The lucky female sperm club

Dateline: Sat 14 Apr 2012

'I'm going to be frank. These reports are hard for me to read.' -- Andre Lacy, Indiana State Fair Commission chairman, quoted in the Indianapolis Star, regarding the post mortem reports on the "tragedy at the State Fair."

He's not alone.

After reading Friday's Page 1 story by John Tuohy and Carrie Ritchie, however, I have not really changed my mind from an earlier analysis of the tragedy that left 7 dead and more than 40 people injured, some for the rest of their lives.

State Fair chairman Cindy Hoye is where the buck stopped; she was on the premises; she could see the weather going down; she was getting valid information about the severity of the storm. As the person who runs the fair, she had the responsibility to protect the lives of fair-goers and fans of the Sugarland band. Obviously, the band behaved in a callow fashion -- according to the Star, Sugarland's mentality was the ususal show-biz razz ma tazz: the show must go on (which means, catch me at the bank, if you can). So the band pushed, and Hoye demured -- until the last fatal moments, when she told State Police Captain Brad Weaver that she had "changed her mind." She is quoted in the report as deciding that she did indeed have the authority to make the call. But it was -- as we all know -- too late.

In civil discourse, there's a lot of emphasis on not placing blame after the fact. What good would it serve? And in fact, Hoye has taken responsibility and, the Star reports, has offered several times to resign her post. But Lacy refused to accept her resignation.

I smell cronyism. Hoye is, I believe, a good friend of Indiana's first lady Cheri Daniels and presumably Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The Daniels' administration should have accepted Hoye's resignation immediately; if she did not offer it, the governor himself should have asked for it (but the coverup was on early, since he referred to the storm as a fluke and act of God).

The Star reports that Hoye's backers cite how talented she is, and that she would have no trouble finding other work. She should act on that.

Sadly, her legacy now and forever will be simply that she is a member of what Clarian CEO Dan Evans referred to as "the lucky white male sperm club," citing his own association in the group. Hoye is cut of the same cloth. It's hard to accept as credible that she's such a great leader when, at the crucial moment, she failed to take command.

If this had been another organization -- police or military -- she would have been, I hope, removed immediately from her supervisory role.

Instead, she stays on, a member of the Lucky Female White Sperm Club and, it appears, a very good friend of the Republican governor's administration.

I cast blame.




Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

You said it all, Ruthie: "It's hard to accept as credible that she's such a great leader when, at the crucial moment, she failed to take command."

2012-04-14 16:14:41

Terry [unverified] said:

Two good letters in Saturday's Star. The first invites more consideration, the second seems a no-brainer. Many other officials have resigned for less, and usually there is some thought about what would be good for the future of the organization.

2012-04-15 03:02:19

hendy [Member] said:

Without question, she should be gone. That would have also served as a bad mark on the Daniels administration, however-- to admit guilt and perhaps liability.

She should have packed her bags and boogied. Same goes for Lacey. There are times to fall on your sword. This is one of them.

But we let them get away with it. They have their own rules, ignoring the Indiana Constitution (why live in that yucky statehouse near those non-starred black people and those, well, Democrats?).

Cronyism, political rewards, political sociopathy. North Alabama.

2012-04-15 08:30:56

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I had to laugh at anything Dan Evans aays--talk about lucky sperm club. He made over two mil last year as head of a NFP hospital.

Nonetheless: Ms. Hoyes is executive director, not chairman, and she should be gone. By any/all means necessary.

I believe I read somewhere, that the esteemed Ms. Daniels was in the Sugarland crowd, but was quickly ushered out at the first whiff of trouble.

I prefer to think that Ms. Hoyes is the personification of power-tripping gone wild. Well-placed friends get contracts and jobs. Really-well-placed friends get cover when they f*** up.

Here's my bottom line:

If the state wants to be in the big-time concert business, they'd better act like it. That includes disaster preparedness and clear lines of authority. Well-paid bands don't get to make public-safety decisions, UNLESS--and this isn't said in polite company re: this horrible accident: the only consideration was: "Good God, how will we refund all that money we so desparately need?"

This isn't strictly a D-vs-R political thing. But this Daniels crowd seems to have elevated the avoidance of blame, to an art form. Whether we're "finding" half a billion dollars or burying dead concert fans. Their gall now officially knows no bounds.

The friendship between Ms. Hoyes and Ms. Daniels has been poorly-reported, and it's absolutely pertinent. At the very least, Ms. Hoyes should've had the decency not to show her face at memorial services, let alone was ghoulish and tacky.

And at the end of the day--you're right, Ruthie. She is responsible. Let's be real clear.

I don't know her, but I'll bet she's a decent person. And if so, the eternal hell into which she's been cast is sad and regular. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Still---the victims and their families take little consolation in that. Or the paltry sums the state paid them with their antique tort caps.

And here's a shot across the bow: we have other outdoor stadia in this community, all privately-run, one at a state park downtown--who have always had strict disaster plans in place.

What in the hell is so difficult about clear lines of authority and disaster planning? The Daniels crowd loves privatization and getting govt. out of our lives. THey repeatedly tell us the private sector does things better than govt., and they make govt. an evil entity.

They should get govt. out of the concert business. They're clearly profit-driven and safety-deprived. Those two lines meet in a meltdown. Every damned time.

2012-04-16 06:43:02

IndyRob [unverified] said:

Ruth, thank you for writing this entry.
I thought I was the only one who believed that a good portion of this tragedy was due to the state fair official's inactions. I did not understand when the "official" findings found fault with the design of the portable stage, its construction, and with Sugarland for not cancelling the show. Yet the same findings did not fault the state fair for failing to shut down the performance or order an evacuation.
As far as the band pushing, yeah that is probably true, but the contract between the band and the fair needs to be examined; it probably includes something that outlines liabilities and payments when the concert has to be cancelled. The band would probably be due a partial payment, the fair would have to issue refunds. I would not say that the band would have been the ones pushing for the performance, I would say that the fair officials also had reason to continue with the performance.

2012-04-16 18:26:04

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