Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Pro Mass Transit Star Columnist Drives Car Registered In Ohio

Fellow blogger Paul Ogden picked up on this little gem while attending the IndyCAN meeting in Carmel promoting a community conversation on mass transit last night. Star columnist Erika Smith, who has penned numerous columns this year unabashedly promoting IndyConnect's legislative agenda to create an unelected, unaccountable metropolitan transit authority with taxing powers to oversee a multi-billion dollars mass transit boondoggle, showed up at the event driving an automobile with license plate tags issued by the state of Ohio. New residents are required to register their motor vehicles with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and obtain an Indiana driver's license within 60 days of becoming an Indiana residence, unless the person doesn't claim Indiana as their place of resident. According to Ogden, Smith moved here several years ago from a job at another newspaper in Ohio.
When I got out of my car to retrieve something out of my trunk, I noted something peculiar about Smith's car. It had Ohio license plates. The frame surrounding the plate said "BMV CLEVELAND" at the top and "DAVIS AUTOMOTIVE GROUP" at the bottom. Of course, Smith is forever writing about how wonderful mass transit has worked out for Cleveland.
Shortly after the meeting, I went back to the parking lot to take a picture of the plate . . .
Why would someone continue to put Ohio plates after moving to Indiana years ago?  Because unlike Ohio license plates, Indiana plates come with a hefty auto excise tax attached to them.  The revenue from excise taxes is not dedicated and is distributed to local governments pursuant to the same formula used for property taxes.  In other words, excise tax money goes to schools, libraries, parks, public safety and to fund the very bus service that Erika Smith is pushing Indy residents to dramatically expand.
This reminds me of how ex-radio talk show host Abdul Hakim-Shabazz arrogantly thumbed his nose at Indiana's motor vehicle registration laws by driving a car with an Illinois-issued vanity plate emblazoned with "ABDUL" on it many years after he moved to Indianapolis to begin work as a full-time radio talk show host at WXNT and even after getting married to an Indianapolis woman. When called out on it, Shabazz defended having an Illinois vehicle registration, claiming that he was still an Illinois resident where he was registered to vote and admitted to practice law. That never stopped him, however, from weighing in on taxing and spending policies for Hoosier resident. Fellow blogger Ruth Holladay gets the award for the best take on this one: "The hypocrisy of this mass-transit maneuvering has more roundabouts than Carmel. I hope Erika will write yet another transportation column, explaining her position for not rendering unto Indiana what the state is due."

On a brighter note, a Senate Tax & Policy Committee voted unanimously today to amend the mass transit legislation to commit the issue to a summer study committee before voting it out of committee. Proponents haven't given up hope on passing a bill to their liking yet this year according to the IBJ. "It's always good to have a vehicle to work with in conference committee," Gifford said. "This happens a lot."
UPDATE: Smith posted this comment on Paul's blog indicating that the car belongs to her father, who lives in Ohio, although she believes both of their names are on the title.
Hi guys.
Just to be clear, I own two cars. One is my primary vehicle, which is a not-so-snow-friendly sports car registered here in Indiana that I drive most of the year. The car with that Ohio plate is owned by my father, although I believe my name is also on the title. I drive it only a couple months out of the year (the rest of the year, it sits in Ohio) and that is why it is registered with Ohio plates.
I do, however, have an Indiana driver's license (and plenty of parking tickets to prove it) so I am indeed paying taxes here year-round.
Thanks for blurring the plate number, though.
--Erika D. Smith


Unknown said...

Next time you're out driving around, look at license plate.
You will be amazed at how many Illinois plates there are. Most of the drivers appear to be Hispanic.
I guess "resident" laws don't apply to anyone anymore. (Along with speeding, signalling, lane usage, following too closely, etc.)

Ellen said...

You jumped to conclusions, Gary. It's her Ohio-resident father's car.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I hear you, Mary Roger. I knew an attorney who drove a very expensive car who was a partner at a big law firm in town who kept his car registered in Illinois using his parents' home simply to avoid paying the vehicle excise tax. I couldn't believe his partners would stand by and permit him to engage in what was obviously an illegal act.

CircleCityScribe said...

I'd love it if Paul would appear at the Prosecutor's office and sign a criminal complaint against Erika Smith for violation of Indiana Law!

"IC 9-18-2-45
Improperly registered vehicles; misdemeanor
Sec. 45. A person who knowingly or intentionally owns a motor vehicle that is registered outside Indiana but that is required to be registered in Indiana
commits a Class B misdemeanor.

As a side note, there has been some additional violence in our closest city with regional mass transit that centers around it's mass transit. From media reports, regional mass transit appears to be just what we don't want!!!! We cannot handle the violence at the downtown bus stops....

"Nearly 30 people were arrested downtown Chicago on Saturday night for disturbances that ranged from
bumping into passersby on sidewalks to attacking passengers aboard a CTA train, authorities said, citing preliminary information.....In a separate incident, police arrested 11 teens at the CTA's State/Lake station in The Loop about 6:35 p.m. after the group attacked two women on an elevated train car, authorities said, citing
preliminary information.

The incident started when a woman on the "L" asked one of the teens to put out a cigarette,
authorities said, citing preliminary information. The group of teenagers then allegedly attacked that woman and another woman on the train before running onto the "L" platform with the purse belonging to one of the victims.

Officers arrested the teens as they attempted to leave the station, authorities said.

-Will Carmel book Chief Keef in concert to 'celebrate' the opening of the new Regional Mass Transit stop at The Palladium? -Will Hamilton Town Center enjoy it's Regional Mass Transit Stop? -I'm sure Greenwood Park Mall will enjoy the influx of new visitors as well.

-News reports showed Chicago horse patrol breaking up the mob action on TV. Will the new Carmel PD & Greenwood PD have horse patrols up and ready with the opening of the new regional mass transit stops?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Ellen, ownership of the car does not matter. If she is driving it in Indiana she has to plate it here regardless of who owns the car.

Paul K. Ogden said...

CircleCity, it's actually worse than that. When you file your Indiana taxes you have to certify that any vehicle in your possession is registered in Indiana. That statement is made under oath, i.e. a felony.

People seem to think, including Erika Smith apparently, that "ownership", i.e. how the vehicle is titled somehow determines which state it gets registered and plated in. That isn't true. If my parents in Florida lend me one of their cars to use in Indiana, I have to register and plate it here even though the vehicle remains titled in their name.

Erika Smith's only defense is that possibly her Ohio parents were in town and she was simply borrowing the car to go to the meeting that evening. Apparently she is not claiming that so she is admitting she's violating the law.

CircleCityScribe said...

To explain the joy of mass transit, it makes it possible for the patrons of Haughville, Brightwood and The Meadows to attend a Chief Keef concert at The Palladium in Carmel.

Chief Keef, is an American rapper from Chicago. "Born as Keith Cozart, while under house arrest for a previous weapons charge, Cozart posted several public videos. In 2011, Cozart was apprehended on charges of heroin manufacture and distribution. He was found delinquent and served time on house arrest.

He left his grandmother's home holding a coat over his hands in front of his waistband. A policeman stopped to question the rapper, who dropped the coat, flashed a handgun and ran away. Officers chased then 16-year-old Cozart, who turned around several times and pointed the gun at them. The policemen discharged their weapons, but missed. They caught him a half-block later and recovered the pistol, which was loaded. Cozart was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm on a police officer and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was also given a misdemeanor charge for resisting arrest. He was held in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center until a judge sentenced him to home confinement at his grandmother’s house.

This year he was taken into custody after a juvenile court judge ruled that the aforementioned gun range interview video constituted a probation violation. Two days later, Cozart was sentenced to two months in a juvenile detention facility and was additionally made a ward of the state. On March 14, 2013, Keef was released from a juvenile detention center after serving the 60 days for violating his probation."

-Now when does that new Regional Mass Transit Stop at The Palladium open in anticipation of the Chief Keef Concert there????

CircleCityScribe said...

-good point, Paul. Make that a complaint for perjury on a tax return and the misdemeanor violation of Indiana registration law. I'd love to attend that trial and watch justice dispensed to a liberal for once.