By Jon E. Easter
City-County Councillor Jose Evans opened up a new battlefield yesterday in the race for Indianapolis Mayor as he urged the city to boycott Arizona in the wake of the controversial immigration law the state passed earlier this year. No other Mayoral candidate, to my knowledge, has released a statement or a position on this matter. Perhaps as a sitting City-County Councillor, Evans will now make a proposal to do get a Council vote on the situation. It's a fairly interesting maneuver, and we'll see if it gains any traction with the other candidates.
The other candidates are plodding along in different directions so it seems. For now, Melina Kennedy seems to be building her message and staying quiet. Brian Williams is knee deep in the Ballard Administration's water deal. Ron Gibson is...well...what's Ron Gibson doing? Anyone know? For the politics of running for Mayor, this is a nice move by Evans, and he has the ability to do something about it right now by making that proposal.
On the other hand, Councillor Evans potentially dealt himself a major blow if he wants Decatur Township support in becoming Mayor Jose Evans. On Monday, the City-County Council took a vote on whether it should hear the zoning case associated with the Southside Landfill expansion. The landfill owns all the land south of Buffer Park Golf Course to 465, and it wants to utilize this land that is currently mostly farmland and grazing area for longhorn steer to expand landfill operations and provide a southern staging area on the property. I will grant that it's a very complicated case, and I don't know how I would have voted as a Councillor on it. But, this wasn't a vote to pass or deny the petition. It was just to hear the facts in front of the Council, and, with severe neighborhood concerns, I think it deserved Council attention.
On the call down vote, 11 Democratic Councillors voted to call it down. Republican Barbara Malone and Libertarian Ed Coleman joined that vote. One Democrat was not at the council meeting, so all the Dems needed for an indecisive vote to punt the vote to the next Council meeting was Evans' vote. He voted with the majority of the Republicans making it a 15-13 vote. No call down. The zoning passed through. At the meeting, he did not explain his vote.
When approached by another member of his caucus for an explanation of his vote, this Councillor received back the following e-mail from Evans.
Yes, I'm aware of my decision. If I wanted to explain my vote I would have done so last-night.
Jose M. Evans
Councillor, District 1
City of Indianapolis/Marion County
I also approached Councillor Evans for comment, but he has not returned my Facebook message. If he does return the message, I will post it unedited.
For a candidate that has this as the tagline of his e-mails, "We need a city that cares as much about neighborhoods, as it does downtown," he might wish to know that Hi-Acre Manor, the neighborhood closest to the landfill expansion was vehemently against the expansion and is a neighborhood, too. They deserve an explanation as to why the case didn't receive its day in front of the Council.
So, why is Councillor Evans talking about Arizona but not providing any explanation to these folks in Hi-Acre Manor? Councillor, Tip O'Neill once said astutely, "All politics is local."