Friday, July 29, 2011

More On GOP Council Refuses To Hear Public Testimony

Indianapolis' weekly alternative newspaper, Nuvo, gives a big thumbs down to the refusal of the Republican-controlled Metropolitan Development Committee to allow public testimony on the nomination of Richard Kraft, an employee of an engineering firm that has government contract work, to the Board of Zoning Appeals. I first wrote about this matter here. Here's the weekly's take on this sad episode:

Why bother being neighborly? The Metropolitan Development Committee this week rejected citizen efforts to ask questions during the process for making an appointment to the Board of Zoning Appeals and failed to provide a resume listing an appointee's credentials, a divergence from past procedure, long-time commission watchdogs say. "We've been doing this for years," says Norm Pace, land use chair for the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations. "Why all of a sudden is [the process] closed to public input? Why can't we see his resume? We're not there to cause problems, we're there to ask questions." When encountering citizens requests for input, the committee [Chairman Janice McHenry] responded as follows: "The rules are this is not a public meeting when we nominate people to committees for the city. It is at the chair's will if they want to entertain that . . . You are out of order and you will not be recognized."
As appalling as McHenry's actions were, which were vocally backed by Republican Councilors Jeff Cardwell and Virginia Caine, it was equally appalling that the Democratic council members just sat there and said nothing. I guess we shouldn't be surprised, though, since that is the way they conducted committee meetings under the leadership of former CCC President Monroe Gray. Not surprisingly, the Star's reporters and editors have had no comment on this public spectacle. While the Star was very vocal in its distaste for the way Gray ran the council and his ethical transgressions, the Star's editors have turned a blind eye to Dennis Ryerson's golden boy, Ryan Vaughn, who auctioned off his seat on the council for a job as a lobbyist with Barnes & Thornburg and then proceeded to sponsor and push city ordinances that directly benefit his law firm and its clients. Gray's transgressions were peanuts compared to Vaughn's flagrant self-dealing. It's all just another reason why you should have absolutely no confidence in anything this council does. Unless you're an insider making money off the government, you may as well get lost. Your voices will not be heard.

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