Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: Politics to take center stage at council meetings

Jan. 14—Editor's note: The original version of this column incorrectly stated that no city council members had reached out to the county health department to check on the status of repairs at the Bingham Square apartments. City Councilman Ty Bibbs had checked with the health department on Friday morning, the day before the column was published. The column has been modified to remove the incorrect information.

The stage is set for a long — and probably, at times contentious — year for members of the Anderson City Council.

With all nine council seats and the mayor's office on the 2023 ballot, political grandstanding could be the order of the day.

Republican councilman Jon Bell and fellow GOP member Jennifer Culp cast votes this week to allow Democrat Rebecca Crumes to serve a second term as council president.

A majority of the Democrats on the council were poised to make Rick Muir the council president, but the outcome rested squarely in the hands of Bell and Culp.

It was the vote of the two Republicans that brought Crumes a second term as leader of the council.

Undoubtedly by voting for Crumes, Bell, who is seeking the GOP nomination for mayor against Carol Miller, could hope to shore up some support in the west side community for the November mayoral campaign.

There has been speculation for several months that Bell has been working on a deal with leaders in the Black community to assist with the mayoral campaign.

Four years ago, there was a reported agreement that with Rick Gardner running for mayor against Broderick, the local GOP wouldn't run candidates for the at-large seats on the council in return for support of Gardner.

At the council's first meeting of the year, the room was packed with residents from both inside and outside the city to raise the Bingham Square issue.

For most of the past year, local residents have been calling for more transparency in city and Madison County government.

That is commendable, but it has to work both ways.

While several people complained to the council that residents in the two apartment complexes owned by Property Resource Associates had no water or heat, that was not the entire picture.

Earlier in the day, one of the people complaining about the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the apartments learned from the county health department that repairs were being made.

The citizens wanting transparency in government didn't divulge the information they obtained prior to the meeting.

Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide's column publishes Saturdays. Contact him at or 765-640-4863.