Friday, April 29, 2011

Is It Legal for Mayor Ballard to Refuse to Enforce Ordinance?

I ask this question openly because I don't know. Channel 13 has the story below.

Mayor Ballard is refusing to enforce an ordinance passed during his administration that, presumably, he signed into law. As Channel 13 points out, this ordinance passed 25-4! It wasn't even close, and it was a bi-partisan ordinance.

Should we wonder why AFSCME's local unions endorsed Ballard when he's giving their members passes on gas for take home cars?

If I were the City-County Council, I would immediately hold hearings and call the Mayor in to explain why he can pick and choose what ordinances he enforces...especially when his signature is on them. Since Ryan Vaughn is so close to the Mayor, don't expect it to happen soon.

Melina Kennedy said in a campaign release last week that, as Mayor, she would enforce the ordinance when she is Mayor bringing in up to $600,000 for the city.

This is only the latest ordinance this Mayor has refused to enforce. More than one of my friends in law enforcement tell me that Mayor Ballard still is not in compliance with the police merger ordinance that provided for more former Marion County Sheriff's deputies to be in command positions in the merged IMPD than there are now.

This could be money the Mayor didn't have to pass off on the citizens of Indianapolis. Instead, he refuses to collect the fee. It's reprehensible behavior by a man who promises "Leadership at Work." This is the kind of leadership Ballard promises: NONE.

I think we need a new leader.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Controversial Blog Post Brings Rebuke for Abdul

It's no secret. Abdul-Hakim Shabazz and I are friends, and I enjoy our back-and-forth. It's more friendly than many imagine.

Yesterday, I scanned Abdul's "Treacy v. Parker" post on his Indiana Barrister blog, and I can confirm that I have had people tell me that relationship between Ed Treacy and Dan Parker has been strained at times. I don't believe it's some secret, so I feel comfortable about publishing that here. Do I believe it's some uncrossable chasm between the two? Not by any means. The two men have to work together, and they do.

With all that said, I totally missed the part of the post where he accused Judge Lou Rosenberg of cavorting with a political party and doing what is best for the party over what is best for justice. This, of course, has to do with the Charlie White case.

I've known Lou Rosenberg for a few years now, and I Abdul's accusations towards him horribly distasteful and inappropriate. Knowing Judge Rosenberg and the kind of man he is, I don't believe Abdul's claims.

Others did read the post, and the Indianapolis Bar Association has weighed in. They have criticized Abdul for his statements on Rosenberg. Here is the release:

Indianapolis, IN, April 28, 2011: On behalf of over 5,000 lawyers, judges, and legal professionals, the Indianapolis Bar Association on occasion finds it appropriate to speak when the integrity of the legal system or those who administer, support and defend it are unfairly called into question. The April 27, 2011 blog post by Abdul Hakim-Shabazz titled “Treacy v. Parker?”, has made unsubstantiated allegations that call into question the actions of a sitting judge and the integrity of the legal system as a whole. The Marion County Circuit Court judge in the matter involving the case of Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is bound by the rules of judicial conduct in that and any other case. While we understand the importance of a free debate in political matters and policy issues of public concern, including those that may take place on the Indiana Barrister blog, parts of this April 27 blog post suggest without evidence that the judge has violated his duties. The legal system, its participants and the public benefit from commentary on politics that is free from baseless allegations of this nature. We also note that since Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney who has chosen a name for his blog that references the legal profession, it would have been our hope that his respect for the legal system would have outweighed any interest in publishing sensationalized, unfounded and unattributed allegations about the judge. The IndyBar reiterates its support for a vigorous public discourse about the legal system and judiciary, but encourages those who comment publicly to do so responsibly.

Abdul responds to the statement here.

I think Abdul should come forward with evidence or he should apologize to Judge Rosenberg for calling his integrity into question. Clearly, Abdul's not going to do either.

Hat tip to the Terry Burns at the Indianapolis Times and Paul Ogden for this one. Matt Stone at Indy Student also responds to the story here.

Trump Dumped on Rump

Thanks for playing Donald, now go home.

Donald Trump was outmaneuvered by the White House who released President Barack Obama’s long form birth certificate on Wednesday. It was a move that surprised most people, but it definitely should put the issue to rest.

It should also put Donald Trump’s fledgling Presidential campaign behind the eight ball. Instead of trying to play up the birther issue, Trump will now actually have to find something substantive to base his campaign on. When that happens, I think folks like Mitt Romney and serious contenders for Obama’s job will come back to the forefront of the party. In essence, once again, Donald Trump’s 15 minutes on this issue are up.

Now, like the showman that he is, The Donald will have to find the next sideshow to get people to pay attention to. For his part, he couldn't help but pat himself on the back saying, "I'm proud of myself." Just the kind of egomaniac you want for a President, right?

Let’s also hope that this moment in history makes the word “birther” something that shows up on a VH1 special about the decade or the year 2011 at some point. I can just hear the comedians making fun of it now.

Trump, for his part, took credit for the President releasing the long form certificate, and he said the next step will be to see if the certificate is authentic. Ok. Will Donald tell us if his hair is authentic? Shouldn’t we know that about a President?

Ok, that last one got a little personal. I’m sure The Donald doesn’t mind though.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not Even Abdul Would Touch This One

When one reads a headline like this one, "Kennedy Campaign Staffer Violates State Election Law," you expect some big story about political intrigue or something really juicy.

Instead, Washington Street Politics, the blog that published that headline, provides a picture with a Melina Kennedy staffer wearing a sticker while early voting. Yep. That's apparently it. The offending picture is to the right. The offending blog post can be found here.

At least when Abdul puts something up, he makes it interesting. This perhaps isn't even a violation at all.

The state statute includes the word "knowingly" in it. Note section B of IC 3-14-3-16 below.

Sec. 16. (a) As used in this section, "electioneering" includes expressing support or opposition to any candidate or political party or expressing approval or disapproval of any public question in any manner that could reasonably be expected to convey that support or opposition to another individual. The term does not include expressing support or opposition to a candidate or a political party or expressing approval or disapproval of a public question in:
(1) material mailed to a voter; or
(2) a telephone or an electronic communication with a voter.
(b) A person who knowingly does any electioneering:
(1) on election day within:
(A) the polls; or
(B) the chute;
(2) within an area in the office of the circuit court clerk or a satellite office of the circuit court clerk established under IC 3-11-10-26.3 used by an absentee voter board to permit an individual to cast an absentee ballot; or
(3) except for a voter who is:
(A) the person's spouse;
(B) an incapacitated person (as defined in IC 29-3-1-7.5) for whom the person has been appointed the guardian (as defined in IC 29-3-1-6); or
(C) a member of the person's household;
in the presence of a voter whom the person knows possesses an absentee ballot provided to the voter in accordance with Indiana law;
commits a Class A misdemeanor.

Since the staffer had no doubt been across the street at the rally for early voting just minutes before, you could reasonably say that he might have forgotten to remove the sticker from his lapel. If you wanted to take this to court, you would certainly have to prove that he KNOWINGLY wore the sticker into the Clerk's Office.

That makes this one tough to enforce, I think. Anyway, I've already spent too much time on this non-story.

Is this the kind of campaign the Republicans are going to run at Melina Kennedy? Well, if it is, then it's going to be easier to get to the 25th floor for Melina than I thought.

Republicans Think They Can Pick Up Seats on the Council? Indy Democrat Asks, "How?"

Kyle Walker, Marion County GOP Chair, toed the party line and told the Indianapolis Star on Monday that he believes he can pick up seats on the City-County Council. My question is, what’s he smoking, and can I get some?

Currently, it's Republicans 15, Democrats 13, Libertarians 1 on the Council. Democrats hold District 1 with Jose Evans, District 2 with Angela Mansfield, District 7 with Maggie Lewis, District 8 with Monroe Gray, District 9 with Jackie Nytes, District 10 with Bill Oliver, District 11 with Paul Bateman, District 15 with Doris Minton-McNeill, District 16 with Brian Mahern, District 17 with Mary Moriarty Adams, District 18 with Vernon Brown, and District 19 with Dane Mahern. The Democrats also hold one of the four At-Large seats on the Council with Joanne Sanders.

Of those Democrats, Nytes, Minton-McNeill, and Bateman are not seeking re-election, but are sure to be replaced by a Democrat in November. District 19 is always a close one for Dane Mahern, and he walks that line well winning two close races in his Council career. He may have another tough one, but I wouldn't bet against him winning again. Moriarty Adams is one of the most conservative Democrats on the Council, and there's a reason for that. Her district trends that way, too. That said, they love her there in that area of town, and I don't think she's in any danger. Other than those two seats, none of the other currently-held Democratic seats seem to be anything but safe for the Ds. With 12 safe Democratic seats the worst that could happen would be a net gain of one for Republicans, but I don't think that will happen. For the sake of this purely speculative analysis, I'll gift the R's one seat here.

That advantage is wiped away quickly as the Dems figure to pick up the countywide At-Large seats. Republicans haven't won a countywide race since...well...Mayor Ballard defeated Bart Peterson in 2007 and they claimed three out of four At-Large seats on the Council. With Libertarian Ed Coleman likely headed to a District race, both Barbara Malone and Angel Rivera will be fighting to keep hold of their seats on the Council. They will be fighting uphill, and, frankly Malone doesn't seem that interested in keeping her job. Incredibly, she reported not raising one dollar in the first quarter of an election year. NOT ONE DOLLAR. That's just shocking. These seats all should lean D, a net +3 on the pickup scale for Democrats for the At-Larges.

If you're playing along at home, the Indy Democrat analysis makes this, so far, a net gain of two seats for the Democrats, but the At-Large seats are not the only pickups you can possibly consider for the Democrats. Some of the current Republican seats are anything but safe.

Kostas Poulakidas is running a masterful campaign and is running fundraising circles around Christine Scales, the Republican incumbent in District 4. Poulakidas has raised a WHOPPING $40,834.71. He has over $36K on hand. Scales has just $6,830 on hand. Money doesn't always make the campaign in a council race, but, in a district like this, Poulakidas' cash will make a difference.

In District 6, Democrat Brett Voorhies is taking on incumbent Janice McHenry. This is another race to watch as we get closer to November as McHenry is a weak incumbent in a shifting district Voorhies will have a strong labor push and good name recognition in the fall. It's a possible pickup for the Democrats.

Other districts to watch include District 3 (where likely Len Farber takes on Council President Ryan Vaughn), District 12 (where Democrat Regina Marsh battles Republican Majority Leader Mike McQuillen), and District 24, where Coleman and (if he beats Kent John) Republican Jack Sandlin could split the vote of conservatives opening up the door for a Democrat.

The Democrats certainly could pick up at least two and maybe more of the current Republican district seats on the Council. That would leave the R's with 11 District seats. With the gifted pickup of one Democratic seat, that would give them just 12. Dems would have a net gain of four seats giving them a 17-12 majority on the Council. Likely, the Democratic majority will look more like 18-11 or even worse for Republicans.

So, in conclusion, I don't see any way that any reasonable person can say that Republicans can pick up seats or even hold the current structure of the Council. I understand that, as GOP Chair, Walker certainly can't say that, though.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coleman May Find Re-Election Difficult

Ed Coleman has been one of the biggest stories on the City-County Council the last four years.

Elected as a Republican At-Large Councillor, Coleman found himself disillusioned with the party and decided to switch parties and become a Libertarian. While he typically remains a reliable vote for the Republicans in many cases, Coleman has shown himself to be independent at other times. He remains a wild card on the Council.

Apparently, he’s thinking about his future on the Council. Reports, like this one from the Indy Star, have said that Coleman plans to switch from his At-Large position to a district position on the Council. That would mean that he would likely be running as a Libertarian in a conservative area against likely a fairly new Republican to the Council, Jack Sandlin, in District 24. Sandlin is the former Perry Township Trustee, and he faces a primary opponent of his own.

The Libertarian Party of Marion County has made spectacular inroads here in the most populated county in Indiana. They’ve gone from “that other party” to a force to be reckoned with. We saw that when the Libertarian Party helped to defeat the comprehensive smoking ban here in Marion County helping the “Save Indianapolis Bars” campaign.

Is the Libertarian Party ready to take on the GOP in a GOP-heavy area with a strong candidate? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

The Marion County Republican Party is strongest on the Southside of Indianapolis. Franklin, Perry, and Decatur Townships remain very difficult places for Democrats because the Republicans are well-organized for the most part and hold many offices. Perhaps the movement of the 7th Congressional District to the south will help “Democratize” the areas, but it’s going to take a while.

That means that Coleman is likely done on the Council one way or another. I don’t think he can beat Jack Sandlin in a one-on-one race. The actual good news for the Democrats is that if they can somehow find the right candidate in that area that the vote split between Coleman and Sandlin might make taking this Council District somewhat possible, but, frankly, I doubt it.

Libertarians put a lot of effort into the run of Greg Dixon in Council District 22 in 2003, but Dixon mustered almost 14 percent of the vote. That’s great for a Libertarian, but it wasn’t enough to supplant Bob Cockrum as District 22’s Councillor even though he raised and spent less cash. Danny White, the Democrat in that race, ran a distant second.

That’s likely what’s going to happen to a good man like Coleman. Who knows, though? Coleman is a good candidate for the Libertarians, and he might be a viable third-party candidate. It’s another test case for a Libertarian Party that will field a full At-Large slate and Mayoral candidate. Will it be enough? We’ll see in November.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pacers Great Run Fails to Change My Mind

As you may remember, I was pretty tough on Mayor Greg Ballard when he caved and gave in to the Indiana Pacers by agreeing to pick up the tab for the Pacers' poor planning when it came to paying their bills and obligations.

While I'm rooting like heck for my hometown team to win the next three games and dispatch the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs, I still think that the Pacers deal, like so many others Mayor Ballard has brokered, is bad for the city and is bad for the future.

No need to rehash the situation, but I wanted to let you know that my position on the Pacers remains the same. We, the taxpayers, got a bad deal.

I still think there's not much of a market for an NBA franchise these days, and, while former NBA markets like Seattle and Kansas City may be hotspots for future relocation, the plight the City of Sacramento and the Kings are currently experiencing certainly underlines that it's not as easy as pulling up stakes and moving your tent to a new city.

Personally, I still would have called the bluff of the Pacers and worked to get a better deal than have just written the check the team wanted.

All of that said, congratulations to the Pacers, and it's great to see the team back in the NBA spotlight! I was wrong on a number of things I said in that post. The Pacers now show tremendous and bright signs of life for the future. Let's hope that this renaissance continues.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sources Say Abdul Leaving WXNT, Indianapolis

Sources are telling Indy Democrat that Abdul-Hakim Shabazz may soon be leaving WXNT and the City of Indianapolis. His impending departure comes as a blow to the fortunes of Greg Ballard in the upcoming 2011 Election.

My sources inside the media world tell me that, given Abdul's two recent blog posts on the supposed feuds within the Marion County Democratic Party between Ed Treacy and Andre Carson and Ed Treacy and Melina Kennedy, Abdul has been hired on as a writer for Days of Our Lives in Los Angeles.

Sources say the writing team at Days was impressed with Abdul's ability to write in great detail about alleged internal feuds without seeming to tie it into anything factual.

Greg Ballard was said to be hiding under his desk today, despondent. Sources...including the little voices in my head...tell me that he won't come out for anything or any reason throwing city government into chaos. Public Safety Director Frank Straub apparently called a meeting and told everyone that he "was in charge here, in the City-County Building."

My sources tell me that terms of the writing contract appear to be quite simple. Abdul is getting an office for himself and one for his large ego. He is also going to be allowed to turn the "Brady Pub" set into his own personal cigar bar.

Note: I hope the Mayor, Frank Straub, and Abdul are still good sports. I will say's really easy to write a blog post this way. Just a little "Easter Humor" for you all.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

John Gregg To Form Exploratory Committee for Governor

Former Indiana Speaker of the House John Gregg told the Evansville Courier-Press that he plans to form an exploratory committee to run for Governor of Indiana.

Gregg is the first candidate to jump for the Democrats (though he did leave wiggle room in his talk with the Courier-Press). State Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson is also likely to seek the nomination. Republican Jim Wallace has announced his candidacy, and, as most of you know, Republican Mike Pence is expected to run as well.

Saturday Humor: Trump's Strategy for Victory

political pictures - donald trump - Friday Picspam: Strands Across America
see more Political Pictures

Friday, April 22, 2011

GOP Hubris in Anti-Walkout Law

Late Wednesday, the Indiana Senate voted 36-0 to essentially end the ability of the minority party to walk out of the Indiana General Assembly. The plan, introduced by my State Senator, R. Michael Young, would increase the fines to $1,000 and allow constituents to file civil lawsuits against any legislator absent for three days or more without a valid excuse. In protest, all 13 Democrats walked out of the Senate. It wasn't enough to stop a quorum.

Even House Speaker Brian Bosma expressed reservation after hearing about the plan that caused Democrats in the Indiana Senate to walkout in protest. It’s clear that Young’s plan will leave the minority party without a way to stop potentially harmful legislation in the Indiana General Assembly save Draconian fines and consequences.

This move is again, good for the GOP, the current majority in the Indiana House, but it won’t be good for them should they ever be in the minority again. I guess Young isn’t far thinking enough. That’s one option. Perhaps the GOP majority doesn’t think they will ever need to walkout (as they have a few times in the past) because they have drawn themselves a huge majority in the new legislative maps. We all know that voters change their minds quite often…especially in Indiana.

Heck, we’re a state that went Democratic for President but elected a Republican Governor. From 1998-2011, Indiana had a Republican and a Democratic Senator in the U.S. Senate. Also, 16 of the last 24 years, the State House had a Democrat sitting in the Governor’s Office and the vast majority of those years a Democratic majority in the Indiana House.

Young shows his short-sighted partisanship again with this legislation. I’m starting to wonder if the first initial Young sometimes uses stands for anything other than “Republican”.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Locke Opens Exploratory Committee for U.S. Congress

Dad-to-be and former Indiana Auditor of State candidate, Democrat Sam Locke has opened an exploratory committee to possibly run against Congressman Todd Young in Indiana's 9th Congressional District. Locke e-mailed supporters yesterday about his campaign.

While he wasn't successful in defeating longtime state officeholder Tim Berry in the 2010 General Election, Locke traveled extensively in the state and ran a great campaign for the job. I knew when I heard him speak at the 2010 Indiana Democratic Convention in Indianapolis that we had not heard the last of him.

While the maps in the 9th are sure to change from its current form, this district remains one of Indiana's enigmas. While the 8th District has long been called the "Bloody 8th" for good reason, the 9th is making its case for that moniker.

Incumbent Baron Hill was defeated in 2004 by perennial candidate Mike Sodrel by 1,500 votes after a tight race in 2002. Sodrel got two years in office before Hill returned in 2006 and took the seat back in another nail biter. Hill rode the Democratic wave of 2008 to an easy reelection bid but was unseated by Young in the Republican blitz of 2010.

In what is the current 9th, Young could muster just a bit over 52 percent of the vote. Hill won a tick over 42 percent, and Libertarian Greg Knott had a fine showing with just over five percent of the vote. Democrats figure to target Young in 2012, and the district looks to still hold some hope for a good candidate like Locke.

Here is the release from Sam's campaign:

Dear Friend,

As a long-time confidant and supporter, I want to take a moment to share some exciting news with you – and seek your advice.

In recent months many people have asked me to consider running for the United States Congress in the 9th District. It has been flattering and I am truly humbled by the suggestion. While we don’t have a final district map quite yet, I want to let you know Kara and I are seriously considering this possibility.

Like you, I realize our country is facing a number of challenges at home and abroad. And, like you, I am frustrated that instead of tackling those issues in a straightforward, honest way, today’s Congress has chosen to put ideology over ideas and politics over progress.

I know we can do better and, as a proud Hoosier, I know we deserve better. We need to focus on the issues that matter to all Hoosiers, not the powerful special interests. Together, we can try something different. We need a different type of candidate, one who is willing to stand-up to the status-quo political system and forge a new way forward.

Over the next few months, in addition to welcoming a daughter into our family, I will be reaching out to seek your input. I know for us to be successful it will require the support and counsel of committed individuals like you.

While we won’t decide on whether to formally enter the race until later this year, our initial success has triggered a Federal Election Commission requirement to form an Exploratory Committee, and I have done so. The Stand with Sam Exploratory Committee has been created and we’ve also launched and are on Facebook. Join us to keep up-to-date as the exploration process moves forward.

I look forward to discussing this potential campaign with you in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at:

I am confident that, together, we will accomplish extraordinary things for our communities and our State.

Thank you for everything.

Sam Locke

If Sam runs, and I think he will, he will join his two buddies that ran for state executive offices in 2010 as a candidate for office. Pete Buttigieg is one of the Democrats running for Mayor of South Bend, and Vop Osili is hoping to win a seat on the City-County Council later this year. Locke's run, of course, will be a year later in 2012.

I think the potential for a crowded field in the 9th amongst Democrats is possible, but Locke is the first that I've heard to take the step forward. I think with his resume and his hard run in 2010 for the Auditor's Office that he's likely the favorite to be the nominee in 2012 for the 9th...unless Baron Hill throws his hat back in the ring. So far, I've not heard that Baron is thinking in that direction.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Foundry Re-opening Carries Bit of Personal Connection

This afternoon, Congressman André Carson released this news release. Awesome job for these workers at this foundry.

Former Navistar facility will add jobs along Brookville Road

INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman André Carson joined executives, workers, and community leaders today to celebrate the reopening of the former Navistar foundry located on Indianapolis’ east side.

The foundry was set to close before an agreement between Navistar and the United Auto Workers helped pave the way for reinvestment in the Indianapolis facility. Congressman Carson’s office was involved throughout the entire process.

The facility, now operated by PurePOWER Technologies, will recall 150 workers by June 2011. The company plans to hire 100 additional workers by 2014. The foundry is one of the few remaining facilities in the United States to make cylinder blocks and heads capable of serving the needs of any diesel engine manufacturer.

“The reopening and hiring of workers is evidence that efforts to revive the economy and manufacturing base are working,” said Congressman Carson. “We see proof in the quality jobs that are returning and the new technology being created at the foundry. This reopening would not be happening without the tireless work of the company, organized labor, and the community. Now the foundry is not only back up and running, but in a position to be competitive for years to come.”

Actually, there is a personal connection here. My grandfather worked at International Harvester (which later became Navistar) as a tool designer pretty much up until the day he died in 1972. My grandmother got a pension check from Navistar until she passed in 1996. So, I can't help but think of Henry Easter, Sr. and Twila Alma Macy Easter when I read news like this.

Hopefully, these jobs at this foundry continue to help families with good paying jobs for many years to come. It worked for my grandparents and helped raise my aunt and my father.

Bravo to Congressman André Carson, and congratulations to the workers who are being called back in.

Birther, Anti-Muslim Herman Cain to Speak at Purdue Wednesday

Republican Presidential hopeful (and Purdue graduate) Herman Cain is going to speak at Purdue University tonight. Cain has had some rather interesting things to say on the campaign trail thus far.

First, there was his agreement with Donald Trump that Obama must somehow provide his birth certificate to prove he is eligible to be President of the United States. This despite the fact that President Obama has provided the exact documentation (Certificate of Live Birth) that someone would need to get a passport or enter the military. Then, there's this unbelievable piece of video regarding whether or not Cain would hire a Muslim cabinet member in a possible administration.

Well, folks, he's coming to Indiana tonight. Herman is going to speak at 8:00 p.m. in the Class of 1950 Lecture Hall. Cain's talk is free and open to the public.

Siren Debate Near End

As I write this post, the sirens are sounding again in Marion County for severe weather. It's a policy of precaution currently that makes this happen.

For some time now, Marion County has sounded its tornado sirens when a Tornado Warning is issued or when a Tornado Watch and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning are both in effect. That policy may be changing.

A plan would reduce the number of times we hear the sirens sound in Marion County to just situations where Tornado Warnings occur. This plan is currently awaiting the approval of Mayor Ballard, and it will go into effect on July 1.

I fully support this plan. I believe we set the sirens off WAY too much, and it desensitizes people to what should be the urgent wail of the siren.

That's not to say that the original idea wasn't a good one. It was, but, in practice, it's a little too much.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears: Abdul's Done It Again

Ok, I try not to write about it, but I just can't help myself. It's like fish in a barrel. Abdul's probably making s*#t up...AGAIN.

This time, he's spreading the rumor that Melina Kennedy is in some sort of feud with Ed Treacy over who she hired as her campaign manager. Again, as far as I can tell, this is total bull. Complete and total.

I sat at Len Farber's Fundraiser at the end of March at the SAME TABLE with Melina Kennedy and Ed Treacy well after she hired Nick Buis as her campaign manager (Abdul says the feud's because she didn't hire Adam Kirsch), and the Chair and Melina had more than a pleasant conversation. Much of which I said I wouldn't put out because it was inside strategy stuff.

Unlike Abdul, I try to back up my stuff with facts. In case you doubt my story, I found this picture from the event on my friend Jyoti Weaver's Facebook page. These are photos of the event. On the right hand side, you can see Kennedy in the red and Treacy in the blue sweater. I'm there on the other side of the table.

They were civil and seemed to enjoy each other's company.

All I can tell you is that once again, Abdul is relying on sources that want to divide the Marion County Democratic Party...or, more nefariously, he's maybe doing it on his own. It's no secret that Abdul's relationship with Kennedy and with Treacy is not the best.

Sneaky Republicans: "Charlie's Law"; Defunding Planned Parenthood in Indiana

Yesterday, my State Senator, R. Michael Young, proposed and passed an amendment to a bill which ensures that the Republicans will continue to hold the Secretary of State's seat.

If the bill becomes law, as WISH-TV's Jim Shella reports, Governor Mitch Daniels will name the Secretary of State instead of the current state law's remedy of Democrat Vop Osili taking the position as the second-highest vote getter.

This essentially would take much of the pressure off the Republicans at the Indiana Recount Commission who will decide soon if current Secretary of State Charlie White was actually eligible to run for the office when he filed his candidacy. The Indiana Democratic Party contends that since he was not registered to vote legally, then he was not eligible to be a candidate for the office. Earlier this month, Judge Lou Rosenberg threw the case back to the Recount Commission after it refused to hear the case before.

It was a sneaky way for the Republicans to protect themselves, and there are few in the Indiana Senate that are sneakier than Mike Young. Like many in the Senate, he's a pure partisan, and this trumping of the current Indiana law to protect his own party is just another example of this.

Shella reports that if the "Charle's Law" becomes law, then the party will consider suing.

For his part, Senator Young was as glib as ever. He told the Indianapolis Star's Mary Beth Schneider that, "The loser shouldn't win." So, I guess that means the Governor can now appoint someone no one voted for to begin with. Hmm...the only losers in this equation were Hoosier voters.

Also revived yesterday by Republican Senator Scott Schneider, the Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood at the state level that had died when the Democrats walked out of the Indiana House in February . A bill containing a new amendment by Schneider passed the Senate, 36-13. It will have to be reconciled in conference committee as the original bill passed by the House did not contain the plan to defund the crucial women's health organization.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Democrats, Friends Mourn Loss of Judy Goldblatt

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not sure I ever had a conversation with Judy Goldblatt, but, after seeing her face in pictures (like the one above courtesy of Wilson Allen), I now know who she was and how many times I've been in her presence in the last few years.

Goldblatt was killed in what appears to be a horrible accident. Her rental car went into the path of a train in Palto Alto, California, in heavy traffic. The San Francisco Chronicle has the story here. Miraculously, her husband, Lawrence, managed to escape, but Judy is gone.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of Judy's friends and family in this tough time. I never had a conversation with her of any note, but, from all people are saying about her, I wish I had.

Republican Attack Ad Out

Why on Earth is the Marion County GOP responding to the whole job numbers delivered vs. job numbers with an attack ad on Melina Kennedy?

First of all, wasn't it Channel 6 that did the story. This one kind of fell into Kennedy's lap, but secondly, why did Mayor Ballard act like a bad tap dancer as he walked away to the beat of a "paradigm" in the 6 News video?

It appears that the campaign must think that this has traction. In politics, the worst thing that you can do is to keep the story going. Whenever Mayor Ballard tries to tout his job numbers now, there will be this report that keeps raising the questions about them. It may be the "paradigm" the Mayor "inherited." But, that doesn't buy a pair-a-shoes for out-of-work Indianapolis families.

The Ballard camp can try to divert attention all it wants, but the job numbers are suspect and the Kennedy campaign is just doing its due diligence in pointing it out for Marion County voters.

By the way, as attack ads go, this one is pretty lame. Looks like it was thrown together by a 10-year-old. Sorry to offend any 10-year-olds.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Abdul: Making Stuff Up Twice in One Week?

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is out again crying wolf from the rooftops that there is some feud running between Ed Treacy and Andre Carson and that Ed has used some unpublishable epithets in describing the Congressman.

You would think that as many people as I talk to about all things Democratic...on and off the record...insiders, former insiders, and outsiders...that someone would have mentioned a nugget like this to me. Yet, I laughed when I read Abdul's piece because I thought it was tragically funny because it was so Mars Attacks far fetched

Knowing both Ed and Andre and knowing people that are closest to them, I can honestly say that Abdul's piece was the first I had heard about this alleged feud. Believe me, I also know people that don't like Ed and a few people that don't like Andre (mostly Republicans that don't know him), but none of those people have ever said anything to me remotely close to what Abdul claims in his piece. That leads me to the conclusion that this dreamscape from Mr. Shabazz is more fit for an Indiana cow pasture than it is for the realm of reality. I'd call it straight up bull.

Why? Whenever I have seen the Chair and the Congressman together, they have been nothing but outwardly cordial and amazingly genuine. Beyond having a personal friendship, I think they realize that they need each other. It would have been very easy for the Congressman to upset the apple cart and throw his support to his uncle Sam in the Mayor's race, but he did not. He threw his support to his friend Melina Kennedy and has been supporting the party-backed slate of candidates for both at-large and district seats on the City-County Council.

Make no mistake about it, Andre is the biggest fish in Marion County politics right now. There is NO QUESTION. He is the "E.F. Hutton" locally right now for Dems. Treacy knows this, and he can see it. I think there's a genuine respect between the two.

Contrary to what the "namers" say all the time, Andre Carson didn't arrive in Congress only on the coattails of his late grandmother, Julia. He has EARNED his position in Congress through a series of events that no one really has had to in recent history in Indiana.

After the death of his grandmother, Carson prevailed in a caucus against a field of talented Democrats. That was in January of 2008. In March of 2008, he won a Special Election and a seat in Congress over the talented moderate, Jon Elrod. Then, he defeated seven more Democrats including three very talented and experienced politicians. Then, he dusted Gabrielle Campo in the General Election in 2008. He easily won re-election in 2010. Why? Because Ed Treacy had his back almost every step of the way.

You see, Ed Treacy is great at what he does. Take a look at what he's accomplished as Chair since he returned to the seat after the horrible Democratic defeat in 2007 under Mike O'Connor. He's shepherded Andre through some tough elections and has now taken back almost every office in the City-County Building by recruiting great candidates and being very aggressive.

Is Ed is caustic sometimes? Absolutely. He will belly bump with the best of them, and he is likely to hold a grudge. I'm sure Abdul's source is probably someone that is not in Ed's good graces. Someone that maybe is on the outside and thinks they know more about what's going on inside then they do. I don't know everything that is going on inside the party, but I think I certainly would have heard about this.

But, I've already spent too much time and effort beating this one down. This is probably one of the most ridiculous things my cigar-smoking friend has ever cooked up over cigars and cocktails. The only place this rumor is true is the same place where Angela Mansfield is still banned at the Living Room Lounge (she's not...old story).

So, really, Abdul, is that really just a cigar you are smoking? I know, I know...sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Keep swinging, though. It's good blog post material.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


This really isn't humorous, but it's definitely creative. Democrat Joe Crowley of New York's 14th Congressional District says all he needs to say about the first 100 days of the new Republican-led Congress during the one-minute speeches in the U.S. House, but he says nothing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Donnelly's Numbers Good in Fundraising Fight; Decision Time Looms

Indiana's 2nd District Congressman Joe Donnelly has done a more than decent job the last quarter in his fundraising pulling in over $363,000. The question now is what to do with that cash?

I doubt you will see Donnelly return to the 2nd Congressional District if the new maps go through the General Assembly. The 2nd District is going to be much more of a Republican District now, and Donnelly will likely take his chances elsewhere.

That could be Governor, but, given his public statements and interviews, I think Donnelly is going to give the Senate race a go. It's a race where he will likely be the underdog, but he's kind of used to that role.

Donnelly was unsuccessful in his first run for office, and early on in his second run, many thought Chris Chocola would go on to another term in that district. Donnelly stayed his course and ended up winning his first term in Congress. As a Congressman, Donnelly has been relatively independent taking up residence in the Blue Dog wing of the Democratic Party. He is one of the most conservative Democrats in Washington.

If he can pull the Democrats together, he might have a shot at this thing. Lugar is no spring chicken, and there's no guarantee that he's going to win the primary against Richard Mourdock. His chances get better if someone like Mike Delph enters the race splitting the Tea Party vote, but what happens to that Tea Party vote if Lugar wins? Do they simply vote for him because he's a Republican? I don't know. Maybe they choose to boycott that race. That gives Donnelly a chance to win if Lugar can't somehow mend that fence. Without Democratic crossovers that Lugar usually gets, it's easy to see a scenario where a well-financed Donnelly has a chance to win the Senate race in 2012.

Cart is way before the horse, and Lugar or even Mourdock is probably the favorite to beat Donnelly as it stands today, but election 2012 is still over a year off and much can change between now and then. The last few months of 2008 showed that clearly.

Given his background and his reputation as a dogged fighter and a good campaigner, I wouldn't count out Donnelly. Should be interesting to see what the Congressman decides to do.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Like Democrats, Republican At-Large Race Presents Alpha Problem for Slate

On Monday, I was able to examine the May 3 Republican Primary Ballot. Like the Democrats, the slated candidates in the Republican Party Primary will have to fight the alphabet.

If Republicans go into the voting booth on May 3 and vote the first four candidates for At-Large City County Council, the Republicans will nominate Jocelyn-Tandy Adande, Jackie Cissell, Michael Kalscheur, and Barbara Malone. Incumbent Angel Rivera would be the slated candidate left out.

Of course, Jocelyn-Tandy Adande is a perennial candidate for something and party means little. She's run for Mayor as a Democrat. She's run for other offices as a Republican. She was a former campaign manager for Democrat Bob Kern when he lost in his bid to unseat Dan Burton.

I can't imagine Republicans will be turning out in droves for this election with very little to decide on their side at the top of the ticket, so if Adande can muster some support, she might be able to get enough to prevail in a pick four out of five race.

Rivera should be ok as an incumbent, but, like the Democratic side with six candidates running for four slots, you never know until you know.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sources Say Abdul Making Mountain Out of Molehill on Kennedy Web Ad

To read Abdul-Hakim Shabazz's post on Melina Kennedy's recent web ad that used footage from a WRTV-6 news piece, you'd think that lawyers were loaded up on both sides, but my sources tell me that this thing got way overcooked by Abdul. Should we be surprised?

First of all, I hear WRTV did make a call to the Kennedy campaign at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday asking that the ad be pulled. I am hearing that the call came from the executive director. I am told that the call did not mention anything about copyright law infringement. Instead, I'm told that WRTV had a problem with its report being used in a political ad. This is apparently a policy at WRTV.

Secondly, I'm told that the Kennedy campaign was ready to pull the ad down later that day anyway from its main page. The call from WRTV came just hours before the campaign was due to archive the web piece. The piece had, I'm told, been running online for eight days prior to WRTV's call.

Thus, while Abdul is correct in much of what he reports, he seems to have overplayed WRTV's possible response a bit.

What it doesn't explain is Mayor Ballard's, frankly, crazy behavior in the piece by Kara Kenney and why he would walk away from a reporter spewing the word "paradigm" when he could have avoided his defensive encounter altogether.

On the business of this web ad, let's put the nontroversy to bed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Facebook Drafting Underway

While some 2012 hopefuls are out using Facebook in a proactive manner, others are seeing supporters cobble up "draft pages" that are in hopes of luring politicians of the past or present to run for office.

Right now, there is a tremendous battle between the draft pages of Vi Simpson and John Gregg. Both have significant support with Simpson's page drawing over 500 supporters to date. Gregg's page has drawn over 325 so far. Both politicans are being urged to run for Governor. With Simpson busy until after the General Assembly session, Gregg has actually been out and on the ground perhaps setting the scene for a possible run at the state's highest executive office. Either candidate will be tremendous if they decide to run.

Today, I saw a page pop up that wants to "Bring Back Brad" Ellsworth. When I first checked the page, it had just 25 or so supporters. That now has changed to over 50, and I'm sure by the time you read this that number will have grown. Whether Ellsworth will actually run or not remains to be seen. He has publicly said that he won't be a candidate for office in 2011 or 2012. That, of course, could change when he sees the detail of the proposed new 8th District map. If there's a Democrat that can win that district, it's the former Congressman.

As I said in the lead, other possible 2012 hopefuls have been out and about touting their activities on Facebook. Sam Locke has created a "Stand With Sam" page. He is thought to be considering a run for the 9th District Congressional Seat now held by the disastrous Todd Young. Democrat Andrew Straw has also created a page for a possible Congressional run. I am sure I'm missing a bunch of others!

All of this underlines what a powerful force the social networking site founded just a few years ago has become in the world of politics.

Marion County Democratic Party Releases Memo on New 7th District

If you thought the Marion County Democratic Party was going to bellyache and boo hoo about the new Congressional map for the 7th District, you're wrong.

Executive Director Adam Kirsch sent out this memo after doing some number crunching for Chairman Ed Treacy. It pretty much says it all, and it's good news for Congressman André Carson.


Chairman Treacy asked me to perform an analysis of the new 7th Congressional District. While the map certainly isn’t what Democrats would have drawn, we wanted to share the analysis with you as soon as possible. You will see the text of my memo to him below.

For the Party I am,

Adam D. Kirsch, Executive Director

TO: Chairman Treacy

FROM: Adam Kirsch

RE: 2011 7th Congressional District Political Analysis

DATE: April 12, 2011

Based on an analysis of the Marion County Democratic Party database of election results, the new 7th District remains a district Congressman André Carson will be re-elected to for the foreseeable future. The two most recent elections demonstrate that the new 7th is actually more Democratic than Marion County as a whole.
2008 Election

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama ignited a Democratic base in Indianapolis on his way to being the first Democratic candidate for President to carry Indiana in 44 years. He took a 90,866 vote lead out of the proposed 7th or 66.3% of the vote. In Indianapolis, President Obama received 63.7% of the vote.

The performance difference between the county and the new 7th carries on at the county level, with an average county ticket performance in the new 7th being 64.3% in contrast to “just” 60.6% in Marion County as a whole.

In short, in 2008, the new 7th was more Democratic than the very-Democratic Marion County.

2010 Election

The 2010 Election was in stark contrast to that of 2008 at the national level, but Marion County Democrats had another great year. Congressman Ellsworth carried 53.0% of the vote in all of Marion County, but in the new 7th, carried 55.6%. The baseline performance countywide in 2010 was 53.65% (underperforming the new 7th’s 56.33%).

The new 7th was more Democratic than Marion County as a whole again in 2010, suggesting that it (like the current 7th) will continue to be more Democratic than the County as a whole in years to come.


While the Republicans in the legislature made an effort to hurt Congressman Carson’s reelection chances, it appears that the new 7th will be a district that will be proudly served by Congressman André Carson for years to come.

New State General Assembly Maps Nothing But Political

There's a word for what the Republicans did to the Democrats in the Indiana House and Senate maps that they drew, and I can't really say that word in polite conversation. It's a synonym for screwed. The good news is that these maps are only proposed for now.

We saw it coming folks. Two days after the election when it became clear what would happen with the Republican majorities in the Indiana House and Senate. I penned this blog post, and I attributed much of the bulldozing to Mitch Daniels. Well, I was wrong. Brian Bosma has emerged as the black hat villain for Dems. Anyway, try this one on for size and see how it fits. Just sub in Brian Bosma for every Mitch Daniels reference.

Indiana Democrats, the political weatherman has spoken. Hunker down, it's going to be a long storm.

The Republican statewide hurricane that swept a man accused of voter fraud into the Office of Secretary of State and a Washington lobbyist into the U.S. Senate has also swept in a huge Republican Indiana House majority and has shrunk the Democratic caucus in the Indiana Senate so much that now Democrats are not needed to do business at all in the Senate.

All of this means that lame duck Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels can pretty much run roughshod over anyone that has opposed him over the last six years. Fit him for his crown. He's now Napoleon.

Sure to be in his sights are the House Democratic caucus, public school teachers and administrators, organized labor, and minority groups. If you don't think he will, just wait.

Expect the Indiana General Assembly to end collective bargaining and make this state a “right to work” state. Expect the Indiana General Assembly to try to pass Arizona-like immigration legislation that will be discriminatory to minorities. Expect the Indiana General Assembly to do everything in its power to dissolve the Indiana State Teachers Association and to make public schools suffer so that more people go the private school direction. Expect the consolidation of local government so that townships no longer exist and small school districts are forced to consolidate with larger ones.

The voices of dissent will be there, and they will be strong, but there’s now nothing stopping Governor Daniels. For all intents and purposes, if it comes out of his mouth, and he wants it done, it will be law.

Even more insidious is what Governor Daniels can now do in redistricting. In many years, if reforms didn’t work, the opposing party could be ready to gain back the seats it lost in the next election. This time, Republicans will be drawing the Indiana House maps and the Indiana Senate maps. There will be no control of the General Assembly for Democrats in the foreseeable future if those maps are drawn correctly. Forget all this talk about fair redistricting. That’s done.

Indiana’s Republicans already had the right to draw the Indiana Congressional Districts. It looks like reapportionment will not take any seats from the state, but it does look like districts like the 2nd District and the 9th District can be redrawn in a way that Democrats will never control them. Republicans can also play defense in the 8th District where it looks like Brad Ellsworth could conceivably give it a go in 2012 against the newly-elected Larry Buschon.

The best Democrats can hope for in 2012 is that a strong candidate for Governor emerges. I’m not so sure that candidate is Evan Bayh. Bayh’s blueprint of a Blue Dog caucus in Indiana is not producing results anymore. Voters have strongly rejected it.

It’s time for a reboot at the state level, and it’s going to require a new mold to figure out things. The same old same old same old with the same old characters leading the way won’t work. I have a feeling the growing pains aren’t going to be pretty as old guard vestiges hang on for dear life. Voters already handed control of every state office and the General Assembly to Mitch Daniels. You can’t get much worse than that.

Sounds pretty much like I was Nostrademocratus there. But, the sad thing is that as bad of a prognosticator as I am, most of it has come true. The Dems stopped Right to Work for now, but almost everything else I mentioned has come true or has come close to true.

The redistricting in the Indiana House is the latest and greatest hit in the Republican caucus' hit parade. View the proposed maps here. As you'll notice, Marion County is going to look a lot more red if things hold up. Republican incumbents...strengthened. New districts in Republican areas were also added.

And, the Democrats, more insignificant. The Republicans have drawn the districts in such a way that longtime Representatives like John Day, Greg Porter, and Ed Delaney would be primary opponents. Jeb Bardon and Vanessa Summers would be primary opponents. In other Democratic areas across the state, it's divide and conquer.

Make no mistake, this was the lasting Republican hack job on this state. They hope to get these craps...whoops...maps through for the next 10 years resulting in maybe 25 seats for Dems. That's hardly representative of Indiana.

We're not even talking about the State Senate maps which can be examined here. There, according to the Indianapolis Star, one district, Senate District 28, would run from Center Township all the way out to Wayne County. What the firetruck?

When I penned that blog post in November, I had no idea what lengths the Republicans would go to to punish Democrats. In the end, it only punishes Indiana. One party autonomy needs to end, and the Republicans will try to blame this on the Democrats because the bill that would have given redistricting to a non-partisan committee was killed in the walkout. Well, I guess that makes what they have done right then.

These maps are sick. Hopefully, the Indiana Democratic Party can muster what is left of itself and fight this one off. Otherwise, we might as well be dispersing into county organizations because the IDP will be done as we know it at the state level.

Elections most definitely do have consequences.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Democrats Motivated to Take Back City-County Building

On Saturday, I attended the United Wayne Township Democratic Club Candidates and Community Breakfast. It's one of the highlights of my political year, and the Wayne Township club really does a great job with its events. What I noticed was how fired up everyone was and how ready they are for a change at the City-County Building.

While municipal elections typically are "down years" in both interest and voting numbers, I noticed what seemed to be a lot more people at the breakfast than in the past few years. It wasn't all candidates and hardcore party faithful, either. They were there for sure, but there were many rank-and-file Dems there that I had never met, as well. Several others were ready to trudge out into the rain and canvass following the breakfast.

I continue to be impressed by Melina Kennedy. She was the only Mayoral candidate at the event, and she gave a rousing speech about how important it is to have a Mayor that's not only participating in functions like this but that is connected to what's going on in the community at large. She talked about some of the challenges the city faces and that the next Mayor will have to deal with. She also quipped that the next time that this breakfast will be held, it will again be called "the Mayor's Pancake Breakfast" as it was during the Peterson Administration.

It was a great event, and it was proof to me that Democrats are more than ready to take back the last executive office that Republicans hold. The City-County Building must seem awfully blue to Mayor Ballard. I think it's about to get more blue in November.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why is the Mayor Throwing Hail Marys?

Mayor Greg Ballard has apparently quietly set aside 10 percent of city jobs for individuals with criminal records.

While part of me wants to praise the Mayor for coming up with an innovative idea that will help a group of people that really need help, another part of me is saying, "What the hell is he thinking?" It's not even May yet, and Greg Ballard is firing Hail Mary passes at the end zone.

Again, it's an odd choice for a Republican Mayor of Indianapolis who wants to appear tough on crime, and it just can't resonate well with his base. That's what Paul Ogden and Gary Welsh, two conservative bloggers in town, have said as they have both weighed in on the Ballard plan. Ogden's take is here. Welsh's take is here.

It's another risky and undisciplined move in an election year by a man that clearly is not in campaign trim. This is the kind of plan you uncork next year at this time if you win re-election. It's not the kind of plan a Republican puts forth now. You might expect this out of a Democrat that is not the Sam Carson, but it's not something you expect out of the sitting Mayor.

I guess this underscores how concerned Mayor Ballard is about Melina Kennedy right now. He's going for broke in April.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


With the federal government averting a shutdown with an 11th-hour agreement, I think it's appropriate to go on with Saturday Humor. Today, I find this humorous take on keeping yourself safe from a Canada Goose attack. Enjoy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Slated, Unslated At-Large Dems Working Hard for Votes

As the May Primary approaches quickly, the race on the Democratic side for City-County Council appears to be heating up.

Because alphabetical order is not the friend of the slate, the volunteers and slated D's on the ballot for City-County Council, At-Large are already out and canvassing in all nine townships with Melina Kennedy's camp. The MCDP is also phonebanking for their slate utilizing volunteers on behalf of and from the campaigns of Zach Adamson, John Barth, Leroy Robinson, and Joanne Sanders.

The problem for the slate is that if many Joe or Jane Democrats go to the polls and vote for the first four names on the ballot, you will end up with Zach Adamson, Pat Andrews, John Barth, and Sherron Franklin as the nominees instead of the four slated candidates mentioned earlier. Besides the alphabetical issue, I think there are a couple of other things working against the slate of four.

So, who's in the strongest position to make it through the primary? To me, that's Zach Adamson and John Barth. They are solid candidates with good resumes and have been working hard with active campaigns that have been out there for a long time visiting clubs and making lots of contacts. If either one of those two lose out in the primary, I'll be shocked.

Further down the ballot, the issues show up.

There seems to be an undercurrent of loyal Democrats that feel as if they don't quite know Leroy Robinson as well as some of the other candidates on the ballot. He only entered the race about a month or so before slating and some heavy-hitting allies came in to help push him through the slating process. From what I've seen from Leroy, he's a great guy, and he's going to make a solid Councillor. Also, I don't think he's ignoring the concerns of those Dems. On the contrary, I believe he has heard the concerns and is taking steps to get out there.

Councillor Joanne Sanders has not made too many appearances out on the campaign trail as of yet. Given her position as an incumbent on the Council, she's probably fine, but you never know. Stranger things have happened. The only time Ed Treacy has lost a member of his slate is in these types of elections where it is not a vote for one situation. On the At-Large ballot, you vote for four.

It's difficult to beat the slate. There will be slate cards in the hands and at the doors of nearly every polling site in Marion County. The unslated candidates have uphill climbs for sure.

Sherron Franklin has a lot of baggage from her previous term representing a district on the council from her votes against the police merger and the human rights ordinance. The latter is probably more damaging in Democrat circles. She has yet to make much of a play for votes that I have seen, and she still has yet to explain her vote on the Human Rights Ordinance to any satisfaction of this voter.

Pat Andrews, to me, is the strongest candidate of the two non-slated candidates, and I believe she's also a strong candidate period. Even her strongest critics agree as almost everyone does, that she would make a tremendous City-County Councillor. Andrews is also taking a tremendous risk. By signing the slating agreement and now running against the slate, Andrews cannot be slated for another Marion County office for a period of six years. I don't think that's a big deal to Pat, but it is a factor for her in the minds of the most loyal party Democrats.

Whichever four players emerge, it will be a campaign-tested group that will be ready to take back the Council in November.

Editor's Note
In the interest of full disclosure, I am an honorary co-chair of Zach Adamson's At-Large Council campaign. My opinions are mine, and they do not speak for the Adamson campaign.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

NObama in Indy Tomorrow

That's probably the only time you'll see the use of "NObama" on this blog, but the President has canceled his visit tomorrow due to the impending government shutdown. Smart and savvy move, but it's sad for Indianapolis.

I'm sure we'll see him again at some point.

Rosenberg Rules

Marion County Circuit Court Judge Lou Rosenberg overturned the decision of the Indiana Recount Commission not to hear the case of Charlie White's voter registration and remanded the case back to the Commission for action.

The Recount Commission includes the Secretary of State, incidentally. Charlie White will hopefully recuse himself from the case.

No Amnesty for Ballard on Gun Turn-in

Local bloggers and the mainstream media have picked up on the various issues surrounding the cancellation of a gun amnesty event IMPD had scheduled, and it just doesn’t look good for Mayor Ballard.

My friend, Terry Burns, over at the Indianapolis Times offers up this blow-by-blow insider account of what happened. Burns’ post is particularly scathing because it points out some of the more seedy aspects of the whole event and its cancellation. It’s worth the read.

The RTV-6 Watchdogs also have picked up on the story. Once the Watchdogs get on something, there’s no chance of it dying a quick death as a story. Jack Rinehart filed this story on how local ministers felt betrayed by the sudden cancellation of the event with little or no explanation.

I think both accounts leave one major question. Who is running the show for the Ballard campaign? From Burns’ post, it seems like the Mayor’s Office and the Mayor’s campaign may be a little bit too cozy. The gun amnesty turn-in event sounded to Burns to be a direct response to Melina Kennedy’s crime reduction plan released a few days before the IMPD event was announced citing some of the language in Kennedy’s plan. It’s clear that no one spoke with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office who, according to Burns, voiced immediate concerns over the “no questions asked” gun amnesty turn-in event.

Even though the spin right now is to blame this on IMPD and the Public Safety Department, it’s not clear within those entities who talked to who there, either. Regardless, wasn’t it Mayor Ballard that wanted control of IMPD and public safety back under the Mayor’s Office during the campaign in 2007? If something this big happened, then you would think the Mayor should have known about it or signed off on it. It's not hard to see how the politics of the campaign are sneaking into something that could have a major impact on the city and how it fights crime.

Finally, I think this also shows how not in campaign trim that the Ballard camp is. These are juvenile mistakes that just can’t be made by the sitting Mayor, especially in a city and county that has trended strongly Democratic lately. Melina Kennedy’s a great candidate, and her campaign is professionally-run. In a referendum on the incumbent, these are some of the thousand small holes that can sink a ship.

Then again, this is more than a small hole. All the more reason why Mayor Ballard deserves to be the first one term Mayor since the passage of Unigov.

Decision Expected Today in Charlie White Case

We should know what Judge Lou Rosenberg has decided in the Charlie White case later today.

Rosenberg is expected to announce his decision at 3:30 p.m. on whether Charlie White was qualified as a candidate to run for Secretary of State or not. He could apply a few different remedies as well.

If Rosenberg decides that White was not qualified to seek the office in 2010 for Secretary of State, one of his remedies could open the door for Vop Osili to take over under Indiana law as the second-place vote getter in the election. It could also carry a whole host of problems for the Indiana Republican Party when it comes to ballot access as a party.

I guess we wait.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Indiana Todds (and a Marlin) Demonstrate Predictable Behavior on Budget

The Republican-led Congressional Budget Committee has come forward with a plan to cut $6 trillion from federal spending. Democrats contend that the bill would partially privatize social security and damage other programs like medicare and medicaid while dishing out more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

To me, the Democrats' concerns look well founded. Helping to design this messy and political budget, were Indiana's two Todds: Todd Rokita and Todd Young (and Marlin Stutzman, too.

Todd Young's Congressional website posted this video of the freshman Representative from Indiana's 9th District announcing the plan to partially privatize Social Security and change Medicaid. You may recall, Young called Social Security a "Ponzi Scheme" during the campaign against Baron Hill.

Over Young's left shoulder is Todd Rokita of Indiana's 4th Congressional District. Rokita appeared on the somewhat nationally-syndicated Dana Show on WIBC Tuesday. He told the host that right now is the time to begin to consider how spending cuts will effect "Grandma's check" in a talk about Social Security.

To me, we can talk about spending cuts, but to give that money back in the form of more tax cuts for the wealthy is just sickening. Taking money out of the pockets of our most vulnerable citizens is no way to balance a budget.

Sadly, two Indiana Todds (and a Marlin) are right there front and center. What a great disappointment for our state.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hinkle Wants to Eliminate At-Large Council Seats


As I have stated previously, Phil Hinkle is a good friend of mine and my family, but this latest action...well, I just don't understand. In the middle of an election year, Phil Hinkle is almost blatantly trying to help Republicans retain control of the City-County Council in Indianapolis.

According to Paul Ogden and WIBC, Hinkle has filed an amendment to a bill that would ELIMINATE the four at-large City-County Council position as early as 2011. That's right, you could see the end of the line for the four positions.

Hinkle is a former City-County Councillor, so he knows how important those seats are to swinging the control of the Council. It's hard not to see this move by the Republican Representative as anything but a political move in an election year.

Where's the fire here? November 2011 is the fire. Hinkle and the Marion County GOP know very well that all or at least some of those four seats are poised to turn back to blue. In a year where some of the district Councillors are facing tough fights just to stay in office, you could see a majority swing to the Democrats in 2011 based upon these At-Large seats. Absentee ballots are already being mailed back in, right now, so what's the legality of this right now trying to dump the At-Larges? Perhaps Mr. Hinkle will respond to this post. I know he reads the blog.

If we want to have this discussion, then let's have the discussion in 2012. Right now, leave the Council alone. Withdrawing the amendment is the only way to make this look like anything but a political swipe. It's also completely unfair to those people running hard for these office right now. The candidates in all three parties deserve better than an 11th-hour Amendment.

Abdul reports on Facebook that he interviewed Hinkle this morning. The measure would not kick in until 2015.

Obama Launches 2012 Campaign

If you haven't seen President Barack Obama's 2012 launch video, here it is. It hits on many of the 2008 campaign themes. The fact that he's visiting Indiana on Friday also means that he's not conceding the Hoosier State.

Obama gets the early jump on almost all of the possible Republican challengers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Daniels One Step Closer to Emperor

The Indianapolis Star reports that a sweeping bill that would give the Governor of Indiana ability carte blanche authority to establish toll roads is up for discussion in the House Roads and Transportation Committee this week.

As written, the bill that passed out of the Senate on a party-line 37-12 vote, would sunset in 2015, according to the Star. The original sponsor, Senator Tom Wyss, told the Star that he hoped the House would amend the bill to remove the end date. The report also says that this bill has largely bypassed the public eye because it passed on the first full day of the Democratic walkout in the House.

Right now, the Indiana House and Senate must approve making toll roads in Indiana. I think that is a good system. As I read the Star's report, the new measure would give the Governor and the Indiana DOT the authority to work with private companies on deals like Major Moves without oversight from the General Assembly.

This, I think, is a slippery slope here. It would set a precedent for the legislature to cede control of critical public projects to the most political person in the state, the Governor. If this passes, what could be next?

Public hearings are just window dressing. The Governor will get his bill, and he will get his chance to turn Indiana into Chicago or New York or New Jersey when it comes to transportation. The voters lose a little bit more control over their government.

As I read stories like this, I can't help but think of a scene from Star Wars: Episode III. Chancellor Palpatine uses the attack by the Jedi to seize control over the entire Galactic Republic. After the Senate votes to give Palpatine emergency control over everything, he gets a standing ovation. Watching the events, Padme Amidala says, "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause."

Is it Star Wars or is it Indiana?