Rich Whitlow hoped
to persuade the Chesterton Town Council at its meeting Monday night to adopt
a resolution urging the DNR to halt all work at the Indiana Dunes State Park
interesting questions about the permitting process; threw a lot of barbs
southward, in the direction of Pavilion Partner principal Chuck Williams and
on the subject of Republican cronyism; and revealed quite an astonishing
contempt for the Times, which has endorsed the banquet center.
When it was all
said and done, however, Whitlow was unable to prevail on the council--on
which he himself served, once upon a time--to consider such a resolution:
not yet, not unless, not until, maybe not ever, but certainly not without
further information, as Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, told him.
Whitlow opened his
presentation--which had something of the impromptu about it--with a shot
across the DNR’s bows. “The State of Indiana is taking a crap on Northwest
Indiana and telling us to eat,” he said. And that property on which the
proposed banquet center would be built? The DNR’s giving it away, for free,
“to our friends in Valpo.”
Whitlow focused his
attention, however, on what may or may not be mysteries: which agency--state
or local--issued a building permit for the project? and where, exactly,
right now, are the construction design release prints which, he says, are
supposed to be posted at a work site?
a number of state bureaucrats--whom Whitlow did say were trying to be
helpful--cleared nothing up, he said. And the questions remain. “I find it
interesting they don’t have a building permit,” he said. “And nobody can
find the prints.”
“This is the most
pristine beach in Northwest Indiana and these guys are trying to ram a pole
barn down our throats,” Whitlow added.
For the record,
Whitlow’s presentation was the most impassioned heard by the council in
years. And, in its way, the most entertaining.
Thus he compared
himself to Chuck Williams: “I’m a Republican. He’s not my Republican, I can
tell you that.”
And he spoke of
Pavilion Partners principal Tom Collins Jr., son of Collins Sr., CEO of Luke
Oil: “It’s not unusual for the second generation to think of itself as
lambasted the Times for its coverage and cheerleading of the Pavilion
project. Was there even a Times reporter at the meeting to carry the
message back to his or her editor? Who knows.
Darnell, D-4th, after giving Whitlow his head, at last interrupted him. “We
can’t really help you,” she said. By which Darnell evidently meant that the
Chesterton Town Council has no jurisdiction at all in the matter.
insisted. “We have to get help from a municipality,” he said. “Because
nobody else will. The John Evans-types aren’t helping us.”
do you want? Darnell asked.
adoption of a resolution calling on the DNR to stop work, Whitlow said.
DeLaney, for his
part, suggested that he does in fact find the substance of Whitlow’s
questions intriguing. “But until we know a little more, we need to take this
under advisement,” he said.
“How long?” Whitlow
pressed him. “Once they break ground (on the banquet center), they’re not
going to stop.”
“When you have more
issues, solid, substantial answers, come back to us,” DeLaney replied.
“Until we know who issued the permit--Listen, nobody likes the way things
have been done. I get that. But until we get more information. . . . I just
don’t know enough.”