The Herald Bulletin

April 12, 2014

Ken de la Bastide: Local Dems want to change redistricting process

By Ken de la Bastide
The Herald Bulletin

---- — There is an old saying that goes "to the victor goes the spoils."

In politics the spoils usually involves the drawing of legislative districts for the Indiana General Assembly and the seats in the U.S. House. The district lines are redrawn every 10 years after the census and the party in power shapes the maps to its advantage.

At the Third House session of local state legislators, Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) said the Indiana House this year passed legislation to create a redistricting commission, a bill that was never considered by the Senate.

“We need to end gerrymandering,” Lanane said.

He urged those in attendance who are interested in a future redistricting commission to contact Republican Party leadership in the Indiana Senate. Lanane said any effort to create a redistricting commission would require a constitutional amendment because the Indiana Constitution specifies that the legislature creates districts.

Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) said voters want compact or competitive districts.

“In competitive districts there is an equal balance of Democrat, Republican and independent voters,” she said.

Political message from Arnold

It’s not unusual for government entities to include information flyers in utility bills or, in the case of Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith, a weekly email newsletter.

This month, Elwood residents received a brochure with their utility bill that included a message from Mayor Ron Arnold.

In his message Arnold said the progress made in the city has not been easy and has been met by people opposed to the changes being made. Arnold described those people as a vocal and relentless minority that will stop at nothing to make sure his agenda is stalled.

He commented that during the past two years he has experienced people using the “politics of personal destruction.”

Arnold wrote, “As we have seen, there are people who will stop at nothing to accomplish their personal agendas."

He went on to say that people are starting to stand up for the community and thanked him for bringing change.

“I want to re-assure those who supported my agenda for change and have supported me in spite of the personal attacks that have come my way,” Arnold said, “that I remain resolute in my commitment to finish what we started.”

Arnold is currently being investigated by the Indiana State Police and FBI concerning allegations of the misuse of campaign funds.

Confusion in county government

No one in the county seems to know if there is or is not a Personnel Board that is supposed to review requests for salary increases for county employees, other than during budget hearings.

A discussion took place during last week’s council meeting when Madison Circuit Court 3 Judge Thomas Newman Jr. requested a salary increase for three employees.

The question surrounding the Personnel Board came despite the fact that two council members are appointed to serve on the board.

The issue may be resolved next week after council members meet with the Madison County Commissioners to discuss making the board active.

Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide’s column publishes Sundays. Contact him at Ken.DeLaBastide@heraldbulletin.com or (765) 640-4863. Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.