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.
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