Showing posts with label Mike Pence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Pence. Show all posts

Sunday, May 12, 2013

SB621 Is Now Law: Let them eat cricket stadiums and parking fees!

You've heard by now that SB621, the bill that strips the legislative body of Marion County of all meaningful power and gives it to the Mayor of Indianapolis, has been signed into law by Governor Mike Pence. You can read his statement on the law via Fox 59.

Among the talking points dished out by the powers-that-be was the whining that the poor Mayor just didn't have enough power. He was being bullied by those mean Democrats on the council. 

And those talking points largely went unchallenged by those in the media and, honestly, by most Democrats as well.

But I have to wonder if these people actually live in the same city as me. I guess they don't.

So if this is what Ballard's vision of Indianapolis is before he gets unprecedented power, I'm not too eager to find out what the next few years of his reign will bring.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Open Letter to Governor Mike Pence

An open letter to Governor Pence,
                My name is Matt Stone. I’m a lifelong Indianapolis resident, a former candidate for local office, and I dab a bit in political punditry as well. I feel as if I need to disclose that I didn’t vote for you, but I’m not writing this letter to tell you where I disagree with you. Just the opposite, I’m writing to tell you that you are a breath of fresh air to Indiana government and that now, more than ever, we need someone like you who hasn’t been wined and dined by the special interests that invade the State House the first few months of every year.
                Your recent comments on the mass transit and the Speedway bailout are what inspired me to write you this letter. As an Indianapolis resident, I believe that the city of Indianapolis and Marion County have had more revenue these past few years than they ever have had before.  And I believe Indy Go, our public bus system, is underfunded. But it is underfunded because of priorities, not because of a lack of revenue. We have chosen, through our local government, to fund business developments, parking garages, and sports stadiums over libraries, bus service, and public safety. I’d much rather have an extended bus service that goes beyond mostly downtown and the east side of Indianapolis, as well as a new police recruit class, over a bailout of the Indiana Pacers and a $15 million parking garage. But unfortunately, our elected and appointed officials have not decided that. So instead of asking for more revenue for stuff I favor, I believe we should advocate for better governance rather than more revenue. And maybe there is a role for state government to provide a hand in advocating better governance in that.
                Additionally, I think there are fine details in the mass transit proposal that are absolutely horrifying. Marion County property tax payers will continue to pay for the municipal corporation that is Indy Go, but that property tax money will be funneled into the new regional mass transit board. In addition, all working Marion County residents will pay an increased County Optional Income Tax to support the mass transit regional board. Hamilton County, which has no public transit at this time, will only be paying the County Optional Income Tax. I have concerns that Marion County property tax payers will be used to subsidize the more extravagant portions of mass transit, such as the lite rail line from Noblesville to Indianapolis. It is my belief that any lines that run from Hamilton County to Indianapolis will largely favor Hamilton County residents. There is a lot of incentive for those in Hamilton County to come to Indianapolis. But there isn’t nearly as much incentive for those in Indianapolis to go to Noblesville, Fishers, or Carmel.
                I also was absolutely supportive of you on what you said of the Speedway bailout. There is nothing in there that requires IMS to provide a single penny towards the improvements on the race track. And it is my understanding that a clause that’ll prevent IMS from selling the Speedway isn’t likely to be in the final bill.
                In both of these proposals, these respective special interests have been wining and dining state legislative representatives and the powers-that-be for a very long time. As someone who hasn’t been on their radar until recently, I believe that you have some independence that other leaders of state government do not. I urge you to use your influence to encourage responsible changes in these bills. And if they aren’t changed, then I urge you to use your veto pen.
                The other proposal I want you to keep an eye on is Senate Bill 621, which passed the Senate and is now being considered in the House. SB621, written by Senator Mike Young at the request of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, would greatly consolidate power that currently exists in the Indianapolis legislative body, the City-County Council, and put it under the Mayor’s office. He or she would have the authority not only to line-item veto budgets, but re-write budgets to his liking, essentially making the Council’s participation in the budget process an exercise in futility. SB621 would also eliminate the four At-Large positions on the City-County Council, leaving only councilors who have a limited interest in governance and doesn’t provide a single councilor who thinks about the entire county as a whole. Finally, one of the oddest bits of SB621 changes the residency requirements to run for Mayor of Indianapolis from five years to two years.  I don’t think someone who has only lived here for two years should be allowed that amount of power.
                As someone who generally leans to the right, I do believe that there is some smart consolidation and reform that can be done with Uni-Gov. But it needs to be done carefully and without regard to partisan power grabs. This bill is a blatant attempt to consolidate power under Mayor Greg Ballard and whoever Mike Young has in mind that currently resides in Fishers or Carmel who wants to run in 2015. I urge you to veto this bill, and issue a statement for a Marion County government reform study committee so that serious reforms can be drawn up in public, instead of behind closed doors.
                I also wanted to write to you on a more general topic: the condition of the Hoosier family. During your campaign, you said you wanted a family analysis on actions of state government. You’ve also spoken out against expanded gambling in Indiana. I believe that is key to protecting Hoosier families. And I hope you expand that same skepticism to the more wide-spread version of gambling that is the Hoosier Lottery.
                With the pseudo-privatization that has taken place, the Hoosier Lottery is poised to increase their presence further in mostly poor, working class neighborhoods and those who are retired but living on a fixed budget. While ultimately the decision to play the Lottery is an individual choice, putting them in convenience stores close to neighborhoods makes it more likely those residents in that area will play. Moving them just a few blocks out of the neighborhood, out of walking distance, or in large general stores where people have to wait in long lines regardless of how many items they’re purchasing, would dis-incentivize people from playing the Lottery who are only visiting to play it.
                In an ideal world, we would’ve ended the state-sanctioned Hoosier Lottery long ago. But politics is about the realm of the possible. So instead of wishing for something that isn’t going to happen, I hope you’ll keep a watchful eye on the Lottery. I know it brings a lot of revenue for state government, but I think it does more harm than good and I hope your administration can work on changing it so that it does more good than harm.
                                                    Matthew Stone

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mike Pence: I'm Running for, for Pete's sake!

Congressman Mike Pence has been running a very disciplined campaign in his quest to become Indiana's next Governor. He has generally stayed away from  so-called social issues, from which he has practically built a brand on, and focused on how much he loves America and, more specifically, how much he loves Indiana. He's also kind of, sort of said he'd like to do more of what Governor Mitch Daniels has done, but if you're wanting any specifics, you're going to have to wait until after the election.

Well, with the recent flub on abortion during a debate for one of Indiana's US Senate seat, Pence actually spoke out about abortion.

While condemning Republican candidate Richard Mourdock's remarks on abortion and rape, Pence's campaign said Pence has consistently supported the three common exceptions for abortion opponents: Rape, incest, and life of the mother.

According to findings from Niki Kelly of Fort Wayne's The Journal Gazette, Pence's campaign's statement is in contradiction with surveys Pence has filled out from Indiana Right to Life. In the most recent survey from IRTL, Pence only indicated he supported one exception for abortion: the life of the mother. In 2010, he supported no exceptions.

Pence trying to hide how conservative he is might initially be confusing to some. After all, he's running for Governor of Indiana, not Michigan. While we Hoosiers do vote for Democrats every now and then, our Democrats (regardless of if my Republican friends want to admit it or not) that have occupied state-wide office, would generally be Republicans in more purple states. We're a red state, so why is Pence trying to re-make his image?

Could it have to do with having Presidential ambitions? I joked with a local politico that "he's running for President, er, Governor, for Pete's sake!" and the politico pointed out that while he doesn't agree with Mourdock, at least Mourdock has the integrity to hold his ground while Pence throws him under the bus.

Earlier in the year, I pointed out that Congressman Pence has been very vague on his immigration stance. After all, he's running to be Governor of one of the few states who have passed a strict law, similar to Arizona's illegal immigration law. Pence's views on illegal immigration should be known to Hoosiers, who certainly have a wide variety of beliefs on the issue.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What is Mike Pence's View on Illegal Immigration?

Doug Masson mentioned that Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) has had none of his sponsored bills passed into law, and only a handful have gotten out of committee. I don't really agree with the point he's making, but it led to an interesting discussion on what Pence (who is also running for Governor) had sponsored and proposed.

Masson dug up a newspaper scan that showed one of the bills was to grant amnesty to an illegal immigrant that had resided in his Congressional district.

I suspect that if I was a Republican, my view on immigration and how it needs to be fixed would be in the minority. But I think Hoosier Republicans, who passed an immigration enforcement law in the 2010 legislative session, deserve answers from Pence.

Is Pence still not going to talk policy until after the primary?