Most species of the noble crane inspire and warm the heart -- the Whooping Crane, the Sandhill Crane, Frasier Crane.

Alas, Bloomington has been invaded by a most odious variety, the Construction Crane. These noxious creatures grow and multiply like some horror movie pestilence, as we have seen before our eyes since early this summer.

Driving into town from the west, one now beholds a skyline dominated by these hideous behemoths. They seem to grow larger by the week, and somewhere amongst those blocked-off streets and girders, they are nesting, apparently producing a new little crane every few days. Indeed, they have recently spread out to roost on the east side of town as well, a breeding pair appearing on Third Street last week.

Judging by the sparkling new paint on these monstrosities, somebody has sunk a lot of money into this flock of cranes. Which means, we should probably get used to seeing them. Our beloved Developers surely intend to make them a semi-permanent feature, as they turn charming and unique downtown Bloomington into Little Indianapolis.

If you're like me, you didn't vote for this rape of our townscape. You are not going to enjoy the unprecedented congestion brought by the exponential densifying of population downtown. And prepare to see the Square monopolized by upscale retailers as more modest local businesses get priced out.

We didn't vote for it. In fact, we have voted against it, in droves.

Only the flood of the Developers' filthy lucre and scare campaigns have staved off a Green tidal wave. They have bought themselves some time, and are now scrambling to polish off every last shred of nature before we can stop them politically.

Time is not all they have bought. The Cranemasters have an uncanny instinct for opportunities to tame the inconvenient principles of progresssives who do get elected to office. Of course, the examples are legion, but certainly one of the most dramatic cases was detailed in these pages recently, as Steve ("Fear-Factor") Higgs stoically choked down rancid crowmeat regarding his former expectations for Councilman Gaal.

Let's talk election strategy. Former socialist Chris Gaal has had his lips firmly planted on Fernandez and Developer butt for years now. He is not deserving of progressive support, as his own eloquent words extolling the CofC and BEDC should quickly convince you.

Andy Ruff is Public Enemy Number One to the Developers; he is the only member of the City Council who has consistently stood for our real interests against these profiteers. Most of the Democratic faithful will vote straight party ticket, EXCEPT they would have voted for the hackish appeaser Sherman, and EXCEPT that many of these same lily-livers will be convinced that Andy Ruff is "just too radical."

So don't waste your vote on Gaal and Mayer in the at-large race -- you will just be helping them knock Andy off the stage, if as is possible the Republicans get one of theirs elected. Vote ONLY for Andy, and let one of them lose to a Republican if need be.

The Democrats need a good spanking. That's why I would also urge all of you who can vote in District One to cast your ballots for Dax Norton. He's a helluva a good guy, very progressive-minded, and he is actively fighting I-69, unlike the common herd of Democrats who give lip service. Talk to Dax, see if you don't agree. Then tell all your friends and neighbors.

The faint-hearted and opportunistic Democrats are an enormous part of the problem here -- they sure as heck aren't part of any solution.

Let's start making some real changes, and see if we can't make the Construction Crane an endangered species around here.

Cathy Crosson is a professor at the Indiana University School of Law