Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Star Does 180 Degree Turn; Now Demands Fair Elections

My what delicious irony. Today, the Indianapolis Star runs an editorial calling for redistricting reform so voters can have fair legislative elections

This is just over two weeks after the special referenda elections that took place across Marion County. In that election, Health & Hospital wrote a referendum question regarding the new Wishard Hospital that didn't bother to tell voters that they would be building a new hospital funded by bonds backed by property taxes. Nor did the question bother to mention how much H&H would be borrowing. One would think the editors at the Star would be outraged by the intentional misleading of voters by H&H, but think again. The Star uttered hardly a word in protest.

Then we have the questionable need for a special election for these referenda and the over $1 million cost to the taxpayers to put it on. The Star offered no criticism to this waste of tax dollars.

Then we had those supporting the Wishard and school referenda using public, i.e. taxpayer resources to promote their positions. The Star offered not one word of criticism over this abuse of tax dollars.

The Wishard PAC files a highly questionable report showing only three individual contributors to the campaign, but over $1 million from two non-profit corporations. The expenditure side only shows one payout, to a PR firm. You would think that this report would raise questions about proper disclosure and possible tax violations. Certainly it raises a red flag. The Star remains silent.

Then you have Election Day, where paper ballots were used and the Clerk's Office was totally dependent on the count reported by poll workers. In 42 of the 590 precincts there was a unanimous vote reported in favor of the Wishard referendum. In 29 more there was only one "no" vote reported. Typical results in these precincts include 179-0, 148-0, 193-1, 162-1. Those 71 precincts produced a margin of 3671-29, an astonishing 99.2% to .8% edge. For most newspapers, those results would raise a red flag as to whether there were discrepancies between the results reported by poll workers to the Clerk's Office and the actual ballot totals. While it obviously wouldn't change the Wishard result, it could raise major concerns about the accuracy of future paper ballot counts. But for the Star, which spent the last two months being little more than a cheerleader for the Wishard cause, it didn't even cause an eyebrow to furrow.

From beginning to end, the Star's editors expressed no interest in the fairness of the referenda special election. Now the Star does a 180 degree turn and opines for redistricting reform so voters can have fair legislative elections.

I'm sorry, but the mark of a real reformer is someone who argues for good government and fair elections even when doing so is against the ends they would like to achieve. Selective ethics are bad ethics. It is something the Star needs to learn.


M Theory said...

There is a reason that the Indy Star lost 49,000+ subscribers from October 2008 to October 2009.

They deserve it.

Southsider said...

Add one more...subscription ends soon.

Guest said...

The most important issue which should be lawyered is that this referendum sham was allowed to go on without a whimper from any powers that could fight it.This entire deal stinks with illegality.

Blog Admin said...

Most of it's articles are online for a week. I can read it there if I really need to.

My mother is going to cancel her Thursday+Sunday subscription after the current one runs out.

I will miss those Steak N Shake couposn though.

Melyssa said...

Indy Student...tell your mom about

I get coupons for as much as 80% off to eat at popular restaurants all over the city.

There are many sources for coupons other than the newspaper.

What's pathetic for the Star is that coupons are the only thing you (and a whole lot of other people) find valueable in the Indy Star.

Jon said...

My wife and I are on the do not call list and have been subscribers to the Star and the News (when it was published) since the late 70s. So who calls us asking to subscribe? Why the Star does of course. Do newspapers get an exemption from the do no call list? If they do get an exemption why don't they cross reference their subscribers with their calling list?
Just an example of more 'sloppy' work by the Star.