What’s the aberration these canicule in the in-your-face borough activity of Zachary Baiel? Nothing, he’ll acquaint you, except now he can acquaint bodies he’s active for West Lafayette mayor. Sizing up an abrupt chase adjoin John Dennis
Zach Baiel, absolute applicant for West Lafayette Mayor, stands for a photo, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 in West Lafayette. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)
WEST LAFAYETTE – Accuracy agency article to Zachary Baiel. He’s on record, endless times, about that.
So, it fabricated sense, the morning of May 17, that Baiel waited out the Bike to Assignment Day ceremonies and allowance agenda assets for bike shops and coffeehouse drinks to cull abreast West Lafayette Ambassador John Dennis for a quiet conversation.
“Courtesy,” Baiel alleged it that morning. But transparency, too, for Baiel, who gave Dennis a active up that he planned to alpha accession signatures to run as an absolute applicant for mayor, abstinent a chargeless ride to a fourth appellation for a Republican who was on the border of a additional afterwards accepted re-election bid for an appointment he’s had for the accomplished 12 years.
“We weren’t absolutely in attack approach at the time, so we were aloof accomplishing what we consistently did – active the burghal and authoritative affairs for West Lafayette,” Dennis said. “When you get a challenger, sometimes you don’t apperceive what you’re activity to be up against. In this case, we knew. We were familiar. Zach’s a presence.”
Since then, Baiel – admiral of the Indiana Coalition for Accessible Government and a common flyer aback it comes to accessible animadversion periods or allurement for behind-the-scenes accessible annal requests from burghal councils, academy boards and anywhere abroad accessible business is actuality done – has been active a DIY attack aimed at a Nov. 5 Acclamation Day.
Baiel has aloft absolutely $0 from alfresco contributors. He’s active off aperture hangers featuring his belvedere on archetype machines at the West Lafayette Accessible Library and activity door-to-door in a attack he’s banned to alarm a connected shot.
He’s connected to allege out at burghal board meetings. (An attack by West Lafayette Burghal Board Admiral Peter Bunder to absolute his time at the belvedere – acrimonious an issue, rather that commenting on every amount – afterwards Baiel appear his antagonism anguish up falling by the wayside.)
What’s altered than any added day for Baiel, a baby business buyer and 36-year-old ancestor of two?
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“Outside the accepted of, ‘Zachary threw his hat in the ring, he went out and affianced in the community, asked some questions, brought up some things,’ I’m not sure,” Baiel said. “Because that was me before. All I did was change the end goal, which is be adopted mayor. I’m ambrosial abundant accomplishing what I’ve done. I get to go door-to-door now, and instead of bodies actuality like, ‘Well, and you are …’ (I say,) ‘I’m Zachary Baiel, I’m active as the absolute applicant for ambassador of West Lafayette. How are you? And what are your issues?’ And bodies accessible up. Bodies are athirst for that affectionate of engagement.”
West Lafayette Ambassador John Dennis speaks central the Morton Association Center, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 in West Lafayette. The association centermost will be adapted to become the new West Lafayette Burghal Hall. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)
Not so athirst for that affectionate of engagement, Baiel contends, is Dennis.
Dennis hasn’t absolutely abhorred Baiel. Both say they run into anniversary added as frequently now as they did afore the attack started.
“Which was a lot, is a lot,” Dennis said. “Zach apprehension up at the aforementioned places I do all the time.”
But Dennis has balked Baiel by sidestepping offers to debate, abetment out of one initially appointed by the League of Women Voters for Oct. 21 in favor of affable Indian dignitaries during an accident at Purdue.
Dennis has ample abutment beyond the city, including from the majority Democratic associates of the burghal council, who aback asked about fielding a affair applicant to claiming Dennis, wondered aloud why they should bother. They admired alive with Dennis and admired breadth the burghal was going.
“There’s aloof so abundant assignment to get done,” Dennis said.
Baiel says that’s no acumen for a chargeless pass.
“You apperceive me,” Baiel said. “I’m a big fan of democracy.”
Which leads West Lafayette to this election. Here are some takeaways from their campaigns.
► Dennis said he’d alpha with the $13 actor renovations axis Morton Association Centermost into a able burghal anteroom and the $31.5 actor architecture of a wellness and aquatics centermost in Cumberland Park, “but those are already going.” So …
1. Neighborhoods. “We will consistently accomplish abiding we’re demography affliction of our neighborhoods. I anticipate sometimes bodies feel because the account are consistently about the abutting big affair advancing to the city, that’s not the case. But we’re a association of neighborhoods, so that’s consistently activity to be a top priority.”
2. West Lafayette’s burghal plan. The West Lafayette Burghal Board in 2019 alleged for a absolute plan for what Dennis has frequently alleged West Lafayette’s “new downtown.” That map takes in the Village breadth aloof east of Purdue’s campus and the Levee area, afterpiece to the river. In aboriginal stages with the Breadth Plan Commission, antecedent drafts show, amid added things, a filigree arrangement of streets eventually replacing the band capital feel of the Levee. Dennis said the abstraction is to tie West Lafayette afterpiece to the Wabash River and to burghal Lafayette aloof on the added ancillary and accessible new lanes for development.
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“(Lafayette Mayor) Tony (Roswarski) and I accede that we accept a different befalling with the burghal of Lafayette, the development activity on in the burghal of West Lafayette and again the riverfront,” Dennis said. “We can absolutely accept article ambrosial for association that 10, 15, 20 years from now, hen they appear to Greater Lafayette, they’ll see the riverfront, they’ll see this ample burghal breadth and they ability not alike apperceive if they’re in Lafayette or West Lafayette. They’ll aloof apperceive they’re in some abode that’s absolutely exciting.”
3. Partnerships with Lafayette, Purdue and Tippecanoe County. Dennis, retired as agent arch at the Lafayette Police Department, said he saw “a lot of isolationism” and “not a accomplished lot of alternation amid West Lafayette and Purdue” aback he accustomed in burghal hall.
“When we started, that was one of the aboriginal things we anticipation had to be taken affliction of, so we could aloof alpha to amount out how to accomplish things happen,” Dennis said. “In 12 years, we’ve been able to do a lot. West Lafayette annexed Purdue. Tony and I are on the aforementioned page. … I consistently anticipate those partnerships go unnoticed. And the friendships we accept are not a amount of political collaboration. They’re absolutely friendships that accept accustomed us to move at a abundant faster amount than best added communities do.”
► Baiel listed three things, including convalescent the city’s internet armpit – “We charge to acutely improve,” he said – laying out a accord account affairs so association can dent in account and priorities, and all-embracing bigger operations.
Zachary Baiel, left, talks with West Lafayette Ambassador John Dennis during Bike to Assignment Day contest Friday, May 17, 2019, on the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge. Baiel told Dennis on Friday that he intends to claiming him in the November borough election. Baiel affairs to run as an absolute adjoin Dennis, a Republican who had been accepted in his bid for a fourth appellation in West Lafayette. (Photo: Dave Bangert/Journal & Courier)
But that’s all filtered through the basal affair of his campaign: Transparency.
“Making abiding that we apperceive what makes up a decision,” Baiel said. “Mutual knowledge. Authoritative abiding that I apperceive that you apperceive that we apperceive that they apperceive all the aforementioned thing. … It’s about accessibility.”
Baiel said he sees it “time and time again” on above projects, from the accommodation to locate burghal anteroom at the Morton Association Centermost or the burghal plan or the afresh completed State Street project, breadth aborigine ascribe seems to be article to aloof analysis off a list.
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“Don’t appear to the accessible and say, ‘It’s a bare slate, here’s the input, accept fun,’ aback there’s already this about hundred-page document,” Baiel said. “I haven’t credible abounding bare slates that are 100 pages. Now, we’re ambidextrous with charge bias. We’ve already committed all this accomplishment to these 100-some pages, what’s the likelihood of alike a acceptable abstraction that’s acclaimed by the association from accepting in?”
Would his administering be one connected citizens’ meeting? Could he acreage on a accommodation already all those questions were asked?
“I’m not that naïve to think, oh, accessible the door, the absolute citizenry of West Lafayette is activity to participate. No, we all accept lives, we’ve got jobs, we’ve got businesses, families, hobbies, recreation, entertainment,” Baiel said. “I would say to go with the acceleration the association needs, as well. Because you accept to accompany them forth with you, as well. Administrations appear and go, but some decisions – not to use a cliché – could aftermost a lifetime. So, I don’t anticipate we should booty those things flippantly.”
► Dennis stands by the $120 actor advance by the burghal and Purdue into State Street and the development that has followed, alike as his administering has alleged for a adjournment on student-oriented apartment projects abreast campus until the bazaar shows how able-bodied it’s captivated the 2,500-plus beds added in high-rises and added projects in time for the abatement 2019 semester.
Dennis said West Lafayette is in band to acreage a Saab – the Swedish aggregation appear affairs in 2019 to body a $37 actor bulb abreast the Purdue Airport that is accepted to accompany 300 jobs for bodies authoritative fuselages for the Boeing T-X, an Air Force fighter jet trainer – aback it wasn’t in the past.
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“Everything you do as a burghal – debris pickup, streets, sidewalks, blaze protection, all of it – comes at a cost,” Dennis said. “And aback you had the restrictions of acquirement we have, because we’re predominantly ‘treetops and rooftops’ and we don’t accept a able automated belt to accomplish revenue, you accept to accomplish abiding your development is activity to be article that can clothing the personality of your burghal and again still accompany in revenue. The abstraction of State Street, alive with Purdue, has credible a lot of those problems.”
► Baiel said West Lafayette has put too abundant accent on State Street and the abstraction of a new downtown. He said he’d like to see development of added burghal cores, including forth “all the fast-car development on Sagamore Parkway,” on the arctic ancillary of the city, breadth he says it’s difficult to airing or bike.
Specifically, he acicular to the aperture and amplification of Brokerage Brewing Co. on Covington Street, abutting to Sagamore Parkway.
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“People were obviously, in this case, agog for some affectionate of bounded establishment,” Baiel said. “I go there, and it’s usually hopping. And that’s wonderful, because it’s a adjacency bar and brewery. … But what abroad are we accomplishing in those added band capital areas? If we’re activity to do added apartments – we’ve been actual focused on apprentice apartments – what about abroad in the city, breadth rents aren’t artificially aggrandized due to apprentice demand?”
► Dennis said he gets forth with Baiel and that his angle on accuracy has affected the burghal to accomplish tweaks to the way it does things.
“We were never absolutely presented with any blazon of challenge, in agreement of any oppositional position to what we’ve been doing,” Dennis said. “The abandoned affair we were fabricated acutely acquainted of is the belvedere of transparency, the belvedere of aborigine input, the belvedere of community-driven agendas – which is array of how we roll, anyway. … He’s acutely focused on that, so there are some things that we do, and that we do well, but we ability not necessarily accommodated his expectations. And sometimes that creates a bit of a rub.”
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► Baiel said he wishes he’d get a adventitious to accept a accessible chat with Dennis advanced of Acclamation Day.
“John Dennis would say, ‘Everyone knows what I’ve done for 12 years. If you like it, vote for me,’” Baiel said. “He usually avalanche aback to that: ‘People apperceive me. Bodies apperceive breadth I stand. Bodies apperceive my administration.’ So, he’s bold no new questions accept appear up. He’s bold no criticism has been accurate that he needs to acknowledgment to. And he’s not necessarily accustomed a eyes for the future. We accept some things in line, but it goes aback to: Is that what the association has as a priority?”
► Dennis won his best contempo contested acclamation with 70 percent of the vote, in 2011 over Democrat John Polles. He was abandoned on the acclamation in 2015.
Is there a cardinal in a chase in which he’s the prohibitive admired that is a bound band amid association abutment and association doubt?
“The day government is absolute is the day I’m not in it,” Dennis said. “As connected as it’s one added vote, I’ll be happy. And if it’s aloof one added vote, I’ll apperceive I accept a lot added assignment to do.”
► Baiel said he knows he had some name acceptance activity into the race. Some of that became apparent, he said, at the aperture of addition he declared as arresting – he beneath to name who it was – who told him, “Oh, I apperceive who you are,” afore closing the aperture on his appeal for a signature to get on the ballot.
“Whatever your assessment of me may be, bodies about know, you know, Baiel goes to meetings, he’s engaged, he volunteers, he questions things, he stays on top of it, he’ll get advice out,” Baiel said. “More enactment bodies would apparently appearance me as a affliction in the ass. … If you apperceive me from accessible government, it depends on which ancillary of accessible government. If you’re a announcer or a aborigine or an organization, I ability be your superhero, because I advice you cross to get information. If you’re on the government side, apparently harder words than affliction in the ass.”
If he loses to Dennis – and he’s not committing to that – what’s the takeaway from his last-minute campaign? He’s cellophane about that, too.
“One would be, hopefully, you can do it, too,” Baiel said. “It’s actual DIY. That’s what I’ve consistently admired about civics – the barrier of access is actual low. … You apperceive I’ll still be out there, no amount what.”
Reach Dave Bangert at 765-420-5258 or at [email protected]conline.com. Follow on Twitter: @davebangert.
FOR MORE, CANDIDATE Q&A’s: For a afterpiece attending at breadth West Lafayette Burghal Board candidates stand, forth with applicant bios and broadcast Q&A’s, go to vote411.org.
ON YOUR BALLOT: The accepted acclamation will be Nov. 5. Borough races, including those in Lafayette, West Lafayette and surrounding towns, will be on ballots. To analysis which contest and candidates are on their ballots, voters may analysis with the Indiana Secretary of State at indianavoters.in.gov. The armpit additionally includes links to analysis aborigine allotment cachet and how to accommodated Indiana’s aborigine ID law.
WEST LAFAYETTE CANDIDATES: (Note: Incumbents adumbrated by an asterisk.)
Mayor: John Dennis*, R; absolute Zachary Baiel; no Democrat
Clerk: Sana Booker*, D; uncontested.
City Judge: Lori Stein Sabol*, D; uncontested.
District 1: Nick DeBoer*, D; Sydney Rivera, R.
District 2: Peter Bunder*, D; Jonathan Livermore, R.
District 3: Jon Jones*, R; and Shannon Kang, D.
District 4: Larry Leverenz*, D; uncontested.
District 5: Kathy Parker, D; John Meyers, R.
District 6: Norris Wang*, R; and Austin Bohlin, D.
At-large (three seats): Steve Dietrich*, R; and Democrats Gerald Thomas*, David Sanders* and James Blanco.
EARLY VOTING: Voting began Oct. 8 at the Tippecanoe County Board of Elections and Aborigine Allotment on the third attic of the Tippecanoe County Appointment Building, 20 N. Third St. in Lafayette.Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 1; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26; and 8 a.m. to apex Nov. 4.
Here are added aboriginal voting sites.
► 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29, Lafayette Jefferson High School, 1801 S. 18th St., Lafayette.
► 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 30, West Lafayette High School, 1105 Grant St., West Lafayette.
► 1-7 p.m. Oct. 31- Nov. 2, Pay Less Super Bazaar locations in Lafayette: 2200 Greenbush St., 65 Beck Lane and 2513 Maple Point Drive. Location in West Lafayette at 1032 Sagamore Parkway W.
Read or Share this story: https://www.jconline.com/story/news/2019/10/26/pain-civic-hero-sizing-up-man-who-would-west-lafayette-mayor/4007254002/
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