Sunday, September 24, 2006

Out With Drummer, In With Ivey

If any voter in Center Township wanted to see the contrasting views of the two candidates for Center Township Trustee, you need look no further than today's Star editorial page. On the one hand, you have current Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer defending the "private club/bar" he allowed political cronies to construct in the Julia Carson Government Center without following appropriate legal safeguards as an upscale [establishment] to reflect the upscale standards of its well-dressed clientele." On the other hand, you have Drummer's Republican challenger, Linda Ivey, reminding us that the primary purpose of the Center Township Trustee is to "provide service to the poor and needy", not "spend[ing] millions on buildings."

Drummer's defense of the "private club/bar" would be laughable if it weren't so serious. His entire focus is on how upscale and nice it is, making no attempt to explain why he didn't require the political cronies to enter into a formal lease or abide by zoning and building code regulations to construct it. His obsession with the establishment's appearance is quite telling. He writes:

With its wireless connections, high-tech video screens, well-polished windows and neat d├ęcor, it is suitable for hosting corporate events in a smoke-free environment. By conscious design, the 2,200-square-foot facility is upscale to reflect the upscale standards of its well-dressed clientele. Step inside, tables and chairs are neatly arranged, positioned alongside a few pieces of furniture to make for a slightly more relaxed setting.

Contradicting all of his earlier public pronouncements on the subject, Drummer asserts that 300 East is not a bar or lounge, although he concedes alcohol will be served in the "2,200-square-foot-facility", not the 900-square-feet-area described in an earlier Star report. As he puts it, "Alcohol will be served, albeit in moderation, as a complement to a menu of freshly prepared food items." Drummer's prior description of it being only for "African-American professionals" is wisely omitted from his defense. Trying to deceive us on neighborhood support for the facility, however, he says, "The Mapleton-Fall Creek CDC is opening its arms to welcome the new establishment." It is overwhelmingly in support of this endeavor," he adds. Anyone familiar with CDCs in this town know that they are run by political appointees of the mayor and do not always act in the best interests of the neighborhoods they are meant to serve.

Drummer devotes considerable time to defending his efforts to find alternative uses for the vacant space in the building. He tried unsuccessfully to lease it to McDonald's and Starbucks, but he was turned down by both. He writes:

Efforts included listing space for lease with Summit Realty for more than a year and frequent self-directed inquiries into the business community. In its commitment to maximize the economic return on township assets, management evaluated and agreed that the recent proposal to invest more then $500,000 by a group of respected community members, now known as 300 East, was a prudent decision.

Remember, the Julia Carson Government Center is a government office building first and foremost. What Drummer doesn't mention is his refusal to move the Center Township Small Claims Court out of the city-county building and into the government center. Instead, he accused County Auditor Marty Womacks of engaging in partisan politics when she attempted to move the court out to make room for newly-added county courts. In fact, Center Township is the only township which had ever been allowed to maintain its small claims court in city-owned property rent-free. Drummer decided he would rather start paying the county more than $12,000 a year in rent for the space rather than utilizing the empty space the township already had in the Julia Carson Government Center.

While Drummer has obviously misapprehended what his official duties as trustee are, his Republican opponent has not. As she explains, "The real story about Polin Park and the bar at the Julia Carson Government Center is being overlooked." She writes:

The real story is that the Center Township trustee spends millions on buildings instead of people. Redeveloping the neighborhood is not the same as feeding, clothing and sheltering the most vulnerable among us.

The Julia Carson Center was bought for about $400,000 and more than $5 million was spent renovating it. Only one of its seven floors is used for township administration purposes. Any operations in the center could be housed in the Massachusetts Avenue building because the top floor and basement are empty. The annex building behind it is also empty.

The latest Center Township purchase, the old Fall Creek YMCA, also has questionable utility. The sport facilities are leased to a members-only health club. Most of its 100 dormitory rooms and apartments remain empty. But there are great plans: $1.8 million was appropriated in the 2006 budget to move the sewer lines (the whole facility cost only $1.5 million). The purpose is to create space for new development: A bank and a fast-food restaurant are envisioned.

Ivey hits the nail on the head. Just when did it become the duty of the Center Township Trustee to buy up buildings and spend millions of taxpayers dollars to develop them for private use? "Under the law and by principle, the primary goal of the trustee must be to provide service to the poor and needy of Center Township," Ivey writes. She continues, "Trustee Carl Drummer seems to believe owning buildings will do this. If elected, I will make sure tax dollars go to help pay for medical care, clothing, utilities and transportation. Our poor relief tax dollars should heat homes, not office buildings and bars."

Linda Ivey gets what the Center Township Trustee is supposed to do. It's time for the voters of Center Township to send Drummer packing. He should have no problem finding employment from one of the political cronies he's gone out of his way to help ahead of the needy people he was elected to help. He'll be more comfortable working under their "upscale standards" with their "upscale clientele."

UPDATE: RiShawn Biddle has added his thoughts on Carl over at Expresso. He finds him to be quite a riot. Here's a sample:

The funniest part about this latest bit of public relations work this government leader is performing on behalf of the proposed bar's investors is what he leaves out: The fact that he allowed the investment group to build out the space without signing them to a lease, a practice most "business people" wouldn't tolerate by half. The attempt -- with the acquiesence of Indy Parks czar Joe Wynns -- to transform part of nearby Al E. Polin Park into a parking lot. The original plan to make the bar a private club for himself and his pals.

Drummer is so funny that he should take his act to Crackers or Morty's; even better, he can start his own comedy tour. That way, he can get out of his current gig of serving Center Township's citizens -- which he's proven to be quite inept at handling -- and let someone else take a crack at doing the job right.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, Gary. (By the way, who is "management" ? The club's or the township's?)

I know Carl, and here's a strong bet his PR firm wrote that statement.

Sheer arrogance. That's what this is.

Drummer's apparent defense is: Lacy and Bill want this bar, so it has to be a good idea.

And the Mapleton angle is laughable. The neighborhood development corporations, particularly this one, are rife with politics. A true neighorhood association should be involved in this, not just the CDC.

Absolutely no reasons were given, or questions answered, about the public's right to know about the law firm's work, lack of permits, and the need for rezoning at all.

Typical Center Twp bullshit attitudes. Public service has been very lucrative to mony of them.

In the private sector: Ice Miller wouldn't been fired, along with Drummer. Procedures would be changed so that these slipups would not happen in the future. And the ultimate customer, us, would get full apologies for malfeasance.

Half a mill...hmmm...I always wondered what his treshhold was.
Half a mil must be enough to make Carl a political whore.

That is always good to know.

Anonymous said...

Wait, they're going to have wireless access in the bar at the Carson building? Hey, maybe I can get a little work down late in the afternoon sitting out on that nice deck they've built. Oh, wait, I'm not an African-American professional. I am a white professional that lives in the neighborhood, though. Am I not welcome at the new Carson building place? They keep touting it as a gathering place for black professionals -- but if it's as nice as they say, I'm not sure why they wouldn't want to make it open to all.

Anonymous said...

Gary, thank you for reading and analyzing it all. The more I read the more I see just how corrupt this city is and it makes me sick.

It is time for a change, the people of Center Township are waking up. They are tired of the crime and their local elected officials are too busy making sure bars are being built for personal reasons.

Time to put the PUBLIC back in public service.

Anonymous said...

But see, this what bugs me. The people of Center Township *aren't* waking up. They don't even know. Unless they read blogs every day -- and not many do -- they have no idea what's actually happening in their district. They don't understand what's actually going on and how it's all tied in to decades of political entitlement.

Unless the GOP caplitalizes on this -- which means putting money and candidates behind it -- it's not going to change. The people of Center Township have no alternative and no incentive. The Star isn't reporting it, Brizzi isn't prosecuting it, the mayor isn't calling special commissions to handle it, so it's not an issue as far as the large voting public is concerned. I agree, it's time for a change. But I don't think it's fair to believe the voters of D-7 are going to rise up against Carson or against their elected township officials. Sad, but true. It's going to take more than AI for mass change. But I think educating a great number of people like us is a start.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It certainly seems that way Renee. I suppose there's a remote possibility that someone at the local FBI office is watching what's going on and will finally wake up and do something. The hits I get on this site come from some fascinating sources. And these stories are among the ones generating a lot of those hits. It is very disturbing. I can't think of anywhere else in the U.S. right now where public officials could do what these folks are doing here and get by with it. It's a little like living in a banana republic isn't it?

Wilson46201 said...

I know for a certainty that the Small Claims Court has paid decent rent to the Building Authority since 1991 - and most likely since before then too but I couldn't swear to it...

Wilson46201 said...

Linda Ivey will be on the Amos Brown Show on AM-1310 tomorrow, Monday, Sept.25th, at 1pm. It's a call-in show so you can ask leading questions if you wish ...

She should be very well-informed since she's run for and lost several races before ...

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm going to go with the Star archived story reporting on this one Wilson as opposed to your non-stop disinformation campaign.

Wilson46201 said...

As the Center Township Clerk starting in 1991, I was the one who cut the checks for the rent for the Small Claims Court. The Star was wrong ... or do you just selectively believe the Star when it bolsters your prejudices?

Anonymous said...

That's scarey, a drunk cutting checks.

Anonymous said...

Advance Indiana:

The Ghetto Mafia connection;
He finally admitted to working as the Clerk for Center Township.

A clothing store was housed in the annex of Mass Avenue, and inquiries were made as to the profits for over-priced children’s' clothing being sold to poor relief recipients.

This store, Doris' Boutique was raking in $1.5 Million dollars between 1991-1996 from August to December for school clothing. Friends of Julia Carson,
Louis and Doris Morse were listed as the owners, but it was Carson's. Ironically, this store closed after Carson was elected to Congress in 1996. Where are they now?

Beginning January 1, 1994, Center Township Trustee, Julia Carson & Company assumed the responsibility of redeeming poor relief vouchers and paying the township's bills.

A sweetheart deal. Paul Cantwell, Democrat state legislator introduced a bill to remove the responsibility from the Marion County Auditor's office, a Republican.

There was no independent oversight from the outside for an $11 Million annual budget after 1994, until the board of accounts has time to perform an audit.

Carson and Drummer spent the township's money like it was their own. She bought the 300 Fall Creek Building at auction for $350,000.00, with the intention of having it named after her. The location is very convenient since she only lives 3 blocks away.

Julia Carson's address was used to qualify him to run for the vacancy.
Drummer was a resident of Lawrence Township when he ran for the office of Trustee.

Carl Drummer agreed to have the building named after her before taking office. Another sweetheart deal.

The Former Fall Creek YMCA Building was another sweetheart deal for $1 Million, and The Minority Health Coalition, private health club.

Carson and Drummer have spent more public money for bricks and mortar over time 1991 to 2005, than they have at providing for the needy.

Economic development is not one of the duties of the Trustee using public funds.

Drummer is confused about his official duties as Trustee.

Anonymous said...

Wonder why Wilson Allen 46201 doesn't blog in at indy uncover?
Just asking!

Wilson46201 said...

AdvanceIndiana is turning into a virtual cesspool - IndyUndercover always has been ... the stench is over-powering.

I'm gay and proud - IndyU reeks of homophobia. AdvanceIndiana is beginning to spend much of its time sliming and smearing gay-friendly candidates while consorting with Black allies of Eric Miller ...

now that Gary is running with Jocelyn and Darla - he's going to be known as the batshit crazy gay white GOP blogger...

Sir Hailstone said...

Only reason AI would be a cesspool is because you're here.

It's pleasant to read IndyU or The BOFH Chronicles because we don't have to see you spew your sewage.

Definition of Combined Sewage Overflow: when Wilson goes to the bathroom and talks at the same time.

Anonymous said...

There's something to be said for loyalty, and in that vein, I admire Wilson

But blind loyalty is ridiculous.

Wilson, your pals are drunk with power. They've gone on buying sprees that cost we taxpayers millions.

Here's another tidbit of truth to add to AI's readers' collection of AllThingsStupid:

This past winter, just before the parties had their slating conventions, the Dem county chair picked a candidate for Washington trustee, whom the four board Dems would not support (Frank Short). I don't know the full reasons behind that, because I don't know any of them very well. Suffice it to say, theu considered the County Chair's choice unfit.

The 4 board members recruited someone to run.

The wife of the (Washington) township board president worked for Drummer. Drummer told her if she and her husband didn't back Frank Short for trustee, her job would be a living hell.

My guess is, that the Dems had only recently gained control of that township board, and they were furious with the County Chair's lack of inclusion in that "knighting" process.

(I think) Short works at Ice Miller.

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

He later recanted, and denied he ever said it.

That's how these folks gain more power and influence. Drummer counted on having Washington Twp. under his thumb, too.

The whole mess is a flippant, arrogant and condescending misuse of power.

And whoever got Wilson to publicly admit his prior work history, Kudos.

Blind loyalty, Wilson, isn't a virtue.

Anonymous said...

anyone know how to get Indyunderground? I've tried and can't find it.

Anonymous said...

No Wilson 46201:

Indy undercover are the men in blue. You can't afford to spread lies and rumors on their blog.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anonymous said...

No, Judge Walton-Pratt is not a member of The Ghetto Mafia.