Monday, July 13, 2015
Here's what I'll be saying this morning at 8:00 a.m. out on the sidewalk by the Carnegie Center.
Thanks for coming out this morning as we kick off this independent campaign for mayor.
New Albany has come a long way in recent years, and as an independent small businessman in the middle of it, I can see the inexhaustible willingness of local entrepreneurs to work hard and invest, and the support and enthusiasm of New Albany’s residents, who really want to see the quality of their lives in New Albany improve.
I can also see how little of this progress is driven by our political culture, and that’s why I’m running for mayor. We need a different pair of eyes to see what’s coming next.
Currently the city of New Albany is controlled by the Democratic Party, and while I’ve been left-leaning my whole life, the Gahan administration simply doesn‘t have what it takes to prioritize and innovate for the city’s future.
On the other hand, Floyd County is run by the Republican Party, and the county is starved, financially as well as intellectually. One party has a stranglehold on the city, and the other on the county. Where’s the choice in that?
So, I’m constantly asked, why run as an independent?
It’s because the usual suspects are NOT AN OPTION any longer. The two major parties may share power, but they don’t have a monopoly of ideas.
The two-party system here is broken, and it’s not going to get any better on its own. And for most of us, governance isn’t about party affiliation, anyway.
It’s about managing competently, planning rationally and producing results every single day – right here in New Albany --where we live and work and play.
That’s why I want to be mayor, so we can concentrate on real basics like infrastructure, empowerment and transparency. These issues have been ignored for so very long in New Albany that they’re undervalued, and need to be totally reinvented.
Infrastructure is streets, sidewalks, sewers, the storm water abatement plan, trees and our other shared physical assets. The mayor of New Albany must daily put to work a plan for designing, maintaining and improving our infrastructure, promoting public safety, and using these components effectively so they don’t contradict each other.
Empowerment means nurturing grassroots initiatives in the firm belief that economic and personal development begin right here at home, with our own residents. Whether it’s human rights, housing or local independent businesses, it is the mayor’s responsibility to take care of our own, and maintain a level playing field for all citizens.
Transparency is the single greatest failing of the current occupant. My administration will be honest, open and inclusive to ensure robust two-way communication and conversation between the city and YOU, the citizens. There will be no more backroom secrecy at City Hall. And that’s a promise!
The current mayor likes to talk about fundamentals, but I’m not sure he understands what the word actually means: A fundamental is a primary rule or principle, and a necessary base or core.
Unfortunately, we’ve not been addressing our collective needs. Rather, we’re indulging random wants. We’re spending millions of dollars, borrowed against the property tax revenues of our grandchildren, to finance feel-good capital improvement projects without addressing these vital fundamentals.
What better example could there be than the mayor’s social media, cheerleading its $9 million-dollar, two-months-per-year aquatic center, even as Mother Nature has been creating random splash parks in almost all the city’s neighborhoods, each time there’s a cloudburst?
We’re sacrificing long-term budgetary sustainability for short-term glitz and glitter – and ignoring the fundamental needs of the city’s neighborhoods, where quality of life is measured by everyday functionality.
Once again: Why do I want to be mayor?
So we can try something different, for a change.
Let’s leave the two-party system’s political patronage and funding schemes out of it. Instead, let’s put the needs of the entire city –and that means YOU--above the wants of a select few. Let’s promote the interests of our city’s residents every single day, 24/7/365, and not just every now and then. In the fair market of ideas, it’s the people who pick the winners – not the mayor.
A close friend said it best.
“We keep electing people who want to be the absentee dad who shows up on random weekends to take the kids to the amusement park and buy them ice cream. What we need is a mom during the week.”
I’d be flattered to be known as Mayor Mom.
Thanks for coming out on a Monday morning, and I’ll be happy to answer questions.
CONTACT Roger Baylor by email at email@example.com or by phone at 502.468.9710, or 812.944.3617