Sunday, October 30, 2011

Star Endorsement Of Kennedy Perplexing

The Star's editorial board four years ago dismissed Greg Ballard's low-budget campaign to unseat two-term Mayor Bart Peterson as someone not "remotely qualified" to serve as mayor. During the past four years, the editorial board has backed virtually every major policy his administration has implemented. According to the editors, "city services are more efficiently delivered, the budget has been managed significantly better, and initial steps have been made to improve the police department." Nonetheless, the editors have decided he is not worthy of another four years and have chosen to endorse his Democratic opponent, Melina Kennedy. Their decision seems to turn on the vision thing:

It does not disparage any of that to argue, as we now do, that it is time to move beyond the basics to a broader vision and a more forceful voice for not just bricks and mortar change but also a true transformation -- not just to repair the past but to build a brighter future.
I differ from the Star's editors in their favorable assessment of a number of his policies, including the way he financed short-term road and street improvements through the sale of the city's water and utility assets and the city's parking meter assets. I have issues with the centralized, bloated bureaucracy within the Public Safety Department. And I think too many decisions are being made based on what will serve the best interests of political contributors and supporters as opposed to the public's interest. The county club politics Ballard promised to end four years ago following his election still reins supreme in this city. Having said that, the Star's endorsement of Kennedy over Ballard makes absolutely no sense if it truly believes he got it right on all of the big issues they cite in their endorsement of Kennedy. She is definitely a better public speaker, but I can't give either of the candidates high marks on this vision thing based on their debate performances or the non-stop negative campaign messages being put out by both campaigns against the other candidate.

The Terre Haute Tribune-Star's editorial board took an entirely different tact with its endorsement in its city's mayoral race today. Although it endorsed the incumbent mayor, Kevin Burke, four years ago over the city's current mayor, Duke Bennett, it chose to endorse Bennett for re-election while speaking positively of both mayoral candidates. Bennett is facing Fred Nation, a certified member of the Evan Bayh Democratic machine. I actually thought Nation, who has worked in public relations for the Hulman-owned Indianapolis Motor Speedway after a long stint working political jobs for the Bayhs, lived in Indianapolis and not Terre Haute. The Tribune-Star thought Nation was the best candidate the Democrats could have put forward, but it still concluded that Bennett, who it concedes is not flashy, deserves a second term. Nation has hit Bennett hard on the vision thing, but the editorial board wouldn't let that drive its decision as the Star's editorial board chose to do: "[H]is steady attention to tedious, day-to-day details was valuable during rocky times."


Paul K. Ogden said...

On every bad idea Ballard has had like North of South, the Busch Stadium development, the $33.5 milion for the Pacers, the 50 year parking meter deal, the Broad Ripple Parking Garage giveaway, the Star has been there cheering Ballard on. And now the Star doesn't endorse him? Maybe Ballard feels betrayed like those of us who supported Ballard in 2007 feel betrayed.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I will grant you that he has been used by a lot of people who he thinks are his best friends who can't stand the sight of him.

Indy man said...

I thought the editorial’s linkage of illegal aliens to the Mayoral race was bizarre.

Bradley said...

Did you see the Letter to the Editor from the local city employees' unions yesterday enthusiastically endorsing Ballard with Steve Quick's name prominently listed above the other three union representatives' names? After the reporting you did on Quick's shady and violent past, unusual pardon from Governor Daniels, and closeness to Ballard, I was none too surprised the unions whole-heartedly endorsed him.