|Greg Ballard chats with Chuck Brewer|
Photo courtesy of Facebook
For the most part, he was very polished, a little boring, and had a seemed to have a good grasp of the issues. Some of his proposals raised some eyebrows.
For one, he said he would solve some neighborhood zoning fights by offering developers free use of brownfield land in other parts of the city. This is something that has been used successfully in other locales, but you might wonder what a program like this would cost in Marion County.
Brewer criticized Mayor Ballard's administration for spending more money than it takes in. "You wouldn't operate your own business or balance your checkbook that way," said the restaurateur. Brewer, however, talked about costly program after costly program he hoped to institute as Mayor.
He was also asked a question about how he would improve public education in the city. After explaining that the Mayor has no formal role in public education, Brewer touted Mayor Ballard's use of charter schools as expanding choice for parents and students. He said that charter schools, on average, achieve at a rate ten times better than traditional public schools.
I guess that depends on what measure you look at. Last November, WTHR did a report showing that about half of Indiana's charter schools were not performing to anyone's liking. Chalkbeat also reported more trouble with achievement in Indianapolis' charters earlier this month.
Every time a charter school is created, a public school is created. Brewer seemed oblivious to this fact. The Mayor very much is a player in the public schools in Indianapolis.
Did Brewer seem Mayoral? I would say that he seemed more polished than Ballard did when he took on Bart Peterson in 2007, but I don't think he's anywhere near as ready as Joe Hogsett is to lead the city.
Some of the harshest words of the night were reserved for Hogsett. Brewer never addressed him by name, but he said that he became concerned enough to run for Mayor when Hogsett or "my opponent" entered the race. Brewer said that he wants to be someone who runs for Mayor, does good for his city, and goes back to being a citizen and a father.
He indirectly accused Hogsett of running because of the need "to be somebody" and someone who runs for office again and again to fill that need.
Even in a Democrat room, I have yet to hear Hogsett speak ill of Brewer.