Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

September 29, 2013

Sept. 29, 2013: Letters to the editor

Kokomo Tribune

---- — There’s a place called Kokomo, somewhere

A recent Tribune article talked about the use of “Kokomo” in songs and movies. The Beach Boys’ 1988 song, “Kokomo,” was cited, but the song is about beaches and Kokomo is landlocked. So it was wondered what the song was talking about. Why put Kokomo in the Florida Keys? Would a rational mind do this?

The writers were quite an assortment of talent. Probably the main writer, John Phillips, was a principal member of the 1960s rock group The Mamas & the Papas, and with Michelle Phillips, his wife at the time (he was married four times) wrote many of that group’s songs.

His talent was undeniable, but he was a drug abuser who almost lost a leg to infection, and his abuse brought him to a point where he had difficulty finding a fresh place anywhere on his body where he could inject himself. Also an abuser of alcohol, he had a liver transplant, shortly after which he was seen drinking in a bar. When asked about it, he replied he was just breaking in his new liver!

Scott McKenzie helped on the song. He was the singer of “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” which John Phillips wrote about the 1967 “summer of love.” Phillips helped McKenzie get his stage name. It came from Phillips’ daughter, Laura Mackenzie Phillips, who later accused her father of having an incestuous relationship with her. When she became pregnant, it wasn’t clear by whom, Phillips paid for her to have an abortion.

Terry Melcher, another co-writer, was the son of Doris Day and a music producer who saw some promise, at least for a while, in the music of ... Charles Manson, who became known for things other than his music.

And Beach Boy Mike Love contributed some to the lyrics — when he wasn’t teaching about transcendental meditation he learned from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

So John Phillips was in a bar on a small island in the Florida Keys called Islamorada, looking for a Shangri-La, where he could find some peace and life without the warts. Who can know what was in possession of his mind, seeking a place he could only realize in his imagination.

It was a place he desperately needed, but could never find because for him it did not exist. So he pulled from his mind “Kokomo,” which had nothing to do with where he was, and laughing (or crying) at himself, he called the mythical dream-place he wanted to go to by that name.

Poor John. He wrote his autobiography and God was not mentioned in it. And he lived a terrible life, a prime example of what happens when God is left out. For John Phillips there could be no place called Kokomo until his own personal demons were vanquished. He could not find his Shangri-La anywhere, taking those demons with him, under such circumstances it could never be found.

And he sought no help from God, who could have turned it all around for him. He left his song behind that says, yes, there is a place called Kokomo — there just has to be, somewhere.

Jeff Hatton


Just another weekin Tipton politics

I just recently learned about an “amendment to the agreement for use of roads and drainage” between the Wildcat Wind Farm I LLC and Tipton County that was dated Aug. 29, 2011. I did not find out about this agreement from our current county commissioners or attorney, although they were well aware of the agreement but decided it wasn’t worth mentioning to the public or the developers. It was brought up at the Sept. 19 county council meeting by a former commissioner.

From reading the agreement, Wildcat Wind Farm I LLC agreed to pay the county $1 per linear foot each year for the right-of-way areas actually placed into operation by the developer within 30 days after the completion date. By their own calculations, approximately $21,475 a year.

Low and behold, as of Sept. 19, no payment. Where is the accountability in this county? Was this simply forgotten about?

Come Monday morning, at the Sept. 23 commissioners’ meeting, it was brought to Andy Melka’s attention they were late on their payment.

Why does it take a former commissioner to remind current commissioners of an enforceable contract? And of course the check’s not in the mail. Andy Melka never said how much money they would send the county, although Andy had the numbers and would supply them to the county engineer, but not the public at large, therefore leaving the public in the dark again. How convenient.

And what about the developer forgetting to pay? They were surely aware of the agreement. They signed it. Or maybe they were told to just forget about it. Is this a reputable company that the county really wants to do business with, one that “forgets” to pay its obligations?

Here we have the county commissioners asking the council for $15,000 to pay the county attorney for the balance of the year, and they forgot Wildcat Wind Farm LLC owes them $21,475? Then again, that’s why we have a county attorney, right?

Valerie Snow