Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Senate GOP Blocks Indy Fire Department Merger Bill

Once again abandoning its roots, Indiana Senate Republicans voted down an amendment Sen. Billie Breaux (D-Indianapolis) offered to SB 1 to merge Marion County township fire departments with the Indianapolis Fire Department as proposed under Mayor Peterson's Indy Works initiative. The amendment failed by a vote of 32-18 according to the Star. SB 1 is sponsored by Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis), a highly partisan legislator who makes a living as a paid political consultant.

Remember folks, Uni-Gov is the creation of former Mayor Richard Lugar and other forward-looking Republicans in Marion County. It was their original plan to consolidate both the police and fire departments as part of Uni-Gov, but then-Mayor Lugar settled for what he could get, with the idea that full consolidation would eventually take place. Well, it's been 36 years, and it's about time to finish the job.

Former Mayor Goldsmith actually wanted to merge both the police and fire departments, but he abandoned those efforts out of fear it would detract from his gubernatorial race, which he lost to former Gov. Frank O'Bannon. Mayor Peterson succeeded in merging the sheriff and police departments, but he only had support from two Republican councilors who were excoriated by their Republican colleagues for "selling out."

Republicans are opposing further consolidation in Marion County for the same blatant political reasons Democrats are opposing Gov. Daniels' Major Moves initiative. Surprise the public for a change and govern in a bipartisan fashion.

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