The South Bend Tribune reports that Governor Daniels is blaming St. Joseph County for the regional anxiety about time zones and urged St. Joseph County to drop its Central Time request “if it can’t get Elkhart and the other counties to join them.” Daniels, of course, makes no move to urge Elkhart County to consider Central Time.
Governor Daniels lays it on thicker:
“I think the burden of proof is on the St. Joe elected officials who brought all this up with their request to shift to the Central zone,” he said.
Cindy Bodle, president of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners, has the appropriate response:
“We’ve done exactly what the process required us to do, since we didn’t have any direct leadership from the state,” she said.
Bodle said the county facilitated meetings among regional elected officials, held a public hearing and consulted with area school districts and mayors. Then it submitted a petition to the DOT in the format and the hasty time frame that DOT established.
For all those reasons, she said, it would be “a slap in the face to the process” if the county followed Daniels’ advice and dropped its petition before the Nov. 21 hearing.
“This isn’t something that I wanted to deal with or anyone else locally wanted to deal with,” she said. “This was handed to us by state leadership.”
. . .
Asked what she’d like from Daniels, Bodle said it may be too late for him to exercise leadership that could have come earlier. As for his statement that the appropriate time for him to comment is after the hearings, Bodle laughed.
“Then why is he commenting now,” she said. “Why is he faulting us for following the process?”
Governor Daniels started this. He left local government twisting in the wind. Now he wants to step in and tell local government what to do. Too little, too late, Governor. And his faux befuddlement on the benefits of Central Time is also galling, considering his prior statement that “it makes more sense to be aligned with Chicago than New York City and thinks jobs would come here as a result.”