk Mike King or the County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold and neither of the political party chairs felt the need to pursue how the unintentional candidate was able to beat the intentional candidate.  Score 1 for the local Democrat Headquarters.  How to unintentionally win a race

Next on the list is the swinging door for the commissioner’s race.  Phill Peckingpaugh withdrew early on – citing health issues.  The seat for commissioner remained unfilled for several months until Brock Reagan stepped up to run.   A few weeks later Reagan dropped from the race.  He cited lack of time and money. providing an opening for the third time in the commissioner’s race.

As luck would have it, the Democrats immediately found a replacement in Jason Donati,  MSD Stormwater educator, and MCS advisory board member.  Jason was nominated by Mayor Tyler for the new school board but wasn’t chosen.

Asked if he had another candidate to fill the commissioner vacancy on the fall ballot, Craycraft said, “They’re talking to some people.”  Candidate resigns another files

Wonder if “they” talked with Dave Ring?  He ran as a Democrat, albeit, an outsider.  Now Ring is running as an independent for commissioner.    

Here is the timeline of the commissioner’s race:

  1. Phil Peckinpaugh files and drops out.
  2. The position sits vacant for several months.
  3. Brock Reagan drops from the recorder’s race and runs as commissioner.
  4. Jason Donati is not appointed to the MCS school board.
  5. Reagan quickly resigns from the race.
  6. Dave Ring files as an independent.
  7. Democrats immediately pick Donati.

Let’s go back to 2012.  Todd Donati lost his bid for a second term as commissioner.  A few weeks later, Muncie Redevelopment director retires unexpectedly after 20 years.  As luck would have it Mayor Tyler appoints the former commissioner and longtime friend, Todd Donati to the position recently vacated…as luck would have it.

So why the blog title Missing Larry Riley?  We lack solid political commentary in this county.  No one gets to the meat of an issue.  Perhaps there is no need.  We all know what’s what in Delaware County politics.  Here is an example:

Yet we’re facing stranger times. Once Dennis Tyler took over the Muncie mayor’s office in 2012, and then saw no Republican opposition in his re-election, the floodgates opened up for people running Democratic Party Headquarters. Nothing stopped Democratic HQ from using reins of Muncie government for its own purposes, including to line pockets.
That’s what the FBI has been investigating since late in 2015, and resulted so far in one arrest, that of the Mayor’s building commissioner, the son of the man in the seat of power in Democratic Headquarters. That FBI investigation remains ongoing in Muncie, recently heating up.
I’ve always liked Dudley, and he’s always been cordial and willing to talk with me. But joining your star to that particular Headquarters, a corrupt party and city administration, is treacherous. Larry Riley May 1, 2018

The only way Delaware County is ever going to advance beyond the corruption, poverty, absence of fruitful economic development, and 214 political appointments is to vote NO! to anyone who is affiliated with the 214 mainstream Democrats.

  #No!to214Dems

Saturday Morning Ramblings: Here it comes – 2014!

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2014 copyIt doesn’t seem to take long for another year to pass us by.  We look forward to new beginnings, make New Year’s resolutions, and mull over the previous year.  What did we do wrong?  What did we do right? What can we do better in the new year?

Getting an early start on 2014 resolutions, the first one is systematically removing every negative influence.  So far,  it has been very successful and already feeling a burden lifted…kind of like pulling yourself out of a pit full of mire.    I won’t reveal my 2014 resolutions just yet, though.

One of the easiest thing to give up is watching main-stream media.  Easy because I haven’t so much as tuned in to watch the razzle-dazzle, professional news journalists for many years.   Here’s why.

Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt: “I honestly don’t understand why you would rather have people be victims of a crime than be able to defend themselves. It’s incomprehensible.”

CNN host Piers Morgan: “You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?…You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever….You don’t give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America?…I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It’s down to idiots like you. Mr. Pratt…. You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense. And you shame your country.”

— From the imported British host’s anti-gun tirade on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, December 18, 2012

To be honest, I had never heard of Piers Morgan until he demanded an apology from Sarah Palin over the Arizona shooting.  Thinking, maybe she should apologize for some things, this just isn’t one of them.  He desperately tried to find a link between Palin and Arizona.  Maybe she was governor of a state that begins with the letter A?  Similar to an episode from Sesame Street where the program is brought to  you by any  one of the 26 letters.  Now, Big Bird definitely knows how to properly link a letter.  A is for Apple, B is for Butter so on and so on…

Funny how Piers Morgan never apologized over Chris Dorner’s diatribe.  In reality, no thinking person would hold Morgan responsible for Dorner’s killing spree.  Which is  why Morgan’s demand for Palin to apologize is so acceptable.  He just doesn’t fit into the “thinking person” category.    Some people adore Piers.  I like Piers, too.   The British accent and sharp wit propels him to the top of my list.

Enough about Morgan, let’s take a look at local events, shall we?

One of my favorite local columnists, Larry Riley, penned a recap of the last week of 2013.  The topic –  governmental meetings.  Riley is not favored amongst the powers that be in local government.  Nor their staunch supporters.  A Piers Morgan, he is not.  Probably the best explanation for their disdain of his columns.  But, I digress.

Riley’s column highlights some of the current happenings around Delaware County.   A local poster finds his use of the word “incent” confusing and asks what his point is.

Riley covering the $45 million tax increase, a county  that ain’t got a pot to pee in, can’t pay back their loans to us, possible bond refinancing for the city, a PAC looking at election fines , etc, etc, etc…has far less impact on the citizens than the use of the word incent.

I may be off base here, something tells me she is a regular viewer of the Piers Morgan Show.  Just a wild guess.

We had the Democrat party come out in support of the massive $45 million tax increase, even though the Democrat Headquarters has not paid a penny of property tax for decades.  Tax exempt, ya know.

We have four Democrats voting to not pay back the debt owed to the taxpayers.  Continuously borrowing from the fund until $738,000 slipped through their fingers.  The endless excuses of tax caps, credits, loss of revenue is what guided them in approving the $7 million bond, the lovely County plaza at $700,000, a rail spur and the pie in the sky $5 million visitor center as just a few examples.

Despite not being able to meet their debts and tapping into the rainy day fund, the 2014 budget increased without the  financial cushion of the Rainy Day fund.     It’s always someone else’s fault, and never poor fiscal management skills.  Personal responsibility anyone?  This has been going on since ’09, or nearly six years.

Raise your hand if you voted for bonds, hiring, borrowing, remodel of the plaza, costly legal issues with the judges.  I often wonder why the county is broke and they look for more tax revenue from you.  The city which ended with a $8 million balance looked for more tax revenue from you.  Cha ching!  Increase the tax levy, that’s the ticket.

Broke or not, they still seem to want more of your income.

Many of the citizens have far less revenue and making hard financial decisions.  It’s time we stop tapping into a false endless resource, you, when your funds are drying up.

There is no reason why Delaware County can’t be fiscally sound, made attractive to businesses, families.   Why we can’t have better schools.  We are full of resources just waiting to be tapped.  The power to change the direction of this county is in the hands of the people.  We’re not afraid of hard work, but we are leery of letting go of the past.

The past is not working to our benefit any longer.

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