Bil Browning

When You Get Discouraged

Filed By Bil Browning | October 26, 2005 5:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics

When working with your city councilor to get the human rights ordinance passed has you worn out and tired you can always read Matt Tulley's column in today's Indy Star. And then you'll be glad that you're not dealing with Lawrence city government.

Here are a few of the more memorable moments -- which included conspiracy tales, tears and bizarro behavior -- that came with reporting today's column about city government in Lawrence.

City Councilwoman Linda Treat threatened me with a lawsuit for asking questions. Then, as I sought to end our chat, she sobbed. Finally, the Democrat, who usually votes with Republicans, said she's received death threats since joining the council.

Mayor Deborah Cantwell, a Democrat, agreed to an interview but came armed with two aides who tried to answer many of my questions. Cantwell talked about political opponents who allegedly have had her stalked, and later forwarded e-mails from a council critic, hoping to make the council member look bad.

Republican Council President Paul Whitehead -- hereafter known as King Gossip -- questioned whether the mayor even lives in Lawrence. Eerily, he talked of someone who drives by Cantwell's Lawrence home "every night and sees nothing." What does he expect to see? Most evenings, my home looks pretty quiet from the outside.

Cantwell friend and political adviser Steve Laudig dodged questions for several minutes about what work he does for Cantwell. After a frustrating conversation in which he said little that I understood, Laudig sent me a 5,061-word letter criticizing a story that appeared in The Star last week.

And that pretty much sums up Lawrence city government. It's Soap Opera City. The Land of Pointed Fingers. A Place that Common Sense Forgot.

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Marla R. Stevens said...
This comes as no surprise. Generally, the less a municipality's police force pays attention to the law, the screwier the municipality's government in general.

Often I'll invoke the tried and true "follow the money" which isn't a bad idea here, either, but, in this case, the incredibly high percentage of illegal and creative entrapped park sex busts showed the way.