Policy Positions

John Served as an At-Large member of the the Indianapolis City/County Council from 2012 — 2015, including three years as Council Vice President. Below are some selected details from his proposals:

Tarkington Park:

Below are John’s comments from the opening ceremony for the improved Tarkington Park. The improvements to Tarkington Park were designed and funded via Proposal 77, that John proposed and passed in 2014, as an At-Large member of the Indianapolis City/County Council.

“Good morning. I wanted to use my time today to discuss how the improvements to Tarkington Park came about. About 10 years ago, after being elected to be Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA) President, I started meeting with neighborhood leaders and businesses. There were lots of ideas for how to make Butler-Tarkington a more livable neighborhood including eliminating the parking meters at 38th and Illinois – but one idea out stood out above the rest. Kathy Shorter, one of the founder’s of Midtown Indy, had a vision for Tarkington Park as a place where all of Midtown could come together. As time went on this idea gained currency and support. First BTNA, followed quickly by our friends at the Broad Ripple Village Association, the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association, Mapleton-Fall Creek and from Crown Hill neighbors. Universally, we recognized that a strong Tarkington Park could be a place where all our Midtown neighborhoods — and all of Indianapolis — could come together. Ultimately, as a member of the Indianapolis City/County Council, I was honored to introduce and pass Proposal 77 that funded the park improvements. Today, the results are clear – Kathy’s vision, put forward 10 years ago, has resulted in a park that is an exciting, dynamic place for families of all backgrounds come together to play and enjoy life.”


Tarkington Park Openeing

Indianapolis Pre-K Program:

John, along with Councillor Lewis, led the effort to develop and pass the Indianapolis pre-k program. Below is the is the press release from the night the proposal passed the full Council:



INDIANAPOLIS – Tonight the Indianapolis City-County Council passed Proposal 42, investing more than $4 million to provide a high-quality pre-K education for more than 1,000 students from some of the city’s neediest families. The money will be used to provide scholarships to attend highly-rated pre-K programs.

Approval of the Preschool Scholarship Program funding proposal allows the city to leverage $4.4 million already raised from the corporate community.

Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth released this joint statement:

“We are proud of the action taken by council tonight and of the true community effort that helped launch this program. Making quality pre-K available to students who need it most will level the playing field and help them start school ready to learn and be high achievers. We look forward to building a successful program.”

Midtown TIF: 

John worked for years to promote the Midtown TIF. Here is a letter to the editor from John and several neighborhood leaders in support: Letter to the Editor Midtown TIF

Smoking Ban:

On June 1, 2012 Indianapolis implemented the new, enhanced smoke free policy, as authorized by a proposal John championed. The Indianapolis Star covered the celebration kick-off press conference. Full story linked here: Supporters Celebrate Smoke-Free 6-2-12.

Animal Care and Control: 

While on the Council, John was a leader in working to solve problems at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control. His Proposal 100, which assess a fee to out-of-county residents using Animal Control, was signed into law by the Mayor in March of 2012. Here is a letter to the editor published in the Indianapolis Star on 4/13/12 by John along with leaders in the city’s animal welfare community, describing the new ordinance.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act Resolution: 

With Councillor Lewis, John led the effort to propose and pass a Council resolution opposed to the RFRA and to clearly state that Indianapolis and Indiana welcomes all. Below is the press release, posted after the successful Council vote.

Indianapolis City-County Council: Indy Welcomes All

Passes Proposal 120 Overwhelmingly – Rejecting RFRA

 Indianapolis – With a bi-partisan support, Indianapolis City-County Councilors passed Proposal 120 Monday night. Proposal 120 opposes SEA 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA, which was passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Pence.

City/County Council President Maggie Lewis said “with this vote, the Council has stated simply and clearly that the people of Indianapolis are against discrimination – no exceptions.”

Since the passage of RFRA, the city of Indianapolis has seen the economic consequences of the General Assembly’s actions, with a large employer halting expansion plans, multiple conventions expressing second thoughts about working with Visit Indy, and concern expressed by long-term partners from the sports world including the NCAA, the NFL, and our own Indiana Pacers and Fever.

“Proposal 120 sends a crystal clear message across the nation and the world that Indianapolis is a welcoming and diverse city – and we reject legislation at the state level that suggests otherwise” said Council Vice President John Barth.

Proposal 120 opposes SEA 101, encourages the Indiana General Assembly to amend the Civil Rights section of the Indiana Code include sexual orientation and to uphold and protect local anti-discrimination ordinances.

“Indianapolis residents and visitors should feel confident that our city welcomes everyone. All the proof you need is to see all the groups opposing this state action. Business leaders, Indianapolis City-County Council, faith groups, advocates and community groups are working together in strong partnership to fight imposition of this discriminatory law,” said Lewis.


Indy Star Endorsement:

The Indianapolis Star endorsed John during the 2011 City/County Council election. An excerpt of the Star’s endorsement can be read below.

As published in the Indianapolis Star on October 26, 2011:

A health-care compliance executive with deep family roots in the city, he stresses education, jobs and economic development as well as neighborhood attention. He says the mayor’s office and City-County Council need to broaden their vision in areas such as mass transit and long-term financing of infrastructure, and declares that the community will buy in if it is honestly informed as to costs and benefits.

Barth is his own best example of an informed and involved resident. His elevation to the council would make it more responsive to both big ideas and block-level concerns.



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