Hot Air: Bigger


More dope from insiders re: Mayor John Hamilton’s annexation plan.

To refresh: Da Mare (oops, sorry, that’s the Chicago boy in me popping up again) wants to add some 10,000 acres and approx. 15,000 new citizens to the city in the first major annexation around these parts since the ‘Aughts.

[Full disclosure: Chez Big Mike et L’aime lies within the proposed Section 7, AKA the South-East Bloomington Annexation Area.]

Acc’d’g to an expert on the city side, the legislative process — which I though was s’pos’ta to be long and drawn out — actually can be wrapped up by late spring.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Actual ordinances for the annexations — each designated section will have its own ordinance — can be intro’d at the next City Council meeting in March, followed by a two-month waiting period mandated by law.
  2. The ordinances can then be voted on during one of the Council meetings in June. If the ordinances pass, citizens have 90 days to get their remonstrance* act together.
  3. Absent any snags, the annexations will legally take hold on New Year’s Day, 2020.

Keep in mind the city isn’t going to come to your house to find out what you think about this whole deal, nor will there will be any local public hearings on it. The city plans to host a series of public information meetings from March 20-25 at City Hall. Book it: those meetings’ll be PR instruments for the takeovers.

[ * Now then, what in the hell is remonstrance? It’s the legal hammer residents can use to smash the annexation plan to smithereens. Under Indiana Code 36-4-3-13, Section E, i & ii, if either 51 percent of the total number of landowners within a section or the owners of 60 percent of the assessed valuation of the land therein oppose the annexation, it won’t happen.]

So, if you’re jittery about this idea, you’d better start rallying your neighbors no later than dinner time today — you may only have until September to gather enough support to thwart your takeover. After that, tough luck.

Some folks who haunt the halls of power around this town are certain The Boss sprang his expansion scheme more or less as a surprise to all concerned so as to blunt any pushback from the public. The thinking goes he didn’t want landowners within the targeted sections to have months and months of time to organize against the plan.

I can see why he’d want to act quickly: Wed. night’s City Council meeting was chock-a-block with citizens raising a din against the plan.

Here’s a good bet. Those who live in sparsely populated Section 6 (the Northeast Bloomington Annexation Area) are, in the words of one knowledgable observer, “smart, aware, and organized.” Scads of them are high-salaried professionals, including lawyers. This observer, whose credentials to speculate are impeccable, predicts Section 6 will not be annexed no matter what happens in the other areas.


And here’s more interesting dope I dug up:

  1. County government is absolutely powerless to prevent the city from taking over the lands. Funny thing is, state senate bill (SB 381) giving counties veto power over such land snatches died in committee this week.
  2. The Monroe County commissioners have hired a financial analyst to determine how much the proposed annexation might cost the county itself (that is, the cost above and beyond what the city must bear).
  3. Residents in the so-far unincorporated areas who’ve already been connected to the city’s sewer lines most likely signed waivers of protest when they were hooked up, meaning they cannot participate in the remonstrance process.

No. 2 is prima facie evidence backing up a city source’s opinion: “The County would love to get involved legislatively; if they could stop annexation they would, because they think it’s nothing but negative for them.”

So, here’s my early line on what’s to come in 2020:

  1. The mayor and his wonks who cooked up this idea will not get everything they’re asking for.
  2. The same gang will get precisely what they most dearly desire — that is, the three small “island” parcels on the west side already surrounded by the city proper, as well as the big strip attached to SR 37 (the future I-69).

I’ll be keeping my ear to the track as time goes on.

Comedy Channel

I had a blast exchanging mots with actor/playwright/funny lady Emily Goodson for this week’s edition of Big Talk.

My chat with the penner of the upcoming Bloomington Playwrights Project musical-comedy “Calling All Kates” ran Thursday afternoon on WFHB, 93.1FM.

Here’s the link to that feature, and here’s the link to the unedited, original interview with Emily.big-talk-logo-usable-screen-shot-copy

Next week, I discuss tango with dance teacher Thuy (pronounced TWEE) Bogart. That episode of Big Talk will run next Thursday, February 23 on the Daily Local News at 5:00pm.

Talk to you then.

Revin’ Up

Here’s the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band‘s spanking new video. I’m tellin’ ye, I cain’t git this thang outta mah haid.

Note the dude in the red union suit showing up at the 1:08 mark — that’s Pencil pal Hondo Thompson. He’d been bragging about his upcoming appearance in the vid and dashed off an email to me with a pre-release copy of same on Thursday, just as soon as it came out of post-production. The gang shot the vid last weekend and, yup, it’s all done in one long take, à la the opening of the Orson Welles classic Touch of Evil. Hell, even Janet Jackson’s groundbreaking long-take vid for “When I Think of You,” [director: the legendary Julien Temple; and still, arguably, one of the greatest music videos of all time] utilized tricks like panning the camera past doorways and poles to mask edits. This one, though, is uncut from start to finish.

The Rev’s vid was released to the public Friday at 6:00pm.

One thought on “Hot Air: Bigger

  1. geoffmckim says:

    Excellent summary of the issue! However, I do completely disagree with the paragraph:

    >> No. 2 is prima facie evidence backing up a city source’s opinion: “The County would love to get involved legislatively; if they could stop annexation they would, because they think it’s nothing but negative for them.

    How is trying to assess the impact on county finances (and thereby county services) evidence backing up the city source’s opinion? That opinion may or may not be true…but simply trying to obtain objective information on fiscal impacts doesn’t imply any position on the issue.

    The fact is — this annexation WILL have an effect on county services. It is our obligation to understand and communicate and insist that that is effect part of the conversation. Whether annexation is in the best interest of the community and/or the affected taxpayers is yet to be seen — but understanding that effect is the only responsible first step, and doesn’t imply any ultimate conclusion.

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