Don't forget to vote! 

Too bad there are few good candidates

As you may or may not know — or care — there’s an election being held next Tuesday for city and county government offices. Newspaper columnists are famous for writing quasi-eloquent articles before elections urging people to vote, how it’s their civic duty and so on.

I’ve written many of them myself over the years. But I’m not going to do so this year, because I’m not sure these elections will make a difference to anyone in the city except the candidates and their families.

But with very few exceptions, there really aren’t any great men or women running for any of the offices this year. Sheriff Frank Anderson is a good and honorable man. In Lawrence, Deborah Cantwell has fought a courageous fight against obstructionists and big-money interests.

To me, Bart Peterson has been the biggest disappointment in the city’s history. Eight years ago, he came into office with a bold and innovative plan. He promised to undo years of Republican cronyism and shady politics.

What was one of the first things he did when he became mayor? Pass an ordinance prohibiting violent video games. It was such a ridiculous bill that even the neo-fascist Rehnquist Supreme Court laughed at it and told Peterson to go to hell.

The second thing he did was make all the porno stores close at midnight and on Sunday. I guess you can say he’s helped keep horny men off the streets late at night. When your main accomplishment is saying that perverts aren’t buying porn at 3 a.m., and are instead masturbating furiously in front of their computer screens where they belong, you don’t have much of a record.

The only other thing Peterson did that I can think of is the $600 million giveaway to the Colts to give them a new stadium at our expense. And he couldn’t even get that done without Gov. Mitch Daniels doing most of the work.

I just wish there were better choices to run the city. I’d vote for Amos Brown in a heartbeat. Sue Anne Gilroy, the Republican candidate defeated by Peterson in 1998, was a noble public servant. Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell is probably better liked, and just as qualified, as Peterson to be mayor.

Former Mayor William Hudnut, probably the greatest mayor in the city’s history, was run out of town a few years back. But he’d be an excellent choice, too. So would my former colleague Fran Quigley. Or attorney Stasia Demos.

None of those people are running, so we’ll probably be stuck for four more years with a Democratic mayor who looks, talks, acts and raises taxes like a Republican. I’ll probably end up writing in the name of Mike Crowder, my old high school buddy. I haven’t heard from him in a while and if he sees his name in the voting results, he might give me a call.

For the City-County Council, all you need to do is vote for the Democrat running in your district. None of them are as wishy-washy as the mayor and some of them are quite excellent. I’ve heard good things about Carey Hamilton, who’s running in my district on the Northside. From what I’ve heard, she’d help improve our local Police and Fire departments, since the mayor hasn’t done much to help.

There are no Jack Kennedys on the ballot this year. Hell, there aren’t even any Ted Kennedys. Our city is broken. Our police and firefighters don’t have the resources they need. Property taxes are forcing people to sell their homes just as the housing market is collapsing.

The only people better off under this administration are the Democratic staffers the mayor hired, millionaire real estate owners and football team tycoons. If you’re in one of those groups, God bless you. You’ve done well.

If you’re a 911 dispatcher starting off at $21,000 a year, or a resident of a deteriorating neighborhood, or a cop struggling to feed your family, tough luck. There isn’t a candidate representing you this year.

NUVO never has, and probably never will, endorse any specific candidate in an election. These are just my opinions. I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote for the mayor. Who knows, you may become a real estate developer in the next four years and the city will give you a handout.

No matter who wins, your taxes will go up, the streets will keep crumbling and the teachers, cops and firefighters will still get the shaft.

We deserve better than a group of piss-poor candidates. Maybe next time. 

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