As I have been confidentially talking to knowledgeable sources about the backstories behind this year’s city elections, one asked a question of me that sets up a declaration I was going to make anyway. “So, you just asked, and they all said, ‘Yes’?”
I am sure my 35-year reputation as a journalist in town played the biggest role in their unanimous, quick acceptance, even though it’s been years since I was journalistically engaged at the local level. I also have non-journalistic relationships with each that I am going to declare here.
John Hamilton served as Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Commissioner for the first two of the four years I worked as a Senior Environmental Writer for the agency. My primary role on the Media and Communications Team was to write, edit and oversee production of a key agency publication – a bimonthly newspaper titled Indiana Environment & Materials Exchange.
As commissioner, John’s name topped the publication’s masthead. In each edition, I wrote a Page 2 column under his name, which was subject to his personal approval, of course. Indiana Environment was mailed to 40,000 IDEM stakeholders. John read and signed off on each issue, in its entirety.
I also offered advice to senior IDEM staff on occasion. I wrote at least one speech for John.
Darryl Neher has been my City Councilman for the past four years. I have communicated with him and have sought his help on district issues. He has been responsive. He has also helped me with personal, professional matters.
I just met John Linnemeier last week, but I know his family well. His brother Richard was my dentist from the 1990s until his retirement a few years ago. His other brother Allen has been my dentist since Richard retired. The family’s VITAL Quiz Bowl team was always one of my favorites.
Finally, as some astute political observers with keen memories (or grudges) will recall, I put a Hamilton sign in my yard when he ran against Mayor Mark Kruzan four years ago. The sign was a protest message for Mark. I will not reveal whom I voted for.
Steven Higgs is editor and publisher of The Bloomington Alternative.