EDITORIAL: Give Copeland more time for reforms

2011-04-22T00:00:00Z 2012-01-13T19:55:06Z EDITORIAL: Give Copeland more time for reforms nwitimes.com
April 22, 2011 12:00 am

East Chicago is a historical city, but it's also a city with a nasty history when it comes to politics. Democratic voters must choose the mayoral candidate who has proved he wants to change that pattern.

The city's former three mayors have drawn the attention of prosecutors because of their actions.

Clemmie Jones Jr. said he would be an eager reformer because he has seen corruption up close and personal. Jones said when he first applied for a city job, he was told he had to make an upfront payment to get that job.

City Councilman Rich Medina acknowledges he was a friend of disgraced Mayor George Pabey, but he doesn't want to be connected to the crime for which Pabey was convicted, the theft of city property. "The Pabey administration, that trouble he got into, that was isolated," he said.

"I support the ethics ordinance," Medina said.

So does Anthony Copeland, who hit the ground running with reforms after being selected last year to replace Pabey.

Listen carefully, and you can hear the difference between Medina and Copeland. Medina told The Times Editorial Board he supports an elected school board but noted the push for a hybrid board that would have a mix of appointed and elected members.

Pabey supported an elected school board until he gained the power to appoint board members. Then he promptly changed his mind.

Copeland pursued an elected board as a community activist and as a councilman, and then as mayor he made seeking the switch to an elected board a top priority. Copeland said he was glad to sign the City Council's resoution in support of the change.

Both Copeland and Medina have plans for economic development in the city. "Our community consists primarily of low-income, low-educated people, and we need those service jobs," Medina said.

There's one other important thing the city needs, and Copeland spoke of it. The city must restore a sense of community and trust in government.

Copeland already has made strides in that direction. Give him a full term to prove himself.

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