Now, I have no interest in the job. I absolutely love teaching, and I absolutely love what I do as a blogger here and a host of my radio show. Nonetheless, I jotted down a few things in the back of my head, and I thought I'd share them here. I won't share the contents of the speech I gave while I was in the shower. In fact, just purge the image out of your brains now.
My first pledge would be to always be honest. It sounds so simple, but I would make a pledge that I would always be honest and that I would always level with the people of the city. Each week I'm in office, I would try to post a weekly question and answer session via Twitter or YouTube. I would pledge to use these methods to connect with constituents.
My second pledge is that I would not get lost on the 25th floor of the City-County Building. If you trust me to run your city, you will have access to me. Whenever possible, I'm going to be someone who is eating lunch or dinner at local establishments.
My third pledge is that if I leave the city, you're going to know about it. There's no reason for the Mayor to be out of the city for two or three months out of the year. I won't do that. While I will not pledge to never take a vacation, I plan to be up front about trade missions, who is paying for them, and what will be the results of my time away from the city.
Now that we have those two things out of the way, I think that it will be easier to talk to each other about the issues that are negatively affecting our city. I think I have a handle on a few, but I would need your help, as residents of Indy, for the rest. Whenever possible, I would hold town halls across the city where it's just me and you. My staff may be on hand, but they won't be on stage. I will take your unfiltered questions, and you can be sure that I'll find a way to take them all.
Though my duties as Mayor may require me to use a car or a driver, I plan to use public transportation as my schedule permits. If that means I stand in line at bus stops, then so be it. I'll stand with you. You see, I'm not going to be above you. I'm a Mayor of you. Talking to people as I ride on the bus is going to be a priority for me, and there won't be any TV cameras. It will just be a normal thing. How am I going to understand how everyone in this city lives if I don't live in this city with them?
Now, I know we'll have tough times in this city. We have some big problems that we need to solve. We need to put aside politics to solve them. We need to embrace the peacemakers like the Ten Point Coalition. Beyond that, we need to get down in the trenches. One of my first acts as Mayor will be to join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition. We need to promote responsible gun ownership in this city, and if the State of Indiana fights me on it, I'll go to war with them. We need to feel safe in our own city, and we need to level with each other that every homicide hurts our community...no matter who the victim is. It's no longer going to be acceptable to write some homicides off simply because that victim had a criminal record. When I'm Mayor, I'll put a full court blitz on crime. I'll take my message to the schools, and I'll help other elected officials that have great programs that prevent crime not only get the credit they deserve but get the full support of the Mayor's Office.
On education, I will more greatly scrutinize charter schools. I'll make sure that when we divert public education funds away from traditional public schools that we're not doing it blindly. That these charter schools that I sponsor offer different and distinct choices for parents that reach all students. I'll make sure that students with disabilities have an advocate and that no student will go to school in my city with a fear of being bullied because of who they are.
Economic development, of course, will be a concern. I will make it a priority of my administration to expand the tax base across the city and avoid the old tricks such as tax increment financing and abatements. Yes, these are valuable tools, but I believe we use them too easily and quickly. I'll also use the city's website to promote transparency in government. At a click of a mouse, you should be able to see the deal that the city has made with a developer. That holds the city accountable as well as the developer accountable. As a candidate, I would not knowingly accept contributions from anyone wishing to do business with the city.
I don't know if any of this makes sense. It all made sense in the shower. Maybe I'll write another one of these some day. If you're running for Mayor, feel free to use any of these things.