Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

   The City of Indianapolis, through its Department of Code Enforcement,  has been kind enough to post an information for "Super Celebration Sites" for the time leading up to, and following, the Supe…

   The City of Indianapolis, through its Department of Code Enforcement,  has been kind enough to post an information for "Super Celebration Sites" for the time leading up to, and following, the Super Bowl.

   Contexts of Orwellian twists on the English language are interesting. To see these phenomena in regard to a sports event staged by a mono(lith)poly would add an element of amusement, were it not for a couple of factors. First, we—taxpayers and citizens of Indianapolis and Indiana—have paid, and will continue to pay, through our taxes for the extravaganza. The debt for construction of the Hoosier (I won’t call it anything else; after all, we had that contest to name it) Dome still is on the books. We even had to compensate Jim Irsay for depriving him of use of the Hoosier Dome when we built Lucas Oil Stadium for him. Second, we—the same "we" as above plus anyone present in Indy during this Super Celebration—will pay through loss of rights of free expression.

   First, as to the money, the NFL will not have to pay any taxes for its activities here. Gary Welsh, blogging at Advance Indiana (11/20/11) and Paul Ogden at Ogden on Law (12/01/11) previously delineated the exemptions given to the NFL for sales and use taxes, motor fuel taxes, auto rental tax, food and beverage tax, innkeeper’s tax, county admissions tax, adjusted gross income tax, and withholding taxes on salaries and wages. I do not believe we should give the NFL such breaks, even if it is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. People will come to Indy, make a ton of money off of an event we have subsidized, take that money with them when they fly out on their Gulfstream IVs, and, like other cities before us, we shall be left with more debt.

   But wait! There’s more!

   The second factor is the restriction on free speech. This is where the Orwellian language enters. In its Information Packet for Super Celebration Sites, we are told the ordinance that was passed on August 15, 2011, to enact the legal framework for this Super Celebration "provides Indianapolis businesses with legitimate opportunities to capitalize on their assets during special events, while also protecting the long term interests of neighborhoods and residents." How very damn thoughtful! And they do so through creation of "Super Celebration Site Clean Zones."

   Eight categories of activities are created for three Clean Zones. Those Clean Zones are Broad Ripple, Mass Ave, and Fountain Square. Limited Duration Licenses (LDLs) are required for those clean zones. One section is titled "LDL 3 - Signs":

"The erection of temporary signage or other displays, including but not limited to inflatables, cold air balloons, banners, pennants, flags, building wraps, A-frame signs, T-frame signs, projected image signs, electronic variable message signs, and light emitting diode signs. Mobile advertising signs shall not be permitted under this provision."

Unless one obtains an LDL. In addition to fees one would pay for such signs, a surety bond in an amount of a minimum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) is required.

   Not so fast! We haven’t finished!

   This section also provides:

"Unless otherwise approved by the event sponsor, a minimum of twenty percent (20%) of the total square footage of the sign face of any temporary sign shall reference the respective Super Celebration Site via the official cultural district logo, the official ‘Super Celebration Site’ logo, or other text or content approved by the event sponsor which promotes the sponsor. Said logos can be found at indy.gov/licensing."

   The First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, sec. 9 of the Indiana Constitution protect free speech and free expression. These NFL bozos and the City of Indy are telling us we now have the opportunity to pay them money to express ourselves and, oh yeah, allocate a minimum of twenty percent (20%) of any sign to their promotion.

   On our show, "Civil Discourse Now" this Saturday, we shall discuss both this array of local ordinances and the United States Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

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