It's Friday...time for another Friday Hodge Podge!
Kennedy Breaks Relative Silence
Melina Kennedy has come out swinging the past two weeks. First of all, she took on Mayor Greg Ballard's lack of leadership on satellite voting. In 2008, Ballard was on the record as being for satellite early voting. Now, he is hiding from the issue while the party he supposedly heads continues to fight against it. Kennedy spoke strongly in an Aug. 18 news release. Here's a portion:
Ballard is quoted this morning as saying that he will leave the decision about satellite voting locations "to the political guys." That decision is ill advised and contrary to the will of the people in our community. As just one example, out of the 28 people that testified about satellite voting in the Marion County Election Board's public hearing yesterday, 27 were in favor of satellite voting. The only person opposed was Ballard's political lieutenant, Marion County Republican Chair Tom John. So, it is clear where the Mayor's "political guy" stands on this issue, even though it is equally clear from tens of thousands of Marion County voters who used satellite voting over the past few elections that it is "popular and convenient" – a point that the Republican member of the Election Board conceded in news accounts this morning.
As I meet with citizens and study issues in my effort to be the next mayor of Indianapolis, it is clear to me that Mayor Ballard and I will have some disagreements about the direction of the city. But I had thought that access to voting at satellite locations was an area of agreement between us. In 2008, Mayor Ballard stated that satellite voting was "a win for the voters and a win for Marion County." But now the mayor has relegated this important measure to merely a "political" issue. Let me be clear that I do not consider voting, as the mayor does, to be a purely political question. For me, and I would think for most people in our country, voting is as a fundamental right that we must continue to nourish as we encourage our fellow citizens to take an active role in our democracy. And as just one timely and poignant example, let's give thanks to the leaders who pushed for the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 who thought more of women's suffrage than as just a "political" issue.
As mayor, I would push for expansion, not contraction, of opportunities to make voting more convenient for all voters and more accessible for elderly and disabled voters and those who have employment or transportation issues that are a barrier to getting to the polls during normal voting hours on Election Day. I call upon Mayor Ballard to reconsider the value he is placing on the right to vote and to instruct his political chairman to do the right thing and support satellite voting in the 2010 general election.
Then, after scandal after scandal in IMPD, Kennedy went on the record with the Indianapolis Star to urge for Public Safety Director Frank Straub to be fired.
Looks like Kennedy is stepping out now and speaking out. None too soon, it's time to ramp up this campaign.
With this week's news release faux pas by Jose Evans, Kennedy has had a good couple of weeks and is seen by many as the official frontrunner for 2011. Has anyone seen Ron Gibson lately?
Johnson Holds Fundraiser
District 15 City-County Council candidate Blake Johnson held a fundraiser downtown at the Elbow Room. The young educator is hoping to gain party support in the 15th District, a seat currently held by Doris Minton-McNeil. Johnson teaches at the Julian D. Coleman Academy, an IPS alternative school. Minton-McNeil has not yet revealed her plans for 2011.
There were about 35 people at the fundraiser.
Sullivan's Campaign Pounds Pavement
State Representative Mary Ann Sullivan continues to amaze me with her energy and enthusiasm for her district and job as a state legislator. If you live in the 97th District, the chances that your state legislator has knocked on your door are probably higher than any other district in the state of Indiana.
Sullivan's campaign is out and walking with the candidate herself in a race that should probably be fairly safe against Wes Robinson. Still, Mary Ann is taking nothing for granted and continues to be a one-of-a-kind representative, in a good way.
My representative, for example, Bob Behning, has never once knocked my door or stood on my doorstep. He's barely seen at community functions or in the district. This would have to be a foreign occurrence in Mary Ann's district. She's everywhere!