Friday, July 31, 2015

Carson's 6th Annual Job Fair Scheduled for August 5

Congressman Carson
Indiana recently revealed an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.  Are you one of those looking for a job or maybe even a change of career?

Congressman Andre Carson has announced that his 6th Annual Job Fair will take place on Wednesday, August 5 from 9 am to 3 pm.  The event is free and open to everyone and will take place at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center at 2820 N. Meridian St.

According to the Congressman's Office, a "wide array" of companies will be there ready to hire people.  I'd suggest dressing for success and taking copies of your cover letter, vitae, or resume.

If you want more information, dial Congressman Carson's Office at (317) 283-6516.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lewis Speaks to Perry Township Democratic Club

Maggie Lewis Speaks to Perry Township
Democrats and friends.
City-County Council President Maggie Lewis spoke on the Southside at the Perry Township Democratic Club on Thursday night.

She discussed the City-County Council's successes and the need for the Council to stay blue in the upcoming November election.

One of Lewis' four key components that she addressed in her talk was public safety.  She talked about what the Council had been able to do for IMPD.  "These men and women are putting their lives on the line every day in the name of public safety," said Lewis.

She said the Council has found success in supporting officers by finding money to upgrade equipment, buy new squad cars, and make necessary repairs at the police academy facility.  Lewis also highlighted the 80 additional officers that the Council was able to find the money for to increase the overall safety of Indianapolis.  She also highlighted efforts of the Council to block the Mayor's attempt to pull money from IMPD's budget unilaterally.

Lewis also discussed neighborhoods.  She said that the Council had been able to use some grant money to make things better in some specific Indy neighborhoods.  She touted the Complete Streets ordinance as one of the country's best pieces of municipal legislation.

Education was also on Councillor Lewis' agenda.  She mentioned the compromise the Council was able to reach with Mayor Ballard on expanding Pre-K education across Indianapolis as an example of what happens when both sides can come together and talk things out.

Lewis said that continuing to upgrade mass transit and making IndyGo better is a continuing project on her agenda for the Council.  Reducing the time it takes to travel by mass transit is something she and the Council has been working on and will continue to do so in the future.

The Council President also briefly addressed the often-contentious relationship with Mayor Greg Ballard.  She said that the Ballard Administration's "arrogance" has taken over in this second term and that there are many times that the Mayor has simply ignored the separate and co-equal legislative branch of government.  Lewis said. "We've seen that when we've been able to come together we've been able to do good things for the city."

Unlike the opposition party in Washington, Lewis made it clear that she would still like to see Mayor Ballard have a successful finish to his time in office because he is the Mayor of Indianapolis.  She indicated that the Democratic caucus on the Council will continue to stand up against the Mayor's efforts to run the city without the Council.

In closing, Lewis said that it's critical to get out and vote in November for Democrats and those that care about our city.  She said that no one should take anything for granted and that it was especially important to elect Joe Hogsett and give him a Democratic majority in the Council that he can work with to move Indianapolis forward.

Schellinger Named Head of IEDC by Pence

Jim Schellinger
Wednesday was a very good day for former Democratic candidate for Governor, Jim Schellinger, and some would argue a very bad day for John Gregg and the Indiana Democratic Party.  

Schellinger, an Indianapolis-based architect and successful CEO, was named President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.  He will start in September.

The kicker on all of this was that it wasn't some quirk in state government that allowed a Democrat to appoint Schellinger, it was Republican Governor Mike Pence that named the 2008 gubernatorial candidate to the position at the IEDC.

Schellinger raised a lot of money for the 2008 run against then-Governor Mitch Daniels and was seen for a long time as the shoo-in front runner.  The polls tightened, and, when the votes were counted, Schellinger had lost to former U.S. Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson.  

While Schellinger later endorsed Long Thompson, he did not quickly embrace her as the Democratic nominee after the bitter primary fight.  Long Thompson's campaign never recovered from the battle, and, fighting financial woes, it limped a landslide loss to Daniels despite Barack Obama having won the state by a couple thousand votes over John McCain.

Schellinger returned to his job in the business world at CSO Architects and in 2012 donated some $75K to Gregg's efforts to keep Pence out of the Statehouse.  Schellinger's move, according to the Star, has some Democrats thinking that this will keep him out of the 2016 race between Pence and likely John Gregg for Governor as a fundraiser.  

That's key for Pence.

This likely also ends any future runs for Schellinger for statewide public office.  Democrats will see him as Mike Pence's guy. 

It's a win for Mike Pence, though.  By nominating a prominent Democrat, it means he can argue that he's reached across the aisle to appoint a guy that's spent a ton of money against him to such an important position for the State of Indiana.

We'll see how this all works out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Opposition to Blue Indy Program Not About Idea

Mayor Greg Ballard
The Indy Star's new columnist, Suzette Hackney, penned a column last week about the Council vs. the Mayor over the Blue Indy Program.  Her thesis: let it pass.

Unfortunately, Hackney has little idea of the process (or lack of it) leading to this impasse between Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County Council over his electric car sharing program.  The disagreement culminated in last week's vote to tow Blue Indy's demonstration cars from prime parking spots.

There seems to be some sort of idea out there that the issue is Democrats or others being opposed to the idea of electric car sharing, but the problem is not the idea.  It's Mayor Ballard's plan.  Incidentally, Chuck Brewer released a statement fully supporting Ballard's plan.

At its heart, Blue Indy is a great idea.  Few dispute that, but the lack of details from the Mayor's Office, the high price tag, and the seeming detour around the council and the public process turned this slam dunk into one that has clanged off the backboard.

Before the ink was dry on the Hackney column, the Washington Post wrote about Los Angeles' plan for an electric car share program giving opponents even more ammunition.  Matt Stone, my good friend over at the Indy Student Blog, did an excellent analysis of the Indy electric car share plan vs. the Los Angeles plan.  Turns out the LA plan calls for 400 less cars and comes in tens of millions cheaper.  

Truth is the Council is just doing its job as a separate and co-equal branch of government.  It's asking the questions that need to be answered.  Besides, when the Council and the Mayor have found an impasse, the resulting compromise has usually benefited the city.  We'll see what happens on this program from here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bayh Undergoes Surgery; Carson Announces Death of Grandfather

Bayh Family
Photo from Facebook
News came yesterday afternoon that former Indiana First Lady Susan Bayh had surgery to remove a benign tumor from her brain.

The good news is that she's expected to make a full recovery, according to WTHR.

The wife of former Governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, Susan Bayh is an attorney, and she sits on a number of corporate boards and boards of organizations.  

Evan Bayh lost his mother to cancer many years ago, so it probably goes without saying that he's relieved that his wife's tumor was determined to be benign.

I wish Mrs. Bayh nothing but the best as she recovers from this health scare.  

Sam Carson
Photo from Facebook
Carson Loses Grandfather
Congressman Andre Carson announced yesterday that his grandfather, Sam Carson, had passed away.  

Carson credited his grandfather, a Marine Corps veteran, for mentoring him "with strength, grace, and spirit."

Sam Carson married Julia May Porter shortly after she graduated from Attucks High School.  Of course, the Carson name has become synonymous with politics in Indianapolis over the years as Congresswoman Julia Carson elected to keep her married name even after being divorced.  The union of Sam Carson produced two children, Sam and Tanya.  Sam Carson the son has attempted to run for public office.  Tanya's son Andre grew up to be the current 7th District Congressman.

My thoughts and prayers go out to my friend, Andre Carson and all of the Carson family on the loss of Sam Carson.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Democrats Gather for 8th Annual Picnic at Garfield Park

Ain't No Party Like a Democrat Party!
For the 8th-straight year, Democrats gathered under the Pagoda at Garfield Park for the United Democrats Picnic.

Probably 150 to 200 candidates, officeholders, and rank-and-file Democrats from all walks of life, backgrounds, and sides of town gathered to swap stories, laugh, win door prizes and dine on some delicious food.

It's always interesting for me to people watch.  This year, I was in the eye of the action as a candidate, but I still got a chance to sit back and just watch things develop.  Congressman Andre Carson spoke about what I saw best, "Look around people," Carson said. "Our party looks like the United Nations!"

Mostly the focus was on the upcoming Mayor's race.  Joe Hogsett reminded everyone that, from Sunday, just 99 days remained in the campaign.  It's 98 as you read this.  He talked about working hard and taking nothing for granted as he and his campaign continue to make this campaign a countywide fight.

City-County Council candidates like myself also got a chance to speak up and speak out, and most of the ticket was in attendance.  Candidates from Lawrence and Beech Grove were there.

Also making the rounds were legislative candidates for 2016 and candidate for U.S. Senate, Baron Hill.  Dressed in a dark pink shirt and khakis, Hill worked the crowd and told me that the campaign is "going great" and that he was "encouraged" by the reception he's getting.  It was the first opportunity I had ever had to speak with the former Congressman, and he looked tanned and ready to go take the fight to the Republicans.

Glenda Ritz was the only gubernatorial candidate in attendance.  She spoke briefly and received a warm reception from the crowd.  John Gregg and Karen Tallian both had other commitments that kept them from attending though the efforts to get them on the ballot continued with petition signing.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hogsett Urging Supporters to Reserve Yard Signs

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Hogsett for Mayor campaign with a subject line dealing with yard signs.

Hogsett didn't purchase a sign for the Primary fight and is pretty much relying on his commercials and campaign door knocking to spread the word.

One thing a sage and wise candidate told me one time is that, "Yard signs don't vote."  That's true.  In a neighborhood like mine where it's overwhelmingly Republican, a yard sign of a Democratic candidate can turn some heads...especially if if it's in the yard of a longtime, well-known Republican.

Anyway, the Hogsett campaign is trying something innovative.  It's asking loyal supporters to make sure they get a yard sign by reserving one for a $5 campaign contribution.

You asked and we've answered: Hogsett for Mayor yard signs will be making their debut this fall! 
And we want to give you the first chance to secure one.

Since we know these signs will be in high demand -- and we will be ordering very limited quantities -- we're offering key supporters the chance to reserve a sign with just a $5 donation.
Once signs arrive in the fall, they will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Don't leave it to chance: guarantee your Hogsett for Mayor yard sign today! 
Want to spread your support and help us place additional signs in your part of the city? With a $25 or $50 donation we will make sure you, as well as key locations in your neighborhood, are proudly letting people know: We Need Joe. 
Thanks for all you do,
Thomas Cook
Hogsett for Indianpolis

P.S. -- Know someone who will want a sign? Be sure to share this with them!

I put the idea up on my personal Facebook profile, and opinions seemed split.  As a candidate myself, I offer free yard signs.  In fact, I have about 90 of them in my garage ready to find a yard in District 20.

While some may be turned off by this tactic, I personally think it's an interesting idea.  Hogsett seems to be running a frugal campaign last month having sent out a plea for donated office supplies and even office furniture.  It seems like they want to spend only the dollars they take in for what they really need.

Hopefully, Joe will guard the city's coffers in the same manner.

Lindsey Graham's Epic Response to Trump

Senator Lindsey Graham
South Carolina Senator and GOP Presidential candidate, Lindsey Graham, has struggled to get much traction for his campaign thus far.

Ideologically, Graham, a traditional conservative, comes out too far on the left of this decidedly right wing bunch.

Reacting to GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump's assertion that John McCain is no war hero, Graham called "The Donald" a "jackass".  As you know, Trump is not one to allow anything to go by without a response.  Thus, he stood in front of an audience in Graham's home state and gave out the Senator's personal cell phone number.

Graham, to his credit, has done a wonderful job responding to Trump.  He tweeted out that he was in the market for a new telephone.

On that second tweet, Graham includes this video.  You probably should have seen a disclaimer at the start..."Don't Try This At Home."

Well-played, Senator.  Well-played.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Governor Unbelievably Blames RFRA for Unemployment Rate Fall

Governor Mike Pence
Since peaking at 10.9 percent in February 2010 during the Mitch Daniels administration, the Indiana unemployment rate has been trending downward.

In January of 2013, when Mike Pence took over as Governor, it was at 8.3 percent.  It has continued to fall to its current rate of 4.9 percent.  The federal unemployment rate has fallen in a similar fashion.  It peaked in October of 2009 at 10 percent.  Since then, it has trended downwards to its current rate of 5.3 percent.

Both Governor Pence and the Indiana General Assembly and President Barack Obama and the United States Congress deserve a tremendous amount of credit for enacting economic policies that have improved job prospects for citizens.

The point is that the downward trend has been significant, not limited to Indiana, and has taken place over time.  It's not a new phenomenon.

Almost anything the Indiana General Assembly session this past year accomplished became overshadowed by the fight over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA.  As you remember, the LGBT community and its allies fought back against this legislation.  Eventually, the General Assembly brought in business leaders to help "fix" the legislation.  Many feel that the fix didn't go far enough to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Hoosiers leaving this to be fought over in future General Assembly sessions.  It's something to watch heading forward.

Perplexingly, Governor Pence cited the fixed RFRA legislation as one of the reasons why Indiana's unemployment rate is down.  That ignores the trends, the effects of other legislation, and any input the Obama Administration might have had.  Blaming RFRA for this lower rate sounds more like a personal justification for the legislation rather than something grounded in actual fact.

Honest to goodness, it just sounds more like the Governor is trying to find justification for bad legislation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Honest to Goodness Need More Work to Be Done to Make Indiana Better

Governor Mike Pence
While Mike Pence trumpeted the good news that Indiana's unemployment rate had fallen to 4.9 percent, another report was released that the Governor apparently doesn't want to talk about.

In Indiana, child poverty is getting worse according to a study by the Annie Casey Foundation and the Indiana Youth Institute.

Nationally, Indiana ranks 32nd of the 50 states in overall child well-being.  That's a drop of five slots from last year's report.  Other states are improving their situations for children, but Indiana is either pretty much treading water or getting worse.

Some areas are doing much better, for example, the number of students graduating not on time in Indiana fell 6 percent over a four-year period, but the number of children living in poverty grew from 18 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2013.  

When you couple these numbers with other economic (32nd in per capita income), crime (25th most dangerous state), health (41st), and environmental quality (47th), Indiana consistently comes out as one of the worst states to live in, statistically.  

To be fair, these problems extend back to previous administrations well before Governor Pence took office, but he's the guy who's in charge right now.  As Frank Anderson once said that once he took the oath of office that all the problems of the previous administrations became his problems.  We've seen President Barack Obama try to work his way out of the problems of the George W. Bush Administration with success.

Honest to goodness, it's my hope the Governor does a good job in the remainder of his term to get some better results for Hoosier children and those living in poverty across our state.  I still recommend turning the job over to someone else to set the agenda and make Indiana a better place not only for business but for habitation.