Saturday, October 31, 2009

Delaney Hospitalized in Brutal "Apparent Murder Attempt"

Terry Burns over at the Indianapolis Times relayed a report from Channel 8's Jim Shella that State Representative Ed Delaney was attacked this morning. Here is the post from Terry's Indianapolis Times Blog.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Ed and his family.

This from Jim Shella at WISH-TV:

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) - State Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) is being treated at Methodist Hospital after an apparent murder attempt.

Carmel Police Lt. Jeff Horner said that at approximately 10:15 Saturday officers responded to a welfare check on Catherine Dr. A witness called the police stating that she saw someone she knew that appeared to be in trouble. The witness stated that the subject was in a black PT Cruiser.

When the Carmel Officers arrived on Catherine Dr. they saw a male subject, later identified as Augustus J. Mendenhall, on top of another male subject. Mendenhall was punching the other subject in the head. Mendenhall ran when he saw the police approaching. After a short foot chase Mendenhall was tased and taken into custody.

Ed’s wife Ann reports that he was lured to the meeting in Carmel under false pretenses. She said the mn pulled a gun on 66-year-old DeLaney. When the gun jammed, the attacker used it to beat DeLaney.

The suspect, 38 year old Augustus J. Mendenhall from Indianapolis, was transported to Carmel Saint Vincent’s Hospital where he was checked out and released. He was then transported to the Hamilton County Jail where he is being held without bond.

Mendenhall is facing charges of Attempted Murder, Robbery, Aggravated Battery, Resisting Law Enforcement and Criminal Confinement."

WISH reports that Delaney suffered two broken bones in his face as well as cuts and bruises. Shella says the injuries will require surgery.

I second Terry's call for thoughts and prayers for Rep. Delaney. Get well soon, sir!

UPDATE: The Indianapolis Star has more details here. Sounds like Ed is in good spirits, and that's good news.

Abdul Endorses YES Vote on Wishard

Local conservative talker Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has endorsed a "yes" vote on the Wishard referendum.

Abdul writes on his Indiana Barrister blog:

"Why Wishard Works For Me
For most of the Wishard referendum debate, I’ve basically been neutral. I understand the need for building a new facility, but I also understand the taxpayers have been burned on projects like the Library and Lucas Oil Stadium. I’ve heard arguments on both sides and critically watched presentations by both proponents and opponents. However, it was a letter that came in the mail to my wife the other day that took me off the fence. It was her property tax bill.

She was glad that due to tax caps her bill had virtually been cut in half since 2007. I decided to do a little closer inspection and look at each unit of government and how much they were taking, specifically Health and Hospital. The Health and Hospital portion of her bill has dropped 112% since 2007 and only made up 7% of her current tax bill. When I saw that, I decided the Wishard referendum works for me.

Many opponents of the referendum say they are concerned the bonds Wishard wants to float will be backed by property taxes and if’ Wishard’s revenue stream, which is funded in part by its nursing home revenue, is disrupted it will result in a tax increase. I think the criticism is legitimate, but not fatal.

Let’s assume the worse and there’s a 10% increase in the Health and Hospital portion of my wife’s tax bill to pay for the construction. By my count, she’s forking over an extra $4 a year. She spends $4 a day on Starbucks. A good glass of scotch will cost me $8. I think we can afford it. And to put it in even more perspective that $4 increase comes in the heels of more than $600 in property tax deductions she now enjoys due to the caps.

However, I doubt things would even get that far. In order for there to be a tax increase, Health and Hospital would have to go to the City-County Council and get permission since it is a municipal corporation. And I don’t see anyone on the Council approving a property tax increase for the Hospital. If anything, I see more scrutiny in Wishard’s future as Councilors will be watching closely and monitoring cost overruns. And the public should be there as well, watching and paying attention and holding officials accountable.

Like I said, I started out in neutral and after looking at how under the worse case scenario a 10% increase in Health and Hospital translates into a less than a penny a day from our combined income, Wishard is something we can live with. Now there are some people that taking a penny is too much and they are free to vote their beliefs. But for us, it’s no big deal."

The only complaint from me is that he picked a Saturday to post it. I can imagine his show Monday morning on WXNT, 1430 AM, will be interesting as he gets some blowback from his Republican and Libertarian friends.


Holidays of any sort give me a chance to thank you all for reading my blog! Your support means the world to me. Have a happy and safe Halloween. Now, from my childhood, is one of my all time favorite Halloween songs. I remember seeing a filmstrip with this song accompanying it at Chapelwood Elementary School. Oh...the days.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Making The Rounds: Barnes Talks About Saving Beech Grove's 911 Dispatch Center

At last night's Perry Township Democratic Club meeting, a light turnout of candidates but a crowd of 30 turned out. Apparently, many candidates had other engagements as there were a couple of high-profile fundraisers last night for Marion County Prosecutor candidate Terry Curry and Marion County Assessor candidate Joe O'Connor.

State Rep. John Barnes spoke briefly about a topic of interest to the City of Beech Grove. To allow Beech Grove to keep its 911 Dispatch Center, Barnes says he plans to write legislation to exclude Marion County from a 2008 General Assembly law reducing the number of 911 Dispatch Centers per county to two by 2014. Beech Grove Mayor Joe Wright has proposed saving money by closing the Beech Grove Dispatch Center and pushing its functions off on the Town of Speedway. According to Barnes, his legislation would prevent Wright from utilizing the state law to close the 911 Dispatch Center arguing that the Beech Grove Republican has mismanaged the city's resources for "many years."

Several news agencies reported on the contentious city council meeting Wednesday night where Beech Grove's Council passed a budget on a 4-3 party line vote. Channel 6 called the budget unfunded citing a $1.7 million shortfall. Channel 13 also reported on the issue. Channel 8's report is here.

While considering cutting the Beech Grove 911 Dispatch Center, the city's own website trumpets Main Street revitalization. The ambitious proposal is here. Sounds beautiful...unless you get mugged there and dial 911. Revitalization projects are nice, but it seems to me the mayor should want to save his city's 911 center first.

Here is Barnes' full news conference on his legislative proposal.

Other than Rep. Barnes also making the rounds at the meeting were the following officeholders and candidates.

Center Township Advisory Board Member Larry Ryan
Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Businessman Brian Williams, candidate for Mayor
Colonel John Layton, candidate for Marion County Sheriff
College Student Chris Jackson, candidate for City-County Council in District 22
Represented by Surrogates:
Attorney Terry Curry, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Chief Deputy Assessor Joe O'Connor, candidate for Marion County Assessor
Former Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy, candidate for Mayor
Small Business Owner Zach Adamson, candidate for City-County Council At-Large

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why I Voted Yes on the Wishard Referendum.

I voted YES to building a new Wishard Hospital.

I did it on Monday at the HealthPlex on 10th Street essentially right across the street from what will soon to be, hopefully, the OLD Wishard Hospital. I have read the long diatribes of Gary Welsh and his friends on his blog. I have listened to good friends on both sides of the referendum, and I have seen Matt Gutwein and Lisa Harris do their road show twice now. I have heard from both sides. Weighing the options, I voted yes.

One thing that I have learned in my years of being actively involved in politics is that both sides of this issue want to sway you. The folks against the project want to move you one way, and the folks for the proposal want to move you another.

Having had friends deal with the Wishard Health Network, I do not think that Wishard is embellishing the need for a new hospital. It's needed. It's necessary, and I think we should build it.

That doesn't mean that I'm unmoved by Welsh, Jon Elrod, or anyone else against the project and their arguments. They are all smart people. Perhaps even smarter than I am. However, I watched a close friend of mine deal with the good folks at Wishard. I watched the cramped and crowded emergency room be utilized. I walked all around the spread out hospital with my friend. I sat with my friend at Midtown Mental Health when they were swamped. They are special people, and they need a special place to continue to do their good work.

A yes vote keeps one of the nation's pre-eminent hospitals open and thriving, and the data doesn't lie on that. A yes vote helps future people be served by Wishard's excellent burn unit, level one trauma center, and mental health programs. I voted FOR Wishard because I believe in its mission, and I want to see that mission fulfilled. I don't even care if it costs me more in taxes.

I understand the issues at hand. I understand that, in a worst case scenario, my property tax money may be used to pay for this. I understand all of it, and I still voted yes because I believe it's the right time to help bring Wishard into this new millenium.

This is not a political issue. It's a human issue. That's why everyone from Richard Lugar to Greg Ballard to Congressman Carson is endorsing it. In this tough economic time, this new Wishard is a new project that will bring in jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

There are plenty of reasons to vote for it or against it when it comes to this referendum, but, if you throw everything...all the rhetoric...out. The right thing to do, in my estimation, is to vote for a new Wishard Hospital that will serve this city for years to come.

So, I'm sorry to my friends against the proposal. You probably think I'm a part of the problem. I'd like to think that we could all be a part of the solution in making Wishard an even more efficient and better place for all of Marion County.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meet Pete...If You Haven't Already

Peter Buttigieg is an exploratory candidate for Indiana Treasurer, officially. The Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar sent a campaign announcement e-mail to potential supporters yesterday. The e-mail stated the importance of the race and cut to the chase about why a change from the current occupant is necessary. Buttigieg writes:

"I am in this race for a number of reasons. First, Hoosiers deserve better than the current State Treasurer. Unfortunately, the incumbent has made poor decisions that have jeopardized not only our tax dollars, but Hoosier jobs. The incumbent has invested in junk bonds and other risky financial instruments. He has used this important office to launch needless partisan political attacks against President Obama, against energy reform, and against health care legislation. And, despite the thousands of Hoosier jobs it would have threatened, he even used our tax dollars to sue the federal government in an effort to stop the rescue of Chrysler.

Secondly, I think we need an innovative, proactive State Treasurer who will do more to better the lives of all our citizens. As Treasurer I will put in place policies that encourage us to invest our tax dollars in Indiana-based businesses so we can create more jobs right here at home. I will work to protect our families from unscrupulous mortgage lenders and out-of-control credit card companies. And I will work to improve transparency in the office, while aggressively promoting financial awareness and literacy.

Finally, I am running for this office because I know I am ready to do this job. I used my time at Harvard and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford to learn the principles of economics. And in my experience as a businessman - advising leading business, nonprofit, and government leaders on major strategic decisions around the world - I have put those principles into practice, gaining insight on how to invest wisely and securely. And my involvement in state and local politics has taught me the real difference that dedicated and responsible leaders can make."

At the IDEA Convention, Pete and pals made a huge splash by putting homemade "Meet Pete" signs on the road leading into French Lick. It became a fun topic of conversation around the convention with many folks trying to figure who exactly this Pete guy was and why was everyone clamoring to meet him. When you met him, as many did, you found out why.

Meet Pete at his website,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Public Option Strikes Back

"I'm not dead...I'm getting better."

If the public option was to quote a movie line, that classic one from Monty Python and the Holy Grail about sums it up.

Harry Reid stunned liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, and children of all ages yesterday when he announced the version of the Senate bill that will be brought to the floor for a vote will, in fact, include an opt-out public option for the states. The compromise that Reid has been pushing allows conservative Democrats a little wiggle room, and it appears to be working.

Reid's either incredibly smart or incredibly dumb. The fact that he is bringing this bill to the floor means that he likely very nearly has a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate. If not, he is at least forcing the Democratic caucus to think twice before voting against health care reform or lose their progressive base support.

Now, here's the question as well, can Reid count on ANY Republicans to support the legislation? Is there a Lugar or Collins or Snowe wild card up his sleeve?

Personally, I think this was something that Reid had to at least bring to the floor. If he had not, his tenure as Majority Leader likely would have been in jeopardy because the progressive wing of the party would have accused him of failing to take a risk. If he doesn't pass the legislation with the required number of votes, his risk may cost him the position anyway because he couldn't keep his caucus in order. The decision, however, takes the pressure off himself and puts it squarely on the backs of on-the-fence Democrats like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

Evan Bayh has been extremely quiet in this health care debate, and you would have to figure that both Indiana senators could serve as swing votes either way. Lugar has been progressive in many ways lately voting to ban concealed weapons in national parks and for hate crimes legislation. Who knows if a vote for health care reform might be something he has up his sleeve? Lugar appears to be building a resume of a Senator who may or may not be running for re-election in 2012. If he is, he's building it as if Indiana is now officially a swing state.

The Senate plan continues to be much less liberal than the House plan pushed by Nancy Pelosi. Perhaps sensing a loss coming, House Minority Leader John Boehner continues to advocate for throwing out the progress made towards health care reform and starting over. Boehner seems to be saying, "Your reform stinks so try our plan...and we'll have that plan when welll...uh...socialism...death panel...Obama...communist(poof-disappears into a cloud of tanning powder)."

Hat's off to Harry, now let's hope he can get his caucus to support it and bring a few Republicans on board, too.

Voorhies Gets AFL-CIO Nod

House District 92 challenger Brett Voorhies continues to show early muscle to potential challengers for the nomination by claiming the coveted endorsement of the largest federation of labor unions in Indiana.

Voorhies, who has already pulled in thousands in campaign cash, has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO. The announcement was posted on Voorhies campaign website, If you don't have time to click the link to read the announcement, here it is from October 19.

Indiana AFL-CIO endorses Voorhies for State House
Organized labor offers early support for Democrat in House District 92 Race

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Today Brett Voorhies, a Democratic candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives, welcomed the endorsement of the Indiana State AFL-CIO Executive Council, the state’s largest labor organization.

A longtime community, political and labor activist, Voorhies is running in Marion County’s House District 92, which covers western Wayne and Pike townships, from Morris Road on the south to 96th Street on the north, including most of the Town of Speedway.

In making the endorsement, AFL-CIO President Ken Zeller cited Voorhies’ experience fighting for working people on local, state and national levels as a key factor behind the organization’s endorsement.

"As the Legislative and Political Coordinator for the United Steel Workers, Brett understands the fight working men and women face every day to provide for their families and maintain dignity on their job.” Zeller said. “He has been a tremendous voice for working people throughout his life, and we will do everything we can to make sure that Brett takes that voice to the Indiana House of Representatives to fight for us there.”

Voorhies, who lives with his wife Angie and two young children just outside of Speedway, is currently the Legislative and Political Coordinator for the United Steelworkers International Union. In his 17 years on the job, Voorhies has worked with elected officials, business people and labor to create new jobs, protect workers and improve educational opportunities for Hoosier families through the various legislative and grassroots initiatives he has spearheaded.

“I am honored that my fellow working men and women have endorsed my candidacy and offered their assistance,” said Voorhies. “I am running for this office for them, and I know I can’t do it without them. This early endorsement is another great sign of the momentum this effort continues to build and speaks well of things to come.”

As a state representative, Voorhies pledges to work to create new manufacturing jobs for Hoosier workers by developing the demand for the industrial components for wind, solar and other clean energy. He will also work to improve Indiana’s schools, for low taxes and to keep our streets safe by funding police and fire services.

To learn more about Brett Voorhies, or his campaign for House District 92, please visit or call (317) 435-3333.

Voorhies is a candidate for the House seat currently occupied by Republican Phil Hinkle.

Stephanie DeKemper, who ran for the seat in 2008, is also looking at a run on the Democratic side. Looks like House District 92's race will be interesting all the way. Whether it's Voorhies or DeKemper, Hinkle can expect a strong challenge again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shepard/Byrd Act Passes Through Congress...FINALLY

Quietly on Thursday, the Senate passed the long-awaited Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It took a little slight of hand in the House, where the bill began, to do it as the leadership put the bill as a rider on the back of a defense appropriations bill, but it worked! The act extends protection of the 1969 United States hate crime law to, as Wikipedia puts it, include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

This new and improved act removed the prerequisites that the victim be going to school or voting. It also gives the federal government the ability to take up and investigate potential hate crimes that local communities decide to pass on. It provides federal funding for state and local governments to investigate hate crimes, and, importantly, it requires the FBI for the first time to track and keep data on hate crimes perpetrated against transgender individuals.

It's a landmark piece of legislation that so many have fought for, and it also stands to memorialize the two individuals that are in the name of the act, Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.

In case you've forgotten, Shepard died on October 12, 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming. The prosecution in the case said that the murderers pretended to be gay in order to befriend Shepard lure him out of the bar and rob him. The graphic details of the crime are enough to make you sick. Shepard was beaten, tortured, and tied to a fence post where he suffered for 18 hours before being found. He was rushed to the hospital, but his skull was crushed. He suffered severe brain damage, and the damage was too great. After lingering for another five days, he died. Matthew Shepard was just 21.

James Byrd, Jr. was killed on June 7, 1998 in Jasper, Texas. The 49-year-old Byrd, an African-American, was murdered after he accepted a ride from three caucasian men: Shawn Berry, Lawrence Brewer, and John Russell King. Again, the crime is awful. Byrd wanted to go home, but the three young men...two in their early 20's and one in his early 30's...took Byrd behind a local convenience store. There, they beat him, stripped him naked, and chained him by his ankles to the back of their pickup truck. He was dragged for three miles. In the process, his right arm was severed, and he was decapitated. What was left of Byrd's body was dumped in the town's black cemetery. Brewer and King were known white supremacists.

In both cases, the perpetrators of the crimes were prosecuted and theoretically put away forever in each case. Brewer and King were sentenced to death. Berry, McKinney, and Anderson were all sentenced to varying degrees of life in prison. That shouldn't take out the the need for this new legislation.

So, as activists celebrate the passage of the Shepard/Byrd Act by Congress and wait for President Obama to sign the legislation, let us remember the two men whose names appear on the bill.

James Byrd, Jr., 1949-1998 and Matthew Shepard, 1976-1998

The vote totals: House 281-146 (Indiana: Yes: Carson, Donnelly, Ellsworth, Hill, Visclosky; No: Burton, Buyer, Pence, Souder) Senate 68-29 (Yes: Bayh and Lugar)

In all, five Senate Republicans, including Senator Richard Lugar voted for the bill. 131 of the 146 House Republicans including all of the R delegation in Indiana voted against the bill.

Lugar is Only Indiana Congressional Republican to Support Hate Crimes Legislation

When the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed on the back of a Defense bill in Congress on Thursday, only one Indiana Republican voted for the bill. That Republican was again, the brave Richard Lugar.

Lugar broke with all four Indiana House members and voted for the measure. This is a change in position for Lugar who had previously been against adding sexual orientation and other groups to hate crimes legislation.

If you get a chance, drop Senator Lugar a line thanking him for supporting this important legislation.

Senator Richard Lugar
306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1401
(202) 224-4814 PHONE
(202) 228-0360 FAX

Or by sending him an e-mail via this form.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who's Behind the Save Indianapolis Bars Campaign?

I was tuning into radio host Carl Brizzi's Crime Beat program today on WIBC to hear the latest from the wackiest Prosecutor in town when I heard a quizzical ad. As I'm backing out of my garage in my neighborhood, I heard an ad for an organization called Save Indianapolis Bars. I pulled over...whipped out my trusty pen and wrote down the URL to make sure I checked it out when I got home.

When I got back, I took off my shoes and sat down in front of my trusty old Toshiba. I typed in the URL and hit enter. Guess what popped up? The Libertarian Party of Marion County website!

The Libertarian Party of Marion County has apparently entered the fray or, more appropriately, has been in the fray for a while to help beat back the comprehensive air ordinance.

The radio ad never identifies itself as being purchased by the Libertarian Party or even who purchased the ad at all, but it definitely advocates the status quo when it comes to the smoking ordinances in Marion County. It also advertises a website. There is also a Facebook Group created of the same name by a Hamilton County bartender and self-identifying Libertarian (according to his Facebook page), Chris Ward. Administrators on the group include Marion County Libertarian Party Chair Timothy Maguire, Indiana Libertarian Party Executive Director Chris Spangle, and former Libertarian Party Executive Director Brad Klopfenstein who admits on his Facebook page that he ran "an association for bar and restaurant owners."

When you go to the link, you link to a page of the LPMC website where things get interesting.

On the valuable side, there's a list with contact information and the current positions of the City-County Councillors in favor or not in favor of the smoking ban. According to the information provided on the site, three Councillors are listed as abstaining from the vote...all Democrats Monroe Gray, Doris Minton-McNeil, and Dane Mahern. There are 12 listed as in favor of the ordinance. They are Democrats Joanne Sanders, Jose Evans, Angela Mansfield, Jackie Nytes, Paul Bateman, Brian Mahern, Mary Moriarity Adams, and Maggie Lewis and Republicans Kent Smith, Barbara Malone, Benjamin Hunter, and Ryan Vaughn. The 10 against the ban are Libertarian Ed Coleman, Republicans Ginny Cain, Janice McHenry, Michael McQuillen, Marilyn Pfisterer, N. Susie Day, Jeff Cardwell, Lincoln Plowman, Christine Scales, and Mike Speedy. The Councillors needing persuading, according to the LPMC website include Democrats William Oliver and Vernon Brown and Republicans Bob Cockrum and Bob Lutz.

Besides this valuable information, there's a link there to two documentaries on smoking, news releases from the Libertarian Party, and several other supportin links. There's also a link to an article by a Libertarian named Evan Matthews. The last paragraph, I find particularly's an apocalyptic rant that could come from the Glenn Beck Show. In fact, for fun, imagine Beck whipping up some tears and saying these words,

Smoking bans are heavy-handed attempts to control individual preference and limit choice. As a by-product of this oppressive, one-size-fits-all legislation, local business owners will likely face revenue declines in the tens of millions. Stubborn smokers will travel to neighboring counties, driving business out of Indianapolis in order to drink and smoke in peace. Afterward, they'll drunkenly swerve their Buicks and Camrys through Circle City streets, recklessly endangering the Marion County populace.

All because adults aren't trusted to choose smoking or non.

Yes, those evil Democrats and Republicans that support the ban. Awful people. They want to drive business away (even though Boston reported an INCREASE in business after the instution of a ban). They want to endanger us by forcing nicotine-deprived zombies to drive out of town to get their smoke and a Daniels. Oh my God...they might even kill me! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

The economic point of view seems to have the most traction to me. There are studies mostly funded by restaurant and bar owners...but some legitimate third party studies that show that some businesses suffer when comprehensive smoking bans are put into place. Some studies say it's not exactly a one to one link. On the other hand, there are other studies done by organizations like The Ohio State University that say that there is little or no effect on businesses. One report said that heart attacks were down in Boston by 577 incidents per year.

Clearly, the public health benefit is a major factor here, in my view. Plus, a little selfishly, I have stayed away from bars and restaurants that permit smoking. I hate having to come home and shower immediately to get rid of that nasty smell. I know that the folks that must work in these establishments probably feel even worse.

Yes, I said MUST work in these establishments. Another argument that those that oppose this ordinance use is that they feel as if people can choose to work in non-smoking establishments if they wish. Yes and no. We live in a day and age where it's just not that simple anymore. Sometimes you take whatever job is available. There is no choosing. When that help wanted ad goes up in an economy that's like this one today, most people don't worry about whether it's a smoking place or a non-smoking place until they are being treated for cancer.

I guess I just fail to understand why conservatives, Libertarians, some Democrats, and some Republicans always try to tie these types of good public policy in with the Draconian idea of big government slapping down its iron fist upon them. Tougher gun laws are proposed because we don't want people that don't deserve it getting shot. Hate crimes legislation is put on the books because we feel that some crimes are, in fact, not created equally when they are perpetrated against a particular group or segment of the population soley because someone is a member of that group. Smoking bans are put into place because we care about our public health and welfare.

In the end, less smoking in public reduces health care costs for us all and makes the world a safer place for everyone. That, my friend, is an argument the Libertarians don't want to hear. It makes too much sense to Glenn Beck followers, and they can't process it.

Whatever your opinion, contact the City-County Councillor of your choice and tell them your opinion. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz has said that there does not appear to be enough votes for this thing to win or be defeated completely. We shall see. CALL YOUR COUNCILLOR! Here again is a link to all the contact information you need.

I am in full support of the comprehensive air ordinance, and I didn't even have to buy a confusing ad to tell you that. I love my Libertarian friends, but I can't help but wonder if this was the dog to put their bark into.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prosecutorial Pile-Up: What's Carl Thinking? Time for Him To Meet My Grandma.

The Prosecutorial Pile-up seems to be more settled on the "D" side than the "R" side as Democrats have seemeed to begin to coalesce around one strong candidate, Terry Curry. Yes, I know that David Orentlicher and Greg Bowes are still in the race, but, as previously discussed on this blog, Curry has emerged from the pack in a big way. Orentlicher has endured a whisper campaign from some that he had removed his name from consideration (he hasn't), and there are rumors that Bowes plans to run against the slated candidate if he doesn't win the slating nod (unconfirmed). Whatever happens on the Democratic side, Curry seems to be gathering the support and the funds.

That leaves us to wonder about the Republican race for Prosecutor. With just a few months until the parties meet to slate candidates, Republicans still don't have an announced candidate. It's time for Carl Brizzi to take my late Grandma Easter's somewhat crude but appropriate advice. When a big decision was to be made, Grandma would always say, "Poop or get off the pot." That was something any five year old could understand, and Brizzi needs to make a decision to run or step aside for someone else.

Yes, Brizzi has money. He even has a website, but does he have what it takes to make another tough run against an experienced former deputy prosecutor like Curry in the current political climate of Marion County?

The most populated county in the state has become an even more Democratic county over the course of the last four years than it was in 2006, and Brizzi can't wage the campaign that he waged against the admittedly less experienced but talented Melina Kennedy. To win that race, he had to outspend Melina and go a little dirty.

This time around, Brizzi's record of shooting off his mouth first and then thinking about it later has been called into question in the form of a disciplinary hearing by the Indiana Supreme Court. Terry Burns over at the Indianapolis Times Blog reports that Brizzi's case will be heard by a Shelby County judge named Charles O'Connor. The outcome or settlement of that case will certainly make Brizzi's decision either tougher or easier.

Regardless, Brizzi's own actions as Marion County Prosecutor have raised plenty that Curry or any other Democrat could exploit in the run. Even if he's acquitted in the disciplinary hearing, the mere fact that he was brought up in front of the judge is, frankly, sad and embarassing for the state's largest county. This guy's the guy that prosecutes some of the state's biggest cases, for goodness sakes.

So, we wait for Brizzi to make his decision and decide what's next for his now seemingly murky political future. Grandma Easter might say, "Time's tickin' Carl. Poop or get off the pot."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Term Limits: An Excuse For the Public To Be Lazy

I always love to hear the discussion about term limits. You know the things that limit how long a particular person can hold a particular office. Some places have them; some places want them. To me: I think that term limits are just an excuse for a lazy electorate.

I know that sounds a little Republican or Libertarian of me, but I think it's true. While many offices are term-limited, many others have built-in term limits in this country, and it's called the political process. It's the job of this electorate to be informed, to be knowledgable, to be engaged and, most importantly, to be ACTIVE. No matter how much money or time or volunteers or political capital a politician has, votes win elections. Unfortunately, for Democrats, we saw what a switched on and angry electorate can do when a superior candidate and leader like Bart Peterson was tossed aside for the unknown commodity named Greg Ballard. It was bad for us, but it was a great argument against term limits. The electorate thought it knew what was best and tossed the incumbent to its own detriment.

Term limits are an excuse. They are a crutch. They give Joe Blow from Kokomo the ability to take elections off and the ability to sit back and not worry about who or what he's voting for. They give Jane Doe from Delphi a pass to be disconnected and uninvolved. Heck, she might not even vote.

Term limits might rob us of the very best of what the Statehouse, City-County Building, or Washington has to offer. Term limits favor the upstarts over the incumbent even when the incumbent may be what's stable and better for the country. Look back at 2000. We traded the stable leadership of Bill Clinton for the unknown commodity of George W. Bush. Our terror policy went from being a cabinet level priority to being ignored. We know what happened.

That's why I don't believe in term limits. I believe in people, the electorate, and the political process. If a state wants to send a racist like Strom Thurmond or Jesse Helms to the Senate, then that's that state's problem. You get what you vote for. Of course, it works in the opposite way, too. While I don't agree with Richard Lugar all the time, you can't argue that he hasn't been an effective Senator for Indiana over time. He continues to be effective today.

Sometimes it just takes getting the electorate a little ticked off to get the change we think we all need. That is the best kind of term limit...when a politician that has been getting away with things for years finally gets tossed out on his or her ear. Dan Burton...I'm talking to you. And, in his case, it might be his own party that does it. Term limits would have deprived us of watching Brother Dan run for his political life this year. He may still win, but he's even more damaged for the next time around if it's close.

I know many of you may disagree with me, but that's my story...and I'm sticking to least until my term is up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Personal Prerogative: We Were Fortunate To Say the Least

Photo from WISH-TV

It was a busy news day in Indianapolis. Desmond Turner was found guilty in the horrible and heinous Hamilton Avenue killings by Judge Robert Altice. On any day, that would be enough news, but the tanker truck accident this morning on I-69 is enough to give us all a moment of pause.

We've all been driving down the interstate behind one of these tankers marked flammable. Sometimes I wonder...what's inside those things and why is all that marking necessary. I think the picture taken from WISH-TV's website should show you. That's a mushroom cloud of fire that burned the top of that cell tower and lit up that billboard.

The accident happened at approximately 10:30 a.m., some one and a half hours after rush hour began to wind down. Can you imagine what would have happened had this accident occurred at 7:30 or 8:00 a.m.? Would we be talking about how this story had somewhat of a fortunate denouement with only a few relatively minor injuries and traffic problems to worry about? I would say that we'd be talking about a few funerals had it happened during the height of rush hour. Maybe more than a few. Just imagine, a parking lot of vehicles sitting on that overpass on 465 when that tanker exploded below.

We dodged a major bullet this morning, and it could have been any of us. That's the risk we take when we strap ourselves into our vehicles each day and go to work or school or the doctor's office or a Democratic meeting or any function of that sort. It's only by true luck and what some would say is God's grace that we get anywhere.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

I've Heard of Extra Patrols, but THIS IS RIDICULOUS!

As first reported over on Terry Burns' Indianapolis Times Blog, the lone squad car sitting at Maple Creek Golf Course every night has hit the local television news.

Fox 59's Russ McQuaid
had the goods originally reported on Terry's blog and was armed with video when he confronted interim Public Safety Director Marc Renner about the possibility of a Greg Ballard campaign contributor getting preferential treatment in the form of a working police car sitting in his business parking lot for a month. The Fox 59 report also shows a golf course employee driving the car and storing it in the pole barn for the overnight period. McQuaid's report also reveals an e-mail from course owner (and Ballard campaign contributor) Dave Bego which stated that he had a problem with car break-ins in his lot.

In short, it's worth the three minutes and 22 seconds to watch the report. You can do so by clicking on this link.

For his part, Renner does his best to shine this excrement, but it's just not working. Mayor Ballard needs to explain this one himself. Renner follows orders, and the Lieutenant Colonel may have given them this time. Kudos again to Terry Burns and to Fox 59 for bringing this important story to light.

Ballard MIA on Comprehensive Air Ordinance

Hey sports fans, the comprehensive air ordinance to be voted on Monday night at the City-County Council meeting looks like it's going to come down to a few votes difference either way, and Mayor Greg Ballard still has shown no leadership one way or another.

Speaking at the Washington Township Democratic Club meeting last night, Councillor Angela Mansfield, one of the bi-partisan co-sponsors (Republican Benjamin Hunter being the other) of the ordinance that would ban smoking in almost all public places in Marion County, talked about the ordinance and the struggle to make it so. She said that Indy is one of only two of 20 major cities with no comprehensive air ordinance. That makes us look reeeeally bad. It also makes us an unhealthy place to live and work. Mansfield also inimated that one Democrat is opposed to the measure and one Democrat is going to abstain from the vote.

Regardless of the merits, Councillor Mansfield said that the mayor could be helping out one side or the other if he would just take a side. Instead, like with almost every other major issue to cross his desk, Ballard is and seems to be waiting for the prevailing wind to lead him. He's just waiting for things to happen. He's reactive and not visionary.

This is unlike the leadership and vision of his predecessor. When the original partial smoking ban was passed, Mayor Bart Peterson understood what an important moment this was for the city, and he stood with Mansfield and then-Councillor Greg Bowes to pass a Democratically-led ordinance to ban smoking in most restaurants. Now, the absurdity of going to the local greasy spoon and sitting in the non-smoking section while folks in the smoking section were at the next table is gone.

Whatever side of the issue you fall on, you need to poke the mayor's behind into action. You need to call your City-County Councillors and, except for Bob Cockrum who doesn't list an e-mail, e-mail them, too. All the contact information can be found at this link. Tell them what you think.

As for me, I long for the day that I can exercise my right to go to a bar without increasing my chance for cancer. I wish my mayor would take a stand.

Off to the fast food joint!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time to Deliver Health Care Reform

Yesterday, OFA (Organizing for America), which is the remainder of the Obama Campaign and is now part of the DNC, hosted calling events across the country through the work of its volunteers. Many local Indianapolis and surrounding area organizations and residents, including College Democrat groups, took part in the day long event. The point of the event was to call Congressional offices in support of Health Care reform and OFA leadership set the goal of 100,000 calls was set.

By 2:30 EST, this goal had already been obliterated. So OFA subsequently moved the goal post to achieving 200,000 calls by day's end. Well, as of 3:30 am, the tally has been taken and throughout the day, OFA and its volunteers made 315,023 calls! That's the equivilent of nearly 600 calls to each member of Congress and more than one call per minute to each office!

I personally think that this is a monumental feat and that this many calls might actually help make a difference in swaying the votes of our members of Congress that are holding out support for health care reform, such as Senator Bayh and Congressmen Hill and Ellsworth. I would like to see the health care lobbyists try to garner that much support from the American people to block reform, because that will never happen. So, I want to just take the time to thank all the volunteers who participated in all this phone banks yesterday for representing the true needs and concerns of the American people, not the health insurances companies. President Obama, on his trip to NYC, even made it to a phone bank location and thanked all the volunteers for putting so much time and effort into this. We can only hope that this has a positive effect and will help push support for the public option to 60 votes in the Senate.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Could IN-5 change hands in 2010?

So for my first blog post this week as a guest blogger, while Jon is on hiatus, I figured that I would go out on a limb with a theory.

I think that Representative Dan Burton has more trouble than just during the primary. But, to better understand why I think this, we must first examine the special election race occurring in NY-23. In that race, there are 3 candidates, a Republican named DeDe Scozzafava, a Democrat named Bill Owens, and a Conservative Party member named Doug Hoffman. The latest poling by Siena College shows that Owens is leading the pack with 33 percent of the vote, and 16 percent undecided. The spoiler in this race is that Hoffman is garnering 23 percent of the vote, only 6 percent less than the Republican candidate. Now many will argue that this is an anomaly because the Republican is arguably the most liberal of the candidates in the race. Yet, with the way the super right-wing of the Republican party and the teabaggers are acting, they are beginning to devour their own, at a detriment to their own cause, including attacking Lindsey Graham (who isn't typically considered a moderate Republican). Many bloggers and news pundits alike are beginning to wonder if a splinter group of Republicans will break off from the party, much like Teddy Roosevelt and the Bull Moose Party did in the 1910's, but instead of being the liberal/progressive wing of the party, this new splinter group will be composed of the extreme right.

This leads us full circle back to the 2010 race in IN-5. If one of the two leading contenders against Burton chooses to drop out and the other loses a close race to Burton during the Primary, I think it is conceivable that that person will hop into the General Election race against Burton and the Democratic nominee, but as a member of an ultra conservative splinter group. If this happens, watch out because it totally changes the landscape of the game. Since 2002, the Democratic nominees have continuously gained ground on Burton with each contest. Carr, the Democratic nominee in '02, captured 25% of the vote. In '08, Ruley captured 34% of the vote. If a three way contest were to occur during the IN-5 General, it is anyone's game, especially if the Republican Primary ends in close call for Burton. This three way race could split the typical Burton votes to a near 50-50 split, and would through the Democratic nominee in the mix with the typical Democratic vote of 31-34%.

Of course, if Messer, Murphy, or McVey win the Republican nomination, then all this is null and void. Unless, Burton were to choose to pull a Lieberman too. But I will say that in a four way (or more) race during the Primary, Burton's chances of victory are much greater than in a one-on-one battle. It is safe to say that only time will tell who will emerge as the victor in this race, but watch out, because this race should be one heck of a ride!
Editor's note: Sorry about the technical diffficulties with my blog post this morning, apparently Google Chrome and Blogger don't like each other that much.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tew Out in Race for Mayor

Kip Tew is not running for Mayor, according to the Indianapolis Times Blog.

Tew's exit stage left leaves Melina Kennedy and Brian Williams in the Democratic Mayoral Marathon with a growing cast of rumored candidates dipping their toes in the water to test its temperature. Of the rumored candidates, Jose Evans has been the most active. Little has been heard from Woody Myers in recent weeks. There are a couple other names out there, but I haven't heard or seen any movement from those camps in a while if at all.

Kudos again to the scoopster Terry Burns who seems to have all the major candidates on speed dial.

"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished," Buyer tells Indianapolis Star


The Indianapolis Star finally picked up the Steve Buyer/Frontier Foundation story Sunday, and the article was worth the wait.

In the article written by Mary Beth Schneider and Maureen Groppe, Buyer goes all savior and plays the victim. He argues that playing golf outings at some of the most beautiful courses in the world is not fun for him. He also says the foundation has every intent of awarding scholarships once they reach the $1 million mark in funds.

The article points out that much of the money raised so far by the foundation has come from special interests perhaps wanting Buyer's support for legislation. For his part, Buyer seems to blame the scrutiny for slowing down the efforts of the foundation and forcing them to be more careful with how they raise money. Kind of makes you question his motives doesn't it?

Buyer has a history of making anyone that questions him the enemy. If you go back over time, the Fourth District Congressional Rep. has not been a very welcoming opponent to anyone running against him. In 1992, he pledged to spend just 12 years in office. Today, he's in his 17th year in the body.

When he debates his opposition, it's usually only during the day after setting his own timetable. He, in most cases, declines forum invitations and requests from community groups, media organizations, and others. Incumbency has its privileges.

When challenged, Buyer usually attacks his opposition by calling them nasty or mean-spirited. If you don't believe me, ask a couple of his opponents in past elections, David Sanders or Nels Ackerson. They both received the business from Buyer.

Thus, it all makes sense that ole' Steve would react this way to the state's largest newspaper publishing a Sunday investigation piece on him. That now makes the Lafayette Journal and Courier, Talking Points Memo, WTHR-13, and the Indianapolis Star on the case. Our goal as Democrats should be to make sure that Buyer's foundation awards the scholarships to those students who would benefit from them and make sure he's held accountable for the entire situation. Spread the word!

The Fourth Congressional District can do a lot better than the lettuce smoker.

Personal Prerogative: Jackson to Play Guest Blogger While I'm Taking My Blog Vacation

Ok, so I know Terry Burns over at the Indianapolis Times Blog told me that there's no such thing as a blog vacation, and I think I know what he means.

So, I've decided to invite a guest blogger on board. That guest blogger is none other than my friend, Mr. Christopher Jackson. Chris is a candidate for City-County Council in District 22, but he's also the President of the University of Indianapolis College Democrats among other things. Enough...I'm going to let him introduce himself.

Thus, the views expressed for the next few days are not necessarily the views of the blog owner. This should be fun!!!

Chris...if I'm Keith Olbermann on this blog, you're my David Shuster. So, Goodnight and Good Luck!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Poll: Marion County Sheriff Race

The race for Marion County Sheriff is just now beginning to heat up to a slow boil. Mark Brown and John Layton are going head-to-head for the right to replace the term-limited Frank Anderson (pictured) as the top elected lawman in Marion County. No others have joined the fray as of yet. The poll is to the left under the "kicking ass" donkey logo.

If you had a vote in slating, who would you support? The voting closes October 25 at 11:59 p.m. Happy voting!!!

There's a Rep. For That!

Kudos to Zach Adamson for finding this first

There's this dopey Facebook poll going around asking if President Obama is doing as bad of a job as President Bush did in office. It's an absolutely ridiculous poll. I offer these clips from YouTube as supporting evidence for my thesis.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Voter ID Suit Moves On; Supreme Court May Be Next

The Indiana Supreme Court may be the next stop for the battle over the Voter ID Law, according to an Indianapolis Star report. If you remember, the Voter ID Law was struck down by the Indiana Court of Appeals last month over the way absentee voting is handled. Unlike appearing at the polls in person on Election Day where a state or federally-issued picture ID is required to vote a regular ballot, no ID at all is required to vote an official absentee ballot...only a signed affadavit saying that you qualify to vote by absentee.

The League of Women Voters brought a lawsuit over how the absentee ballots were handled to court and won in what most legal scholars considered an upset. The State of Indiana, led by Attorney General Greg Zoeller, is taking this back to the Indiana Supreme Court where who knows what will happen? One thing that will happen for sure...more taxpayer money will be wasted.

Of course, the Voter ID Law previously went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in a separate case. Conventional wisdom says that the Indiana Supreme Court will probably look at the case, but who knows what they might decide? Everything has been surprising since the news broke that the Indiana Court of Appeals had struck down the law.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Brian Williams Proposes New Use for Old City Hall

"For several years the old city hall has been vacant. Recently, Mayor Ballard requested ideas from developers. Rather than attempting another residential project, maybe the city should re-develop the old city hall into a new city hall. Transparency ...and access could be improved if the Mayor was accessible to the people and not ensconced on the 25th floor of the city county building."

Candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, Brian Williams, posted that on his Facebook page last night. It's an interesting proposal. Using the old City Hall as a way to bring the Mayor's Office down closer to the people. I must admit; it makes some really good sense.

The classic old building was the home of Indianapolis city government from its construction in the early 20th Century to 1962 when the City-County Building opened. County government was housed in the old Marion County Courthouse which was razed shortly after the CCB opened.

The City-County Building was supposed to solve office space issues, and it did for a while. If you've been inside the building lately, you will see that Marion County and the City of Indianapolis have outgrown this skyscraper even as some key offices have moved out...the Prosecutor's Office among them. Maybe moving the Mayor's Office off the 25th Floor and into the Old City Hall is the right thing to do. I don't know that it will solve the overcrowding problems at the CCB, but it might help.

I would also advocate looking into what it would cost to ease some of the courts overcrowding in the current City-County Building by opening space in the Old City Hall. In today's City-County Building, there are cases being heard in spaces that were never designed to be courtrooms. Perhaps a hybrid office/courts building could find a home in the Old City Hall.

One way or another, Williams' suggestion is worth fleshing out.

Happy Birthday Congressman Carson!

Congressman André Carson turns the ripe old age of 35 today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CONGRESSMAN!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Council Redistricting Presents Political Play

The City-County Council Republican majority wants to redistrict before the 2011 Elections...I'm sure most politically-connected folks have heard this by now. What I haven't heard much is the nuts and bolts of why. Why are the Republicans this desperate to go for redistricting when the census won't even be done? Other than some light analysis here and there, no one has really looked at the actual danger that Democrats might be in here, and that answer lies in the simple math of things.

Let's examine what has happened in the last two elections. In 2003, the Democrats gained a Council majority for the first time by a one seat margin, 15-14. The Democrats swept the at-large seats but found themselves in the minority in the individual district races, 14-11. In the midst of the "taxers" in 2007, the Republicans swept in to the majority to the count of a 16-13 margin. The Democrats held on to just one of the at-large seats and the Republicans took three of them. Ed Coleman ended up switching to the Libertarian Party to give the Republicans a 15-13-1 majority. So, the Republicans now are almost dead even in the districts with the Democrats...13-12...only a one seat margin.

It doesn't take a genius to see that Marion County is becoming a blue county. Even the dimmest bulb can see that light. The vote totals for the down ballot races have shown tremendous Democratic gains in the last 10 years. The Republicans can no longer count on winning any of the at-large seats.

When you go back to the 2007 election, there were a number of close council races won by Democrats. District 1, District 2, District 17 and District 19 were all very close races. A nip here...a tuck there...a pack here...a crack there...and suddenly the Republicans are in pretty good shape to maintain control of the council no matter what happens with the at-large seats. Remember, the courts drew these districts after Democrats complained about a pretty Republican map.

Assuming the Republicans hold their 13 district seats (only District 4 is fairly close), that would give them 17 seats if they could somehow push those four close district races into the Republican column. It's feasible, and it's possible. The Democrats could win all four council at-large seats and still find themselves down 17-12.

So, see what's at stake?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jon Stewart is On It Again!

So thousands of protestors show up in Washington...that nets coverage...right Fox News?

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Who's Making the Rounds: Wayne Version

I was unable to attend the United Wayne Township Democratic Club meeting last night at the Steelworker's Hall on Addison Street, but my good friend Paul Fox dropped me a note to say who's making the rounds...

Marion County Surveyor Debbie Jenkins
Brett Voorhies, candidate for Indiana House District 92
Businessman Brian Williams, candidate for Mayor
College Student Chris Jackson, candidate for City-County Council in District 22
Former Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy, an exploratory candidate for Mayor
John Layton, candidate for Marion County Sheriff
Mark Brown, candidate for Marion County Sheriff
as well as the Wayne Township candidates and officeholders led by Trustee David King Baird...

Making The Rounds: Decatur Township Version

Monday night's Decatur Township Democratic Club drew over 60 people to hear from Dr. David Orentlicher on Health Care and Dr. David Sanders on the H1N1 virus.

Orentlicher spoke at length about where the U.S. has been and where we are going in the health care battle. He offered both a historical perspective and gave some ideas about what can be done in the future to fix health care in the United States.

Sanders, a Purdue University biology professor, spoke about the current H1N1 scare and exactly how the flu works. His point was that both the H1N1 and the seasonal flu viruses are not "out to get you," but, are just out to replicate themselves and cause sickness by damaging tissue directly or causing an overreaction by the immune system.

He explained that elderly and the young need to be vaccinated and advocated school-based non-mandatory clinics to end the flu's grip on society. He also dispelled some rumors saying that the H1N1 vaccine did not get rushed into production and that it is as safe than the seasonal flu vaccine.

Advocating a "we're all in this together" attack on the flu, Sanders encouraged those holdouts to get the vaccine to not only protect yourself from infection but to protect others. He also advocated staying home from work when sick and staying away from the Emergency Room.

Both Marion County Sheriff candidates, Mark Brown and John Layton, were in the same room at the same time in front of the in the same club for the first time this campaign season. Speaking briefly, in alphabetical order, the two candidates were outwardly cordial. There seemed, however, to be something underlying the first face-to-face stare down in front of many rank-and-file D's. Brown touted the work he had already done having filed his campaign committee in June, the support gathered at his fundraiser, and how he has also worked the club scene. Layton fell back on his 35 years of experience in the Sheriff's Department and his previous candidacy for the office back in 1994. I believe the Sheriff's race on the Democratic side may end up to be the most interesting primary race to watch for 2010.

Also interesting were the comments of former Indiana Secretary of State Joe Hogsett, who recently decided to drop out of the Mayoral Marathon in 2011. Hogsett decided to quote Ecclesiastes 3:1 after stating how proud he was to still be a Decatur Township Democrat. Hogsett said, before sitting down, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Was Hogsett trying to tell us something? We will find out.

Also seen at the meeting:
Marion County Surveyor Debbie Jenkins
Warren Township Small Claims Court Judge Ricardo Rivera
Pike Township Advisory Board Member and candidate for Marion County Assessor Joe O'Connor
Architect Vop Osili, candidate for Indiana Secretary of State
Attorney Terry Curry, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Businessman Brian Williams, candidate for Mayor
Carpenter Tim Huber, candidate for Indiana House District 91
College Student Chris Jackson, candidate for City-County Council in District 22
Former Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy, an exploratory candidate for Mayor
Former County and State Chair Kip Tew, who is considering a run for Mayor
Former Indiana Representative Orentlicher, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Small Business Owner Zach Adamson who did not speak but would be filing the next day as a candidate for At-Large City-County Council.

Rush Limbaugh Wants to Buy The Rams?

You know what??? I say...let him! Let Rush buy into the NFL and let him be an owner just like all of the other team owners. Let him play around in the NFL. He won't be able to play the victim.

Sure he's divisive, but he's rich. Certainly, he might help the can't get any worse in St. Louis. After all, it's just the Rams and not the Bears or the Jets or the Cowboys. It's the Rams.

A side effect that we could all hope for...with the seemingly endless Rush Limbaugh interviews that would be sure to come forth...perhaps we can finally get him to make a comment like this again...

Then, be rid of him once and for all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adamson, Barth To Run At-Large in 2011 for City-County Council

I'm sure there are more and there will be more running as 2011 approaches, but two candidates that I'm aware of have filed exploratory paperwork to run for City-County Council in 2011 joining Councillor Joanne Sanders on the at-large ticket.

John Barth, President of the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, is apparently running. Barth has a working campaign website which lists a brief resume, has a few photos, and covers the bio information. I met Barth at the Indiana Stonewall Democrats Fundraiser on Sunday for the first time.

Today, small business owner Zach Adamson is expected to file his exploratory candidacy as well. Like Barth, Adamson comes from a very strong neighborhood background with lots of experience. A graduate of the INRC Indianapolis Community Building Institute, he is the President and Founder of the Willard Park Neighborhood Association and has served four years on that board. He has three years on the Board of Directors of the Holy Cross/Westminster Neighborhood Association, seven years on the Riley Area Development Corporation Board of Directors and seven years on the Board of Directors of NESCO where he has served as chairman of fund development, as treasurer, and currently as Vice President.

Adamson resides south of 38th Street, whereas most of the other Democratic candidates for At-Large Council have traditionally resided north of that dividing line. If elected, Adamson would be the first openly gay City-County Councillor and currently serves on the board of the Indiana Stonewall Democrats. He is the grandson of Carmen Velasquez, the namesake of the Carmen Velasquez Award handed out by the Indiana Taskforce on Migrant Affairs.

Watch for other At-Large City-County Council candidate profiles as I get information from them or find their websites.

Is Steve Buyer Running an Illegal Charity?

The answer to that question is probably no...not directly, but the Buyer links, however indirect, in this article about the tax-exempt Frontier Foundation are hard to ignore.

Some of the more damning passages of the article from writer David Smith in the Lafayette Journal and Courier include:

"A nonprofit foundation associated with Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Monticello, has been quietly collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for the primary purpose of helping students pay for college.

But the foundation, which enjoys tax-exempt status, has yet to award its first scholarship after six years in existence."

Then there's this...

"Information about Frontier Foundation emerged in the limelight earlier this year, triggered by a 2007 federal law that required companies to report, for the first time, contributions made in honor of members of Congress.

USA Today went through the documents and compiled a list of who received the most in honorary donations in 2008. Buyer was 13th on the list with $192,225. Two of those donations, totaling $35,000, went to the Frontier Foundation.

Frontier Foundation's donations over the years have come primarily from organizations with stakes in legislation moving through committees on which Buyer sits.

Those include the pharmaceutical, health insurance and tobacco industries -- which have a stake in bills that go through the House Subcommittee on Health -- and the telecommunications industry. Bills affecting the latter go through the House Subcommittee on Communications, Telecommunications and the Internet."

Another piece...

"'It's not Congressman Buyer's foundation,' press secretary Anjulen Anderson said.

Buyer has several indirect connections, however. The foundation shares an office with his district office in Monticello, or at least did as of June 8, 2009, when it filed its most recent IRS Form 990 tax report. The Form 990 is an annual report certain federally tax-exempt organizations must file.

That report listed Buyer's daughter, Colleen Buyer, as president, and his finance director, Stephanie Mattix, as secretary-treasurer."


In 2008, the Frontier Foundation received $100,148 in donations, less than half the amount it got in 2007. Among donors that dropped out last year was Eli Lilly & Co., a pharmaceutical company based in Indianapolis with production and development facilities in Tippecanoe County.

The company contributed $100,000 to Frontier Foundation from 2005 to 2007, according to tax reports.

Ed Sagebiel, Lilly spokesman, explained what happened.

'We have provided funding to Congressman Buyer's foundation. We believed it to be a worthy cause,' he said.

'We have a new grants process that reviews all of our charitable contributions and that process is very competitive, and we have fewer resources, dollar resources, at this time. I just don't think it's made it through that process the last couple of years.'

Not all contributors, however, are holding back.

So far this year, according to lobbying reports, PhRMA, a trade group representing pharmaceutical companies, has given $25,000 to Frontier Foundation in Buyer's honor, and the National Association of Broadcasters has given $20,000."

Did you catch that? Eli Lilly says it donated to "Congressman Buyer's foundation" because it felt that it was "a worthy cause." Yet, Buyer's press secretary says the foundation is not Congressman Buyer's. Hmmm...something doesn't add up here. Again, this is must-read stuff.

Kudos to the Lafayette Journal and Courier and writer David Smith for bringing this important story to light.

WTHR, Channel 13, has picked up the story.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stonewall Democrats Hold Awards Ceremony/Fundraiser To Recognize Carson, Miller

The Indiana Stonewall Democrats held a wonderful awards ceremony and fundraiser yesterday at the home of Councillor Jackie Nytes and Mike O'Brien. While the Stonewall Democrats represent and advocate for the interests of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and trangender (GLBT) community, the event drew a broad cross section of rank-and-file Democrats, elected officials, ISD members, candidates, and even a few Republicans.

The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of the ISD Chuck Avery Award for leadership on GLBT issues to Joe Miller and the Frank O'Bannon Award for a public official showing great advocacy on GLBT issues to Congressman André Carson. President of the ISD, Douglas Meagher, also made a presentation to Councillor Nytes and O'Brien for their long support of the ISD and for hosting the event.

There were so many elected officials and candidates running for an office at the event that I could not possibly name them all without forgetting a few. If you use your imagination and think of someone, they were probably there. The sponsor list of over 30 read like a who's who in Indiana Democratic politics. In short, it was a power event, and it's a tribute to the ISD that it was able to assemble such a diverse group of candidates, elected officials, and just regular folks.

Councillor Nytes' home was also a big star. What an amazing home that Nytes and O'Brien have refurbished. Councillor Nytes said the home, built in 1919, was used as an office building for many years and was last a private home a little over 50 years ago. She said that restoring the home has been a labor of love for the couple.

All-in-all, it was a great way for this ISD member to spend a Sunday afternoon, and the ISD could not have picked two better award receipients.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rumor Control: Billie Breaux IS Running for Re-election

As I reported a few weeks ago, Auditor Billie Breaux is running for re-election in 2010. Rumors had come to my attention through a third party that she was not running.

I had a chance to confirm that Auditor Breaux, a former Indiana State Senator, was in fact running for re-election with her daughter, Sen. Jean Breaux, at the Stonewall Democrats' Awards Event yesterday at Councillor Jackie Nytes' beautiful downtown Indianapolis home. More to come regarding this wonderful afternoon under a separate heading.

Jean Breaux said that her mother feels like she has more to do and wants to continue working with her great staff in the Auditor's Office. She said to look for upcoming events and fundraisers to kick off her mother's 2010 re-election bid.

Jon Stewart Tells Obama To Clear Don't Ask Don't Tell Off His Plate

I couldn't agree more, Jon. I couldn't agree more.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nothing Like Trading Political Shots With Republican Friends

I spent about 90 minutes this morning at the non-political Ben Davis Lions Club Pancake and Sausage Breakfast at the Ben Davis University High School. It was great food and good times.

No Democratic candidates were there, but Senator Mike Delph and Representative Phil Hinkle were working the crowd. Senator Delph came up to me and handed me his business card, but I could hear in the background Rep. Hinkle "warning" him about me.

I think it's public knowledge that Rep. Hinkle and I go pretty far back. I actually went to kindergarten on the first day of school in the same car as his daughter. His daughter and I graduated from Ben Davis the same year, and his son and I used to play with our Star Wars toys together...needless to say, he has known me almost since I was born. Rep. Hinkle is an avid reader of this blog, believe it or not.

Inevitably, whenever we see each other, Phil and I get around to trading political shots with one another. My highlight this morning...he usually kids me about turning out to be a Democrat as an adult despite coming from a family and a culture of Republicans. He did it again today. My response was, "The indoctrination didn't work." Phil got in his own shot. As we're casually standing there, Phil's wife, Barb, asked me if I liked to play euchre. Big dumb me said that I did. Then, I get invited to a euchre tournament fundraiser for Phil that apparently draws a broad Republican audience.

Brett Voorhies probably would be happy to know that I won't be going, but still, it's fun trading lighthearted political shots with Rep. Hinkle. We were friendly and respectful to each other, and it was a heck of a lot of fun. We couldn't disagree more on many issues, but I enjoy talking with Rep. Hinkle...even if the indoctrination was unsuccessful.

BREAKING NEWS: Sheriff Candidate Pulls Out of Race

Foghorn Leghorn, campaign manager for Yosemite Sam, reports that his friend has decided not to run for Marion County Sheriff in 2010. "I say...I say...I say...John Layton and Mark Brown are great candidates," said Leghorn. "We can't compete, son."

Reached at his home for comment, Sam picked up the phone said, "WHY YOU!!!!" Then shot the phone six times. You heard about Sam's potential candidacy in two earlier posts on this blog. With a win, he would have been the first ever toon elected to Marion County Office...unless you count Steve Goldsmith.

(Editor's Note: When you can't beat Terry Burns and the Indianapolis Times Blog for scoops, you have to make crap up. Whoops...did I type that?)