Demographics ‘n’ stuff, part 1: Classes of Indiana city, and Indiana politician.


If our statewide Chamber of Commerce cadres are to be believed, and I generally counsel extreme caution when surveying their tilted pronouncements, the core motivation of Indiana’s ongoing Regional Cities Initiative lottery derives from the one percent’s concern with impending depopulation.

Ultimately, this notion probably is about as whacked-out as Nicolae Ceausescu’s pet idea of banning contraception in Romania to increase births to populate forced collectivization in agro-industrial complexes (Amazonias?), but there it is: Indiana needs more people living here, and because as yet Republicans cannot control procreation, however hard they try, this means keeping existing Hoosiers at home, and luring unwitting outsiders to take up housekeeping inside our borders.

The fact that political luminaries such as our own Ron Grooms sees neither hypocrisy nor contradiction in simultaneously espousing corporate welfare to bribe potential residents even as he chases talented young people away via the idiocy of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is something for the ballot box to decide in 2018, unless the race devolves into Grooms versus Jeff Gahan, in which case we decamp for Bucharest — and finally, freedom from mediocrity.

Meanwhile …

I bring this up after researching some of the esoteric requirements of the Regional Development Authority, which now is moot since the Floyd County Council rightfully chucked it aside. By Indiana reckoning, New Albany is a second-class city:

The following is the list of incorporated cities in Indiana as of July 7, 2012. Except as noted, all cities are “third-class” cities with a seven-member city council and an elected clerk-treasurer. Second-class cities had a population of at least 35,000 and up to 600,000 at time of designation, and have a nine-member city council and an elected clerk. Indianapolis is the only “first-class” city in Indiana under state law (designed to protect its status as the only first class city), subjecting it to Unigov.

What’s the ultimate difference?

Although class can be an important distinction for city leaders, “regular people” often don’t know the difference, said Jamie Palmer, a senior policy analyst for Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“It’s really just local politicians’ preference,” concurred Ann Cottongim, deputy director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns.

In a third-class city, the political party duopolies lose two council seats, and the mayor is deprived of the power of appointing a controller. It’s not altogether much of a difference, though perhaps outweighing the bizarre distinction that I’ll always recall as the very ultimate in red herrings: All America City status, which people in 1968 actually thought mattered for something.

The overall trend in New Albany during my lifetime has been population decline, although from 2010 – 2013, we gained a few hundred residents and have around 36,803 people living here.

If New Albany dropped below the 35,000 threshold, would we be relegated?

I can’t imagine a single sitting politician acquiescing in losing his seat, so I doubt it. There’d probably have to be a lawsuit — and I’m old enough to remember what currently conjoined political chums Jeff Gahan and Dan Coffey did back in 2008 to thwart fairness in mandated redistricting.

I’d suggest that we’d be better off as a classless city, especially as it might pertain to political classes.