Voters are to Blame for Bad PoliticsWritten by Terry Mitchell
When I was growing up, I actually considered a career in politics. I quickly changed my mind, though, when I discovered that there was way too much politics involved in it. Obviously, that's a play on words, but I get funny looks from people when I tell them that. However, I am completely serious. The politics of running for and holding elective office is influenced too much by politics of power, influence, and money. But whose fault is it that such a condition exists? I believe voters have no one to blame but themselves. As a voting public, we have become entirely too sophisticated for our own good. Many of us have made a habit of voting pragmatically, i.e., voting for person we think has best chance to win instead of person we most agree with. We complain about wishy-washy politicians who won't give us straight answers, yet when people who say what they really think run for office, we dismiss them as being "loose cannons." When any candidate makes a statement that's evenly slightly out of mainstream, it is considered such an egregious act that he or she either becomes marginalized or is forced to drop out of race. What's left is a bunch of cautious and robotic weenies with their fingers in wind - people who form their decisions based on polls and focus groups. We say we want candidates who are different, but not too different. We say we want new ideas but we shun candidates that seem least bit precocious. Therefore, we end up with kinds of candidates we've always had. I've often heard voters comment on candidates by making statements like "I couldn't imagine her being elected" or "he sends shivers down my spine." Most people will automatically exclude any candidate who would fit those kinds of descriptions. But should they? Sometimes good candidates come in packages that might be a little different or even a bit scary. By disqualifying those types of candidates, we could be missing out on some potentially great leaders. I wonder how many of today's sophisticated voters would consider someone like Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, or Teddy Roosevelt too much of a "nut" to be elected. We like to say issues are important things to us. However, many of us vote based on personalities. For example, we will decide on a presidential candidate based on who seems most "presidential" (whatever that means). We are also too concerned about meaningless ceremonial issues. For example, I bet some people wouldn't vote for an unmarried man for president because of their concern about absence of a first lady. We also put too great of an emphasis on superficial issues such as aesthetics, i.e., how someone looks. Richard Nixon may have lost 1960 election because he didn't look as good on TV as John F. Kennedy during their debate. We also stress a candidate's education a little too much. Education is important, but it's not everything. Some of smartest people in world never attended college. However, many of us wouldn't consider someone for any office higher than dog catcher unless he or she had at least a Bachelor's degree.
Obvious often means overlookedWritten by by Kurt St. Angelo
by Kurt St. Angelo Libertarian Writers' Bureau http://www.writersbureau.org
My favorite childhood story was about a herd of hippos that played hide n' seek. The baby hippo's best hiding place was on a ledge just above – though in plain view of – herd's elders, who never found baby because they never looked up. Obvious often means overlooked.
And so it is with jail overcrowding in Circle City. County jails lack space for everyone who's been arrested. Last year there were almost 2,000 emergency releases to free space.
Led by a group of mostly Republicans, including Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and Superior Court judges Cale Bradford and William Young, there 's a move to greatly expand county's criminal justice budget, build another jail facility, expand or build a new juvenile center, elect more judges, and – if they get their way – build a brand new criminal-justice center with even more capacity to turn suspects into government prospects.
The more prospects they can harness and herd, more money taxpayers will give them.
Anyone who has watched Brizzi, Bradford or Young recently on Indianapolis television knows how callous they are toward accused. Young, who presides over county's drug court, says defendants are from 'a sludge pool." By his own count, he has personally released at least six people who have then murdered others.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Bradford chairs Marion County Criminal Justice Planning Council, which also includes Brizzi and Mayor Bart Peterson. The Council is preparing an expensive criminal justice wish list to present to City-County Council. At its January meeting, Bradford noted that county's newest jail facility, built in 1997 to handle main jail's overcrowding, was itself overcrowded.
This latest situation shows obvious, which again won't be discussed at next planning council meeting – that a new jail is not solution to latest bout of jail overcrowding. As experience shows us, a new jail will only be a standing invitation for politicians and judges to fill it.
Money is not solution, either. Since 2001, county's criminal justice budget has almost single-handedly been responsible for county's whopping 40 percent budget increase, from $126 million to $176 million.