Letter to The Speedway Navigator 3-27-09

Thank you for recently reporting on the "Taxpayers Revolt" rally at the Statehouse on March 25th. From the speakers' presentations, it is increasingly clear that citizen groups such as SPEED are up against powerful political and commercial interests as they assert their rights to their property and futures against the predations of the Speedway Redevelopment Commission. SPEED's Jo Ellen Dotlich gave an inspiring speech. It was a message of citizens' pain and anger that our legislators need to hear more about.

Our recent experience in trying to obtain public records for our battle to preserve the proposed "Canal Park" site along the downtown canal has also been exasperating. The Indiana Commission on Public Records has been very resistant to giving us timely access to the requested public records. We needed the records for our presentation on March 26th to the Senate Appropriations Committee on HB 1001 (the House budget bill). Unfortunately and ironically, the very agency which should be religiously respecting citizens' rights to records has chosen to keep us in the dark for as long as possible. As former Indianapolis Star reporter Bill Theobald would often lament about citizen problems with agency official over access to public records, "They fight you with your own money".

Speaking of journalism, I was appalled by the malicious March 25th report of Channel 8's political reporter Jim Shella. Instead of reporting the major issues complained of by the participants and speakers at the taxpayers' rally, he chose to belittle and mock the event and its participants in myriad offensive ways. He repeated the disgusting smear on his WFYI-Channel 20 program Indiana Week in Review which first aired on March 27th.

We need term limits on entrenched, taxpayer-hostile journalists. Lacking any such limits, Mr. Shella should resign in shame for filing such a mean-spirited and purposefully misrepresentative story.

Clarke Kahlo
Canal Park Advocates
Indianapolis