A Chesterton Tribune Editorial
The General Election Tuesday offers Porter County voters clear choices for
county governmental offices.
The following are the Chesterton Tribune endorsements of candidates for
Porter County offices to be on the ballot Nov. 1. Endorsements are based on
candidates’ records, responses to interview questions, performance at
candidate night forums and personal observations by Tribune staff.
Republican John Evans
Republican Dave Burrus
Commissioner incumbents John Evans and Dave Burrus showed leadership during
last year’s county fiscal crisis. Both can be praised for a CEDIT plan which
includes funding for the county parks, expansion of the South Shore commuter
rail service, the Geographic Information System, and the update of the
county’s zoning and subdivision control ordinances. Both should be praised
for instituting the practice of publicly posting board appointment openings
and publicly interviewing the hospital board candidates. The future of the
hospital is a key issue for Duneland. If the county’s public hospital is
sold there would be no guarantee that the Chesterton medical center would
remain open for urgent care.
Their handling of the open space ordinance, however, was unfortunate. They
both opposed the original 20 percent set-aside proposal and formed a
committee to work out an alternative. They accepted the committee’s
alternative, and the plan commission later upheld the changes. But now both
Burrus and Evans say the ordinance is flawed and they want to water down its
Democrat opponents Carole Knoblock and Jack Clem are not in the same league
with Evans and Burrus in qualifications or positions on the issues.
Clem spent several years as a Democrat appointee to the Indiana Department
of Transportation, an agency which has been no friend to Chesterton or
Knoblock has pretended to oppose income taxes. A paid advertisement by the
county Democrat Party says she opposes “any County Income tax.” Yet, as a
County Council member she voted for the CEDIT income tax and has said she is
ready to vote for the CAGIT income tax under the right circumstances. The
CAGIT income tax has been the stealth goal of many “income tax opponents.”
It would shift the tax burden from business, farmers and landlords to wage
earners without providing for any improvement of governmental service to
those in need. Also, Knoblock’s willingness to consider selling the county
hospital is a threat to the quality of medical care for the Duneland area.
Holdover Commissioner Democrat Robert Harper is hoping Clem and/or Knoblock
win to give him a working majority. He has some very good intentions and has
already accomplished much, it is wrong to vote in an unqualified candidate
just to give hypothetical power to an incumbent, no matter how promising.
Harper, Evans and Burrus have had some tense moments but Porter County is
better off for the divergent and strong opinions each one holds, because it
forces debate, openness and consensus-building.
Note: Though the candidates run by district they are voted
on at-large. All Duneland area voters are eligible to vote in both
Porter County Council:
(Vote for Three)
Republicans William Carmi-chael and Jim Burge
Democrat Dan Whitten
The County Council has one real job: To oversee county finances and budgets.
This year there are seven candidates running for three at-large seats. Every
voter in Porter County may vote for up to three candidates.
Only one candidate, incumbent Council President William Carmichael of
Chesterton, has both the experience and vision needed for the Council in
this difficult year. Voters willing to “bullet vote” for only one choice
should vote for Carmichael.
Voters who desire to vote for three candidates might have a tough time
finding the right choices in the rest of the field. Several of the
candidates do not have a clue how county government works or what their
duties and powers will be if elected.
For those who wish to exercise their right to vote for three we recommend
Carmichael, Jim Burge and Dan Whitten.
Burge, however, has a huge weakness, he supports the CAGIT income tax to
shift the burden of government from property owners to wage earners without
improving services. His strength is that, almost alone among the
non-incumbents, he has demonstrated a strong knowledge of county government
and taxation issues. He appears genuinely committed to strengthening the
county’s quality of life. Particularly insightful was his comment made at
the candidate forum in support of giving priority to tax abatement projects
that involve the renovation of existing vacant structures.
Whitten shows an equally thorough knowledge of county government and tax
issues, although his strong opposition to all three of the county income tax
options is short-sighted. Whitten would give reasoned and thorough
consideration to the issues and seek consensus. His support for continued
funding for social service programs as a quality-of-life issue is
Burge and Whitten have opposing views on CAGIT and both would put forth
strong arguments on their side when and if the tax is proposed. The debate
between the two could be interesting.
Porter County Surveyor
Democrat Kevin Breitzke
Quite simply, Kevin Breitzke is abundantly more qualified and experienced
than his challengers. Just this month Breitzke cast a courageous vote to
enact the new County Open Space Ordinance.
Porter County Treasurer