Friday, October 24, 2014

Most Bloggers Missing Context in Ford "Non-troversy"

Paul Ogden
As controversies go, this one is really a stretch.

Curt Smith, noted for his leadership of the Indiana Family Institute, wrote a piece for Indiana Forefront that took, out of context, a response to a candidate forum question by State Senate candidate JD Ford and is trying to blow it up into a campaign four-alarm fire.  You can follow the link above and see the whole kerfuffle.

Hmm...I wonder why Smith wouldn't want Ford to serve in the Indiana Senate?  Oh yeah, that's right.  Curt Smith is one of the leaders of the Indiana Family Institute, an organization that strongly supported HJR-3 and  has pushed other anti-gay legislation in Indiana.

Only Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has stated the truth.  In his IndyPolitics.org post on the issue, Abdul says, "The Indiana Family Institute is going after Democratic State Senate candidate JD Ford, accusing him of saying businesses that discriminate based on sexual-orientation should not receive public safety services."

He gets it right. The IFI and Ford's opponent, Senator Mike Delph have a long mutual admiration society thing going.  You see, the Indiana Family Institute, under the leadership of President Curt Smith, presented one Mike Delph with its "legislator of the year" award just last year.  Just last year, Smith and Delph held a joint press conference on HJR-3.

Unfortunately, other bloggers in town have decided to portray this whole episode in quite disappointing fashion. My friend, Paul Ogden, called this Ford's "Todd Akin moment" on the campaign trail.  Are you kidding me?  Let's revisit what Mr. Akin said.

“If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” said Akin during the 2012 race.  Really?  We think what JD Ford said in that clipped 30 second video was the same thing?  Come on Paul, you're smarter than that.

I've already spent more time on this than should have been.  I have other things to accomplish today, and this insignificant non-troversy is not one of them.

And before you go saying, "Jon...you want to see JD Ford win that race in Senate District 29."  

Yeah, I do.  No bones about it.  I also care about  being fair and letting people make their own decisions.  Just know you're reading this on the Indy Democrat blog and take what I say for what it's worth.

58th Mayor's Night Out Produces Small Crowd

Mayor Greg Ballard
I attended the 58th Mayor's Night Out in Decatur Township yesterday night.

I've been critical before of Mayor Greg Ballard and these road shows before, but I found last night's event much different.  It was interesting and informative.

First of all, I thought the Mayor seemed rested and on point more than I had seen him in the previous events I have attended. He sometimes will stumble around and not finish a point, but I thought there was less of that last night.  By and large, he answered the questions himself last night, and did a pretty good job.

Secondly, there was some pretty interesting information.  The Mayor used the opportunity to introduce the new Safetown Indy website.  I went in and found some of the data pretty interesting as well as the website design itself.

The problem was there just weren't very many people there.  I would say out of the entire audience maybe 10 or so people were not connected directly with the school system or the city in one way or another.  There were three City-County Councillors in attendance and a whole host of deputy mayors and department heads.  Even if the program isn't all that useful, it's still a great way to get in touch with your city.

I'm not admonishing the good folks of Decatur. It is tough to get away for an hour or so for many people especially this time of year. Also, I believe Decatur Township is still on Fall Break and some folks may be out of town.

We all care about our neighborhoods, and we all care about our city. These types of events are excellent ways to get in touch and involved.  Maybe by pooh-poohing them in the past I've been part of the problem.  I hope not.  I've said before that I like the idea.  If the Mayor handled them all like he did tonight, I'd even be much more of a fan of these events.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hogsett Grabbing Key Endorsements in Race for Mayor

Joe Hogsett on the campaign trail
Photo from Facebook
He may not be an announced candidate yet, but Joe Hogsett is racking up the endorsements. In fact, he added two more just yesterday.

Former State Representative Bill Crawford and Marion County Auditor Billie Breaux have endorsed Hogsett's run for Mayor. Those endorsements now stand beside those of a growing number of local politicians and labor and trade groups.

In the news release provided by the Hogsett campaign, both Breaux and Crawford stressed Hogsett's ability to unite people as a reason for their endorsement.

Said Breaux: “Both as a private citizen and public servant, Joe Hogsett has always been someone who could unite people from all walks of life to bring about change. That quality is rare and needed now more than ever. I am proud to endorse Joe’s campaign.”

And Crawford: “Last month’s U.S. Census Bureau statistics showed that there is a growing divide in our city. We need leadership that can bring people together to heal the wounds of poverty and economic insecurity, as well as the scars left behind by crime in our neighborhoods. That is why I support Joe Hogsett – he is the kind of leader who is always there with the people, listening and learning about their concerns.”

The news release makes reference to the 2013 American Community Survey released in September that showed over one in five Indianapolis residents and nearly one in three children live below the poverty line.  

So far, Hogsett has gained the support of Washington Township Trustee Frank Short, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, United Steelworkers Local 1999, Teamsters Local 135 and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 700.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Prediction: Pence Will Run for President

Governor Mike Pence
Photo from Facebook
If recent indicators are any guide, you can bank on something for 2016 right now.  Mike Pence is running for President.

Pence's recent decisions to take a harder line on food stamp recipients and to stand up to that horrible federal government and spurn the feds hand on Pre-K funding clinched it for me.  Pence's stunt on the tarmac at the Evansville airport was another clue, and his constant trotting out of his conservative credentials also are excellent indicators.

Using his position as one of the leaders of the Republican Governor's Association, Pence is campaigning in New Hampshire on behalf of the GOP's lost cause candidate there.  Pence has also been to Iowa as well as recently as last month.

He's running for President.  I don't know if he'll survive the long Primary season, but it's really time for the Democrats to get their act together for 2016 on who will be the challenger.  Now would be the time to drive home some points about Pence abandoning Indiana and looking for higher office opportunities.

The sad reality is that Indiana is just a pawn in Pence's larger political puzzle now. We don't have a Governor anymore. We have a Governor that's running for President. Let the crazy begin!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Former Sheriff, Republican Leader Cottey Passes at 75

Sheriff Jack Cottey
Word comes tonight that Marion County has lost one of its most famous officials and public servants.

Former Sheriff Jack Cottey passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 75.  Cottey was Sheriff of Marion County from 1995 to 2002 and was the last Republican to date to serve in that office.

Cottey graduated from Southport High School and, according to an old informational piece I found online about him, immediately joined the Marine Corps upon graduation.  When he left the Corps, he joined IPD working his way from an officer all the way up to Deputy Chief before he retired in 1986.  At that point, he joined Sheriff Joe McAtee's team in the Marion County Sheriff's Department.  He would remain in some capacity even during the terms of his successors Frank Anderson and John Layton.  Cottey also served in the Indiana House of Representatives.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office, as it is now referred to, released this statement via Twitter tonight.




I want to wish Sheriff Cottey's family and friends the best as they deal with this loss.  It's clear that Cottey dedicated his life to the service of others.

Two Mike Delphs Add Up to Vote for JD Ford

Senator Mike Delph
photo from mikedelph.com
I got to see the two Mike Delphs first hand at last week's candidate's forum sponsored by the West Side Chamber of Commerce at the Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center.

There was a meet and greet before the forum, and I was mingling around with Rep. Karlee Macer, my friend Patrick Lockhart (who is running for House District 91), Marion County Clerk candidate Myla Eldridge, and Prosecutor Terry Curry.  I reached a moment where I was not talking to anyone, and, from behind I hear, "Jon Easter?"  I turned to see it was Senator Mike Delph.

I'd seen him out of the corner of my eye, and Delph had been talking with others.  Like me, he had reached a moment where he didn't have anyone in front of him.  I asked him how the campaign had been going, and he said that it was going well.  We chatted for a while about things.  He introduced me to his family, and I noticed his youngest daughter was literally hanging off her dad's arm as we talked.  It was a very positive and friendly conversation that ended with, "Jon, I know you and I have our differences politically, but if there's anything I can help you with, let me know."

I shook his hand, thanked him for the conversation and I went and mingled with his Democratic opponent, JD Ford.

Just a few minutes later Mike Delph stood in front of that auditorium full of people and lambasted the court system for "judicial tyranny" saying it had ruined Indiana's sovereignty.  Delph listed less two-parent households and a move away from "Judeo-Christian" values as a reason crime was higher.  He called mass transit a boondoggle and said that the founders of our city didn't design Indianapolis with mass transit in mind.  He called out the moderator, David Shank, for asking a "liberal" question.  He was anything but the same cordial man I had met in the hall.

JD Ford
Photo from Facebook
I guess there are two Mike Delphs, and I don't know which one you can expect at any time. The one that I met in the hallway before the forum or the one I saw breathing fire at the podium or on one of his Twitter rants.

That's a good reason to vote for one JD Ford. Delph strives hard to be a Christian legislator. Ford will strive hard to be a good legislator in the Senate. His mind is open, and his heart is compassionate. He's the best choice for Senate District 29, and a vote for Ford isn't just a vote against Delph. Ford is a candidate that matches substance with intelligence. You're not just getting some left wing liberal that's going to govern from that side. As I previously stated, JD is no ideologue. He's much more pragmatic and much more in tune with his own district than Senator Delph is. Ford is a Democrat, but he's not going to shut you out if you aren't.

Forward with Ford isn't just a slogan. It's the truth.

Curry's Ad Plays It Straight Forward

I'm sure you've probably seen it by now, but Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry is up and on television with this ad.



No bells and whistles in this ad, it's just a straight up the middle ad by a campaign that's clearly pounding it's opposition.  Curry highlights the accomplishments of his first term and leaves the door open for more work to do in his second term.

Since Terry plays golf, I'd say this is a 280-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway.  Promises made and promises kept.  It's a good theme from a Marion County Prosecutor that's done a solid job and deserves a second term.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mahern Resigns from City-County Council

Councillor Brian Mahern
Brian Mahern has resigned from the City-County Council. That's what sources are telling Indy Democrat That's what the IBJ is reporting.

The City-County Councillor apparently announced last week on his Facebook page his resignation and formally submitted a letter. I'm told that became official today.

No definitive word on who will replace Mahern, but a caucus of precinct committeepersons will convene soon. I'm told a "long time Eastside activist" is a favorite to replace him.

Mahern was once seen as a rising star in the party. First elected in 2007, Mahern turned the district seat blue again by defeating Scott Keller.  Keller won the seat by just a few votes in 2003.  Keller had fallen out of favor of the Republican Party after supporting the IMPD/Marion County Sheriff's Department merger and the Council's non-discrimination ordinance.

Mahern won reelection by a wide margin in 2011.  Before a meltdown with his own caucus which saw him vacate the Vice President's chair and attempt to overthrow Council President Maggie Lewis, Mahern was thought of as a challenger for Mayor of Indianapolis in the upcoming 2015 elections.  His political future had been mired in some uncertainty since his withdrawal from the Democratic caucus.  Recently, Mahern had been reportedly attempting to mend fences with other Democrats on the Council.

At his best, Councillor Mahern was a thoughtful voice and champion of many important issues on the Council.  That Brian Mahern will be missed as he steps away from his Council duties.  My sincere best to him.

My Take: IPS School Board Race

I have yet to weigh in on the IPS School Board race here, and I think it's important to explain why.  If this post is considered a cop out, I'm sorry in advance.

While my father spent almost 40 years in the district, I have had little direct contact with what's going on in IPS from anyone on the inside since he retired in 1997. I feel that I am out of touch, and I can't definitively tell you which candidate would be best able to rub balm on the aches and pains of the district.

What I can tell you is that there is obviously a lot of money at work in a non-partisan and supposedly non-political race.  I've never been a big advocate of the Mayor of Indianapolis appointing the IPS School Board or the Superintendent because I believe it does keep a certain bit of politics out of the race.  With that said, it's hard not to see the potential influence that an influx of cash and endorsements quite possibly could have on the individual Commissioners.  

This is not an indictment of one candidate over another.  I have not dug deep enough into the platforms of each candidate to give you some idea of what I believe is the best course of action forward.  I will just urge voters to be informed and to be cautious going forward.  The balance on that board is precarious as it is: this much I know.  An addition or a subtraction from the board might change the philosophy of IPS considerably.

The most important thing you can do is that when you vote, make sure you turn over the ballot and be informed as you cast your ballot for IPS Board of School Commissioners.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Advance Indiana: Ballard To Drop Out of Mayor's Race

Mayor Greg Ballard
Will he or won't he?  That's the question about Mayor Greg Ballard and a potential run for a third term as Mayor of Indianapolis.

According to Advance Indiana blogger Gary Welsh, Ballard will not run for a third term, and an announcement will come as soon as this week.  I'll wait to hear from the Mayor, but it will throw the Republican nomination wide open if Welsh is right.

Former State Senator and Indiana GOP Chair Murray Clark is rumored to be interested in the job. State Senator Jim Merritt has been making noise as well. There are also several other possible candidates that have been bandied around in discussion.

City-County Council Minority Leader Mike McQuillen, City-County Councillor Ben Hunter, City-County Councillor Christine Scales, former City-County Councillor Ike Randolph, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and IMPD Police Chief Rick Hite have all been rumored at one point or another to be interested. Former Ballard Chief of Staff and Council President Ryan Vaughn seems like an unlikely candidate since he, by his own admission, has stepped away from politics. It also remains to be seen if good candidates like Robert Vane might be interested in a run.

Ballard bowing out would seemingly make Democratic front-runner Joe Hogsett the front-runner in the race. The only Democrat officially in the race right now, Ed DeLaney, alienated several potential supporters last week by taking a swipe on Facebook at an historic decision by the City-County Council to dedicate more money to Animal Care and Control for the care of the animals in their facility.

DeLaney used the decision to increase ACS funding in what I would consider a fallacious argument that the Council was putting "stray dogs" ahead of children by not funding the Mayor's Pre-K plan.  Of course, the Mayor doesn't have a Pre-K plan in front of the Council, and the body did in fact set aside cash for a Pre-K plan.  DeLaney tried to back away from the comment, but it seems the damage was done.

To be honest, I'm surprised the Mayor is making this announcement this week if he does. I expected he would wait until after the November 4 elections as to not be a distraction. That's what Hogsett hinted he's doing by not announcing his run.

We'll have to see how all this shakes out as we approach the 2015 election season.