Government

RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Exploding mobile phone? Maybe you bought a fakeRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Tim Altom
Has your cell phone exploded lately? A cell phone battery literally blows up, shattering the phone and spraying hot components like shrapnel. Detonating phones haven't killed anyone that I could determine, but they've caused several trips to the hospital for lacerations, burns and broken eardrums. When it happens, manufacturers understandably scramble to find out why, and the answer today is often that the battery was actually a knockoff, a counterfeit that looks just like the real thing, but might be...
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NOTIONS: Will the change bandwagon ever roll our way?Restricted Content

January 14, 2008
Bruce Hetrick
On the presidential campaign trail these past few weeks, the dominant exit-polling insight seems to be that Americans are hungry for change. Voters have told interviewers they're weary of the direction we're headed, tired of the politics of the past and eager to forego the status quo. And so the presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat alike, have jumped on the change bandwagon, ridden it from Iowa to New Hampshire, and tried to explain why they've been, are, or could be...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Indiana being stamped with wrong imageRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Morton Marcus
Blessed be our friends at the U.S. Postal Service. They do a great job of collecting and distributing the mail. They face strong competition from private carriers and from the Internet, but they continue to serve the public well. Then, too, USPS always looks for new ways to honor America and Americans through the issuance of new stamps. If a particular series catches on, they can make a pretty penny by selling stamps that are never used. That's why USPS...
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Community education keeping up with business: Lawrence Township, other districts making classes more convenientRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Scott Olson
Thirteen years ago, long before the current commotion over escalating property taxes in Marion County, a local public school superintendent became embroiled in a similar uproar. Residents of Lawrence Township in 1994 challenged former district leader Bernard McKenzie to rein in what they perceived as excessive spending of taxpayer funds. He responded by creating the Lawrence Township Community Education Program as a testament to the citizens and their support. Today, it has grown to serve about 6,000 people annually and...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Property-tax abolition isn't off table after allRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
Lawmakers had their individual and collective eyes opened last summer by scores of organized and impromptu property tax rallies across Indiana. While many who carried a sign, marched in the streets, or wrote a letter to the editor about the situation simply thought their individual taxes were too high, a good number of them (and several of the organizers of such events) had a special goal: the elimination of property taxes. Even after the municipal elections woke up the few...
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Property-tax plan shifts tab for poor relief from counties to stateRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Here's a political hot potato that so far has received little discussion in the rancorous debate over property-tax reform: Should the enormous costs of helping impoverished Hoosiers continue to be funded county by county, or spread to taxpayers statewide?
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Commentary: 2007 columns sparked debateRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Mickey Maurer
Each January, I like to reflect on a few of the prior year's topics. I am always curious about the people I have written about over the course of the year. I hope you are, too. In the May 21 issue, I wrote about the plight of Amy Sorrell. Sorrell was an English and journalism teacher at Woodlan Junior-Senior High School in Allen County near Fort Wayne who also advised the school newspaper, The Tomahawk. The Jan. 19, 2007, issue...
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INVESTING: Bond insurers pummeled for straying into risky areaRestricted Content

January 14, 2008
Ken Skarbeck
As Wall Street continues to record multibillion-dollar losses for its debt-market indiscretions, another industry that for years earned steady returns from the credit markets is sitting on the doorstep of implosion. For decades, bond insurers operated the relatively mundane business of insuring, and thereby guaranteeing, the timely payment of principal and interest on municipal bonds issued by various government and other entities. In recent years, the bond insurers strayed from their core business model and underwrote insurance on the new...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Change economy to raise incomesRestricted Content

January 7, 2008
Morton Marcus
My holiday gift was the latest quarterly data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Santa put them in my e-mail box and I played with them when not attending to ritual family matters. Yes, personalincome numbers for all the states right up to the third quarter of 2007. Oh, joy; oh, ecstasy-feeding my lascivious quantitative desires. And what did I find? Over the past year, the third quarter of 2006 to the same quarter of 2007, Indiana has ranked...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Agendas vary widely as tax-reform efforts heat upRestricted Content

January 7, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
How did it all seem so simple back in September? The reality of reform is sinking in for lawmakers and interest groups. Hoosiers who demanded serious property tax reform in November-and expected their wishes to be fulfilled-now see indications that the road to reform may be bumpier than foreseen. The property tax reform plan detailed in late October by Gov. Mitch Daniels was initially largely well-received by voters and lawmakers, but after it rattled around for a while and the...
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Commentary: Good luck to Mayor BallardRestricted Content

January 7, 2008
Chris Katterjohn
Mayor Greg Ballard has less than a week under his belt of taking on a city that is both on a roll and full of challenges. It's an exciting time to be mayor. An unknown commodity, Ballard has some big shoes to fill with little experience in government to help him out. (Note to self: That's not necessarily a bad thing.) Indianapolis has been blessed with strong leadership for the last 40 years, beginning in 1968 with Republican Richard Lugar,...
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Beware: e-mail is bastion of many security lapsesRestricted Content

January 7, 2008
Tim Altom
Tell the truth-you've "Googled" yourself, haven't you? All of us have, or at least we should. It's interesting for me to do it for myself, because I've been an Internet denizen since before the Web was woven, when all most of us did was exchange e-mails. What chills me sometimes is how far back the Google results for my name can go, clear into the mid-1990s in some cases. The 'Net never forgets anything. If you have doubts about that,...
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For city politics, back to the future: GOP returns without guaranteesRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
The Republican party dominated city government here in the 1970s, '80s and '90s, and for much of that time it was assumed that the party's lock on city hall was tamper-proof. Voters proved that theory wrong in 1999. Whether it was changing demographics or the fatigue that sets in when one party rules for too long, the public turned the mayor's office over to Democrat Bart Peterson. Four years later, Peterson easily won re-election and the Democrats won the City-County...
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SPORTS: An open letter to Greg, er Hizzoner, Mayor Ballard:Restricted Content

December 31, 2007
Bill Benner
Well, the day is here when you finally get the keys to the offices on the 25th floor of the City-County Building. Congratulations. I knew you had the election in the bag all the way. Yeah, right. Anyway, I've noticed you have formed a number of transition teams to bring you up to speed on the various forms and functions of citycounty government. Folks way smarter than I have provided reams of information that will provide you a road map...
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Of battles won and trouble ahead: Peterson says state action key to city's futureRestricted Content

December 31, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Democrat Bart Peterson leaves office in early January after two terms as mayor of Indianapolis. Succeeding him will be Republican Greg Ballard, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps who parlayed property-tax outrage into a surprise win. As Peterson, 49, prepared to leave office, he sat down with IBJ. The following is an edited version of the interview. IBJ: You didn't expect to be stepping down this year. What was the most significant priority you had planned for...
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THE TRAVELING LIFE: Genghis Khan slept-and was admired-here

December 31, 2007
Frank Basile
Before we landed at the Genghis Khan Airport, checked into the Genghis Khan Hotel, and drank Genghis Khan beer, everything we had heard about the most famous Mongol of all time was negative. But that changed when we visited Mongolia in September. You might wonder what nice things could be said about a guy who conquered more territory in 25 years than the Romans did in 400? Well, the people we encountered perceived him as a combination of George Washington,...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Why state's job growth is better than neighbors'Restricted Content

December 24, 2007
Mike Hicks
For the past week or so, I have been flooded by phone calls from colleagues in Illinois and Michigan, chortling over a new marketing campaign launched by Hoosiers. The privately financed billboards and radio spots ask businesses and residents whether they are tired of high taxes and unresponsive government. If so, they are invited to "Come on IN" to Indiana. It's high-order fun this holiday season. Indiana sits as a small island of growth in the Midwest, and it is...
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Ballard transition led by GOP insiders, business executives: 24 local leaders size up city for new mayorRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
With little encouragement and less financial support, mayor-elect Greg Ballard was forced to campaign as a longshot outsider. But his surprise election turned the tables. In the last six weeks, he's been embraced quickly by Marion County's Republican elite. And his transition team is stacked with insiders. To prepare an administration in less than two months, Ballard assembled a transition team of 24 local leaders, who then pulled in 150 volunteers to examine the current shape of city and county...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Fiscal bombs in Hoosier political watersRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Morton Marcus
The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) issued a "Citizens' Guide to Property Taxes" on Nov. 20. That document contains the following paragraph: "What factors contribute to property tax increases? Local spending is the reason for property tax increases-or decreases-depending on local fiscal management. Other factors that contributed to increases during the 2006-2007 pay cycle include the elimination of the inventory tax and the onset of the annual adjustment process, also known as 'trending.'" Got that? Property taxes rise...
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: The worst of this year's technology snafusRestricted Content

December 24, 2007
Tim Altom
Another year gone, and yet another Christmas gift for you. Every year, I collect examples of utterly horrendous technological snafus and write about them. No matter how awful your own meltdowns may have been, they can't have been as bad as these, so enter the new year with a light heart. The first example of disaster is fresh in the news still, at least in reports from the British Broadcasting Corp. The English government has lost disks with personal information...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Commission's reforms are just what Indiana needsRestricted Content

December 17, 2007
Mike Hicks
The recommendations of the Shepard-Kernan report are a tonic to anyone who cares about local government efficiency and improved local services. The commission r e c o m m e n d e d changes to the way Indiana's government provides local services. Our current system looks much like a pre-statehood government, where services are provided in a disconnected fashion with budgetary decisions answerable to state bureaucracies, not local voters. It is this organization of government that has caused much...
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NOTIONS: Read my lips: No taxes whatsoever. Nada. Zip.Restricted Content

December 10, 2007
Bruce Hetrick
I was driving through the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood when I spotted the sign. It was posted in the manicured front lawn of a brick bungalow on a wooded corner lot. It said: "Stop taxing our property." At other nice houses up and down the same tree-lined street, other signs dotted other manicured lawns. Many of them bore the same message: "For Sale By Owner." Below that, the signs cited the purported cause of the alleged listings: "excess taxation." I had the...
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Biz issues move to back seat: Property-tax reform leaves little time for other workRestricted Content

December 10, 2007
Scott Olson
Reforming the state's property tax system will consume so much of the legislative session that the Indiana General Assembly isn't expected to give much attention to other issues pertinent to the business community. Compounding matters is the fact that the session, which runs from mid-January to mid-March, is of the short variety, meaning legislators have less time to debate issues than they would during the long, odd-year meetings. "I think [property tax reform] is the most intense and voluminous issue...
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Kenley a go-to guy in taxing situations: Influential senator sees public service as his dutyRestricted Content

December 10, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
Take a look at some of the most complicated, heated and thankless Statehouse negotiations and chances are you'll find Republican Sen. Luke Kenley smack in the middle of the fray. While some Hoosiers are hard-pressed to attend a school board meeting or even try to understand their property-tax bills, the 62-year-old chairman of the Senate Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee sits through hours of public hearings and even more hours of closed-door negotiations. This General Assembly promises to be one...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Are unions really that important?Restricted Content

December 10, 2007
Morton Marcus
Uncle Uriah Marcus visited us on Thanksgiving. It took over a week to recover. He blames "the @#%$# unions" for most of our state's woes. Uncle Uriah asserts "them big unions scares businesses away from Indiannie." A sample of his views: High property taxes: It's the teachers' union's fault because teachers keep pushing up their earnings and reducing their responsibility. Congestion in cities: Bus workers' unions keep fares too high for anyone to ride the bus. The battle between the...
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  1. The Walgreens did not get a lot of traffic. It was not located on the corner of the intersection, and not really visible from Emerson. Meanwhile the CVS there is huge and right on the corner. I am guessing a lot of people drove by a million times and never knew the Walgreens was there. Although, with the new Walmart market going in, that area could really see a lot of increase in traffic soon.

  2. You folks don't have a clue. There is a legal way to enter this country and to get aid. This left unchecked could run us to ruin quickly. I also heard that 'supporters' were getting major $$ to take them in? Who's monitoring this and guess who pays the bill? I support charitable organizations... but this is NOT the way to do it!

  3. Apparently at some time before alcohol has been served at the fair. The problem is that beer or wine used to be a common drink for people before soft drinks and was not thought to be that unusual. Since many folks now only drink to see how much they can drink or what kind of condition they can end up in it becomes more problematic. Go to Europe and its no big deal just as if you had sodas of milk to drink everyday. Its using common sense that is lacking now days.

  4. To address the epic failure of attracting race fans to both the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 would take too much of my time to write. Bottom line Boles is clueless and obviously totally out of touch with the real paying fan base. I see nothing but death spin coming for the Brickyard, just like Indy. Get somebody in a place of power that understands what race fans want.

  5. I am a race fan through & through. It doesn't matter if it's Indy cars or Nascar. I love a great race. I go to several other tracks each year and you can see the entire track. I know Indy has tradition, but fans want to see the entire race. I sit in the Penthouse, am almost 60 years old, and would like to see a better TV screen in turn 1 so you can see the entire race. Then I think Indy needs to install an escalator so us old folks can make it up to the Penthouse and down again if we want more options to purchase food and drinks. Just a race fans opinion. Lights won't make the race any better, but you might be able to see the TV better at night. Turn 1's screen needs replaced with a better and bigger screen.

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