LETTER TO EDITOR: Let’s Fix That  by George Lumley

first_imgCOMMUNICATION WITH THE CITY?Communicating with the city of Evansville is very difficult for me.  I try to explain things in simple terms and ask the right people the right questions but the responses I get, when I do get one, are quite odd. It is kind of like watching a candidate debate on t-v where the EMCE ask a question but the politician clearly answers a different question than that posed. I am having trouble communicating recent dealings with the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD) and the Evansville Brownfields Corp (EBC) regarding my questions about the Hardest Hit Fund’s (HHF) Blight Elimination Program (BEP) being administered by the Indian Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). The DMD uses all these acronyms and about a thousand more that are specific to their Bailiwick of government and nonprofit.  The acronyms make the communications look like a foreign language but that is not the real problem.The real problem is understanding the manipulation, the conspiring of agendas, and who is representing who in what capacity.  Where there should be independence and open public dialogue there seems to be clandestine private agendas laced with conflict of interest, miss information, and conspiracy. The recent “stop the tax sale hoopla” is a good example.  Note the link to the city ordinance c2015-15 recently passed. http://www.vanderburghgov.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=19868 This ordinance was conveniently not posted until I complained to the City Clerk. This transferring of property is nothing new.  Vanderburgh County can and does hold properties from the tax sale each year and transfers them to the EBC.  The City can DEMO all the houses they have funding for without expansion of EBC land banking or stopping the tax sale.  Stopping the tax sale and expanding the land bank was a conspiracy to fund the private activities of the rogue DMD by taking private sector competitive opportunity and gifting it to the EBC as a new revenue stream.Below is an Email to the DMD and EBC.  Although I feel I am asking reasonable questions I have not gotten any response.  Do you think these questions are reasonable?Dear Mr. Coures and Ms. Rusk,I am addressing this to the two of you in your capacity as representing the city of Evansville Department of Metro Development (DMD) and your capacity in what you have termed the “city owned” Evansville Brownfields Corp (EBC).Since coming to Evansville 2 years ago, I have been trying to get a handle on how the city can own and operate a nonprofit and when the city operators, you, Kelly Coures and you, Carolyn Rusk, city employees of that nonprofit, want the advantage of calling it part of the city – it is the city, and when you want the advantage of calling it a separate entity – it is separate.You seem to think this arrangement is fine and commonplace.  I take exception to that.  Especially considering the experience I have had trying to work with the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) Blight Elimination Program (BEP) this year.  I don’t understand if the issues restricting my project are a lack of follow through with DMD officials or a lack of follow through with EBC officials.  I am starting to think it is a matter of competing interest and an intentional lack of cooperation, intended confusion, and no follow through with the common elements being DMD and EBC representatives – You two.It is so confusing, I don’t know whether to bring my concerns to the DMD or to the EBC.My current issue is the handling of the HHF BEP program.  It appears that when this program was first announced the DMD did not reach out for program partners but chose instead to utilize the funding on their own city DMD/EBC owned or acquirable properties.  (See attached: BEP County Properties) It looks like some of these were later substituted to accommodate the J-bell (d-pat) additions and a couple of other nonprofit organizations that wanted parking lots or houses taken out on properties they had been land banking, like ECHO’s Garfield street properties.  I reference and attach the document included in the grant application detailing the local support, 10 percent match required by IHCDA, as more sustenance for this claim.  (See attached: BEP Match requirement)  Also note in the document, inclusion of taxes as a match.  I have asked how this works but no one has even attempted to explain.  I do see on the local match break down, end of page two, that none of the d-pat lot properties had any charges for weeds, trash, or Building code violations. I assume there were none because these properties were not vacant, abandoned, or even seriously blighted, until the developer started moving residents out.How will the 10% match requirement affect my project?I brought a project to you in February, the success or failure of which was dependent upon the DMD and “their” EBC.  It appears that my project of real – vacant, abandoned, and blighted structures within a neighborhood has been pushed aside or neglected in favor of the city and the city operated EBC projects. Maybe this is why the cities and counties of Indiana were not allowed to be a “program partner” for the Blight Elimination Program.  If the city could not be a program partner how can you justify the cities’ brownfields division being a “program partner”?  Linked is last week’s Sunday C & P newspaper article discussing the tax sale?   http://www.courierpress.com/news/people-living-in-blighted-county-owned-homes-20aa0f35-8e87-20ca-e053-0100007feaad-329659311.html Note it mentions “City-run non-profit Brownfields Corp”.  There are many articles where the relationship is described as such.In legalese – If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck – it is a duck.  You can call a duck a pig if you like but the courts usually agree that a duck is a duck.Now why should my Reitz school project, located between Howell Park and the School be competing with City DMD/Brownfields if they should not even be eligible as program partner?  Again in Legalese – they should not have a horse entered in this race.You might ask the EBC attorney to consult with the DMD attorney on this issue.  Or if they are one in the same, I guess the attorney could talk to himself about it. But, Could one of you two define some kind of separation for me so I can address my issues to the proper individual?  Maybe decide that you, Kelly represents the DMD and you, Carolyn, represent the Brownfields? Or maybe if I send something in the AM hours you two will be working for the DMD and in the PM hours you will be representing the Brownfields?  I read that you, Carolyn, works 20 hours per week for EBC, are those scheduled on specific days? Do you, Kelly, work a certain number of hours or specific days for the EBC?With the upcoming County Commissioners sale of delinquent tax properties, will the city operated EBC be competing in the bid process?  Will they be bidding on properties in my project, or do I, or other program partners need to do that?  At one time the EBC was to be the program partner on most of my project properties. I still have not had an answer on why that was dropped at the 11th hour.  As the Sale approaches we need a decision on who is program partner – is and if EBC is not the program partner for my project properties, I need to know how much of the program funds can reimburse purchase cost at the auction so that I can Bid accordingly.Could you please respond with two responses one from the city and one from the city owned brownfields so I can determine who I am dealing with and how to address additional questions, like why the brownfields dropped being program partner on my project? Please as DMD employees keep any confidential information I might share confidential and away from my competition, those representing the EBC, unless absolutely necessary to share it.Thank you for your attention to this matter.George Lumley“let’s fix that”, volunteerFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Top 10 Toasters (+1)

first_img== The Trapdoor Toaster ==Earlier this year, Stop the Week scoured the world for toaster boffinery as we sought out the top 10 toaster technology breakthroughs. But who are we to close the door on toaster innovation? Here we have a toaster that turns toasting on its head. Instead of the satisfying pop, the toast is released through a trapdoor, thus eliminating the risk of death from digging out a hefty slice with your fingers or a knife. It retails for $80 in the US.last_img