Rally Calls for Government Reform
(posted Mar 27)
|(top) "Greg and Jackie" drove 50 miles from home to attend.
(bottom) Speedway business owner Joyce Bishop.
Photos by Linda Karn
Several hundred people gathered at the State House on Wednesday to express
their grievances toward government abuse and practices that shove the average
taxpayer onto the sidelines with little or no input on how their government
is run. The Revolt at the Statehouse rally was designed to empower the
average taxpayer with an opportunity to protest and voice concerns.
Jo Ellen Dotlich of SPEED (Speedway People Encouraging Equal Development) was one of eight speakers
to state her obvious displeasure about the injustices of government by
explaining her family's plight with the Speedway Redevelopment Commission.
She emphatically told the public that "Speedway Industrial Park is
not for sale", and that the Speedway Redevelopment Commission could
threaten the industrial park's existence with the use of eminent domain.
She said the redevelopment plans not only affect the industrial park owners,
but impact on the livelihood of Susan and Jim Bob Luebbert, Joyce Bishop
and Wayne and Debra Wilcox. Dotlich pleaded for media help to combat the
injustices of the redevelopment. Bishop said this was the first time they
had been able to get their message out to the public and was appreciative
of the forum.
Greg and Jackie, who did not want to use their last name, took a day off
work to attend. Greg said Americans are "too passive" and would
rather complain about government than to stand up to it. Americans are
allowing the government to run over them because they prefer to "stay
home to watch Oprah and eat." He was disappointed that thousands were
not in attendance to stand up against government.
Activist Clarke Kahlo spoke about his experience with the lack of government
transparency at the State House. He recently learned that HB 1001 contains
language to build a new state archive building at the site where the citizens
group The Indiana Lincoln Battalion for the Public Trust wants a park built
on the canal.
He said $500,000 has been earmarked for the building's design work. He
was annoyed with some legislators who did not want to give him information
until after the session ended, preventing arguments against the bill.
Julia Vaughn of Common Cause raised the issue of lobbyists buying lunches
and gifts for legislators. She said those practices have nothing to do
with writing laws and should be stopped. "The lobbying and legislative
ethic laws in Indiana make fools out of all of us."
Vaughn claimed millions of dollars are spent on lavish dinners, lunches
and receptions for legislators each year. She said that legislators can't
deny that meals and gifts influences them because "it is human nature
to be nice to those who are nice to us." Vaughn emphasized that lobbyists
should be a source information.
She said reform has occurred at the executive branch, including a one year
period before a state employee can become a lobbyist, but legislators have
refused to adopt the same ethical practices.