Friday, October 25, 2013

Council ROC Review Committee Includes District Councillor and Original Lease Proposal Co-Author, Ben Hunter

The Council has taken on the task of investigating the lease agreement for the Regional Operations Center.  Unfortunately, they include on the ten member committee, Councillor Ben Hunter, a co-author of the Council Proposal that authorized the lease and the home Councillor of the ROC itself.

The others appointed are: Councillors Freeman, Gray, Hickman, Mansfield, Miller, Osili, Pfisterer, Sandlin and Simpson.

The announcement, put out on behalf of the Council and listing Simpson as the media contact is as follows:
Indianapolis– On Monday, October 14, 2013, the City-County Council unanimously passed a resolution establishing a special investigating committee regarding the lease for the Regional Operations Center (ROC), located at 401 North Shadeland Avenue (the old Eastgate Consumer Mall facility), entered into by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).  Council Resolution No. 63, 2013 (Proposal No. 332, 2013) calls for an investigation to be conducted examining why DPS entered into an allegedly unfavorable long-term lease, whether or not the information provided to the Council with regard to the lease was complete and accurate, whether there are other such leases with unfavorable terms entered into by DPS or other departments and agencies, and whether the City has made other formal or informal commitments relating to the ROC lease that have not yet been disclosed. 
Earlier this year, it came to the Council’s attention that the Office of Corporation Counsel and the City Controller both allegedly refused to sign the original lease, which contains many unusual provisions that are highly unfavorable to the City.  The current Director of DPS, Troy Riggs, recently ordered the evacuation of the facility due to allegedly unsafe conditions, and there are reports that the drawings of the facility originally submitted to the Council are substantially different from the facility the owner was told to build, and that DPS may have entered into additional “confidential agreements” with the owners. 
Following passage of the resolution, the Council appointed a ten-member bi-partisan committee made up of the following members of the Council:  Aaron Freeman, Monroe Gray, Jr., Pamela Hickman, Benjamin Hunter, Angela Mansfield, Jeff Miller, Vop Osili, Marilyn Pfisterer, Jack Sandlin, and Joseph Simpson.  Councillor Joseph Simpson, who was designated by the President of the Council to serve as committee chair, stated, “This committee process provides an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding about how the ROC lease was put into place; and, more importantly, to understand how City business practices and related legislative policies can be strengthened to avoid a similar situation in the future.” 
The committee will hold its first meeting on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 260 on the second floor of the City-County Building, 200 E. Washington Street. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Republican Lunatic Zealots Damage America

A few dozen Republican lunatic zealots, enabled and abetted by many more pseudo-sane Republicans, damaged America's reputation, its economy, and its borrowing power over the last 16 days of their insane acting out.

The fact that they put the pin back in the grenade at the very last moment does NOT make it alright.  They must be held accountable.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees were unemployed for over two weeks.  About 4 million more worked without pay for the duration.  While all are expected to receive compensation at some point, this is no way to make a statement about fiscal responsibility.

Jobs in the private sector, especially ones dependent upon federal employee spending, grants, or keeping government sites open, were also lost.  Small businesses were damaged, without anticipated Small Business Administration loans coming through.  Large businesses, whose third quarter earnings data are now coming out, are pulling back on their fourth quarter expectations.  Regular families will think twice about their holiday spending.  Consumer confidence is down.
Interest rates on T-bills due around the time of the new deadlines of January 15 and February 7 are already spiking, as prudent investors recognize the risk that these lunatic zealots will hold the USA and its full faith and credit hostage yet again.

According to Standard & Poors, the shutdown cost the US economy $24 BILLION and cut growth in the next quarter by at least 0.6 %.

President Obama and the Democrats held firm - for the first time in recent memory - denying the hostage takers any payment.  Whether or not this will be enough to keep them from trying it again waits to be seen.

Speaker Boehner's performance was instrumental to the lunatic zealots' prolonged influence.   He was clearly erratic in the last couple of days, trying to torpedo an emerging Senate bill with an on-again-off-again-back-on-again-back-off-again proposal to come from the House.

Minority Leader McConnell was gifted a $2.9 BILLION appropriation for Kentucky hidden in the bill that passed both Chambers last night.

The Senate voted 83-16 to fund the government to January 15 and raise the debt ceiling to February 7.  You can check how your Senators voted here.  The House voted 285-144 on the bill.  You can check how your Representative voted here.  For Indiana, both Senators Coats (R) and Donnelly (D) and Representatives Visclosky (D), Carson (D), Brooks (R), and Young (R) voted in favor.  Representatives, all Republican, Walsorski, Stutzman, Rokita, Messer, and Buschon voted against.

If you know a lunatic zealot, you don't give them the keys to your car, much less the keys to your gun safe.  The Republicans in Congress must take away the keys from those in their caucus who would take aim on the economy of the US and the world again.  Voters need to step up and unseat the lunatic zealots and replace them with sane public servants when next they are up for election.  Otherwise, there is no telling how much more damage these people are willing to inflict upon us all.