Friday, August 21, 2009

Notes on the Budget Hearings - August 20

Just some stuff I thought was interesting and not a list of the important issues discussed.

Last night the budget hearing for the Department of Public Works was on the agenda. The committee was chaired by Councillor Ben Hunter. The meeting went on an hour and forty-five minutes before it was time for public comments. Three of us spoke. Before the 2nd member of the public commented, Hunter noted that he should be aware a 'few of us up here have a commitment at 8:00'. I was the third speaker. Now, I have no problem with the length of time allotted for public comments, and I was actually done with mine when Hunter abruptly thanked me and Dave Sherman, head of DPW, as a way to cut us off.

Now, silly me, I just thought they were working so hard they actually had another meeting to attend yet last night. Until, that is, I saw the traffic backed up on I-70 at the Lucas Oil Stadium exit. Guess what started at 8:00 ? That's right, the Colts game. It must have been Council appreciation night. Hope they enjoyed the free tickets and the great seats and the swell food all paid for by the overly generous taxpayers.

[edited on August 24, 2009, to add: I received a private email from Councillor Hunter who explained that, although he did attend the Colts game, his reference to a 'few of us up here have a commitment at 8:00' did not include any other Councillors attending the game, rather they had different personal commitments. He specifically named Councillors Speedy and Adams as having the personal commitments to which he was referring, and he noted that he did not know of any other Councillor from his Committee that attended the game that night. The issue of free tickets to sporting events, especially in this time of CIB bailouts, is a particularly hot one. I was too overly broad in my assumption connecting Hunter's comment and the fact that the game began at 8:00. I'll be keeping this episode in mind for some time as I review my blog entries for assumptions vs. verifiable facts.]

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