Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hinkle Wants to Eliminate At-Large Council Seats


As I have stated previously, Phil Hinkle is a good friend of mine and my family, but this latest action...well, I just don't understand. In the middle of an election year, Phil Hinkle is almost blatantly trying to help Republicans retain control of the City-County Council in Indianapolis.

According to Paul Ogden and WIBC, Hinkle has filed an amendment to a bill that would ELIMINATE the four at-large City-County Council position as early as 2011. That's right, you could see the end of the line for the four positions.

Hinkle is a former City-County Councillor, so he knows how important those seats are to swinging the control of the Council. It's hard not to see this move by the Republican Representative as anything but a political move in an election year.

Where's the fire here? November 2011 is the fire. Hinkle and the Marion County GOP know very well that all or at least some of those four seats are poised to turn back to blue. In a year where some of the district Councillors are facing tough fights just to stay in office, you could see a majority swing to the Democrats in 2011 based upon these At-Large seats. Absentee ballots are already being mailed back in, right now, so what's the legality of this right now trying to dump the At-Larges? Perhaps Mr. Hinkle will respond to this post. I know he reads the blog.

If we want to have this discussion, then let's have the discussion in 2012. Right now, leave the Council alone. Withdrawing the amendment is the only way to make this look like anything but a political swipe. It's also completely unfair to those people running hard for these office right now. The candidates in all three parties deserve better than an 11th-hour Amendment.

Abdul reports on Facebook that he interviewed Hinkle this morning. The measure would not kick in until 2015.


Erin Rosenberg said...

It's interesting to look at this from the perspective of the actual Kernan-Shepard report, Recommendation #2:
"We recommend the establishment of a single legislative body that will be better understood by citizens and businesses that interact with county government, as well as more nimble in responding to today’s policy challenges... We recommend that counties be given the option to establish a 7-, 9- or 11-member council with three at-large seats and the remaining members selected by district. No change in membership is recommended for the city-county council that serves Marion County."

If I understand this correctly, under the banner of local government reform, we are to eliminate township, ELECTED government structures whose duties are to be transitioned to the Executive (Mayor) and become positions appointed by the Executive (Mayor). AND, because of some 'theory' that the Elected At-Larges are not independent enough of the Mayor, we should (because we are giving the Mayor more control and authority in underlying bills eliminating township governments) eliminate other elected county wide positions? Ah, logic...

The fact that At-Large Councillor Ed Coleman changed parties and has not voted "rubber stamp" style for Mayor Ballard's agenda disproves Hinkle's very premise to begin with. Ron Gibson voted against the HRO as CCC At Large. The examples could go on and on. Hinkle's premise is simply not true. Simply saying things doesn't make them true. If more independent At Larges are wanted, then the voters can elect them as they see fit.

Doug said...

The at-large seats were part of the Uni-gov design to keep the city and county under GOP control. The, usually, republican suburban votes would offset Democratic strength in the old Indianapolis city limits; thereby keeping the mayor's office and the council under republican control. Problem is that the republicans kept moving out of Marion County and Democrats moved in! Amazing how the r's try to change the rules when they're losing the game.