Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Democrats Off to Bad Start

The first meeting of the Council of 2012 demonstrated that the Council Democrats are not willing to share power in an equitable fashion.  This is a very unfortunate portent for Indianapolis' next 4 years of divided government, and ignores that not everyone in Marion County voted for Democratic candidates.  In fact 13 Republicans were elected along with 16 Democrats.  Yet, the fraction of Republicans seated on the Rules Committee was just 2 of 8.  Even sticking with the fraction of the Council, that committee should have at least 3.  This is also the traditional split, giving a clear majority to the party who controls the Council.   Looking at it another way, 13 of the 25 Council district electorates chose Republican representation.  But, they are not getting a fair share of that actual representation on at least the Rules committee, and there appears to be squabbles about other committees as well.

More important than all of that is the message this sends to the community.  First, the Democrats want more power than allotted to them through the election process.  Second, the representation of those areas of the County that chose Republicans are being shortchanged by the new Democratic majority - and it doesn't seem to bother the Democrats at all.

Jon Murray, IndyStar reporter, described the situation this way:

"It didn't take long Monday night for friction to arise.

"During a meeting break, while a panel called the Committee on Committees convened briefly, Minority Leader Michael McQuillen accused Democrats of diluting the GOP's influence.

"He sits on that committee with Lewis and Majority Leader Vernon Brown. Their task was to select members of the key Rules and Public Policy Committee, so the rules panel could meet to decide several council staff appointments.

"Over McQuillen's objection, Lewis and Brown voted to appoint six Democrats to the eight-member rules committee, leaving two seats for Republicans. McQuillen said he was blindsided because the rules panel has long had three members from the minority party.

"Brown, however, pointed out that city-county code requires just one minority member on most committees. And he told McQuillen: "I'm not negotiating."

"When the full council reconvened, McQuillen said: "I'm very disappointed that the first action of the new majority caucus was to shut voices down."

"Lewis told reporters she was open to further conversation and chalked up the spat to "first-night jitters."

"A second meeting later Monday night among Lewis, Brown and McQuillen ended quickly, with no decisions made about other committee assignments amid similar disagreement over the division of seats."


Anonymous said...

The Republicans in this State and this nation wield their power with total ruthlessness. They win an election by the slimmest of margins and rule as if the recieved a thunderous mandate. In a lame duck period when they know they will be losing majority control they push pell mell forward with their agenda. They treat politics as war their only intent to conquer their foes. It is nice to see that ,in this one incidence , democrats are not falling all over themselves to invalidate an election they won.

Anonymous said...

Both parties are totally at fault. I would not say it is all Republicans.

Welcome to four years of bickering that will accomplish nothing. I bet Lewis steps down as president before all is said and done.

Both major parties in Marion County are currupt and broken.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 5:09 - I hate to be the one to tell you, but voters didn't put these folks in office to get even, they are there to govern.

And, the voters of Marion County chose 12 district Democrats, 13 district Republicans, and 4 at large Democrats. They should all be allowed to represent their electorates.

It always amazes me when I see folks reach for the lowest common denominator instead of proceed with their highest principles.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 8:01 - I agree that there are corrupt elements, powerful elements, in both parties. But, I have to say that I have come to admire some Councillors on both sides of the aisle. They are the only hope we have to avoid gridlock for four years.

As for Lewis, this is certainly a test. She will have to rise to the level of need and become the adult in the room who will not tolerate juvenile games. She is key.

Anonymous said...

They're all bad any more. NONE of the above for me. I give up.