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Opening Arguments

Waste of time

Man, oh, man, the time-zone debacle is the issue that just won't die. After a marathon hearing in South Bend, it's becoming clear that St. Joseph County's petition to go Central won't fly. And people in Elkhart County, trying to keep all of Michiana Eastern, apparently said some mean things, and people's feelings got hurt. Never thought I'd see participants in Indiana's rough-and-tumble political theater crying like babies.

Democrats in the General Assembly, meanwhile, seem intent on pushing a statewide referendum on whether Indiana should be all Eastern or all Central, which would be, well, a big, fat, stupid waste of time. All such a vote would reveal is the split we already know about, with people in the western parts of the state favoring Central and most everybody else favoring Eastern. Even if the vote should, by some miracle, show a 90 percent desire to go one way or the other, it wouldn't make a lot of difference. The federal Department of Transportation has made it as plain as can be that its final decision will be based on patterns of economic activity, not geography or public sentiment.

Posted in: Hoosier lore


Wed, 11/23/2005 - 4:59pm

Thing is, the USDOT looks at commerce for the petitioning jurisdiction. So, the current round of county-by-county petitions would look different than a state wide petition. Instead of looking if a particular county is more central or more eastern in its economic patterns -- something which apparently involves looking at the county's relation to other counties; the USDOT would look at the issue from a state-wide perspective which could change the analysis.

As a practical matter, I suspect the USDOT would jump at the chance to put Indiana on one time zone; whichever time zone it asked for.