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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Has Mitch morphed from being an Indiana governor to an Alaskan one?

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Just hours after the House approved the Health Care Reform law, Gov. Mitch Daniels stunned many by punishing working class Hoosiers because of the law’s passage.

Speaking in his office, Daniels railed against the new Health Care law saying it would “harm our (Indiana’s) economic prospects badly. Then Daniels astonished many by declaring that he was “suspending” applications for Indiana’s Healthy Indiana (Insurance) Plan, a program created by Daniels and the legislature to provide insurance for uninsured low-income and working-class Hoosiers. The HIP program helped Hoosier families earning anywhere from $21,000 to $51,000 yearly.

The health reform law would absorb Hoosiers on the HIP plan into Medicare – in 2014. Until then, the HIP program would remain as is, funded by that increase in cigarette taxes approved a couple of years ago.

Daniels continued to rail against health care reform, attacking it in a speech to the Economic Club saying the law would leave a “crushing debt” to future generations.

Equally disturbing is the sudden turn to the dark side of our heretofore reasonable Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

Instead of concentrating on consumer protection, keeping politicians from “robocalling” and adding to the no-call list, Zoeller sided with attorneys general from 14 other states, including some of the country’s most bigoted and hateful ones, to get health care reform ruled illegal.

Even though the federal government runs Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Administration hospitals, Zoeller has drunken the Kool Aid and joined Gov. Daniels in taking complete leave of his common sense!

With every state dollar tight, our AG wasting cash on this exercise is spiteful, hateful politics.

Meanwhile, our “not running for governor again” governor seems not to be contemplating retirement in 2013; instead looking at a new office to hold.

Take his attitude towards one of the worst laws the legislature passed this year. Under pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA) in a critical election year, the legislature overwhelmingly OK’d a law allowing Hoosiers to bring their guns to work. As long as they’re locked in their cars in their employer’s parking lot.

Indiana businesses vehemently opposed the new law. And in Indiana, whatever business wants, business usually gets, right? Not this time. The legislature, worried about opponents using an anti-NRA vote against them, voted for the worst law since Voter ID.

Daniels, who usually follows common sense, went against the overwhelming opposition of Indiana businesses and approved the law.

So, companies which have strong policies banning weapons from their property now have a state law allowing those weapons on their property, albeit the parking lots.

Daniels, who stood with business against efforts to deny businesses from providing benefit rights to domestic partners, now stands against business to placate the NRA. Why?

Our governor increasingly is making all the noises and posturing of someone seriously looking at running for president of the United States.

‘ Our usually pragmatic governor is tracking hard right to be palatable in a fractured GOP primary season.

Gee, I didn’t know our business-oriented, pork tenderloin loving, motorcycle riding Governor liked tea!

What I’m Hearing

in the Streets

Over half of Indianapolis and nearly 60 percent of the state have returned their 2010 Census forms. Despite the 2010 Census spending virtually none of their $150 million in advertising with minority media (or media of any kind) in Indiana and Indianapolis, our Black community and neighborhoods are responding to the Census at roughly the same great clip we did 10 years ago.

If you’ve already answered the 2010 Census, thanks.

If you didn’t get a census form, you can get one at Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches, most local libraries, many multi-service centers and even several barber and beauty shops.

Will the state of Indiana’s Department of Education take control of most of Indianapolis Public Schools’ high schools and middle schools? That’s the impression the Indianapolis Star left Sunday.

IPS Superintendent Eugene White and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett allowed Star columnist Matt Tully to sit in on a meeting White and Bennett had with IPS staffers about a possible state takeover.

The takeover would occur because several IPS middle and high schools have failed to meet Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act. Years of failing to improve all but mandates a state takeover of those schools.

So, why are the IPS School Board and Supt. White not preparing the IPS community for this upcoming draconian action?

And what guarantees are there that control of these schools by Bennett, and his adherence to the Mitch Daniels’ school of education reform, would be better for IPS students and for our community? Speaking of IPS, officials were boneheadly wrong to evict a TV documentary crew during a recent public meeting on IPS’ budget crisis. A conservative education reform group came to the meeting, ostensibly to interview Ann Wilkins, head of the Indianapolis Education Association.

The crew signed in and began taping in the public meeting. But eventually were evicted by IPS brass.

IPS should understand that public meetings are public meetings. And unless state law specifically prohibits taping or filming at public meetings by non-media or ordinary folks (which the law doesn’t prohibit), then IPS was wrong and should publicly apologize (Even if they disagree with the politics and philosophy of the filming group).

Its bone headed stunts like this, along with the IPS administration’s bullheaded refusal to consider temporary salary reductions in the midst of their budget crisis, that’s causing longtime IPS supporters to seriously begin to rethink their support of the district!

Derrick Wilkerson, the Emmy-award winning stalwart member of the WXIN Fox 59 newsteam, retired from the station last week to return to school.

Wilkerson, a twenty-five year veteran of TV news, had been with the station over 17 years. He was the senior African-American on Fox 59’s news team; the second journalist hired after Anchor Bob Donaldson in 1992.

A respected, quality journalist, dedicated family man and community servant, Derrick will be deeply missed on the air. I wish him the best as he continues his discovery of education and life.

See ‘ya next week!

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