Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Walkout Sends Wrong Message
In the title bar of this blog, I bill this place as an independent source. I don't necessarily mean an independent source in the political sense. I just feel like sometimes that I need to say something about my own party that just needs to be said.
Eleven Democrats walked out of the City-County Council meeting on Monday night as Mayor Greg Ballard presented his budget (for a detailed analysis, visit Had Enough Indy). They walked out reportedly due to disagreements with the budgeting process, and I, frankly, think that sends the wrong message to voters. Only Democrats Jackie Nytes and Mary Moriarty Adams stayed.
Granted, I have yet to talk to Joanne Sanders or anyone in the Democratic caucus, but, as much as we may disagree with Mayor Ballard and his methods his administration used to arrive at the proposed budget, I simply cannot agree with walking out.
A stronger message might have been for the Democrats to have stayed in the chamber and to have voiced their strong disapproval with Mayor Ballard and his practice of leaving Dems out of nearly every decision that went into this budget. After all, this isn’t the first time that the Ballard Administration has left Dems out in the cold.
Walking out can give the impression that the Democrats wish to be obstructionists. Going into an election year where simply keeping the ball inbounds looks like a great strategy to win back the Council, these kinds of actions can potentially rub the voters in Marion County the wrong way and provide fodder for Republican opposition.
I get what the Democrats were saying, but I wonder if they may have overplayed their hand a bit with this action. Nevertheless, the move made the papers and was on television.
The bigger question that I have with the budget is a simple one. How can Mayor Ballard claim that "public safety is job one" as he often does while he cuts out an entire recruiting class of new law enforcement officers? Cutting these officers while the Ballard Administration just handed out $33 million to the Indiana Pacers is irresponsible.
Unfortunately, no one was left in the chamber to amplify it.
Editor's Note: I invite any member of the City-County Council's Democratic Caucus to respond to this blog post, and I will publish it, un-edited.