My phone blew up with talk of the mayor of Hammond and the well-known Pierogifest somehow parting ways. And producer Ryan somehow lined up a ringleader of the festival - Tom Dabertin - to call in at 6:45. Next up is the mayor of Hammond at 7:20 or so. I'm not sure what this is all about but it might or might not be good radio.
Last night I stepped out of comfort zone B and went for some drinks with a guy I went to high school with and then traded with at the Chicago Board of Trade. Actually, we traded together at the MidAmerica Exchange, which was a subset of the Board of Trade. It was the minor leagues of trading... and I stayed there for ten years or maybe a little more. That's about the same length of time that I've operated in the minor leagues of radio. I must be comfortable in the minor leagues. Crash Davis is my hero.
Anyways, Jeff Von Almen and Bill Baker and I sat for several hours at the bar at Giovanni's and then moved to a back table in the lounge. We laughed like high school kids and were no doubt loud. There was only one other table across the room and we thought it was far enough away that we could talk freely and, yes, swear. But evidently not. It was a party of five or so... and when they got up to leave one of the guys came over to say a warm goodbye.
We're leaving now, so now you can be loud.
Oh, I said, I'm sorry if we were a bit loud.
Now that's too late now, isn't it.
So go jam it up your backside, mister. Or, have a nice day. Take your pick. Anyways, in the spirit of making friends I also ran in to Kevin Conley of the Schererville Town Council. This was kinda weird in that at the same time my buddy from Colorado is trying to convince me that I'm doing penance for all of the bad stuff I've done in Berkeley and Chicago... by doing radio... I get in to a terse confrontation with a local elected official.
At the heart of the terseness is that I go on the air sometimes and talk about this E911 fiasco in Lake County... and I call the county "Incompetent bastards" and the Schererville town council the "obstinate bastards." It's a nice play on the Brad Pitt movie "Inglorious bastards" and you know and I know that the running joke kinda works. So I'm not really surprised that perhaps the second nicest guy in Lake County (Conley) would be a little icy towards me. But that's just how it goes.
Don't let facts get in the way of you talking on the radio, Jim.
Or something like that. After a quick but icy confrontation at the bar with Conley that I ended with what I thought was a good zinger - say hi to Jerry for me - Conley, in a courageous gesture of good will, came over to our table later and we seemed to have ironed things out a bit. In the end the residents of Schererville don't want to be part of the rest of the county in terms of police and fire dispatching... OK, I get that.
But you know and I know that one of the things that pisses me off most in the world is when elected officials won't come on the air and tell their story... however painful that story may be. That's how the world works. You get elected. You tell the people what the hell you're doing.
Oh, we're telling our residents what we're doing, all right.
How, door-to-door? You're gonna bypass the Times and WJOB entirely and just go to your residents directly?
I suppose that would work... in Mayberry. But you get the picture how that discussion went. Conley's a good guy and isn't even the ringleader behind Schererville and Cedar Lake holding out on emergency response. I just hope that this situation gets resolved soon so I don't have to talk about it on the radio anymore or write about it in the blog that nobody reads or even think about it. Time to do a radio show.
1:39pm at WJOB studios, 7150 Indianapolis Boulevard, Hammond, Ind.
So it did heat up this morning.
1. Both the Post and Times led with the story that the mayor of Hammond was pulling his support of Pierogifest. Post - Hammond Pulls police help from Pierogi Fest: City is at odds over sanitation contracts.
2. Tom Dabertin, head of Pierogi Fest, calls in, say mayor "unfairly targeting" Pierogi Fest, asks why the fest is being pulled in to a dispute between Whiting and Hammond over paying for potentially hundreds of millions of improvements. Dabertin says he sent McDermott's text messages to board members of Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce and that someone sent them along to the Times.
3. Tom McDermott, mayor of Hammond, comes in, says the EPA has already made Sanitary District pay 55 million for a detention pond and is soon to require 250-300 million more. "It should cost the same to flush your toilet in Robertsdale as it does in Whiting. Not 3-6 times more."
4. While the mayor is on, Whiting mayor Joe Stahura shows up, immediately says Mayor McDermott never asked him to pay more... defends suing Hammond and Munster over the rates.
By the end of this portion of the show, McDermott and Stahura were speaking, shook hands. Who knows where this is gonna lead? Can't make this shit up. The biggest mistake of the morning is that I didn't cover the gang indictments by Dave Capp and the US attorneys office and didn't go into the feds joining the search for the killer of Lauren Calvillo. Oops. Make it up next week.