Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 2, 2013

Public eye - Sunday, March 3, 2013

By Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith
Tribune columnists

No applause

During the announcement Thursday of the Chrysler Groups $374 million investment and creation of 1,250 jobs in the region, Ken Lortz, regional director for the United Auto Workers Union, thanked President Barack Obama.

Lortz said to applause from the gathered UAW members that President Obama’s faith in the automobile industry helped Chrysler emerge from bankruptcy which was declared on April 30, 2009.

The remarks brought applause from Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, Tipton Mayor Don Havens and Tipton County Commissioner Mike Cline.

The only person on the dais not applauding the mention of President Obama was Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Following the formal ceremonies, Pence said his position as a member of the U.S. House was never to oppose anything.

“I was interested in giving companies a hand up and not a hand out,” he said. “Chrysler went through a bankruptcy. What we were recommending was that there were other ways to do it.”

Pence was referencing the controlled bankruptcy that Chrysler and General Motors went through in 2009 with the assistance of the federal government.

“Those were arguments that we had, solutions were arrived at,” he said.

A look back

During his annual “State of the City” address, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight took a look back to what the city was like in 1985, the last time the Highland Park baseball stadium was renovated.

“If you needed to go grocery shopping, you could head down to the Country Market,” he said. “On the way home, you could stop by Aladdin’s Castle for a quick game of Pac Man or drop in to T-Wat for all your shopping needs.

“If you were looking to eat out, you could go to Mr. Steak, or grab a Big Scott at Scotty’s Sandwich Junction, for the price of just 69 cents,” Goodnight said. “Of course, we were different back then, too. Some of us had a little more hair. And some of us had a lot more hair.”

Where have they been?

Since winning election to the U.S. House last November, the two representatives for Howard County have not been seen or heard from.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, and Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th District, have not made a visit to Kokomo or Howard County since taking office.

Rokita’s office does provide press releases to the local media about issues in the Washington, D.C. But none have been received from Brooks office, except for one from her campaign about a fund raiser in Hamilton County last month.

Resolving some Tipton issues

Just days after the Indiana Public Access Counselor was critical of Tipton County Auditor Gregg Townsend for not supplying meeting minutes for the county council and county commissioners, some of those missing minutes were approved.

The commissioners approved the minutes for the Nov. 5 and Nov. 19 meetings.

Commissioner Joe VanBibber asked Townsend to have the remainder of the missing minutes completed by the next meeting on March 11.

Echoing the sentiments of the members of the Tipton County Council, VanBibber said if it will cost some money to complete the meeting minutes that should be considered.

State of the city

Tipton Mayor Don Havens will be making his first “State of the City” address since taking office on Jan. 1, 2012 at 10 a.m. March 14 in the auditorium of the Tipton High School.