"Citizens for a Sustainable Indianapolis survey (Indianapolis Climate Action Network)
Citizens for a Sustainable Indianapolis, an offshoot of the Indianapolis Climate Action Network, distributed a survey in August 2007 asking every City-County Council and mayoral candidate where they stand on environmental issues. Nineteen candidates replied, and their responses are posted on their Web site. Here’s a sample statement from the survey, to which candidates were asked to respond “yes” or “no”: “Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space and create compact, walkable urban communities.” Be sure to check out those candidates that supplemented their answers with further explanations and suggestions.
So You Want to Move to Indy (Indiana Alliance for Democracy)
If you’re reading this publication, you more than likely already live in Indy, but that doesn’t mean the information posted isn’t relevant (you may briefly consider moving away from Indy after visiting). The mission statement meets you on the front page of this site developed by the Indiana Alliance for Democracy: “To point out the serious unmet needs our city and state face; and to suggest that elected officials attend to these public needs rather than pouring tens of millions of public dollars into the pockets of polluting corporations, pro sport team owners and the wealthy elite (many of whom, coincidentally, lavishly fund these officials’ election campaigns).” They aim to accomplish this goal through pages that highlight problems in infrastructure, the environment and health and safety, ushering their argument through a series of headlines typically drawn from mainstream sources. On the way are sections dealing with business, corporate welfare, recreation, transportation and values.
Indiana Barrister (Abdul Hakim-Shabazz)
Abdul Hakim-Shabazz posts all over the Web — you can find him on WRTV’s Capitol Watchblog, his WXNT blog and the Howey Political Report — not to mention his monthly column for the Indianapolis Business Journal, on-air work for WRTV and WXNT and whatever he can do as an attorney and professor in his spare time. But the best source online for Abdul’s opinions is his Indiana Barrister blog, updated just about daily, and a clearing-house for all his other Web-based material. You can get a flavor for Hakim-Shabazz’s colorful style in an excerpt from this September entry about a Lawrence mayoral debate he moderated: “However, there was an underlying theme that Lawrence should be ‘separate’ from Indianapolis. They wanted control of the major roads and zoning. I really don’t understand this need to be separate … Make them all one. Assimilate everyone. Resistance is futile.”
Howey Political Report (Brian Howey, Morton Marcus)
The Howey Political Report has been around for 13 years, offering insider analysis from a journalist who has put in time for NUVO, The Indianapolis Star and the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette while nurturing this pet project. To get full access to the Web site and the publication, you’ll have to shell out $350 a year, but you can read weekly columns by Brian Howey and economist Morton Marcus for free. Recently, both Howey and Marcus have been rigorously exploring solutions to the property tax crisis, and, as Howey puts it in an October column, trying to “resist making this a Republican vs. Democrat issue.”
Political Blog with Jim Shella
Jim Shella, political reporter for WISH-TV and host of the weekly TV roundtable Indiana Week In Review, posts a few condensed paragraphs of commentary daily on a blog hosted by his employers. This is a consummate insider’s blog from an experienced Statehouse reporter — a forum for Shella to reflect on past stories, preview an upcoming broadcast and draw attention to material that might fall outside of the purview of his TV work.
Taking Down Words (Jennifer Wagner)
Jennifer Wagner is communications director for the Indiana Democratic Party by day, and the exclusive author of her blog Taking Down Words by, well, also day; her work on the blog doesn’t stray far from her job description (she actually got the job partly based on the blog). Wagner, a former reporter for The Indianapolis Star, doesn’t claim objectivity, or a separation of blogger and political animal: “I’m no longer a reporter; I’m a partisan commentator who occasionally nabs news because I either know where to look or someone has a vested interest in sending it to me.” Wagner posts generous excerpts from local and national news sources — often easily accessed stuff from the local daily — with a brief commentary at the top that gives her perspective on the news. And she’s prolific: eight to 10 posts a day typically. Wagner is surprised by the blog’s success: “It’s a mystery to me that it’s grown from a few clicks per day to several thousand. I haven’t advertised it; people just started showing up.”
The Bilerico Project (Bil Browning, founder)
Three years ago, Bil Browning had the idea that a blog might be the best way to ameliorate in-fighting in the local gay community — communication supposedly being the key to better relationships. That didn’t work out so well — posts were initially sparse, and there remains discord today — but Bil kept at it. The Bilerico Project now has 40 hand-picked correspondents (50 by year’s end) from around the world, including bigwigs from the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Still, The Bilerico Project remains committed to local issues. Following Andre Carson’s appointment to the City-County Council, Browning questioned why there aren’t any GLBT people on the council, arousing interest and an interview from three local radio stations.
Advance Indiana (Gary R. Welsh)
Welsh’s blog posed a few questions — just questions — concerning whether or not Patrice Abdullah could legitimately represent the 15th District, given that his home address wasn’t actually in that district. So, if Welsh writes nothing else this year, it can be said that he’s had a significant impact on local politics. But Welsh, a practicing attorney and “big fan of Ronald Reagan” (according to his Web site profile), doesn’t show signs of slowing; he posts several times daily, sometimes with original reporting (including an interview with Republican state Rep. Brian Bosma’s lesbian cousin), and often with commentary and excerpts from the day’s news.