Monday, August 23, 2010

Let the interpreters begin dissecting.

Thanks to Chuck Freiberger, Democratic candidate for the District 46 Indiana State Senate seat for responding to my question.

"I am in support of building and maintaining infrastructure, such as a bridge, to make it easier for Hoosiers to commute to and from work and other daily activities, however I do not agree with placing a toll on the bridge as it is currently presented. "

What do you think it means?

42 comments:

SBAvanti63 said...

What goes up must come down
spinning wheel got to go round
Talking about your troubles it's a crying sin
Ride a painted pony
Let the spinning wheel spin

You got no money, and you, you got no home
Spinning wheel all alone
Talking about your troubles and you, you never learn
Ride a painted pony
let the spinning wheel turn

Did you find a directing sign
on the straight and narrow highway?
Would you mind a reflecting sign
Just let it shine within your mind
And show you the colours that are real

Someone is waiting just for you
spinning wheel is spinning true
Drop all your troubles, by the river side
Catch a painted pony
On the spinning wheel ride

Someone is waiting just for you
spinning wheel is spinning true
Drop all your troubles, by the river side
Ride a painted pony
Let the spinning wheel fly

(With thanks to Blood, Sweat and Tears)

Kerberos said...

It means one less vote for Chuck, as it is apparent he does not get it.

bayernfan said...

Ron Grooms has already said that if it has to be done with tolls, so be it. He said he supports the bridges project as-is. At least that was his stance last spring.

The New Albanian said...

Perhaps we can induce Grooms to say this for attribution. These politicians who think they can use Facebook and then fail to check the site even once in a week annoy me. I might vote against them for that reason alone.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

These politicians who think they can use Facebook and then fail to check the site even once in a week annoy me.

Amen. It's like calling someone on the telephone and then not talking. It's absolutely not OK to open a two-way channel of communication for a campaign, business, cause, etc., and then say "I don't really pay attention to it." If that's the case, shut it down.

As for the "answer" above, it's getting more and more difficult to vote for anyone who I really don't want to hold an office, even if the other choice is no better or worse.

I'm with SBAvanti63. Spin just makes it worse.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

And I notice Frieberger's answer doesn't appear on his Facebook wall, where you asked the question.

dan chandler said...

Question: What should those who oppose tolls expect their legislator to do?

KRS 175B.030 appears to give the bridges authority full authority to implement every aspect of a financing plan. No further approval is necessarily required from the legislature. The authority is a creation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Mitch Daniels merely appointed half of the members by executive order to Kentucky's authority. If the tolling stations are all in the Commonwealth, I'm not sure what tools Indiana has to stop them.

If a legislator opposes tolls, do you expect the legislator to (i) rely on a bully pulpit, (ii) pursue backroom deals, or (iii) something else? If a voter's vote is motivated by an opposition to tolls, the voter might want to hear a candidate's strategy for achieving the goal and assess its odds of success.

I presume Indiana may issue some bonds to finance the Indiana portion of the project. Is this an area where the legislature would have a vote?

Whether you see tolls as a necessary evil, or just evil, I think it is reasonable have reasonable expectations of what a candidate can and cannot do. If you do expect a candidate to do something specific, then I think it is reasonable to ask the candidate to go on the record in support of something specific.

The New Albanian said...

Jeff, he answered on his personal page but not his campaign page. I asked both places.

Dan, I expect a response. Whether agree, disagree, or explainas you did. An answer.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

he answered on his personal page

Fair enough. That bit from me retracted, though his campaign should still respond rather than let a question linger for days.

The New Albanian said...

Although also in fairness, there seems to be little delineation between personal and campaign pages, neither of which is updated regularly. The point still holds.

Paging Ron Grooms and Ed Clere. Hello ... is this thing on?

Iamhoosier said...

I'll vote for Grooms before I will vote Frieberger if this kind of "answer" keeps coming.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

State Rep. Steve Stemler pushed for the formation of a special state level committee to oversee bridges financing in Indiana, meaning that locals will have a reduced voice in the matter as the people who ultimately make the decisions might not be accountable to local voters, just like the bi-state authority.

Another state rep could and should push for the committee to be disbanded, ensuring that all financing decisions be held to public scrutiny.

And certainly, the bully pulpit would be a great place to start.

http://newsandtribune.com/clarkcounty/x1048528003/Indiana-Kentucky-agree-commissions-will-oversee-bridges-project

Iamhoosier said...

Dan,
I expect them to take a stand. You don't think that your friend's "voice" is more powerfull than mine or yours? Frieberger's should be too. Is Stemler going to take my call? I bet he would take Ed's.

It's not just the tolls. It's the entire size and scope of this project that is making the size of possible tolls so hard to take. We need Indiana representatives(elected and appointed)to look out for all of us Hoosiers--not just the road and bridge builders.

Iamhoosier said...

After reading Jeff's comment, I need to clarify the Stemler that I referred to. Co-Chair, not the rep.

dan chandler said...

Mark,

I did not intend to take a position on who'd be a better representative.

I merely wanted to hear ideas of what a representative can do.

If bully pulpit is the only tool available, I think people should understand that. If there's another option, I think people should know what it is.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

My guess would be that state reps in Gary and other far flung locales would not be eager to spend millions or billions on a massive pork project that a Southern Indiana rep said her/his constituents didn't want anyway.

Thus far, our regional representation has generally been sending the message that ORBP is desperately needed and wanted by their constituencies, although they've provided no evidence to back up those assertions, unless you count the misconception that 1SI and the like represent the general public. Polls, studies, and other activites have shown otherwise since the 80s.

The question: Who are they representing with their advocacy?

dan chandler said...

I doubt a conference call with a Rep., President Obama and the Pope would change the Co-Chair's mind. Jeff's suggestion of attacking the Authority's existence would have greater (though no guarantied) chance of changing the project.

Has Shane (or any other candidate) indicated he will pursue this? Surely a message of giving control to locals would resonate with voters. It worked for the "taxation without representation" folks.

dan chandler said...

Or, if the Bi-State Bridges Authority's final plan says no tolls on the Sherman Minton but we're still building two bridges, will all of Shane's objectives have been met?

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Dan,

No.

dan chandler said...

I will view Democrats' opposition to tolls as a serious threat only if all of the Dem. Senate and House candidates from Clark and Floyd hammered the same message that the decision to implement tolls should be held by those who will pay the tolls.

Iamhoosier said...

Dan,
Wasn't asking you to say who would be better. Just stating that our "politicians" have the bully pulpit "power" and I'd like to see them use it. If Ed(or any candidate)thinks the current plan is okay--then say so. If Ed(or any candidate)thinks there are problems with the current plan then say so and use whatever influence they have to get it changed.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Thus far, Ed has been pretty vocal about implementing ORBP as planned, including support for it in his mailings, etc. There's been nothing, to my knowledge, to suggest he's changed his mind.

Iamhoosier said...

For the record, I've been against the downtown bridge from the beginning, way before tolls were even talked about. It's a gigantic waste of taxpayers dollars and, by most, I'm considered a tax & spend liberal. What the hell does that make those so called fiscal conservatives who are for this boondoggle?

dan chandler said...

Mark, I guess we agree at whom the bully in the pulpit should aim his rhetoric if he wishes to accomplish something. Not at the public; they have no say. Not at the various bridge authorities; they're independent. I presume you want them to aim, as Jeff suggests, at legislators from elsewhere in the state. Otherwise, it's just empty talk.

Iamhoosier said...

Dan,
What else can we do? Ed's man Mitch appointed the commission so the politicians could stand back and not take the blame. I'm not for letting the representatives/candidates off the hook so easily. I know it's an uphill battle.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

They should aim it at everyone.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Bridges proponents have worked to remove and obfuscate both the public voice and independent, objective information from the process. A politician who cares to actually represent the public could reinsert them, as the New Albany City Council recently did.

It's fairly easy for the bi-state authority and bridges coalition members (some of whom are the same people) to dismiss direct questions and objections from mere citizens as Dalby tried to do in his most recent essay.

It's more difficult to ignore those questions and objections if they come from an elected official in a very public way via the media, particularly when it's made clear that funding schemes and decisions should be based on objective, factual information rather than cherry-picked, hyperbolic propaganda.

Likewise, people at the state and federal level need to know how this situation has been (mis)handled locally and that many of the claims parroted to them are seriously biased and intellectually disingenuous at best and/or flat out lies at worst.

A state rep, senator, or local mayor could accomplish all those things in an official capacity with the weight of their office behind it.

The Bookseller said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bully_pulpit

dan chandler said...

Jeff,

The July 15, 2009 Evening News article you posted stated there's an Indiana committee "made up of Senate and House of Representatives transportation chairpersons, transportation and finance authority department heads and a fifth member appointed by the governor’s office."

I do not have any information about this committee. Do you have additional information about its creation and appointees?

Thanks

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Dan,

The fifth member appointed by Daniels was Kerry Stemler. The legislative members were all from up north (I remember one was from Ft. Wayne), and the transportation officials are just Daniels admin folk. There's no publicly accountable Southern Indiana representation at all.

I'll see if I can find the whole list again.

dan chandler said...

Jeff, I'm more interested in whether this commission was created through legislation or by Executive Order (I presume it was legislation). I'm also curious as to the scope of authority of this commission. Thanks

dan chandler said...

The KRS and By-Laws for the KY formed "Bi-State Bridges Authority" are online. I'd like to read the formation documents for the authority created by the State of Indiana.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Well, damn, man. You're the attorney. You tell me.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

HB 1226 (2009)

http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2009&session=1&request=getBill&doctype=HB&docno=1226

Jeff Gillenwater said...

This was added to state code per the budget maneuver HEA 1001(ss) during the 2009 special session. Look ma, no locals.

SECTION 267. IC 8-16-17 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE]:
Chapter 17. Ohio River Bridges Project Commission
Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, "commission" refers to the Ohio River bridges project commission established by section 3 of this chapter.
Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "project" refers to an Ohio River bridges project. Sec. 3. The Ohio River bridges project commission is established. Sec. 4. (a) The commission shall work with lawfully authorized representatives of the
HEA 1001(ss) — CC 2+
326
Commonwealth of Kentucky to prepare a proposed agreement between Indiana and Kentucky to govern the financing, construction, and maintenance of Ohio River bridges projects.
(b) The commission shall submit any proposed agreement prepared under this section to the governor for the governor's approval. If a proposed agreement is approved by the governor, the commission shall submit the proposed agreement to the general assembly for introduction in the first session of the general assembly beginning after the date of the governor's approval.
Sec. 5. The commission consists of five (5) voting members appointed as follows: (1) The chairperson of the house standing committee having primary responsibility for transportation matters, as determined by the speaker of the house, serving ex officio. (2) The chairperson of the senate standing committee having primary responsibility for transportation matters, as determined by the president pro tempore of the senate, serving ex officio. (3) The commissioner of the Indiana department of transportation serving ex officio or the commissioner's designee. A designee of the commissioner serves at the pleasure of the commissioner. (4) The chairman of the Indiana finance authority serving ex officio or the chairperson's designee. A designee of the chairperson serves at the pleasure of the chairperson. (5) An Indiana resident jointly appointed by the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the president pro tempore of the senate.
Sec. 6. The members of the commission shall elect one (1) member of the commission to be the commission's chairperson and other officers as the members may determine.
Sec. 7. (a) The commission may meet at any time during the calendar year. (b) The commission shall meet at the call of the chairperson. Sec. 8. The commission shall file an annual report with the legislative council in an electronic
format under IC 5-14-6 by November 1 of each year. Sec. 9. (a) Three (3) members of the commission constitute a quorum. (b) The affirmative votes of a majority of the voting members appointed to the commission
are required for the commission to take action on any measure, including final reports. Sec. 10. The department of transportation shall provide staff support for the commission. Sec. 11. (a) Subject to subsection (b), each member of the commission appointed under this
chapter is entitled to receive the same per diem, mileage, and travel allowances paid to members of the general assembly serving on legislative study committees established by the legislative council.
(b) This subsection applies to a member of the commission who is not a member of the general assembly. A member of the commission may not receive a per diem, mileage, or travel allowance under subsection (a) if the member also receives a per diem, mileage, or travel allowance from the authority or governmental entity that employs the member.
Sec. 12. This chapter expires December 31, 2019.

dan chandler said...

I'm sure Indiana bridge/toll opponents are glad to know that there is a tool their legislators can use in addition to the bully pulpit. The question is whether and how candidates for the legislature will use this tool once in office.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

We already know how the incumbents will or won't use it.

dan chandler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan chandler said...

http://www.courier-journal.com
/article/20100824/NEWS01/308240049
/Bridges+authority+may+listen+to+alternatives

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Yeah. That happened at and was reported from the last authority meeting. No one is really buying it yet, but we'll see.

From Gabe Ballard at WFPL:

It will be interesting to see, then, how the authority treats an item it added to its next meeting agenda. The authority has decided to discuss the 8664 plan and the multiple-phase bridges project in St. Louis. Stemler says he’s already reviewed those plans, and the authority is looking to “answer questions” by publicly discussing alternatives to the ORBP.

http://wfpltheedit.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/more-on-the-bridges-authority-meeting/

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Gabe Bullard. Sorry.

G Coyle said...

The way I read the commission set-up statue, The "Gov" still has all the power:

"The commission shall submit any proposed agreement prepared under this section to the governor for the governor's approval."

Only then can the legistators have a crack at their scheme(s). Totally puts Daniels in the middle and he's all about running for higher office in 2012. Daniels would seem to be very vulnerable thus to the outcome of the "Big F*$King Bridges Project" (BFBP) ...

You can use that as marketing assist if you want. The Big F@#kin' Bridges Project" is coming to eat your town just in time for Halloween...