10/19/2008 7:50:00 PM For Mike Carpenter, "Citizen and Activist" Are Not Dirty Words
"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."
"It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -- Robert F. Kennedy
An activist is often labeled a rabble-rouser, or a troublemaker, or nowadays, a terrorist. But contrary to what some would have you believe, "activism" is not a dirty word, nor is it something to be feared.
In a democracy, participation is a must. Many of us contribute at differing levels of involvement according to our temperaments, our talents, and our time. In that sense, activism is a good thing.
There are many problems in our nation, our state and, believe it or not, in our community. The more citizens who get involved, the more problems we can solve.
Individuals who are actively engaged in promoting perpetual growth are activists. And individuals who use their right of freedom of speech to help make public debates more public, are activists.
Shelby County is fortunate to have several activists. One of them is Mike Carpenter.
Mike Carpenter is a 1976 graduate of Shelbyville High School. He is a long-time employee at a Shelbyville industry. He is a family man who enjoys family-oriented activities and he is a motorcycle enthusiast.
Mike Carpenter is also a citizen activist.
His interest in activism began over 20 years ago when a family member developed serious health problems. During that time, Mike experienced a number of issues concerning health insurance benefits. In order to address those issues, Mike began asking questions and educating himself on worker compensation laws. The activities led to involvement in employee relation committees and eventually to further involvement in family medical leave legislation reform at the state level.
More recently, Mike has turned his attention to issues at the local level, he believes that complacency often is part of a community's problems. "When I look at my payroll stub and see the taxes that have been deducted, I want to know what my tax money is being spent on", said Mike.
So now, Mike Carpenter attends public meetings and he continues to ask questions. Lots of questions. Mike is pleasant, patient, and persistent. He wants to know where our tax dollars go and he thinks the best way to find out is to ask. Mike also believes that rumors can't be dispelled unless questions are asked and answers are given.
On August 25, 2008, Mike attended a meeting of the Major Hospital Board of Directors and asked some questions. He learned some information at the meeting that raised more questions for him. So, after the meeting, Mike submitted additional questions in written form to the Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission and to the hospital Board of Directors.
Mike asked if I would share the questions with readers. Knowing that some of you have an interest in these topics, I have obliged.
Mike's questions follow.
September 14, 2008
Shelbyville City Hall
44 W. Washington St.
Shelbyville, IN 46176
Attending the last meeting of the Major Hospital board of directors, I was informed of the discontinuation of the Pioneer Program. As a result, I have several questions of your commission and I would appreciate your response:
#1 Were you aware that the Pioneer Program had been shut down?
#2 Has there been a replacement program implemented by the hospital, intended to provide guidelines for the use of recaptured sales and income taxes?
#3 How can I obtain a copy of this replacement program?
#4 Referring to item #1, what was the $111,386.70 disbursed on 11/22/2006 to Major Hospital used for? Specifically, using the Pioneer Program, how were the funds applied?
#5 Under the Pioneer Program, the commission retained 100% of the recaptured sales and income taxes once the inflated purchase prices were paid off. Now that the program no longer exists, does the commission keep all recaptured taxes? Is there any documentation which verifies your answer? May I have a copy?
#6 Is the commission going to request any progress reports or updates from the hospital representatives concerning compliance with the IEDC's Memorandum of Understanding guidelines?
#7 Has the commission received any reports from the hospital concerning Intelliplex during the last year? If so, may I have a copy?
#8 Has the commission received any documentation from the IEDC or the State of Indiana concerning Intelliplex Park or certified tech parks in general? An example would be figures on the income taxes collected from employees of Intelliplex businesses which could be used to determine how recaptured funds are to be distributed. May I have a copy of that documentation?
#9 Are you aware of any new jobs that have been created in the Intelliplex park in the last year? If so, what are the names of the employers and is there any documentation which verifies the new jobs created? If so, may I have a copy?
Thank you for your time and I appreciate your responses to these questions.
September 21, 2008
Major Hospital Board of Directors
150 W. Washington St.
Shelbyville, IN 46176
Ladies and Gentlemen:
After my review of the minutes to the August 25 meeting, I noticed that several comments have not been included. Specifically, Mr. McNeely's statements that I should contact C.B. Ellis for a response to any questions that I might have. For this reason and in order to avoid any future confusion, I believe it is in everyone's best interest if I acquire documented clarification to my questions. I am requesting a written response to the following questions:
#1 When exactly was the Pioneer Program shut down?
#2 Did the hospital board vote to discontinue the Pioneer Program? In which meeting did this occur? May I have a copy of this meeting's minutes?
#3 Why was the Pioneer Program discontinued?
#4 Did the board or its attorney inform the city council or the county council of the decision to discontinue the Pioneer Program? If so, by what means, and when?
#5 Did Tony Lennen and/or any of the board of directors inform the IEDC of the discontinuation of the Pioneer Program prior to, or during the re-certification last year? If not, why not?
#6 If the IEDC was not informed at that time, are they now aware that the Pioneer Program has been shut down?
#7 Did the IEDC order the hospital to shut down the Pioneer Program as a condition of the two-year certification?
#8 Why wasn't the general public told of the discontinued Pioneer Program at the time it was eliminated?
#9 Major Hospital received $111,386.70 from the Redevelopment Commission Tech Park Fund on 11/22/2006, what was that money used for?
#10 Other than marketing the tech park, has the hospital given C.B. Ellis any other responsibilities concerning guidelines for the use of Redevelopment Commission Tech Park Funds? May I have a copy?
#11 Has C.B. Richard Ellis developed and/or implemented any programs, projects or guidelines intended to replace the Pioneer Program? May I have a copy?
#12 Has the hospital filed any reports or other documents with the IEDC, or any other state agency, concerning the Intelliplex park, the Redevelopment Commission, or the Certified Tech Park Funds?
#13 Has the hospital provided or assisted in the information gathering effort? Including, reports concerning employment records; reports concerning Intelliplex park; and/or reports concerning Certified Tech Park Funds. I am officially requesting copies of any and all such documentation.
#14 Is the hospital currently being investigated by any federal or state agency concerning Intelliplex Park or concerning the use of Certified Tech Park Funds?
#15 How many of the items on the Memorandum of Understanding handed down by the IEDC last year as a condition for the two-year certification have been complied with? What are those items and when were they implemented?
#16 Does the hospital have a contract with the city and/or the county to receive $125,000 per year in EDIT funds? If yes, will you please describe the hospital's commitment to the arrangement? Did the hospital promise a certain amount of new jobs?
#17 If the hospital took out bonds for $30 million, which included the city's $1.5 million share and the county's $1.5 million share of the tech park's infrastructure in order to save both the city and the county interest (by not taking out their own bonds), why is it going to cost both parties $3 million apiece over a 24-year period?
#18 If the city or county councils decided to reduce or discontinue donating the EDIT funds to the hospital, what action will the hospital take?
#19 Did any of the businesses which moved to Intelliplex agree to pay, in full, the inflated purchase price which was established under the Pioneer Program? Since the Pioneer Program has been shut down, are the businesses still required to pay off the inflated purchase price in full?
#20 Did the inflated purchase prices for the lots at Intelliplex change at all since C.B. Richard Ellis has been hired? If yes, I am officially requesting a copy of those changes.
#21 Was the hospital contractually required to create jobs as a condition to receiving EDIT and/or Tech Park Funds?
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and I look forward to your response.
Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2008
Article comment by:
Mike and Dee,
These are all extremely good questions that deserve thorough and timely answers and documented responses.
Of course, we have to depend on someone like Mike to ask them because The Shelbyville News would never ask them.
That would be too much like serving the general public of Shelbyville, heaven forbid.
Thanks, Mike, for your exemplary citizenship.