WARNING: Political Content, Handle With Care (And a Grain of Salt)
While I’m not overly interested in politics in it’s current state (it is what it is), please humor me as I ramble off some thoughts about the 2007 Indianapolis Mayoral Election…
For this “off year” election we had roughly 25% of registered voters turn out to vote.Â They say that’s an average turn-out, but to me that seems kind of disappointing, especially since the vast majority of Indianapolis is registered to vote.Â (Over 75% of the total population is registered to vote, and note that the total population includes children and people who don’t have voting rights.Â So my guess is that of the people who have the right to vote, probably at least 90% or more of them are registered to do so.)
Anyway, it’s not as if it’s difficult to vote and in other countries people would love to have a say in who their governing officials are. My stance is that if you don’t vote and don’t have a really good reason for not doing so, you shouldn’t be allowed to complain about the government.Â Wouldn’t that be like an atheist complaining about “acts of God”?
Am I alone in thinking that there should be an eight year term to just about every elected office (or at the very least, eight consecutive years with a four year break)? Beyond that you can fall into “career politician” land and I can’t see how you can truly remain connected with the “real world” without living there for a while. Sure, a career politician might be the best candidate for the job, but it just seems like it would be too easy to start to think of it as a career and to begin serving your own interests instead of serving the interest of the public. This is across the board, regardless of party affiliation.
Man would I love it if our political system truly allowed for 3 or 4 true candidates/parties for each election.Â Sure, they’re there as a gesture, but it’s very rare that they come into play except for “stealing” votes from one or the other main party candidates.Â And that’s just tragic.
I’ll give Bart Peterson credit in that he did make some major changes while he was in office. While I don’t agree with some of them, it is good that he has something to show for his time in office (good or bad).
When it comes to the campaign, Bart was a ringer as far as all of the political pundits were concerned. From what I saw this was solely based on the campaign funding differences, which is just plain silly in my opinion. I heard the “experts” say that 95% of the time campaign contributions is what an election comes down to. But I think they missed the fact that this wasn’t a normal election. Money came into play BIG TIME, but not within their usual evaluation box. And I think that the Peterson campaign caught onto that a little too late.
The obvious major blow to Bart’s bid for reelection was the whole mess surrounding the police merger which was supposed to save us $40M but ended up costing more money, thus lead to a tax increase in order to cover the payroll. When you consider that along with the fact of the whole property tax fiasco AND the recent sales tax increase to fund the new stadium, there are a whole lot of people not too happy. Even though the other tax items can’t be solely placed on Bart’s shoulders, it is messing with people’s money and people don’t like that.
Other than that, I think the decision maker for anyone wavering one way or the other (or towards the other Peterson in the race) was the negative ads that were put out over the final week of the election. This was a clean election up until that point and these ads just made my skin crawl (I’ll spare you that tirade). I can tell you that if I had been wavering at all, this would have sealed the “no vote” for me.
While I can’t honestly say whether or not Greg Ballard will be a better Mayor of Indianapolis than Bart Peterson was/is, I will say that I’m happy to see some fresh blood in there.Â And if people don’t like the job that he’s done in his first term, they can go to the polls in four years and make their statement.Â But I plan on giving him the time to prove himself either way, as change does take a little time.Â (But please, oh, please…I’m begging here…we don’t want another commando around like our current governor…and I’ll spare you that tirade as well, as I really don’t have the time to go down that road.)
I really love the fact that Greg Ballard won the election on a such a small budget AND that he’s a political unknown. And dare I mention that he really ran his campaign as an Independent Republican?Â These things have that entrepreneurial flare that just lights my fire.Â It’s like rooting for the underdog and I dig that.
Back in the spring I would have told you that you were nuts if you thought someone would beat Bart Peterson in the fall election, even with the police merger stuff going on. Carl Brizzi declined to go for the Republican nomination and the Republicans didn’t have a number two guy that they were backing, so the party basically just threw in the towel (until the very last minute when they saw that Greg Ballard actually had a chance). For reasons I won’t go into, I honestly don’t think Carl Brizzi would have beaten Bart Peterson though. And I’m sure the third choice would have gained enough votes to be the difference maker.
But anyway, congratulations go out to Greg Ballard on his Mayoral victory.Â I’m looking forward to finding out more about him and seeing what his big picture for the city looks like.