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Thumbs down: Indy gets fleeced, once again

In a party-line vote, the Indianapolis City County Council voted 15-14 to approve the mayor's 50-year lease of city-owned parking to a corporate cohort led by ACS, a Dallas-based company owned by Xerox. Nevermind that ACS played a major role in the botched effort to privatize state social services. Never mind the shady connections between ACS and state and city officials, including Council President Ryan Vaughn, whose employer, Barnes and Thornburg, lobbies on behalf of ACS. Forget ACS' bungling of parking in Washington D.C., or the fact that cities like Minneapolis have come up with solutions that allow cities to keep their parking revenues. Forget the fact that ACS is not compelled to disclose its earnings, and stands to pocket at least $1 billion from you. Please, forget all of this. You'll be doing Indy's corporate raiders and their government buddies a total solid.

Thumbs up: Raise your voice for Indy Connect

Given the Republican opposition already mounting against a much-needed and sweeping upgrade of Central Indiana's public transportation system (see Hammer, p. 5, and Hoppe, p. 6), a strong public voice moving forward is paramount. Good thing the folks behind Indy Connect, as the project is named, are hosting public meetings throughout the city, where citizens can learn more about the proposal, which, if implemented, would dramatically upgrade bus services and add a commuter trains and a light rail. Meetings are scheduled for: Wednesday, Nov. 17 at the IndyGo Training Center, at 1501 W. Washington St., at 7 p.m.; Nov. 17, Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center, 7320 W. 10th St., 7 p.m.; and Thursday, Nov. 18, Robert Sterrett Senior Center, 8950 Otis Ave., 7 p.m. For more information, including meeting dates for surrounding counties, see

Thumbs down: Turkey fryers wreak havoc on Thanksgiving

State Farm has released information that we doubt Hoosiers are thankful to learn. According to claims data from 2005-2009, Indiana ranks eighth in the country for the number of grease and cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving Day. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) credits deep fryer fires with an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year. Despite the frequency of these events, most turkey fires are preventable if practical steps are taken, such as checking the oil level in the fryer and moving the fryer away from flammable objects in the yard.

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