Goodwin brings fresh air to local politics

I must implore the citizens of our community to ...

Please stop the madness!

Every day brings reporting of city and county finances showing serious deficiencies. Budgeted items with overdrawn accounts or expenditures that have not been properly anticipated or the need for funds to fix some program or service all bring excuses that gloss over the situation. The result is always the same — our local governments are spending money they don’t have and little hope of getting without a tax or fee increase. The cart always seems to be before the horse.

How long should we tolerate the City Council accepting financial statements presented for audit that contain material errors which have to be corrected, inaccurate inventory of capital assets, funds with negative cash balances, payment of vendor claims containing penalties and interest for late payment, payment of bank fees for writing bad checks, and so on and so forth? Many other discrepancies and shortfalls have been discovered but never seem to generate any interest on the part of the overseers (City Council) to investigate the basis for the problems or examine options for dealing with the issues.

In recent years the same paid consultant has prepared these reports. Isn’t it time to engage a more competent person?

This is evidence of serious fiscal mismanagement. The prevailing attitude seems to be to “kick the can down the road” and let someone else deal with the consequences.

Many years ago, former Colorado Governor, Richard Lamm noted that “Christmas is when children ask for presents and the parents pay for them. Deficits are when parents ask the government for presents and their children pay for them.”

This is exactly what is happening. Cities, states and the federal government are all outspending their income. When will Terre Haute reach the tipping point?

Bond ratings are reflective of these conditions and Terre Haute is no exception. Poor bond ratings mean the bondholders have more risk, thus the cost of borrowing will be increased. That increase is additional cost to the city.

The saga of the Vigo County jail continues to occupy the public’s attention. This political football has been kicked around for years. The Vigo County commissioners’ failure to shine the light of day on the decision-making process and their proclivity to proceed with the easiest route has resulted in delay after delay. Building on the current government complex has consistently proven to be effective and efficient. Third-party consultants and input from successful projects in comparable communities have been ignored. Building on the existing site will require more planning and execution, but isn’t that the job of the commissioners?

I urge the City Council to decline to approve rezoning of the golf course property for use as a county jail so we can get on with what’s best for our community, not what’s easiest.

All of these issues demand better leadership and I urge everybody to consider Pat Goodwin for Mayor of Terre Haute. Pat’s record of success as an engineering consultant, Terre Haute City Engineer, Chief Operating Officer for Sisters of Providence, and thriving entrepreneur provide proof of ability to understand the issues and the importance of fiscal sanity. His website, Goodwinforterrehaute.com, contains financial records for the city, parks, public safety, sanitary district and many others including audits.

In addition, he offers a platform of target accomplishments and priorities. These are blueprints for measurement and evaluation of all officeholders. He emphasizes financial stability, transparency and efficiency. You will also find videos of his public presentations on various aspects of community and government.

In short, he is being transparent about who he is, what he stands for and his goals and objectives for the city.

My family has been a part of Terre Haute for nearly 140 years and we’ve lived through the good, the bad and the ugly and it’s time for a serious nonpartisan candidate to take charge.

Pat Goodwin comes along with all the credentials to lead Terre Haute.

It’s time to let fresh air breathe life into our community.

— Ted Hazledine, Terre Haute

Problems on that southern border

In the past three years, there’s been a dramatic increase in people, mostly families, pushing against our southern border seeking asylum. What follows are some of their voices:

“I fear for my teenage daughters. Sex education is not taught in our schools. Methods of contraception are not easily available. The women’s health clinic, one hour away, has closed. The nearest one, three hours away, is threatened with closure. What’s a mother to do?”

“I’m a tiny minority in my country — Muslim. Here many people believe all terrorists are Muslim. Therefore, all Muslims are terrorists. As convoluted as the logic is, we’re all treated as suspect — in malls, streets, airports. Are we welcome here?”

“After 15 years, I lost my job. It went over the ocean. I feed my kids with food stamps. Now my government requires me to work 20 hours a week or lose my food stamps. I can’t afford child care. How do I feed my kids?”

“Many police in my country are lawless. We are shot front or back, hands up or reaching a cell phone. Many of my brothers die this way. Zero punishment for the murdering cops. I can’t live in constant fear.”

“I’m a businessman who lost his business. My president imposed tariffs on the country most of my merchandise comes from. I pay the tariff, but have to raise prices. Nobody buys my stuff anymore. I’m broke.”

“I joined the military to serve my country. Did three tours overseas. Now my country wants to deport me. That’s the thanks I get? I need a new country.”

“In the LGBTQ community, I’m T — transgender. Unlike many in my community, businesses, landlords and employers are free to discriminate against my kind. We’re mocked, spit on, assaulted. Does this happen in your country?”

“Taxes are outrageously high in my country. I’ve had to practice austerity — downsizing my yacht and private jet and selling my villa in Switzerland. The more I make, the more they take. Help me!”

“My dad said freedom of the press is limited to those who own the presses. In my country, a foreign power controls our major news network. Rupert Murdock, an Australian, controls our president’s news propaganda outlet. We are told only what he wants us to hear. Our other media is corporate — news filtered and redacted to shine no unfavorable light into their dark corners. We are uninformed and misinformed. Our democracy is on life support.”

“I’m a carpenter. Our union was busted. We don’t have collective bargaining. My wages are what they were 10 years ago. I have twin high school graduates looking forward to college. I don’t want to burden them with huge debt, but I can’t help them. Is college more affordable here?”

“I fear for my life and my family’s. Gangs run rampant here. A white supremacist entered a church and killed people praying. Another drove his car into peaceful demonstrators, killing a woman. My government doesn’t just look away — it encourages these racists, anti-Semitics, bigots. I want out.”

“Prescription drugs are way too expensive in my country — especially Viagra and Bosley. To pay for them, I’ve had to cut back on my drinking and gambling. Any help here?”

“My country had a constitution with three branches and checks and balances. But our leader claims dictatorial power with disdain for the people’s branch, the legislature. The courts are in his pocket. Our choice is to accept the death of our democracy or leave. That’s why I’m here.”

“Everything in my country has been privatized. It’s capitalism, neoliberalism run amok. Unbelievably, health care and education are not treated as a public good but as a private commodity. The prisons, military, courts, water, roads, national parks, libraries — all privatized. Not available to us of modest means. Oxygen is still free to all, but they’re working on that. It’s gotta’ be better here.”

“My country is so divided, we can’t speak to each other — like the Tower of Babel. As Bob Dylan said, ‘10,000 talkers and nobody listening.’ We’ll never make our lives better. I want a new start, where people listen to each other.”

We Canadians tried to negotiate with our southern neighbor to slow this “invasion,” with little results. But many here welcome them, not fearing they’ll take their jobs or burden our humane social services. Our hope is that their 2020 election will bring regime change, to lessen the push on our southern border.

— Michael Bennett, Vermilion, Ill.

Constitution a good read

The word “antidisestablishmentarianism” is defined as opposition to the withdrawal of government support or recognition from an established church, especially in reference to the Church of England as the official government-supported church of that nation.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads (in part) that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The oft-mentioned phrase “separation of church and state” is not stated anywhere in our nation’s Constitution. Perhaps all of us need to take time to read our 232-year-old Constitution in full. It was approved by The Founding Fathers in 1787. By the way, it’s a good read.

— William Greenwell, Terre Haute

Employers: Pay a living wage

In RE: the Tribune-Star article about the poverty cycle and the ALICE program, and I quote:

“The ALICE report for Vigo County looked at 2016 statistics, which show 29 percent of local households earn less than the basic cost of living for this area. That means a family of two adults and two school-age children needs a combined hourly wage of about $24 and an annual income of about $48,800 just to survive in Vigo County — based on the cost of housing, child care, food, transportation, healthcare and other expenses. The ALICE report shows a stable household budget for two adults and two school-age children in Vigo County has an annual income of about $85,000 and a combined hourly wage of $42.”

This is an appeal to all local employers who are concerned about the cycle of poverty in Vigo County: The above clearly documents the need to pay your staff a living wage. No one in Vigo County will escape poverty, even working two jobs, because minimum wage has not increased in nine  years. Do right by your employees and raise their compensation to $15 per hour. Not only will they be better off, but you will be, too, because they will appreciate YOU.

— Deb Sitarski

Retired, National

Association

of Social Workers

Terre Haute

A nation falling from grace

Dear family, friends and country folk: I have read much in the paper as of late about the political scene and I find it fascinating and disparaging at the same time. At a time of great hope now I see us, this great nation, the one of great people falling from grace not only in the eye’s of the world but disgrace in so many ways. 

Instead of making progress, instead of making way for the new, we have grasped the old. When we have citizens who have been here since childhood I ask my fellow citizens why we cannot grasp the hand of these citizens. All you have to do is give up greed, your need to hate.

— Lisa Cox

Brazil

III

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