Saturday, September 11, 2010

Urban Expert Arron Renn Discusses Indy Parking Deal on Amos Brown

Amos Brown of WTLC interviewed urban expert Aaron Renn on his program last Thursday. You can get the audio feed here. It is definitely worth listening to.

Also, please check out Aaron Renn's comparison of the Chicago and Indianapolis contracts on his blog, Urbanophile.

It was good to hear that Amos Brown hasn't been taken in by that minority hiring angle ACS has been peddling in an effort to convince African-American councilors to support the deal. Even if ACS promised and delivered on 100% minority hiring, the fact is it's still a horrible deal for everyone in the community, not only for whites but also minorities.

Renn's side by side comparison of the Chicago and Indianapolis deals, illustrating that the Indy deal is even worse than Chicago's disastrous parking contract, may have been THE straw that broke the back of this deal. Monday's Rules Committee which was supposed to result in a vote on the contract has been cancelled.

One local politician expressed surprise that the parking proposal is being sponsored by Republican at-large councilor Barb Malone. It did seem to be an odd choice as Malone is someone who has occasionally expressed some independence from the Republican Caucus...not much mind you, but still more than almost all the other Republican councilors who rubber stamp, without question, everything this administration proposes.

It suddenly dawned on me the strategy. First, by having her carry the parking ordinance through the council, administration officials knew Malone would be in a position of having to advocate for the proposal rather than be a more neutral observer to the debate, someone who might eventually be persuaded to vote against it. Second, and more importantly, Malone is African-American. The administration s desperately trying to line up African-American Democrats on the Council to support the ordinance, chiefly by making promises about minority hiring. The old guard Republicans running this administration believe that if African-American Democrats see another black councilor sponsoring this measure, they will also support the deal.

Sure that's a simplistic approach to the politics of race that does not reflect how political issues play out in the black community. I've been around the local GOP for some time though and I know that is exactly how Old Guard Republicans think when it comes to races and politics. It's the same mentality that says if we Republicans just recruit an African-American to run in the 7th Congressional District in Indianapolis, black voters will see the GOP candidate's skin color and vote for him/her, especially if the Democrats run a white candidate. (Think of Rep. Andy Jacobs.) That strategy has never worked, yet Old Guard Republicans still peddle it.


Wilson46201 said...

In 1984 the GOP ran African-American Joe Tucker (now in Philadelphia) against Andy Jacobs. Afterwards I analyzed the results precinct by precinct and there was no change in voting patterns whatsoever in either white or Black neighborhoods. I suspect the same held true in 1994 for Marvin Scott's first failed candidacy.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Dang, Wilson, you said something I agree with. I also believe there is no advantage for a black Republican over a white Republican running in that district. In fact, I get the perceptiion there is an "Uncle Tom" factor...that some black voters automatically write off some black Republicans as being tokens. That's not a fair characterization...but I think it happens.