Letters to the Editor 6-16-16

521

Landslide rebuttal

To the Editor:

It seems that in normal everyday living, there just isn’t enough opportunities to quote those unforgettable words by “Ricky Ricardo” and his irrefutable frustration for his wife when he’d cry out, “Lucy…you got some ‘splainin’ to do!” Yet it seems every time Wil Goering speaks about our landslide situation, we can’t help but to utter the same phrase, with the substitution of, “Mr. Goering… you got some ‘splainin’ to do!”

The sad truth of the matter is this is our tragedy and is as far from comedy as one could get.

Piece by piece we will address the holes in the most recent collaborative narrative by Mr. Goering and Mr. Lyons. In reference to Mr. Goering’s denial of the original statement that the engineers reports would not be made public because of it being purchased through casino dollars, is completely untrue. The county auditor contacted me (Melissa) on May 20th, 2016 at exactly 8:42 a.m. as a result of my attempt to call and attain the report. She was very kind and explained that the county doesn’t have a special fund for engineering reports, so the report was paid for out of casino dollars and not tax dollars, which keeps it from being made public. She stated she would verify this with Mr. Goering and if it were any different, she would let me know. That same afternoon Mr. Goering contacted our attorney to inform him that he would not be releasing the report because it was purchased through other sources of revenue.

Fast forward to just a few days later on May 24th, 2016 when Mr. Goering, Mr. Lyons and the two engineers that have already assessed the landslide came out to do another assessment. This was Mr. Goering’s first and only time to our property. It seems it would’ve been more logical to have a third opinion by different engineers rather than using the same ones, and in our opinion it appears that it could be that it was done this way in an effort to get the two engineers to tone down the original report(s) to reflect less blame on the county.

It’s still unclear as to why they assessed the property again that day and has become just another report Mr. Goering has taken additional control over, but will hold no value without the original reports being disclosed. That day Mr. Goering shared with our attorney that it was costing the county $2500 an hour to pay the engineers to come back out and reassess the property; this was not our request to have another assessment, this was Mr. Goering’s doing. Based on the fact that the engineers came from Indianapolis, it’s our estimation that the bill for May 24th, 2016 was somewhere around $10,000.

Mr. Goering claims to be protecting the county taxpayers from litigation, but won’t share the investment information he has already cost the county taxpayers. Oddly enough, when I asked Mr. Goering on May 24th, 2016, if he could please let us see the report, he told me he couldn’t let us because the county insurance might choose not to pay us restitution if we were to see what’s in the report.

Interesting how Mr. Goering has now decided to take this to a new level by tugging on the heartstrings of the Switzerland County taxpayers. Mr. Goering has also informed our attorney two different times that he is working with the county insurance company to offer settlement, yet that day never has come.

What hurts the most about Mr. Goering trying to convince the Switzerland County taxpayers that he’s seeking to protect them, is that he doesn’t even consider the fact that we too are Switzerland County taxpayers. Why is it that he is not concerned about protecting the people of Switzerland County from open assault on all of our properties? If what Mr. Goering means by saving the taxpayers money, is that he plans to manipulate the truth, then we ask everyone to ask themselves how good of an attorney is he for our county?

Mr. Goering is not protecting the taxpayers in the slightest, and something we all need to ask is, who is protecting the taxpayers from the actions of the county?

Please do not allow Mr. Goering to attempt to inflate his legal knowledge by stating various legalese, because realistically he anticipates nobody will really look into his links and jargon and will just believe him. However, when he messed with these two Switzerland County residents, he has messed with the entire county because we are here to advocate not just for ourselves, but for all of the people of Switzerland County.

Here’s the part where we blow up Mr. Goering’s “protecting the county taxpayers” comment to oblivion.

According to The Indiana Constitution Amendment of 2010 (see link below), it states that there is a cap on Indiana property tax; in layman’s terms, the Switzerland County residents will not have to pay for our restitution.

Please consider this: we are not the enemy, we are the victims and we are hoping that by fighting the county in their illegal actions will prevent other attacks on other residents in the future.

https://ballotpedia.org/Indiana_Property_Tax_Cap_Amendment,_Public_Question_1_(2010)#Election_results

On March 21st, 2016, we presented the erosion issues by going through the proper channels of being placed on the agenda to speak at the commissioners meeting. We attended and provided a 2.5 page report that was titled “Evans Hill Road Erosion/Slippage Issues” and Mr. Goering was wrong to state that it was called “Claim”. While it did include our Claim, it also included Rebuttal; Statement of Claim; Subclaims, Support and Underlying Logic. This report was prepared by utilizing a professional format in our effort to provide complete clarity to the erosion issues and can be viewed on our website at Indianalandslide.com.

Mr. Goering also quoted us as saying in the mentioned report, “you’re responsible for our loss”, however, that is another lie told by Mr. Goering because, although we absolutely know the Switzerland County Highway Department is to blame, it is not stated in that report, and so Mr. Goering certainly had no right to misquote it as unprofessionally as he has.

When we presented the report at the March 21st, 2016 meeting, we did so with the intent of seeking a solution to save our home and there was no mention of litigation whatsoever. When Ed inquired about the fact that the county highway department had dumped the rock into the creek and asked if they could just get it out, it was clearly a well-known issue because immediately Darrell Keith, the county highway superintendent stated “We cannot reach it” and that he couldn’t get it out because IDNR will not allow heavy equipment into the creek bed and stated that there are strict permitting restrictions to get into the creek. We found out later they have never obtained one permit for any work on Evans Hill Road, and on May 4th, 2016, IDEM cited them for their unauthorized dumping of rock into the creek.

Mr. Lyons said that they will investigate the issue further and Mr. South followed up with stating that it won’t be taken care of right away though. Mr. Goering did not even look at the report at that point and the only thing we heard Mr. Goering say at all during that meeting was when he was asked by county resident Ann Mulligan if he had come up with appropriate wording regarding her dog being viciously killed at the mouth of another dog. Mr. Goering’s response was that he thought Ms. Mulligan was going to come up with the wording, to which she stated she had told him to move forward with providing the appropriate language on his own. Mr. Goering then responded that he had been ill all week and did not have a chance to get to it.

At that point, Mr. South came up with wording in what appeared to be a way to protect Mr. Goering from looking like a fool any further. Just another example of the incompetence and complete disregard Mr. Goering demonstrates for the people of Switzerland County.

Another untruth Mr. Goering has stated about us is in regards to asking a question at another meeting. For the record, we have never attended any other meetings except for the March 21st, 2016 meeting, but he has said that we asked the question at the May meeting of where the report is. How is that possible for us to ask any questions if we weren’t even in attendance? What actually happened is that the meeting took place on May 2nd, 2016 and the question was asked by Rosemary Bovard, where we read about it in the public minutes days later. The Board of Commissioners report reads as follows, “She asked about Evans Hill Road and Steve said they are waiting on the engineer’s report.”

Mr. Goering speaks of emails that he had with the commissioners prior to the meeting inquiring about whether or not the report had come in, to which he was replied to that it hadn’t, but Mr. Goering failed to inform any of us of the dates of the emails. We can tell you with 100-percent accuracy as well as Mr. Lyons can attest to that Mr. Lyons had visited our property on April 27th, 2016 as a courtesy visit. He spoke with Ed and shared with him that he had seen the Engineers report and that there is some mention of a solution, but Steve then related that the suggested solution is too late now and wouldn’t work. We’d love to see the emails dated May 2nd, 2016 before the commissioners meeting, but maybe they have gone MIA as this happens sometimes when someone is challenged to resurrect them.

On March 30th a civil engineer from Jansen and Spaans first assessed the property and the creek along with Mr. Lyons, Mr. Keith and my husband Ed. She stated that the rock that was dumped into the creek to shore up the road erosion was the wrong solution. She recommended wire cages of rock because the area was too steep for a rip rap rock solution. She stated that the rock had dislodged and migrated which changed the creek channel and caused a new erosion pattern under the road deck and also on the streambank on the toe of the hill that we were living on. She said the rock needed to be removed and both streambanks would need to be repaired. She fell short of stating causation for the rip in our yard and explained that it would require the expertise of a geo-technical engineer.

Mr. Goering was not there on April 11th, 2016 when the geo-technical engineer from Geotil completed his assessment and gave us the dreaded news, but Mr. Keith and Mr. Lyons were there, along with an assistant to the geo-technical engineer, my father, my husband Ed and myself. For the sake of honesty, it is certainly in the best interest of Mr. Lyons and Mr. Keith to provide the truth that we were not only told that we were in the middle of an active landslide, but that the geo-technical engineer also stated that it was caused by the dumping of rock into the creek and that it caused the course of the creek to change direction. He went further into the explanation stating that this had happened at an airport once and that a $2 million dollar wall was put in, but it couldn’t even hold the slide back. The engineer related that this would be the estimated cost for a retaining wall solution for our home. The engineer followed that statement up with the only other time he had witnessed a similar issue, the county ended up paying for the homeowners land and home.

I guess Mr. Goering was either not informed of the full conversation or didn’t want that information made known to the people of Switzerland County, but Mr. Lyons and Mr. Keith know the truth. I was emotionally shaken by the news and had to step away, but my father and husband remained and asked the engineer if he would provide us with a copy of the report when completed. The engineer stated he would not be allowed to do that but would send it to the Jansen and Spaans engineer to be inclusive of that report, but then Mr. Lyon’s quickly responded that he would see to it personally that we would receive a copy of it when the county received it.

We did not hire our attorney until April 11th, 2016 because we wanted to resolve this without litigation to protect Switzerland County from the negative publicity. Unfortunately, Mr. Goering has apparently viewed it as a legal matter long before we were forced to go that route and until June 9th, 2016 when Mr. Goering said the things he did in the recent interview/editorial and basically enticed a lawsuit, we had no plans to file one or even made mention of it; what a shame for all Switzerland County residents that Mr. Goering practices through assumptions rather than facts. Mr. Goering’s theory that he is “reacting per potential litigation” is inaccurate because he had from March 15th, 2016 until April 11th, 2016 to rectify the situation without us ever involving our own attorney.

Finally, we are revisiting the issue that Mr. Goering doesn’t have any concerns that he will be challenged when he quotes legal codes. The Indiana Code he quoted is not a representation of the fight we have on our hands, as he was just creating a scheme to exaggerate his legal knowledge or lack thereof in an effort to get others to believe he has something to be proud of.

Below is the link to the Indiana Code and it clearly states that we have every right to that report as we were told by our attorney and all other legal resources we have utilized.

As a little analogy to this mess, if a county truck ran over my leg and it was necessary for me to obtain medical advice and it was at the cost of the county, would Mr. Goering keep the information from me as to what the medical advice states? And if he did, how ethical would that be? We all know there has been nothing ethical about Mr. Goering’s actions, and we will absolutely use Mr. Goering’s printed words in a court of law to acquire all of the engineer’s reports and achieve restitution.

https://iga.in.gov/static-documents/0/8/2/b/082bff0b/TITLE5_AR14_ch3.pdf

“IC 5-14-3-1

Public policy; construction; burden of proof for nondisclosure Sec. 1. A fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government is that government is the servant of the people and not their master. Accordingly, it is the public policy of the state that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees. Providing persons with the information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officials and employees, whose duty it is to provide the information. This chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy and place the burden of proof for the nondisclosure of a public record on the public agency that would deny access to the record and not on the person seeking to inspect and copy the record. As added by P.L.19-1983, SEC.6. Amended by P.L.77-1995, SEC.1.”

We believe Switzerland County deserves better in a legal counsel.

Melissa and Ed Brush

indianalandslide@gmail.com

Take a stand

To the Editor:

There is something I need to get off my mind, mainly this new law that President Obama has come out with, where once again, we have to bend to the minority.

I am talking about the new transgendered implementation about the bathrooms and lockers in our school system, as well as public restrooms. Hats off to Governor Abbott of Texas, as well as other governors who took a stand against the Obama White House.

The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:27, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created him, male and female. He created them.”

Reverend Franklin Graham spoke out against that topic in his ‘Decision’ magazine, saying, I quote: “Girls using girls lockerroom, showers, and bathrooms, and boys using their facilities according to their biological gender is nothing but common sense.”

America, wake up! Right is right and wrong is wrong! We need to take a stand against all the evil that is being forced on us. Don’t be complacent, be heard.

Jim and Johanna Welch,

Fairview