Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Karen Goldner Wins JG Endorsement

I'm sure most of you already saw that Karen Goldner got the JG endorsement but I wanted to post about it nonetheless:
Voters in the 2nd District can’t go wrong no matter which of the major party candidates they select for City Council. Nine-term incumbent Don Schmidt has a long track record as a fiscal watchdog. Democratic challenger Karen Goldner is a former high-ranking city official well acquainted with city government and especially knowledgeable about economic development.

While either candidate would represent the district well, we give the edge to Goldner.

I think this is the most interesting race to watch. Karen has run what appears to be an extremely effective campaign combining grassroots (knocking on every door) and traditional (impressive fundraising) campaign methods. Meanwhile the old-school analysts seem to think this won't make a nickel's worth of difference but I'm not so sure. Personally, I think this will be the only competitive district race come election night.

The real question is will Karen's efforts lead to victory? If so, I think you're likely to see a wholesale change in the philosophy of future local campaigns. This litmus test, if for no other reason, makes this the race to watch...


david said...

Congratulations Karen - she truly is the best candidate for this. District two is definitely a district that needs a fresh perspective and that is Karen Goldner.

Karen Goldner said...

Thank you both.

Phil Marx said...


As you know, I have been very supportive of Karen Goldner. She is intelligent, has some good ideas, and is the most active campaigner this year among all candidates for city office.

However, my opinion of her has significantly changed recently. In Tuesday's Journal Gazette, she is quoted as saying "City Council sometimes frustrates me because they can spend too much time talking about things. The City Council needs to be more agressive." This directly contradicts what I said to City Council this evening.

I think the way our current City Council dealt with the two big issues this year (smoking ban and Harrison Square) exemplified poor governance. Given the large number of people that voiced concern, these issues should have been handled in a more deliberative manner than they were.

The notion of less talk and more agressive action worries me. I didn't think it was possible for City Council to get any worse, but now I'm not sure.

Karen Goldner said...

Phil, in the past few years I have heard City Council talk about the importance of establishing a capital improvements board with the county to prioritize large public investments (they have taken no action), the need to merge various city and county departments (no action), the need to improve the city's land use/zoning processes (no action since 2000), and the appropriate size of garbage bins (they did take action on this, after a couple of months of discussion.)

Even Harrison Square was not something initiated by the council.

The Council did initiate the smoking ban, and I have concerns about that action. However, just because I disagree with one particular action doesn't mean I think that Council should take no action on anything.

We have major issues facing our city. not the least of which is how we handle the huge economic shift that has been happening over the past 25 years and continues today. I don't think that debates over the size of garbage bins merit as much time as they have received, while Council fails to act on needed changes to development processes, purchasing policies, and other similar issues.

Phil Marx said...


I expected that you would reply to my comment. Not just because you had already commented on this post but simply because you seem to be everywhere (on the blogs and in person.) From what I've observed, you are always willing to engage people in direct and meaningful ways. In fact, this has been my strongest reason for supporting you. Anyone who is working that hard to communicate with people can't be bad.

My frustration at government moving too agressively is based mostly upon my opinion of how the Harrison Square project and the smoking ban were handled. I was not so concerned with the final outcome of either as I was with the manner in which they were handled. Given the unusually large number of people who held strong opinions (pro and con) on these two issues, I think there should have been a referendum held on them.

I know that Councilman Crawford has told us that they are were not allowed to do so, per Indiana law, but they could have done a far better job of soliciting the opinions of citizens on these issues than they did. The comments of some members of Council showed that even that advice would have been ignored though, if it contradicted their own opinions. This is poor governance, in my opinion, and I would not have any regrets if any one (or all) of our current Council members lose their jobs this November.

I think you have a very good chance of getting elected, and I doubt that anything you or I say here will have much affect on any voter's opinion at this late stage in the race. I actually commented here with the hope that I would capture your attention for a moment. Now that I have it, please consider the following if you do make it to City Council.

You seem like a very active and informed person, and that is to be commended. Not everyone is as astute and engaged as you are though, so does this mean they just don't care and that their opinions should be ignored? I consider myself an intelligent and (generally speaking) well educated person. But my resources (especially time) are short, and I can not always keep up on all the issues that I have an interest in. The fact that I am uninformed or ignorant about an issue does not necessarily mean that my opinion should be dismissed.

Up until fairly recently I was employed at a factory, working twelve-hour shifts. I can not tell you how frustrating it was to come home from work, read the morning paper (which was delivered after I left for work), then discover that there is an open forum being held for any interested persons about an issue I'm interested in, and it is already underway. So I could take a quick shower and get there just as the meeting was adjourning, or I could skip the shower and get there (smelling like a garbage can) for the last few minutes of it.

Or, perhaps it was announced days ahead. I took a change of clothes with me, planning to shower at work then go directly to the meeting to be on time. But the next guy didn't show up, so I had to stay over an hour, and miss the meeting.

The point I'm trying to make is this. Some people are not informed or engaged with the issues because they are lazy or just don't care. For others, the reasons may be more legitimate. I think those in power often forget that many people do not have the same resources as them (especially access to certain information.) They view the ignorance and non-participation of these people as being the result of stupidity, laziness, or indifference more often than is actually the case.

As I said, I think you are a very intelligent and informed person. I imagine, should you get elected, you will become even more informed about important issues. I think it is very probable that a lot of citizens who come to you with questions and concerns will cause you to view their relative ignorance as a reason to dismiss their opinions. I saw your comments in the paper as evidence that this might be the case, and I wanted to voice my concerns.

I'll close by saying that if you remain as communicative with people as you are now, then I expect you'll be a good Councilwoman. I just hope you'll be aware of the tendency of so many elected officials to restrict the number and diversity of people they listen to once they are elected.

Karen Goldner said...

Your point is well taken, Phil. In addition to all of the things you cite, I am very troubled by the tendency of people on all sides of an issue to respond (lash out?) with anger when they are faced with something they disagree with. "If someone says or does something I don't like, they must be an idiot (or fill-in-the-prejorative)" seems to be the attitude. This has been seen in both the HS & smoking debates. I don't view that approach as helpful in solving the real problems we face as a community.

Everyone approaches issues from a different set of information, values, willingness to trust, past experience, and financial status than everyone else. What governance is supposed to be about (IMHO) is working together to come up with something that most people can support. That means give and take on all sides, and it means that people need to be willing to see things from the point of view of "the other guy."

I do plan to hold regular 2nd District meetings if I am elected to allow anyone in the District to talk about their ideas and concerns. That might not help you if you are stuck at work, but it's a start. And I will definitely continue to hang out in the blogosphere.

I'd be interested in hearing (reading?) your (or others') ideas on how to continue the dialogue in productive and meaningful ways.

Thanks for your support.

Phil Marx said...


I'm actually not in your didtrict, so my vote can't effect you. But at least now, I can continue to tell people I meet that I think you are a good candidate for this position.

Only twelve days to go. - Good Luck!