Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Star Continues Pre-K Propaganda

It's no wonder that the Star's readership has collapsed under Gannett's ownership and management of the newspaper. The outsiders brought into run the newspaper have no qualms about using both its news pages and editorial/commentary pages to flack for whatever its flavor of the day is, making it no different than a partisan interest group lobbying Congress, the state legislature or city hall. The only difference is that it's not required to register as a lobbyist and report its lobbying activities like others in that profession. For whatever reason, the Star has determined that it's now the principle purpose of city government to fund pre-K education, and it's going to shoehorn any argument that serves that aim regardless of its absurdity. There's yet another editorial telling Indy to "get it done" when it comes to raising taxes as proposed by Mayor Ballard for that purpose.
It’s the opportunity to significantly improve thousands of lives for years to come, to help struggling families secure a strong foundation for their children and to reverse in the long term the horrific surge in violent crime that plagues our city.
The opportunity to accomplish all of this came in an unlikely package — a public safety plan recently proposed by Mayor Greg Ballard, which includes, along with more police officers and tougher prison sentences, a call to invest $50 million in public and private money in early childhood education . . .
Eli Lilly and Co. also has stepped forward in a big way. The company recently pledged to raise $10 million over the next three years from the business community, including $2 million from its own foundation, to invest in high quality preschool programs.
Yet, there’s still misguided resistance to the plan on the City-County Council. This past week a council committee shot down, for now, a proposed funding mechanism for the preschool expansion, a move that puts the entire plan in jeopardy.
Opposition to the proposal is driven by council Democrats who fear giving a Republican mayor a key policy win a year ahead of the next election. Such blatant partisanship -- which shamefully puts political concerns ahead of children’s needs -- has become increasingly frustrating to key leaders in the city . . .
The Star's editorial makes no acknowledgement whatsoever that it has never been the responsibility of city government to fund public education. And far be it from the editors to ignore convincing evidence that children receiving some form of pre-K education are no less likely to drop out of school than those who don't. Yet anyone who opposes the mayor's pre-K initiative is doing so for partisan purposes only. The Star's editors simply pretend that the only real Republican on the City-County Council, Christine Scales, is not also against the idea. It has to be that she just doesn't like the mayor, right? No, she offers very cogent reasons for not distracting the city from its core municipal functions, but the Star allows no room in its publication for opposing viewpoints. Can't have that.

By insisting on characterizing pre-K funding as a public safety initiative, the Star shatters all credibility. It even suggests that part of the package council members are being asked to support is tougher prison sentences when it knows full well that city government has absolutely no control over sentences that are handed out to criminal offenders.

Once again, it uses the mantra that Eli Lilly wants it. Ergo, it has to be good for the city, right? Who in the hell is Eli Lilly to be telling Indianapolis city leaders it must raise taxes to fund education initiatives, particularly when the mammoth-sized tax abatements it successfully obtained from city government on the promise of more jobs that were never produced is partially responsible for fewer dollars being available to fund basic city services, including public safety?

The Star's political columnist is back again with yet another column touting the mayor's pre-K initiative. This time he snarkily acknowledges that his wife works for Lilly after this blog pointed out that his wife works in a high-level capacity for the company, and that she also chairs the board of the Day Nursery, which is likely to be one of the beneficiaries of funding to be offered under the mayor's proposal. Her role with the Day Nursery still gets no nod from Tully because he says she doesn't get paid for her volunteer work there.
The mayor has proposed an ambitious preschool program with a modest price tag. It’s $5 million a year, matched over the first five years by corporate and nonprofit money. Eli Lilly and Co. (yes, my wife’s employer) has already for the effort.
Tully's favorite Democratic councilor, John Barth, explains to him that it's a matter of priorities among spending ideas. The good news Tully tells us is that Barth and the mayor's deputy mayor for education, Jason Kloth, are taking the lead on negotiations concerning the issue. Kloth serves on Day Nursery's board of directors with Tully's wife. Again, Tully knows of this obvious conflict of interest in Kloth making policy decisions for city government and, at the same time, trying to push initiatives that benefit a specific nonprofit organization of which he's serving in a fiduciary role. If Kloth were advocating something Tully or the Star opposed, you can bet his conflict of interest would be front-page news and the subject of tongue-lashing editorials and columns.


Anonymous said...

Gary is RIGHT-ON!

The City-County Councilors in favor of this propaganda have been trying to schmooze the police by attending their work meetings. Why has City email, now city employee mandatory meetings had MANDATORY INDOCTRINATION SESSIONS by The Mayor's supporters???? Is that legal?

Bottom line: Education is a State issue, not for local funding.

The proposal does not provide sustained funding, which means any police hired would likely lose their job after 5 years....and the school districts would not be able to have funding.

Want to see our farm kids in Franklin & Decatur Township not get education because their districts eliminate transportation???

Anonymous said...

yup, the sooner we tell Lilly to pack up and get out of Dodge, the better off we'll be - what have they ever done for us anyway?

Gary R. Welsh said...

I assume you are trying to be facetious, anon. 7:08. Nobody is questioning Lilly's value as a corporate citizen. It's not their role, however, to dictate how our city tax dollars are spent, particularly when it's something that isn't even the responsibility of city government. If they want to use their State House lobbyists to lobby for more education dollars for pre-K education, have at it but don't be trying to redirect our limited local revenue resources when city government is already failing at tending to basic city services.

Anonymous said...

Where are the Tullys enrolled in daycare?

Flogger said...

Quick side bar on the declining readership of The Star. I cancelled my two day a week subscription right after The Star had a big front page article on Exorcism earlier this year. I received phone calls and letters asking me to reconsider my cancellation. The main selling point - I would miss the advertisement deals.

The Pre-K Propaganda follows a well known template for The Star Readers.

The Shadow Government made up of Politicians, elected and appointed and the Crony-Capitalists make a behind closed doors decision to pursue some Scheme. The Scheme could be a new Stadium, or some other some other subsidy - Direct or Indirect- for the Corporate Chosen Ones.

The Star will float the Ideas surrounding the New Scheme. The Star Columnists will then print their own favorable Reviews of the Scheme.

Next "Guest Columnists" will have printed in The Star their own favorable Reviews of the Scheme.

More Columns will follow and "News Articles" that favor the New Scheme. Repeat- Repeat-Repeat.

Those who oppose the Scheme will not be given a voice. Opposition is dismissed or vilified.

Then we will have the Editorial in favor the New Scheme. The Editorial will try to convince you that all the Smart People or Important People are Gung Ho on the New Scheme.

Just as The Star Editorial says: "A broad coalition of leaders in the business, nonprofit and academic sectors has already embraced the mayor’s proposal."

Anonymous said...

Kindergarten and especially pre-kindergarten are just state-run daycares. The only reason a government would ever intrude on something so costly, demanding and expensive is to create cradle-to-grave brainwashed citizens.

Anonymous said...

I cancelled my subscription to the Star when the paper started requiring Facebook registration for commenting. The comments from the public died, which was Gannett’s plan, but I found them the most interesting part of the newspaper experience. I would read the print version of the paper over coffee. Then during the course of the day I would return to the online version and read the comments to gauge public opinion on the issues of the day. When they required Facebook registration to post comments the comments mostly died off. I remember when a Tully editorial would get more than a hundred comments. Now, just a couple. Sad. No more tips. No more public sentiment. No more righteous indignation. The paper’s most interesting feature died for me. I understand the argument that the newspaper is a business with the right to have comments or not. But for me freedom of speech in the internet age means a big daily print newspaper with an online edition that includes anonymous public comments. Gannett management just felt out of control with the inability to stop the trolls, but regular readers skimmed over all that anyway. Now its hard to gauge public reaction in real time. Personally I think the city has no business funding pre-k education when it can’t afford to hire police or fix potholes or tear down blight. We already pay enough taxes for education. This mayor has been making missteps everywhere. Why trust him on this pre-k business? I want him to cancel the new justice center. That’s completely out of control. And Tully is entertaining, but I remember him swearing that downtown was safe then getting mugged right off the circle. He’s often wrong on things that matter. The city needs to fix the ROC and Washington Square debacles before it tackles the stamping plant.

Pete Boggs said...

Let's pool those saved subscription dollars for an Advance Indiana billboard campaign; something like

"Journalism reborn, in the vacuum of a dying Star."


"Oh the inanity!"

Gary R. Welsh said...

There you go, Pete. I would settle for PayPal. donations from time to time.

Anonymous said...

The problem with giving you money is that your PayPal contributors list becomes an enemies list and an easy blacklist.

Freedom of the press doesn't count for much in Indiana.

You might consider adding staff or opening the page to contributors, in a local version of HuffPo.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm not sure that I follow your reasoning. PayPal contributions are no more public than a list of the Star's paid subscribers, or probably less so since Gannett likely sells information about its subscribers to bulk information gathering companies.

Anonymous said...

Bottom Line: Education is a STATE ISSUE to be paid for by The State of Indiana.

(See The State Constitution)

Why Ballard is pushing for this is's not for education, but for his self-serving interests. He says it's for pre-K but it's really to divert to more BIKE LANES IN BROAD RIPPLE and CRICKET FIELDS! It's an obscene abomination!