Monday, August 28, 2006

Toll Road pact a mistake

by Nancy Dembowski

The failures associated with decisions made in the Indiana General Assembly affect each of us dramatically. We have learned this the hard way in the past two years, when the majority in the legislature, including my opponent, stopped listening to us. This was very evident in the passage of daylight-saving time, a plan that has caused confusion, frustration and disruption across the state.

Our Toll Road was sold as the only way that Indiana would be able to pay for 10 years worth of road construction. The meager $3 billion payoff we received does not match the $130 billion foreign investors will receive during the remaining 65 years of the lease. Our Toll Road, once promised to be free by Gov. Harold W. Handley, has now been pledged for 75 more years of tolling taxation. Further, investors may raise tolls by 6.2 percent each year of the plan.

This so-called lease will not see its end in most of our lifetimes, or for that matter, the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren who will inherit this mistake. Even worse, much of this funding from the terrible deal is promised to build I-69 from Indianapolis to Evansville as an additional toll road with increasing tolls. For this reason, not all projects in northern Indiana will be funded.

The elected leaders of Harris County, Texas, unanimously rejected a nearly $20 billion privatization bid of their own last June. What was their reasoning? County officials had implemented an independent study that demonstrated they would be able to match any profit the private firm generated. The Texans knew that there was nothing a private firm could do that they could not do just as well.

It is amazing how quickly certain Republican legislators, such as my opponent, were ready to endorse this plan. With little time for debate, they said we had to embrace bold action and move ahead with a sense of urgency. They were quick to adopt a risky scheme, and they have been short on compelling justifications for their behavior. To be sure, we have heard lots of excuses and numerous statistics that seem to fly fast and loose.

My opponent says there is no rational reason to accept the projected profit that the foreign investors told their own board they would make. He does indicate, however, that we should trust the governor's projected figures of the revenues generated by the lease because we can trust those numbers.

It should be noted that there were a few Republicans who stood their ground here in northern Indiana. State Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, who was the lone Republican dissenter in the Indiana House of Representatives, was joined by state Sens. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, Joseph Zakas, R-Granger, and Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, all of whom recognized that this was a bad move for our state. They chose to represent the sentiment of their constituents, something my opponent publicly discounted.

Now we are told that there will be benefits and improvements in our community such as those proposed on U.S. 30. However, U.S. 30 was not slated as a part of Major Moves. There is no money in place for this improvement and some folks believe that there may not even be enough money in the Major Moves proceeds to cover the cost of the projects that have been committed to date.

Leadership does need to be bold, but it must first be wise. To sell a state asset to foreign interests for a quick one-time payoff was not wise. To choose to ignore the views and opinions of your constituents, especially when they have demonstrated serious concern, is simply foolish.

There is no doubt that some House Republicans will make countless pledges in the coming months in anticipation of the November election. They have a record of saying and doing whatever it takes to win. In response, all I can say is: voter beware! In the meantime, state Rep. Steve Heim, R-Culver, would do well to remember that he was elected to represent the people of District 17 on matters before the state.

Nancy Dembowski is a former state senator who is the Democratic candidate for Indiana House District 17. She lives in Knox.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

When Republicans Were People

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."
- - General of the Army D.D. Eisenhower

From the address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower "The Chance for Peace" delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

What a great guy!
Another way of looking at it would go something like this.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chocola Manure

Three and 1/2 inches of rain, plus the addition of a soil amendment consisting of the latest mailings from Chris Chocola has produced this gigantic corn stalk over 15 feet tall.
Surely, some entrepreneur could sell Chocola Manure. I have a hunch that shredding this stuff might be the best way to go for a quick boost to plants, but keep in mind that it does rot pretty quickly.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Chocola Corn

My wife Elaine planted and cared for this corn which today measures 13 feet 3 inches tall. I’ve been trying to find out how she did it but she won’t tell me.
Today, she went out of town and I thought I would cook myself some beets, but having never done it before, started looking for a recipe when I came across the following stuck between pages of one of her cook books:

To Grow Chocola Corn:

  1. Plant corn seeds one inch deep and two feet apart.
  2. When plant is three feet tall, take all of the mail received from Congressman Chris Chocola telling us how great Medicare Part D is and cut into three inch squares.
  3. Gently bury these squares three inches deep encircling the plant, being careful not to let them touch the roots, and cover lightly.
  4. When plant is six feet tall, bury the Chocola mail that deals with how he is “saving the nation more than $100 million annually” at the same depth, but about 1 1/2 feet from the stalk, once again encircling the plant. Surplus mailings can be placed in the compost pile.

So there you have it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Chocola gets another "F"

If you will go to the AFL-CIO web site

Then, under "HOT FEATURES", click on "How Did Your Members of Congress Vote?"

Then, click on "2006 Interim House Voting Record"

I believe that you will discover that Chris Chocola had the worst voting record for workers than any other member of the U.S. House of Representatives. At least, that's how it appears to me.

He would have had a 100% record against labor, but he was absent for the vote on Mine Safety and so wasn't able to vote against it.

I may be all wrong about this but my eyes got blurry going over the W's and R's.

If you're a worker, or a retiree, you cannot afford to vote for this guy.