What they’re saying: David White on Speck and the RFRA.


As the weeks go past in route to May’s primary election, I’m providing periodic candidate statements of substance, mostly unretouched, as lifted from social media and news reports. Familiar gems such as “yard signs win elections, not people” and “donate to my campaign first, and maybe I’ll have something of merit to say much, much later” will be omitted. That’s because it is my aim to determine whether our declared candidates have anything to say at all, and I’ll quote all candidates, from any and all parties, whether or not they’re in a contested race. Just promising change and new ideas without divulging them won’t cut the mustard, aspirants.

The backlash against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which as of yesterday had been amended, was a social media phenomenon. Conversely, New Albany’s three mainstream mayoral candidate have been slow to make timely use of the medium. Given the traditionally “old school” nature of primary elections, this isn’t surprising.

Candidate viewpoints about RFRA recently were collected in this space. As of today, Republican mayoral candidate Kevin Zurschmiede has had nothing to say for attribution about RFRA, although seeing as the GOP’s Lincoln Day fete took place last night with Ron Grooms in attendance, flies on the wall at the Calumet Club may have absorbed more than a few interesting comments.

The Democratic incumbent, Mayor Jeff Gahan, eventually issued a short social media comment about RFRA. At-large councilman John Gonder, who is running for re-election, will introduce an RFRA repeal resolution at Monday’s council meeting.

This brings us to David White, Democratic candidate for mayor, and a question I asked him at his facebook page: David White for Mayor of New Albany.

March 28: For the record, as a prospective candidate for mayor of this city, running as an independent, I oppose RFRA (SB/HB 101). I’d be interested to know what you think about it.

He’s been out of town on business, and replied last night.

Unnecessary can of worms opened by our Governor. I am not an attorney, but I believe the Clinton 1993 law functionally covers it all.

I asked a second question on April 1: “Speck plan? Yea or nay? We’re getting close.”

As I shared with you on your front porch that rainy, yet enjoyable morning, Gahan’s commissioned Speck plan has become very problematic considering the lack of transparency and credibility as observed in the three public meetings. I’m sure there will be a more appropriate time when this discussion can be held in an environment and culture that is conducive for success.

On the morning in question a few weeks ago, candidate White accepted an invitation to monitor traffic on Spring Street from the vantage point of my house. His response to my repeated efforts to solicit a firm statement from White about Jeff Speck’s downtown street network plan, both in terms of design and social impacts, was entirely consistent with his statement above. The closest he came that morning to indicating approval of Speck’s proposals was to say, “I’m not against them.”

For those gauging their votes on the basis of a candidate’s public support for Speck’s work, and taking into consideration my interpretation of our porch conversation, White must be counted as “no” as it pertains to two-way streets, traffic calming and the like. It is yet to be seen whether he will overtly align himself with explicit Speck critics, such as Padgett Inc. and the trucking lobby.

Of course, clarification always is welcomed, but I stand by this interpretation.

For the record: Neither Gahan nor Zurschmiede have made comments about Speck for attribution, and as you know, I support full implementation at the earliest opportunity.