Harris on the Record

What impacts you and the media doesn't cover. – Art Harris

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

What Did the New York Time Confess?

Not wanting to add to the media  mania about the East Coast school murders but consider this:

The New York Times in its’ Saturday December 15 editions plublished a chart of “Mass Shootings in the U.S.”

It detailed 10 other such travesties that began in 1949: a shooting in Camden, N.J.

The next one was in 1966 with the shooting by Charles Whitman, who shot 14 people from the tower at the University of Texas in Austin.

So, from 1949 until 1966 there had been no such recorded, according ”the the gray lady” of any such shootings until 1966.

So, good folks what happened between 1949 and 1966 that the landscape missed.

The answer is TELEVISION.

Think on it.

It began with shows depicting  a breakdown of family values, a disrespect for authority, a gun cult, and on and on.

And, with that came HOLLYWOOD with the bloody assaults against authority – ” Dog Day Afternoon,” etc.

And, when anyone raised a question about the violence on television and movies, freedom of expression/speech was the cry from the liberals from West and East coasts.

There had been plenty of nasty weapons over these years, but nothing of this magnitude had occurred.

But, then came televison,

Watch television today, it is sick.

And, then we anguish of why someone would kill his mother.

I’m not a sociologist but watch what we expose our children to: does it have a difference?

My prayers are with the parents of victims who had no choice.

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Anyone for a New Town Hall?

Town Council members Candace Ulmer and Susana Suarez  are promoting a new town hall for Zionsville.

And, guess where they think it should be located?

None other than the Dow property.

Efforts to discuss this further with Suarez and Ulmer have been unsuccessful. Neither has responded to e-mails to gain an insight into their thinking for such a venture.

But, according to highly-placed sources, the councilors don’t think it’s appropriate to have a town hall in a building that was once a church.

Please allow me some second guessing on the machinations behind this.

What better way than to give credence to the environmental concerns about the site, and to give the public the confidence there are no one-eyed toads there, but to locate the town’s municipal building there?

Hey, if it’s safe enough for the councilors, it’s okay for all you good folks to come to the new building in a dead zone.

But, first some history of how town government moved to the current building at 1100 West Oak Street.

True, the building was the former site of the Zionsville United Methodist Church, which the town purchased in 2002/2003 for $2.5 million. And, it needed some maintenance as it had been vacant for a few years.

If anyone remembers, the former site of Zionsville government was in the building at the southwest corner of 4th and Oak streets, which had also been the location of a church. History repeating itself? It was sold for approximately $400,000, and is  now the home of an insurance agency.

There was considerable debate over the move west down Oak Street, and yours truly was one of those who questioned it in stories I wrote as a reporter for The Indianapolis Star.

But, in hindsight, over the past 10 years the building at 1100 West Oak Street has more than accommodated town government and civic organizations, but it hasn’t come without costs.

The old roof was replaced over the past two years, a new boiler for the heating plant was installed last year, 8 or 10 new furnaces are now functioning, along with air-conditioning condensors, all of the money coming from proceeds of the sale of the former town hall.

Town manager Ed Mitro did not respond to e-mails to discuss these expenses, and any future costs. 

If Suarez and Ulmer have a problem with the current location, why not promote a new facility on adjacent ground, rather than moving  to a location outside of town that would create more traffic through Zionsville?

The town currently owns two acres north of the present building, which includes two large parking lots, and north of those a vacant grassy area.

But, my vote is for Town Hall to stay put and spare taxpayers the expense of another town hall.

Why take valuable commercial property at Dow for an entity such as town government which pays no taxes?

A New Bowser in Blue

Zionsville’s boys in blue are about to take on another four-footed sleuth.

A K-9 unit – a dog and handler (read officer) in case the police nomenclature escapes you.

These additions to police departments are supposed to sniff out evildoers hiding in all sorts of cover, point the way to possible hidden drugs, track down fleeing culprits, and occasionally might get a taste of the felon’s flesh.

As the story goes, Zionsville’s last Rin Tin Tin couldn’t find the Marsh meat counter.

But now, Chief Rob Knox has lobbied for another doggie detective for his department, and folks are lining up to financially support it.

Hey, who doesn’t like dogs? Great P.R. for the department, fantastic at controlling unruly protestors at Town Council meetings, can leap small buildings in a single bound, well, you know.

Perhaps Knox feels that time has erased the memory of the prior experiment, but for the uninformed here’s a little deja vu all over again as Yogi would say.

Several years ago, the department ”retired” its’ canine after a rather colorful run.

From what I was informed by an usually reliable member of the department at the time, what could be termed excessive expenses came to be associated with the dog, whose handler charged the department overtime when he took the pup out for bladder relief. It was labeled in the claims presented to the town as ”continued training” and that pup had massive kidney problems.

But, the best chapter was the dog house, that could easier fit in one of Joseph Wambaugh’s books about the Los Angeles police department.

The canine’s partner moved into a rather upscale housing section with all sorts of covenants – you know the kind – can’t leave garage doors open, no outside boat storage, swimming pool covers, etc.

One of the covenants where the pooch and his partner moved required that any exterior structure have matching building materials as the main house, such as roofing, siding, windows, no outside air-conditioning units,  lights and so on.

Would you believe that when the bills came in, the total for the custom-built doggie Taj Mahal was $5,000, and the ZPD paid off.

So, the lesson from all this isn’t the initial cost of the canine, but the schooling for the dog and the handler, food and veterinarian bills, liability insurance, and don’t forget the ”continued training.”

Let’s hope the new Bowser can find the Marsh meat counter.

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