It’s been interesting to watch the mayor and his allies go after Prop J. They’re attacking the proposition as a major barrier to environmental and economic justice. Just as important, they’re attacking those backing the proposition (particularly IndyAustin) as being shills for shady special interests, notably billboard companies and racetrack investors. And of course, they’re having a field day with IndyAustin’s use of Pepe the Frog in a recent ad and one of its canvassers allegedly making transphobic comments.
My question: Where was this six months ago?
The arguments they’re levying against the proposition itself and its backers stands in stark contrast to the weak-willed diplomacy that Adler pursued throughout the CodeNEXT process.
Sure, PepeGate wasn’t around back then, but IndyAustin’s signature-gathering effort was already submitting campaign finance reports that showed it was being bankrolled by billboard companies. But Adler and other pro-CodeNEXT Council members didn’t make an issue out of it. They allowed CodeNEXT opponents to frame the Prop J petition as a grassroots, community-driven effort. Despite polling that most people either didn’t care about CodeNEXT or were inclined to support it. Despite accounts of canvassers misleading people into signing the petition.
If Prop J fails, it will be due to the success of this last-minute decision to take the gloves off. If it succeeds, particularly if it does so narrowly, Adler and others in support of land use reform will probably be kicking themselves for not going after IndyAustin sooner.