Sunday, September 09, 2007

Will Voters Come Out In November?

The Star editorial writers ponder this question today: Will income tax hike incite voters? They are referring, of course, to the $90 million, 65% increase in the county option income tax the Democratic-controlled coucil pushed through at the urging of Mayor Bart Peterson (D). They remind us the turnout in recent city elections has been pathetic. During the past three municipal elections, the numbers have been embarrassingly low. "Only 26.81 percent of registered voters voted in 2003. There was a higher turnout in 1999 (36.98 percent) and a lower total in 1995 (25.51)." They believe there is hope the tax incease vote might spawn a higher voter turnout this November.

The Star uses the editorial as an opportunity to spotlight the council race against the ethically-challenged CCC President Monroe Gray (D), who faces attorney Kurt Webber (R). They write:

Kurt Webber is a local attorney who was inspired to run for a seat on the City-County Council by out-of-control taxes and out-of-touch incumbents.

In 54 days, he'll find out if voters in the county's Eighth District share his passion for tightening budgets and opening government to everyday citizens.

On Nov. 6, voters will pick either Webber, a newcomer with minimum political experience, or Monroe Gray Jr., the council's president who is a strong proponent of his other employer -- the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Gray, you might recall, helped ramrod through a 65 percent increase in the county income tax to cover public safety-related costs. Protests from citizens who'd just learned of whopping increases in their property taxes did not deter Gray. Nor did it move him to acknowledge citizens who stood outside in 92-degree heat the night the council debated the income tax hike in air-conditioned comfort.

Republican challenger Webber shares the outrage felt by the citizens who were excluded from the "people's house" that steamy night in August. But he realizes beating incumbent Gray will not be easy.

"He's got a machine behind him and I'm seen as a relative novice," Webber said. "I just want the voters to take the time to get to know me better."

The Webber-Gray race will not be the only test of tax-induced discontent in the November election. The at-large seats on the council will pit four incumbents -- Rozelle Boyd, Lonnell Conley, Ron Gibson and Joanne Sanders, all of whom supported the income tax hike -- against Republican and Libertarian candidates.

Elsewhere in the Star today, you learn that efforts to fix the improper assessments in Marion County will only cost you bucco bucks in extra spending. Indianapolois Public Schools will ring up an extra $1 million in interest charges for $36 million in short-term borrowing which has been triggered by the Governor's reassessment order. Mayor Peterson is digging into his $3 million war chest to run yet another TV commercial in which he takes credit for Governor Daniels' reassessment order for Marion Co. Do you think he will accept the blame for the $1 million in increased spending? Or will he blame that on IPS just like he blamed the property tax increase problem on the school districts?

The Star's "Behind Closed Doors" gets around to reporting on Patrice Abduallah's casting a vote to name his own successor, a vote triggered by his own vacancy and reported on by Advance Indiana nearly two weeks ago. "Terry Burns, executive director of the Marion County Democratic Party, said Abduallah was permitted to vote in the election of precinct captains even though he lost the seat for not living in the district," the column writes. "That's because precinct captains don't have to live in the precinct or even the district."


Anonymous said...

Burns is wrong....a elected precinct captain must live in the precinct that he is elected from....same as a CCC member. A person can be appointed to any precinct in the county as well as a vice committeeman. The correct question is "what was he...elected or appointed. Sad reporting. Sad Democratic party leadership. Even sadder for this Democrat precinct committeemen.

Wilson46201 said...

Kurt Webber was so motivated for public service that he didn't even bother to file and run in the Primary Election. He was simply a last-minute appointee by the GOP County Chair to fill a ballot position against Monroe Gray. Had those tax bills even gone out before Tom John appointed him?

Anonymous said...

Did Patrice vote for himself in the Primary in his old precint or the precinct he was really living in ?

What precint should he have voted in ?

Anonymous said...

To answer your question: Are you kidding? The Colts' season has started. But for a distracted few, the public and media have lost interest in both the tax issue and the municipal election for now.

Check back again when we have to actually pay the bills next year.

Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

This lack of clarity should be
changed by state law to allow
only those precinct committee
people who are currently residing in the "vacancy" district to vote
at the precinct committee persons caucus.

Anonymous said...

I plan on voting straight Republican ticket....However I wish there was a way to vote NO-NO-NO for traitor SCOTT KELLER. hE NEEDS TO DECLARE HIMSELF WITH THE REST OF THE DEMOCRAPS.

Wilson46201 said...

For the hysterical right-winger at 10:18pm -- only people living in Keller's District 16 will be able to vote for or against him. Chances are you don't live in that district so you don't get a say in District 16's representation. And chill out!

I suspect you live in District #9 represented by Jackie Nytes. Too bad for you the GOP gave her a pass and filed nobody against her. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

10:03, No truer words were ever spoken. Throw the screaming demanding masses of malcontents a piece of cake and they stay quite for a while.
When the Governor granted a moratorium on the 2007 property taxes and allowed people to pay at their 2006 rate he threw a piece of cake to the dissenters.
The Governor's action gave Peterson another 4 years.
I personally look for a turnout in November of about 30%.

Anonymous said...

You know Monroe Gray must be scared if Wilson is here attacking Kurt Webber. Webber must be doing something right.


Wilson46201 said...

I'm not attacking Kurt Webber - just pointing out that he was a last-minute "sacrificial lamb" appointed by the GOP Chair. I think a serious aspirant would have filed in the Spring like regular candidates and would have been working hard at meeting voters and raising money for a very tough election race. This last-minute drop-in by Tom John now faces an even more difficult campaign!

Anonymous said...

Wilson said - I think a serious aspirant would have filed in the Spring like regular candidates and would have been working hard at meeting voters and raising money for a very tough election race.

Then Andre Carson must not be a serious candidate either - or else he would have run in the primary against an incumbent ?

I thought you would be rooting for the under dog Wilson.


Pike Voter

Wilson46201 said...

There were no Republicans whatsoever filed in the primary for District 8. Zilch! Webber would have had no opposition from within his party had he filed. Poor GOP Chair Tom John had to go out and beat the bushes at the last minute to find a respectable citizen to put on the ballot against Monroe Gray in the General Election.

Anonymous said...

The majority that go to the polls, sadly, will be the ones who go several times, in several districts. You'll know who they are becasue they will have 5 or 6 drivers licenses with different names, all arranged members of a certain party.
no accusations there, just facts that a certain poster will try to deny any part of!

Wait 3 weeks and see what happens to Gray. I know something you don't!

Anonymous said...

5:46, as a Democrat tired of this nonsense, I hope you're right. I fear you're not.

Wilson--it wasn't so long ago, that we Dems had to file candidates after the primary. For many, many offices, including mayor. Gloating is a sin, pal. There but for the Grace of God go we...and we could be back in the minority again in the flick of an eyelash.

The first poster is completely wrong. I am pretty sure the state statutes give wide berth to the state aprties to oversee county party committees. About ten years ago, the Democrats, unable to fill all their precincts with the gender/residency requirements, began allowing committeepersons and their VCs to live outside the precinct. Those are "appointed" by the county chair, and have all rigihts and responsibilities of elected committeepersons. I know dozens of folks who have served in that manner, including myself.

Should I choose to run for election as a committeeperson, in my own precinct, of course I must live there. I am unsure how long I have to live there.

Yeah, Gary, voters will come out in about the same rate they have for munucipal elections for years. And whatever the countywide turnout is, Center Township will be about half that.

Sad. Democracy should not be a spectator sport.

Anonymous said...

anon 6:07 Read my first post again. You must LIVE IN THE PRECINCT YOU ARE ELECTED FROM. The party can appoint anyone living in the county to any precinct but they cannot remove an elected committeemen and appoint another. if YOU RUN FOR AND ARE ELECTED TO TO PRECIENT BUT YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THAT PRECIENT YOU HAVE VIOLATE ELECTION LAW.

Anonymous said...

Is this voter fraud? Candidates run from the precinct they are registered to vote in. Warman Avenue was outside the district, Sheffield Avenue was his original address, and his wife's eastside address is in Duke Oliver's council district is the thrid address.

Maybe Wilson will confirm for us which one he voted from.