Wednesday, November 7

Axe the Experts

Totally not stolen from Norbizness. Note the "e" on the end of "Axe".

TWO-term Indianapolis mayor Bart Peterson goes down in flames to a guy who was given no chance whatever, got no support from the Marion county GOP (until the last minute), and who remains unknown to that segment of the voting public which does not exchange Xmas cards with him.

Now, here's the thing: I've never been what you'd call a Bart Peterson fan, and the Indiana Democratic Party Led By a Guy Named Bayh that I have an emotional attachment to was Birch's, not Evan's. (Being a Democrat, or even Democratesque, in Indiana the past twenty-five years has been the best training anyone could ask for when faced with another inexplicable capitulation in the Senate.) Peterson gets big points for finally beginning the process that might someday result in the city not dumping raw sewage into the White River every time it rains--something three sinecured Republican mayors before him had simply refused to do on the grounds it would cost money--and he's consolidated police and fire protection left in the antiquated township system as patronage by those same predecessors. He's been the sort of competent, non-partisan manager Hoosiers tend to re-elect regardless of party.

But he ran afoul of a shocking murder rate, a long vendetta by the Indianapolis Racist Star, and, especially, this summer's Property Tax revolt, the one that took place in suspiciously wealthy sections of town and featured his name prominently displayed on its signage, despite the fact that the mayor of Indianapolis has little to do with those assessments and had nothing whatsoever to do with the State's handout to business that caused the big increases. (Peterson also made an uncharacteristic mistake by coming out swinging in last-minute political ads.)

Anyway, all of this will wind up as prelude in short order, as the New Improved property tax bills arrive before the '08 general elections and we get to see how many protesters saved their signs when it's Mitch "How's The Weather Down There" Daniels with his bacon on the fire. You'll forgive me if I smell Florida Recount Riot II; it could just be the river.

But on to the Expert: whatever Political Scientist Channel 8 had on last night said, at one point, that if Peterson and the City/County council had anticipated the Property Tax Rebellion they might've delayed raising the County tax until next year! Good Government in Action! This is the problem with our politics, folks, and I don't mean just locally; the damn thing is a fractal. Raising local taxes is, ostensibly, the sort of solution the tax protesters were after. It's certainly the sort of thing the new mayor will be faced with doing once property taxes are capped by the legislature next Spring; his only option is to cut services and hope that the murderers kill themselves off and it's too cold for outdoor protests when the streets don't get plowed. Our "Experts" feel that the best course of action is to do what's necessary only in off-years; it's apparently how one appeases an electorate incensed by flip-flopping.

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