Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Democratic Councillor Defends Walkout

A Democratic City-County Councillor contacted me earlier today, and we had a talk about the events this person said led up to the Democratic walkout. This just in, it wasn’t the budget.

Despite some of the media and blogosphere depictions, the Democratic walkout at Monday’s City-County Council as the Mayor presented his budget was orchestrated to show the displeasure many Councillors have with how the Mayor has treated Democrats and the Democratic caucus, in general, since he was sworn in as Mayor in 2008.

This Councillor told me that repeated attempts to meet with the Mayor over various proposals and ordinances have been ignored or pushed aside.

The Councillor told me that the difficulties faced by them are not foreign. This individual told me that many on the Republican side of the aisle have been brushed aside by Mayor Ballard and his staff. Reportedly, that boiled over to a shouting match between the Republicans and the Mayor when he attended a caucus with one respected Republican Councillor telling the Mayor, “Even (Mayor Bart) Peterson met more with us than you have.”

The Democrat told me that the Mayor’s staff has not bothered to show up to town hall meetings put on by Democratic Councillors and has shown a general lack of respect towards anyone on the “D” side of the aisle.

On Monday, the Councillor told me that those that walked out of the meeting did so in a quiet and organized manner. It was a coordinated, and it was directly aimed at the Mayor.

The budget process, the Councillor tells me, will allow the Democrats to be heard before final approval. “We are more than willing to have a discussion about the budget with the Mayor,” said the Councillor.


Indy Student said...

Maybe this is a more recent "boycott" of Dem hosted townhall meetings. Ballard made a surprise appearance when my council rep, Maggie Lewis, hosted one in the Pike Township Government Center when the water deal was still going through. Several other Democratic council reps and at least one At-Large candidate was there as well, as well as the mayor's Chief of Staff, Chris Cotterill. I'm not saying Coteerill or Ballard provided AMAZING answers or anything, but they both did attend.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the mayor (or governor or POTUS) or his respective officials meeting with caucuses behind closed doors. Too many shenanigans seem to happen. They're separate bodies of the government with separate powers.

Anonymous said...

It is silly season, but these actions are bordering on stupid.

The public wants fully engaged representation. Everyone with a brain knows that the Mayor gets to submit his budget first and then the council dissects it, before approval.

Representatives should hear the Mayors proposal and then determine if they have honest disagreements with certain aspects of his proposal.

The walk out did nothing but show who is more silly.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 8:35 - I have to disagree. The budget process includes many behind the scenes meetings with interested Councillors, before and after it is submitted. Otherwise they would be there all day and all night during budget season.

The Mayor should be Mayor of all the people, not just those of his own party. And, that should extend to all of the elected representatives.

I saw that the newspaper quoted Councillor Vaughn as saying that you can't have a conversation when you are the only one in the room -- that would apply to the Mayor's lack of interest in meeting with the Ds more than them walking out.