Monday, July 23, 2007

Council Democrats Stick It To Taxpayers In Raucous Council Meeting

Council Democrats rammed through a 65% increase in the county option income tax tonight on a 15-13 vote, with one Republican member abstaining. Councilor Isaac Randolph (R), a firefighter, announced his intention to abstain from voting because the new revenues from the tax increase are tied to the firefighter's contract. He believed he had a pecuniary interest in the outcome and, therefore, a conflict of interest. In an unusual move, City-County Council President Monroe Gray, also a firefighter, ruled that Randolph couldn't abstain from the vote. Councilor Lincoln Plowman (R), a police officer, said he had on numerous occasions asked to abstain from voting on matters pertaining to the sheriff's department and been allowed to do so by the council. Randolph appealed the ruling of the chair, but Democratic council members sided with Gray and ordered Randolph to cast a vote against his conscience. Randolph still abstained when the final vote was taken, notwithstanding the chair's ruling. In an ugly display, another firefigther on the council, Councilor Vernon Brown (D), attacked Randolph as a "coward." Randolph asked to address Brown's attack on him, only to be interrupted by Councilor King "Ro" Conley (D), whose wife is a city employee, and told by Conley to take the matter outside face to face with Brown.

The meeting was raucous from the outset. As Councilor Joanne Sanders attempted to explain the tax increase, she was repeatedly interrupted by a jam-packed audience of tax protestors, chanting "NO NEW TAXES." The famous Indy Chicken stood on the sidelines holding a sign, "65% is no chicken feed". Many other audience members wore "Bart Lies" T-shirts. On at least 5 occasions, the meeting's proceedings came to a halt while law enforcement officers ejected citizen protesters from the meeting.

The meeting took a surprising twist when Councilor Dane Mahern (D), a city employee, announced he was voting against the tax increase. He complained that residents of his district were among the hardest hit areas of the city when they received their property tax bills, which increased on average 50%. He said he was unwilling to hike the COIT yet again, which he noted would result in a 175% increase in the rate in the last 3 years alone. He also complained that city departments were hiring people who live outside the county who don't pay property taxes or the COIT. One other Democrat, Sherron Franklin, a police officer, voted against the tax increase.

Those two Democratic votes could be spared because two Republicans, Scott Keller and Lance Langsford, voted for the increase. Keller claims his constituents asked him to vote for the tax increase to help bring crime in their neighborhoods under control. Most Republicans believe this seals his defeat in November. His district, like Mahern's, was hit hard by property tax reassessments. He will face Brian Mahern in November. With Republicans abandoning Keller in droves, he is now viewed as the most vulnerable Republican. He won election four years ago by a handful of votes with the support of anti-tax groups, but he has voted for every single tax increase which has come before the council in the past four years. Lance Langsford, a firefighter, is not seeking re-election. He saw no conflict of interest in voting on a proposal which ensures him another pay raise and pension benefits.

In a meeting completely lacking in any decorum or serious debate, Councilor William Oliver complained to the chair about the length of time Councilor Mahern was given to explain his vote. Councilor Conley then moved to end debate. The Democratic majority voted to cut off debate, even though only a handful of councilors were given an opportunity to speak on this major tax increase vote. Councilors debated the $90 million tax increase for less than 30 minutes before voting on it. "It's sad," Minority Leader Phil Borst observed. "All 29 councilors should be allowed to speak on an important vote." Audience members shouted at council members as they filed out of the Public Assembly room, letting them know they wouldn't forget this vote come November.

Whether you agree or disagree with the council's decision tonight, you cannot help but wonder how our city-county council come to be ruled by such a pathetic and out-of-touch group of people. You could not have watched tonight's meeting and have any faith in the ability of this elected body to decide matters affecting our city-county government. We need a complete revolution in city government this November. Please don't let these councilors forget about their actions tonight. You must make sure you are registered to vote and turn out of office the councilors who have so disserved you for the past four years.

31 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

By the way, thank you Ike for ensuring the measure passed and your pension guaranteed and your pay raised. Your 'abstention' works out as a vote for the tax increase!!! Very slick...

Advance Indiana said...

Not so fast, Wilson. Even if he had voted no, the tax increase would have been adopted. The ordinance needed 15 votes to pass and it received 15 votes. It did not work out as a vote for the tax increase.

Anonymous said...

It's time to leave town, before The Machine grabs more TAX dollars for its corrupt croneys or patronage staff!

Wilson46201 said...

for the illiterate anonymous nobodies: if you are ignorant about spelling, turn on your computer spell-checker -- it's spelled "cronies" ... (sheesh!)

Rick Swarthmore said...

Hey Wilson, were you actually watching the same meeting, or was your TV turned onto "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader"? Abstaintions always count in the negative. A 14-14 tie is a no vote, not a yes vote. In any case, Peterson and his tax hikers had their 15 votes, and you and your liberal intelligentsia can call those who took money from working families and gave it to those who bleeped away budget dollars year after year, you can call those people courageous.

Leave Ike Randolph alone.

Wilson46201 said...

I actually had 2 TV sets going -- I wanted to watch the CNN Democratic candidates debate but I also wanted to watch the deliberations of the City Council -- I did catch the raucous part of the CC meeting...

After three years of voting on ordinances affecting his job, Ike suddenly "got religion" on his way out the door and felt he'd been committing multiple Class D felonies. Gee willikers! Will Brizzi prosecute? Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

That's just it wilson, this is a free and open forum so if you can't handle your spoon fed eyes seeing mispelled words don't come here. You sure have a lot of time on your hands. Lonely at the top isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Scott Keller stopped at my house when he campaigned four years ago. He flat out told me he was opposed to raising city taxes and would only do it as a last resort. He lied to me. He voted for every tax increase before the council. I should have known better than to trust a man who has been married 5 times and filed bankruptcy twice.

indyernie said...

The voting was simply a sell out.

RED COATS, TURN COATS, Langford and Keller.
Remember Benedict Arnold died alone, penniless and without a country. The citizens of England hated him as much as America. Never to be trusted by anyone again.

Wilson46201 said...

Let's stay on topic and not let anonymous nobodies distract the thread off into personalities of commenters ... some folk seem to be more upset about me than at taxes or city services.

ProCynic said...

Indiana should force tax increases to be placed on the ballot. You know, like civilized states do. But since Indiana is a third-world country ...

Anonymous said...

Keller talks out of both sides of his mouth. In his last campaign he talked in favor of gay rights when he was talking to gays, and he told religious right voters Karen Horseman was a lesbian to turn them against her. He's a phony.

Anonymous said...

Here is the vote so you know how to vote this November:

In Favor (15):
President Monroe Gray (D)
Vice-President Joanne Sanders (D)
Patrice Abdullah (D)
Mary Moriarty Adams (D)
Paul Bateman (D)
Rozelle Boyd (D)
Vernon Brown (D)
Lonnell "King-Ro" Conley (D)
Ron Gibson (D)
Scott Keller (R)
Lance Langsford (R)
Angela Mansfield (D)
Jackie Nytes (D)
William Oliver (D)
Cherrish Pryor (D)

Against (13):
Dr, Philip Borst (R)
Ryan Vaughn (R)
Scott Schneider (R)
Virginia Cain (R)
Lynn McWhirter (R)
Sherron Franklin (D)
Robert Lutz (R)
Marilyn Pfisterer (R)
Dane Mahern (D)
Susie Day (R)
Bob Cockrum (R)
Mike Speedy (R)
Lincoln Plowman (R)

Not Voting (1)
Isaac Randolph (R)

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice old turncoat ex-Sheriff McAtee was sitting in the audience with Sheriff Anderson? How much has he and his son, Bart, made off the corrupt Democratic machine the past 4 years? What a sellout.

Anonymous said...

I have seen children behave better than the way the council behaved tonight. What a disgrace - not only do these people have no morals they have no self respect the way they treated Ike! Phil Borst should have been allowed to speak. He was correct when he said every member should have had the opportunity to speak if they wanted to.

Well, if you don't want to play the Dems way they take their ball and go home. Ok. We will remember, we will publish your names.

SOS said...

The problem is is that the Republicans were just as sickening when they were in control. I couldn't stomach the council then and I can't stomach it now. Switching from one group of bums to another will not solve anything. We need people running and getting elected who have no allegiance to any party.

the indy chicken said...

I had heard that one of the CCC members had inquired where I have been, so I thought it best to come and pay a visit this evening. I see Channel 8 showed the other sign I had, "Give us a CLUCKING break" which made me quite happy.

I am thinking that Bart is back to his lying ways again, so the chicken may be spreading his wings! Beware Bart - I may be anywhere you go! I am afterall, just an ordinary citizen who owns a home and pays my taxes, so I do have every right to demand accountability, regardless of what I have on.

Anonymous said...

I saw Joe McAtee sitting next to Frank Anderson at the TAX & SPEND meeting tonight!

Joe has a make-work, do-nothing job, car & makes over $80K in salary & benefits at our expense. He has an incompetent Patsy named Jan Devoss-Matthews, doing his lying. In return, he is incompetent...in charge of 911, calls go unanswered like NEVER before! He even accomodates criminals with a Spanish version of 'Thank you for calling 911, your call is important to us....' Shoot, as soon as he checks the call register, many life & death calls went unanswered...but Joe makes more money than most of our city!!!!!!!!!!!!

-At taxpayer expense! All because he supported a Democrat in the sheriff election!

I grew up here, when I called 236-3811, the EMERGENCY number at the time, I NEVER GOT A RECORDING!

(Of course, that is BEFORE a certain Democrat took over and supported the invasion of ILLEGAL ALIENS!

indyernie said...

"I am thinking that Bart is back to his lying ways again, so the chicken may be spreading his wings!"

Welcome back IC. I hope you are rested up. We need all the help we can get.

Anonymous said...

IndyU is tkaing over your site, Gary, and it's not pretty.

I'd have voted against the tax increase, but mostly because we haven't fully explored the other options. Hell, I might have borrowed the money first, rather than increase the income tax by .65%.

Ike Randolph is an opportunist of the first order. If I have to listen to his worthless diatribe one more time I may throw up. But he got this one right.

Even a blind fish finds the bait sometimes.

The poorly run meeting I witnessed on Ch. 16, was more an example of the lousy leaderhsip of Sweet Pea and King Ro, than anything else.

And trusint a legal opinion by Kofi Wright is a dangerous precedent...he's only slightly smarter than Aaron Haith. Which aion't saying much.

Rgardless of legal opinions--can't the affected city employees just say "no vote" because it's the right thing to do? And we ALL know it IS the right thing to do.

Melyssa said...

Gary? May I republish your account of last night's meeting on our blog?

You stated it perfectly.

Advance Indiana said...

Sure, Melyssa.

Anonymous said...

Gary,
Why is that EVERY single discussion issues brought up on your blog are hijacked by Wilson46201.
I'm not going to tell you how to run your blog but allowing this person to continue to pull discussions off track is destroying your blog's credibility.

Advance Indiana said...

Anon 8:18, the blogger tool does not allow me to ban a single blogger. I have two choices: Only allow registered users to comment, or moderate all the comments. I frankly don't have the time to manage all the comments in that way if the purpose is to allow a free flowing exchange of opinions. I have turned on the moderation option before to block Wilson's and other commenters who were abusing the posting privileges, but I have no desire to do that on a day in and day out basis.

Wilson46201 said...

Let's stay on topic and not let anonymous nobodies distract the thread off into personalities of commenters ... some folk seem to be more upset about me than at taxes or city services.

Anonymous said...

Good enough Gary, we'll simply pass over W's comments. W really needs to get a job or someting to occupy his time.

Anonymous said...

Lance Langsford is vactioning in Florida this week. Can anyone confirm that the city paid for his air fare back to indy last night to vote on the tax increase and then to fly him back to Florida this morning?

Russ said...

"Let's stay on topic and not let anonymous nobodies distract the thread off into personalities of commenters." is Wilsonspeak for "I live in a complete vacuum where I'm always right, and I can make slanderous statements about public officials, even though I don't have to offer the facts to back it up (but don't ever point that out to me)."

I think Wilson was raised in a vat of Teflon® growing up...

Anonymous said...

I think Wilson was raised in a vat of Teflon® growing up...

More like vaseline.

Wilson46201 said...

When logic fails, resort to homophobic cracks. Typical for an anonymous nobody...

Anonymous said...

Now Wilson - I think most people have used vasoline for one reason or another.

Pike Voter