Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nobody Listens To Me

COLUMN NOTES: This one is an update column on two items I previously wrote about.

I wrote about Jeffersonville's sex offender ordinance issue three other times over the last couple of years. You can read the other three columns to see how I followed the issue and why I titled this post as I did.

Click here for the first column I wrote when they first passed the ordinance.

Then when the Eric Dowdell situation continued, I wrote this column.

The city continued to fight this guy and back their ordinance which led to this next column.

And finally, I just couldn't help myself, but I had to write one more which is the update I included in this column posted today.

By the way, I don't know what it means but the Indiana Law Blog posted a link and said it was a "must-read column."

HARBESON: It’s update time on a couple of issues
Local Columnist

Jeffersonville’s sex offender in parks ban

The Jeffersonville City Council still doesn’t get it. They still pretend that a law banning known sex offenders from parks will protect your kids.

They have obviously not taken my advice and educated themselves about this issue because they still won’t admit that the park is not where kids get in trouble with sex offenders.

They also won’t admit they were completely wrong in how they handled the Eric Dowdell case. Dowdell is the dad who tried his best to follow their new ordinance so he could get an exemption to go watch his son play baseball.

I bet you don’t even remember all the steps this case went through, which is usually what happens in these situations because people simply get fatigued and quit paying attention.

But I’m still watching, so let me refresh your memory. It started in Jeffersonville City Court, and then moved to Clark County Circuit Court to Clark County Superior Court to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The city tried to take it to the Indiana Supreme Court, but this court declined to hear it, so in the end, the city lost. Now Jeffersonville is spending more time and money to rewrite the ordinance.

I tried to convince them to just leave Dowdell alone, but I failed. Sorry. And if you review the above list, you’ll note that this battle involved more than just city court, so everyone reading this helped pay for this. Sorry again.

Is this what people mean when they tell me we need a monopolized government-funded court system? To pay for a city to use the court system rather than admit their mistakes is one of those essential services we’re supposed to be thankful for?

What I’d really like to know is, when a city council and its lawyers go overboard and create extra costs and waste time in the court system, why aren’t they held accountable somehow? Could it be that one of the reasons we see such blatant misuse of the system is precisely because there are no specific accountability measures on the government side?

I guess the best we can do is to protect our children from ever getting near these people so they can’t corrupt them with their misguided ideas of right and wrong.

Tourism bureau
I received a call this past week from a gentleman who has been involved in local politics for a long time. He wanted to tell me about his experiences with the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau on a project he was working on to persuade a group to host a convention in Southern Indiana.

His story was quite interesting. He explained that he didn’t think he received much help at all from the bureau for his project. Instead he attributed his success in attracting the group to town to the assistance and work that came from staff and owners of several local businesses.

He couldn’t praise these private businesses enough for their work in helping to get this particular project done. His conclusion in all of this was that Executive Director Jim Keith needs to go.

I wasn’t sure I understood him correctly. So in order to get clarity, I asked him this, “So what you’re saying is that local private business organizations worked along with you much more effectively and did a much better job in helping to accomplish the goal of persuading your group to come to Southern Indiana for their convention?”

He did not hesitate for a second before he said, “Oh absolutely.”

I know how I interpret this, how about you?

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson’s failure to persuade government officials to think before acting has convinced her to try something easier first, like getting pigs to fly.

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