Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Smoke Detector Company's Lobbyist Drafts Ordinance Regulating Smoke Detectors In Marion County

Indianapolis City-County Councilors Mary Moriarty Adams (D) and Ben Hunter (R) introduced Proposal No. 364 to regulate fire safety requirements for battery-powered smoke detectors. A source familiar with the discussions notes that the ordinance has been drafted in such a manner that only one particular brand of smoke detectors sold under the trade name of Kidde will be legally suited for use in dwelling units within Marion County if the proposed ordinance becomes law. Interestingly, Proposal No. 364 was drafted by Scott Chinn, a partner at the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels, instead of the council's counsel, Fred Biesecker. According to lobby registration records on file with the City of Indianapolis, Chinn is a registered lobbyist for United Technologies Corporation, which manufactures the Kidde brand of smoke detectors. This pretty much sums up how the public's business is conducted in this city and state.

15 comments:

Pete Boggs said...

This has conflict written all over it. It doesn't take a vivid imagination to consider that other manufacturers will secure local counsel...

Anonymous said...

This is a great example of Indianapolis City Council bipartisan cooperation where both parties help one another screw the taxpayer.
But, should a City Council member expose this type of hypocrisy, the council member will be exiled from her political caucus. In the next election, she will not be slated and the party bosses will find a mummy-dummy to run in her district.
Following the public rebuke, representatives from both political parties will meet at the City Market and celebrate over cocktails. The bar bill will be paid by the lobbyist.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It would be nice if we could just find a reporter or two in this town who would report all of the corruption taking place. You tell them about this sort of thing and they look at you crossed eye as if they don't comprehend that anything is amiss.

Anonymous said...

I believe there are two tv stations taking this on with great investigative reporting. But I also agree we need it 24/7. Does this not have to be reported with interests prior to presentation of bills and more? Financial interests disclosed as well for public transparency?

Mary Roger Bowser said...

Detroit South is quickly becoming Chicago South.

It is very obvious that the members of the CCC are feathering their own beds. They don't care a whit about the taxpayers or citizens in this county.

Anonymous said...

Capitalism, Republican-style.

Indy Rob said...

so after someone's house burns down , the city can come along and kick them because the owner did not have smoke detectors?

Other than that,what problem does this really fix? how many residential fires occur each year and how many would this help? how many would just a working smoke detector have helped?

This bill is pretty specific about how to install a smoke detector, why?

L Truth said...

How much money was donated to Mary and Hunters campaign from those that would benefit?

Anonymous said...

This stinks of CORRUPTION!

Anonymous said...

Gary, please post Mary & Hunter's CFA-4s.

Anonymous said...

First Alert SA10YR meets the requirements set forth in this bill. $21.76 on Amazon. According to FEMA, only 3% of homes nationally do not have a working smoke detector. There were no working smoke detectors in 23% of the fatal fires between 2006-2008(usfa.fema.gov). Why is it evil for someone with a working knowledge of an issue to author a bill? Do you really think this will be a windfall for the smoke detector industry locally? If my law firm represented SynTec Seating Solutions, where is the harm in drafting an ordinance requiring seatbelts for all school buses in Marion County? Smoke detectors=seat belts. Both save lives.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Mary didn't report any campaign contributions last year. Ben reported contributions from Faegre Baker & Daniels and Murray Clark, who's a partner at the firm. He had another contribution from the owner of the ROC. He and Mary pushed approval of the controversial lease agreement for the ROC that is being investigated by an investigative committee of the council, a committee on which he sits as a member.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon said, "Do you really think this will be a windfall for the smoke detector industry locally?"

At least enough of a windfall to justify hiring a big law firm to draft it and to lobby for its passage.

Indy Rob said...

@anonymous-12:37

Spoken like a lobbyist. Statistics do not lie (actually they do!)

How many fatal fires are there per year in Marion county? 25, 50 ? How many of those that involve fatalities, would have had no deaths if there had been working smoke detectors? Even if homes without smoke detectors have more fires and fatalities, correlation is not causality.

In those homes without smoke detectors, you would probably find other things that contribute to having more fires, things like the use of space heaters, more people living in a house, furnaces not being maintained etc, and the biggest thing of all, people who do stupid things. In January, there was a man who burned his house down by using a blowtorch to clean cobwebs, there was a couple who burned their house down by setting the toilet paper in a tree on fire (someone had TP'ed their house as a prank).

Before forcing through a law of limited benefit, examine things to make sure that there is a benefit.

Indy Rob said...

Gary, I am not so certain that this law is being pushed through necessarily as a financial benefit to the particular detector company, it might be, but it also might be being pushed because the company owner sincerely believes every house should have a smoke detector.

I would just expect our city councillors to actually think about the actual cost/benefits of the ordinance, rather than viewing their vote as a speech bite to put on their election resume. ('why yes, I voted to prevent more needless deaths from fatal fires'). That is probably asking for too much.