Yesterday’s South Bend Tribune has a couple of time zone articles. One is entitled, Counties remain split on time zones which says that after some talks between Elkhart and St. Joseph counties, neither of their governing bodies are prepared to give in to the other’s vision of which time zone is appropriate for the area.
This exchange between Elkhart’s Mike Yoder and St. Joseph’s Steve Ross captures the essence of the meeting:
Ross said that while it may be advantageous for the four counties to remain in one time zone, Yoder had presented reasons for Elkhart and St. Joseph counties to go their separate ways.
“Your (economic) corridor goes east, our corridor goes west,” said Ross, reiterating his belief that St. Joseph County is at the eastern end of an economic corridor that passes through Chicago on its way to Kenosha, Wis.
“As time goes on, our interests may be different from yours,” Ross said in response to Yoder. “Your arguments are so eloquent, perhaps we do have to think about that divorce.”
“If you want a divorce, fine,” Yoder said. “I’m just glad there’s no alimony payments.”
Yoder also discounted contentions that St. Joseph County is and will be the region’s economic driver.
The commissioner predicted that in four years Elkhart County will surpass St. Joseph County, both economically and in terms of population.
Elkhart’s commissioners apparently think it is going to be a bigger county than St. Joseph and thinks that its economic interests are to the east. St. Joseph’s commissioners pretty much think the opposite.
The other article is entitled Daniels: Elkhart, St. Joe time should match. Once again, Governor Daniels provides no leadership on this issue. He says that he thinks Elkhart and St. Joseph should be on the same time. Neat. Which one? And why didn’t you say so *before* we got into this mess?
Addressing reporters after his speech, Daniels said he will likely express his views on a specific time zone for the region after the federal hearing.
He acknowledged that many people want to hear his voice now, but he said the hearing should come first.
“That’s the last part of the input process,” he said, “but I think it’s the most important one, so I think it makes sense to wait. Let’s hear everyone with a viewpoint, not just the politicians and those who’ve been heard from already.”
House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said Daniels’ words rang hollow.
Bauer, who attended the speech and spoke briefly to Daniels afterward, said the governor campaigned for Central time, supported legislation that favored Eastern time, and then punted by endorsing a federally defined process that asked each county to express its own opinion.
Daniels won’t stop waffling until after the DOT hearings? That’s just ridiculous. His idea of leadership, apparently, is to see which way the mob is drifting before running to the head of the pack.