Monday, April 20, 2015

Departing Star Columnist Takes Shot A Pence And RFRA For Loss Of $18.5 Million Angie's List Subsidy

Like her fellow propagandists at the Indianapolis Star, columnist Erika Smith wants us to believe the lie that the enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA") represented the greatest threat to individual rights in the history of our state and it was all the fault of Gov. Mike Pence. Like the other propagandists at The Star , she only needs to know the talking points handed to her by her bosses and that's all that matters. Fortunately for the rapidly declining number of subscribers of the newspaper, they won't have to read her blather much longer. She is leaving The Star for a new job at the Sacramento Bee.

Smith treats The Star readers to a sob story about what a setback it means to residents of the city's east side that city taxpayers won't be forced to donate $18.5 million to Angie's List, a company that has never turned in a profit in its 20 years in business and has been the subject of numerous lawsuits accusing it of defrauding its shareholders and its consumer members. After becoming a multi-millionaire running the company he co-founded, Angie's List CEO abruptly quit his job to announce his desire to devote more time to politics, perhaps running for governor or some other political office. Bill Oesterle served as former Gov. Mitch Daniels first campaign manager. His company previously received over $14 million in public incentives from the state and local government during Daniels' tenure as governor. Daniels' first economic development director, Mickey Maurer, serves on Angie's List's board of directors and Oesterle serves on Maurer's National Bank of Indianapolis board, conflict of interest matters that don't concern Smith in the least bit.

What Smith wants you to believe is that giving another $18.5 million in subsidies to Angie's List was critical to the economic viability of Indianapolis' east side. Oesterle canceled the company's $40 million plan to expand it corporate office before announcing his departure, supposedly because of the passage of RFRA, which he claimed without substantiation was intended to discriminate against gays, although there are plenty of reasons to doubt Oesterle's proffered explanation. Smith believed the expansion plan would lead to 1,000 new jobs, even though the jobs promised when Oesterle's company received its first taxpayer handout never materialized. Oesterle claimed the passage of the law would make it difficult for his company to attract new employees. To believe Smith, Angie's List was undertaking risks few others are willing to take by building on the east side because the area is full of contaminated industrial sites. This wasn't even an issue for the parcels on which the Angie's List's expansion was to occur but don't confuse Smith with the facts. Angie's List is "an agent for social change," and the loss of the Angie's List expansion "really hurts."  What really hurts is Smith's willful ignorance to the fact that there are so many better ways that $18.5 million could be spent to help the people she claims to be concerned about.


Anonymous said...

What is Erika Smith possibly going to do at the Bee?

Sacramento is much smarter than Indianapolis, and the Bee is a much better paper than the Star.

Smith has no writing experience. Are they going to put her on the dog show beat?

The Bee is McClatchy, not Gannett, so she's going to have to do some real reporting. She's going to have to be assigned topics, find sources and write copy that a much smarter population than Indy will accept. Smith has no experience in any of this.

The Bee is not going to give her space for a 1000 word essay on whatever she wants to write. That's not what happens are real newspapers.

Smith is making a grave mistake. Like so much from Indiana, she has no idea she's been living in a protected bubble. She probably thinks she actually has talent.

Like the attorneys in Indiana who are successful local boys only because they're on the favored side of cases, but fall flat when they try to ply their trade in other jurisdictions, Smith is going to learn that other states actually require talent and don't let you come into a game with points already on the board.

In Sacramento, they are very suspicious of wasting public money for the benefit of any private party, so her shill pieces will find her quickly laughed out of town.

Being an establishment shill in California will make you very unwelcome to a newspaper's readers.

The Bee considers itself the foremost California paper covering the statehouse. In a state that powerful, the statehouse coverage by the local paper has to be excellent, or Sacramento readers will bypass your paper and pick up the Chronicle.

Smith has just waded in well beyond her depth.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Erika on this one. Indiana has taken an irreparable hit to its reputation, it cost us business, and it will cost us in the future. Naysayers can continue to blather on that the RFRA is just misunderstood, but even a casual glance at the arguments of their detractors shows that the public isn’t buying that defensive posture anymore. Pence will certainly receive more disparaging national press in the vicious primary fight to follow, and Indiana’s reputation will continue to be sullied. This is his legacy. Bill Oesterle is a bright Indiana light shining through the darkness, he’s respected by the people who matter in business and politics, and he served us well during the dark days of Pence. I’m incredibly saddened that we won’t get the build out of the new Angie’s List headquarters on the east side. But these things are complicated. The new Justice Center also sounds like its on the endangered species list right now. Sometimes a better deal comes down the pike. Sometimes it doesn’t. It seems like that horrible rail transit proposal finally died for good. Nobody mourns the death of that boondoggle. And Indiana has since passed a more refined version of RFRA. The entire debacle could have been avoided if Mr. Pence and his super majority general assembly had listened to the other side. The entire mess had been predicted. So yes, Pence is ultimately responsible. I believe he will lose his next election.

Anonymous said...

Our local left liberal Democrat internet trolls are hard at work on Advance Indiana, aren’t they? I am an out gay person and I am so tired of the lunacy of unsupported statements about how RFRA “hurts” Indiana, how the RFRA “costs Hoosiers business”, how the RFRA is responsible for corporations refusing to move to Indiana, how the RFRA has set Indiana back, how the Hoosier LGBT community is forever in chains because of RFRA, basically- how RFRA is the end of life on the planet as we know it. Other than emotions and idiotic CEOs and politicians jumping on the fifteen minute of fame train, where are the facts that support all these anti-RFRA claims? Where is the honest research to prove the damage asserted with all these claims? Emotion is neither fact nor critical thinking.

I’ve yet to be provided any actual proof from proper studies or in the literature that suggests anywhere near the devastation these emotional-based easily led liberal sheep claim to be occurring. The sky is not falling no matter how many senseless liberal slogans my left liberal LGBT brothers and sisters repeat.

How much longer will we be subjected to these liberal loons who just cannot accept that they've lost on the Ponzi scheme that is known as Angie's List, that they lost on RFRA due to their own intolerance, deceit, and hatred, and that Mike Pence (for all this flaws) is not the source of all evil in the galaxy as their Saul Alinsky-like campaign implies.

Anonymous said...

"Bill Oesterle is a bright Indiana light shining through the darkness"

This message brought to you by the Bill Oesterle for Senate Exploratory Committee.

And also by Pepto Bismol, when you need to keep from puking when consuming Indiana political refuse.

Flogger said...

Tinker, to Evers to Chance the Cubs famed double play infield. We have in Indiana: Daniels, to Maurer to Oesterle. The Star whether it is Tully, or Erica picks up the Crony-Capitalist outlines and then fills in the blanks.

Gee I thought all that tax payer dollars diverted into the Pockets of the Colts and Pacers were supposed to raise all the boats, you know the rising tide of prosperity. Surely all the Legacy of the success of the Stupor Bowl we were promised somehow did not fail the East side??

At The Star failure as an accurate Reporter or columnist is an option. Odd how Pence alone is taking the hit consider that the Republican Leadership handed Pence the Original RFRA Legislation for Pence to sign. Pence played a part, but the other sponsors and players seems to have got off Scot free.

Eric Morris said...

To add to Anon 733, there is no way she is heading to Charles Piller's extraordinary investigative team that broke scandals regarding National Guard corruption (hint, Star, it is here too) and the new Bay Bridge. Piller is extraordinary now only because he should be added to endangered species list as actual investigative reporter at big city newspaper. The remaining journalists are bloggers like Gary and a few at alt papers like Nigel Jacquiss at Willamette Week in Portland.

Anonymous said...


I'm not gay. Politically, I've never opposed gay people, gay sex, gay partnering, gay market choices, whatever gay people want to do that doesn't affect anyone else.

That's a standard moderate position.

What I do oppose is forcing people to acknowledge something they don't want to do or that they're uncomfortable with.

Have you seen Boy's Town in Chicago? That's far too much and not at all being a good neighbor.

Suing people for not photographing a gay marriage is also far too much and not at all accepting of the mores of others.

These excesses will cause a backlash against gays. We're already seeing the beginnings of it. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, and they are not in the least tolerant of homosexuality. Given enough years, America may very likely see homosexuality re-criminalized.

I know the militant homosexuals want to have full minority status in job hiring, but this will backfire badly. If homosexuality ever appears as a preferential minority classification on a job application, everyone will immediately be homosexual.

Anonymous said...

RFRA will hurt Indiana's economy to exactly the same extent that Mitch's DST benefited Indiana's economy.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:30: You are comparing kiwis to soy beans; what positive correlation is there between RFRA and time zones? Uh, none.

You offer absolutely zero proof that RFRA will hurt the Hoosier economy. If RFRA will cause such damage, I have to ask based on what truth? Based on what real evidence? To make statements without any proof or scientific support is like talking simply to hear one's voice. Saying something does not make it so.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I think anon 10:30 was being facetious with the comparison to DST--the point being that Indiana's economy was neither demonstrably helped nor harmed because of DST.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon 11:49, Gary. I believe you are correct. I totally misread that. Mea Culpa!

Anonymous said...

Well, power use did increase because of DST, but Daniels' predictions of a glorious economic future because of DST never panned out.

Just like the Super Bowl.

Just like the Colts.

Just like downtown spending.

Just like RFRA.

Economic consequences don't follow such things.

Anonymous said...

How many police could be hired and properly equipped for $18.5 Million? The return would be a safer city.

It seems that would be a better investment for The City than flushing it down a toilet and giving it to a company that has NEVER MADE A PROFIT, with no foreseeable return on that investment.

Anonymous said...

Erika Smith is an outsider from Liberal Cleveland, where crime is loved and the city is a ghetto! Cleveland has no good parts in The City anymore, only in The Burbs.

Erika herself didn't live her Gannet life in Indianapolis....feasting on the gormet foods in Carmel and lowly Fishers (laugh).

Erika never got to know this city. She doesn't realize that Indianapolis is alive, with rich and vibrant neighborhoods. She thinks this is South Cleveland.

Is Erika leaving Gannet? Is Erika leaving Indianapolis? (we can only hope)

To Erika Smith: Goodbye (click link)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Erika, you'd be more comfortable in the City of Detroit!

But there's no jobs there....and the Democrats TAX AND SPENT into oblivion, so they had to have an Emergency Manager appointed to OVERRULE the liberal Mayor and establish fiscal responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Erika needs to move to San has her tempo!

She lives the left-most of The Left Coast!

Anonymous said...

I've always been amazed what attention the City and Gary give to Star columnists. Who cares what they have to say? I thought it completely odd Erika Smith was hired to write the society or gossip page (can't remember exactly) and then named a columnist. Didn't read but a handful of her columns because my impression, after reading some, was she cannot write and she has nothing to say that is worth me reading. Bye.

Anonymous said...

Are you all that convinced that Smith actually wrote what she wanted? Or have you considered that she was sick and tired of being a puppet so she jumped at the opportunity to get the hell out from under her bosses thumbs?