2020 County Elections – Democrat Platform – Racism – LoWV

The Democrat candidates for Commissioner and Council have developed their platform (positions). Republican candidates have not.


Sep 23, 2020.  BCD. ELECTION: County council at large Q-and-A By

Sep 21, 2020. Candidate Forum  – Sponsored by the Brown County League of Women Voters.

  • We believe in the dignity of and civil and human rights of all people. We call for the end to racism in all forms. We call for a review of all county laws, directives and initiatives of all kinds by any agency or segment of county government to determine if any such laws, directives or initiatives have or could result in racism or inequality in any form. We call for the expeditious remediation of any such instances so found.
    • The statement: “We call for the end to racism in all forms.”  How is this possible morally or legally?

This position is supported by the Brown County League of Women Voters (LoWV).

  • Resolution_For_Racial_Justice Resolution for Black People and All People of Color.  By majority vote on Saturday, Aug 1, 2020, the board of the Brown County League of Women Voters voted to support the National League of Women Voters’ Resolution for “Racial Justice for Black People and All People of Color.”   Includes the following:
    • Whereas, the League acknowledges painfully that America is a nation founded on racism. We must end white privilege and the myth of white supremacy if we are to become the nation we pledge to be; 

Resolves #136 and #139 met the Leagues criteria for inclusion:

    • Motion #136 – We Resolve First, That the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes;  (1) and,
    • Motion #139 – We Resolve Second, That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC)viii deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” 

Far Left vs Liberals

Inside an Elite Cancel Culture Session, Where Leftists Met the Enemy and It Was … One of Them By Richard Bernstein, RealClearInvestigations, September 08, 2020

  • But the Romano incident also highlighted another, perhaps more far-reaching, aspect of the ongoing culture wars, namely how the “woke” left seems to be devouring old school liberals. While liberals and conservatives still battle on the largest political stage, the Critics Circle fight illustrates the arcane factional struggle within the left, in which the radical faction takes on comparatively easy targets like Romano because they are accessible and vulnerable in a way that actual racists and other non-insiders are not.
  • … the cancel culture won this battle. Certainly it will be more difficult for people in the liberal press, universities, and the nonprofit world to express doubts about what has emerged as the mandatory view on racism — that it is “systemic,” that it is the abiding and chief feature of all American history and life, that we are all culpable in it, and that to deny that culpability is itself racist. 

A Conservative Perspective on Racism and Systemic Racism 

The case of George Floyd

Race and Black Lives Matter (BLM)

    • The Two Very Different Meanings Of ‘Black Lives Matter’, By David Marcus, The Federalist
      • the term has two very distinct, if not contradictory meanings in today’s America. One is a general statement of support for civil rights; the other is a loose Marxist organization with a clear radical agenda.
    • Commentary: The Various Faces of Black Lives Matter by Robert Stilson, RealClearPolitics, June 21, 2020.
      • Black Lives Matter can mean something different depending on what part of the movement is being referenced 
      • BLM began as the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in 2013 in wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. That earliest iteration of the term was the general statement of support. But very quickly BLM became the umbrella name for a network of loosely affiliated activist groups with a very far left set of objectives. In fact one of the founders has said on video that the organization was founded by “trained Marxists.”
    • The agenda of Black Lives Matter is far different from the slogan  By Mike Gonzalez and Andrew Olivastro, New York Post, July 1, 2020
      • Many see the slogan Black Lives Matter as a plea to ­secure the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, especially historically wronged African Americans.  
      • Tragically, when they do donate, they are likely to bankroll a number of radical organizations, founded by committed Marxists whose goals aren’t to make the American Dream a reality for everyone — but to transform America completely.

(1)  “Systemic“.  Regarding implied and direct references to “systems and systemic:”   All results (successes and problems) represent outcomes from systems.  There are methods and tools for identifying, assessing, and improving systems.  These include identifying the aim (purpose, need) of the respective system, capability assessments, operational definitions of the data being used in assessments, cause and effect diagrams, affinity and Pareto charts, histograms, the five why’s, run and process behavior charts to include trend interpretation standards, and analysis of variation – common cause (normal, expected) and special cause variation (outlier, unusual, temporary) to name a few.   The Brown County Leader Network provides support for addressing systemic issues.

Local strategies – Better Government, Systems, Processes

What is becoming even more evident with the Covid related issues is a lack of trust in government and the systems and processes that are providing “We the People” with information and mandates.

o. When you have licensed and competent medical professionals who disagree on preventative and treatment-related strategies, I would like to see (if even possible these days) an objective, independent group (commission?) reconcile (mediate) the differences on our behalf. Where is there agreement? Where is there disagreement and whyt? What are their recommendations along with the associated risks? Politicizing the issue with the intent to retain or gain votes supported by the media only adds to the divisiveness and polarization in the country.

o. Our founding fathers studied and understood human nature and political systems. They recognized that individuals seek to centralize power and power always corrupts which leads to abuse, conflict, and even war (civil, national, global). Our founders designed a system of checks and balances on power that have been eroded over time. For instance, providing the governor with the ability to extend emergency powers without requiring a special session of the legislature is a law that needs to be reviewed.

o. The overall situation has been a little surreal for me. I’ve briefed senior military leaders on controversial topics. The U.S. military and our allies apply a decision making process that integrates a systemic approach that considers all available facts and data, assesses risks, and identifies the best courses of action. Once the action is taken, the situation is constantly monitored and adjusted as more information is obtained. There are also three major focus areas – what is currently happening, what may be next, and what if? Different groups work on these questions and respective strategies.

o. One of the issues that is different is that in a military context, injuries and death are an inherent part of the process. In a civilian context, facing potential mortality is something most people don’t want to think about which leads to fear, and fear leads to anger that is then leveraged by various groups to support their respective agendas.

o. Probably not much we can do in the short-term regarding the national situation, but we can support changes at the state level. At the county level, we could choose to apply better processes in making important decisions.

o. Volunteers within the community have been working to develop a framework (concept, tools, and methods) for assessing a problem, identifying the best options, and determining if and when a change results in improvement. More information at http://browncountyleadernetwork.com/

American Civics

Information Portal – explores the principles and practices
every patriotic citizen should know.

American Civics in the Time of Coronavirus, By Carl M. Cannon RCP Staff, April 08, 2020

  • RealClear has launched an educational portal on American Civics — this piece you are reading is its introductory essay — to give a fair accounting of the Founders and the successive generations who did their part in what Alexis de Tocqueville called “the great American experiment.”
  • … the foundation asked a series of  multiple-choice questions to a statistically valid sample of Americans – questions that are on the actual U.S. Citizenship Test. In 2018, only 36% of poll respondents could pass it. 

ABA 2020 Survey of Civic Literacy – Resources

Three Myths That Explain Why Americans Don’t Know Much About History by Natalie Wexler Education, FORBES

  • Myth #1: History is boring, dry, and useless.
  • Myth #2: Memorizing historical facts and dates is a bad idea. 
  • Myth #3: History is a developmentally inappropriate topic below the third or fourth grade.

RealClearPublicAffairs’s 1776 Series –– explains the major themes that define the American mind.

Nashville Sanitary Sewer Master Plan

Nashville Sanitary Sewer Master Plan July 15, 2020 (173 pages)

(Link to the plan on the Town’s website)

Summary of the Master Plan – Brown County Democrat

Aug 20, 2020. Town Council Meeting.  A presentation on the plan was presented. It was stated the intent was not to approve the plan at this meeting.  The consensus appeared to be that there was a valid need for system improvements and this should be the priority for Nashville. There was no documentation presented of a valid need to expand service to other areas in the county that could be served by the Nashville Plant.

July 28, 2020.  My comments about the plan – also shared at the FaceBook group – Brown County Matters. I reviewed the plan and have a few initial questions below.  I shared these with Town Council Member Nancy Crocker and referenced these questions at last month’s Town Council meeting.

The initial perception is that this is a Town centric strategy.

  • On the town’s “growth”, how many new residents were acquired as a result of annexation (pg 11)?
  • The Town has had a policy that linked annexations with sewer service.  What is the Town’s current position?
  • What is the projected cost to Nashville Sewer customers over the next 10, 20, 40-year planning cycle (pg 1) if there are no new customers, e.g., growth?  Is this information available in a spreadsheet?   Are “future demands” being overestimated to “reduce operations and maintenance costs” to Town customers and taxpayers?
  • 40-year potential and 2.50-mile radius of Nashville (pg 1).  Is the 2.50-mile radius in the current agreement with the Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD)?
  • Reference to “Hill Top” Development.  Is the name “Hill Top” based on a legal description?  The majority of homes are located on Town Hill Rd, East, and West.
  • I am skeptical of the assumptions regarding population and growth projections. Did the assumptions factor in the economic impact of COVID?  What are the qualifications of the individuals guesstimating these projections?  (pg. 14-17)
  • Overall, the county has a low to moderate-income level of 53.1% (2017).  Hook-ups and higher monthly utility costs will be a burden for many.  The “target” of a monthly rate of $65.00 (pg. 37) is likely conservative.  Without growth, costs of maintenance will have to be passed on to the customer. Helmsburg customers are currently paying $92.50.   I would like to see a spreadsheet that projects revenues, costs, and monthly rates over the life cycle of the respective projects given the growth and no growth projections.  Maintenance and repair costs have to be passed on to the customers – many of which are on fixed incomes.
  • The plan references areas with failed/failing septic systems to justify a sewer expansion (pg 10, 14, section 4.3, pg.17). What is the evidence of failure?  How many systems have been identified as failing?
  • Pg 11 – typo regarding the 2018 estimated population of “18,013”?
  • On the Recommended Sewer Matrix chart (pg 28-29),  what is the supporting documentation regarding the ratings?  I live on Town Hill – I was not contacted. Residences have replaced inadequate systems with Presby’s.  What is the detail that supports these ratings?
  • Extraterritorial Zoning Ordinance (pg.3). What is this?  Does it provide the Town with the same powers that are granted to an RSD? An RSD can “force” sewer hook-up. The BCRSD has adopted this standard. Exceptions to the rule are only temporary.

July 15, 2020.  BCD.  Town developing sewer master plan, updates, expansions by Sara Clifford

  • … in 2018, the Brown County RSD vacated about a mile-and-a-half radius around town limits — basically, to the tops of the hills that surround major roads into town — in case the town ever wanted to extend sewer to those properties.
  • This draft sewer master plan includes several neighborhoods in that mile-and-a-half buffer zone as well as others, and prioritizes them, in the engineers’ opinion, according to how quickly the town should or could bring them sewer:

March 11, 2020.  BCD, Plans, fixes being made at town wastewater plant Sara Clifford

  •  Nashville now has a plan to fix the violations which the state found at its wastewater treatment plant last year. In the meantime, new customers…

Dec 4, 2019.  BCD. Town OKs major study of sewer service Sara Clifford – The Nashville Town Council has hired a firm to do a comprehensive study of Nashville’s sewer plant and operations — how the plant is…

Closure – Railroad Crossing – Indiana Hill Rd

Brown County Matters – Facebook Posts

Resolution by the Commissioners County Resolution Indian Hill Rd RR Crossing Closure  and Attachment Indiana Hill Rd Crossing Closure and Settlement Agreement

  • July 21, 2020. Kevin Fleming – Proposing an alternative route
  • June 28, 2020. Jennifer Ruff.  INDIAN HILL ROAD – Update (Sort of) Alright ya’ll – you’re making me feel like I own this place!! Nobody drives down my road anymore!! Get down here and enjoy this beautiful spot!! (Remember – you can only access it from the south side of Indian Hill and it’s narrow with lots of curves, so drive slow and careful.)
  • June 28, 2020. Tim J. Clark Minutes – May 6 Commissioner Meeting
  • June 23, 2020. Paul Nelson. A bit of light on a dark situation After getting into a rather heated discussion over the Indian Hill road closing, I have come to learn that that road will still be available for pedestrian traffic as the road easement is part of the Tecumseh trail.
  • June 16, 2020 – Jennifer Ruff – … Brown County, I’m super disappointed in you. The railroad crossing on Indian Hill Road is now closed. I’m glad you made a deal to get $35,000 from the state so you could put up these horrible road blocks.
  • June 11, 2020,   Jennifer Ruff  Need advice PLEASE!!!  I live in a location in Brown County that is pretty remote — except that it is only about thirty seconds off of 45. I have to drive over a strange slab bridge over a creek and up over a railroad crossing to get to 45.

Brown County Democrat (BCD).

May 6, 2020,  Minutes – Commissioner Meeting – RR Crossing Closure – Indiana Hill Rd



2021 Budget Submissions

2021 Budget. Presentations from the Departments are scheduled for Aug 17, 18, 19. The budget guidance  to the Departments from the Council includes factoring in a cost of living increase from 1-3%.

An increase would be dependent on the status of the 2019 budget and revenue projections for 2021 and 2022.  Copies of the guidance and planning documents below:

June 17, 2021: Guidance

Council Meetings: – 2021 Budget Topics

2020 Assessed Home Values

Stats Indiana provides another link to the  Indiana Real Estate Market reports that includes information by county.

Example: 2020 Brown-County Local Market Update – 2019-2020 and Year to Date Sales provided by Indiana Association of Realtors.

Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF).
FACT SHEET – Trending – Annual Adjustments of Assessed Values

Brown County GIS System. Includes 5 years of data on assessments, tax payments, and description of properties.

Overview of the process.  The Indiana Association of Realtors provides information on sales to include the breakdown by counties.  The county assessor reviews sales by “neighborhoods” that cover an area broader than the immediate area in order to identify the trend of sales.  The calculation of assessed value accounts for “outliers” — property sold statistically higher than the norm.  The median value (the middle point where half of the homes are higher and half are lower), is used to calculate the assessment.

A further check on the assessment is for the property owners to obtain an estimate on market value from local realtors.

The County Auditor uses the information provided by the assessment to calculate the tax payment and the County Treasurer bills the property owners and collects the payments.

MORE INFO – Department Local Government Finance (DLGF)

DLGF – Property Tax Terms and Definitions

DLGF Property taxes are due twice a year. You will receive a statement with upcoming due dates in the Spring.  Current property tax due dates are:

  • May 11, 2020
  • November 10, 2020

DLGF Tax Bill 101

DLGF: Graphic – Assessment_to_Tax_Billing_Start to Finish 

181101 – Assessment-to-BudgetProcess


The State of the Union – Perspective from the Atlantic

The Atlantic was founded in 1857.  Their December 2019 Issue:  The Atlantic Devotes Its December Issue to a Special Report: “How to Stop a Civil War”  Essays consider how America is coming apart—and prospects for rebuilding a more civil, functional, and unified society.

June 2020 Issue Atlantic – Special Preview.  We Are Living in a Failed State.  The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.  By George Packer

  • When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.

Apr 28, 2020. Commentary on the article at at RealClearPolitics.com.  The Perilous State of Our Union, and How We Got Here by Les Francis

May 2019 National survey of citizens sponsored by the American Bar Association

  • The nationally representative poll of 1,000 members of the American public found troubling gaps in their knowledge of American history and government, as well as constitutional rights. One in 10 think the Declaration of Independence freed slaves in the Confederate states and almost 1 in 5 believe the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution are called the Declaration of Independence instead of the Bill of Rights.

  • In [the] 2018 version of the Woodrow Wilson foundation test, only 13% of Americans could accurately tell you when the Constitution was ratified, 60% didn’t know who the U.S. fought in World War II, and only 24% correctly identified a single thing Ben Franklin was famous for. (Some 37% believed he invented the lightbulb.) In the 2019 version of the survey, only 43% knew that President Wilson was the U.S. commander-in-chief during World War I, which was particularly galling to the poll sponsors.