Electing Our Future/Why Should I Care?

Media attention is already firmly focused on 2016 and the presidential race, and that’s understandable, given the amount of cluelessness and buffoonery being displayed by the current crop of “candidates” (note the quotation marks, because, really–who can take some of these people seriously?).

Most recently, Ben Carson has replaced Donald Trump as  the preferred mouthpiece for bigotry and unintended irony : almost immediately after defending his offensive stereotyping of all Muslims, he defended his own scientific ignorance by complaining that people were denigrating him for his faith. You really can’t make this shit up.

As fascinating as all this continues to be, 2016 is next year. Indianapolis will hold municipal elections this year. 2015. And those of you reading this who live in Indy need to pay attention to that election, because in a very real sense, we will be electing our future. Monday night, at Central Library, a large group of civic organizations held the first of three planned events intended to provide voters with the information needed to understand how and why local government affects them.

Take some time and view the embedded video, courtesy of WFYI. You’ll be more informed for the investment!


  1. Sheila; I attempted to watch the video but it isn’t closed captioned and…NO, I do not expect you to provide this option. I do want to thank you for stressing the point that the upcoming local elections are just as vital at this time as the 2016 presidential election will be then. I cannot attend these meetings or gatherings to support my choices so I appreciate your blog for providing such information. Also appreciate comments, pro and con, you allow me to participate in political and community affairs…Thank you!

    I do have a question, possibly you or a reader can answer. A few months ago I contacted Nuvo magazine on line asking if they offered home delivery subscriptions but received no response. I notice the speaker on this video held up a copy of Nuvo so thought I would give this a try.

  2. “given the amount of cluelessness and buffoonery being displayed by the current crop of “candidates” (note the quotation marks, because, really–who can take some of these people seriously?).”

    Sheila, do you expect to be taken seriously? Are these strident and shrill ad hominem the product of a political writer who ought to be respected? You recently got in trouble for referring to the Republican candidates as a “clown car,” yet here you are, again, getting yourself right back in hot water, dismissing and insulting an entire field of accomplished candidates because you politically disagree with them.

    The two leading candidates for the Republicans are Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson. Donald Trump is highly successful across a range of businesses, and Dr. Carson is a highly respected neurosurgeon.

    Each of these men has a long list of actual, real, measurable professional accomplishments that occurred in the real world and far exceed anything the crop of Democrats has ever done.



    We see a group that has never done a thing in the real world and has spent their professional lives in government work, shielded from the real world and having no experience learning what works in the real world.

    The Democrats would be better off putting up a Mark Cuban or a Jeff Bezos than people who have no real work history.

  3. I attended the presentation and came away with the following thoughts.

    Perhaps the most enlightening thing about the library presentation was the map of the county showing the areas where poverty is concentrated and how it has grown and changed in the last ten years. It is clear if you travel the city that inner-city neighborhoods are being gentrified. It is also clear that the former occupants are forced to move into very concentrated housing (often townhouse apartments) in what quickly become suburban ghettos. This new housing is often poorly constructed, marginally maintained and has limited public transportation available, if at all.

    The financial impacts to the city, especially the schools, with vouchers and charter schools bleeding away the families with some financial resources, is starting to be felt quite significantly in the township schools now.

    Since property taxes were capped, the city has struggled to find money to operate and maintain its public safety, infrastructure and parks all while the CIB builds new sports venues as they fail to maintain the old ones.

    Yes, our city has a vibrant downtown now. BUT, City Centre Mall is has not proved attractive to the high end retail and entertainment businesses as was hoped, Bankers Life Arena and Lucas Oil Stadium are already in need of repairs and upgrades (to serve the ever-increasing demands of corporate and other wealthy big-wigs, most of whom do live outside the county, for luxury and exclusive accommodations) and costs to the potential customers of same have shut out more and more of the working and middle class who live in the city.

    Our tax revenues are not coming from the many commuters who come into the city to work and play then go back home to the wealthier donut counties around us. Until we find a way to generate sufficient amounts to meet demands for the services, safety and maintenance needed to support the city’s infrastructure and public safety demands, we can expect more deterioration of all those things.

    The bad news is that the state legislators, the majority of whom live outside of the city and county in very rural districts, call the financial shots for the entire county. Even if we vote for local candidates who promise improvements in governance, we do not effect any change in those who control our purse strings.

  4. RE: Former Gopper
    I thought Sheila’s reference to the GOP clown car was appropriate not because I disagreed with their political positions but because they are marked by lies, bigotry and what must be willful ignorance. I say willful because it is hard to believe they could sincerely hold such ridiculous positions and still be bright enough to dress themselves. As they pander to their base their clown costumes become more and more colorful and less and less sane. I have listened to their debates not knowing whether to laugh out loud or cry. In either event should one of these “candidates” end up as our chief executive we will become the laughing stock of the entire world . . . except for however many countries we are bombing at any particular time. Kudos to Sheila for telling the truth.

  5. OK, JD, I know everyone is sick of my harping on Goldsmith years but you brought this one on.

    Your comment regarding Circle Centre Mall is on target; sadly the Mall opened extremely different than originally planned – after 15 years of planning. Originally it was designed to draw people from all walks of life, not geared specifically to “high end” retail. Also, parking was originally planned to be free for Mall shoppers. I was secretary to one Deputy Director of Department of Metropolitan Development; my desk was a few feet from the office of Jackie Schmidt, Chief Financial Officer for Circle Centre Mall and we became friends. During Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign he promised to stop plans for the mall, stated it was unneeded, and to dismantle Department of Metropolitan Development. He knew both were impossible to accomplish. Jackie was especially upset at his impossible campaign promise to do away with the mall due to the situation regarding startup money at the onset…which he was fully aware of. He couldn’t stop Circle Centre Mall so he messed it up as much as was possible.

    Prior to the election in 1991, DMD and Jackie Schmidt received phone calls from businesses around the country and some foreign countries, wanting to be part of the mall. The day after the election, phone virtually stopped ringing. Jackie’s excellent endeavors as CFO became a daily battle once Goldsmith was inaugurated, her contract ended at 10:00 a.m. on April 10, 1992…she was packed and gone by noon that day because his contract took all authority away from her capable control. I have only been there once; was unimpressed and no desire – and certainly not the finances – to return.

  6. To relate my above comments to today’s blog, “Electing Our Future/Why Should I Care?”…the expensive lack of Mall usage as originally planned is one example of why we should all care…better late than never. The Indianapolis Star has located it’s printing plant in the Mall to provide needed financial assistance to keep it open. Bankers Life Arena and Lucas Oil Stadium require more and more of our tax dollars for maintenance and operation; and don’t forget those new sports venues Ballard has added to the drain. As for those property tax caps; property assessments were raised which, in turn, raised property tax amounts and now we await the arrival of our storm water fee bills (formerly included in property taxes) based on our impervious surface area…our “dirt tax”. The notice didn’t say if this would again become part of our annual property tax statements or not. But, consider the fact that people do add garages, patios, out buildings, or sometimes remove them…will this be investigated annually or exactly how will this work?

    If we want this current deterioration of the entire Indianapolis/Marion County area to continue – ignore what is going on and ignore Joe Hogsett and what’s-his-name Brewer in this November mayoral election. If you want a future for yourself and your families; start caring and paying attention to this crime-ridden, crumbling city with those expensive sports venues.

  7. Everybody here should pay very close attention to Gopper’s posting because there is undeniably a very vocal minority who do think as he does.

    I personally can’t understand both what they do see and why they don’t see what we do. But it’s clear that some see among the huge crowd of Republican candidates apparently some things positive in terms of their political capability and nothing of the huge character flaws that seem so obvious to us.

    We have to ask ourselves in what context the candidates actions could be considered that would lead people to that position?

    All that I can conclude is that context is a callous disregard for everything that we define as American. Freedom, democracy, Constitutional law, our history, evidence based economics, and science.

    But how did they get there?

    I have abandoned my previous position that it’s primarily a failure of our education system in favor of a much more difficult problem to solve, the success of their reeducation abilities.

    The GOP broadcast ministry of truth has created the conditions foreseen in “1984”.

    We have built our democracy on the assumption that effective journalism was a given. That there would always be reporters doing our homework effectively and honestly and watching over the political landscape for us.

    We not only can no longer count on that assumption (because it’s not profitable) but to make matters worse the opposite has become true. Brand advertising is actively aimed at creating a loyal following for what’s not true.

    The Goppers of the country live in a world that like reality TV is anything but.

    The problem is that any prevention of these developments runs into our freedom of speech.

    I don’t know of any solution other than creating and empowering a ministry of the real truth as we once had through real journalism.

    What do you think?

  8. What do you think? …

    Should we send the Gopper a red ping pong ball with
    a nose shaped cutout in it ?

  9. I read “1984” I suppose when I was in college. It terrified me as Orwell led readers down the path from crazy to even consider to realizing that it could happen.

    Now, at least in my mind, it is happening.

    So when I write about it I’m surprised at the lack of reaction. Have we become desensitized to dangers like it presents as we’re always saying that kids are about violence?

    Perhaps. We have seen it happen in other countries but have become too comfortable because of what others have done for us that we are special and out the the reach of such toxins.

    I don’t see the evidence to support that. We now have multiple ways to destroy our nest and it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll choose to.

  10. Chris Hedges has very interesting observations on this subject.

    What happens won’t be aired on TV. It will happen before the participants are clearly aware of it.

    It will be the task of thinkers like those contributing here to insure that it is non-violent. No damage to people. No damage to property.

  11. Ms Kennedy, no fault on your part; however, I was unable to hear much of anything from the young man orchestrating this WFYI event despite my excellent hearing, my pumping up the volume on both the video and my computer. I gave the video approximately three minutes before closing it.

    I’m ready to reread my copy of Edward Banfield’s “The Unheavenly City”.

  12. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Pete:
    “I don’t know of any solution other than creating and empowering a ministry of the real truth as we once had through real journalism.”….(Pete)

    You could possibly start out by squelching the Indianapolis Star. I canceled my subscription about 20 years ago in reaction to unbalanced Star editorials and columns. I’m happier since.

    Then, you can recommend websites and other reading materials from which we can glean OUR “talking points”.

    And, Pete, keep posting your views here, especially universal ones.

  13. Pete: I think your analysis of Former Gopper’s comments is accurate. While my own dislike and mistrust of the Tea Party are the result of actions by its elected members of congress, I agree that for some reason(s) there is a vocal minority that approves of those actions, i.e. ignoring the major issues of governance and policy that should be guiding the US into the future in favor of fighting over minutiae that is all about winning a battle while losing the war. Sadly we can only expect more in the future.

  14. No offense OMG, as I know your intentions are good, but talking points– no matter the political affiliation– are exactly the problem. We don’t need a better source for better talking points, we need people empowered to actually do their own research and investigation into the relevant subjects, and not to take *anyone’s* word as gospel; not even Sheila’s. Though you certainly may weigh the value of statements appropriately given the source (e.g. Sheila > Trump).
    In other words, “verify *then* trust”, until some people earn the right to be in a class of “trust but verify”

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