Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Updates on Three Items

HARBESON: These things come in threes

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — I have three items to discuss today. The first two are follow-ups to recent columns and the third item is about the Greater Clark County Schools hoping that lots of people in the area will take their eyes off the road while driving.

Linden Meadows

In response to last week’s column “The sad tale of Linden Meadows,” a reader who calls him or herself “M” sent in two replies to the newspaper’s comment section on their website. You can go to newsandtribune.com to read the full text of M’s comments, but there is one specific point I’d like to address here concerning the lawsuit over ownership of the land used for the project. M said, “The court’s 3-0 majority did not base its decision on anything having to do with eminent domain.”

After I saw M’s reply, I felt like I should read the opinion again. I didn’t want to though. I had already read the darn thing several times before writing the column. I was sick of reading it. But I grabbed a bucket and read it again anyway. I still stand by my contention that eminent domain played a part in the court’s decision.

But don’t take my word for it. Don’t take M’s word for it either. Read the opinion yourself at this link: http://tinyurl.com/linden-opinion

If you do, I would be very interested in hearing whether or not you think the court “did not base its decision on anything having to do with eminent domain,” as M claims.

Mayor Moore and Competition with Private Business

My column, “Fit to be tied,” about Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore introducing a new government funded program (Anchors A-Weigh) through his newly created Fitness Council sure caused some people to burn a lot of calories pounding on their computer keyboards.

Several commented on the newspaper’s website, but there was also a rather lengthy discussion on one of the local online community forums, ClarkCountyChatter.com. A few forum participants did not understand that the column was not specifically about Anchors A-Weigh. It was merely an example I used to discuss the actions of a local politician.

The reason I chose Anchor’s A-weigh was because Moore had publicly stated his concern about government competing with private business and then spent government money to fund a brand new program that does the exact opposite of the principle he claims to hold.

The direction is clear for any politician who truly does stand for the principle that government should not compete with private businesses: Do not spend government funds to create new programs that contain services already being offered by existing private businesses.

Greater Clark County Schools Billboard Advertisement

The final issue for today is about the Greater Clark County School board’s decision to spend $2,000 for a billboard promoting their government school system.

Lots of thoughts popped into my head after reading this, some I can even talk about in public. Here’s my first thought (and it came up when I saw New Albany-Floyd County’s billboard as well): “Are there really people out there, people capable of driving down the local interstates while reading billboards, who really might not know — until they see a large shiny advertisement — that these government-funded and government-operated school systems exist?”

Greater Clark’s board and school officials sounded like they were unsure whether this was a good move or not and this tentative attitude is certainly understandable. After all, they’ve held a monopoly on government funding for so long, I’m sure it’s a real chore to figure out what to do now that some rules of the education game in Indiana have changed to allow more schools to grab money that’s been coerced from taxpayers for education.

— Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson keeps a bucket handy because she never knows when she may have to read a government document. Write her at Debbie@debbieharbeson.com.

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