Up until about a week ago, the most hated Black man at Marion County Democratic headquarters was probably yours truly. That was up until a week ago. I think that privilege now goes to Indianapolis City-County Council members Vop Osili and Joe Simpson.
As you know both Osili and Simpson decided to show an independent streak and committed the unforgiveable sin of listening to their constituents and voting in favor of expanding the downtown TIF District to Mass Ave and 16 Tech. It is something a number of business people, church groups and neighborhood organizations wanted. So they expanded the TIF and at the same time found money for business loans and workforce development. And instead of getting praise, they are getting grief.
Apparently when the Council Democrats got together at the start of the year, they made a pledge to vote together as a group, regardless of whether a measure was good or bad for their respective districts. They made a pact to stick together and no one would break from the caucus ranks. Now that several of them have, life reportedly is not going to be good for Osili or Simpson. I am told there is a meeting this week between Council President Maggie Lewis, Osili, Simpson, Vern Brown and new chairman of the Metropolitan Economic Development Committee, Leroy Robinson. Steve Talley stepped down from the post.
I don’t have the full scoop on that meeting yet, but what I do know, there is supposed to be a move to get Osili and Simpson back on the plantation. I find it fascinating that these guys ran on representing their districts and listening to their constituents, however when they actually do it, they get called on the carpet.
I think what some people are failing to grasp is that a lot of these church groups, business groups and neighborhood organizations are watching the Marion County Democrats and are getting fed up with the game playing and are seriously looking at taking it out on them in the next few election cycles. And if you don’t think these groups can make a difference in a county where Democrats have a 14,000-vote straight ticket advantage over Republicans, pick up the phone and call Melina Kennedy and ask her how the view from the 25th floor looks.
That’s the nice thing about walking off the political plantation; there are a lot of free people waiting for you on the other side.