Saturday, January 28, 2012

Old Hinkle Plot to Remove At-Large Seats Re-hatched in Senate

Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake
(Who looks nothing like this
official photo.)
Phil Hinkle took a lot of heat last year.

One of the most controversial things he did IN the Statehouse was to file an amendment to a bill that would have eliminated the four At-Large seats on the City-County Council in 2016.  After some talk, the amendment he pushed was eventually dropped last session.

Now, an out-of-town lawmaker, Sue Landske, a Republican Senator from Cedar Lake, has filed an amendment on the Senate side to SB 110 to do what Hinkle wanted to do last year again this year.

Of course, the four At-Large seats were a Unigov creation that for many years assured a Republican majority on the City-County Council.  Since the late 1990's, as Marion County and Indianapolis have become more blue, the Council At-Large seats have followed that trend.  After losing two of the four seats and the Democrats picking up another one, suddenly the Republicans want to erase those At-Large seats with D's in all four seats now.

The idea of At-Large seats makes some sense.  You have your district level Councillors that must be attuned to the needs of the specific district, but I think it's good to have four Councillors whose constituents are the entire county.  They should have a more global view of what's good and bad for the city, as a whole.

When Republicans held two of the At-Large seats, I thought it was a bad idea to get rid of the At-Larges.  Now that Democrats hold all four again, I still think Landske's amendment is a bad idea.  I also find it annoying that some lawmaker from Cedar Lake believes it's her place to fiddlefart around with Marion County government.  There's no pressing need to change the makeup of our City-County Council.

If the four At-Large seats didn't exist, the Council would have a 13-12 Republican majority and after GOP operative David Brooks redistricted the Council with little public and no Democratic Party input, this move shows that the fix must be in for sure.  She was put up to this, no question.  I'm just surprised it wasn't Mike Young or Scott Schneider or someone that filed the amendment.

Guess they didn't have the guts.


Anonymous said...

Me thinks that the Republicans are hearing the foot steps of a newly elected at large member, and they don't like it. They see the writing on the wall, and it ain't pretty for them

Just more Tom Foolery.

However, to be fair, Parker would do the exact same thing.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Mike Young, Scott Schneider, Phil Hinkle would be the answer to the three Marion County legislators least likely to do what they're told to do by Marion County GOP leadership. Scott Schneider won against a county chairman backed candidate (Ryan Vaughn) and Mike Young is currently being opposed by an establishment Romney-like candidate.

There is a legitimate good-government argument that can be made for keeping the at-large seats and one that can be made for eliminating them. These arguments were made 40 plus years ago when Unigov was enacted.

So I don't agree that the move is 100% about politics. But clearly the political impact of such a move isn't something they have overlooked. Everyone knows the move would benefit the Rs.

Jon E. Easter said...

Not so sure if Parker would have done the same thing. The Dems had multiple chances to get rid of the At-Large seats over the years (when R's were in charge in Marion County)...and never did.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, the Dems filed a lawsuit via county chair Steve Laudug to have them abolished. It failed.

Publius said...

Anonymous has it right. A gay man representing the State's largest city and county must frighten the repoobs. They're probably alarmed to discover that gays are even allowed to vote!