Sunday, October 07, 2007


Freedom of Speech intends to present the facts and information to you the readers. You and us the taxpayers of New Albany will be footing the legal bills. Is this blackmail as stated by Council Member Donnie Blevins in a recent Newspaper article?

Is this strictly political? Or is this for financial gain to build a brewery downtown?

This Redistricting issue is about a small group of citizens who feel their 14th Amendment Rights have been violated. So...what about the rest of us?

Why do they think they are so special?

Could it be the Plaintiffs have promised certain candidates they can deliver maybe 20 or 30 votes for them if they speak out for their Redistricting plan?

They waited almost 4 years before filing this lawsuit. They had all the opportunity for over 3 years to bring this issue before our council.

So what does this tell you the citizens of New Albany about the Plaintiffs?

Their demands are outrageous!

It appears that this document was not drawn up by an attorney.

Why is it that this group of Plaintiff's think they have the right to change the law? Why are their demands so ridiculous? New Albany is not a 3rd World Country.

They think they have a right to be part of the legislative body. If that's true, then, they need to run for Council and be elected instead of trying to act like legislators!

This is our summary of what they are demanding:

They want the Council to approve and pay for their CDBC Commission (Council District Boundaries Commission) expenses for:

* Office material

* Material expenses

* Funds to hire an expert

* Professional Assistance

* Allowance for Public Communication

* Per Diem expenses ($50.00 per meeting for Committee)

By the way Plaintiff's -- "You forgot to include "Cell Phones, Longevity Pay, Comp Time, 1 -Commission Attorney, Personal days, Sick leave, Insurance benefits, Life Ins., Liability Insurance, Holiday pay, City Pension Plan, City take home cars and FREE PARKING in the State Street Parking Garage" for each member of your Commission!

Did we leave anything out?

IC 36-4-6-3 requirements to redistrict are " as nearly as possible, equal population".

The plaintiff's request is that this shall mean "No district shall exceed in population another District by more than 100 people". Are they trying to alter Indiana Code?

The Council will be OBLIGATED to approve a plan submitted by the CDBC COMMISSION and NO OTHER.


Council and defendants will pay from CITY FUNDS the court cost of about $400.00.

Council and defendants will pay the attorney's fee's incurred by the plaintiff's.

When you have a problem, you set up a new committee or board and pay additional staff members. Freedom of Speech believes this situation is just like all government solutions:

Then, the taxpayers foot the bill and nothing gets done!

Plaintiffs--- you need to get a pencil and paper and your calculator and get busy with the numbers. Why don't you lay your suggested plan on the table?

We suggest to all of our readers to read the full and complete demands and then contact Council President Larry Kochert at (812) - 945-7652 and voice your DEMANDS. "It's our tax dollars paying the bill!"...

The Redistricting Plaintiffs complete..."DEMANDS!"

Accordingly, the parties agree to perform the following actions:

1. The Council will refuse to take up for consideration any plan to redraw the city's legislative districts except as outlined in this agreement, including any plan now proposed to Council or subsequently presented before the end of the current term in January of 2008.

2. The Council will immediately pass an ordinance or resolution establishing a County District Boundaries Commission (CDBC, or, Commission). The ordinance or resolution will provide for the reasonable expenses of the Commission during the term of its members, including office and materials expenses, funds to hire such expert or professional assistance as the Commission may require to perform its duties, allowances as the Commission may require to perform its duties, allowances for public communications and notice of the Commission's proceedings, and per diem expenses as outlined below.

3. Under the ordinance or resolution, the Commission will consist of three (3) persons from among the plaintiff's, as designated by the plaintiffs, and the three (3) persons who during their terms of office serve as at-large members of the Council. Upon the expiration of an at-large member's term, that seat on the Commission will be assumed by the person (s) sworn to a new term in 2008.

4. The Commission will be charged with examining the data from the 2000 decennial census, taking public testimony and other submissions, and preparing a lawful plan to redraw the city's legislative districts in compliance with the Stipulations above and the Statute and submitting same to Council at any time in 2008, but no later than September 1, 2008.

5. The Council will be obligated to approve a plan submitted by the Commission, and no other, and pass an ordinance effecting the plan, or, in the alternative, to reject the plan by returning it to the Commission, with comments, for further deliberation. The Commission will continue to submit plans for approval by the Council until a plan is approved and made effective by ordinance, provided that the Council shall, before December 31, 2008, approve a plan submitted by the Commission, at which time the terms of the members of the Commission will end. The ordinance creating the Commission, however, shall remain in effect and may be activated for future activities at the discretion of the Council, who may by ordinance or resolution determine a manner for choosing its membership.

6. The Commission shall meet no less often than two times each calendar month, beginning with the month of October 2007. to perform it's duties, and its members each shall be entitled to submit claims for a per diem of $50.00 per meeting, until the terms of its members expire with the passage of an ordinance that lawfully draws legislative districts for the city.

7. The Commission will conduct all its meetings under the provisions of the Indiana's "Open Door Law" and the "Access to public Records Act" as they apply to the legislative bodies of second class cities, including all provisions for public notice and access. Furthermore, the Commission will solicit public comment by means of open hearings and all other means and will accept proposals, testimony, comments, questions, and suggestions by oral or written submission by6 interested parties, including but not limited to past or present members of the Council, other elected officials, party officials, and others, except as limited by statute.

8. The Commission shall elect from among its membership a chairman, vice chairman, and recording secretary and shall conform to Robert's Rules of Order to settle parliamentary questions. The chairman shall call and conduct the meetings and proceedings of the Commission. The vice chairman shall preside in the absence or recusal of the chairman. The recording secretary shall keep the minutes of the Commission.

9. The Commission shall establish a Web site to solicit submissions and to disseminate notices and other proceedings of the Commission, including all documents submitted to them and other documents it deems to be necessary in order to understand the proceedings and proposals considered by the Commission.

10. The parties agree that the Council and defendants will pay from city funds the filing fees and court costs of plaintiffs, estimated to be approximately $400.00, and to pay the attorney's fees incurred by the plaintiffs in prosecuting this lawsuit, stipulated to be $2,500, to date.

11. Once lawfully approved by a majority of Council, this consent decree shall become effective and be incorporated in plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

12. Unless properly signed by the parties and submitted to the clerk of the court of jurisdiction, the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana, New Albany Division, on or before October 2, 2007, this offered to enter a consent decree and dismissal of the lawsuit will be deemed to have expired.

The parties to the above-captioned lawsuit stipulate:

1. Under the statutory provisions outlined in IC 36-4-6-3 (Statute") and incorporated by citation into this agreement, the Common Council for the City of New Albany ("Council") has an affirmative duty to, after each decennial census, draw legislative districts that, among other requirements, contain, as nearly as is possible, equal population, and

2. To date, Council has not complied with the provisions of the Statute following the 2000 decennial census, and

3. The city's six legislative districts are, as defined by the 2000 decennial census, grossly unequal, violating the Statute, the equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution, and

4. Upon reliable testimony of the Circuit Court Clerk for Floyd County, New Albany is believed to be unique among Indiana cities in that its legislative districts are not only grossly unequal in population but that they do not cross precinct boundaries to achieve districts that contain, as nearly as is possible, equal population, as directed under part (d) of the Statute, and

5. To achieve districts that contain, as nearly as is possible, equal population, it will be necessary to cross precincts boundaries as they currently exist, and

6. The interest of the public in the drawing of legislative districts makes it imperative that all discussions regarding the process and the creation of the required ordinance to draw the districts be conducted in public and with the utmost participation by the public, including submissions, comments, and questions, and

7. The drawing of lawful districts should be performed in a deliberate and measured manner and should not be conducted in such a way as to create suspicion by the public and should not be done under threat of false and arbitrary deadlines or conditions, and

8. The drawing of lawful districts is necessary to enable residents to organize and otherwise plan electoral actions with sufficient notice of how those districts boundaries will lie, and

9. No necessity exists for such boundaries to be drawn in haste and that delay will not compromise the interests outline in Stipulation 8, and

10. For the purposes of this consent decree and as between the parties, the provisions in the Statute that require districts to be drawn that "contain, as nearly as is possible, equal population" shall mean that no district shall exceed in population another district by more than 100 people.

Source: Freedom of Information Act

Freedom of Speech would like to say if you don't want your Tax Dollars wasted on these "outrageous demands" contact your council members:

Council President Larry Kochert at (812) - 945-7652

Councilman - Donnie Blevins (812)944-4856

Councilman - Jack Messer (812) 949-9638

Councilman - Kevin Zurschmiede (812) 945-7827

Councilman - Dan Coffey (812) 949-1262

Councilman - Bill Schmidt (812) 945-7386

Councilman - Steve Price (812) 941-9032

Councilwoman - Beverly Crump (812) 948-2603

Councilman - Jeff Gahan (812) 949-9314

In today's America, because of political maneuvering, deal cutting, lies and corruption, propaganda, and for other countless other reasons, many people think it is the people who must serve local government.

That is not how our Nation was created, and that is not the law.

Understand this: Our local government, created by the people, serves the people. Our Constitution is now, and has been, for many years, the only thing that has kept this Nation and our City from outright tyranny.

Our duty as citizens is to protect it so it can protect us. Not hide behind the Constitution for financial and so called political gain!

Freedom of Speech believes since the "laws" were created by the People and for the People and affect the People, then, obviously, our Mayor is over the line to try to force a settlement when it is not in the "best interest of us the taxpayers" of New Albany.

Has the Mayor read Indiana Code?

IC 36-4-4-3 Mayor: The Mayor exercises the "Executive Authority" of the city and is primarily concerned with the day to day operations.

IC 36-4-4-4 Common Council: The Council exercises the "City Legislative Authority", makes the laws that govern the City and Appropriates the cities monies.

Source: Indiana Elected Municipal Officials Handbook

Everyone in this City has the RIGHT to his/her opinion. We welcome all opinions. Although we may not agree with all expressed opinions, we, as taxpayers of New Albany, support your RIGHT to say anything you want.

Our "opinions" are based on and supported by fact, law and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Harry Truman said it best: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."