Letters: Attacks on trans community, state park potholes, criticism of city council, BZA

·10 min read

'Highlight this human rights issue'

I appreciate the inclusion of the article “Bills Could Protect Transgender People” in Monday’s (Feb. 27) paper. If only the title were referring to our own state, where Indiana lawmakers are jumping on the national bandwagon of attacking the LBGTQ+ community for political gains.

It is important for The Herald-Times to give more visibility to these attacks, specifically HB1680 and SB480, and their potential to deeply harm ALL of our lives. SB480 is particularly cruel; under the guise of protecting children, it seeks to deny transgender youth the ability to receive gender-affirming healthcare. This undermines a child’s innate ability to know who they are, the parents’ desire to fully support their children, and the medical professional’s ability to provide life-saving care.

There are as many ways to be beautifully human as there are people on the planet. It is not our lawmakers’ job or business to decide which kind of human is worthy and which one needs to be erased. Transgender people belong in our state; anti-trans bills do not. I’d like to see The Herald-Times more frequently highlight this human rights issue, and how the impact of HB1608 and SB480 unfolds in our community if passed into law.

Natalie Rodibaugh, Bloomington

State park's potholes big enough for swimmers

Officials at McCormick's Creek State Park say children will not be allowed to swim in potholes when the park reopens this spring. Main roads through the park were not repaved last year, and will not be resurfaced this year, causing hundreds of potholes to pool with water when it rains.

About 640,000 people visit the park annually, driving carefully down a main road so bumpy it reminds a few older guests of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was bombed 1,000 times a month by the U.S Air Force in 1965 during the Vietnam War. Park lovers have discussed forming an "Adopt a Pothole" program, but there may be a quicker remedy. The Indiana Department of Transportation has a HOTLINE to complain about the conditions of main roads in McCormick's Creek State Park. Just dial 1-855-463-6848. Operators are waiting.

Dave Horn, Bloomington

Not happy with city council

Are we best served by the city council? The feds say our jail will go into federal management if we don’t have a new one. The county folks identified a likely site for it within the city limits, but the “No” city council faction shot it down, probably because it wasn’t their idea originally (nor was it their responsibility to find).

The county commissioners now must find a jail location outside the city limits, and yet it was the supposedly distant proposed location that some council members complained about.

The city council approved moving the police department against the will of the police. Did anyone factor into the enormous cost (compared to that of expanding the PD’s current building) of making all that glass bulletproof? The great difficulty of recruiting police will increase further since the city council clearly doesn’t care about them. Why not use the money saved by not moving the police department for the new jail? — oh wait — the city council won’t give the county that money, or cooperation. Bad governance!

Don’t re-elect Rosenbarger, Volan or Flaherty. Do elect believers in civility as well as cooperation. It’s noteworthy that mayoral candidate Kerry Thomson’s backers include many developers.

Claire Robertson, Bloomington

VOTE411 provides nonpartisan information to voters for the 2023 primaries

Voters who want to know more about candidates in the May 2023 municipal primary elections can find unbiased information from the League of Women Voters' VOTE411.org website.

It offers a wealth of factual election-related data, along with candidates' responses to questions on locally relevant issues posed by the League. At https://www.vote411.org, users can enter their address to see responses from the candidates who are on their ballot, as well as information about voter qualifications, registration deadlines and forms, ID requirements, and election dates.

The site also has information about early voting dates and options, including the requirements for voting absentee and how to obtain an absentee ballot. The polling place locator, an important resource for many voters, shows where the voter’s precinct will vote on Election Day. According to the League, this information is sought by many voters just before and on Election Day. Voters can also find information on how to watch debates with a critical eye and other ways to be well informed.

The primary election is May 2. The League urges all eligible citizens to register and vote!

Debora Shaw, spokesperson, League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County

Shame on the BZA

Shame on the Monroe County Board of Zoning and Appeals for going back on their word. Shame on the Kerr Creek Road community for playing the "not in my backyard" card when Sojourn House for Women purchased a home in that area.

The Zoning Board originally told Sojourn House that there would not be a problem with obtaining the necessary variance prior to the purchase of a home on Kerr Creek Road. Then came the residents in that area, many of which would call themselves a person of faith. "Not In My Backyard" is a mean-spirited and ignorant argument.

Human trafficking is alive and well in Monroe County and southern Indiana. If the problem is already here, and it is, why would you not want the solution to be here as well. Do not victimize the victims! Open your hearts, your minds, and your neighborhood to nurturing, educating, and supporting women who have experienced trafficking. The Bible, The Koran, and The Torah would encourage you to do so also.

Jodi Hoagland, Bloomington

Write Rep. Houchin about defaulting on debts

How can we achieve government fiscal responsibility? Not by “refusing to raise the debt ceiling,” which does not mean setting limits on future spending, but means refusing to pay our debt on money already borrowed and spent.

Defaulting on our loans could cause a stock market crash, millions of jobs lost and a prolonged recession. The GOP threatens this destructive default if Democrats don't agree to spending cuts such as making it harder to get food stamps and reducing funds for medical care and environmental protection.

A better step toward fiscal responsibility would be to cut military spending. This year’s military budget is higher than the next nine countries combined, including Russia and China. It exceeds what the Pentagon deems necessary. It wastes money on weapons that don’t work well, like the F-35 combat aircraft, and pays for nuclear weapons systems that actually endanger us by making it more likely that a false alarm (which are not uncommon) could result in world-wide nuclear disaster.

I have written to Rep. Erin Houchin asking her to refuse to risk recession by defaulting on our debts and to practice fiscal responsibility by cutting military spending. Add your voice, and hold her accountable.

Margaret Squires, Bloomington

Some businesses left out of article

In regard to Talisha Coppock's comments in the 20 March Herald-Times ("Positive Outlook for Downtown Businesses"), she mentioned some of businesses currently operating but left out others, which makes readers wonder about her selection criteria.

Among those omitted was Tivoli Fashions on the south side of the square. This is a longtime Bloomington business, still operated by its original owners, that survived the pandemic closures and continues to grace the square with beautifully decorated display windows and high-quality merchandise. The shop deserves to be mentioned among the retail establishments that are committed to maintaining a business in the downtown area.

Penelope Mathiesen, Ellettsville

Thankful for county departments' actions

Thanks to the Monroe County Highway and Solid Waste Management Departments for expeditiously taking action to make our neighborhoods safe and clean. Potholes are filled and roadside trash is picked up quickly after requests are made.

Jim Borman, Bloomington

Critical thinking needed

Critical thinking: “Thinking that is rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence” is gradually being eroded by those “enlightened ones” in our national media. They wish to filter everything through an ideological lens. They appear to believe they’re morally justified in artfully tweaking information to accommodate a particular point of view.

A good chunk of our population is embracing this shift. They tune out when an accurate accounting of events is not to their liking. At the same time, they’ll listen to almost anyone who might conjure up a more agreeable narrative.

Much of the information we receive from major news sources is flat-out propaganda. Moreover, there is rarely any accountability when a story has been published that’s shown to be blatantly false. For those who wish to consume information that has not been tainted by a particular ideology, it’s become downright challenging.

There is ample evidence to suggest that our culture is losing its appetite for unvarnished truth. This seems to be discernible on both sides of the political aisle. Until the public demands accuracy above all else from those who provide news and information, critical thinking will take a backseat. The willfully misinformed have seized control of the wheel. Lord only knows where they’re taking us.

Scott Thompson, Bloomington

Tell legislators not to expand private school funding

Our state legislators are at it again. Another budget session. Another opportunity to earmark more public education funds for private schools. 70% of new budget funds are currently earmarked for private schools that educate only 7% of students (HB1001). Only 5% will go to public schools. The rest to charters.

On top of that, they are trying to pass legislation that affects the safety of children’s learning conditions (SB486) and make public school a less welcoming place for LGBTQ children and families (SB12, HB1608). There is a national teacher shortage, record inflation, and a record state surplus. Now is not the time for petty "culture war" bills that divide communities. Now is not the time for putting private schools that can legally discriminate before public schools.

Legislators should fund public schools first. Public schools are the heart of the community. They are required to welcome and educate all children. Who will teach our children if legislators continue to make it an unattractive profession? You can defend your public schools by calling your legislators. Tell them to not expand private school funding. Fund public schools. Support teachers. Stop the culture wars. House (317) 232-9600 and Senate (317) 232-9400.

Keri Miksza, Bloomington

Supports Don Griffin for mayor

I am thrilled to support Donald Griffin for mayor of Bloomington. Donald Griffin is the only candidate in the mayoral election this spring that knows how the job is done. As deputy mayor, he gleaned real experience by addressing housing and homelessness, overseeing city staff, and improving the quality of life for residents of Bloomington.

Led by his experience in the mayor’s office and as a business owner, he has created ambitious plans to improve sustainability, housing, accessibility and belonging, and community growth. He is the only candidate who can follow through on promises that he has made. As a mother and lifelong Hoosier, I want a mayor with experience in leadership who will also demonstrate kindness and inclusivity. Donald Griffin rises to the top on all counts. Vote Don Griffin for mayor!

Katherine Jochim Pope, Bloomington

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Letters on Bloomington elections, businesses, state and federal laws