Mayoral race takes bilingual turn in week leading up to election

The mayoral race is taking a bilingual turn in the week leading up to the election.


The mayoral race is taking a bilingual turn in the week leading up to the election.

There are currently two advertisements airing on WSYW 810 AM and WEDJ FM Radio Latina Indianapolis. The stations are considered sister stations. According to the General Manager of WSYW/WEDJ, Bart Johnson, one advertisement has been playing for about two weeks and lasts a minute. At the end of the recorded message, it said the political ad was paid for by the Marion County Democratic Party.

Fox59 learned the ad was recorded by a local business owner. Fox59 translated the message from Spanish. It stated the following:
"Hi, my name is Veronica Guerrero and today I'm here to remind all of our Hispanic friends that on Nov. 8, Indianapolis needs all of us. (Indianapolis needs) a mayor who believes in diversity, who will actually do something for our community in general, but above all for our Hispanic community.

"It is time for Hispanics to vote for the person who will do something for us. It is time to vote for Melina Kennedy, telling the local government that immigration is a federal matter and not a local one, someting that the actual Mayor of Indianapolis nor any of his close workers, including Hispanics workers did. So, don't think about it any more.

"Let's act once and for all. (Let's) talk with our friends, neighbors, coworkers, with our family members and tell them you do love this city. We need to vote for Melina Kennedy. Melina Kennedy; Indianapolis deserves the best and Melina Kennedy is our candidate."
According to Johnson, the advertisement that supports Kennedy will play 66 times on WEDJ and 102 times on WSYW. While Kennedy is not a part of the advertisement, she said she is pleased the Marion County Democratic Party is reaching out to the Latino voter.

"It's important to reach all communities on this campaign and that's just one of many communities that I want to make sure that I listen to their concerns and have a platform that respondes to the concerns of the community at large," Melina Kennedy said.
Johnson said Republican Candidate, Angel Rivera, who is running for re-election as Council Member at-large also ordered an advertisement to run 61 times on WEDJ and 36 times on WSYW. The advertisement lasts a minute as well.  It does support Mayor Greg Ballard.  

Fox59 translated the message from Spanish. It stated the following:
"The person speaking is your City Council Member, Angel Rivera (who is) the only Hispanic member, representing our community in the City-County Council of Indianapolis. My goals (include) bringing good jobs and to provide safe and affordable homes in a city that receives us with open arms.

"Since January, we have 13,000 new jobs and the crime rate continues to fall. The number of murders in 2010 was the lowest in 15 years. With low taxes, we are protecting your income and bringing new corporations. Mayor Ballard and I celebrate the beautiful cultures that live in our city. Indianapolis has families from all over Latin America. In four years, we've organized many events including the Mayor's Soccer Cup and the Indiana Latino Expo.

"This Nov. 8, support one of yours who continue the progress in our community. Vote for Mayor Ballard and for myself, Angel Rivera."
While the advertisement is more of a pitch for re-election, it described achievements made by the current administration. Mayor Greg Ballard reacted to Rivera's advertisement, regarding the fact it is airing on Spanish-language stations.

"We target all the communities. We've been very diverse in our outlook. I think people know that," Ballard said.

Ballard said Indianapolis is an "all inclusive city."
When asked about the statements made in the advertisement, which supports Kennedy, Ballard said the following: "It's a political advertisement. So, you get what you get but, the fact is the Latino Soccer Cup has been a tramendous success. It's really exploded this year, (in its) third year. We are targeting that community with so much outlook. They want their neighborhood fixed up. We've been doing that to improve life and we haven't neglected any portion of our community," Ballard said.
"What we are trying to do is be as inclusive as possible to reach out to the entire community and that is (in) many different ways through radio, (and) direct personal contact. I've been attempting many community forums (and) will continue doing that," Kennedy said.
Ildefonso Carbajal, Publisher for La Ola Latino-Americana, said he has lived in Indianapolis for 15 years and has heard what people in the community are looking for from the mayoral candidates.

"A little bit of attention, protection, police protection (is what they are looking for). (Another thing is) safety that's a big issue in our community," he said.

While Carbajal did not disclose who he is voting for, he said he has seen one candidate meeting with people more than the other.

"I'm not trying to favor either side, but that's the truth. She (referring to Kennedy) has been out here. He (referring to Ballard) has not (come out here) in four years," Carbajal said.
Ballard disagreed.

"They haven't been looking because I go to the fiesta every year. I've been to so many different events," Ballard said.

He mentioned he does two radio stations twice a month and has helped create many events in the community.

Both candidates expressed how important every vote will be. Will the Latino vote make a difference in this Mayoral race?

"As long (as) there's any way to shre information, let people know the important fact that there's going to be a choice on Nov. 8 and my supporters and people I've talked to feel like the choice is for a mayor who will and has a plan as I do," Kennedy said.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Hispanic population in Indianapolis is 9.4 percent or 77,352. IUPUI Acting Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Margaret Ferguson, believes it will be more common in the future to hear political advertisements on Spanish speaking radio stations.

Ferguson said given the laws in other states, regarding immigration, it may persuade someone within the Hispanic community to vote. She said these advertisements probably aren't about swaying a vote, more so to get people to the polls. She said it may affect voter turnout.

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