opinion

COLUMN: One Bloomington, two Darryls



Residents of Bloomington need a mayor that stands strong behind his values, his past and his future.

Bloomington needs a mayoral candidate who is strong in his or her convictions and who has dedicated his or her life to the betterment of the world through progressive, innovative policies. Bloomington deserves a candidate who will answer the tough questions.

Darryl Neher needs to answer some tough questions before he is ready to run for Mayor of Bloomington.

In a letter to Monroe County Democrats, Neher said he is “a Democrat to the core,” and since entering graduate school in 1989 he has “consistently supported and voted for Democrats.”

However, this is easily disproved. Neher, under the screen name “garvey,” has posted on a Monroe County/Bloomington forum, saying he supported George W. Bush in 2000 because he was a “pragmatic conservative.” Neher is also seen on the same forum thanking voters for supporting him in his campaigns for city council.

Last week, Neher publicly said he never voted for Bush.

The County Clerk’s office is also able to confirm Darryl Neher voted in Republican primaries in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Why did Neher vote in Republican primaries after 1989 when he supposedly had a revelation and came over to the Democratic side of politics? And why is he parading around on online forums, bragging about voting for Bush in 2000?

Now, it might be because I’m such a bleeding heart liberal, as my readers love to point out, but I don’t consider a Bush supporter as a “Democrat to the core.” It also is not very “consistent” to claim you voted for Democrats but then turn around and vote for the biggest failure of a president since Herbert Hoover.

Meanwhile, conflicting evidence regarding Neher’s statements about voting for Bush leave credibility to be desired.

These are questions that the people of Bloomington deserve to have answered. I want these questions to be answered fully and honestly for the betterment of the people of Bloomington and for no reason other than that.

Good governance stands on the legs of honesty, of integrity, of conviction and of progress. And it is important that we question our leaders on all these values and more. I have no doubt that Councilman Neher wants to be Mayor of Bloomington, but at what cost? Lying about your voting record? Standing as a Democrat while your shadow is a Republican?

I am more than willing to accept the reality that people change. Political ideology is the result of developments during many years and experiences. It is important, however, that we are honest about that progression. And if Neher was a Republican as recently as 2007, in the heart of the Bush era, it is important that he owns up to that fact and explains it.

Bloomington deserves a leader who will stand up and stand by his convictions. As we can see from his record, Neher is not doing so.

We deserve progress. We deserve honest leaders. We deserve answers.

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