Commentary on Travel and the Need to Open Our Eyes to Contamination

First of all, all of you will be on your own concerning movies to see or avoid for the next ten days. Mo and I will be joining two dear friends on a trip to Iceland, where we will be on a seven-day cruise circling the island. While I must admit that I hate to leave my many plants at this time of the year, this is a perfect time to visit that historically important island.

However, I urge you to pay attention to the recent article in the Indianapolis Star which carried the headline “EPA Misled Franklin Residents About Cancer Risks in Ground Water.” It was disturbing yet powerfully relevant that the EPA misled the public about the risk of cancer causing contamination by claiming that the situation was “under control.”

Incredibly, that is exactly the same thing that our county is proclaiming as it seeks to build a courthouse/jail system on the toxic site off Southeastern Avenue in Marion County. As in Franklin County, this area, which lies under a Coke plant that operated for over a century, contains numerous carcinogens that the Star article notes “can cause cancer in humans.” The bottom line is that the Mayor’s office and his supporters want judges, lawyers and public employees like courthouse staff, probation officers, police officers, jail inmates and their visitors to risk the cancer-causing effect of carcinogens that remain in the ground and in Pleasant Run Creek which flows through the property.

While the backers of this project make the claim that they have aired all of these problems with the public, they are lying and they know it. Their approach has been behind closed doors in nearly every case where the press is excluded. They seek to use their incredible political influence to get this toxic contaminated structure built while asking all of us to ignore what is happening in Franklin County.

In closing, let me propose a project for those seeking to build this structure. If they should succeed, then I want to sponsor a lawn party outside of the courthouse the weekend before it opens. I want to have a fish fry where the fish were caught in Pleasant Run Creek and we further serve vegetables grown in the ground surrounding the new court. I want the supporters who champion this disaster to bring their families and participate in what I call our Chernobyl Grill-Fest where their children can frolic on the grounds.

You and I know that they will refuse to participate, and that is the same position we should take concerning the building of this tragic facility.