Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) Meeting
Tues, Oct 8, 2019.
Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) Meeting
Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) Meeting
Tues, Oct 8, 2019.
Submitted on Oct 8, 2019 (submission id 171) as a Guest Column for the Bloomington Herald-Times.
Protestors initiated a petition in June that alleged that the owners of Schooner Creek Farm (SCF) are white supremacists and should be removed as a vendor from the Bloomington Farmers’ Market (BFM).
The City has acknowledged that SCF (who has been successfully participating in the market for nine years and have denied the allegations) has treated customers with respect and have followed the rules of the BFM. The City has also acknowledged that the First Amendment prohibits them from discriminating against someone because of their belief system.
Regarding the allegations of white supremacy, Laura Lane in her Aug 3, 2019 (Bloomington) Herald-Times article “Commentary: Don’t forget the First Amendment,” stated the following: “We have done our own research. We have reviewed court documents, emails, videos and recordings that so many claim is proof that the owners of Schooner Creek Farm are white supremacists. Direct evidence, it isn’t there.”
Despite the lack of proof of the allegations and lack of relevance to the BFM, the mayor has made statements perceived to be in support of the protests and broadened his criticisms of the situation. His statements have included identifying constraints posed on his administration by the Second Amendment and Indiana’s policies on gun control. The Mayor has also alleged that the policies of the current presidential administration have contributed to the controversy. Market attendance dropped from 40,000 visitors last July compared to 19,000 this year.
Although the city cannot remove SCF as a vendor, current policies may be providing a work-around on the constraints posed on the city by the First Amendment. The policy regarding protests create conditions that imply an intent to make it untenable for SCF to remain at the market. For instance, although not allowed by the BFM to “carry” protest signs, protestors can wear their signs by printing their message (Boycott Schooner Creek, Defund White Supremacy) on a t-shirt. Protestors can then roam the market with frequent passes by the SCF table. The protesters also carry a little blank sign that they call a “fan” to show their opposition to the rules.
The mayor’s leadership on this issue does provide a new opportunity for the community by allowing the BFM to serve as a rallying point for protests and boycotts on just about any topic. Protestors just need to “wear” their message. And, if a market vendor has been alleged to be in support of any issues that a protestor (s) may not like, the “message” could include an appeal to boycott this vendor to punish them for their beliefs and associations.
Consequently, the BFM can now serve as a “market” for protests. The topics would be unlimited and can start by building on current themes. This could include protests supporting the Second Amendment and Indiana’s gun policies to include concealed carry. Additional protest topics could include political support (and opposition?) to the Trump Administration, anti-abortion, planned parenthood, climate change, immigration, et.al.
The controversy at the market will likely continue to escalate and raises a few questions: Is it possible to extend the rules against protest signs to include the other ways a protest message can be conveyed? Is allowing the market to be a place for community protests – especially against vendors with a perspective and an association that someone may not like, a good thing? What are the conditions that will lead the city to disband the BFM?
The controversy with the BFM first started with the Nashville Farmers Market.
Part 2: Discord in the community – better strategies needed?
By Tim J. Clark
Updated S Oct 4, 2019
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” –– Declaration of Independence
Preface. This post introduces a method that can be adapted as needed, to address some of the issues associated with the controversies surrounding the Bloomington Farmers’ Market.
One page summary Bloomington Farmers’ Market – Summary of Issues
The United States system of government was designed to be continually improved with the local government being the catalyst for needed change. Working together to make progress towards “a more perfect Union” and community can be supported through applying a better method for problem identification, resolution and decision-making.
Regarding political systems, from a global perspective, adversaries have always worked to undermine each other’s systems. Digital technology including social media enables the communication of challenges worldwide to include coverage of a community’s successes or failures in addressing the opportunities that the challenges present.
Application of better problem identification, resolution and decision-making processes can lead to stronger and more resilient communities. This, in turn, provides positive examples that are needed to reinforce that self-government is still a principle worth fighting for and application of better methods can lead to “a more perfection Union.”
Two Key Issues
The controversies with the markets in Nashville and Bloomington revolve around two issues: (1) A person’s right to express beliefs that are protected by the First Amendment, and (2) being associated with a group (s) that others find offensive. In this case, this includes allegations that an association with AIM is synonymous with promoting white supremacy and/or white nationalism and hate.
On the first issue, this was summarized in the post (Part 1) ” Discord in the community – better strategies needed?” Background information and a timeline of the issues is provided in the post: “Wanted: Tolerance, Understanding, Collaboration, Progress.”
Individuals and private entities can exercise their right to free speech that includes protests and boycotts. The protestors also accept the risk that they, in turn, can attract protests and boycotts for their beliefs and actions. An action (boycotts), leads to a reaction (the boycotters can become the boycotted), and counteractions (community taking sides) leads to an escalation of the conflict.
The remainder of this post deals with “group” association – specifically the American Identify Movement (AIM) with the intent to clarify the scope and substance of the issues.
A problem identification, resolution and decision-making framework can provide a “start” in developing a common understanding of the situation to include acknowledging the diversity in individual perspectives. An ideal end state is to develop a solution where everyone benefits or at least, are not any worse off in the long-term.
The focus for a way ahead incorporates more of a moral than a legal perspective. On a legal perspective, actions that are taken to support or oppose a position are guided by the legal system. The FBI investigates and the Justice Department prosecutes violations of federal laws. The local police and courts get involved with criminal offenses and individuals can pursue civil action (defamation, libel, slander, harassment) that violate their individual rights.
What does “right” look like?
The term “moral” is defined ” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior: ethical.” Taking action that results in “a more perfect” Union and community requires that you ask the effected stakeholders how they define “more perfect”, e.g., what “right” looks like. A follow-up question is to identify the feedback that will be used to determine if a change resulted in improvement.
A Problem Identification, Resolution, Decision Making Process
Example: Local community (county) Decision-Making Process.
Phase 1 – Understand the situation – identify and define the problem
The AIM website identifies the purpose of the organization, principles, and activities. The site states that AIM “prohibits the advocacy of or participation in supremacy, violence, or illegal activity. We reject extremism of any stripe.”
Given the communication technologies that are available in today’s world, it is easier to compare actions with rhetoric. It is also more difficult to keep anything “secret.” The challenge is separating fact from allegations when determining the truth.
“WHO WE ARE: AIM is a growing, active movement defending our nation against mass immigration and the scourge of globalism.” Source – AIM website.
For Supporters of AIM
For Non-Supporters of AIM
For Supporters and non-supporters of AIM
QUESTION: What do you see as the root cause for those that have a different belief than you?
A technique for helping to identify a root cause is called The Five Why’s:
Conflict and Violence
Prejudice, Bigotry, Bigot
Humans are imperfect. The definition of prejudice includes “harm caused by the adverse preconceptions of others.” “The word is often used to refer to a preconceived, usually unfavorable, evaluation of another person based on that person’s political affiliation, sex, gender, beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, beauty, occupation, education, criminality, sport team affiliation or other personal characteristics.” (Wikipedia)
Webster’s New World College Dictionary states that: “The definition of bigotry is prejudice and the state of being intolerant” and a bigot is a person who is prejudiced, or intolerant of those who are different.” Reference: OneLook Dictionary.
The “So what?” Human beings are imperfect – we have prejudices and we can all be bigots. The first step in resolving a problem is to recognize you may have one.
Examples of success stories – Confronting bigotry – Changing Minds
Headline: The Hill. Virginia county’s entire board of supervisors indicted BY ZACK BUDRYK – 09/25/19 09:00 PM EDT
Interesting article about local government. It reinforces the important role of citizen involvement in their local government and the responsibility of elected officials over those they appoint.
There is a strong correlation between corruption (legal and moral) and a lack of check and balances on power.
I googled the “Warren County Coalition” and found the article on their 2019-2020 budget process. The 2020 Brown County budget hearings had some similarities with the Warren County 2019/20 budget hearings regarding citizen opposition to tax increases.
Warren County had 50 citizens speak out against tax increases and 10 citizens spoke at the hearing last year. In Brown County, we had 2 citizens speak out last year and four this year.
Virginia has a little different system where their Board of Supervisors can approve education budgets. Indiana gives this responsibility to local school boards. (Warren County, VA has a population of 40K, our is 15k).
Update: Bloomington Farmers Market Discord
by Tim J. Clark
Updated Sep 25, 2019.
Background. The controversy with the Bloomington Farmers Market started in Nashville. A summary of the issues provided in my post: Discord in the Community …
The article includes misleading statements. It associates Sarah Dye – an owner of Schooner Creek Farms, with the American Identity Movement (AIM), which has been labeled a white supremacist organization. The AIM website includes the following statement: “AIM prohibits the advocacy of or participation in supremacy, violence, or illegal activity. We reject extremism of any stripe.” Where is the proof that the AIM statement is false?
The article also references an article by NBC News and included the following statement: “This week, the Department of Homeland Security added white supremacy to its list of priority threats.” The complete reference included the following statement: “For the first time since it was formed after the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security is adding white supremacist violence (emphasis mine) to its list of priority threats in a revised counterterrorism strategy issued Friday.”
Acts of violence are a criminal violation. Does the article lead readers to infer that the owners of SCF are involved in or are likely to be involved in criminal activities?
Where are the facts that the owners of SCF have successfully participated in the market for 9 years, have followed the rules and have treated customers with respect? Where is the story that vendors at the Market can be now discriminated against (with the support of the city) for exercising their first amendment rights?
Another perspective on journalistic standards described by Laura Lane, (Bloomington) Herald-Times in her Aug 3, 2019 Commentary: “Don’t forget the First Amendment.”
Link to the above graphic –Overall Concept County Financial Decision Support
Project Context – Regional Support and Partnerships:
Project Update – meeting notes below: Follow-Up Video Conference – 9/20/2019. Roger Morris, Jomar Floyd
Data Warehouse and Examples. A data warehouse can be used to store the information provided to the State from the Counties to support analysis and decision making. Information from the State is available to download and can be transferred to a data warehouse.
Data Warehousing > Concepts > Data Modeling – Conceptual, Logical, And Physical Data Models – 2018 County Financial Decision Support Model Data Sets
Example – Current Situation (Status Quo). Analysis of property assessment trends with data available through the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF). Data had to be downloaded one year at a time to manually develop a consolidated spreadsheet.
Support for County Financial Decisions Support – the Concept – (See above graphic)
History – IU SPEA/MPA Support for Brown Country
Other Projects Indiana – Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Community Vitality Indicators (CVI) that could be supported through a data warehouse and analytic support.
Per the County Treasurer:
Mary Smith We take payments on tax sale eligible properties until 4pm the day before the sale. If someone came in the morning of the sale to pay I, of course, would take their payment, but that doesn’t happen very often.
A list of the current eligible parcels will be in the paper next week. Also current lists are available every day on our vendor’s web page. It updates every day.