"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Open Letter to Indianapolis city councilors and Mayor Greg Ballard

Arts Funding: Filling in the blanks

I have supported the arts in Indianapolis and been involved in the "scene" for 22 years. My home is stuffed with my 20 year collection of local art. In 2004, I self-funded and produced a national juried art ball that drew 1000 guests from both coasts, paid a lot of people, drew 100 volunteers, and made a small profit. I did it without public funding. I know what I'm talking about.
The arts council funding is not going to the causes that the "save indy arts" crowd would have you believe.Did our city council approve art funding in the first place so that institutions that already run well into the black get the lions' share of taxpayers' dollars that we often borrow from the bond bank? I hope not!

And I hope every member of our council understands that our homes are collateral to the bond bank that floats the loans. The bond bank lending is the crux behind the property tax crisis faced by Marion county homeowners. Please read the blog entry for August 21st on HoosiersForFairTaxation.com website. Here you can read how the arts council chairman (Don Appel) took good care of his top insurance clients of Gregory and Appel to the tune of more than $700,000 in arts grants (that we know about).

You will also learn by reading our blog that two arts journalists (David Hoppe and Travis DiNicola) in Indianapolis accepted $2,750 in Renewal Fellowship Grants from the arts council. Why are journalists being paid off by our arts council? Is that so the arts council can count on Indy's arts media to keep quiet as they self-deal with our funds?

You will also learn that the woman behind the "save indy arts" hysteria lives in Hamilton county and makes her PR/communications living off the very rich institutions who receive most of the arts council funding. Individuals who do not live in Marion county, by law, have no voice in how our money is spent. She lives off Marion county taxpayer funds...no wonder she's upset! Do not accept her testimony at council meetings. You represent only Marion county taxpayers.
Our city did not see a reduction in crime because of arts funding. Our city did not see higher graduation rates because of arts funding. In fact, last I checked, IPS is the poorest performing school system in the entire country next to Detroit...and Detroit's mayor is in jail!
What we are seeing is insiders feeding at the trough at the taxpayers' expense at a time when our city is in dire financial shape. Now is NOT the time for our leadership to loose its political will to cut spending for all non-essential services.
City councilors and the mayor need not fear support from the public on cutting arts funding. Hoosiers For Fair Taxation and our band of activists will be at the September 9th city council meeting and plan to testify and distribute literature so the public can see how they are being deceived by the arts council.This information is currently being distributed to the media by numerous taxpayers who are gravely concerned about the fiscal health of our city.
Unfortunately, we are not full time communications specialists or journalists. We are real people with real jobs working hard to keep up with inflation and staggering tax bills.
For those of you who told taxpayers that you are accountable to responsible spending, now is the time to own your words. Now is the time to stand beside Councilor Scales and show that you care about the dire financial situation faced by our city enough to do something about it. Taxpayers have your back. You will not be left standing alone when you stand up for the taxpayers and our financial health.
Mayor Ballard needs to know that we expect him to keep his promises to cut the arts funding. And that we do not expect him to bend because Lisa Sirkin, a PR/communications specialist profiting from the arts, starts hysteria via internet social media websites, her personal email list, and the save indy arts website.
To illustrate how little regard the arts council has for the taxpayer, a 2006 fundraiser reported on their IRS statement, lost $38,000! How on earth do you lose $38,000 putting on a fundraiser if you care about the public's money? We also found a line item called "miscellaneous" that funded $159,000! More than 10% of the arts budget marked as "miscellaneous".
We need the grownups to step in now and put a stop to spending money we don't have. Taxpayers are counting on our city council and Mayor Ballard to make responsible choices for the people and our children's fiscal future.
I recommend all of you immediately go see I.O.U.S.A., the documentary with former U.S. comptroller David Walker. It is in theaters now and is an urgent warning from our former comptroller that America needs to wake up now or we will lose America.

Melyssa Donaghy, editor/activist

This message is copied to Indy's news media and they are listening.


Anonymous said...

Good parents take control when their children cry because they can't have ice cream before dinner. Bad parents give them the ice cream. You tell them, Melyssa!

Dave Crutchfield said...

If it's reality that we can only take care of so many at our dinner table, why is this economically unfathomable at the government level? Please. Stop spending money we don't have. Thank you and we include your efforts in our prayers, Melyssa.


Thanks Dave...your prayers are needed. And we need you present on Monday Sept 8 at the city council budget hearing.

We need your voice and those you know to give our city councilors and our mayor courage, conviction, and empowerment from The People, to cut funding of all non-essential services.

We also need everyone to see I.O.U.S.A and help spread the word. Our situation is so grave that the former comptroller of the country has given over his life to traveling the states giving warning to Americans that we have to change how we handle money now.

The U.S. has zero. Russia and China have plenty of cold hard cash. What are we going to do about that?

Some (not all) of our politicians want to act, however, they cannot unless they see the political will of the people in person to do so.

We all need to make sacrifice and we need to start thinking in terms of giving (not taking) from our city, state, and country.

Please mark your calendar for 9/8/2008 and join with us once again with the city council to make change like we did last year.

We have new leaders. It is now our job to empower them with the courage to do our will.


Anonymous said...

Pick them off one by one, Melyssa. Hope you take on Indianapolis Downtown, Inc., next. The IDI.

Bart Lies said...

The Arts Council is but one of many special interest groups that are or will be complaining they aren't getting THEIR cut of the pie anymore. They ought to direct their anger towards the folks who arranged for all the pies to go to Jim Irsay, JW Marriott and the Fraternal Order of CIB.

They simply must understand that they won't be getting all-you-can eat buffet service anymore. Not for a long, long time. They can only stand at the back door, begging for a few leftovers at the end of the day.

"Beggars can't be choosers" - it's not just a quaint saying, it's reality. The people that arranged for the "Monster that Ate Indianapolis" to be built made us all that much poorer while THEY get all that more wealthy.

Anonymous said...

Here is the dirty little secret about the art's funding from the city of Indianapolis and the State.



I am so tired of them crying about getting cut. They need to work it out on their own.