Saturday, April 28, 2007

One Rotten Apple

The sixth district’s long countdown to the last days of Chucky Little and his ‘the bridge is failing, the bridge is failing’ attitude has finally come to an end. Hopefully, a new day is dawning with two representatives who care more about neighborhoods than those with big bucks who may contribute to their campaigns.

Unfortunately, Chuck’s sidekick’s days have not ended. While Harry Ingels will no longer be working as an aide in the sixth district offices, he will still be at city hall working for newly elected Russ Johnson from the second district. Harry gave what almost turned into a very tearful goodbye at a recent sixth district community meeting. His speech did draw a few tears from the audience, but not until he mentioned he would be staying on in the council offices.

During Chuck’s early years as councilman many of his constituents wondered who the real councilman was, Chuck or Harry. Hopefully, Councilman Johnson will be strong enough in his position that his aide will remember he is an aide. Those in the sixth district can also hope their cohorts in the second will not have to suffer Ingels’ venom and misplaced sense of authority. Whether on his own or at Chuck’s bidding, Ingels tried his best to divide the sixth district over the Red Bridge issue. He concocted the eleventh hour appearance of supporters of the project by calling people and telling them to appear at the Operations Committee. After the last public meeting he called friends and family and asked them to send in favorable comments, and then got some of them submitted into the official record after the deadline. Also, after a sunshine law request for a handful of documents, he charged an arm and a leg for copying (actually, research to look up emails).

Probably more of an indication of his true self came after a discussion of putting sanitary sewers into one of the older neighborhoods still on septic tanks. Many of those involved were older and on fixed income. The cost of the sewer project was of great concern, but Ingels' response was that they should just all go live in an old folk’s home.

There is great hope riding on the new council. The next four years could be a very positive time for neighborhoods. Our new mayor will undoubtedly change the ‘culture’ of the city council and the way they do business. Yet, it is with heavy heart that many in the sixth district realize how detrimental and insidious the influence of Harry Ingels could be. Russ Johnson certainly has his work cut out for him.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Astroturf Update

Chuck Eddy has been the most visible proponent of the “Bridge-Zilla” plan to widen Red Bridge Road, but Eddy’s aide Harry Ingels is doing a lot of work behind the scenes.

The seemingly miraculous 11th-hour appearance of some supporters of the project in the Operations Committee last December had many wondering if it was Eddy himself, or Ingels, who had rounded them up.

Every time that such an accusation was made, however, the denials were absolute and vehement. But it wouldn’t be the first time for Mr. Ingels.

For example, after the last public meeting on the project, there was a time period for sending in comments to the City for inclusion in the official transcript. Opponents to the project were sending in a large number of comments. Apparently, on the day of the deadline, Harry Ingels got wind of what was happening and called as many of his buddies and relatives as he could and had them send in comments in support. Some of the comments he solicited were received past the deadline, but the City department in charge made exceptions as long as they were in favor of Bridge-Zilla.

Now, Harry Ingels is at it again.

Some of the people opposed to Bridge-Zilla testified at an Operations Committee meeting. There was no one there in favor of the project. After hearing all the testimonies and before the Chair could react, Councilman Eddy mumbled that he knew there were people in favor of his bridge. At that, the Chair held the ordinance for another week -- presumably to give the other side an opportunity to testify. At the next meeting, about two dozen of them appeared. We now have it from a very reliable source that it was Harry Ingels who orchestrated that show of supporters.

Then last week, Red Bridge was on the agenda for discussion in the business session. The leaders of the opposition were told they wouldn’t be allowed to speak to the Council, but, as it turned out, both sides were given an opportunity to testify. Surprise, surprise. The other side was prepared. Chuck Eddy was in the hospital, so it’s doubtful he got the message out.

Harry Ingels strikes again.