Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Praise of André Carson

Since March, André Carson has been working in Washington for the 7th Congressional District. He has missed just 10 votes over two days. Those days were the day before and the day of the Primary Election. His performance in Congress chased off the first Republican nominee, Jon Elrod, who is hanging by his fingernails in the Indiana House with Mary Ann Sullivan likely to take the seat in November.

The Republicans were so sure they could beat Carson that they put up an unknown social worker named Gabrielle Campo up against him. Lots of confidence there! On a side note, I did hear that Campo was up for the Vice Presidential nomination on the McCain ticket until he found out she was too young to serve as VEEP (27 years old).

In all seriousness, André Carson has made all of us that voted for David Orentlicher in the original January caucus eat our votes, and, despite that fact, I've had the pleasure to get to know him and watch him grow as a political force of his own. He has done about as good of a job as you could expect a 34-year old new Congressman to do.

Carson has been able to secure federal funds for IMPD, funds for flood relief, funds for prisoner re-entry programs, and has put his name on legislation to help veterans, homeowners, and small business. To say he has been active is an understatement.

You might think the Congressman may have been ignoring his constituency at home. Still, he has found time to get home and make the rounds. He recently brought down the house in front of 80 Democrats at the Decatur Township Democratic Club. He was one of the Grand Marshalls at the Labor Day Parade. He was at Indy Pride in June, and he's been many other places in the district. This all while he has been running for the office from the day he hit the ground.

It's not a secret why I got active in politics. It was because of André's grandmother Julia. When she was first elected, I was one of the people that bought all the bad things I heard about her. That was until I met her. She was holding a conference on predatory lending. After the event, I went up to her having recently been re-drawn into her district and introduced myself as being from Decatur Township.

"I didn't know I had anyone that LOVED me in Decatur Township. I LUUUVVVV YOU!" she said. After that, my roommate and I became known as her "Decatur Boys." When my roommate moved away, I became her "Decatur Boy." Whenever I would see her she would say, "There's my DECATUR BOY!"

I volunteered with her campaign and actually got to represent the campaign at club meetings on the Southside for a while. That was a lot of fun. Seeing the joy on people's faces and the smiles her name would bring to a room really underlined the impact a great Congressperson can have on a community. It's more than about the votes or the money they bring back. It's about having someone you can relate to in the office.

That's the feeling that I get from Congressman Carson who has forgiven me for my early doubts. He calls me "Big East," and I have talked to him several times in person and on the phone. I don't say this to "name drop" or to show off. I say this because I believe that I'm not the only one with this kind of relationship to André. He has his grandmother's touch with people, and he's done this district proud thus far.

After Obama's speech on Thursday, I texted André and I asked him if the speech was as brilliant in person as it was on TV. I got a text back within minutes, "Yes sir." It's that personal touch that you won't get from a Steve Buyer-type that would rather spend his time toeing the Republican Party line and in Washington than working on issues for his constituents.

For this Democrat, it will be a long long time before I vote for ANYONE other than André Carson. I cast my vote his way in the primary, and I will cast my vote for him again in November. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see his numbers continue to grow and grow as he works across the aisle to become the most popular political figure in Indianapolis.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Who?

Bill Maher pointed out a lot last night when talked about John McCain's choice for VEEP.

Maher said that Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, had just a few years ago been Mayor of a town of 7,000 people. Now, the Governor of our least populous state is one heartbeat away from the Presidency or the Republican nomination for President.

You see, after John McCain accepts that nomination, if anything happens to him (and by no means am I wishing anything but the best to him), Sarah Palin becomes the Republican nominee for President. In a country that has elected George W. Bush twice to the Office or President, it just might be crazy enough to elect someone no one outside of the inner workings of the Republican Party knows much about. Thus, this Conservative politician who has been pictured holding a large assault weapon in a very scary pose, could be the most powerful person in the land.

John McCain has just taken the judgment and experience questions off the table. The Republicans are rushing out talking points to say how Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has exactly the same amount of Gubernatorial experience as Palin and that he was a finalist for Obama's VEEP. Obama didn't pick him. Republicans are also talking about her record as a Maverick who bucks her party. Look up her positions on the issues. Hardly a party-bucker there. The R's tell us that we will fall in love with her story...AS SOON AS WE HEAR IT!

That may be true, but John McCain has just shown he doesn't have the judgment to lead. While Obama could have picked Evan Bayh to try to solidify Indiana, Jim Webb or Kaine to shore up Virginia, or Hillary Clinton to easily mollify all factions of the party, he chose one of the most experienced foreign policy voices in the world in Joe Biden. A man that has been described as a moderate in the Senate and that is a good friend of John McCain. Obama picked a running mate that could step in and be the Commander-in-Chief.

Of course, the fight is at the top of the ticket. The Republicans will say that the Democrats have the President-Vice President choices in the wrong order and that it's McCain that has the experience over Obama. That may be true, but I don't think that this is an experience election. Hillary Clinton tried to run on that platform, and it didn't work. Obama will never be able to match McCain's resumé point by point because he's 47, and McCain is 72. But, when trying to compare Obama's 12 years in the Illinois state legislature and his two years in the U.S. Senate to Sarah Palin's experience as the Republicans are trying to do. It doesn't hold any water. NONE.

It's time to hold John McCain's feet in to the fire on this. By the way, this has nothing to do with Palin's gender. If McCain would have picked Bobby Jindal, I'd be saying the same thing. At least Jindal did serve in the U.S. House. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson was mentioned. She would have been a strong choice. I don't like her politics, but she would have been a credible candidate for the top job if something bad happens.

As it stands now, the "hockey mom" from Alaska is the #2 on the Republican ticket, and I can't help but think the internal workings of the Republican Party may now be regretting nominating McCain over Mitt Romney this primary season.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama Throws Down Gauntlet

Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for President, and he accepted that nomination with a piece of speech writing that will be remembered for years to come.

On a day dripping with significance (the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's speech in Washington), Obama managed to talk policy, attack John McCain, look Presidential, fight back against attacks, inspire, and set a positive course for the future all at once.

Of course, I'm partisan. You may be too, that's why you spend time browsing blogs like mine, but this speech felt different. Perhaps it was the setting, but the 84,000 people in Invesco Field at Mile High saw more than just history. Never before has an African-American accepted a Presidential nomination of a major party in our country, but the true point of Obama's speech wasn't to play this up or celebrate it. What I liked is that Obama managed to get in almost everything he's said in public since the 2004 speech he gave at that Democratic National Convention, but he managed to re-invent himself with new rhetoric. Never before had he been so hard on his opponent. Never before has Obama laid out the amazing need for change so eloquently.

Now, it's off to the Republican National Convention. The Democrats have drawn a stark difference between the parties. Obama, like any good debater, anticipated and refuted the attacks that will be lobbed at him. He basically challenged McCain to come back with his best. Obama knows that McCain's best is nowhere near his.

The most poignant moment of the night came when I called my parents. My parents are both in their late 60's, and they have both been experiencing health problems. When I talked to them tonight, my mom, who is a strong Pro-Choice Republican, said she is probably going to vote for Barack Obama. She said he hit all of her issues especially on health care. My dad also leans Republican, and he said that Obama's speech answered a lot of very important questions. Both of them plan to watch John McCain's speech next week, but mom said it likely won't change her mind. Dad's still undecided and will wait for the GOP party.

Somehow, I have a feeling that I wasn't the only 33 year old male having that conversation with his parents tonight. Perhaps it is time for the Republicans to as Obama says, "Own their failure." If my parents are any indication, the Straight Talk Express could be heading for a quick derailment or a heavy dose of ownership.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joe Biden, Bill Clinton Reactions

GREAT #2
Joe Biden is a real guy, and he delivered a real speech tonight in Denver. The most important contribution to the campaign may have happened after the speech ended.

A "impromptu" appearance by the Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama, allowed Americans across the country to see Obama and the Bidens together might be powerful political staging.

The Bidens are a strong Catholic family with working class roots. Senator Biden spoke lovingly about his children in the speech and also about his mother and his late father. Who couldn't wipe away a tear when they saw Senator Biden's mother's face full of pride as her boy "Joey" accepted the party's nomination for Vice President?

It was as American as the John Mellencamp music they used to intro the Senator. It had emotional impact. Biden looked like he was so honored to be chosen and nominated. You felt it in his voice and saw it on his face. That is American. Only a guy like Joe Biden would be caught up by this because I don't think he is your typical politican. He's a real guy who happens to speak like a real guy, and it gets him in trouble.

Still, it shows the absolute astuteness of the choice by Obama. He knows that he has huge gaps in his resumé when it comes to experience. Why not go out and choose the youngest Senator that has the most experience? Biden's 65, but he's been in Senate since 1972.

The pick took a risk, and it paid off. Biden scored a number of "real guy" points tonight. When Obama came on stage and mingled, it might have pulled back some of the Hillary Clinton voters that still were on the fence. Obama looked like he was one of the family, and he is.

Biden's speech was well-written. His delivery was okay. But, he landed a number of blows tonight on McCain from the perspective of being his friend. Who knows John McCain better in the Senate? I'm going to say almost no one but Joe Biden.

BILL CLINTON'S SPEECH

We also saw an important torch be passed tonight, too.

President Bill Clinton was welcomed back on to the stage with a rousing ovation. He deserves it. Clinton then went on to link himself to Obama and pledged to help him in every way become the President.

The Clintons have sufficiently repaired their "image damage" left over from the contentious primary season, Now, I hope they put some hip service to their lip service. Obama can't win without Hillary's legion of supporters, and Bill Clinton can help him with Democrats and working class Americans. You have to dispatch the Clintons somewhere carefully, but there's no question that their support solidifies Obama's base. That happened the last two nights.

Now, we're on to the main course. Senator Obama's speech at Invesco Field at Mile High tomorrow night. In the offing is the Republican Convention which could get completely overshadowed by the impending arrival sometime early next week of Hurricane Gustav.

The Republicans will have a very high bar to equal just to get a bump in the polls, I think. We'll see what they have in store, but the Democratic National Convention has been a big success, in my opinion. One more night to go!

Hillary Clinton Delivers!

A night after a stirring and emotional speech by Michelle Obama that hit all the right notes and a stirring and emotional appearance by Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton knocked what MSNBC's Keith Olbermann called "A Grand Slam" right out of the Pepsi Center with her excellent speech.

The speech avoided nostalgia and bitterness. It appropriately attacked John McCain as not right for Hillary supporters or longtime Clinton backers. She made it personal, and she went right for the heart.

It was a skillful and impressive moment for the Democrat that may propel her stock forward in the Democratic leadership in the Senate and perhaps even to a cabinet position in the Obama Administration once he is elected in November. Clinton qualifies for many of the positions in the cabinet, and Obama is almost obliged to offer her something.

Without a doubt, it was one of the biggest political moments for Clinton. She appeared unselfish and even Presidential in her praise for the then-presumptive nominee, but she also completely set up the unbelievably high stakes at risk to be decided in November.

There is simply no way that a person that supported everything that Hillary Clinton and the Clintons have fought for all these years can vote for John McCain. It's not fear. It's fact. How can Hillary supporters vote for McCain now? Hillary did an amazing job at drawing out this elephant in the room.

Last night, Hillary Clinton may have locked up the 2012 nomination for President should Obama not win in November. Of course, that's the cart before the horse, and we can all hope that we don't have four more years of President Bush in the form of President McCain.

Bill Clinton is up tonight. Even though Joe Biden is the headliner, everyone will be watching to see what President Clinton decides to talk about. Personally, I think he will knock it out of the park, too. He knows exactly what is at stake. Still, you can't get over the notion that he can undo everything Hillary did last night.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Liberal Lion Delivers

Tonight, Michelle Obama was the headliner of the Democratic Convention speaker lineup, but it was the old Liberal Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy that stole the show.

In a touching show of willpower, Senator Kennedy stood and delivered a strong speech in support of his colleague, Senator Barack Obama. Kennedy looked spectacular and was more than lucent and strong on stage. It's very clear that this man is a fighter who is battling hard against his brain tumor.

I know Teddy is a polarizing figure, but even Republicans have to stand up and applaud this man on this evening. Senator Kennedy still has it, and I believe him when he says he expects to be back in the Senate in January. The Liberal Lion Roars Again!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama-Biden '08

With apologies to John McCain, I have to say, "Friends, I have my dream ticket."

As many of my friends know, the only other person that I have supported in the 2008 Presidential Election is Joe Biden. I was on Biden's bandwagon until Barack Obama became an official candidate for the office. I have always liked Joe Biden's candor and his willingness to level with the American people.

Biden is also a bulldog who will not back down from a challenge. If the Republicans want to go negative, Joe Biden will fight right back. Senator Obama needed someone like Joe Biden who can brawl with the best. Biden's credentials also match John McCain's political credentials nearly line for line.

It's been a bad few days for John McCain. All signs show that, with the Democratic Convention coming, it's about to get worse for him.

January 20, 2001

What a day in American history! January 20, 2001. Inauguration Day! It was a cold, rainy day in Washington, D.C. Perhaps that day would predict the next eight years. It's certainly been a cold, rainy time for America.

January 20, 2001, I argue, is a day that will live in infamy. It's the day that the first Presidential failure of the 21st Century took office. We're at war...and we're still not sure why. The "Compassionate Conservatism" that gave independents hope has dissolved into a pessimistic drivel of division.

And, while I'm tempted to say, "DON'T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR GORE!" That would be far too easy. Gore, the rest of us and our Congressional representatives too have allowed Pee Wee to have fun in the Playhouse. We laughed while he couldn't say "nuclear." We shook our heads when he asked, "Is our children learning?" All the while, the knife was being plunged deeper towards our nation's heart by a man that makes Dan Quayle look like Plato. Thankfully, the wounds may not be mortal, but we don't know yet.

I thought our government was here to help us when we need it most. Tell that to the residents of the Gulf Coast. The President has turned disaster relief into a farce. He has promoted his own cronies with few qualifications to lead many important agencies such as FEMA.

As time has passed, I'm sorry that Gore didn't make a bigger fight after losing the 5-4 decision in the Supreme Court. I'm sorry that he didn't challenge all the Florida results. Can you imagine how different things might be today?

I can't be certain, but I know that Gore would not have gone to war in Iraq. Sure, 9/11 probably would have happened, but we don't know. There might have been more continuity between the Clinton and Gore Administrations. Perhaps someone might have listened. Instead of a Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Attack Within The United States" being ignored, I'm sure that Gore would have responded. I can't say for certain, but I think that Gore was more equipped to be in that office.

Sure, he had his negatives. For much of his political career, he was a one issue guy...the environment. But, he was a fine Vice President, and we have seen how much a good Vice President differs from our current one. I'm quite sure that Gore wouldn't have picked someone like Dick Cheney to serve with him. At least he wouldn't have appointed Dick Cheney to the committee to select Dick Cheney as the Vice President.

Anyway, I go back to January 20, 2001. I can remember that day so clearly. I was at a high school basketball game that day. In the parking lot at Center Grove High School, I heard the current President take the Oath of Office, and I just had a bad feeling. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. I felt that Gore had been robbed. I just knew that we had somehow done so wrong. Turns out, that I was right. Now, I feel sicker about everything.

The Presidential Race in 2000 came down to 570 some votes. 570 people that decided not to go to the polls. 570 people that couldn't get a ride to the polling site. 570 people that didn't think there was a better choice. 570 people that didn't think voting was important. 570 people that thought they couldn't make a difference. Granted, it's speculation, but it could have meant everything!

Let's make sure we don't make January 20, 2009 another rainy day for this country. It's time to send the Bush Administration and its heir to the throne John McCain home for good and it's time to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the highest two executive offices in the land.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bad Days for McCain

John McCain just opened his mouth and inserted both arms, hands, legs, and feet.

In a New Mexico town hall, McCain was nebulous about whether he supported a re-institution of the military draft or not saying, "I agree with everything you just said" to an individual that just suggested re-institution of the draft.

Then, yesterday, McCain did two interviews. In one, he repeated his false claim that the fundamentals of the American economy are strong. In the other, he fumbled around trying to answer how many homes he and wife Cindy own before saying that his staff would have to get back to the interviewer with a total.

It's SEVEN. Seven homes! Tonight, a McCain surrogate on Verdict with Dan Abrams tried to deflect the criticism by saying that many Americans have rental properties and multiple investments to which Abrams said..."REALLY? MANY AMERICANS?"

For a good number of Americans, they are having trouble holding on to one home. They can't pay the mortgage and then homes slip into foreclosure. McCain and his wife Cindy are multi-millionaires. It's going to be hard for the American people to accept that someone doesn't keep track of how many homes he or she owns or even how many homes in which he or she has invested.

Now, McCain has given Obama an easy lob a week before the Convention. Speaker after speaker after speaker at the Democratic soiree in Denver will drive home that McCain is out of touch with Americans and that he can't remember a simple thing like how many homes he and his wife own. If Obama picks Joe Biden as his running mate or even Hillary Clinton, that candidate will barnstorm around the Midwestern areas hit so hard by this downturn in the housing market and hit the same talking points.

I would expect you'll see Obama bump that lead back up as some undecideds come over to his side of the ledger. I also believe that if McCain had any chance of winning working class voters, then that chance just passed him like he was sitting still.

For the record, I own one house. I'm lucky that I can make the payment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Governor Daniels' Campaign song



OK...so not everything fits, but the Governor is fond of "Dancing A Little Sidestep" when it comes to the truth about Indiana's economy.

Condolences to the family of Stephanie Tubbs Jones

The Associated Press is reporting that Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio has passed away after suffering an aneurysm Tuesday night.

Rep. Tubbs Jones was an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration's conduct of the War on Terror and, like the late Julia Carson, voted against authorizing force in Iraq. She also opposed President Bush's tax cuts and served as a strong liberal voice in Congress.

Indy Democrat mourns the loss of this wonderful public servant.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Worst Job: Live Advertising Sign Holder

Tonight, as I turned on to Kentucky Ave. from High School Rd., I saw a lady that probably was at least 65-70 years old dressed in a Domino's Pizza uniform. She was standing on the berm just off the road holding an advertisement for a pizza promotion.

At first, I couldn't believe that she was standing where she was. I began to think if there was some ordinance against that practice. I have not done the research to find out. Certainly, the sign police aren't going to slap a "PROHIBITED SIGN" sticker on a live person...at least you wouldn't think they would.

Then, I got to thinking. I see these signs often. There's a whole group of sign holders now at 82nd and Allisonville, and I can't help but think what a crummy job this must be. Maybe it's not. Maybe these folks actually like doing it. I just can't imagine being this lady that I saw at an advanced age dancing around with a sign in my hand. I can't imagine the person that would drop her off and tell her to do this. Then, I kind of started feeling sad for her. Maybe I shouldn't, but I'm thinking why on Earth would she need THIS job at THIS time of her life...standing out in the hot summer afternoon inhaling exhaust fumes dancing around with a yellow sign in a Domino's uniform.

I see more and more seniors working. As pensions are dried up and lost, these folks depend on social security, but it's not enough to pay the bills. Somewhere, we've lost our way. This generation paved the way for our society today. We stand on their shoulders. In some cultures, the elders are revered for their wisdom, knowledge, and experience. In our culture, we put them in dorky uniforms and have them wave around signs. I couldn't help but feel a little sad tonight.

Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain vs. Mitchell...Don't Shoot the Messenger...

NBC News Washington Correspondent Andrea Mitchell got the John McCain campaign's dander flowing with a comment on Meet the Press that stated some in the Obama camp believe that McCain may have had advance knowledge of questions asked at Pastor Rick Warren's Saturday forum at the pastor's California superchurch.

Mitchell stated that the Obama camp felt that McCain may have cheated by listening in to the questions the Democrat was asked by Pastor Warren to prepare his own responses in advance. The right-wingers at Fox News quote Mitchell like this...“The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because what they are putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well-prepared.”

The McCain campaign angrily demanded a meeting with NBC News brass to complain about what they perceive to be an Anti-McCain bias by Mitchell. The letter by campaign manager Rick Davis called Mitchell out repeating what the Repubs consider unsubstantiated partisan claims on the Sunday news program "to undercut John McCain." Mitchell responded that she was not reporting opinion but what she had heard from the Obama campaign. Davis added that his candidate respected the "Cone of Silence" set up in the forum and did not listen in on Obama's time with the Pastor.

To me, it sounds a little like "They doth protest too much" and it makes you wonder if McCain may have left the superhero cone of silence. I could care less. I'm sure the Obama campaign may not be too happy with Mitchell, either. If you look at the full context of Mitchell's comments, it doesn't really look like it's that bad for McCain, anyway. Or, am I just missing something? Tempest in a teapot...make that a cone of silence?

Andrea Mitchell is a well-connected Washington journalist that has covered all sorts of beats for NBC News. I believe her to be one of the best in the biz. In my opinion, this is an argument that the McCain camp won't win. In the end, it makes them come off looking as protesting too much. The McCain campaign overreacted and now they are fodder for blogs like this one and cable news all over.

Maybe it speaks more to Meet the Press' status as well as Mitchell's status, too. In context though, I think the quote praises McCain for his performance...so much so that the Obama camp may be accusing him of shenanigans. If I'm John McCain, I immediately issue a press release saying this, "We did so well; they said we cheated." Unless he really did cheat. I'm sure that we'll never know what happened in that Cone of Silence.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Garfield Park...What a Drain!

I spent Sunday afternoon sitting in Garfield Park under the Pagoda for three hours at a picnic, and I had a lot of fun. Also having lots of fun were the assorted families and others that were enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the park. Many parking areas were full.

I couldn't help but think of Mayor Ballard's comments to the Indianapolis Star earlier this week about how the parks are "just a drain" on the budget. It made me think long and hard about that statement.

Judging by the people playing touch football, volleyball, using the grills, crowding under shelters, laughing, jogging, and a variety of other fun and safe activities in a beautiful place, I would have to say again that parks are a great gift of this city to its people.

If the Mayor is so concerned with the parks not producing revenue, why doesn't he get the council to propose a very nominal fee to enter the bigger parks by carload. Eagle Creek Park isn't free. I'd pay a dollar to use Garfield Park. There are many ways to ensure the parks are maintained and viable green spaces for Indy citizens to use and enjoy.

Still, free city parks may cost the city money, but they aren't "just a drain" on the budget. It's obvious that Mayor Ballard needs to enjoy an afternoon in the park to see that the only things the parks drain out of us is stress and boredom.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Courage...Vision...Results...What a crock!

Chalk it up to the "devil in the details" but I recently realized that Mitch Daniels has been running his Gubernatorial re-election campaign under this slogan "Courage, Vision, Results." It shows his complete disconnect with what is going on here in Indiana as well as just his utter arrogance.

COURAGE
Courage is what our troops show in Iraq. It's what our police officers and firefighters show each day on the job. Courage is someone battling a horrendous disease such as cancer, ALS, Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's. Courage in politics is bucking your party's line in favor of what you believe is right. Courage is not a campaign slogan. It is earned. It's not placed on a yard sign or a bumper sticker. Courage is courage. You know it when you see it and rarely do you ever say you had it yourself. What exactly has Mitch Daniels done these last four years to show true courage?

VISION
I will credit Mitch Daniels here. He had a vision. Unfortunately, it wasn't the right one. Daniels has cost the state billions of potential dollars by selling off our assets one by one. Instead of showing COURAGE to work through our problems, he has just decided that getting rid of things for a short-term financial solution is the best route to recovery. Governor Daniels has also shown the "courage" and "vision" to stop paying the state's obligations so that a surplus could be obtained. Because of his great "vision" on the repeal of the inventory tax, our property taxes went through the roof. His "vision" forced local government entities to eat it and raise taxes across the board. His "vision" killed collective bargaining at the state level on his FIRST DAY IN OFFICE

RESULTS
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. As a result of the Daniels Administration, you now have to get two jobs to replace the good paying one you lost. Daniels has said that $9.00 an hour is a good wage. It is...if you're 17. If you're supporting a family, that job isn't going to help you! The RESULTS of a Daniels Administration...lost jobs, higher taxes, poorer schools, and less state assets.

Perhaps his new slogan should be..."Solve Problems, VOTE ME OUT!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mayor Tells Star Parks "Just a drain"

Star columnist Matt Tully writes that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard called the parks system in Indianapolis "just a drain" on the budget because the costs are one way and no revenue comes back. I see it differently. I think we have too few parks here in Indianapolis, and I think this place would be a whole lot better with more green space.

Is the parks system inefficient? Maybe. I don't know the ins and outs of the parks budget, but the $1.1 billion Tully cites in his column is probably mostly spent in a couple of places...Eagle Creek Park and Garfield Park. There are tons of Indy Parks around that get little or no money from downtown. One of those parks is here on the Decatur/Wayne Township border, Bel-Aire Park.

The home of the former Bel-Aire Drive-in Movie Theatre, the park will host its annual Gospel Fest/Chili Cook-off/Car Show this weekend, and it's a big draw and a great event. The gates open at 9:00 a.m. with performances going all day on Saturday. The cost is just $5.00 and the park is trying to pay for water fountains (the drinking kind). I urge you to attend. The park is located just south of Kentucky Ave. on Tibbs.

Decatur Township would be a little less fun to live in if it were not for this small piece of green space. If we perhaps invested more in green space instead of other things, perhaps more people would want to live here. If we had a large "Central Park" type place (which we kind of do with the Canal), it could be a civic center and a point of pride for the area.

Instead, we have LOTS of monuments, but we don't have much in the way of green space. I'm not Al Gore, but I understand that planting trees helps control pollution. Concrete, limestone, and marble do not. We should be putting MORE money into our parks rather than reducing money.

I also can't understand the idea of how things can go underfunded or you can remove dollars from someone's budget and try to justify having a surplus. I spend what I earn. I save a little for later. Then again, I'm not a city. I don't have jails to fund or employees to pay. I don't have to provide services for anyone but myself. If you are cutting money out of budgets just to say you have a surplus, that, to me, makes little sense. In a perfect year, the government should break even.

In this case, Mayor Ballard doesn't understand that sometimes you have to spend some money to make money. The problem isn't necessarily that the parks aren't producing revenue. The parks produce a good, beautiful city to live in. I understand that's hard for Republicans to understand. There could also be ways to increase revenues in our parks system. Still, I don't want "Garfield Park presented by Eli Lilly" anytime soon.

It's a line in the sand people. He's cut the arts. The parks are next. It's great to control crime by hiring more police officers, but, Mr. Mayor, if there's nothing to do, your city reverts back to being "Naptown." Please don't cut our parks!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mr. Mayor Visits Hospital; Delivers Bum Budget

Serious as a Heart Attack
Before his budget speech in front of the City-County Council, Mayor Greg Ballard made a visit to Community East Hospital complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains. I, for one, hope that the Mayor's symptoms are not a larger symptom something worse.

I want to congratulate the Mayor on seeking help for what he was feeling on such a big day. Too many times, we men decide that we know our bodies so well. That little twinge in our arm was just because we were mowing the yard last night and must have pulled something. The shortness of breath is a result of putting on a couple of extra pounds. A heart attack will never happen to me. In this case, let Mayor Ballard be your example.

On the night of his first budget speech (of which we can debate the merits later), Mayor Ballard decided to act on what he felt was wrong. I wish the Mayor the best because, Republican or Democrat, heart disease knows no party lines. Mayor Ballard knows that his children and his wife need him, and I want to praise him for making sure everything was o.k. and that he sought treatment. The obituary pages are full of people that did not show such wisdom. I wish Mr. Mayor the best on the health front. He may have the wrong ideas, but I do believe him to be a good, decent man with a beautiful family.

BUDGET NUMBERS DON'T ADD UP
Besides the $5.5 million in cuts of Sheriff Frank Anderson's jail budget, cuts for the courts, the public defender's office, and community corrections, Mayor Ballard's new budget proposal also has cut the budgets of the township assessors and consolidated them under the Marion County Assessor.

Now, I've made no bones about my support for consolidation of township government into county government, but that is a case of counting your chickens before they are even eggs! The township assessors' fates in all but Decatur Township will be decided in November's referendum. There is a chance that they will not be consolidated, so his $3 million in savings there is fishy!

Mayor Ballard also is rolling back money dedicated for the continued storm sewer project. How much longer will it be before our poo is flowing into the White River again? This was a bi-partisan plan to fix our antiquated sewer system that was authored by City-County President Bob Cockrum!

Then, Mayor Ballard's new best friend Tom John comes out with a news release blaming the Peterson Administration for our current budget woes. I would dispute his math here, but, regardless, when Frank Anderson took the oath of office and inherited Jack Cottey's mess at the jail, he went around to all the township clubs and would not hear the criticism of his predecessor. "When I put my hand on the Bible and raised my other hand to take the oath of office," Anderson would say, "The jail's problems became Frank Anderson's problems."

Tom John could learn a lot from Frank Anderson. Regardless of who CAUSED (and blaming it all on Mayor Peterson's Administration is ridiculous) the problems, they are now YOUR MAYOR'S problems. Now, it looks like he's creating problems for the next Indianapolis Mayor who will take office in three and a half years.

I may be young, but I wasn't born yesterday, sir. You don't go from the city/county being broke one year and to a surplus the next without a lot of pencil pushing!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mayor Ballard's Public Safety Plan

First, his answer was to put out 1,000 yard signs to fight crime. Now, Mayor Ballard is trying to get down to business.

In his first budget, Mayor Greg Ballard hopes to create a surplus and end the city's debt. He does it by putting more money into crime fighting and enforcement but does the Republican Party proud by cutting money for the jail, the courts, and the public defender's office.

A little history lesson, under Republican rule, the conditions in the jail only got worse. It got so bad that Republican-appointee, Judge Sarah Evans Barker, put a court order on the Sheriff's Office to ease the overcrowding and improve conditions. The court system only got backed up further. The DNA labs couldn't deal with the flood of evidence, and the public defender's office became a home of attorneys that would work hard for little pay. The problem got so bad that the Marion County Jail was compared to similar facilities in Tijuana, and that wasn't a good thing. Cells were overcrowded. The food got contaminated. The jail was inhumane and overcrowded.

That's when Frank Anderson became the Sheriff. Working with Mayor Bart Peterson, Sheriff Anderson retook control of the jail and complied with Judge Barker's rule to improve conditions at the jail. Some of the moves proved controversial, but the results were clear. The jail became one of the biggest success stories in the United States.

Now, Mayor Ballard pays back Sheriff Anderson for the Sheriff's bi-partisan support= of his plan to pull IMPD back under his office's control with budget cuts.

I thought Public Safety was job one, Mr. Mayor! Don't forget that when you increase your crime fighting, you have to find somewhere to send them. The jail could slip back. You've also created trouble for the court systems, too. When you increase crime fighting, you have to have courts to convict or exonerate the people you arrest. If not, what happens? They sit in jail until they are bailed out or until the courts get to the case.

Public safety is not just about crime fighting, Mr. Mayor. You have to realize that there's a whole other side to it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Peace in Beijing Interrupted by Murder; Bushed

Todd Bachman didn't plan for this when he went to Beijing to watch his son-in-law coach volleyball. Instead of watching from the stands at the volleyball venue, he will unfortunately be laid to rest soon.

Bachman and his wife, Barbara, were attacked by a knife-wielding bandit that killed Todd Bachman and critically wounded Barbara before leaping 130-feet to his death off of the Drum Tower, an ancient tourist attractions the Bachmans were visiting. That was the only thing decent the knife-wielding assailant did.

Had this happened anywhere, it certainly would have made news, but it's amplified in this Olympic city and the inherent tension that American tourists now cause due to conditions out of their control. There's no information that the Bachmans were targeted because of their nationality, but it's an implicit part of this story. That's material for another blog entry.

While the Bachman family mourns its tremendous loss, we must remember that, absent any evidence to the contrary, this is NOT the fault of any of the Chinese organizers. This is not the fault of the Chinese government. It appears to be the fault of a single assailant out to inflict harm on unsuspecting tourists.

Still, through no fault of the Chinese, this will bring a dark tone over an otherwise bright moment for the country of China.

BUSHED ON BUSH
I had to choke down my Diet Coke watching our President giddily wave his American flag at the opening ceremonies. It's a shame that the man that occupies the office I respect so much has become such a caricature of himself. I just can't see him without throwing myself into "Jon Stewart" mode and putting words to what his inner monologue must be thinking. "Hehehe...How's that guy runnin' up there Laura...hehehe." "Hey Putin...why are you invadin' Georgia. I like Atlanta...hehehe"

You have to temper the President's goofiness with his record. President Bush has been harmful to this country in nearly every way. He has sent our troops abroad causing thousands of casualties for, at best, unclear reasons. He has embroiled his administration in an ever-growing list of scandals. He has put his trust in advisers that had misplaced motives. And THE HITS KEEP ON COMING!

So, you watch him goofily wave that American flag and realize that, for billions across the world, this is the face of America. This is the man that represents our country, our Presidency, US. And, frankly, it makes me sick. January 20, 2009 can't come soon enough.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mail Call...Bob Behning's Campaign Committee...the Indiana House of Representatives?

Today, I received the second mailing in a week from my Representative to the Indiana House, Mr. Robert Behning. This time, it's even MORE of a campaign piece than the property tax piece I received the other day. Just like the other three I've received since April, it's paid for by the Indiana House of Representatives.

I'm sure the constituents of every Republican legislator got the same information. This is a tri-fold piece. On the front, there is a neighborhood with white picket fences with "Indiana" written over it. Down the side, there are four pictures. One is of a multi-cultural group of children. The next pic is of a picnic scene complete with red and white checked table cloth and a patriotic flower display. True Hoosierism is shown in the third pic as people play a pickup game of basketball at twilight. And, finally, an inter-racial couple in outside a house with a big old porch. The assumed dad and mom smiling with the baby on daddy's shoulders. "Summer Update" it reads. "Representative Bob Behning."

When you open the tri-fold, the first thing you see is Rep. Behning railing on immigration reform. He talks about the failure to pass something last session and laments that it is only treated as a federal issue. He says that he's working to ensure that only Hoosier citizens are receiving "non-emergency state benefits" while not discussing what those benefits are. "Hard working Indiana residents should be able to count on their tax dollars going toward benefits for other Hoosiers and not people who are in this country illegally." Mr. Behning, you could cut taxpayer's postage costs if you'd just wiggled all of this into one "update" piece!

In the middle of the tri-fold, Behning hits on education talking about school choice, more dollars to the classroom, making textbooks affordable, increasing college affordability, keeping our graduates in Indiana and plugged into our economy, and strengthening our community college system. Mr. Behning was the Education Chair under the Republican majority in the House. He also sat by and supported the Indiana repeal of the inventory tax which, in part, created our property tax crisis.

The piece ends with a letter to the voter.

"Dear Neighbor:
This summer is a challenging time for Hoosiers. All of us are facing higher costs for energy, gas, food and other essentials.

"Money is tight. I understand and respect that. And I believe government should do more to help you keep more of the money you earn.

"Create higher-paying jobs and success-based solutions. Ronald Reagan was right: 'Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem.' We should hold the line on government interference and spending. Instead we must work to create an environment in which entrepreneurs and private businesses create high paying jobs and boost the economy.

"Government is not the answer to all problems. Relying on government has become a habit for many in state and federal government. On the national level, members of both parties have decided that throwing money at a problem can lead to success, and we all know that has not worked. Relying on government for the solution will mean spending more of your hard-earned money, taken from you through higher taxes. It saddles the problem on the backs of taxpayers who already bear enough of a berden.

"Reigning in government and opening the throttle of our economic engines is the best way to bring prosperit to all corners of Indiana.

"I believe we can do this, and I believe the time to do it is now.

Sincerely,
Bob Behning"

I know the letter was long, but let's analyze here. Rep. Behning is complaining about wasteful government spending. THREE MAILINGS PAID FOR BY THE INDIANA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SINCE APRIL? That's wasteful, Mr. Behning.

In his letter, he rails on how government has been ineffective. Rep. Behning has been in the Indiana House since 1993, and he has also been in the Republican leadership for several years. I find it hard to buy an anti-government message from someone who has been in office for 15 years.

Mr. Behning proposes new spending on education and other programs which I applaud. Then, he contradicts himself by saying throwing money at a problem doesn't fix it. He's right...but don't insult my intelligence by proposing new spending without any specifics attached to it and then in the same piece rail on programs like that. I'm smarter than that, Mr. Behning.

And, finally, the "update" portion on the SCOURGE of illegal immigration. Now, the Republicans like to get everyone riled up on issues like this one. A few years ago, it was gay marriage. The issues that resonate right now are the economy, the economy and the economy. He talks about non-emergency benefits, but he doesn't spell out what those benefits are? The use of schools? What? What about the undocumented immigrants that move to the United State illegally but have children here? Do these children not become U.S. Citizens at birth? So, do we just leave them out? Tell us, Mr. Behning, what you mean by "non-emergency benefits."

Perhaps immigration reform plays a role in the economic situation we're in, but I think it has more to do with the price of our essentials. Gas, food, energy, etc. That's why people can't afford things. He misses the big issue right now...or at least just glosses over it. It's the ECONOMY, the ECONOMY and the ECONOMY! Or, as Hillary Clinton said at Ben Davis High School during the primary campaign, "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

We've lost 44,000 good paying jobs according to Rep. Dennie Oxley since June of last year! This "summer update" says nothing about how you are going to bring jobs here. It says nothing about what you've done to stop that bleeding, Mr. Behning. When Governor Daniels says we are getting two jobs to replace every one lost, I say again that you have to GET two jobs to replace the ONE you lost.

PLEASE, Mr. Behning, just tell us the truth. You are a good, honorable, decent man. I respect you because you do LISTEN to me, but I don't think you HEAR me. I still plan to help try to get you into the Ben Davis Alumni Wall of Fame. Still, if you're going to send me three mailings, please don't use them to run for office if I'm paying for them. I know you likely had little to do with this decision, but please take these ideas back to your caucus! And, yes, I know we do it on our side of the aisle, too!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Advance Indiana Gloats but Refuses to Report the Truth

Given the revelation today that John Edwards did actually have an affair, Gary Welch over at Advance Indiana is gloating that he should be receiving apologies for picking up the tabloid story and running with it while the mainstream media didn't report it.

That's fine. I commented to him that I didn't apologize, but I would be eating crow on the story. Why should I apologize to someone that refuses to post a link to my blog and to IPOPA's blog even though I sent him a nice e-mail to ask him to link here. Like IPOPA, I will gladly continue to provide a link to his blog. I do this because sometimes Gary has some good things to say.

Still, when some people challenge his version of the truth, he refuses to publish the comments. That's perfectly fine, and it is within his rights as the administrator of his own blog. He rightly points out that Edwards' actions were hypocritical, but I believe it takes a hypocrite to know one.

Gary recently blogged that Obama's Indiana campaign presence was smoke and mirrors. When I simply pointed out that the Obama camp recently named 92 representatives in every county and that the campaign has organizers on the ground in Indianapolis and the surrounding counties forming township-by-township teams, Gary refused to publish that comment. He also apparently refused to publish my comment that made note that the number of comments to his blog posts had dwindled to just five or so per post.

Again, that's fine. I was on his good side a few weeks ago when I called him out on failing to report that Obama led in two Gallup polls when he reported that McCain was up in one Gallup poll. That's the sort of thing he likes to point out. Now, he's all over the mainstream media again for failing to report Edwards' affair.

The thing is that he's right in a way. Edwards should be held to somewhat of a higher standard because he's the one that had his family on the trail with him. It's very disappointing to hear this and sad, too. I have a great deal of respect for Elizabeth Edwards. It must be incredibly trying on her to have what should be a personal matter play out in the media.

That's the mantle you accept when you run for public office. When you start a blog, though, you have to have a thick enough skin to take a little bit, too. Blogs are all opinion. If Gary Welch doesn't want to publish my posts or link to this blog...fine with me. I'm going to sleep just fine tonight. It just seems like the sort of thing Gary Welch would blog against.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ask, and you shall receive...

OpenID callingbooboo said...

Please discuss if a democrat should vote democrat regardless of their qualifications.... IE I'm stuck with Monroe Gray and Andre Carson....

August 5, 2008 4:13 PM
-----------------------------------------------------
That comment was left recently on this blog. I would like to respond to this.

The short answer is NO. If you don't agree with a candidate's positions or personal conduct, then you should NOT vote for that candidate.

I had this situation in the 1998 Congressional race in Dan Burton's district. At the time, I was living in Franklin Township. The candidates that I could choose from on Election Day were...Republican Burton, Democrat Bobby Hidalgo "Kern", or Libertarian Joe Hauptmann. I voted for Joe. I could not bring myself to vote for Burton or Hidalgo, so I decided to vote for the Zionsville teacher. If I remember correctly, there were many people that did that same thing because Mr. Hauptmann polled around 10 percent of the vote (rather than the 2-3 percent Libertarians seem to usually poll).

If I lived in Monroe Gray's district, I would not under any circumstances, vote for him. I would have to see who the candidate that was running against him was as to determine whether I would vote for that candidate. Against my better judgment, I might leave a ballot spot blank if I could not support either candidate or the third party choices. I would hate to do it, but my vote means that much to me. All of that said, I do not live in Monroe Gray's district. I don't mean to pile on Monroe, but I simply cannot support him. I believe our party would be better off with another councillor in that seat. On a personal level, he seems like a nice enough guy. In the interest of full disclosure, I did attend a fundraiser for all the Democratic Council candidates, and I contributed to the fundraiser.

On the second name this poster mentions, I have proudly cast votes for André Carson in both the Special Election and the Primary Election. I have personally gotten to know André and have been following his career thus far in Congress, and his performance has been, in my view, sensational. I believe that this is very clearly underlined by the fact that the Republicans are mustering no significant challenge to his seat this fall.

Despite this fact, Congressman Carson has not slowed down one bit missing just a few votes in Congress (because he was here for the primary) and bringing home funding for homeowners, public safety, and flooding victims. He is building a more than solid record for a man that entered Congress as Representative #435 out of 435 in seniority.

In short, taking names out of it...you should never waste your vote on a candidate you don't agree with because a vote should be sacred. You should be able to leave the ballot box feeling like you made the right choice for you. Elections...especially for council seats...have been AMAZINGLY close recently, so it's definitely a concern.

Putting names into it...Gray-I feel your pain; Carson-You are just plain wrong about André.

Hope that answers your question.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

GET WELL GREG

According to WIBC, Mayor Ballard apparently underwent minor outpatient surgery today on his knee. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Mr. Mayor. We need you out there helping us put out your 1,000 yard signs to fight crime.

Mark off Pawlenty

Unless he's going for a Vice President that can actually lighten the tone of the current Presidential race, Senator John McCain can mark Governor Tim Pawlenty off his list.

A day after McCain's odd performance at the Sturgis Rally where he compared the roaring motorcycles to Obama's Berlin crowd of 200,000 and offered up his wife as Miss Buffalo Chip, one of the leading Republican candidates on McCain's list must have drank some different Kool-Aid than McCain.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080806/ap_on_el_pr/pawlenty_obama

In the article, the Minnesota Governor PRAISES Obama saying that "people gravitate when you have something positive to say." There's a novel idea. Positivity...hmmm... Doesn't quite go with the campaign seed planted by the candidate Keith Olbermann astutely compared to Grandpa Simpson last night on Countdown.

He added that people "want to follow hopeful, optimistic, civil, decent leaders." That's AUDACIOUS! Then, he criticized his own party for not being sufficiently Reagan-like for not coming up with good ideas calling his own party's ideas "a little stagnant" over the last few years.

I guess Pawlenty doesn't want the job. McCain's chances go down in a "hopeful, optimisitc, civil, decent" campaign. He needs a hatchet man like Mitt Romney who can throw insults with a winning smile. Plus, Romney has flip-flopped on his views just about as much as McCain has. He's a perfect fit!

So, will Pawlenty then vote for Obama? Doubtful. He showed that he hasn't been paying much attention to the campaign when he said that McCain has a positive message as well. Whatever the Gov. is smoking; he needs to pass it around a little bit to everyone. We won't inhale.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Vice President Bayh?

Evan Bayh has a great chance to be our next Vice President of the United States. He brings much to the ticket. Beyond that, it underscores the need to elect to give Jill Long Thompson a new North Meridian Street address at the Governor's Mansion (where she says she will actually LIVE).

In Indiana, should Evan Bayh get selected then elected, then it falls to the Governor to select a new Senator to finish out the term of Senator Bayh. If Mitch is re-elected, then he will likely choose someone to fill that seat from the GOP. Let's speculate who might be measuring for new office furniture in one of the Senate Offices in Washington should Mitch be re-elected. How about...Senator Bosma? Senator Kenley? Senator Pat Miller? Senator Steve Carter? Maybe he'll go all Dick Cheney and name himself. It would be a true Mitch "Major Move". Better yet, maybe Mitch will sell the rights to the Senate seat to an out-of-country conglomerate that will buy the seat for a one-time check of $4 billion.

The stakes are too great, and Jill Long Thompson needs to beat this drum hard if Senator Bayh is selected by Senator Obama. I hate to fear-monger, but there are some Republicans in our state legislature from the Rick Santorum-wing of the Republican Party. They will be in office until 2010 and then run from an incumbent's position.

We simply can't let that happen. Jill Long Thompson needs to be elected so that she could nominate...Senator Bart Peterson? Just a thought, but it might be a great way back in the door for Mayor Bart. Maybe Senator David Orentlicher?

The bottom line is that Jill Long Thompson needs to be elected then it doesn't give former Governor Daniels to give us Senator Becky Skillman...AHHHHH!

The Governor's Race...

Okay, so, I'll be honest. I liked Jill Long Thompson from the start, and, while she has done much to disappoint me in the early days of the General Election campaign, she seems to finally be getting her sea legs under her.

I was disappointed that it took Jill so long to pick a Lt. Gov. When she did, she picked a conservative Democrat that voted to place discrimination into our Indiana Constitution. However, I understand her pick was to move her more towards the center and unite the ticket. Still, she could have picked ANY other Democrat. She chose Dennie Oxley. It's okay. I'm warming to the fellow.

Now, she's up with an ad that is fairly strong. I like the content, and I think it takes some swipes at Mitchell E. Daniels for being what he is...out of touch with Indiana. According to her campaign, the ad has put Jill in the spotlight once again even drawing a few new volunteers to the fray.

We shall see. Any election between an incumbent and another candidate is always about the incumbent. Unfortunately, people seem to be buying Mitch's brand of what Penn & Teller call "Bull****" as he is hovering near 50 percent.

Still, Mitchie has to be extremely concerned because he has spent more money than most Geist-area residents to get re-elected, and he's struggling to pull away. Now, Jill has gone all "Greg Ballard" on Mitch and has printed "Enough is Enough" on her campaign literature.

In a way, this election does remind me of the 2007 Indianapolis Mayoral race. This year, it's a bad climate for incumbents. Despite Mitch's slick ads which claim otherwise, taxes are up and jobs are going bye bye. The "two jobs for every one" claim simply means that you have to get two jobs to replace the one you lost. This Governor doesn't understand what it means to be poor even though he is one of the chief architects of the largest budget deficit in our country's history.

One good thing about Jill Long Thompson is that she's not afraid to brawl and go negative. I expect the campaign will go muddy soon. We saw that she torpedoed the heavily-favored Jim Schellinger by taking her case to the people. She outworked him. That's what it's going to take to beat Old Mitchie. The man who took up eating fried twinkies about the time he got his "Hoosier accent" in 2004.

And, while we're on the topic of Jim Schellinger. When are you going to do the right thing and come out in full complete in the open public support for the person that beat you fair and square? When will you give the endorsement? I know you're bitter, but you are not helping defeat Mitch Daniels. Swallow hard. Show that toughness you got playing high school football, and do the right thing. It couldn't have been easy for Hillary Clinton to do it, and if you're in politics very long (and I keep hearing your name and Mayor in the same sentence), you need to find a way to at least fake graciousness. (UPDATE: Schellinger apparently sent a letter of endorsement to major media outlets and county chairs/vice chairs. Still, I believe Jim needs to be much more vocal in his support to help heal the divide between his staunch supporters and the Democratic nominee. Thanks to a reader for this update.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mail Call

Today's mail brings a slick piece from my representative to the Indiana House, Bob Behning. It touts Behning's "work" as a legislator to bring about property tax reform. The front of the mailing has a nice updated picture of Rep. Behning and a nice, tranquil neighborhood full of houses that look almost identical. There's a "stamp" in red saying..."Property Tax Relief Delivered."

On the flipside, Behning touts how property tax payers called for "reform of a broken system" and how the structure of our government does not "serve the needs of 21st Century Hoosiers."

Welcome to the discussion Mr. Behning! You've spent my tax money to send me something that's obviously a campaign piece even though it really technically isn't a campaign piece. Behning was in the majority when a major part of the cause of the property tax explosion came to being. He voted to push the property tax burden on to homeowners by getting rid of the inventory tax without making the necessary arrangements to replace it.

Mr. Behning also talks about how in Marion County there are "45 separate taxing units." He's now spouting the line on government consolidation. Again, I say welcome to the conversation. While Behning was not totally an outspoken critic of what he now calls "bloated government," he certainly was not an advocate against it.

Amazingly, this all sounds like the campaign we ran for City-County Council District 22 when I was helping Steve Terrell on the Democratic side. We talked again and again about these same issues last year. We also talked about how the property tax system was from the 1800's. Guess what Mr. Behning now calls it? "I believe the constitutional caps will be a key step in updating our 19th-century taxing system. This is likely a tweak before we work on any of the unintended consequences of the result." We're tired of tweaks and unintended consequences.

On the back, there are pictures of another neighborhood. This neighborhood is full of beautiful new homes. They are all brick with three car garages. Just the kind of houses you DON'T find in most of Mr. Behning's district.

So, now, Mr. Behning appears to be a pro-consolidation government reformer. Too bad he wasn't working on that when he was busy changing the education funding formula and fighting that gay marriage issue. Maybe if he was willing to work with Mayor Bart Peterson on the Indy Works proposal a little more, perhaps we wouldn't be in the situation we're in today.

Another gem..."Bloated government--unnecessary boards, commissions, and committees--leads to greater regulation and bureaucratic red tape, all of which costs taxpayers money." Again, been there, done that, have the t-shirt. We've been beating this drum for a long time on this side of the aisle. And also, WHO exactly appoints the boards that aren't elected? Usually those...ready for this...ELECTED OFFICIALS!!

I like Bob Behning as a person, but this latest piece he sent me is completely full of it! It's not the Republican District 91 elected in 1992.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Indy's Crime Wave

According to the Indianapolis Star, July 2008 was the deadliest in five years in Indianapolis. That's a very sad statistic, and I'm not going to lie that it changed some of my choices about what to do or where to go. However, Mayor Ballard has a real problem.

When he campaigned in 2007, he made very few promises. He made very little about his vision for the city known. Everything was couched in his "Had Enough?" slogan. He was the anti-Bart Peterson, and it was a good year to be the "anti-Bart" given all that was going on at the time. While Mayor Peterson had the ideas, the qualifications, and the vision for the city, Mayor Ballard was the nice guy alternative. If you weren't happy with Mayor Peterson, then you thought...let's give this other guy a try.

One of the things that Mayor Ballard did take a stance on was crime. He said that he would make the city safer and that public safety was the mayor's number one job. In a lot of ways, he is right about that. He criticized Mayor Peterson for a lack of leadership and said he believed the police department needed to be the mayor's responsibility.

Now, our hard working law enforcement folks are out there on the streets each night, and they do a great job. Most of the individuals perpetrating crime in this city are or have already been criminals. It's rare that anyone is a victim of a random violent act. Typically, there are past issues that lead to someone's murder. Maybe a bad drug deal, a double cross, whatever.

The bottom line is that Mayor Ballard is the one where the buck stops now. When Indy citizens don't feel safe, it won't be the Sheriff that takes the brunt of the backlash...right or wrong...it will be the Mayor's Office. Mayor Ballard has created a lose-lose situation for himself because you will never stop all crime. It's impossible. There will always be bad people.

In the past, some mayors would have been inoculated from this crime wave. Mayor Ballard will be caught by it. The reason??? Unless something happens fast, he's the guy that insisted things would get better if the Police Department were under his jurisdiction. Maybe that's unfair, but it's the way it is.

As a person, I like Mayor Ballard. He seems like a nice fellow. I've met him a few times, and I respect the amazing and jaw dropping win he had in November. I believe now he knows the job he got may be just a little bit more than he bargained for.

The interesting thing is that if things continue down this path; it could be the Democratic candidate for mayor that is saying "Had Enough?". For all our sakes in this city, I hope that the current administration gets crime under control. Still, it may be very difficult for Mayor Ballard politically when he got the responsibility he wanted.

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The views expressed on this blog are the views of the individual contributor and are not necessarily the views of any Democratic organization, school district, or neighborhood association.

This blog is not affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, the Indiana Democratic Party, or the Marion County Democratic Party.