EDITIORAL: The Vanderburgh County Democratic Party Last Stand

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    The City-County Observer believes that Evansville is the last bastion of governmental checks and balances in Indiana.  On the state level, the Republicans control the Governor’s office and enjoy a super-majority in both houses of the legislature. Vanderburgh County has a majority Republican County Council and County Commission members.  Evansville has a Republican Mayor and a democratically dominated City Council.

    This makeup forces open dialogue in the decision making process in Evansville. In fact, this political friction has proven to be a good thing.  It seemingly forces needed checks and balances. We believe that having two viable political parties is necessary to effective government and good public policy.  In the past few days, we have seen three Republicans Ms. Ann Hargis,  Jack Schriber and Justin Elpers entering the race for City Council in 2015.  All have publicly pledged allegiance to the Winnecke administration and are seemingly committed to advancing his political agenda.  At the same time the very effective 3rd Ward Democratic City Councilwoman Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley announced that she will not seek re-election.  No one can fault her decision to put her family ahead of public service.

    We believe that well-informed voters see the value of the adversarial relationship that now exists between our free-spending Mayor and the slip-shod accounting practices he and his strong supporters appear totally happy with.  We strongly feel that single party rule leads to political corruption that accompanies patronage, nepotism, and cronyism.

    The existence of at least two strong political parties with opposing philosophies is what strengthens America.  We feel next year’s city election could be “The Vanderburgh County Democratic Party Last Stand” for keeping any real checks and balances alive in local government. It is clear that the very well-financed Republican party sees the Mayor as invincible and believes the city election is a “slam-dunk” to take control of the Evansville City Council. We see a ray of hope for the continued existence of Evansville and the Democratic party in the openness of our readers to seek competent candidates, regardless of gender.  We saw that in our recent non-scientific, but trend-reflecting “Readers Poll”. When we asked if our readers would vote for a female for mayor, 95% responded that they would.  While we realize that is not a radically futuristic response, we doubt that would have been the case a decade ago in this area.

    It is obvious that the local Democratic party is in deep trouble.  If it is to survive, it must be led by a strong, forceful and creative Chairman.  Recent dismal party fundraising events and results of the last General election proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the current Democratic Party Chairman is not up to the task of leading the party to victory in the upcoming city election.  In order to salvage the local Democratic party they must field a strong ticket of adequately financed and qualified candidates.  We have strong reservations that current Chairmen can do that.  While we like Mr. Faulkner as a person its time for the Democrats to consider replacing him before the next election cycle. Bottom line, the local Democratic party is in a deep political crisis and it is up to the past and present party leaders to salvage it.  The loss of two-party rule will place Evansville in deeper political crisis than it has now, and we do not want to see the City floating belly-up in its own inadequate sewer system.

    Copyright 2014 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    40 COMMENTS

    1. The analysis presented here is somewhat flawed in that it presents a view that there is a difference between both parties, when in reality not so much. Both parties have been infected with progressivism. The progressive philosophy is that the average voter is incapable of understanding the “complex” issues of self-governance and that it takes professional administrators to effectively govern the rest of us. Both parties, whether nationally or locally tax too much and spend too much. We are mortgaging future generations by floating bonds to build projects that, hopefully, would bring in needed revenue into our community. We still seem to be living in the Field Of Dreams era of “If you build it, they will come.” Folks, that was a movie, and this is reality. We built, and so, in the words of another movie, “Show me the money.”

      What’s really needed is an alternative to the progressive agenda of both parties. We need to begin the process of reversing this trend towards more centralized authority, return to providing those services that are necessary for our city. This means providing those basic services of police and fire protection, and maintaining and improving our infrastructure.

      Is it really the responsibility of government to create unholy alliances with big labor and big business to create projects and build buildings? Is it the responsibility of government to actually create jobs? I don’t think so. Government can create an environment for both business and labor to thrive, but not to prostitute itself and actually make payments through whatever instrument to entice them into this unholy relationship.

      If we don’t take charge of things now, we will certainly wind up like most of the other major cities, and Evansville, isn’t one of those, but we will look like Detroit. We will experience more flight out of our city to other communities with lower taxes and less government intrusion.

      It is the responsibility of our citizens to understand that being involved in the process in the local elections and keeping our elected representatives accountable to its citizens is necessary for self-governance. What is true is that we get the government for which we vote.

      I have an acquaintance who said, “Vote Democrat, because they will take care of you.” It wasn’t that long ago that a Republican president said that the nine most feared words were, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

      I will conclude by saying that if we don’t take charge and turn our city around, the economics of our situation will cause us to have to make those changes and it will be more difficult if that were to happen. I believe we need to begin a process of taking a long hard look at the regulations we have in place and to deregulate many of the things we currently regulate. I recently heard that over 50% of current jobs won’t be around in just ten years. What will that do to our traditional way of thinking? We will either have greater freedom, or, if progressives have their way, it will be even less. It really is a choice, and it begins here in our city.

      • There was a time when business/corporations/employees built the economy, the tax codes encourage reinvestment to build bigger/stronger business. Government took care of basic needs of it’s citizens.

        It’s now all about this very minute, not the future. The tax codes were changed to encourage “profit” taking which killed the building of the economy. This drain on the economy change our government into filling that gap with a job creator/investor role. The problem is government does not create profit when they invest our taxes!

    2. This reinforce my past post on here that a super majority by either party makes bad government.
      Then again, “most” of this “democrat” city council majority laid over like a puppy when the mayor wanted/needed something. When it appeared the council was not favorable, the mayor individually called them in and brow beat them to his side!

      Don’t forget the mayor’s former teacher, the YMCA pancake man, Jack Schriber to that list!

    3. “We believe that well-informed voters see the value of the adversarial relationship that now exists between our free-spending Mayor and the slip-shod accounting practices he and his strong supporters appear totally happy with. ”
      There has never been a adversarial relationship between the two parties in this town. The democrats elected our republican mayor. I seem to remember a letter from some of the same people who are now claiming they were misled by this mayor that a vote for Rick Davis would ruin this town. If Rick had even had token support from the party he would have won.

      • I have to agree that there is little difference in the parties on the local level, and I do believe that Missy Mosby and Jonathon Weaver should count as “closet Republicans”. I was hoping that we would have more Council people of the SBR variety, and even though she is not running again, I’m an eternal optimist. I KNOW there are good people available, but they will be blocked from running on the Republican ticket. I promise to give up on Evansville if this election does not yield some leadership that does not pay homage to the ruling cabal
        The weaker party leadership does allow for a few “rebels” to make the Democratic slate, but the ineptitude displayed by Faulkner can’t be tolerated any longer.

        • Weaver’s and Mosby’s voting records would be well described as subsidized chaos. When it comes to regulations they are tea baggers, but when it comes to borrowing and spending on public projects they are just like Obama. That is the absolute worst combination for effective and sustainable governance. These two knuckleheads are the epitome of Evansville politics.

    4. Carol does own and operate at least 2 Democratic members of the city council, but Rob Faulkner has provided uninspired leadership for the party since his election. With him in control, people, myself included, don’t donate to the party, they support individual candidates, and the money doesn’t rise back to the party level. The Democrat Club had to fund a phone bank for Sherman Greer out of the Fall Festival Booth proceeds. I call on Rob Faulkner to resign so that a stronger leader can be elected

      • I agree completely. If Faulkner has the best interests of the Democratic party at heart, he will resign as a Christmas gift to it. If he doesn’t, it pretty much verifies to me that Parke-McClintock, et al owns him. If that is the case, the Committeemen must show him the door.

        • I don’t think the committeemen could do it til he is up for reelection, which is at least a couple of years off. I believe the only person who could remove him is Tony Long and he would have to have cause.

          • I think it takes a two-thirds majority of Committeemen to call a caucus and replace him. I know that is a long shot, but they have to go for it if they want to have any relevance in local government.

        • It’s probably worse than any of us here really know. On its face it’s awful. The reality is probably quite a bit south of that. Faulkner is a likable guy, you have to wonder why he has done nothing. The only upside, and it’s a weak one, is that the hubris of a mob like the Winnecke gang will eventually bring them down. It will be too late for Evansville at that point.

      • The democrat party did NOT fund a phone bank for Sherman Greer from the Fall festival proceeds as the Democrat party does not hold any of the funds from that booth.

        • you are correct, I said the Democrat Club, the Young Democrats, had to do it because the Party is as broke as the city of Evansville

    5. elkaybee, jbyrd, bandana, just step up and run for chairman next time. I doubt if Rob will run again. The problem with the party runs much deeper than the chairman.

    6. The treasonous Democrat Central Committee backstabbing of their Mayoral primary winner Rick Davis caused a rift in the Democrat party that has yet to heal. And it may never heal.

        • My bad. It wasn’t the central committee that stabbed him but strong party members didn’t like Rick and worked against him.

      • MSD, spot on. The local Democrat office holders have acted with the unity and purpose of feral cats after Chairman Owen and their Central Committee ignored their own voters and self-destructed by opposing Mr. Davis. Only the local Democrats could have destroyed their party with a 2-1 majority of voters in the City. The Winnecke regime has been, and continues to be, the happy beneficiary of the self-inflicted carnage caused the Democrats. In the past the Democrats had party loyalty, now that is gone.

    7. The Editorial leaves out the impending announcement of McClintock BFF, Michele Mercer. She will likely run for an At-Large seat on City Council, I think. Mercer was the recent recipient of a lot of free “good press”, thanks to an article in the local Sunday rag. There are a couple of people in the First Lady’s inner circle who have influence on the local society page, you know.

      • Shaping up to be a pretty cohesive ticket the mayor is backing for city council. Jack Schriber’s sign at his announcement today mirrored the Winnecke campaign’s signage perfectly, except for the name and office. Simple, clean, to the point. Be interesting to see if Hargis and Elpers do the same. All three of them have vowed to back the mayor’s ‘vision’ for Evansville.

        It is reminiscent of 30 or so years ago when Claude Bates ran for a non-partisan judgeship and all of his campaign materials were the same color/font/everything as the Democrat’s. He left no doubt where he stood and the folks running under the Winnecke banner aren’t either. I hope they get the same result Claude did.

        I think we need a council that will deliberate on each issue as it comes up, gathering information and listening to input from experts and other sources. Not one pre-committed to some amorphous agenda that defies logic. One best described in two words, spend downtown.

        • Yup, goes straight to the holiday headliners, as well Cheap, you’ve got to know when to fold’em, and when to walk away.
          Evansville’s downtown arena _ord center , where the present problem started to get to the bottom of the bottle. Rebranding! You’d only have to swap one letter. “Fo >l< d center, " cheap."

      • LKB, if you are correct that the Winnecke’s can “influence” the local society page, there is nothing the local Democrats can do to stop them. Scary stuff.

        • Free advertising is free advertising, even if it is on the society page. Kelly Coures, Jack Schriber, and Nancy Drake were the reporters on the doings of the beautiful people for the Hillbilly Gazette for a long time, and some poor souls take that crap seriously.

    8. I am so disappointed that Ms. Ann Hargis, Jack Schriber and Justin Elpers have all voiced their support for our mayor.

      We need new faces with a backbone that will advance solid fiscal agenda, not more rubber stamp votes for whatever our ineffective mayor & his “advisors” want to advance.

      Sure we’re in this mess because of our last so-called-mayor who caused decades worth of doom for our city but for W not to start us on the road to recovery and then turn around and slam dunk us further into debt is beyond comprehension. SMH.

      3 new faces agreeing with W isn’t what we wand nor deserve thus none are going to get my vote. May as well vote for those already in office if this is all we’re going to get. Disappointed to say the least.

      Troy the boy is looking better every minute. 2 years ago I wouldn’t have considered even thinking this but what we’re experiencing now needs a major shake-up!

    9. Yeah. He, heh, another “let down generated deal “. Isn’t it?

      Awe bullshit, we are on to you. always have been . here it is tisssss.

    10. We need Matthew Neville to become chairman. He will bring excitement that Mr. Excitement is not bringing to the party.

    11. Matt Neville is the obvious choice to take the party in the right direction. That man has the can do attitude, deep insight, and brutal honesty this town needs.

    12. If you win office by a 1000 vote margin,–a “swing” of 501 votes and you lose.
      The low quality- Machine Democrats did everything they could to bring Rick Davis down, before, during and after he won the Democratic Primary.
      A “swing” of 833 voters out of the 21,426 (LW-11,545 vs RD-9,881) voting in the Mayor’s race and Rick Davis would have been Mayor. The dirty dogs protecting the Status Quo did indeed win their goal.
      The “Status Quo” won, but the Machine sacrificed the Democrat Party in doing so, seems to be the gist of this Editorial .
      I disagree about the next Election for Mayor belonging to the Republican party.
      Democrats registered to vote outnumber the Republicans registered to vote by 2 to 1, the prospect that the “regular folks” who vote Democrat will come together for a good candidate,- cannot be dismissed,– couple that with the disillusioned Republicans and Independents, that also see the threat of another Winnecke term as disastrous for their City,–and the votes for Winnecke will vaporize like the Money in Evansville’s Treasury.

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