Friday, January 28, 2011
Perry Township Meeting Provides Forum for Democratic Candidates
Last night's Perry Township Democratic Club meeting played to a near full house of good Democrats who ignored the cold and a slightly snowy forecast to hear from the assembled candidates and Democratic officeholders.
From the Grove
Beech Grove City Councillor Buddy Templin announced he was the only candidate expected to seek the Democratic Party's slating nod for Beech Grove Mayor. Templin spoke about his time on the Council and the battles with former Beech Grove Mayor Joe Wright and his Republican colleagues on the Council. Simply stated, "The Leadership is not leading," said Templin, a security company owner whose business employs about 40 people.
Templin said that he, Ed Bell, and Mary Stewart, the Democratic caucus on the Beech Grove City Council have been proven right again and again as Mayor Wright and the Republicans spent money the Grove didn't have. "We voted down two budgets and pay raises for city workers not because we wanted to, but the money just wasn't there," said Templin. "It's a shame we were right."
The city coffers will be about half a million dollars short in a city with a budget of around $7 million, according to Templin. Dennis Buckley is also seeking the office, but he was not in attendance.
With Templin was Bell, Council At-Large candidate Debbie Springer, Clerk/Treasurer candidate Dan McMillan, and Judge candidate Barbara Bell. Mary Stewart was not in attendance at the meeting.
Council Hopefuls Square Off
The Indianapolis City-County Council candidates also took center stage during the meeting. As has been previously mentioned a few times on this blog, the At-Large race is heating up with six candidates filed for slating and another filed with a committee to run at-large but not filed for slating as of yet. Slots A and C have candidates that are unopposed so far. That's Joanne Sanders in A who was represented at the meeting but not in attendance. But, there were five candidates at the Perry meeting.
Slating Slot C has Zach Adamson and no other candidates. Adamson talked about his two main issues for his campaign, jobs and economic development. He pointed out how the Southwest District of the downtown area was thriving with lots of parking choices but that areas in the northeast quadrant are continuing to show empty storefronts. "It comes down to parking," said Adamson. "All you have in the Northeast are parking meters and garages which charge $15 for three hours. Parking is a major issue." Adamson talked about how abandoned housing is a black eye for the city as well and that he would work on this issue as a Councillor.
Slot B has Pat Andrews and John Barth running for slating position.
Andrews centered her talk around the nuts and bolts of city government. She cited her experience as a past Vice President of the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations and as the former Land Use Chair of the Decatur Township Civic Council's Land Use Committee. She displayed her knowledge of the area by talking about issues that have effected the Sunshine Gardens neighborhood in Perry. Andrews also said that she has been in charge of reviewing and understanding the last four city budgets for MCANA and its membership. She criticized the Ballard Administration and the Republican Council leadership for making deals to make people richer while ignoring neighborhood issues.
Barth stated that his qualifications for sitting on the Council come down to three things: family, community, and career. For family, Barth said that his family goes back six generations in Indianapolis and that when he and his wife had a chance to move to Washington, D.C., they chose to stay in Indianapolis. For community, he cited his leadership in the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association having served as its President. He said he worked on neighborhood issues and participated in clean-ups and other activities. For career, Barth cited his management of the Hoosier Healthwise program under Governors O'Bannon and Kernan. He said he was responsible for a $1 billion budget which is close to the Indianapolis budgetary figure of $1.4 billion.
Slot D has Leroy Robinson and Annette Johnson filed for slating.
Johnson gave one of her best talks yet as a candidate. She talked about how, as an eight-year-old girl, she caught the political bug from her mother as she walked on a picket line outside Wishard Hospital. Johnson talked about her 12 years of involvement in Pike Township politics and government where she now serves as President of the Pike Township Democratic Club and on the Pike Township Advisory Board. Johnson cited her experience in dealing with budgets while on that board.
Robinson said he is a proud resident of Pike Township and that he tries to instill the passion he has for his community in his government students at Pike High School, where he teaches. He said he lives in Pike; he shops in Pike; his kids go or have gone to Pike, so he hopes to take that same passion he has for Pike and apply it to the eight other townships in the county. Robinson cited his service on the IPS Board of School Commissioners as a part of his qualifications where he helped manage a $500 million budget. He said education was a key component in his platform.
The lone At-Large candidate that has yet to file for slating, Sherron Franklin, was not there nor was she represented by anyone.
One thing is clear, the Democrats have some great candidates for office.
Other officeholders, dignitaries or candidates in attendance included:
Marion Superior Court Judge Jose Salinas
Marion Superior Court Master Commissioner John Boyce
Center Township Advisory Board Member Larry Ryan
and Former State Representative John Barnes
Marion Superior Court Judge Steve Eichholtz and Indianapolis Mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy were represented by surrogates.