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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Mistake by the Lake County: Just going to show you we got our corruption in 2008




Last night, the world got to see Lake County, Indiana in action. As Anderson Cooper, Wolf "Donner" Blitzer & MSNBC reinterated for 2 hours solid that Lake County vote was unreported, or later, slowed by 11,000 absentee ballots still in need of counting. After CNN talked to Clinton-obsessed, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., and Obama-enthralled Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, one could only hope the local constituencies would be thoroughly disgusted at our showing on national television.


I wasn't. I was tickled pink. (At least in sharing my apathy towards these blind mice running our county.)


As the esteemed political reporters on CNN weigh on the fact Lake County has a history of less-than-above-board politics, their guests ignored, or rather, pushed aside the allegations that any rigging could be the reason for the late reporting. A few stories of recent memory: The Sidewalk Six was scheme to garner votes for city improvements to private property dating back to 1999 in East Chicago. Ex-mayor Robert Pastrick, head of this 40-year political machine in East Chicago, is being label the head of organized crime syndicate that also was the city's government by Lowell native, current attorney general, Steven Carter. Not to be outdone, Robert Cantrell, a 40-year political operative that has many relatives working in high places (including his daughter as a judge) is facing 11 felony counts for the usual fraud and tax envasion.


Meanwhile, property taxes are going up, government cannot afford services, infrastructure is woefully inadequate, and people are praying the remaining steel industry does not falter. The politicians you heard from (on TV) are at the root of the problem in large degree. The property taxes are being shifted around from the once mighty steel businesses that paid a good deal more to the local folk up north - as a result, they sued. Only the entire tax assessment scheme is archaic and politically-motivated. So many hands are in the money pie that no one can be seen as free of sin. And this problem dates back nearly a decade - and shortfalls in taxes mean huge deficits and so far, the polys are just prolonging the agony we Lake County idiots might face.


Lake County is a 3-layer cake of woe. The bottom layer is the conservative, farmer-led south county. Small towns, small ideas. Change here is a Walmart (yet to go up.) Older folks with little use or need for anything north of them, unless it makes them more money or gets them from point A to point B. This earthy part of the county has its underlying racially-intolerant side. (Just won't let you know it, until you drink some beer with dem folks.)


The middle gooey center is the corrupt government heartbeat, the white suburbia of Ward & Beaver Cleaver mixed with Crystal Meth, the strip mall/movie complex that soccer moms drive toward with their Ipod kids who just don't respect mama. Moneyed folk. Republicans at heart, but vote Democrat in the general election. Would be a suburb of Chicago except for that damn State line. They love spending our money now. The political machine north of them has broken - so now they get their crack at being the devil guised in a white dress of hope.


The top layer is the chocolate icing of this cake: ethnic, bitter for good reason and stuck in oh so many ways. (Note: though noting the coloration, I don't feel the people are in any less capable or lacking in ability to do great things. Just, it fits the picture I am trying hard to paint.) For years, the people of the North were taken apart by the politically connected few, left to fight the murderers alone, and asked only to "go to work" in the steel plants of America: U.S. Steel and LTV. Their taxes were very low, but then again, they had little reason to stay otherwise. The amount of problems were only dwarfed by the amount of corruption the East Chicago/Hammond/Gary segment of Lake County could amass in the hands of a few souls. Once the power seemed to falter, businesses skated and the new leaders came in, their flight south was inevitable. (Not that some didn't leave before. Gary's population has decreased significantly since the 1970's.)


Living here off and on again for 25 years, has made me less than happy. I never fit in. I never have truly tried to. Oh, I mingle and converse with folks. But really get to know them, not really.


When I leave, I've felt a pressure release. The valve of dispair gets turned wide open, I ooze out all the crap I feel, and wherever I am going to, feels better in the short term. Coming back has always been a torture. I don't miss the county, and it, does not miss me.


So though you got a brief smattering on the place I haunted for dozen years out of twenty-five, you can't ever feel the woe I do in knowing I wake up in one of the worst places to reside in America.


Hopefully, I'll move before 2012. I hear that might be a unique time.
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