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Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Normally when I go cover a city budget address, I don’t expect to walk into the middle of a controversy.

Here’s what happened.  I went to the Indy City-County Council meeting Monday night to cover the Mayor Greg Ballard’s budget address.  In the Council Chambers, several Democratic Councilors displayed signs saying “Hands Up…Don’t Shoot”  And it included a stick-like figure with his hands up.  This is obviously the Councilors trying to show “solidarity” with what’s going on Ferguson, MO.

I have several issues with this.

  1. We still don’t know all the facts with respect to what happened.
  2. This was done on the day of the 10th anniversary of the death of IMPD Officer Jake Laird.
  3. Numerous young black men have been gunned down in Indy this year by other black men and no one has displayed a sign for them.

Now with that said, I did send a text message to two of the Councilors (there were about six total) who displayed the signs to find out what they were thinking.  One declined, but Vop Osili of District 15, did get back with me.  Here was his response…

“The issue of white police officer-on-black-youth homicide has pervasive nationally for generations.  So many people, me included, feel increasing sensitivity about the ease with which kids (and I am aware many are far from being angels) can be singled out, gunned down and the person responsible walk away and resume life in a fairly short time.  There is no humor here and no disrespect to the memory of our slain officer, none whatsoever.  But there is a generational fear in so, so many families and decades of public nonchalance have hardened people to the plight.”

I fully understand that in some communities there is tension between the black community and law enforcement, and I will give Osili some props for getting back with me even though we disagree.

However, and you knew that was coming, I don’t think the Indianapolis City-County Council was the right place to do this sort of thing. I think it sends the wrong message and only causes more problems than it hopes to address because I think it can be interpreted as something against all law enforcement and not one individual who might have gone rogue.

What do you think?



  • Guest

    Flanner House Higher Learning Center

    – The Indianapolis Charter Schools Board today voted to revoke the
    Flanner House Higher Learning Center’s charter due to numerous problems
    the school has experienced over the past two years.

    Charter Schools Office first flagged these problems during the 2003-04
    school year, and detailed them in the 2004 Charter School Accountability
    Report of Mayor-Sponsored Charter Schools. Problems also were cited in a
    recent audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

    revocation was issued today and will become effective as soon as all
    students transition out of the school, but no later than December 23,
    2005. Reasons for the revocation were detailed in a notice sent to the
    school on September 27. They include:

    Failure to report enrollment. The school failed to accurately report
    average daily membership for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years in
    accordance with state law.

    Failure to report student attendance records. The school routinely
    failed to maintain and report accurate attendance records, in accordance
    with state law.

    Graduating students who haven’t met requirements. Student transcripts
    show that many students who received diplomas in the last two years did
    not meet the graduation requirements set out in the school’s charter or
    Indiana law, typically because they either did not have enough credits
    or had not passed the appropriate courses.

    Poor test scores. In both years of operation, most students failed to
    successfully complete the required standardized test (Northwest
    Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress) in the fall and
    spring. Some of those who successfully completed the test actually did
    worse on the spring test than they did on the fall test and lost ground
    against both state and national norms in grades and subjects tested in
    both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years.

    Lack of certified teachers. In the 2004-05 school year, the school
    employed only four licensed teachers at the school, which is less than
    the number of teachers the school’s charter requires and less than
    necessary to adequately staff the school.

    Failure to test students. The school failed to administer the ninth
    grade Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (“ISTEP+”)
    examination to any students enrolled in the ninth grade in 2004-05, as
    required by state law.

    Debt. The school has a debt of $142,076.44 and must forgo more than
    $600,000 in state money because the school could not account for the
    students listed in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 enrollment reports…