Thursday, March 30, 2006

When disaster strikes...

If disaster strikes Kokomo tomorrow, how will our local officials react?

We don't know. And it seems that, for the most part, neither do they. Recent discussions before the Howard County commissioners reveal deep communication and confusion about what to do in the event of an emergency.

Kelli Austin, director of the Johanning Civic Center, said she has heard that during disaster, her facility could be required for uses as disparate as emergency shelter, temporary offices for county and city employees, and even inmate housing. Austin wants to be pro-active, and make "action lists" for each scenario, but so far, that hasn't happened.

It needs to happen. Before a disaster, not during.

It's all relative, right?

In this week's Kokomo Perspective, we criticize the county's new nepotism policy, which grants broad power to the county commissioners, to decide whether or not someone can hire a relative.


Even assuming this batch of commissioners is above reproach (and that's a big assumption), should the commissioners hand such authority to the people who will follow them into office? We think not. This new ordinance is a recipe for corruption in 5, 10, maybe 15 years down the road.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Strip Club Equality?

Now that the Ultimate Place 2 B is in danger of losing its liquor license, should the same group of remonstrators try to shut down all area strip clubs? Would it be hypocritical of them not to? Or are all strip clubs not created equal?

Mascot Mayhem

The Merriam Webster dictionary definition of "Redskin" is "Native American." However, the dictionary also notes, "usually offensive." On dictionary.com, the definition reads, "offensive slang used as a disparaging term for a Native American." Cambridge's online dictionary reads, "offensive old fashioned for a Native American."


Yet in Indiana, there are still four high schools that use Redskins as their school mascot. The IHSAA has no regulations on Indian-themed mascots, but should they? Should a school be allowed to have a mascot whose history is rooted in bigotry and hatred? Or are such concerns political correctness run amok?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

LIVE CHAT DEBATE TONIGHT!

Don't forget, the Kokomo Perspective is holding a Live Chat Debate tonight with Sheriff Marty Talbert, and candidates Rob Walker and Jon Zeck.

Through the Live Chat format, candidates will meet to discuss the issues of the day and to answer questions about policy and politics.

Sheriff Marty Talbert and Democratic primary candidates Jon Zeck and Rob Walker will square off Thursday, March 16, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Talbert, a former Indiana State Police trooper, is seeking a second term as sheriff on the Republican ticket. When elected, he was Howard County’s first GOP sheriff in 32 years. Zeck is a former sheriff’s deputy, and Walker is a corporal in the sheriff’s department.

To join the live chat, log on to www.kokomoperspective.com and scroll down the left side of the page to the link that says “Live Chat.” Log in a few minutes early and sign in to ask a question.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sticking to the Rules?

When Brad Bagwell challenged the filings of 32 precinct committeeman candidates, he said it was all about the law. There was much talk about slipperly slopes, and how election law must be carefully followed.
Oh, the irony. It now appears that Bagwell may have violated that law himself, when he filed the complaint. The county attorney has yet to give his opinion on the matter, but attorneys for the Indiana Election Commission say that in order to file a complaint, you have to live in the district of the candidate you're complaining about. Unless Bagwell lives in 32 precincts at once, that would make his complaint null and void. Unfortunately for the candidates, the damage is already done. The 16 candidates who were kicked off the ballot can not get back on, unless they take the matter to court. If Bagwell is such a stickler for election law, shouldn't he have made absolutely sure he was following it? And -- ignominy of ignominies -- does he owe the mayor an apology?

Everybody Spin!

Once again, the city of Kokomo has granted a contract to Schneider Corp -- a contract that did not fall under the "lowest responsive and responsible bid" rule. While Schneider may be a good company, the city has entered an ethical morass by aligning itself so closely politically with a city vendor. Schneider's CEO is the mayor's biggest individual donor, and the company even sponosored a fundraiser for the mayor in Carmel. What kind of message does this send from an admnistration that values professionalism? Has McKillip's desire to be the King Kong of Kokomo fundraising put his administration in a bad position? Or, as the mayor says, is everyone who opposes him just "spinning?"

DC Not Sharing Profits?

When Daimler profits but Chrysler doesn't, Chrysler employees get no profit-sharing bonus. But when the opposite is true, Daimler employees still get a bonus. A bigger bonus, in fact, than their American counterparts. Officials say the price was negotiated by the Central Works Council, the Daimler workers' union. If that's true, should American workers begrudge the Germans for their strong union? Or, union or no union, is it still a basic issue of fairness?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Precinct Punchout Part II

Did the election committee make the right choice by eliminating several of Mayor Matt McKillip's candidates for precinct committeeman? Did they simply side on the law, or did they let red tape and small print impede the Democratic process?

Planning on...

The Planning Commission Department could lose two of its senior employees this month. Can the department function under the cloud of litigation? Or should we expect more shake ups as time goes on?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Election Board Declares...

This week, the election board will decide whether to throw out 32 precinct committeemen ballots that may have been improperly notarized.

Should the ballots be thrown out, or should the candidates be allowed to run? Which is more important: following the rules, or opening the process to as many people as possible?

Labor Studies on the chopping block

Indiana University is considering axing the Labor Studies program. The program only has 16 full-time enrollees, but many more people take classes in the major, to supplement their education.

Should the Labor Studies program fall to the wayside? Should IUK's role be simply to grant degrees, or also to provide courses to the community, even those who can only take a class or two?

Bypass to the bypass

It looks like Kokomo may finally gets a bypass to the U.S. 31 bypass. But once the road is built, where will people get off? Public officials last week debated whether to push for an interchange at Touby Pike, and whether to trade-off another one, at Boulevard.

Where's the best place for a new exit? And if we get too many interchanges, will Kokomo stop being Stoplight City, and become Interchange City?

Monday, February 27, 2006

The State of Our City

Tonight, Mayor Matt McKillip will deliver his State of the City address to the general public. Do you plan to attend? What topics do you hope the mayor touches on? And as a citizen, what do you think the State of our City is?