At long last, due to severe embarrassment, Bart Peterson now gets it. It's the crime, stupid!
From Matt Tully's Indy Star column:
Mayor Bart Peterson went on TV last night to grab the attention of state lawmakers. He wanted to let them know the state's stumbling capital city has a serious problem with public safety.
Consider the message received. Received like a hard slap to the face. But not because of the mayor's much-touted "prime-time" speech -- the one that got "Inside Edition" bumped from Channel 8's Tuesday night lineup.
Nope. Lawmakers got the message the old-fashioned way -- with a simple street mugging. It happened when freshman state Sen. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, walked outside a Butler-Tarkington CVS and bumped into a pair of thugs. There was a gun and a punch to the eye and, in the end, a missing purse, a few stitches and another ugly headline for the city.
Too bad the great number of homicides wasn't the catalyst to revelation. It took the mugging of a State Senator to bring reality home like a sledgehammer. This has been in plain view for some time. The little people in body bags didn't register, but a State Senator with a shiner and stiches? Whoa, Nelly! We've got a problem!
Once again, I'm glad I left Marion County. It took me two years to figure out that it was not the place I wanted to raise a family. I've lived in areas on the bubble before, and our first Central Indiana residence was another such place. 58th & Keystone- just south of Glendale Mall, and east of Broad Ripple. Would the area rise or fall? It really looked like it could go either way. When you have the ability to choose and are preparing to spend good money on a home, you want certainty. That's why I chose to get out of Marion County and the Warfleigh neighborhood. It held no promise that it would rise, that the energy of Broad Ripple would extend further east, that Glendale Mall would survive and attract top notch retailers, that the negative influence of 38th Street wouldn't continue to drift northerly. We fled. I feel justified in that flight every time I read headlines with endless homicides and punched-out lawmakers.
That's the message Peterson needs to get.
So, Peterson was speechifying on Tuesday, explaining, rationalizing, and preparing the people for a tax hike. From Tully:
Even though the message was received, Peterson spent most of Tuesday explaining the city's plight. The mayor who would be governor boiled it down this way: We're broke, we're crime-ridden and we need a whole lot more cash.
Peterson has been Mayor for how many years now? If the city is broke, the Peterson Adminstration has failed. If the city is crime ridden, the Peterson Administration has failed. If the city needs a whole lot more cash, the Peterson Administration has failed.
Anyway, the mayor went on to announce an $85 million-a-year spending package. It would tackle the city's unfunded police and fire pension debt, a rash of recent anti-crime measures, and future policing and crime-prevention programs.
"The bottom line," Peterson said, "is there are going to be hard decisions. There is not going to be a painless way."
No- This should be an easy decision. It should have been an easy decision all along, but it was too tempting for Peterson to look at sexier things, like trying to get a stadium project under the city's aegis. No, public safety always comes first! Libertarians get this. A Democrat like Peterson only gets it when campaigning or embarrassed. If there's to be any 'pain', it's that tertiary priority items hit the cutting room floor. Big deal. Snip! See? That was easy!
Peterson could have made crime a priority. I understand he ran on it, way back when. It's easy to overlook priorities when they seem not to be problems, but if you don't, they suddenly become huge.
Or, in the case of the murder rate, not so suddenly. Anyhow, this is why JFK said that the time to fix the roof is before the rain. Well, Mayor Peterson, you have a full-blown storm. Better jack your butt up the ladder and fix the stuff before everything inside is flushed away.
Such as more people like me- people who take seriously the task of raising their families in safety.