Category Archives: Presentations

The Exploratory Committee – Initial Meeting – 2014-01-29

The mission of The Exploratory Committee is to create an informed and engaged constituency in Tippecanoe County that utilizes every facet of their political power.

Our first meeting will be a quick informational workshop and political mixer.

The Exploratory Committee
January 29th
6PM – 8PM
West Lafayette Public Library

Purpose of the Meeting:

Bring a diverse group of people together to present a variety of engagement opportunities: both at the ballot box and beyond.


  • Welcome
  • Municipal election year
    • West Lafayette Class 2 City Changes
    • Voter Registration
    • Contested Races
    • Involvement in campaigns
  • Engaged Constituency
    • Beyond the Ballot Box Initiatives
  • Transparent Tippecanoe
    • Public Records Requests
      • The Importance of (317) 234-0906
    • Release of Information Prior to Public Meetings
    • Visualization of Data
  • Future Meetings
  • Q&A
  • Meet and Greet Mixer

West Lafayette City Council – December 1st, 2014 – Quick Notes

Since I attend the West Lafayette City Council meetings on a regular basis, I am going to try and give a quick overview from my notes, share items I learned, and help people stay informed on the issues.

This is by no means everything that happened.  Just what I found interesting and can easily recall as I sip on tea back in the comfort of my office.

A copy of the December 1st, 2014 agenda can be found here.


  • As an aside, at tonight’s meeting, Councilor Gerald Thomas was absent.  Councilor Dietrich wished him good health, so I am not sure what type of illness he is suffering, but I hope for a speedy recovery as well.
    • UPDATE:  I wrote Councilor Thomas and he is doing well.
  • Thank you to Councilor Keen for informing us that the APC released an updated Tippecanoe County Student Rental Report & Survey for 2014.

Waste Water Treatment Utility Report

  • 11.2131 millions of gallons flowed into the Wabash under a total of 32.27 CSO hours.

Personnel Committee Report

  • Mayor Dennis appointed Janet Fawley as Superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department on November 17.
  • The City joined the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) to help leverage health care benefit costs.
    • I look forward to learning more about these and to see if there are ways for other municipal entities to join to also gain these benefits.

Parks and Recreation Report

West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission Budgets and Appointments

  • Larry Oates and the Redevelopment Commission presented their new budget, along with wish list items from various departments.
  • The same members were reappointed to the commission.
  • The current TSC school board representative, Janet Elmore, is retiring from the school and will need to be replaced once she submits her letter of resignation.

Ordinance No. 33-14

  • Grant Streetstation petitioned to be rezoned from PDRS to PDMX, allowing for commercial development along the first floor.
    • I asked if the Council, the City, the Developers, and local business members could work together to assure some local, non-chain, non-franchise establishments could be secured in this facility.  Especially in light of the Indiana Tourism Association’s recent Legislative video campaign.
      • If we do not strive to provide unique and celebrated offerings in our community, what incentive do we give people to visit again and again?  How can we encourage people to become a tourist in their own town?


Councilor Bunder (District 2) read some constituent e-mails regarding NRT enforcement issues and the Confederate flag being flown, in a window, on Salisbury and Stadium.

Listen to the audio for full details.

Citizen Comments

Thomas Kesler spoke about trash and concrete issues in and around New Chauncey.

I asked and spoke about a few items:

  • The lack of all documents being made available to the public before the meeting.
    • We can update some aspects of the City Code to help alleviate this issue.
  • Asked whether or not West Lafayette was reconsidering its 6-hour snow removal requirement in light of Mayor Roswarski talking about changing theirs in Lafayette.
    • Not sure of how the vote turned out (Lafayette meets tonight as well), but interested in learning more.
  • The Form Based Code meeting for New Chauncey should be happening soon.  Councilor Keen did not have any new information to report.
  • I thanked Doug Payne for the great work he and his crew does with the leaf pickup this time of year and appreciate their watchful eye for our leafy curbs.
  • According to the Mayor, the State Street Master Plan Facebook is the best place to find updates.
    • I suspect (I was witness to a meeting at the Research Park where the public was not invited) that there are also bits of news and other facts floating around that are not being made as public.  If you know of anything, please pass along a link, a document, phone number, etc.
  • I thanked the Redevelopment Commission for the continued invest in our City’s Arts Committee to the tune of $40,000.
  • Thanked the City for posting the full City Hall Remediation Report online.
    • It’s a big one!  If you pull out anything interesting, let me know.
  • I also celebrated and thanked Thomas Kesler again for all that he does in our neighborhood and our City.  He is inspiration for civic action.
  • I asked the City to revisit its file update procedures as the current method is leading to link rot.  I personally charged Councilor DeBoer with helping to alleviate this problem.

Mary Cook spoke about her experience on the trash ordinance committee (updated in May of 2013) and how push back on trash toters continues to exasperate the problem with trash blowing around the neighborhoods.  In light of all this, the City services, in her mind, are outstanding.

TEDxLafayette – Everything We Do and Don’t Do is Political

Thank you to everyone involved with the inaugural TEDxLafayette event.  Another fine chapter for the annuals of Tippecanoe history.

“Don’t limit your political life to the ballot box.”

Last week, I was afforded the opportunity to speak at the inaugural TEDxLafayette event that took place on November 22nd in Civic Theater’s lovely Historic Monon Depot Theater.

I was asked to participate and give a talk that was tentatively titled, The disappearing voter: Does anyone care about democracy or democratic processes?  The title as arranged was in need of orchestration and quickly explored the concepts of the disappearing voter, caring for democracy and its processes, civic participation, voting, subtly of the constituency, mutual knowledge, and Sisyphus.  The title I settled upon after much internal debate was Everything We Do and Don’t Do is Political. Thanks Sartre.

Creating TEDxLafayette ZinesFor the event, I also created a small zine to distribute with the TEDxLafayette material.  There was a problem with the copy room where I make copies, and I needed to come back later in the week.  Running short on time Friday, I had to staple the remainder of the zines at Myrdene’s.

Media is a major component when engaging politically, and with modern technology, any individual can make informative, fun political expressions and gestures.  You can download, Everything is Political,  We are our choices as a PDF:

TEDxLafayette - Everything We Do and Don't Do is Political Zine ScreenshotThe overall experience was quite enjoyable.  From the organizing individuals, to the other speakers and performers, to the audience, Civic Theater staff, media creators, and sponsors.  Everyone lent an extremely valuable hand, making sure we had a successful TEDx to reference in the future.

The event received some press from the Journal and Courier under the headline, TEDx speakers challenge audience to think local, and featured a few pull quotes from speakers Kris Taylor and Beth Carroll.  I was also featured in the article:

In his talk, titled “Everything We Do or Don’t Do is Political,” Zachary Baiel, a civic-minded resident and director of customer relations at Spensa Technologies, challenged the audience to think beyond the ballot box.

He said elections are not the only way constituents can engage in the political process.

All aspects of community involvement, such as the “Mosey Down Main Street” festivals and local farmers markets, are forums for political engagement, he explained.

The Indy Star reprinted the same article, but included a picture of me speaking in the print version:

TEDxLafayette-IndyStar-2014-11-24WLFI also ran a story about the event titled ‘Spark.Inspire.Change’ the focus at TEDxLafayette, which also included some clips of Kris Taylor, Keith Watson, and myself speaking:

My presentation can be read (visually) online.  Although there isn’t much text to read, it is still an enjoyable walk-through.  Thank you again to all the media producers (Journal and Courier, WBAA, WLFI, Owen Gunn, Zach Meddler, Aaron Bumgarner, Aaron Molden,  Thomas Kesler) and everyone else who helped make this presentation possible.

If you would like for me to give this or a similar performance to you, a local civic group, or other people who are interested in learning more about becoming a political entrepreneur vs. a wait-for-it voter, please let me know.

I was told that the videos of the various performances would be available some time in December.  Once I get sent a link, I will include it on this post.

I want to thank everyone again for the enjoyable, educational, and historic time.  Lafayette needs local individuals to be involved, share ideas, and become their own media.

Once momentum for a particular passion spreads across to a few others in the community, action becomes easier, and opportunities to change the world at the street, neighborhood, or city level can be celebrated rather than abhorred.