Council members Jim Ton, R-1st, and Sharon Darnell, D-4th, are taking aim at
a pair of bills pending in the Indiana House.
One, as Ton said at
Monday’s council meeting, would gut the public’s use of Lake Michigan
beachfront in the interest of private property owners.
The other, Darnell
said, is a direct attack on transparency in public education.
Begin with H.B.
1031, authored by State Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart. This bill would
recognize the “existence of private property below the natural ordinary high
water mark” when the most recent recorded deed “indicates that the private
property extends below the natural ordinary high water mark.” It would also
limit recreational activities in such cases below that mark; permit owners
of private property located adjacent to Lake Michigan to remove sand and
unwanted vegetation; and strip municipalities from regulating the building
of seawalls or other permanent structures in or near Lake Michigan.
In short, H.B. 1031
would overturn the already litigated and decided Long Beach, Ind., case, in
Gunderson v. Indiana (2018).
Reading from a
prepared statement, Ton denounced Miller’s bill:
“Here we go again.
It goes like this: ‘Let’s carve out some beach for our private use, forget
public access, it’s my beach.’
more self-interest than common sense have initiated the latest edition of
this ‘broken record’ and called on non-local legislators to support their
rights to take a public beach.
“The Supreme Court
in Gunderson v. Indiana (2018) rejected claims that deeds which reach into
the lake are valid. This judgment retained the ‘high water mark’ standard
which has been in effect since the State of Indiana was created in 1816, the
Land Ordinance of 1785, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The beach
clearly extends from water’s edge to the ‘high water mark.’ Again,
‘out-of-the-region’ legislators with little or no knowledge of the local
communities’ interests, the environment they live in, or the long fight for
the Dunes want to tell those who do have that knowledge what is ‘best for
them.’ . . .
“So here we are,
once again called to ‘man the barricades.’ Contact your legislators now.
This is a short legislative session, so don’t delay. Much is at stake. . .
“Back the Save the
Dunes organization and other organizations which are fighting this
short-sighted and self-minded action. Keep the faith. Herb and Charlotte
Read fought the good fight, and we need to do the same.”
Darnell, for her
part, finds this provision in H.B. 1003--authored by State Rep. Jack Jordan,
R-Bremen--troubling: the elimination of the requirement that a school
corporation’s annual performance report be published in a newspaper.
According to the
Indiana Department of Education, “the Annual Performance Report is a
required publication that includes the academic and performance data for all
Indiana school corporations.” Under state statute, every Indiana school
corporation must publish its annual performance report in the local
newspaper between March 15 and March 31.
that her constituents have emphasized to her, in no uncertain terms, their
desire for transparency, asked this question: “Why in God’s name would we
eliminate the requirement of a school’s having to publish its performance
corporation is no different from any other taxing unit and should not be
exempt from public scrutiny, she added.
Member Bob Allison,
D-3rd, took a moment at the end of the meeting to express his gratitude to
Police Chief Dave Cincoski and the CPD for its work in the Christopher