Rudy: Ramblings & Rumblings
— 2009 Reports on matters pertaining to Gary, Indiana Mayor Rudy Clay's running of the "Steel City"
— Go To: Archived 2009 (Jan - Jun) Rudy Report
— Go To: Archived 2008 Rudy Report
— Go To: Jacko Jabber (Reporting on the death of Michael Jackson)
CHECK OUT THE RUDY CLAY GRAPHIC CONTRIBUTED BY A DAVE'S DEN USER — RUDY GRAPHIC
Gary Trash Deal Advances
GARY -- The Gary Sanitary District board wasted neither time nor words Friday as it unanimously approved a two-year contract with Allied Waste to pick up residential garbage. After listening to a brief overview of the agreement from corporation counsel Susan Severtson, commissioners cast their votes.
In contrast to GSD commissioners, City Council members had plenty to say at a news conference that began minutes after the district adjourned its meeting.
"I've estimated it would cost $3.5 million if city workers do the job, as
opposed to Allied's cost of $5.5 million," Councilwoman Ragen Hatcher, D-at
large, said. The six council members vowed to study the 24-page document before
they meet Tuesday.
Activist With Trash Gets Ticket
GARY -- Police arrested City Hall's most vocal and dependable critic Wednesday after he brought trash to a public meeting in a "Mayor Rudy Clay" tote bag. Jim Nowacki said he was carrying his garbage with him because of the lack of trash pick-up in Gary. Allied Waste, the private company that first began collecting the city's trash in October, was told to stop that work last week by the Gary Sanitary District.
"You cannot come into my meeting with garbage in your bag," Deputy Mayor Geraldine Tousant said, adding that she wouldn't mind having him arrested. Security guards escorted Nowacki out of the building, and a police spokeswoman confirmed he was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Pointing to Nowacki's efforts to disannex the Miller area from city of Gary, Clay said "we're not going to play around with him."
The Post-Trib on the Street
Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said he will be a guest on
"Perspective" this weekend on My 50, WPWR TV, Chicago. The show airs at
noon Sunday. ~Jon Seidel
Comment by Harley O. Whatley on July 17, 2009 8:22 AM
Big Deal. This mayor has time for all of the media hype, but does not have time to fix the city of Gary. What a joke. He really does need to be mentally evaluated.
Wirt Alumni Mourn Closing at Final Sale
GARY -- Hours before thousands would pay tribute to Michael Jackson at U.S. Steel Yard on Friday, dozens showed up at 210 N. Grand Blvd. in Miller to rummage through mementos and memorabilia.
For most in attendance, it was a bittersweet way of saying goodbye to an old friend. But it had nothing to do with the King of Pop.
After three score years and 10, what was known as William A. Wirt High School has expired. The former home of the Troopers will become the new location for students of Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
For nostalgia's sake, a garage sale-like event featured cardinal-and-white water bottles, book covers, bumper stickers, seat cushions, stationery, pencils, mugs, caps and T-shirts. Stacks of Wirt yearbooks and black-and-white photographs of students from the 1960s sold for bargain basement prices.
Post-Trib Letters to Ed
I am appalled that Rudy Clay would question why a picture was taken of a Gary city vehicle in another state. It would seem that the mayor would be glad to know that an employee was using a city vehicle for personal use. When he questions the motives for the picture, that says to me that he condones such practices.
In these tough economic times when he is cutting people's jobs, how can he question the motive of the picture and not discipline the employee?
This is just another slap in the face to the people of Gary. It is time we start to speak out more about the practices of our mayor.
He leases an elephant and tells us it eats less than a dog and we should be happy with the money he's saving us. It's time for the greatest mayor in the United States to work for the people of Gary and not himself and his henchmen.
Stanley Baker, Gary -
Tidbits From A Post-Trib Column
The city's median household income of $27,195 is well below the state figure, which is $41,567.
Urban myths cite Gary as ground zero for Ebonics.
Trashing da' Mayor
The Gary City Council has had more than enough time to fix the garbage situation here. Allied had done a fine job, taking everything left at the curb, unlike when the city handled garbage collection. This problem is totally ridiculous, and it seems there are a lot of politicians pointing fingers, mainly Ragen Hatcher. Since the city is broke, something has to give. Gee, I wonder if this is a ploy to make Mayor Rudy Clay look bad. You think? It's pretty obvious that every time Rudy makes a move, it's blocked by the council.
Gary Garbage Mess Rests With Mayor
The trash collection crisis in Gary was not caused by the City Council members.
I agree with the comment made by Councilwoman Ragen Hatcher, "He (Mayor Clay) was elected to run the city and he needs to do that," just as the City Council is the voice of the citizens who elected Rudy Clay to do that job. The City Council members have responded appropriately. Are they and the citizens to blame for a decision that was implemented without any consideration for its legal ramifications?
Luci Horton, director of Gary Sanitary District, said, "It's impossible for the GSD to pay for the work." And the mayor stated that he does not have the authority to have Allied pick up the garbage. This information was known to the mayor and the administrators at the formation of this proposed solution. So the fee that was imposed on the citizens was "authorized" by whom? The cessation of a tax-paid service was "authorized" by whom?
The mayor should understand that the citizens are never opposed to a solution to a problem, but are offended when their opinions are only worthy of being noted in a monetary sense.
— Glenda Smith, Gary
Time for Gary Leaders to Look in the Mirror
Now that the glitter has settled from Friday's hometown tribute to the late Michael Jackson, it's time for the city leaders to look into the mirror themselves. They'll see a petulant, stubborn lot suddenly unable to provide citizens with the most basic of city services -- trash pickup. We're talking about Mayor Rudy and his City Council.
Trash is just the tip of the landfill of ills that ail the Steel City. The parks and firehouses are unkempt and decaying, police are leaving in large numbers along with families with children, and businesses aren't exactly beating down the city's door.
Where to start? Resurrect the notion of the local government academy at IU-Northwest and give all the city's office holders free tuition where they can learn about government and ethics.
For a city to function and prosper, the mayor and city council branches must be running on the same track and in the same direction. In Gary, they're on the same track but smashing head-long into each other on most issues.
Now, because the mayor and council can't agree on how to manage garbage pick-up, residents who pay their salaries must suffer. The garbage issue has become so clouded, a judge can't even sort it out.
It's time for Gary leaders to abandon their own self-serving special interests and find a way to work together to better serve the city and make its citizens proud, not embarrassed.
Take a lesson from the King of Pop's "Man in the Mirror":
"If you wanna make the world
A better place
Take a look at yourself, and
Then make a change..." Michael Jackson.
Mayor Lays Out Museum Plan
Clay said Joe Jackson, originally a Gary steel worker, is forming a committee to build a family museum, possibly on a city-owned parcel off Interstate 80-94 near the corner of 25th Avenue and Grant Street.
The Jackson 5 first began rehearsing in Joe Jackson's small white ranch home at 2300 Jackson St. that's become a quasi-shrine since Michael Jackson's death.
Clay said he has yet to meet with city attorneys on giving the land to such a
committee, but he also said a Jackson museum could become an economic boon for
Gary. "If we can build a museum like Graceland in his hometown for Elvis
Presley, then we can do the same for Michael Jackson in his hometown," he
Gary Trash Contract Canceled
GARY -- "Six members of the Gary City Council are stopping garbage pick-up in Gary, Ind.," Clay said. But two of them, at-large council members Roy Pratt and Ragen Hatcher, refused to be held responsible. "He was elected to run the city," Hatcher said, "and that's what he needs to do."
The mayor's comments Thursday came shortly after the Gary Sanitary District's board of commissioners approved a cease and desist order for Allied Waste, and after a Lake County judge continued a hearing on the matter. The council defeated the fee in a 6-3 vote.
Attorneys for the city said that created a emergency, and GSD Director Luci Horton told her board Thursday that it's "impossible for the Gary Sanitary District to pay" for the work. The agency's cease and desist order will be delivered to Allied Waste's James Metros and takes effect at midnight Sunday. "I do not have the authority to tell Allied to pick up the garbage," Clay said.
Afterward, the mayor's attorneys said they could be "days" away from signing
a new contract with Allied Waste. Without permission from the council to charge
the fee, though, they said the service can't be provided. "They're the ones ones
who can start it up," Clay said of the council..
Broadway Gets Facade Facelift
GARY -- Putting a new face on an old mess may help the city's downtown draw new interest from residents and businesses, Mayor Rudy Clay said. In recent weeks, workers from private companies have been sprucing up building facades the west side of the 600 block of Broadway as part of the mayor's "Adopt-A-Facade" program, the first in a three-phase plan to rehab city-owned buildings on the block.
"It looks a thousands times better than what it was," Clay said of the 600 block of Broadway. "We're heading in the right direction to make downtown look better, and that's what draws people."
On Monday, workers from 1st Metropolitan
Construction continued painting a white face with green and red blocks and an
awning on the front of 612-618 to look like a fictional establishment called Lorenzo's Italian
Gary Trash Bill Canned
GARY -- The City Council rejected a trash fee Tuesday that has been billed to its constituents for months, leaving Mayor Rudy Clay's staff to shrug when asked later if trash collection will continue in the city today. That's because the monthly fee, $12 for most residents and $7 for senior citizens, was meant to help fund a pending contract between the Gary Sanitary District and Allied Waste, the company which has picked up trash in the city for five months without a valid contract.
The ordinance that would have authorized the fee failed in a 6-3 vote after a long and often raucous debate among members of the public. What appeared to swing the vote was the failure of Clay's administration to provide council members with a signed copy of a contract between Allied Waste and the Gary Sanitary District. Only a draft contract, based on a count of 28,500 households in Gary, was presented.
When Roy Pratt, D-at large, announced he wouldn't be voting for
the fee because he was only provided with a draft, Clay was seen shaking his
[COMMENT -GDY]: 28,500 households? I knew Gary was in a state of decline, but I sure had no idea the fall was this precipitous.
Gary May Tap City Funds for Jackson tribute
GARY -- Public money may be needed to cover the cost of an ever-growing
tribute to pop star Michael Jackson in his hometown, Mayor Rudy Clay
acknowledged Monday. However, Clay said in-kind donations have already been
made, so the cost will be lower than it otherwise would have been. "It'll be
pennies compared to what it would usually cost," Clay said. Estimating that
Gary's tribute to Jackson would usually cost about $150,000, the mayor said the
city might be left with a bill of about $4,000 when all is said and
Clay made his remarks as details of the memorial service were coming into focus. Former Miss Indiana Kellee Patterson and singer Deniece Williams were announced as performers last week. A mass choir will also sing "We Are The World," Clay said, and local dance group Krucial Kreationz will also perform. Actor Fred "The Hammer" Williamson will lead a tribute to actor Karl Malden, who grew up in Gary and died last week at 97.
Admission to the event is free. Clay said some of the performers asked for their travel and lodging costs to be paid, but a hotel and rental car company agreed to donate the services. "Now we're trying to get some money for air fare," Clay said.
Reserve police will manage the event, Clay said, so the city won't be paying overtime to public safety workers.
The city is also in talks with the owners of the SouthShore RailCats baseball team to sell souvenirs to visitors at the memorial in an attempt to create revenue. "We'll use some of the money we make to offset the cost on this thing," Clay said.
City Council member Kimberly Robinson, D-5th, is asking visitors to be respectful if visiting the Jackson family home, reminding the public that people are living in the houses next door. "Please be considerate of the neighbors," Robinson said.
Post-Trib Letters to Editor
The city of Gary has passed out a five-page document, attempting to explain the economics of outsourcing garbage collection. Most of this document is incomprehensible. However, in the middle of the final page, there is a clear summary of the expenses for garbage collection in 2008, which divides the costs among four categories:
General Fund Sanitation payroll, including fringe benefits for 28 employees
Gasoline, parts and supplies $234,000.
Motor Vehicle Fund Sanitation payroll, including fringe benefits for 19 employees -- $954,477.
Gasoline, repairs, parts and supplies -- $430,143.
Total -- $2,952,020.
As far as I can see, these categories include all the functions required for day-to-day garbage collection -- 47 employees, plus gas, repairs, parts and supplies.
If the cost of collecting garbage was a little less than $3 million last year, how can we say we are saving money by contracting out this function in 2009 for $5,130,000? The city's own document shows that all of the additional $2,178,000 will be a payment by Gary taxpayers to Allied Waste.
Tom Eaton, Gary
Clay, City Should End Jackson
Compiled From a Post-Trib Editorial
[5 Jul 2009]
Typically, when folks are in love with their hometown, they return often and brag about it to friends and acquaintances. By most accounts, Michael Jackson was not a frequent flyer home. Since he left at age 10, he made just two public appearances in Gary. The entertainer probably spent more time in Dubai and London than in Gary as an adult.
Now that Jackson is dead, Mayor Rudy Clay is beating the drums for the Jackson family to bring Michael home to the Steel City one last time. The mayor's zealous pursuit of a funeral, even one as spectacular as Michael Jackson's, is an exercise in bad taste and self-aggrandizement.
The sad and well-documented life and death of Michael Jackson has become a nonstop television and Internet extravaganza. We get daily updates from Jackson sycophants. It is all Michael, all the time.
So it seems even more distasteful that the mayor of Jackson's own hometown is waging a national campaign for him to "lie in state" in Gary. It would be "a memorial that's fit for the prince of peace and a memorial that's fit for Gary, Indiana's favorite son, the greatest entertainer that ever lived," Clay said recently on a Chicago radio program. The city can rightfully boast it's the hometown of the Jackson family, and it can make its residents and the Jacksons proud with a scheduled July 10 memorial at the U.S. Steel Yard. Beyond that, the legacy in Gary is up to the Jackson family.
City of Gary Truck Cruising in Illinois
GARY -- Mayor Rudy Clay was at a loss Wednesday to explain why a truck bearing the Gary city seal was photographed in Illinois last week, saying he is still waiting for answers from his staff.
However, Clay is now accusing the Illinois resident and Gary property owner who took the pictures of stalking a Gary employee who was apparently behind the wheel. "(The driver) should have called the police on him," Clay said.
The photos were distributed by Andy Young, owner of Andy's Truck & Equipment Co., who said he took them while visiting a customer Friday on the south side of Chicago. Young said he saw the truck, a white Jeep, traveling westbound on 100th Street and he turned around to follow it.
"After a while (the driver) did seem to realize he was being followed," Young said. In one picture, the driver of the white Jeep can be seen holding a hand to the windshield in an apparent attempt to block the camera. In another, the truck is seen waiting at a stop light at Torrence Avenue and State Street.
NWI Jobless Rates
LaPorte's jobless rate in May was 11.7 percent -- well above the national rate of 9.1 percent and statewide rate of 10.4 percent. Lake County was at 10.5 percent and Porter at 9.6 percent.
Gary School Board Reform?
OK, Pied Piper, please lead the children out of Gary to a city that has their best interests at heart. The School Board rehired the same administrators and principals, rewarding them with higher salaries of more than $90,000. Their schools did not make their adequate yearly progress goals, they have poor graduation rates, low ISTEP scores, high suspensions and low student and teacher morale. Yet, they say they might have to lay off more teachers and support staff. Run, children, run. You deserve better. Why is your community not speaking out against this travesty?
Gary Seeks $25 Mill to Demolish Buildings
GARY -- Ducking through a torn screen door into a collapsing home filled with beer bottles, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh and Mayor Rudy Clay led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's deputy secretary Tuesday on a tour of a dilapidated neighborhood in Gary.
"We didn't pick this out," Bayh told Ron Sims as the federal officials looked at the broken windows and debris covering the floor. "We just walked down the street."
Sims inspected the neighborhood near East 5th Avenue and Georgia Street, peeking into empty homes and speaking to residents before participating later in a roundtable discussion at City Hall.
The secretary made his visit as Gary is preparing an application to HUD for $25 million from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The money would be used to tear down more than 900 abandoned homes and 200 empty commercial buildings in the city.
[COMMENT -GDY]: 1,100 structures to be torn down? What does that say about the "state of the city?"
Viza Air in Early Talks with Gary Int'l.
Gary/Chicago International Airport Directer Chris Curry says he is in the early stages of talks with a start-up airline that wants to provide passenger service from Gary to Washington, D.C., and Newark, N.J. Talks with Viza Air Inc. began about four or five months ago, Curry said. The airport has asked for a business plan from the airline. "We haven't gotten that in full detail yet," Curry said.
Derric Price, owner and chief financial officer of the company, said he was waiting to release a business plan until the airline confirmed its slots at Reagan National and Newark Liberty International airports. Those slots have been confirmed, Price said. Curry said, "Those (gate slots) are very hard to come by."
Viza's goal, Price said, is to begin service in August to Washington and to Newark in September.
There are no plans to provide marketing money to the airline, Curry said.
[COMMENT -GDY]: Well, here we go again! Who/what is Viza, one has to ask. Will it even/ever get off the ground?
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