Letter to the editor: “Shift in power – Democrats, African-Americans saw diminishing returns in ‘Unigov'”.


EDITOR’S NOTE – The following letter to the editor is the opinion of the writer and not necessarily that of the City-County Observer Editor or Staff

I recently read “Shift in power – Democrats, African-Americans saw diminishing returns in ‘Unigov'”. (From the Courier and Press, August 29, 2010 – http://www.courierpress.com/news/2010/aug/29/shift-in-power/) This article detailed, “The losers were Democrats who suddenly faced a vote-rich opposition party for the mayor’s office and control of the council.” To me, counting the score – politically – of a consolidation seems odd and a bit cynical. But also counting the score – racially – WOW!

I thought we were Americans here. My goodness, why stop there, what was the score sexually? Did women or men gain power in the end? (Shesh, should males be concerned about a “loss of power” here? After all, didn’t the League of *Women* Voters start this whole process!) What about effects on the birthrate? How about age, had senior citizens been helped or hurt? How about teen employment? What about Hispanics and other minority groups, or local immigration?

This reporting stated, “Merging the city and county governments here helped improve what amounted to a scattershot set of public services, but it also diminished the political power of the Democratic Party, and traditionally Democratic African-American voters, in particular, for a generation”.

I can’t help but wonder if there is some bureaucratic agency that is assigned the task of keeping score with every legislative act on racial and political angles…

But, this strikes me as the kind of rhetoric Evansville residents are not accustomed to. To take the report literally, I have to wonder if that is the case, should we expect to have Al Sharpton in Evansville rallying against this League of Women Voters and their petition for consolidation before this is over?

Or should we read between the lines and assume that their “shift in power” – to some degree – may have been a natural reaction away from a trend of more concentrated, centralized power that had over time already ripped power from those rural areas?

In general though, is it even fair to examine the political and racial results of a “Unigov”… without considering or mentioning other major national events of a political and racial nature around those specific
election years mentioned? I’m no historian, but when Unigov came to exist, that was a time of significant racial and political tension nationally – most of which I would dare say Indianapolis “Unigov” didn’t cause! Could not some of these results cited have been side effects or reactions to other things going on in this country?

Maybe we’re too oversensitive or desensitized to racially charged conversations. But it seems to me that Evansville residents that don’t yet understand the consolidation objectives… well, perhaps we need to hear a re-examination of the League of Women Voters intentions and desires. Given the racial and political aspects that has been injected into the community dialogue now.

Dan Effinger
Evansville, IN