To the Editor:

Regarding the question that was asked at State Representative Hinkle's
Dec. 11th Town Hall Meeting at Speedway Town Hall which was reported in
the Speedway Navigator's online version, I raised the issue of the
closing of Grande Avenue with him as a follow up to previous
conversations he and I have had about the issue. However, the times we
spoke we were both "on the run" as is our usual practice and there was
no time to speak about it in any depth so I took advantage of the
opportunity Representative Hinkle provides---which he clearly states he
will not engage in a debate about or justify anything, but it is an open
forum for us, his constituents--to further explore the situation and
gather his thoughts, if not his final position about the matter. That
others, unsolicited, chimed in proved that the matter was one of
consequence and concern beyond myself and those I speak for.
I was not asking him to intervene, make a call, or other actions by him
but only to bring the subject up before what seemed to be a fairly
receptive group of interested, involved citizens. I was not asking "the
state" to do anything. It has done enough according to reports about the
complicated process to create a new redevelopment commission, approve
bonds, etc. that the citizens of Speedway will have years to sort out.
I, on the other hand, have a responsibility to represent the community I
am also elected to serve, just as does Rep. Hinkle and other community
leaders. I do so with all my abilities and insight gained over many
years of advocacy and activism across the region, even touching
(originating, in fact) on complex state matters that required diligent
watchdog observation and correction at times when the actions of the
appointed were not representing the wishes and will of the People.
In this instance I was doing so in bringing the concerns of the greater
westside to the town hall process so that others would know that there
are others who may not have been privy to the earlier information that
is contained within the SRC's documents, some of which cannot be
accessed through the online website, necessitating requests for hard
copies of many forms of data that went into the decisions now being made.

Is it a "state matter?" As Rep. Hinkle responded, it is if it uses the
state (especially state designated funds) to plead security--which has
not been confirmed by anyone yet--as a good enough reason to permanently
disrupt lives, livelihoods and more through disconnecting more people
from where they need to go when they need to get there. Despite the
seemingly fervent desire to be, Speedway is not an isolated entity that
is only affected by the outside world, but is also a part of the whole
that affects others who must deal with the people and attitudes of the
Town. Rep. Hinkle has a long history as a public servant, not just for
the state office he now holds, but decades serving all of Wayne township
and a council district as well as Speedway. He has never failed to be
accountable to his neighbors whether they can vote directly for him or
not. I value that in a public servant and appreciate that he, full well
knowing what I was likely to ask, called on me first. He also knows that
he can never anticipate what I may say and that it may not be something
he--or all others--agree with. But he allows discourse, because that is
the American way.

Our neighborhood association, as much as anyone believes that public
safety is a very important thing to be concerned with, evidenced by our
hosting of a Wayne township-wide public forum by the Marion County
Emergency Management director, John Ball in June of this year. He is,
more or less, "on loan" from the State to guide and secure the safety of
all Marion County citizens, even if they live in Speedway. I, as
chairperson of the countywide (McANA) Neighborhoods and the Environment
(NATE) Committee, pledged to continue to advocate for a proper,
effective community alert system to warn about disasters beyond the
tornado alerts --such as airborn threats--that people are now so
complacent about and will be working with John Ball in the future. How
many of the question raisers are as involved as actively as we are and
making sure that everyone who may be affected is made to feel welcome to
attend any of our forums hosted quarterly at the township government center.
These issues, as well as many "non-Speedway" matters are COMMUNITY
matters just as much as state or municipality-only issues and those who
have been recognized as being among the best community-minded
organizations in the US, let alone the county, should agree and
champion, not challenge the practice of using any and all opportunities
for the expression of free speech and right of assembly to do so.
Questioning the rights of others to raise an issue brings unpleasant
thoughts to mind that I believed we were past in this day and age. As
the old adage goes, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend
your right to say it to the death.

Merri Anderson
Your South of 10th Street--in Garden City; a fine, historic, proud
community established in the 1830s, still boasting 1880s agricultural
operations, one of which was the Grande farm-neighbor and a direct link
to the retailers, offices, warehouses, and businesses to our west.

"If the People will lead, the Leaders will follow"