Monday, March 28, 2016
I want to speak about one of the candidates, Fishers businessman Bill Smythe, the owner of the Claude and Annie's bar at 141st St. and State Road 37. I have known Bill for several years, and have had both agreements and disagreements with him. But Bill and I agree on a lot of things about local government.
The first area of agreement is financial. We both are troubled at some of the spending by local government, some of it seemingly without a need. We are also troubled at how some projects are financed, in particular the overuse of TIF financing, which can act as a form of corporate welfare.
We also agree in the area of government transparency and ethics. In my race for Fishers City Council, I proposed an ethics ordinance to limit the ability of companies who do business with the city from buying influence, perhaps to their profit when more contracts were awarded. At the least, this is unseemly and gives the impression that government is for sale. At the worst, it is "pay to play" politics and actual corruption.
Bill has a slogan of "voters before vendors". Like some presidential candidates, who have called for reform of a system where special interests buy (or appear to buy) influence by large campaign donations, both Bill and I feel that the system itself is corrupted by allowing vendors who profit from government contracts to attempt to buy influence by donating large sums to incumbent candidates in particular.
I am not a Republican. I don't vote in the Republican primary. But if I did, I would vote on May 3rd for Bill Smythe for Hamilton County Commissioner. And if you do vote in the the GOP primary, I urge your consideration of Bill. The voters deserve a voice, not just government vendors.
Bill's website is http://www.billsmytheforcommissioner.com/, and his campaign can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BillSmytheForCommissioner. I wish him well.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
As the first chair of bi-partisan group CityYes (followed by David Cox and Doug Allman), we worked for a more responsive form of government that would allow the voices of the people to be heard. Those in Town Hall (with the exception of Renee Cox) worked hard to prevent that happening. They delayed and delayed, and obstructed, and delayed some more, and then did their best to spin the arguments against Fishers being a real City with an elected Mayor.
I congratulate Scott Fadness on being elected Fishers' first Mayor. And I congratulate the nine members of the first City Council, several of them newcomers to local government. As I have often said, a big part of good government is the form of government, the next is the people who are selected to run our government, and what they do with it. It remains to be seen what our new City government will do.
But the irony is, none of these people worked to make the change to a City. Several of them, and their supporters, actively opposed it. Whether or not that error in judgment, and being out of step with what local residents wanted on the single most important issue to face Fishers in decades, forebodes good or ill for the future only time will tell.
As for me, I am proud for Fishers today. We have officially "grown up". Now let us see what we can do with it. I thank all who worked so hard for today, David and Renee Cox, Doug Allman, Brian Baehl, Walt Bagot, Glenn Brown, Dan Torzewski, Joe Weingarten, Cindy Garzon, Debbie Ramey, and the donors and volunteers for CityYes who worked so hard and long to fulfill a dream of a better, more inclusive, more open government for Fishers. If I missed anyone, I apologize,
Mistakes were made by town government, and they were heavy-handed at times. Let us see if that changes now that we are a city, and if not, hold them accountable.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Shawn Denney, Congress, Fifth District
Beth White, Secretary of State
Mike Claytor, a Carmel resident, State Auditor
Mike Boland, a Fishers resident, State Treasurer
J.D. Ford, Carmel, State Senate District 29
Joe Marcum, Noblesville, State Representative, District 29
Bob Ashley, State Representative, District 32
David Russ, Carmel, State Representative, District 39
Rosemary Dunkle, Carmel, County Council, District 1
Jim Blessing, Carmel, Clay Township Board
Mike Davis, Noblesville Township Trustee
Margaret (Peggy) Russell, Noblesville Township Board
Sheryl (Sherry) Peters, Sheridan Town Council At Large
Kent Nelson, Fishers City Council, Northwest District
Greg Purvis, Fishers City Council, SouthCentral District
Justin Kilgore, Fishers City Council, Southwest District
Maryellen Bein, Fishers City Council, At Large
While not all ballot slots have a Democratic candidate, this is probably the greatest number of Democrats running on the Hamilton County ballot in many years. It certainly is the first time two county residents have sought statewide office at the same time. It is also the largest number of Democrats EVER to run for Fishers office, and this is the first Fishers City election.
Nearly all of these candidates have web pages, Facebook pages, or both. I urge you to look them up and give them your support.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Renee's husband David is a former Fayette County GOP chair, and locally was former chair of CityYes. Their home remains in Fishers.
When asked by Hamilton County politics what her future political plans might be, Renee Cox was noncommittal. Her resignation was first announced on Facebook by Hamilton County Politics, before any other public announcement was published.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Unfortunately, I have been concentrating too much on what is happening in Fishers, and not enough on what is happening in the rest of Hamilton County. So, I am going to separate them, although I may cross-post from time to time.
So there will be more posts here about other races in and involving Hamilton County, including the two statewide races involving Hamilton County residents - Mike Claytor of Carmel for State Auditor and Mike Boland of Fishers for State Treasurer. I will also post news about State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz (a resident of Carmel), and State Senate candidate J.D. Ford, State Rep. candidates David Russ, Joe Marcum, and Bob Ashley, and others.
Let me know what you think!
Friday, June 13, 2014
This is just wrong. And I have noted before that this is wrong. While I certainly have nothing against party affiliations, and I have mine, there are times that a citizen must break from their party, especially when a particular candidate is just unacceptable. When your party's candidate goes contrary to your beliefs, do you vote for that candidate anyway?
This has come up many times in Hamilton County. On the GOP side, many voted for Dan Burton for 3 decades despite a mountain of legitimate concerns over his behavior in Congress. Voters chose Charlie White for Indiana Secretary of State despite a pending felony investigation, which proved to be a mistake when White was convicted of 6 felonies and removed from office. (I note those convictions are still on appeal.) And in 2010, Democrats chose a Tea Party plant as their Congressional candidate over a vastly more-qualified physician, which led me to vote Libertarian for Congress in the fall rather than vote for either the "Democrat", or Dan Burton, whom I considered as corrupt.
I add, not ALL Republicans, nor all Democrats, put party first. In my own race for Fishers City Council, I have Republican supporters and donors who are troubled by the policies, and especially the spending, of the current administration and Council. I find myself in the position of advocating policies that are more fiscally responsible than the so-called "fiscal conservatives" on the Fishers Council.
But there are some people who cannot wrap their minds around the concept that it is the ISSUES that matter, not the party label. And they are of both parties. And that is sad, and a problem for our community. When it comes to local government, seldom can you identify a "Republican" or "Democrat" position on an issue. I know I can't. You just have to make the best and most informed decision you can.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
I have often said that Public Safety is "Job #1" for any government, most especially local government. And yet, the Town of Fishers is borrowing tens of millions of dollars to "redevelop" the downtown space, ignoring prior public input to preserve the character of the area. These millions are going to developers who cannot build these projects on their own, and who in some cases, are contributors to a certain candidate or group who run the current town administration.
But this post is mostly NOT about that. It is about the fact that Fishers' current government has its priorities wrong.
Large sections of Fishers do not have fire hydrants. Most areas do. Some of the areas without hydrants are unincorporated areas in both Delaware and Fall Creek Townships where the Fishers Fire Department, by paid contract with the townships, has responsibility for fire protection. You may have seen small red signs on the roadside with a red "1" or "2", which tells firefighters how far away the nearest hydrant is, in miles. If a fire happens in that area, the FFD has to truck it in, or find another source for water, or pump it a long distance.
Given that current methods of residential construction can lead to a fire spreading VERY quickly, this can be a problem, hydrants or no. The August 2013 Sandstone fire (I am on the Sandstone HOA board) is an example of how fast a fire can spread, with 3 homes destroyed, and several others damaged, and around a million dollars of property damage. Not long ago, in an area of Delaware Township without hydrants, a fire got pretty serious.
Instead of corporate giveaways to friendly developers and contractors, I propose that Fishers invest in expanding the fire hydrant system. This will give the fine men and women of the Fire Department one of the most important tools they need to effectively fight a fire, quick access to a water supply. As we continue to expand east, this will become even more vitally important. And we need to fill in the holes in our current territory where there are no hydrants.
In addition, I think we should study adding a new fire station ASAP in the northeast quadrant of Fall Creek Township. No current fire station exists in this area, despite growth, especially in the Cyntheanne Road area. There is an ambulance with fire fighters in one of the hospitals, but no fire engine or crew for that area. Any fire call would require FFD to respond from a distance, or require assistance from another department.
This is one of the most important things we can do as a community. Public Safety IS Job #1. Let's have that discussion now, and decide if our priorities lie with building apartments and shops downtown, or with Public Safety.