So, yesterday, Joe Hogsett opened his campaign office, joining fellow Democrats Ed Delaney and Frank Short who previously announced they’d be opposing Greg Ballard. Early as it is, it would seem that the mayoral race is officially on.
Whoever wins that election will have his job cut out for him. (And yes, “him” is the proper pronoun. So far, Indy hasn’t exactly embraced female candidates for mayor, and this time around we don’t have any.) To suggest that our city faces multiple challenges would be a real understatement–from transit (rather, the lack thereof), to crime, to poorly maintained parks, to battles over the Mayor’s role in decisions about how to fix our schools, to debates over municipal funds for fancy sporting venues, the list is long–and resources to deal with the problems are getting ever more scarce.
You can add to the list of obvious issues a less recognized one: our unenviable status as the U.S. city with the fastest-growing inequality. According to the Institute for Working Families’ Derek Thomas,
This week, the Indy Star reported on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ ‘Income and Wage Gaps Across the U.S.’ report. The story presented the group’s finding that “wage inequality grew twice as rapidly in the Indianapolis metro area as in the rest of the nation since the recession.”
The consequences of that inequality can be seen everywhere: in taxes we don’t collect, in hopelessness that leads to all manner of social dysfunction, in crime, in economic development that isn’t sustainable….
The candidates contending for our votes need to demonstrate that they understand the ways in which these problems are interrelated–and they need to tell us how they plan to address them.