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Who Would Have Thought?

I just spent part of my afternoon and evening over at the Indiana General Assembly. Not much is taking place, which is surprising because these guys have until Sunday to get their work done. One issue I’m following closely is Indy Works, part III. And what’s funny about this is how in the last days of the session, roles are starting to reverse.

I honestly thought I would never live to see the day that a Lawrence Republican is for consolidation and a City Democrat opposed it. There are two proposals on the table to consolidate government in Marion County. Democrat Bill Crawford and Republican Jim Merritt both have ideas. The two big differences are a freeze in the tax levy and the elimination of the Center Township Trustee’s office.

The levy freeze isn’t what caught my attention as much as the Democrats are opposing the elimination of the Center Township Trustee. The logic is simple, if the other township trustees go away, why shouldn’t the Center Township Trustee join them? Under Merritt’s proposal the Health and Hospital Board would take over poor relief, which is the Trustee’s main job, which it apparently doesn’t do very well because it costs more than $2 to administer $1 of poor relief. It’s sitting on more than $12 million in the bank and owns a lot of property that should be on the tax rolls.

That sounds to me like a model for the type of waste and inefficiency that Mayor Bart Peterson has rallied against and should be eliminated. However, House Democrats like Bill Crawford and Greg Porter say it’s a non-starter and deal breaker. I say if it’s good enough to eliminate the other township trustees (which I am all in favor) then the Center Township Trustee should go also.

It seems like a big exercise in intellectual dishonesty that the people who supported consolidation for the past two sessions for all the other townships in Marion County would oppose it when it comes to an office that by all objective accounts is the poster child for consolidation. And now that I’ve pointed out their inconsistency, hopefully they will see the error of their ways and not let their short-comings turn into blatant hypocrisy.

  • http://www.advanceindiana.com Gary Welsh

    Our Marion County prosecutor could have made the task of eliminating the Center Township Trustee’s office a lot easier. Can you please ask him why he refuses to investigate this office? If the blogs haven’t provided him all the evidence he needed to conduct an investigation, the IBJ certainly did. What a shame.

  • Anonymous

    Cost overruns 863 Massachusetts Avenue [4th floor is vacant and so is the adjacent building], 300 East Fall Creek Parkway [bookkeeping department] 760 West 10th Street [former Fall Creek YMCA]

    3 sets of utility bills, security guards, maintainance crews

    Cut services to the poor, to maintain a surplus in the bank.

    How is Center Township saving tax dollars?

  • Wilson46201

    These same issues were brought up constantly last year in the Center Township elections — the voters didn’t feel they were significant — the incumbents (including Trustee Carl L. Drummer) were overwhelmingly re-elected better than 3-to-1. The naysayers couldn’t get their way in the ballot box so now they hope to use out-of-township legislators to impose their way, thwarting the will of the electorate. Pitiful!

  • Joe

    Wilson, if the other township trustees go away, why shouldn’t the Center Township Trustee join them?

    What’s so great about the Center Township Trustee office that says it should be kept when all other townships lose their trustees?

  • Wilson46201

    The main “business” of the doughnut townships was/is “fire protection”. This is being melded into an efficient county-wide Fire Dept. Center’s main activity is “poor relief” which has always been particularly important in the inner-city. It’s been proposed that the experienced C.T. system be expanded to cover poor relief countywide.

    Sadly, the now-fashionable elimination of elective offices is an anti-democratic trend. Democracy is messy and sloppy — technocracy is efficient and impersonal. The trains run on time. You’d think more conservatives and libertarians would be opposed to giving big central governments so much new power.

    Freedom is a constant struggle!

  • Anonymous

    So it’s OK for people outside the doughnut townships to force consolidation on them, but not vice versa?


  • Wondering

    Just curious Wilson46201, why is there so much poverty in the black community, specifically Center Township?
    When one sees the newly arriving Hispanics and Asians coming into Center Township and establishing themselves, setting up their own business from scratch, I just wonder why we aren’t seeing that in the black community.
    Could it be that perpetual poor relief might be one of the black community’s biggest problem?
    There was no poor relief prior to the 1960’s in the black community other than neighbor helping neighbor make it. Where has the pride gone that was shown by the late Mattie Rice Coney. Where have the opposing voices of the black community gone that were represented by more than four seperate newspapers in Indianapolis at one time?
    What has happened to the black religious leaders in Indianapolis that didn’t need a $25 million dollar handout to make their congregation’s neighborhoods safe, clean and beaming with pride?
    Where has that black community gone that didn’t need law enforcement to take care of problems that the black community could take care of itself?
    Perhaps Center Township needs to join hands with the other Townships to unify the County in a way that was never intended by the founders of UNIGOV. Segregation is not going to get people off the poor relief rolls any better than prisons are the answer to our crime problems.

  • Wilson46201

    “Poor relief” was set up by Queen Elizabeth 1 of England. Colonialists brought it to America. “Poor relief” laws existed here in this territory before Indiana ever became a state. “Poor relief” was tasked to Indiana Township Trustees in 1851. “Poor relief” is thus hardly a peculiarity of the Black community, is it now?

    Frankly, I’m wondering if Wondering is simply more interested in slamming African-Americans than sincerely questioning. Starting off the diatribe with an easily disprovable historical fallacy is no way for informed discussion!

  • Crow


    Wondering’s main point was why do the asian and hispanic polulations “appear” to be more successfull than the black community. I think that is a valid question. Could it be that their cultural groups are focused on helping themselves? I don’t know the answer and don’t pretend to know region. I just thought it was a good question that deserved a fair answer.


  • Wondering

    You may wish to familiarize yourself with some of the writings of the prominent black scholar, John H. McWhorter regarding Indianapolis. Specifically read his article on the Indianapolis black community in the City Journal titled:
    It’s a good analysis and I don’t agree on his every point but he does seem to be on track at least as far as Indianapolis is concerned.

  • Wilson46201

    I have read with some amusement that wildly misinformed article by McWhorter – I lived through that period – I knew the players – it was chock full of inaccuracies – he labored under the impression that it was Democrats like Dick Lugar [sic] which brought such alleged tragedy in Indianapolis.

  • Anonymous

    Wilson said, “The naysayers couldn’t get their way in the ballot box so now they hope to use out-of-township legislators to impose their way, thwarting the will of the electorate.”

    So I ask again, isn’t that pretty much what Center Township Dems are trying to impose on the outer townships? What’s the difference?

  • Ransom Place Dweller

    I lived thru that “era” too Wilson. McWhorter’s dead on with his analysis and so were the other black writer’s he mentioned. Odd, I don’t recall McWhorter even mentioning Lugar in that article. He did however mention Soul Fest. What he didn’t mention was how our Black Expo is probably going to suffer the same fate as Soul Fest. Mattie Coney was a family friend up til the day she died. Where are the Mattie Coney’s at today Wilson? They’re gone and our community has declined ever since.
    BTW, in case you’re wondering, I’m black and years older than you. You’re mixed up with the wrong crowd my brother.

  • Wilson46201

    Mattie Coney, as they say, meant well but she was also a laughingstock. She was the conservatives favorite “colored lady” (her own insistent self-appellation) – she was famous for giving out packets of flower seeds for shiftless Negroes to plant in their untidy gardens as if the Negro race could be so uplifted and bettered if only white folk realized they could grow a pretty garden. Community beautification! And she gave out LOTS of packets of flower seeds. Sweet but fruitless and fruity and harmless and ineffective

    I was part of the Operation Breadbasket activists – that crowd … Rev. A.J. Brown trained me in Naptown politics.

  • Joe

    Wilson, you still haven’t answered the question of why Center Township should be the only township to maintain a township trustee’s office while all the other townships lose theirs.

    Consolidation should be equal for all nine townships … unless you’ve got some great reason you haven’t mentioned yet.

  • Anonymous

    Wilson is a perfect example of socialist partisanship at its worst. Any excuse will do for Wilson and his masters, the Ghetto Mafia.

  • Wilson46201

    The pitiful anonymous nobody at 6:51am is reduced to ad hominem attacks and wild sloganeering instead of facts and informed opinion …

  • Anonymous

    The pitiful Democrat slave Wilson Allen hasn’t answered Joe @ 6:21 AM’s question either.

    Oh wait he doesn’t have an answer. His masters haven’t given him one yet.

  • Wilson46201

    Todd Rokita, you can use your real name here – I’m sure you are really the snarky anonymous nobody at 12:58pm – you certainly use the Rokita vocabulary!

  • Anonymous

    Typical Wilson, rather than ANSWER the question, he tries to change the subject and call people names. Such a small little man, with a small little mind. Pitiful.

  • SOS

    Ok, this discussion about consolidation is beyond ridiculous because no one even begins to talk about the bigger issues related to duplicative services, the excluded and included cities and towns in Marion County. The residents of excluded cities elect two mayors and have multiple council representation! And, of course, big budgets and hundreds of employees. Until the consolidation talk includes the dissolution of these excluded cities and the included towns, with their councils, etc., Indianapolis will never be a real city. So, let’s talk about eliminating township government offices and all of the excluded and included towns if we are really serious about becoming one city, moving in the same direction.