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District 7 Candidate: Matthew Stone, Libertarian

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District 7's Libertarian Candidate Matthew Stone. - SUBMITTED PHOTO

Matthew Stone
District 7--Libertarian

1)What do you offer as a candidate?
I'm a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and politics has always been a passion of mine. I belief that the decisions most governments make lack the insight a young person like myself can offer, and I can bring that unique perspective to the table. Since June 2009, I've run the popular Indy Student blog, focusing mostly on municipal politics and other issues relating to Indianapolis. I belief the time I've committed to local issues in my free time is substantial, and I could dedicate even more time as an elected official to build off of that knowledge.

I'm also an avid bicyclist and it really gives you a unique view of the city that you just don't get when driving around in a car.

2)What does your district most need from the City Council?
I think the northwest side of Indianapolis needs a councilor who is consistent in their ideologies. It's one thing to stand up and vote against insider, no-bid deals when your political opponent occupies the Mayor's office, but can the same be said when your own party occupies the 25th floor? If elected, I pledge to look at everything pushed by the Mayor's office, regardless of which political party wins it in November. An insider, no-bid deal is an insider, no-bid deal and is bad for the city, regardless of if it's a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian who proposes it.

3)What's your opinion of the 2012 budget proposed by the mayor?

Just like the past budgets Mayor Greg Ballard has proposed, this is filled with a shell game mentality and robbing Peter to pay Paul. We're using TIF district funds to prop up various parts of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's budget, including office supplies and funds to get the helicopter airborne. While it's questionable if that's actually legal, I think it's a great disservice to tell our men and women serving us in IMPD that they must rely on questionable, unreliable sources of revenue. Earlier this year, IMPD has run out of money for stuff like toilet paper, pens, and paper while the top heavy Department of Public Safety's administrative budget has increased incredibly. The geniuses that proposed the Animal Care & Control budget put in a total of $0 for food and cut general operating expenses down to a pitiful $34,000 even though Ballard promised public safety's budget would be flat rather than cut for the 2012 budget year, and ACC is part of the Department of Public Safety.

There's no doubt in my mind that there are other parts of the budget that are doing the same thing, but the public safety portion of the budget is the most noticeable.

4)What is your position on a comprehensive smoking ban?

I would vote against a comprehensive smoking ban. Well over 95% of businesses in Marion County are smoke free, including a good chunk of bars that only allow those over the age of 21 to enter. And while I'm personally not in favor of the current smoking ban, the repeal of it wouldn't be high on my legislative agenda.

I am in favor of banning smoking on property and buildings owned and run by the city or the county and keeping those bans in place since citizens may be required to be there.

5)Do you think the city needs more police officers?

Comparing our police force to similar sized cities, I think we're a bit understaffed at the moment, but I think there's a lot that can be cut to fund additional officers. Despite having less duties after the mayor took over the consolidated sheriff's/police department in 2008, the Marion County Sheriff's Department has had a very large budget. Their reduced role in public safety should be reflected in their budget, and the take-home car program for the Sheriff's Department should be re-examined so that only the most vital duties of the Sheriff's Department has them. The greatly expanded offices of the Department of Public Safety's administration also should be heavily scrutinized so that those funds can go back into IMPD, IFD, Animal Care and Control, etc...

6)Do you support increased funding for public transit?

I think IndyGo has been mistreated in the more recent talk of public, mass transit. I think if we as a county are going to fund public transit, we should concentrate on helping people who actually live within the county. Tying in a bump in IndyGo's budget to these boondoggles that involve other counties only end up hurting IndyGo and the county. If we dedicate funds to make it easier for people in the "donut" counties to get here, it means people will be discouraged to actually live here and contribute to Marion County.

And the reason IndyGo isn't getting increased funding is because the current council and administration (and past administrations as well, IndyGo has been poorly funded and poorly run for a long time) is because they are choosing to blow money away in other areas, such as paying highly for outside, politically connected contractors (particularly in IT, legal work, and construction) and spending money on pet projects that benefit these politically connected insiders like the Broad Ripple parking garage and on corporate welfare like the $30 million giveaway to the Pacers or the Eli Lilly North-of-South project. If we cut the fat in the budget and actually ensure a competitive bidding process to drive down cost (as well as tone down the overall corporate welfare to the Pacers, Eli Lilly, and others), we'll have a better idea of how much money we actually have, and then can proceed to see where that money would be best allocated.

7)Do you think the streets and sidewalks in your district are in good shape?

The sidewalks in my neighborhood are almost non-existent and that can be said of many neighborhoods in the area, though some of the neighborhoods that are newer have added sidewalks in their areas (to my knowledge, at their own expense). There are several streets in the area that have recently been repaved. The eternal construction on 38th Street starting at the Lafayette Square area also falls in the district. It can get very congested even in the late evening when the road isn't in heavy use. There's no going back now, but I think the planning could've been timed a bit better. It seems like the road is perpetually under construction and is making very little progress.

8)Name one project that would most benefit your district.

Going back to the construction on 38th street, my concern is that as the weather will get colder, construction will slow down or completely stop. Similar to what the state did with some of the highways a few years back, offer the crews bonuses if they can get it accomplished early, decreasing the amount as the deadline approaches. Shortening such a busy street to 4 lanes with limited options to turn left is something that shouldn't be happening.

9)What question do you wish we'd asked?

Why should someone vote for a Libertarian even if they aren't likely to win? The council only has a limited amount of authority, but it needs to exercise that authority as its own branch of government. For far too long, it's just been a rubber stamp for the 25th floor. Electing and voting Libertarian and libertarian-leaning candidates will change that.

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