Thank You!

Thank You!

With the municipal election countdown nearing its end, Muncie residents have many important decisions to make that will ultimately affect how our city will move forward. I hope that you will consider me as part of that solution. Vote November 5th.

Party Politics

Party Politics

If you visited the Delaware County Fair on Democrat night you may have noticed a few missing faces in the party’s tent. If you stopped by to see what Democrat candidates will appear on the ballot this November, you wouldn’t even know I was running for City Council in the 2nd district…as a Democrat. Drive past 214 N. Walnut St. and you won’t see my sign hanging in the window. I’m not bitter or angry at the party for excluding me. It was my choice, after all, to not be aligned with the party and my choice to decide against paying my assessment (10% of my first year’s elected position salary) to the central committee.

How could I possibly run a campaign about bringing transparency, inclusiveness, and ethical leadership to City Government while being aligned with a Delaware County Democrat party who has been accused in federal indictments of taking kickbacks and attempting to orchestrate cover-ups inside the walls of party headquarters?

Make no mistake about it and let me very clear; there are many good democrats who serve this community with integrity and have my utmost respect, some of which are seeking re-election. I understand the issue within, and the perception of, the local Democrat party are the fault of just a few individuals who have put their own interests above those of the entire community. Those individuals have done a great disservice to our community, and to those Democrats doing good things and who do their best to do what’s right for Muncie! I hate that those good democrats are seen as guilty by association. I’ve come to know the party chairman, Allie Craycraft, as a good man who wants to lead the local Democrat party with honor and integrity. By all accounts, he’s a man of his word and I hope he can bring the party together for the good of our community and the Democrat party.

When I decided to run for City Council, in the 2nd District, I knew there would be those in the community who would associate me with the wrongdoing and label me “crooked” simply and only because I’m a Democrat in Muncie. I knew there would be people within my own party who would chastise me for not being aligned with them and not paying my 10% assessment.  I could have done what others have decided to do and change parties, hoping to capitalize on perceived voter dissatisfaction with the local Democrat party in order to win an election. It could have made my path to a council seat easier, but if you know me…you know I’m not one to take the easy road just for the sake of convenience.

Despite all these things, I am running for Muncie City Council to serve the community I love. To work hard for my constituents and to help give Muncie the government they deserve! I urge you to follow my campaign on Facebook and humbly ask for your support.

(Photo: Muncie Visitors’ Bureau)

It’s Time to Embrace Ethics

It’s Time to Embrace Ethics

When I decided to run for Muncie City Council, it was out of a genuine desire to help reshape how our local government interacts with its citizenry, and address the challenges that lie ahead of us in a positive way that moves Muncie forward.

However, with FBI raids making headlines again, multiple indictments (and one conviction, so far), and the possibility of more arrests looming, there is no argument that corruption and illegal activity has taken place within our city government. While I don’t want to make this a focal point of my campaign, I also don’t believe that we can truly progress without first addressing “the elephant in the room.”

As a lifelong Muncie resident, I am sick and tired of the dark cloud that hangs over our city due to this ongoing investigation. It negatively impacts our ability to promote and improve our community, hurts our population’s morale, and emboldens the naysayers who seem to exist only to tear us down.

It’s easy for political candidates to say that they believe in transparency and oppose corruption – we’ve all heard it for decades – but what we never hear are specifics about what they actually intend to do about any of it, and then those sentiments evaporate once they get elected into office. I believe we have to change that.

If elected, one of my first actions will be to work with my fellow council members to adopt an official Code of Ethics for the City of Muncie, and establish an Ethics Commission to enforce that code.

Under this plan, a commission consisting of members from both the council and administration, as well as non-political appointees from Ball State University and our legal community, will review any reported ethics violations and present its findings to the City Council for remedy.

Many communities already have successful examples of these programs in place, so this is not a wheel that has to be invented. My team is currently researching other communities’ approaches and drafting a proposal that best fits Muncie’s needs. When completed, we will make it available on my website for review and collaboration.

I also want to challenge all other current candidates, both Republican and Democrat, to pledge their support to this initiative.

It doesn’t have to be my plan that they get behind, but every candidate for city office should be willing to support some plan that puts an end to the cronyism and graft that has plagued our city so that Muncie can truly move forward.

Muncie Resists Candidate Forum

Muncie Resists Candidate Forum

Jeff Speaks at Muncie Resists Candidate ForumI spent the evening alongside other Democrat (district) City Council candidates discussing where we stand on issues in our community.

Thank you to Muncie Resists for providing a platform for voters to learn about myself and other candidates. It was good to see so many people interested in the local election.

Muncie Resists preceded the forum by providing each candidate with a questionnaire. I’ve included my responses to all of their questions here.

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Storer Elementary: Where I Stand

Storer Elementary: Where I Stand

Storer Elementary
Standing on the very spot where my old social studies class once stood.

I’ve met with several homeowners in Sunset Knoll, Johnson Circle, and other areas surrounding the former Storer Elementary School (my alma mater) with concerns about the future of that property. The building is currently being demolished, which has led to questions and uneasiness from the families that live there. 

In the past week, I’ve had multiple conversations with city officials concerning this site. I’m in agreement with most in the neighborhood about the need for a green space and discussed that with Mayor Dennis Tyler and Muncie Redevelopment Commission Director Todd Donati. I’ve been personally assured by both that there are currently no development plans for the property and it will be up to the next administration to determine its fate. 

The parcel is 18.5 acres, which is larger than Muncie’s Westside Park. That is a lot of land and it could become a beautiful addition to Muncie, particularly in an area that has a lack of public parks. Make no mistake about it, though, there would be a hefty price tag to come along with building a multi-use park of that size, and I don’t believe we can lean on tax dollars alone to take on a project like this. As your city council representative, it would be my responsibility to both my constituents in the 2nd district and the public at-large to explore private funding opportunities and partnerships to make such a park a reality. Fortunately, my professional experience gives me a leg up in that pursuit.

If the full vision of a large multi-use green space can’t be realized, we can still ensure that any development of the property includes a new park. 6.5 acres of land falls in a flood plain and cannot be developed for housing purposes, if that were the route the next administration and MRC opted to take. The MRC has the authority to set conditions for any development of the site, and I have been told by Mr. Donati that he would be in favor of dictating a green space which could include walking trails and other amenities from any developer who wanted to build on that site, and it would be built at that developer’s expense.

I intend to speak with each Mayoral candidate to get the same assurances, and will update this post with their responses. If any candidates would like to respond here directly, I would absolutely welcome them to do so in the comments.

I want to work with the next Mayor to make a green space in that neighborhood – whatever form it may take – a reality. I will also seek input from residents in the area to ensure that whatever solution arises enhances their neighborhood in the most positive way possible.

The people of the 2nd district deserve to have their voices heard and be a part of the planning process for the future of this property. As your next City Councilperson, I will fight to make that happen.

(Photo Credit: Jordan Kartholl; The Star Press)
We Fly with BSU

We Fly with BSU

I’ve been asked, multiple times, about Ball State’s commitment to Muncie and specifically asked what my ideas and goals are as it relates to the strategic partnership between the two.

As a Ball State Alumni, I’m thrilled to see BSU getting more involved in Muncie and acknowledging that their success is inextricably linked with the success of the community at-large. One of the many things Ball State brings to Muncie is positive economic impact, from being our largest employer to the 20k students spending their dollars here. I would like to see Ball State do more to help improve the image their students have of our city, and encourage them to get off campus and explore what Muncie has to offer. Doing so would not only generate more economic activity, but would also leave a better impression with students of our beautiful community, and hopefully entice more of them to stay and put down roots after graduating.

Additionally, I would like to see BSU work with city government and economic development officials on developing incentives and other ways to encourage faculty to live in Muncie.

Fire-Based EMS: Where I Stand

Fire-Based EMS: Where I Stand

Emergency Medical Services and the proposal to add Fire Based EMS service has, unfortunately and unnecessarily, become a political issue.

Generally speaking, I’m opposed to the current proposal and would vote “NO”. I am always open-minded and willing to consider new ideas to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all city services, given those ideas have been properly vetted. I believe it’s the duty of elected officials to be open-minded and explore all options and find the best solution, taking politics out of the equation. If there is verifiable research weighing the impact and feasibility, and shows there is a better way to approach EMS, I would get behind it. We have not seen that research.

The issue, and any changes, of Emergency Medical Services has an impact at both the City and County level. Our leaders, from both government entities, should put personal differences aside and work together on the best solution (if there is a problem to be solved), for all citizens. It’s their responsibility and, if elected, one I would take very seriously.

(Photo: Corey Ohlenkamp/Star Press)