Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pence Delegates Control Of Regional Cities Windfall To Political Cronies

Gov. Mike Pence signed into law another government boondoggle this year known as the Regional Cities Initiative. Our esteemed lawmakers thought it was a good idea to package up $84 million in the new program that's supposed to help lure younger workers to Indiana by tackling quality-of-life issues on a regional basis. Gov. Mike Pence decided it would be a good idea to outsource the doling out of those dollars to a group of ten "business executives," most of whom would be more aptly described as political cronies. The list includes:

  • Keira Amstutz – President and Chief Executive Officer, Indiana Humanities 
  • Kathy Davis – President and Owner, Davis Design Group 
  • Larry Gigerich – Managing Director, Ginovus 
  • Stephen Goldsmith – Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 
  • Gary Hobbs – Chief Executive Officer, BWi 
  • Ryan Kitchell – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Indiana University Health 
  • Chris LaMothe – Chief Executive Officer, Elevate Ventures 
  • Mark Maassel – President, Indiana Energy Association 
  • Mitch Roob – Executive Vice President, KERAMIDA 
  • John Thompson – Chief Executive Officer, Thompson Distribution
John Mutz, Indiana's former Lt. Governor and member of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation joked to the Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly, "Steve Goldsmith doesn't even live in the state." He added, "I'm not against Steve Goldsmith," noting he was his 1988 running mate. Actually, he probably wasn't joking because most of the folks who worked on Mutz' campaign felt that Goldsmith dragged the ticket down in that 1988 gubernatorial race when Mutz lost that race to Evan Bayh and totally despise him. 

Regardless, it is very troubling that a triumvirate consisting of Goldsmith and two political hacks from his city administration, Mitch Roob and Larry Gigerich, will be making the decisions on how this money is spent. All three are in the business of making a lot of money off local government spending decisions by getting them to do business with their clients. Pence has effectively given them a platform to use this decision-making process to make even more money for themselves. I've long since given up on deciding how Gov. Pence makes decisions. The only people who seem to financially benefit from his administration are people who absolutely hate him and are doing everything they can to destroy him politically. The guy is either totally clueless or has a fetish for self-punishment. 


Anonymous said...

First, none of the review committee members is in the millennial age range that the project hopes to target, so that’s a problem. The goal is to establish over the next eight years a consistent, positive national brand for two, I repeat, only two Indiana “regions” to make them a destination for young talent. Why we need 10 oldsters, mostly from Central Indiana, and one, Steve Goldsmith, who doesn’t even live in Indiana, to pick two Millennial friendly regional cities to promote is beyond me. It sounds like an opportunity to funnel money to “the right people,” meaning Republican projects that Mike Pence likes because he has personally prayed with their backers, but why be cynical? In reality, we have South Bend, which is lobbying early and hard, and has already pledged a million dollars in matching funds. And we have Bloomington, which is the “regional” city that millennials actually apply to move to, at the rate of about forty thousand applications a year, because IU Bloomington already appeals to millennials, and, if marketed right, could easily begin to compete with tech centers like Boulder and Stanford etc to keep their talent around after college. I have nothing against Ft. Wayne, Lafayette, Evansville, Terre Haute or Richmond. But they just really seem to lack anything that appeals to millennials professionally, and half of 84 million dollars won’t change that. Love the stated purpose of this program. Doubt the ability of these oldsters to come up with anything appealing to millennials. Bet the whole thing becomes a Pence giveaway to Republican christians. Who do we see about that?

Anonymous said...

Pence doesn’t have a very good track record with this sort of thing. He was really on the right track when he hired a national public relations firm to push Indiana’s welcoming attributes in a national ad campaign following rfra. But before they even got started Pence fired them, and about 300k of the money was forfeited right off the bat just to cancel the balance of the contract. Stupid. States like Michigan and Missouri advertise non-stop and to great effect. Pence could almost dedicate the entire 84 million over 8 years to a national ad campaign and succeed beyond his wildest dreams. But I don’t have much confidence his cronies are going to parcel the money out to an L.A. or N.Y. ad firm. No, the money will go to Indiana business insiders. Probably a bunch of white men in their 50’s and 60’s who won’t know what to do with it. Sorry, but this program, brilliant in theory, is going to die with a thud on execution, because Indiana doesn’t have a clue how to attract and keep Millennials.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The biggest chunk will be given to Central Indiana for their mass transit boondoggle. A bunch of these folks are already poised to cash in on that project.

Anonymous said...

Gary is probably right about a bunch of this going to mass transit.

Kathy Davis is perhaps the smartest of that group, and she conducts very advanced social modeling to determine how populations will react when infrastructure or incentives change.

She seems sweet enough, but I don't know if she realizes she's playing with dynamite.

Anonymous said...

I have an abiding deep and bitter regret that I ever cast even one vote for Mike Pence. I vote Republican 99.9% of the time. I've learned voting for Democrats to block establishment Republicans is an exercise in futility. I will not be voting for any Indy mayoral candidate of any party and I sure as hell would never vote for Mike Pence for any office ever again. Clueless, wooden, spineless IMHO.

Anonymous said...

There should be no one on that committee over 30, and each region should be represented. Sad, but in Indiana, everything seems to be political and with other agendas. This seems to be shaping up no differently. Yes, it is a brilliant idea, Unfortunately, the brilliance to carry it out rests with the young, not the old and slow.

Flogger said...

So is this Pence's attempt to stay in the good graces of the part of the elite and avoid a primary challenger??? Wow I simply cannot believe Gold$mith keeps surfacing. He is like a dead fish with a personality to match. Gold$mith has lived off the public dollar one way or another for 30 years.

Pence must really GO!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:06: ".... Bet the whole thing becomes a Pence giveaway to Republican Christians..."` Once again, what I have to surmise is that we have here a commenter who is an extremist left of center liberal who enjoys throwing hate on Christians. What do Christians have to do with Mr. Pence's actions (no matter how usually foolish they are? The Answer: NOTHING. The new leftist liberal Democrat cult religion is to bash Christians and introduce them into the mix when they are not even part of the "problem". Anyone being a Christian has nothing to do whatsoever with Mr. Pence's wooden stupidity in governance.

You 11:06 have so much hatred and intolerance for Christians- and apparently for anyone who differs from for ideology- I have to believe you are a misanthrope unless, of course, someone accepts your hatred and intolerance and then you are not so misanthropic.

The only religion these days this is safe, it seems is murderous Islam and the cult religion of liberalism with a fetish for bashing Christians. You have to be a perpetually sad human being with fetish for mean bullying.

Anonymous said...

Once again, the not ready for Prime Time players (The Pence Administration) does it again. First of all, all of the members are from Central Indiana. That must be a solace to those from South Bend, Fort Wayne, the Region, SE Indiana etc. Second, I have to agree with Gary and others that the fix is in -- you know that the Central Indiana transit project will get funded....3rd -- what a joke, this concept of attracting millennials -- hey guys: how about this one: join the 21st Century. How about some homage to such concepts as equal protection, freedom FROM religion (otherwise known as separation of church and state) a little sympathy to the poor and struggling, and an end to the sexist, racist, homophobic mania that dominates the Pence Administration and Indiana GOP base these days. I've just about had it with the Indiana GOP. Get real, people.

Anonymous said...

"freedom FROM religion (otherwise known as separation of church and state)"

Just curious, where is any of that in the Indiana or U.S. Constitution?

"an end to the sexist, racist, homophobic mania that dominates the Pence Administration and Indiana GOP base these days."

Extreme much? What planet are you on? What, Pence made a decision based on traditional values, and you start hyperventilating that it's a "mania?"

Relax, millennial. Don't be so fast with your buzzwords; you don't know what they mean.