The very basics of the Bloomington metro area

Here is the Monroe County Courthouse, the very heart of downtown Bloomington. ¬†   Bloomington (70,000) is the only “city” in Monroe County (120,000), and the county seat. The next largest population center is Ellettsville (5,000), which is too small to be a city and so is called a “town.” … Continue reading

The very basics of how Bloomington’s city council works

Bloomington’s nine councilmembers meet in regular session twice monthly, on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7:30 pm.¬† It may seem like we meet more often than that. That’s because we do. Let me explain. Any item we consider — an ordinance, an appropriation ordinance (not the … Continue reading

Is the council nit-picking…or is the newspaper cherry-picking?

It’s a little premature for me to post this, as I haven’t finished introducing the blog as a whole. But here’s my first article of any substance in the new year. It’s a guest column to Bloomington’s daily newspaper, the Herald-Times, about their tendency to editorialize and to trivialize local … Continue reading

The very basics of cities in Indiana

Indiana has three classes of cities. There is only one “first-class” city, which is defined simply as being more than 250,000 population. That city is Indianapolis, also the state capital. It has a mayor and a 25-person city council. Then there are “second-” and “third-class” cities. Second-class cities must be … Continue reading

No such thing as government in the singular

I find that most people don’t understand government. Partly that’s because there’s no such thing as “government,” in the singular, monolithic sense of the word. There are many “governments,” plural. There are federal, state and local governments. The executive vies with the legislature and the judiciary. Departments within the executive … Continue reading