At Large Candidate: John Barth, Democrat

John Barth, Democrat at-large candidate

1) What do

you offer as a candidate?

I am a fifth-generation resident of Indianapolis. My wife

and I are raising our three children in the same strong neighborhoods where we

grew up. My commitment to Indianapolis and our neighborhoods can be seen in my

deep history of community involvement. I am past president and an active member

of the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA) and my campaign is

based on the premise that neighborhoods are the building blocks for our city. I

am a Vice President at a local health plan that serves low-income children

through Hoosier Healthwise and adults through the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Previously, I was a Director at the State of IndianaÃ*s Office of Medicaid

Policy and Planning.

I am also a site visitor and reviewer for the Innovations in

American Government Awards Program at the Kennedy School of Government at

Harvard University. My volunteer work includes serving on the board of the

Martin Luther King Community Center, Project Home Indy, and the policy

committee of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Indiana.

I believe my combination of grass-roots neighborhood work,

policy work and significant budget experience combine to give me the experience

to make good policy and good spending decisions as a member of City-County


2) What

does your district most need from the City Council?

As an at-large candidate, I would represent all of Marion

County. My priorities include strengthening our neighborhoods by supporting

planned, local growth that includes everything from parks and shops to

revitalizing housing; addressing public safety with an emphasis on community

policing; and a deep commitment to government that is interactive, transparent,

and responsive.

3) What's

your opinion of the 2012 budget proposed by the mayor?

Across the board I strongly believe that the City and its

elected officials need to develop a more interactive, community-based process

for developing the budget. Prior to the budget submission, I would encourage

the Mayor to hold public meetings in each Council District aimed at reviewing

the cityÃ*s planned spending priorities and receiving input that could be used

to make adjustments prior to the budgetÃ*s submission. With this approach, the

City and Council would have plenty of insight from the public in advance and

could avoid setting priorities that are not aligned with the public. For

example, if the Mayor had taken this approach I believe he would have avoided

the recent uproar over the budget for Animal Care and Control and the use of

tax increment financing districts.

4) What is

your position on a comprehensive smoking ban?

I strongly support a comprehensive clean air policy. I

believe such a policy will benefit Indianapolis from the perspective of public

health, economic development (e.g., attracting and retaining conventions, lower

health care costs for employers), community development (e.g., attracting

talented people to live and work in the city), and overall cost to taxpayers

(e.g., reduced cost for uncompensated care). If elected I will be an

enthusiastic supporter of such an ordinance.

5) Do you

think the city needs more police officers?

The rise in aggravated assault makes it clear – we

must do more for public safety. I strongly support the proposal advanced by

Melina Kennedy to get 100 more officers on the street. I support community

policing and, from day one, my entire campaign has been about strengthening our

neighborhoods; community policing is a vital part of making sure all our

neighborhoods are safe, strong and thriving.

6) Do you

support increased funding for public transit?

Expanding our mass transit capacity would spur economic

growth by enabling more residents to get to more jobs and for people outside

the city limits to come here for work and recreational activities. With

carefully selected stops on strategic routes, such an expanded system would

support neighborhoods by developing new and expanding opportunities for

existing locally owned businesses. I support the expansion of IndyGo routes,

and adding more frequent service. In addition, I support the city working with

surrounding communities to develop a multi-modal (e.g., rapid bus, light rail)

transportation system that would make Marion County easier to visit, to get to

work, and more attractive to the emerging work force.

7) Do you think the

streets and sidewalks in your district are in good shape?

As an at-large candidate that would represent our entire

County, I believe it is important to maintain our streets, sidewalks, and

sewers as well as build transportation systems that let people get to more

employers. There are funds dedicated to these projects, but I believe we need a

more open and public system so we can discuss how our priorities are set. As I

go door-to-door, one refrain I hear daily is the need for a greater commitment

to our neighborhoods.

8) Name

one project that would most benefit your district.

See question 7.

9) What

question do you wish we'd asked?

Every election provides a choice for voters and I believe

this election offers a clear one. Melina Kennedy and the Democratic team have

set out our agenda – from tackling crime, to engaging citizens in a more

open way, to supporting early childhood education. Basic services must be

provided with an expectation of excellence – from a top-notch police

force with more officers out in the community to plowing our streets and fixing

potholes. I have proposed deploying the township liaisons currently housed in

the City-County building out to our neighborhoods. They should be working with

communities to set neighborhood priorities and make plans on how to achieve

them – each plan tailored by the residents of each neighborhood.


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