Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In My Inbox and Mail Call: Williams Move, Letter Baffles Good Dems

A longtime friend and veteran of many campaigns e-mailed me after I published the numbers from Brian Williams' 174 last-minute CAN-37 form submissions to the Marion County Clerk's Office.

She told me that she believes the Brian Williams campaign filed TWO people to run against her for Precinct Committeeperson (PC) in her precinct. What was more shocking is what this prominent Democrat said next. She said that Williams had never once asked to sit down and talk with her regarding her vote for Mayor at slating in 2011. This despite a long reputation within the party and also the fact that they attend THE SAME CHURCH and that WILLIAMS KNOWS HER HUSBAND. She even says that her husband talked to Williams MORE THAN ONCE while she stood next to them both, but he didn't even give her a hello. She said, "I don't think he knew who I was, not that I am anything important, but if you don't even know who the PCs and WCs (Ward Chairs) are when they are married to people you know, then I am not sure you should be running for anything important."

And the hits just keep on coming.

Yesterday, I also received a letter from Williams touting his campaign's accomplishments thus far. The letter apparently went to those on the PC list because my friend (who was filed against by Williams loyalists) also got the letter.

Williams writes in the letter,
"Over the past six months, over 200 of my supporters filed to run as precinct committee persons. These supporters reflect the rich diversity of Indianapolis. They range in age for 18 to 85, represent all nine townships in Marion County, every City-County Council district, and three excluded municipalities. Each one of these men and women bring new ideas and energy to the Democratic Party both of which are needed if we are to succeed in 2010 and 2011."

So, basically, Williams is saying, "I filed someone against you because I thought your old ideas and lack of energy sucked. We can't win with you in 2010 and 2011."

After reading Williams' letter, my friend said, "Does he not realize that he sent that to someone that he is possibly putting people up against? This is not a good thing and certainly not something that I would be impressed by!"

Another longtime and hardworking Democratic PC from Washington Township who is being challenged by a Williams candidate said that he also received the letter. He said, "He must think that we're stupid."

It appears that Williams' idea of "wanting it more" (as some commenters have called it) was to just mass file a bunch of forms last minute, release a news release, and hope they go through. It seems like a scorched earth strategy rather than a more practical one of working with the current structure. In essence, Williams seems to, in many cases, want to try to re-make the party around himself rather than to win the party's nomination with hard work and shoe leather. Unfortunately for him, it appears he botched it almost to EPIC FAIL levels.

I believe Williams sloppy filing of these forms and ticking off of the very establishment he needs to win may ultimately doom his candidacy. He filed against some VERY GOOD DEMOCRATS who are independent-minded and work to make their communities better places by filling their boards and educating their neighbors on important issues. These are not the fans of "oligarchy" that he wants people to believe they are. These are GOOD DEMOCRATS! GOOD WORKERS! People that deserved a phone call and not a coup attempt.

Greg Ballard's not the sharpest pencil in the box, but he did upset a well-funded, highly-regarded and two-term incumbent. He has $2 million in the bank. Democrats need a real candidate for Mayor with not only smart and tangible solutions to our city's problems, but one that's tourney-tested. By his campaign's actions, Brian Williams, in my view, shows himself to be sorely lacking in his readiness to take on Greg Ballard. He should get his act together or get out of the way.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Probably, Brian Williams is not going to get slated, but Melina Kennedy will.

Anonymous said...


Interesting post. Your point about filing double may be hitting on something. There is a comment over on Terry's blog about three people who Brian apparently filed for PC that live in the same house in Warren Township.

Frankly the comment was a bit snarkily presented, but I think the information is correct.

According to commenter, the following people all are running in Warren 16:

"Joseph F. ("Sully") Sullivan, Jr., Matthew J. "Sully" Sullivan and Taylor "Tater-Tot" Sullivan live at 1526 N. Eaton Avenue."

(I thought the nicknames were part of the snark, but I checked the Clerk's office website and they are actually what the candiates put on their forms!)

What I don't know is how we know these are Brian's filings. Makes sense they would be if he is saying he filed 200 but has he provided a list? There are at least 2 people running against my PC, and I am told they were both Brian people too.

Anonymous said...

He's just making friends everywhere. Wasn't he Tim Durham's business partener a while back?

Anonymous said...

It's all starting to make sense. I heard yesterday from some WC/PC's that Williams told them he filed the way he did because he wasn't given the list of PC's by the Big Bad Democratic Party he is trying to vilify. That he didn't know he was filing against people because he is being kept out of the loop.

Based on your post, what makes sense to me now, is that Williams is a LIAR! How can he say one day he wasn't given a list and the next day send a mailer to the that same "elusive" PC list????

I used to think Williams was a guy who I would at least be interested in hearing from as we move forward towards electing a Dem Mayor in 2011. Now I want to get as far away from him as possible.


He has been caught for who he is with this fiasco and if he really cares about the party and the city he will get out now and let the party move forward in a positive way.

Anonymous said...

If he is mailing PCs and Ward Chairs, doesn't that mean he has PC and Ward Chair lists and knows where they live? Unreal. This has to be deliberate, right?

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! This is bad for him. Caught in the act! The house of cards is falling.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so there are more candidates than spots available in some areas. That's great!! And if Brian Williams personally got 2 or 3 people in the same precinct to have an interest in a position, good for him!

Just because someone is currently in that position and is deemed qualified, why would we discourage others who may also be qualified from filing for these positions?

I may not know either candidate very well but I can say after reviewing their websites I find a lot more useful information about Brian Williams and his ideas for Indianapolis on his.

Once the "winners" and "losers" in this unnecessary battle of words and egos are determined I hope we all work toward what's best for our city and ALL of its residents, not for or against a candidate just because you feel personally slighted.

Anonymous said...

You all must be kidding - why is it a problem that anyone would bring new life into a democratic process, let alone the democratic party - supposedly the one of inclusion?
what is everyone so worked up over - because they may lose a PC position they held for some time? come on, the real issue is the issues our city faces. perhaps he should made those hundreds of calls and visits, but who actually could have done so in just a few months? from the outside, not the position of old establishment and sitting PC or WC, this seems like a very smart move to engage more of our city and to start some real dialogue. let's call it what it really is rather that what it means to those few individuals who may lose some of their volume as a result of this.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that the current PCs are all good dems. But last time I checked, we live in a democracy which uses elections as the basis to decide on our representatives. Instead of getting a free pass, current PCs and other candidate PCs will need to step up their game to further engage the democrats and independents in their precinct in the process. How can that be a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

Good grief, I can't believe the these current PCs are crying in their soup. Boohoo that you have some healthy competition for your position by people who want to get involved and that you aren't sailing through another election and taking your seat for granted. So much for democracy!

Anonymous said...

If the county party had been doing its job, then we in the Obama grassroots team wouldn't have to build a base ourselves. If more people are interested in being PCs beyond just the status quo, that's a good thing for everyone. We need to unite, regardless of which Democrat candidates individuals support. It is beyond me why supposedly true-to-the-core Democrats spew negative rhetoric on these blogs. Who needs Republicans when we can destroy ourselves?!

Anonymous said...

Those last 4 comments were penned by the same person. This is going on at all the blogs since the Williams stuck his foot in it. OK, we get it, "Democracy in Action" blah blah blah. You are just making fools of yourselves now, Williams workers. Give it a break. You should have put as much time into working with the sitting PCs as you have in ticking them off. Now you have swung at the bees nest and these people are very upset.

You just wait until you have to face these workers at the next township meetings, it is not going to be pretty.

I'll also bet that all those 2010 candidates who are working hard to get the elected are just as peeved off. I like the story of the church going PC who was filed against. Stupid.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is saying that running lots of interested people for PCs is bad so if that's the Williams' talking point it's a dead end. I think the real problem here is it seems he lied about the number of PC's he filed and he has lied about having access to some PC list. It's the lying that is the problem, not the candidates.

Anonymous said...

Jon, you are the only person who has publicly claimed to know a specific number of Williams filings and that number is not the same as Williams has said. Have you called every person who filed for PC and asked them if they were recruited by Williams? If not, I don't see how you can call your information accurate.

If this woman you quote is so close with Williams, why isn't she calling him and asking him what's up instead of complaining to you?

Anonymous said...

Anon- Brian Williams stated that he filed 200 pcs on 2/19. There were a total of 281 filings on 2/19. You can find the filings with date of filing on the Clerk's website.

So, while you can't necessarily identify the BW filings with absolute accuracy (which appear to be down to the 170s at this point), a quick review of 2/19 filings gives you a pretty good clue if you are at all familiar with current pcs.

The fact is that they were purposefully turned in on that date and a press release was sent out (and the filing info with the number was leaked the day before to local bloggers) by Brian.

Basically, if you are a pc who was filed against on 2/19, the odds are that person was a BW supporter (unluckily for the extraneous 81 or now potentially above 100 who happened to file then as well!). And, within those 2/19 filings it is easy to see where there are multiple filings in one precinct. Again, the assumption being they are BW supporters because he is the one who publicly identified the date that he filed them on.

The three people filed in Warren 16? All filed on 2/19. If someone filed against a current pc or in a vacant precinct on 2/18, then who knows if they are a BW supporter or not. Maybe some were filed before, I don't have any idea.

Anonymous said...

I am certain that Jon as well as many of us have the list of Wiliams filings for PC. If you don't have the list, they are easy to spot as they are the ones with the errors on them. In addition to the filing where he filed 3 people from the same house, I am familiar with one where he filed two people from the same house but filed them in different wards and precincts. That must be a huge residence if two people living there are in different wards and precincts. OR....the Williams campaign is just in shambles.....I know which one I believe to be the truth.

Jon E. Easter said...

A few answers.

As stated in a previous post, the numbers that I have posted on this blog were from a study of the 174 forms submitted by the Williams campaign on 2/19/10.

And for those defending Williams, I say bravo. I'm all for democracy, too. Let the best candidates win. However, when things were so sloppily done and the motive seems to be fairly cleark, it's within my realm as a blogger to comment.

Filing a candidate for PC against a sitting PC is no big deal. However, turning around and sending a letter (implicitly requesting support) to the PC you filed against touting the person that filed against them as an accomplishment is a little much.

It's a waste of campaign resources, and it shows an overall lack of discipline for the campaign. Plus, it's beating on the hornet's nest.

That's my greater concern and why I still say that Williams needs to get his act together or let the more prepared candidates duke it out with Ballard.

I don't believe for one second that Williams is out to simply bring people into the party. I think Williams wants to try to stuff the ballot box at the 2011 slating convention, and he's within his rights to do it. He's just doing it REALLY REALLY REALLY badly.

Anonymous said...

One of the ways to spot a Williams challenger is to see who notarized the candidacy paper. If it was notarized by Loren Hager[Heger] then it is a Williams candidate. Hager[Heger} has been really busy personally watching and notarizing all of those candidate filings as well as many delegate filings also.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

As a democrat, I regret to inform you that Melina Kennedy lost to Carl Brizzi and has enough baggage to sink a cruise ship. In the best interest of the party, we have to explore another option. Lets fact it, Kennedy can't beat Ballard. Williams could split the white male vote and win the mayoral race. Sorry for being so honest.

Anonymous said...

I don't think either Williams or Kennedy can win. I agree with the poster who reminds us that Kennedy has never won an election and, instead, lost one that should have been ours. Plus, her association with Bart Peterson, who -- as undeserved as it was -- was vilified in the last mayoral race, also works against her. WE NEED ANOTHER CANDIDATE. This would be winnable for Joe Hogsett (as opposed to the Senatorial race) or, if he is still not interested, let's look at David Orentlichter. Both of those gentlemen have been elected in past races. Another possibility would be Susan Williams. She's made quite a name for herself and could probably generate a lot of support. With all due respect to the current candidates, we need to keep looking!

Catholics Allied for the Faith said...

I like reading this blog & comments because it's good to know that the Democratic Party is as fractious as we in the GOP can be.

There's no problem running against "good" established PCs. As Jon noted, though, it's pretty foolish to challenge an incumbent PC & then ask for his or her vote at slating. That's pretty bush league. If that's what Williams is doing, he needs to question the wisdom of his campaign advisers.

As far as which candidate you slate for the 2011 mayoral race, I agree that Kennedy has baggage, and she was not all that good a campaigner in 2006. Williams seems to have an institutional disadvantage: I'd never heard of him being involved in MCDP politics until he decided to run for mayor.

The Mayor may not be God's gift to Indy, but he's done some good when it comes to crime, potholes, and -- hopefully -- getting rid of the water company. In sum, he hasn't done anything to piss voters off, like Mayor Peterson's support of a COIT increase while property taxes were going up.

Anonymous said...

I keep on hearing about Melina Kennedy's baggage. Can folks be more specific.

Anonymous said...

LOL..You are right..Susan Williams has made a NAME for herself!!!!!

XQRX912 said...

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