Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fall Time: My favorite!

Fall Festivals

Tis the season of fall festivals. Personally, this is my favorite time of the year. I always get excited for all of the fall colors, Madison Chitaqua, Harvest Homecoming, Lanesville Heritage, Art in Speed Park, Autumn on the River in Bethlehem, and just the weather in general!

Open windows, apple and pumpkin picking are like the cherry on top for me. While I'm sure other communities have similar festivities, OURS are something I cherish and one of the reasons I love Southern Indiana so much. It is at these events that you get to see the diversity and friendliness that are the building blocks of our community. 

We may not always get along or see eye to eye on everything but our differences are what make us unique. To everyone reading this, thank you for being part of my home. 

What's your favorite? What about each do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments below. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"I don't like billboards but it will bring revenue"

I Believe Utica Should Be Unincorporated

There. I said it.

Let's review the last couple of years...

Police Department = Fiasco
Trucking Permit to raise revenue = Over turned by the state
Billboards to generate revenue = Lawsuit and pissed off EVERYONE (Jeffersonville, Clark County, River Ridge, everyone who will every cross the bridge only to think look how beauit... Oh look a billboard.)

There are ways for communities to fund themselves. It's call taxes. If you cannot meet the basic needs of your community, you have to raise taxes to do so or maybe you shouldn't have your own local government. You should not be figuring out ways to attack specific groups or businesses outside your community to pay the bills for what you are supposed to be providing to the tax paying citizens who live there.

"Personally myself, I do not like billboards," Town Council Vice President Jimmy Carter said. "I know that it'll bring revenue to the town [through fees]." - News & Tribute
SO WHY DO IT!?! This quote pretty much sums it up everything that is wrong with Utica. Might as well rename the town Faust so the town board can sell their soul while they are at it. 

EXAMPLE: Don't have enough money for roads then pass a wheel tax. Simple. Problem solved.
I know. I KNOW!  No body wants more taxes. I was just using an example. 

In my opinion: If Utica cannot sustain itself (which seems to be the case), then they need to seriously revert to being an unincorporated town within Clark County, like Bethlehem, Starlight, Marysville, or Otisco. The county can provide all of the basic serves and needs the Town council is unable or unwilling to provide.

It's time to stop being "poor little Utica" and do the right thing for the people you are supposed to represent. It may not be popular but it's the right thing to do.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Say Owen Wins... Then What?

Let the Speculation Begin

speculations (plural noun)
-the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence 

So when I started this BLOG, I never meant for it to be as political in nature as it's been the last couple of weeks.
But this is the topic of the day! 

It's official. Matt Owen is now a republican candidate for Indiana House District 71. With no word on who the democrats will be fielding due to having little to no depth, one could easily assume it is very possible for Matt to pull out a November of 2018 victory.

Let's speculate what happens next!

That will leave an open at-large seat on the Jeffersonville City Council for 1 year before the council elections happen in 2019.

So who could it be? Who could be/should be caucused into that seat?

In a previous post, someone had mentioned Steve Webb. After thinking on this over the weekend, here are my thoughts on possible contenders should Owen win District 71:

Steve Webb: A familiar name on the City Council and in the newspaper due to losing in a recount to Joshua Rodriquez (may he rest in peace). While Steve could be a possibility, Steve did lose an at-large seat already. Putting him back onto the council could set up another lost republican seat during the 2019 Election. 

Bill Burns: Bill is now the president of the Parks Board and has picked up his propaganda of all things positive within the city on his social media. Bill has a good relationship with the council, is well liked in the city, and with the Mayor. If he is not in the running to be caucused into Matt's seat, I would not be surprised to see him surface on a ballot in the future.

One of the Current City Council Persons: There are several other republicans on the City Council who may be interested in filling an at large seat. Scottie Maples, Scott Hawkins, Lisa Gill all come to mind. Lisa has a history of engaging residents from across the city already. As current Council President, one has to wonder if the writing is on the wall? 

Josh Waddell: The Clark County Republicans have a history of promoting local youth to be engaged in the party. Josh is no exception. He has been in the young republican leadership for a little while so one could wonder if this would be an opportunity to allow a new young name to surface. Getting him on the council for a year could allow him an opportunity to build name recognition prior to seeking election via the 2019 campaign cycle. Admittedly, this move would be a risk but you never know.

Rob Burgess: His name may be unfamiliar to the general public but within the republican circles it is not. The current county party secretary is also the communications director for Congressman Hollingsworth. From my understanding, he also managed Mayor Moore's last campaign. Looking at his history, he is well connected to the national party and has worked major campaigns all over the country. The question is, can he win his own election instead of only working in the background of other peoples?

What does the CITY need? 

In my opinion, being caucused in is only good for the city if you intend to run for the seat when the actual election comes around. IMO, whomever it is should be qualified and committed to running for that seat the following year. A person's impact on the council would be minimal only being on there for 1 year during which they would also be campaigning. We (the city) would need a person who is not going to be a place holder (so to speak) but someone who is committed to making a positive impact for the 1 year and beyond. We (the city) need to have a someone who is not using this as a stepping block in a personal ulterior agenda but as a primer to their contribution to the City. 

So there you have it!

That is my the short list that I'm sure will change as time moves on, but it sure is fun to speculate. I have no inside knowledge of any of these people. I'm only using some deductive reasoning and reading between the lines. If I catch wind of anyone else, I will certainly add them to the list!

Have you heard any other names pop-up? 

What's your scoop?

Put them in the comments below. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

District 71 AND 66 Updates

Some Updates on possible
State Ballot Lineup for 2018

UPDATE for District 71: Word has hit the street that Matt Owen is hosting an announcement today at 11:30 about Dist.71.

I for one wish him the best of luck. Matt has always been a good representative to his constituents on the City Council to the best of my knowledge.  

(If Matt then wins in November of 2018, that leaves an open seat on the council. That could lead to a fun conversation trying to figure out who would replace him. Let the speculation begin!)

While I reported that Zach Payne, Callie Jahn, Lisa Gill and others were also considering, my bet is that Owen jumps in. It's a move that would ultimately have other local Republicans second guessing themselves about getting into this race. It is well known Matt is very close with Jamey and is also part of Clark County Leadership. Those two items together show a togetherness about the local party getting behind him. Choices are not a bad thing to have in a primary, but the R's are also going to need a lot of momentum to take that seat. Having a contentious primary could potentially be damaging to the winner during the general election. Only one way to find out!

Of course that all depends on who from the D side gets in the race. No word yet on who (if any) D's will jump into this race but it is hard to see them not fielding someone strong to try and retain this seat. Some names that have popped up include former Clark County Prosecutor Stewart and former Democratic County Chairman Bob Bottorff as I noted in a previous post.

UPDATE for District 66: In another State Representative District, it is swirling that Zach Payne (current County Recorder and former City Councilman from Jeffersonville) is seriously eyeing a run at Representative Terry Goodin's seat. Nothing confirmed if an announcement will happen, but have had multiple sources confirm his interest. 

Could this be your local 2018 primary ballot? Time will tell.

Tick Tock. Time is running out to jump in!

Ron Grooms(R) - Senate 46 CONFIRMED
Chris Garten (R) - Senate 45 CONFIRMED
Matt Owen (R) - House 71 CONFIRMED
Ed Clere (R) - House 72 CONFIRMED
Zach Payne (R) - House 66 SPECULATION

Anna Murray (D) - Senate 46 CONFIRMED
John Perkins (D) - Senate 45 SPECULATION
Stewart/Bottorff (D) - House 71 SPECULATION
BLANK (D) - House 72
Terry Goodin (D) - House 66 CONFIRMED

What are your thoughts? Do you have the scoop? Let it free in the comments below.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I am Honored

Honored to Be Considered! 

It has come to my attention via the Hoosier Taxpayer Award Winning Bat Blog that SI Open Minded is being considered for the BEST LOCAL BLOG by GAWNEWS.
(Thank you Goliath for sharing on H-T)

I am floored and humbled to say the least. Especially since I only started this blog back in July. 

My goal was not to be recognized by an award of any type. However, being considered confirms that what I am doing is true to why I started this blog.

My purpose of this blog is to have my voice heard. To allow other voices to be heard. To have real conversation and sharing of ideas. To have possible respectful debates and not arguments. 

I think I have started off nicely and have no intention of slowing down.
It's cliché to say, but the best is truly yet to come.  

Thank you to H-T Bat Blog for helping readers find me. Thank you to the team at GAWNEWS for your consideration!

Respectfully and Sincerely; THANK YOU.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

IN Senate 45 up for Grabs

Senate District 45 Up for Grabs?

On a previous post (Stemler is Out), the comments section turned to Senate District 45 currently held by Senator Jim Smith(R). Based on those comments, I thought I'd weigh in on this coming race that will take place in 2018.

Senator Smith has struggled over the last term with constant issues, expulsion from his caucus, and lack of visibility. Add those up and it makes him very vulnerable should he decide to run for re-election. As of today, my sources state that he is "in" but it is getting late in the year especially knowing he has a very strong primary opponent. He has been noticeably MIA from all of the usual gathering events of local republicans. I think the wise thing to do for him would be to throw in the towel. But that's just my opinion. 

In believe we have a strong team of local state officials who don't always see eye-to-eye but get past it to work well together to represent us. It seems Jim does not play well with others and that ultimately does not do good things for those he represents in District 45.

Thank you to the anonymous posts on the "Stemler" thread!
Great information for sure. 

            Future Senator Chris Garten?                         Former Senator Jim Smith?

So far, the only official candidate for senate district 45 is a new kid on the block, Chris Garten. A local business owner (Signature Countertops) and Iraq Veteran who served two combat tours. He is a Gunnery Sargent in the Marines. After doing some asking around, some of the feedback says he is just an all around good honest guy. Here is the Facebook about him for your reading pleasure:

Outside of the republican party, a few names of come up on the democrat side but nothing concrete. Those names include John Perkins, Bob Buttorff, and Julie Berry. Steve Stewart was mentioned in another thread, but it is unclear if it was a statement that he was looking at Stemler's House Seat or the Senate Seat. The libertarians have been silent but they usually throw someone in the mix.

3 of 4 of those names above are strong and would make for a very interesting General Election race in November of 2018. I personally think if Perkins is seriously running, he is wasting his golden years. 

Someone in the "Stemler" thread also said Garten is "unbeatable".

Someone else mentioned how great it is to have "choices". I could not agree more.

After reading Chris Garten's bio, I have a feeling that Garten would not shy away from a challenge. I personally think he's not going to have much opposition in the primary.

What's your thoughts? Put them below in the comments.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WCCS Referendum

What will WCCS Look Like in 10 Years?

So the efforts to support WCCS November Referendum are in full swing. And apparently so is the opposition. Over the last few months, there have been some interesting items come up via news coverage and Facebook posts.

It's no secret, WCCS has had a long and divisive history of internal conflict between communities. Most of it appears to be based on hate/jealously of another community because of fond memories of a mascot instead of what type of education the kids currently have Vs. what the kids COULD have.

(Above is some reading if you are interested.)

A couple points of concern. The story second from the bottom address future students to the district. While it is a good report, it's unfortunate the BDASI did not break it out to a per school impact instead of the total number for the school corp. If you look at where things are moving to and consider what was said in the story 3rd from the bottom, it appears WCCS needs to look at making more investment in the Memphis/Henryville area.

The last link is the one that concerns me the most. According to the author, who owns the farm next to Silver Creek, the leaders at WCCS are looking at taking that property via eminent domain. If this proves to be true: THAT IS NOT GOOD. OUCH! Just his whole statement about conversations behind close doors is enough for someone who is So IN Open Minded to pause and question if the Board is being completely upfront with their intentions.

Everyone knows there are needs at WCCS. There is no doubt the basic needs of AC and stories of mold issues need to be addresses. That is a health and safety issue for goodness sakes.

But is this referendum the right thing for the school district? 

Yes AND No. It's an loaded question to be sure. That is why I encourage anyone living in the WCCS district to really, and I mean REALLY, think long and hard about how you will vote. I warn you to be cautious of what the Board and Administration are telling you because they are all in on this passing regardless. I also warn you to be cautious of those opposing because they are all in on this failing regardless. I urge you to pay attention to your neighbors based on its' tax impact. I urge you to pay attention to the Dryer Family who may or may not be faced with the school corporation forcefully taking away their family's identity.

A Cherokee tribe of Native Americans, warned: “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”

Here is my opinion

CONSOLIDATE CONSOLIDATE CONSOLIDATE should have been the go to plan here. Not sure why it was not other than political pressure on the school board.

It is easy for me to say because I have ZERO ties to any of these schools. Therefore I have no heartfelt memories to cloud my thoughts. My emotions are in check.

For a school corp of this size, there is no reason to have 3 high schools. Either combine SC and Henryville or Borden and Henryville. Memphis is the perfect location for a new HS. That would then leave 3 elementary and middle schools with plenty of room for future enrollment. Plus, a brand new HS is very appealing to people looking to move to the area. If it was Borden HS and Henryville HS being consolidated into a new school, it could also be planned to redraw the HS boundaries to move students from SC to a new school.

At the end of the day commonsense needs to prevail here. This $95M is a very expensive kick of the can. Everyone agrees something needs to be done. After reading between the lines on this, growing SC but not looking north is a short term fix. After a little research, my best guess is that WCCS will be back to full capacity within 10 years and not the 20 years some leaders are making this plan to be. Then the residents of this school district will be back at each others throats about what to do next. Unfortunately by then it will be too late because WCCS will already have the highest tax rate in the area with very little to show for it.

I feel sorry for everyone involved because either way this cookie crumbles there are very defined winners and losers.

At some point emotions need to be put aside for clear thought to what is really needed; not for right now but for the future of this district. This referendum proves this community is not even close to being there and the whole community is going to suffer long term because of it.

👍Leave your comments below 👎

Monday, September 18, 2017

What to put in the "Box"

What to put into the "Box"

The 10th Street widening project east of Allison Lane is in full swing. Good to see. The new Kroger will be a welcome addition which makes me wonder: What happens to the old location?

When K-Mart went out, luckily there was Rural King there to back fill the space. While not a 5 Star facility, it is still better than having a dilapidated empty shell sitting there. My hope is that once Kroger makes the move, we don't end up with yet ANOTHER Vendor Village or something like that.

Please not another one of these!

This is where Jeffersonville Redevelopment guru Rob Waiz and staff needs to flex the creative muscles. Here is my list of "What it could be" for the old Kroger location:

1: College Outpost - The old Kroger Building will have the square footage, parking, and mechanical needs necessary to attract an Ivy Tech, Purdue, IU, etc type of specialize facility if done correctly. Could be a good use of the space.

2: Work Force Development Training Hub - With its' proximity to Jeff High and central location overall, this could make a great facility for secondary training opportunities. Wither it be advanced manufacturing, trades, or healthcare; this could be a great place for GCCS, the City, State, and private business to invest to help strengthen our workforce needs by producing trained individuals both young and old.

3: Completely out of the "Box" (pun intended) Thinking: Here are some other great examples of what other communities have done with old facilities like this one:

Anyway it goes, I simply hope and pray the current administration has a vision and courage to step up to the plate to not allow another Youngstown Shopping Center develop on one of the fastest growing corridors in Jeffersonville. The last thing we need is another dated old shopping center that turns into the latest eye sore of 10st.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stemler is Out. But who is In?

Reprentative Steve Stemler 


State Representative Steve Stemler went public last week that he is not seeking re-election. 

Rep. Stemler has been a consistent bright spot in Indianapolis representing Southern Indiana. He has been a common sense leader regardless of your politics. Because of that he earned the admiration and respect of those on both sides of the isle.

A heart felt Thank You goes out to Representative Stemler for his service! 

Now the $1,000,000 Question: Is he done or looking at going another political route? Maybe he just wants to with the family more and run his business. Serving at the state level has to take its toll on a family and career. Steve has been doing this a long time. It takes a special situation professionally and personally to be able to spend the time required in Indy year after year.   BUT... He sure would be a strong candidate for Mayor against Mike Moore.

So who throws in the hat?  My bet is there will be a TON of people come out of the cracks for this seat. Here is a list of who may be on the ballot in my humble opinion:

1. Matt Owen: The safe money is on Matt Owen announcing very soon. While I think he ultimately wants to be Mayor Owen, this seat would give him a ton of experience in seeking the Mayor's chair  down the road. With Moore in for at least one more term, seeking this seat could give Owen potentially 2 terms in the statehouse before the next go around for Mayor. (State Reps are elected every 2 years.) Plus, with Matt being so close to County and District Chair Jamey Noel, it would be easy for Noel to back Owen which would potentially thin the republican candidates in favor of Owen.
Odds of Running: 1:1

2. Zach Payne/Callie Jahn: One of the dynamic duo. With Zach, there have been whispers of him looking at taking on Rep. Terry Goodin in the next election. But that would require a move into that district with Rep. Goodin being a very strong and longtime incumbent to that district. As for Callie, the first term city councilwoman has spent some time completing her studies. A move to Indy could make sense for her both personally and professionally. This could be an easy race for either of them to jump in on and put an interesting spin on what promises to be a fun primary to watch. Callie is the strong choice because she has the private sector experience that Zach does not. But if Zach wants it, Callie will be in the background to support him and visa versa making either of them a potential primary contender. Time will tell.
Odds of one of them running for this seat: 6:1

3. Former Mayor Tom Galligan: Is former Mayor Galligan is still in the background? While he has been quiet in local politics for a few years, the Dems will need a well known and established name to hold on to that seat. Don't be surprised to see Tom pop up in this race.
Odds of Running: 10:1

4. John Perkins: John took a beating in the last election but don't underestimate his ego. Based on that alone is why I think Perkins may throw his hat in the ring for one last hoo-rah.
Odds of Running: 20:1

5. Dennis Julius: Dennis, by all rights, would be the strongest person on the Dems ticket to step forward. He has the support system in place for his business, is very well thought of in the community, and would be well supported by the Dems should he jump in the race. Running against Mayor Moore was a shot in the dark with all that is going on in Jeff. An open seat scenario would look a whole lot different.
Odds of Running: 2:1

6. Lisa Gill: Lisa has put in a great deal of time representing Jeffersonville. She has the contacts throughout the state and the time to go to Indy as she is a "full time" city councilwoman. The questions is, does she want it? I could easily see her walking around the statehouse with the Rep. Lapel Pin on doing her thing. If she jumps in, it would definitely be worth looking at her as a front runner. I for one would like to see her and Matt Owen go head to head.
Odds of Running: 10:1

7. The Dark Horses: For a vacant state seat, there is no telling which political new comers from within the district could pop-up. There are a lot of local business people and such who put a great deal of time working with those in Indianapolis while working locally as well. But which of them are in the district and willing to throw the hat in is another conversation. 

What are your thoughts? Put them in the comments below.