“IS IT TRUE” APRIL 23, 2019

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We hope that today’s “IS IT TRUE” will provoke honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we, as responsible citizens of this community, need to address in a rational and responsible way.

IS IT TRUE the next several days we will be reminiscing about the things that the City-County Observer wrote about over the years?  …we will start out with the first story that was exposed where Joe Wallace was approached by the City-County Observer Publisher to fess up to something that had happened at GAGE under his watch?…the “SNEGAL” (Sneaky But Legal) action we refer to as the contract between GAGE and former Director of the Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development Tom Barnett to supplement his income?

IS IT TRUE back in those days the City of Evansville was limited in what department heads could earn and the limit was not sufficient to attract Mr. Barnett away from Paducah, Kentucky a town that is smaller than Henderson?…Mr. Barnett actually had an offer in hand from a town of 2,000 people in Florida that was over 30% higher than what the maximum pay could be in Evansville? …former Mayor Weinzapfel hatched an idea to pay Mr. Barnett the maximum the City allowed and to supplement that with a $41,000 contract between GAGE and Barnett even though he wasn’t an employee of GAGE? …Weinzapfel himself signed the contractual agreement with Mr. Barnett as he was the Chairman of the GAGE Board of Directors at the time? …Mr. Wallace declined to sign the contract because Mr. Barnett wasn’t an employee of GAGE?…later on Joe Wallace indeed fessed up to what his Chairman had done and wrote an article for the CCO that became the first of many? …much to our surprise was that the area mainstream media picked up on this story?

IS IT TRUE another situation that arose with the old Executive Inn was covered by the CCO with Joe Wallace’s help and the article was called “The Executive Inn Dilemma”?…the dilemma came up when some people were considering using the old steel framework for a new downtown hotel?…it was discovered by a structural engineering team that the building’s frame was not strong enough to use double pane windows and was thus useless for anything but scrap metal?…about that time there was an earthquake in Haiti and our old friend John Kish–who was the project manager for the Ford Center arena project–justified tearing down the Executive Inn by pointing out the damages from the Haiti earthquake as Evansville’s fate if the Executive Inn was allowed to stand?…what was amazing was that our elected officials and members of the local mainstream media believed Mr. Kish’s earthquake analogy and thus the old Executive Inn was dismantled for scrap?

IS IT TRUE that we also reported the comical error about a multidirectional bridge to nowhere spanning MLK Blvd.? …that bridge eventually added $3 million to the cost of the Ford Center project?…many people were mystified about how anyone with good sense could have overlooked the need for a walk bridge between the Ford Center and Old National Events Plaza?  …at that point “Ready, Fire, Aim” was created by the CCO and later that phrase was used by Mayoral candidate Rick Davis in an attempt to remove the Democrat Cabal from power?

IS IT TRUE that the Vanderburgh Democrat Party has had a difficult time recovering from the debacles of the election of 2011 including Floatgate, TurnCoatGate, failing to pay the rent on the headquarters, and stiffing the Bauer Haus for a big chicken dinner for the party faithful?

IS IT TRUE that several years ago the Evansville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau was outed by the CCO for spending an excessive amount of our tax dollars on a Christmas Dinner at Biaggi’s where 5 bottles of Opus One wine were consumed along with many double shots of top-shelf liquor?…the CCO had the receipts from the party where well over several hundred dollars per person was squandered on a fun evening and published it?…the dinner receipt came to the CCO from a mainstream media source whose boss seemingly felt that this event wasn’t newsworthy?  …that our mainstream media source thought it was newsworthy and gift wrapped the story for the CCO to publish? …the mainstream media also printed this story that caused the total revamping of the management structure of the Evansville CVB?

IS IT TRUE we wish that our locally elected officials, business leaders of this region, patriots and Veterans groups would feel similar about the Veterans Memorial Coliseum as they do the LST?  …its time that the citizens of this community demand that the Veterans Memorial Coliseum receive the same media attention and financial support as the LST does? …its time that the community brings back the “Veterans Memorial Colosseum”  to its original grandeur?

IS IT TRUE that the Evansville city employees hospitalization fund has been insufficiently funded over several years? …the city’s hospitalization fund, from which city employee medical claims are paid, has had a negative balance of several millions of dollars over the last several years?  …we are now hearing that the city’s hospitalization fund will not be an issue in the proposed 2020 City budget? …all we can say is “very interesting?”

IS IT TRUE that the EPA has allowed the City of Evansville to pussyfoot around with the lead contamination issue in the Jacobsville area for over 20 years? …the real tragedy is that lead poisoning can be treated, but any damage caused by contaminated lead cannot be reversed? …we hope that before the City builds the new $28 million dollar Aqua Center at Garvin Park they will do extensive testing of possible lead contamination and toxic cleaning chemicals issues in the Garvin Park?

IS IT TRUE during the next several days there will be a few more of these posts about looking back on the accomplishments of this column as we decide what to do about the future of “IS IT TRUE”?…we would appreciate any feedback, encouragement, or recommendations that any of our readers will offer?

IS IT TRUE we encourage you to encourage your family members, friends, and business associates to read the City-County Observer?  …make sure you tell them that the CCO is complimentary and other online publications charge? …If you would like to advertise on the CCO please contact us at City-County Observer@live.com

Todays“Readers Poll” question is: Do you feel that Mayor Winnecke has earned a third term?

Please go to our link of our media partner Channel 44 News located in the upper right-hand corner of the City-County Observer so you can get the up-to-date news, weather, and sports.

We are pleased to provide obituaries from several area funeral homes at no costs.  Over the next several weeks we shall be adding additional obituaries from other local funeral homes.  Please scroll down the paper and you shall see a listing of them.

FOOTNOTE:  Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City-County Observer or our advertisers.



    • You should research the subject matter (as I do) which shows that none of the above complaints about agendas or meeting video have merit

      While I agree that the agenda should have been posted (based on historical actions) online, if you refer to the Indiana Open Door policy there is no requirement for certain governmental agencies to publish their items in advance or online via a website. Unless you have personally asked to inspect the meeting agenda or draft minutes, complaining about the lack on a website means zero

      The Indiana Public Access Counselor has stated that in a number of published advisory opinions to both citizens and governmental units. The Open Door Law does not consider web site publication (for agenda, notice, or minutes) as official notice. A municipality may not rely on internet notice alone to constitute appropriate notice (per Advisory Opinion 14-FC-198)

      In Advisory Opinion 15-FC-211 the Public Access Counselor notes (in regards to access to draft versus final minutes) “It has long been the opinion of public access counselors that draft minutes are disclosable public records: Applying these principles of statutory construction, it is clear that draft or proposed minutes of public meetings are merely summaries of information received, not deliberative material. While there is naturally a concern about accuracy in draft or proposed minutes, there is no provision in the APRA that would make such information nondisclosable. It is always important, however, that the recipient of the information is notified that the draft is subject to change and approval of the appropriate person or governing body. In this way, disclosure is possible, but the concern about someone relying upon the draft or proposed minutes is minimized. Accordingly, it is my opinion that a copy of the Bureau’s unapproved draft minutes is a disclosable public record under the APRA”

      Luke Britt, Public Access Counselor, recently published Advisory Opinion 19-FC-3 in regards to a formal complaint filed in Knox County about violations of the Indiana Open Door Law (ODL) stating: Under the Open Door Law, the governing body of a public agency must give public notice of the date, time, and place of any meetings, executive sessions, or of any rescheduled or reconvened meeting at least 48 hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before the meeting as follows:

      The governing body of a public agency shall give public notice by posting a copy of the notice at the principal office of the public agency holding the meeting or, if no such office exists, at the building where the meeting is to be held, per Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-5(b)(1)

      The notice provisions of the ODL do not require a public agency or governing body to publish notice of a public meeting or executive session in a newspaper. Granted, there are times where a public agency must provide notice of an event by publication, per Ind. Code § 5-3-1 thru 4. Examples of public agencies that are required to publish notice are an Area Plan Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals

      Under the ODL, if the governing body uses an agenda, the agenda must also be posted at the entrance to the meeting location before the meeting. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-4(a). The ODL does not, however, specify what agenda items are required. Even so, the statute specifically provides that “a rule, regulation, ordinance, or other final action adopted by reference to agenda item alone is void”

      This Office interprets Indiana Code section 5-14-1.5-4(a) to require those public agencies that regularly use an agenda to post one. In other words, if the Board, during the ordinary course of business, uses an agenda for its meetings, then the ODL requires the Board to post the agenda at the entrance of the meeting

      In a prior Advisory Opinion (14-FC-28) the Public Access Counselor advised: The legislature has crafted Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-4(a) to require only those agencies regularly utilizing agendas to post one. In fact, if the public agency did not regularly use one, then they would not have to post one at all. Public agencies who post agendas are extending a courtesy to interested parties as to what may or may not be discussed during the open meeting

      CCO Editors and Ron: I found the following of interest for you in Advisory Opinion 07-FC-110 by Public Access Counselor,Karen Davis: In addition, the governing body shall deliver notice to all news media which deliver by January 1 an annual written request for such notices for the next succeeding calendar year to the governing body of the public agency. IC 5-14-1.5-5(b). Notice of regular meetings need be given only once each year, except that an additional notice shall be given where the date, time, or place of a regular meeting or meetings is changed. This subsection does not apply to executive sessions. IC 5-14-1.5-5(c)

      Also to CCO Editors and Ron, a topic discussed before, which is the ability or “right” of the public to address a governmental agency at a public meeting, was addressed by Public Access Counselor Heather Neal in Advisory Opinion 08-FC-149 and 10-FC-240. She writes that Indiana law only requires that public meetings be open, it does not require that the public be given the opportunity to speak. I.C. § 5-14-1.5-3 states “All meetings of the governing bodies of public agencies must be open at all times for the purpose of permitting members of the public to observe and record them” and “Indiana law does require a governing body to allow public testimony in certain instances (e.g. a hearing on a proposed budget), but as a general rule the ODL does not guarantee the right to speak at a meeting.” She wrote “While I would strongly encourage all governing bodies to adopt some method to allow the public to comment at meetings of the governing body and ensure that the procedure proceeds in a civilized manner” she also opined that it was her opinion that a governmental agency does not violate the ODL by not allowing the public to speak

      Currently the Public Access Counselor has published approximately 20 years of Advisory Opinions online. You may search for subject matter at:


  1. The CCO has taken down a lot of really powerful people over the years. Even crying Dan Adams was throwing a fit on here yesterday and the CCO’s comeback was one for the ages. Any credibility he had went right out the window. I’ve not been a fan of the pro Jonathan Weaver, Jason Cullum, and Cheryl Musgrave articles over the years but then again maybe that’s the price for everything the CCO has accomplished over the years. Congrats Ron, Joe, and all those who have been working hard behind the scenes to make this city respectable again.

    • My comment yesterday was not a “fit”, rather it was a winsome observation of the passing of a torch….your take is tainted by the lens you see though. I never gauged my credibility as seen by others at all. I have to look in mirror every morning…a much more stolid act for me…Doc

  2. What was your point about demolishing the old Executive Inn? Who cares if the structural steel frame wasn’t sufficient to carry the weight of double pane windows? Who cares if the structural steel system wouldn’t survive the impact of a major earthquake? Everybody in the local Architectural/Engineering/Construction community was aware Bob Green built as inexpensively as possible. And the Executive Inn was originally a Ramada Inn aquired by Green and renovated and added on to the point of no return.
    Bottom line: It didn’t matter what reason was given for demolishing the Executive Inn (or the Green Convention Center across the street), they both were poorly constructed and in bad condition and needed to come down and be sold for scrap to accomodate any new construction in this area.

  3. LBO you hit the nail on the head. Dan Adams is a waste of time. I never understood why Rick Davis surrounded himself with him. He stood out like a sore thumb. He will say and do whatever to keep his name in good standing with the local power brokers. There is no place in his little world for good public policy organizations like the CCO. That med school has been one big flop. The GOP isn’t any different. Dan McGinn seems to be his twin. The council is better off with both leaving. As for the others I agree. Weaver and Musgrave are politicians plain and simple. I never had much use for Cullum. He Bolin and Wedding had egos I don’t like. Rector is another one that was talked about on here but I would agree the CCO has been a force for good.


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