Okay, Abdul, why are you running for Mayor of Indianapolis?
That’s a fair question.
Why would an attorney, political commentator, broadcaster, college instructor and part-time actor/comedian who loves what he does decide to run for Mayor of Indianapolis?
The answer is easy. I love this city and want to make it an awesome place for folks to live, work, play, raise a family and achieve their dreams.
How do we accomplish that? Public safety, public works and public trust.
If the streets aren’t safe, the roads are filled with potholes, and citizens have lost faith in their government, then it is time for new leadership and a new direction.
And I think I am the person to do it.
Now yes, I am running as a Republican. I am a Republican in the mold of Dick Lugar, Mitch Daniels and Greg Ballard. They understood the basics of government: to put the bad guys behind bars, fix the roads and leave individuals alone. This isn’t rocket science. And roads, crime and trust will be my primary issues. Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t be discussing other city issues, but those are the big three.
So how would a Shabazz administration lower crime, fix roads, and improve public trust?
There are lots of things that can be done. For example, when it comes to crime, we need to distinguish between individuals we’re mad at versus individuals we’re upset with. If it’s someone we’re upset with, we need to identify and implement alternative forms of sentencing; people we’re afraid of need to go to jail and stay there. I am a firm believer Indiana should be the worst place to commit criminal acts but the best place to get a second chance, just not a third, fourth or fifth. The city needs a tough but smart approach to dealing with crime. We also need to double our efforts at re-entry and helping ex-offenders find work so they won’t go back to a life of crime,
Second, on roads, innovative and creative solutions are needed to address our crumbling infrastructure. One solution I propose is creating road funding TIF districts, where a portion of the gas tax or sales tax on gasoline is dedicated to fixing and repairing the roads and sidewalks within a mile radius of where the tax is collected.
On public trust, I am a firm believer that people should feel good about where they live. Yes, there will always be issues in any urban environment, but fundamentally, people should feel good about where they live. A recent poll we conducted prior to making our announcement showed that nearly half of Indianapolis residents think the city is on the wrong track, but the right leadership that inspires and motivates can change that.
And that brings me to the issues of equity, diversity, and social justice. These are obviously important. However, what good is equity if you’re neighborhood isn’t safe? What good is diversity if you can’t get to work because your car was wrecked because you ran into a pothole? And what good will social justice do you if you can’t get a job because you don’t have the post-secondary education to get that job? We can have social justice by taking care of the basics of city living and improving Indianapolis.
So why am I running? It’s easy. I love the city of Indianapolis. It has helped provide my wife and me with a great quality of life, and I want to create those same opportunities for the rest of the city. An older couple should not have worked hard all their lives to own their own home so they could become prisoners because others have no respect for the law. It’s that simple. I look forward to travelling the city and county, sharing my thoughts, and learning from the rest of you.
Second star to the right and straight on until morning.
Abdul-Hakim is a licensed attorney in Indiana and Illinois. He is also the editor and publisher of Indy Politics.