Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 1, 2013

Nov. 1, 2013: Letters to the editor


Kokomo Tribune

---- — ‘End this dumb war on marijuana’

Downstate in Brazil, Ind., an anti-drug demonstration went wrong.

Seems that at the local courthouse, a mock drug search involving grade-school students and a police dog resulted in the dog biting the leg of a student. Marijuana was hidden in the clothes of a child, and the dog was supposed to pick out the correct student.

What is the point of this supposed lesson, other than to teach children to be obedient to the government when it comes to its obsession with drugs? We are teaching children it is fine for dogs to bite possible suspects, as long as the suspect might have some marijuana. This would be assault in any other case.

I have an idea. How about we don’t spend billions of dollars fighting a substance much safer than alcohol? How about we stop busting down people’s doors in the middle of the night with SWAT raids because of some unknown informant? How about we stop taking the property of someone not charged with an actual crime, under asset forfeiture?

Heck, why don’t we have medical marijuana in Indiana? I have supported marijuana reform groups like the Marijuana Policy Project in the past, and I will continue to do so until we end this dumb war on marijuana.

Jerome McCollom

Kokomo

Plan Commission member ineligible

In a letter to the editor recently, I expressed my disappointment in the actions of four of our County Plan Commission members and referred to their inexperience and one’s ineligibility. Many people asked me who the ineligible member was.

With Democratic Party chairman Linda Smeltzer’s letter to the Tipton Tribune editor on Monday, now everyone knows. What they don’t know is that Mr. Harry Diamond’s 2012 voting record was brought to the attention of at least one commissioner several months ago and nothing was done about it.

Could this be because a majority of the commissioners wanted Mr. Diamond on the Plan Commission no matter what, and chose to ignore his ineligibility?

In late April, a Democratic appointee to the Plan Commission resigned and the commissioners had to name someone to finish out that term. Of the five citizen members appointed to the Plan Commission, no more than three can be of the same political party. In April there were three Republicans and two Democrats, which is consistent with the law.

Mr. Diamond, who voted Republican in 2012, was taken off of the library board to fill the Democratic vacancy when there were legitimate Democrats willing to serve. In the April 2013 invoice from county attorney John Brooke, he references a conference call that he had with Commissioner Phil Heron and Plan Director Steve Edson about Mr. Diamond’s eligibility. Why wouldn’t Attorney Brooke caution Mr. Heron about appointing someone who was not eligible? Why didn’t Mr. Heron do his due diligence and check the voting record? Since the commissioners failed to pay attention to the law, there are now four Republican citizen members.

On Monday afternoon I personally contacted Brad King, who is the co-director of the Indiana Election Division. He immediately supplied me with Indiana Code 36-7-4 that outlines of the five citizen members, not more than three may be of the same political party; and Indiana Code 36-1-8-10 that states: “Whenever a law requires that the membership of a board not exceed a stated number of members from the same political party, at the time of an appointment, the most recent primary election in which the appointee voted is the party with which the appointee claims affiliation.” I would be glad to share this email with anyone who asks.

This is not just a Democratic Party rule, as Mrs. Smeltzer wrote. It is an Indiana Code and our commissioners ignored it.

Several citizens have watched with dismay at how the commissioners seem to do whatever they want without regard to rules or regulations. Many of us are starting to confront these officials by researching more details, and trying to bring those facts out in meetings. Some of that research for me was to review the 2012 commissioner meetings. I suggest if anyone doubts what I state here that you watch the videos yourself.

What a turnaround from where we were a year ago, when we had a commissioner who was doing everything she could to do things according to procedure. It is easy to see in the videos she was the one who paid attention to the details. The current commissioners can learn from watching those videos.

Our county is a complete mess and the majority of the voters are responsible for it. I suggest that each one of us make informed choices next time when choosing future leaders.

Nancy Carney

Sharpsville

We welcome “Letters to the Editor” on any topic of general interest. The Kokomo Tribune reserves the right to edit all letters for grammar, brevity, good taste and libel. Letters of 250 words or fewer are preferred. All letters must be signed with a full name, address of the author and a daytime telephone number so authorship can be verified.