Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 16, 2012

Public Eye: Dec. 16, 2012

By Scott Smith and Ken de la Bastide
Tribune staff writers

An offer the county can’t refuse

You could almost hear the strains of violin music and Marlon Brando proclaiming to make an offer you can’t refuse.

The offer came Monday from Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight to Howard County officials. The city would provide the county with provide parking for up to 80 county employees for three decades in the planned downtown parking garage.

Goodnight made the offer a week after the Howard County Commissioners pledged $500,000 over five years toward the construction of a new $15 million YMCA facility on the former Button Motors property at the northeast corner of Sycamore and Union streets.

The commissioners pledge came as a surprise to many because the Howard County Council in September voted not to provide any tax dollars for the YMCA project.

The county has to make a decision, probably by the end of the year, to either accept or reject the city’s offer. The commissioners have already signed a purchase agreement to purchase the former Family & Social Services Administration building at Main and Superior streets for up to $850,000.

Several council members indicated they were leaning in favor of the city’s offer and dedicating the $500,000 in Economic Development Income Tax revenues to the YMCA, if the commissioners decide not to purchase the building at Main and Superior streets.

The council is likely to approve one of the options or the other, but not both. A decision could come at a special council meeting tentatively planned for Friday.


Mourdock blames media for Senate loss

Republican Richard Mourdock appears to have suffered a short term memory loss in a campaign email sent by his U.S. Senate candidacy committee.

The email is asking Mourdock supporters to fork over a few more dollars so that he can pay a “few last minute” bills and retire the campaign debt, after his supporters pumped millions of dollars into Indiana in his unsuccessful race against Democrat Joe Donnelly.

Ashlee Walls, finance director for the campaign said Republicans all over the country were forced to accept defeat rather than celebrate victory.

“In our case, we found our campaign caught in the liberal media cross hairs,” Walls wrote. “Never has Indiana seen a more obvious example of media bias by reporters more interested in defeating conservatives than reporting the news.”

The campaign seems to forget that during the final Senate debate, Mourdock said that in the case of rape, he believed God intended it to happen. That comment sent the campaign from a toss-up to a convincing win by Donnelly.

Even GOP leaders conceded Mourdock’s comments during the debate was the reason he lost the election.

Ashlee would you like some cheese with that whine?


End of a term

During the Howard County Council meeting last Tuesday, county officials paid homage to retiring councilman Joe Pencek for his eight years of service.

Pencek decided not to seek election to a third term on the council in an at-large position.

Although the council was not scheduled to meet again until 2013, when Republican James Papacek will be in that seat, there is one more meeting scheduled for Friday.

Commissioner Paul Wyman said Pencek always called and asked what he could do to help when it came to county projects.

Treasurer Martha Lake said Pencek would visit her office on a weekly basis to ask about county funds and bring spring flowers from his garden.

“I have had a lot of conversations with you,” Council President Richard Miller said. “You were always willing to listen and had a lot of good ideas.

“I appreciate your efforts,” he said. “You stuck with your principles year in and year out.”