Much of it is what I expected. The fix is in. Senate Bill 621 is going to pass. It's all over but the details. Senator Mike Young got his removal of the At-Large Councillors into the bill. Come 2015, your City-County Council will likely be 25 district seats. Still bloated and too large, but it's what the Indiana General Assembly wants for you. So take it.
Buried in the article is something that should make every Marion County voter mad.
One of the Republican talking points so far in this fight has been that the four At-Large Councillors, all Democrats, are little more than anonymous obstructionists. The job of delivering that message to the Conference Committee last night fell to District 3 Councillor Will Gooden and District 6 Councillor Janice McHenry. They called the At-Larges, in the Star's words, anonymous and meddlesome.
Irony here is that only McHenry has actually faced the voters. That's right, the GOP sent Gooden, someone that has never gotten one vote from any constituent to argue that those that have gotten votes were meddlesome and anonymous.
Besides, let's be brutally honest here, since Councillor Gooden and Councillor McHenry rarely have an independent thought, whose agenda would they be advocating for most of the time? Whose agenda would be threatened by four Democratic members of the City-County Council? If you said Mayor Greg Ballard's Administration, you would be correct!
The voters in Marion County went to the polls and elected a Republican Mayor of Indianapolis and then crossed over and elected four Democrats to the City-County Council, At-Large. This was done by a countywide vote. The voters of Marion County wanted divided government. This little piece of testimony at the Conference Committee probably will make things really divided.
If Councillor Gooden thought that the At-Large candidates held up zoning cases before, wait until they are lame ducks. If Councillor McHenry has a pet proposal she needs some votes on, I'm sure she just lost four. That's the other side of politics.
I can't tell you how shortsighted all of this is. Councillor McHenry and Councillor Gooden did not even need to say a word at the Conference Committee. Senate Bill 621 was going to pass. Kyle Walker or Donald Duck could have testified. It wouldn't matter. Time and time again, the Indiana General Assembly has slapped Marion County on the butt and told it to shut up. Time and time again in this process, the people have stood up only to be knocked down by the iron fist of a supermajority gone wild. The message from the Republicans is that "as long as we're in charge and the Democrats are in charge in Marion County that home rule is dead here."
Councillor McHenry and Councillor Gooden just unnecessarily kicked a little dirt on the coffin.