Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ballard Withdraws $6.8 Million from IMPD General Fund Without Authorization

Mayor Greg Ballard
While we were all waiting for the First Church of Cannabis to take its first toke, Mayor Greg Ballard walked out with $6.8 million of IMPD's General Fund.

That's what City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said in a news release yesterday. President Lewis said:

"Very recently I was informed that Mayor Ballard unilaterally authorized a withdraw of $6.8 million dollars out of the IMPD general fund without consultation or approval from the Council. This is not how good municipal government works. The Council recently overrode the Mayor's veto to add appropriations to fund critically needed pursuit rated vehicles and necessary upgrades to IMPD facilities. His decision means many IMPD officers will continue to operate substandard vehicles and train at outdated facilities. We have too few officers on the street to begin with and this action by the administration may put at risk the city's ability to fund this Fall's final recruit class of 2015. I call on the Mayor to immediately reverse course and follow both the letter and spirit of Indiana law by returning the money to IMPD now."
Unbelievable.

For a Mayor who has always said, "Public safety is job one," he does a good job of showing otherwise.

This is the sort of mess created by 2013's SEA 621 that redefined the Mayor's role in the budget and lessened the Council's role as a watchdog.  I read the statute closely, though, and I don't think it said the Mayor could  just take $6.8 million from IMPD for no reason and without any notification or justification.

Where did the money go, Mr. Mayor?  Are you using IMPD to get back at the Council for overriding your veto?

When questioned, Mayor Ballard always likes to say, "Show some respect!"

Show some respect for the taxpayers and your officers and tell us where did IMPD's money go?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

November Ballot Takes Shape

Depending on what happens with the campaign of Reverend Charles Harrison as an independent, you'll have either two or three candidates for Mayor of Indianapolis in the fall.

Republican Chuck Brewer
Democrat Joe Hogsett
Independent Charles Harrison (Depending on validation of signatures and acceptance of nomination)

Your November Council ballot has also taken its final shape.  Here are the combatants who filed in the three major parties.  Incumbents indicated with an asterisk.  (At-Large) means that the Councillor is currently an At-Large Councillor and not an incumbent in that district.

District 1 
Leroy Robinson (D)* (At-Large)
Brian Jones (R)

District 2
Kip Tew (D)* (At-Large)
Sam Goldstein (L)
Colleen Fanning (R)

District 3
Christine Scales (R)*
Pam Hickman (D)* (At-Large)
Christopher Bowen (L)

District 4
Mike McQuillen (R)*
Ray Biederman (D)

District 5
Curtis Bigsbee (D)
Jeff Coats (R)

District 6
Janice McHenry (R)*
Frank Islas (D)

District 7
Joe Simpson (D)*
Adrianne Slash (R)

District 8
Monroe Gray (D)*
Patrick Midla (R)

District 9
Duke Oliver (D)*
Chuck Madden (R)
Caitlin Young (L)

District 10
Maggie Lewis (D)*
Terry Bible (R)

District 11
Vop Osili (D)*
Remy O'Guin (R)

District 12
Michael Gunyon (L)
Blake Johnson (D)
Susan Marie Smith (R)

District 13
Stephen Clay (D)*
Terry Miller-Penquite (R)

District 14
La Keisha Jackson (D)*
Terry Dove (R)

District 15
Marilyn Pfisterer (R)*
Chris Wall (D)
Laurie Works (L)

District 16
Jeff Miller (R)*
Emily Shrock (D)

District 17
Zach Adamson (D)*
Sally Spiers (R)

District 18
Eddie Barnes (D)
Susie Cord (R)

District 19
Ben Hunter (R)*
David Ray (D)

District 20
Jason Holliday (R)*
Jon Easter (D)

District 21
Frank Mascari (D)*
Anthony Davidson (R)

District 22
Bob Lutz (R)*
Jared Evans (D)

District 23
Scott Kreider (R)
Douglas McNaughton (L)

District 24
Jack Sandlin (R)*

District 25
Aaron Freeman (R)*
Michael Jasper (L)
Jeff Wheeler (D)

If you live in one of the excluded communities or other locales within Marion County, you may have more on your ballot than just Mayor and Council.  Check the Marion County Election Board's website for those races at www.indy.gov/elections.

Libertarians Won't Field Candidate for Mayor in 2015; Republicans Fill Slate, Dems Two Districts Short

Last minute filings came in, and the Libertarians DID NOT file a candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis.

The Libertarians did file candidates in seven City-County Council Districts.

District 2-Sam Goldstein
District 3-Christopher Bowen
District 9-Caitlin Young
District 12-Michael Gunyon
District 15-Laurie Works
District 23-Douglas McNaughton
District 25-Michael Jasper

Republicans filled seven City-County Council Districts meaning the GOP has a full slate of candidates in all 25 Council Districts.

District 1-Brian Jones
District 7-Adrianne Slash
District 8-Patrick Midla
District 9-Chuck Madden
District 10-Terry Bible
District 11-Remy O'Guin
District 14-Terry Dove

Democrats, according to the Clerk's Office, did not file a candidate in Districts 23 or 24. So...based upon information I have...

Congratulations on your reelection Jack Sandlin in District 24.

Source: Petition Company Hired to Gather Harrison Signatures

Rev. Charles Harrison
The "group of concerned citizens" behind RunRevRun.com, the website trying to convince Reverend Charles Harrison to enter the Mayor's race, claims in a Facebook post that it has gathered "thousands of signatures" to get the Reverend on the ballot as a candidate.

But the story gets mighty peculiar from there.

If Harrison is going to run, today is the deadline to declare his candidacy and then he would have until July 10 to pull out of the race.

Here's the bizarre thing.  It's unclear as to whether Harrison or anyone connected to him is actually behind the effort to get him on the ballot.  That's because a source tells Indy Democrat that someone hired Star Petition Group to help gather the signatures get Harrison on the ballot.

Star Petition Group pays individuals to go out and collect signatures for political or issue-oriented campaigns.  A simple Google search of this organization also shows that they are typically affiliated with Republican Party politics.  Some others don't speak highly of the company or its tactics.  To me, this smacks of someone that wants Harrison to run awfully bad and has hired out all the legwork.  A former State Representative, for example, tells me that there have been Harrison signature collectors outside Walmart on Lafayette Road for a couple of weeks.  It appears everything has intensified lately.

It's possible that this is part of some master plan to get the Reverend on the ballot, but I think it is what it is...a last ditch effort to get him to run.  It's a last ditch effort to upset the applecart and change the race in some way.

Fit me for a tinfoil hat, but I think this kind of thing has Kyle Walker written all over it.

Incidentally, Reverend Harrison closed out his exploratory campaign committee in April.  He had raised just $50 at the time his committee was disbanded.  We should know more by the end of the day what is plans are.  It's anyone's guess how he will respond to this effort in his name.

Update:
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reports that there were around 7,000 signatures filed on behalf or Rev. Harrison who now has until July 15 to accept or decline and file necessary paperwork.  That's assuming that enough of the 7K signatures are valid.

HALE NO! Indy Lawmaker Won't Seek Senate Seat

Rep. Christina Hale
Baron Hill is breathing a sigh of relief as his main contender for the Democratic nomination for Dan Coats' U.S. Senate seat said she won't oppose him in 2016.

State Rep. Christina Hale said she's not going to run for Senate, but she will be seeking reelection to the Indiana House, according to the Associated Press.  That's the good news in all of this.  While Hale won't run for the Senate, her leadership is needed in the Indiana House, and her absence from the Democratic Caucus would be felt.

Hale has become a rock star in the Indiana House on the Democratic side of the aisle for her outspoken work on a wide variety of issues that have long needed attention.

She was first elected in 2012 defeating incumbent Cindy Noe by just a few votes.  She won reelection in 2014 by a wider margin.  District 87 remains one of just a handful of competitive districts in the Indiana General Assembly.

As for the Senate race in 2016, Hill is now the only Democrat in the race.  Eric Holcomb and Marlin Stutzman are running on the Republican side with Todd Young likely to enter.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Harrison Site Appears Online

Rev. Charles Harrison
A website encouraging Reverend Charles Harrison to run for Mayor has appeared online.

Runrevrun.com is online now with an accompanying Facebook page.  It has no disclaimer, so it's impossible to tell who's paying for the effort.  Also, the site appears just one day before the deadline to get the necessary 3,000+ signatures to get Rev. Harrison on the ballot if he's running as an independent.

My feeling is that there probably has been an effort to get the Reverend on the ballot ongoing.  It's just very strange timing that this website would pop up just days before the deadline to get on the ballot.  You'd figure that any grassroots effort would have been up for weeks.

Instead, this appears more like an astroturf effort to get him on the ballot to me.  There's a very organized effort that's been going on, in my opinion.

I guess more shall be revealed by the end of the week.

I've said repeatedly that Rev. Harrison entering the race doesn't change Joe Hogsett's status as a frontrunner, but it will make everything a lot more interesting.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hite Should Apologize to Levin for Jim Jones Comparison

Bill Levin
I understand why Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and IMPD Chief Rick Hite had a joint (hehehe) press conference today to announce how they would be handling the First Church of Cannabis service on July 1.

Heck, from the sound of it, even Grand Poobah Bill Levin sounds like he understands.

What I don't understand is Hite's out of left field comparison between Levin's group to Jim Jones' People's Temple.  He owes Levin an apology.

Chief Rick Hite
Bill Levin is not Jim Jones.  The First Church of Cannabis is not the People's Temple. Comparisons are not warranted.

The infamous Jones, a native Hoosier, was a mass murderer whose group assassinated Congressman Leo Ryan after leaving Indianapolis, moving to San Francisco and eventually to Guyana.  Jones led his congregation to a mass suicide on November 18, 1978 and over 900 died.

Levin, who ran for City-County Council in 2011, has little in common with the preacher-turned-lunatic Jones.  Levin's dedicated his public life to efforts to legalize marijuana in the State of Indiana.  This First Church of Cannabis experiment is more to stick it to the man and spread the word that direction rather than do the horrid things Jones did.  In fact, Levin is the anti-Jones, in my opinion.  His motto..."One Love."

Hite's flippant remarks show should not be allowed to stand.  He should apologize to Levin for the unwarranted comparison.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY COMES TO THE UNITED STATES


"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." --Justice Anthony Kennedy

--
Enough said.

Tallian Shares Vision for Indiana

Senator Karen Tallian
I attended the Perry Township Democratic Club Meeting last night, and the speaker for the evening was Senator Karen Tallian.

It was the first time I had a chance to hear Tallian speak about her plans and qualifications as she continues her run for Governor of Indiana, and I was impressed with what she said.  She connected well with the friendly audience.

On her opponents, she took it easy.  Tallian said she wouldn't say anything bad about John Gregg.  She said she worked for John last time to get him elected. "He came close, but he didn't win," Tallian said.

She said she believed she could draw a broader coalition of support than Gregg mentioning specifically women.  She didn't go into detail, and she did not mention Glenda Ritz at all.

Tallian did talk about why she believes she would be a good Governor of Indiana.    "I am the only candidate in the race that has a current working relationship with the Republican supermajority," Tallian said.  As an example, she cited how she wrote and shepherded through a bill on mortgage foreclosure despite being one of the very few Democrats in the Indiana Senate.

It's that working relationship with the Republican supermajority that is something that gives her a big advantage over her two opponents.  As the only Democrat in a statewide executive office, Ritz is reviled by most Republicans in the General Assembly, and John Gregg's been out of the legislature for years.

The question remains, can Tallian get any traction?  She's working to get her signatures in line to get on the ballot, and she has a strong message.  While there's no question she could do the job of Governor, she lacks the name recognition and organization of her two opponents.  She's starting at zero here while Gregg and Ritz are somewhere down the field organizationally.  Message-wise, she's right on target for rank-and-file Democrats to support.

I am glad I got to hear Tallian speak.  She's out and about, and she has a lot to say.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Time Spent on Father's Day Pays Dividends Later

My father in Florida
It's Father's Day in the United States and in all the countries across the world that celebrate dads.  For the sixth year, I celebrate the memory of my father as he passed away in February of 2009.

As I've written before on this blog, I have positive memories about the relationship with my father, Henry Easter, and I always knew that he loved me because he was never afraid of telling me.

My dad was big and powerful, and he could be hard to get along with, but, as his life went on, I think he began to enjoy it more.

That's not to say it wasn't challenging.  Before my mother passed, a tape existed with my father's thoughts on it as his life slowly faded.  He was sick, and he knew his heart only had a few months of beats left.  Depressed and sleep-deprived, he put his thoughts on to a mini cassette tape over a series of nights.  It left us with a 20 minute snapshot of my father's mindset before he passed.

I never wanted to hear the tape, but my brother urged me to listen.  I'm so glad that I did.

Those thoughts were far too personal to reveal here, but my father believed his biggest successes in life were not in his professional life.  He believed that his biggest successes were in his family life.  He loved my mother with everything that he was, and he was proud of my brother and I.  That tape went to the grave with my mother because it really was hers.  Dad meant it for her, and it's with her always in the casket where she rests for eternity.

As I always say on Father's Day, if you can, spend some time with your father or the father figure in your life.  Try to mend old wounds and relationships.  The time you spend will pay dividends years down the road.