Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Large Order of Crow...Please

Looks like I spoke too soon. The Marion County Republican Party released this statement today...although I still can't find who took the ballot vacancy in District 2.

Regardless, congratulations to Chairman Walker. Looks like for the first time in a long time, both parties will have something to vote for in almost every district. That means quite a bit!

Contact: Chairman Kyle Walker
Phone: 317-514-1276


Marion County Republican Chairman Names Candidates for City-County Council; Appointments Fill Last Remaining Vacancies
(Indianapolis, June 30th) Marion County Republican Party Chairman Kyle Walker named six candidates to fill ballot vacancies in City-County Council Districts 7, 9, 10, 11, 16 and 18. These appointments leave no Republican vacancies for City-County Council.

Sahara Williams (District 7), Sally Spiers (District 9), Barbara Holland (District 10), Mike Healy (District 11), Bill Bruton (District 16) and Michael Heady (District 18) will all challenge for City County Council races. "We are thrilled to now have a full ticket of Republicans for the voters to consider on Election Day. Each of these new candidates offer a fresh perspective to districts that have been underserved by Democrats for far too long," said Chairman Kyle Walker.

Chairman Walker also named candidates to fill ballot vacancies for Warren Park Town Council (Denise Robinson) and two candidates for Beech Grove City Council At Large (Kathy Coates and Daniel Norris).

I will have to do some digging when I return home. I still say the Dems have a better ticket from top to bottom, and my praise for Ed Treacy still stands in filling 28/29 ballot slots.

For my GOP readers, I like my crow a little bit over medium with feathers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Advantage Ed

Ed Treacy has been a busy bee lately. Of the 29 ballot slots for City-County Council on the Democratic Party ticket, 28 of those slots will be full it looks like when the deadline passes on June 30.

The thing is, there are some tremendously talented people filling these slots. Local attorney Jackie Butler became the latest earlier today when she was announced as the candidate for the Democrats in District 5.

District 24 is the only slot that will not have a Democrat running, and that's the slot where incumbent Libertarian Ed Coleman is going up against incumbent Republican Jack Sandlin.

Neither the Libertarians (understandably) or the Republicans (who hold the Council majority) could find that many people willing to take a slot on the ballot. These latest nominees by Treacy really are some talented people with excellent backgrounds in business, the community, and other areas. While many of them will not be favored in their races, more than a few of them have a great chance at winning seats on the Council.

For all his youth and energy, Kyle Walker could not muster much interest in running for Council, it appears.

The Democratic ticket does have problems (ahem...Monroe Gray...sorry, I can't let it go), and the loss of such great Councillors as Jackie Nytes and Joanne Sanders cannot simply be overlooked. Those problems are small in comparison to some of the problems on the GOP slate. And, there are some truly civic-minded and excellent candidates ready to become Councillors on the Democratic slate in 2011. Plus, Treacy weeded the garden, I think, where he could by putting up past Councillors like Steve Talley on the ballot, for example.

Chairman Treacy should be roundly and rightly applauded for this effort. There are some excellent candidates on the ballot for the Democrats! It's an excellent group of individuals. Advantage ET.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Vacation Time!

I'm going to be on vacation this week. I do not plan to blog unless something comes up, but you know me, I never seem to be able to stay away from blogging for too many days in a row. If you want, just check back in periodically, something new might be up.

With next Monday being July 4, normal posting will resume on Tuesday, July 5.

Thanks for your readership!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New HBO Documentary Looks Spectacular

Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi traveled to all 50 states to document new U.S. citizens' first day as Americans. Looks to be a wonderful documentary premiering on HBO, July 4.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Civil Unions: A Love Story

New York Gets It Right

Same sex marriage is coming to New York! Bravo to the New York State Senate that, by a one-vote margin, approved the bill allowing same sex marriages. New York becomes the 6th state in the union to allow this, and, 30 days after Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the bill into law, it will be the most populated state. Let's see if we can't get more.

In the meantime, enjoy Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, and a great rendition of New York, New York!

Hat tip to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who threatened to cut off campaign contributions to Republicans if they didn't vote for the bill) and the brave Republican Senators that got it right in New York!

Jon Stewart Interviews "Senator John McCain" on Arizona Wildfires

Friday, June 24, 2011

Who's Running For Council?

As far as I can tell, this the way your ballot would shape up in the fall as of this moment on June 24 when it comes to City-County Council. This is based on all the information I can find to date. My rating is in parenthesis. This may change as the year progresses, but I'm looking at what I believe to be given the candidates running. My rating system is Safe, Likely, Leans, or Toss-up. Rating looks at how the district has voted in the past, whether the seat has changed hands, or how the area may be changing. I also make allowances for good candidates. An (I) denotes an incumbent.

At Large Council: (Indy Democrat Rating: Four Seats Lean Democratic)
Democrats: Zach Adamson, John Barth, Pam Hickman, Leroy Robinson
Republicans: Jacqueline Cissel, Michael Kalscheur, Barbara Malone (I), Angel Rivera (I)
Libertarians: Bill Levin, Sherry Meinert, Reid Miller

District 1 (Likely Democratic)
Democrat Jose Evans (I)
Republican Susan Blair
Libertarian Michael Bishop

District 2 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat Angela Mansfield (I)
Libertarian Sam Goldstein

District 3 (Likely Republican)
Democrat Len Farber
Republican Ryan Vaughn (I)

District 4 (Toss Up)
Democrat Kostas Poulakidas
Republican Christine Scales (I)
Libertarian Raymond Vanlanot

District 5 (Safe Republican)
Republican Virginia Cain (I)

District 6 (Leans Republican)
Democrat Brett Voorhies
Republican Janice McHenry (I)
Libertarian Kevin Fleming

District 7 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat Maggie Lewis (I)

District 8 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat Monroe Gray (I)
Republican Stu Rhodes

District 9 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat Joe Simpson

District 10 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat William “Duke” Oliver (I)
Libertarian Joell Palmer

District 11 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat Steve Talley
Libertarian Tom Mulcahy

District 12 (Toss up)
Democrat Regina Marsh
Republican Michael McQuillen (I)

District 13 (Likely Republican)
Democrat Jared Evans
Republican Robert Lutz (I)
Libertarian Jason Sipe

District 14 (Likely Republican)
Democrat Maxine King
Republican Marilyn Pfisterer (I)

District 15 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat Vop Osili
Republican A.J. Feeney-Ruiz
Libertarian Zach Capehart

District 16 (Safe Democratic)
Democrat Brian Mahern (I)

District 17 (Likely Democratic)
Democrat Mary Moriarty Adams (I)
Republican Gary Whitmore

District 18 (Safe Demcoratic)
Democrat Vernon Brown (I)

District 19 (Leans Democratic)
Democrat Dane Mahern (I)
Republican Jeff Miller

District 20 (Toss-up)
Democrat Frank Mascari
Republican N. Susie Day (I)

District 21 (Leans Republican)
Democrat Todd Woodmansee
Republican Benjamin Hunter (I)
Libertarian Josh Featherstone

District 22 (Safe Republican)
Democrat Douglas White
Republican Jason Holliday

District 23 (Safe Republican)
Democrat Scott Coxey
Republican Jeff Cardwell (I)
Libertarian Ken Raquet

District 24 (Leans Republican)
Republican Jack Sandlin (I)
Libertarian Ed Coleman (I)*

District 25 (Safe Republican)
Democrat Mario Garza
Republican Aaron Freeman (I)
Libertarian Kevin Vale

*Coleman is currently on the Council as an At-Large Councillor.

Current Make-up: 15 R, 13 D, 1 L
Predicted Make-up: 16 D, 10 R, 3 Toss-up (as of June 24)

Races to watch: District 4, District 6, District 12, District 19, District 20, District 21, District 24, At-Large

Incumbents not running: Democrat Joanne Sanders (At-Large), Democrat Jackie Nytes (District 9), Democrat Paul Bateman (District 11), Democrat Doris Minton McNeill (District 15), Republican Bob Cockrum (District 22)

Friday Hodge Podge: Jon Huntsman, John McCain, Obama on Afghanistan and Kostas Poulakidas

There have been lots of things that I've wanted to comment on this week, but, since I really have had some big news to cover with Joanne Sanders leaving the City-County Council race and replacement by Pam Hickman, Charlie White's hearing, Greg Ballard's latest implosion, and other things, I decided to throw it into a hodge podge.

Jon Huntsman Joins Republican Race
True moderate Jon Huntsman used Ronald Regan-like staging to launch his 2012 Presidential campaign. Huntsman could make some of those Obama Republicans and independents decide to return to the GOP, but he has about as much of a chance of winning the nomination as an ice cube does on asphalt during an Indianapolis summer. He simply makes too much sense.

John McCain Imploding
John McCain's decline from maverick to moron continues to pick up speed. The Arizona Senator and former GOP Presidential nominee said earlier this week that there was "substantial evidence" that the Arizona wildfires that burn out of control in his state were caused by illegal immigrants. When challenged, McCain said that he didn't say that and then said the same thing again. My friends, John McCain is losing it.

Obama's Afghan Plan
President Obama addressed the nation on Tuesday night and announced a plan to slowly draw down troops in Afghanistan. I applaud the President for this, but I wish the pace of withdraw were quicker. We have no business in Afghanistan. When GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney takes this position, then you know it's time to get out. We also received word of another young Hoosier who lost his life there. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of 21-year-old Josh Jetton. We honor Josh's sacrifice.

Poulakidas Continues To Impress
District 4 City-County Council candidate Kostas Poulakidas is really kicking some serious butt in his campaign. Almost daily, I'm receiving some sort of update from the campaign trail, an invitation to an event or meet and greet, or a notice of a campaign canvass. Poulakidas is definitely raising the game in that district. One wonders if the incumbent, Christine Scales, is matching his effort. Poulakidas will be a formidable opponent with lots of resources between now and November.

Indianapolis Star Dying on Vine

Indianapolis' highest circulated daily newspaper still remains a profitable venture for Gannett, but it wasn't enough for 62 staff members to keep their jobs at the Indianapolis Star.

The Indy daily continues to mirror the loss of jobs in the newspaper industry, and we are rapidly losing a vibrant force in not only political commentary but reporting, in general.

Television stations can't cover things the way newspapers can, and, yes, the Indianapolis Star has been long known as a paper that is not kind to those on the left. In recent years, we've seen the Star become more moderate, but it still is most of the time a right-of-center publication.

What tv can't match is the depth of stories available in print. When you look back at the great work that Matt Tully has done in recent years on Manual High School or on the Phoenix Apartments, you get the feeling of what a powerful property a print news organization can be. It's something to lament for this journalism-degree-holder. The loss of newspapers is a loss to our society. It's happening.

According to the IBJ, the Star is developing and moving more towards an online presence. Perhaps someday soon, Star readers will have to log on to the internet instead of walking to the newspaper slot. That will be a sad day for people that love newspapers.

These are people like Ruth Holladay. Ruth is a former popular writer and columnist at the Star, and she continues to hold Gannett's feet to the fire on her blog. I used to link to her blog, but for some reason, her updates wouldn't come through. Her blog is an excellent resource to the systematic deflowering that Gannett is doing to the Indy Star.

You know, there was a time that my grandmother, Twila Easter, would start her day and take at least a couple of hours going through the paper. She would start at the back and move to the front making sure to do the crossword puzzle, read the comics, and check the obituaries. She did that almost daily until her death in 1996. Today, she likely could get through the Star in a few minutes. The paper continues to shrink.

I guess I'm part of the problem. I haven't subscribed to the Star in years, but it's mostly because I don't think it's worth it. Beyond the Sunday paper, there's not much in there except cursory reporting. I'm convinced that someday the Indy Star will simply be a stapled 8 1/2 by 11 sheet in nine point type.

Love it or hate it, the destruction of the Indy Star has been painful to watch, and, while I am at it, I REALLY miss the Indianapolis News.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two More Dems Join Council Ticket

Ed Treacy's had a busy few weeks.

The Marion County Democratic Party Chairman has named a couple of well-known candidates for Council in District 20 running against N. Susie Day and District 23 taking on Jeff Cardwell. Frank Mascari will run in District 20, and Scott Coxey will run in District 23.

Here's the release from the Marion County Democratic Party:

Marion County Democratic Chairman Names Two Candidates for District Races

INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy announced today the names of two more candidates who will enter district races for the Indianapolis City-County Council. The addition of Scott Coxey (District 23) and local business owner Frank Mascari (District 20) leaves only two district races to be filled by the Democratic Party.

“We are pleased to welcome Eli Lilly employee Scott Coxey and Spalding Jewelry owner Frank Mascari to the team,” said Chairman Ed Treacy. “Democrats are invigorated by this year’s contests, and I’m thrilled that so many strong candidates are stepping forward. We will continue working to fill the remaining vacancies and ensure that no Republican is safe in 2011.”
Scott Coxey is a lifelong resident of Indy’s south side, having graduated from Perry Meridian High School. He went on to obtain an MBA in Knowledge Management, a Bachelors degree in Project Management, and AAS in Chemical Technology. He is a 13 year employee of Eli Lilly and Company working in process control engineering. Scott is an elected Precinct Committeeman. Scott and his wife Melissa are the proud parents of four children. He is a member of Saint Barnabas Parish. He is active in many community organizations and has spent many years as an active supporter of MSD Perry Township schools and athletics. Additionally, he is a member of H.O.G. – Harley Owner’s Group, and is an avid rider.

Frank Mascari is a local business owner who has spent his entire life working and living in the city of Beech Grove. A graduate of Beech Grove High School, he has owned and operated Spalding Jewelry for over 30 years. He has been an active member of the community, working with the Beech Grove Little League, and he previously served as president of the Beech Grove Lion’s Club. He and his wife Mary have been married for over 35 years and have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Both Coxey and Mascari are well-known in the community and represent excellent choices by the Chairman in these two districts.

The choice of Mascari really will make the Beech Grove-heavy District 20 an interesting affair. Day got 54 percent of the votes in 2007 against Keric Fitzgerald, and Mascari lost to Joe Wright for Mayor of Beech Grove by just 155 votes. He is well-known and well-liked in the community. Day also has been a longtime Grover. This is now a very interesting race to watch.

The numbers show things will be more difficult for Coxey in District 23, but he is definitely not going to go quietly. Coxey will challenge Councillor Cardwell every chance he gets, and I think will outperform the numbers in 2007 when Earl Williams fought hard but lost. Will that be enough to win? Who knows, but it's great to see someone on the ballot. Coxey does have some pedigree as well. He is the son-in-law of Terry Curry.

As the release points out, only District 5 and District 24 remain for Democrats to fill. The Chairman has less than a week to do it.

Mayor's Latest Gaffe Highlights Major Weaknesses

Note to Mayor Greg Ballard:
Fire your prep staff. Do it now. Don't wait 24 hours.

Mayor Ballard showed up to do an interview with Amos Brown on his Afternoons with Amos show on 1310 AM and apparently did not know the gender of the Indianapolis Chapter President of the NAACP. Whoops. It was a moment that one way or another will reflect poorly on the man who wants to be reelected, and it was certainly something I can't see any of the previous Unigov Mayors doing.

Nope. This flub belongs to Ballard, and it's a whopper.

It comes at a time that many in the African-American community are looking at what Mayor Ballard has done for them, and they are asking questions. Whispers of the Ballard Administration's failure to bridge many gaps are now becoming full-throated roars, and they are starting to pick up mainstream momentum.

After the latest mess up, the Baptist Ministers Alliance called a press conference to air its grievances with the Mayor. Some on the right are trying to discredit the BMA, but the BMA isn't the only source that's speaking up on this. I've talked to people from all over the political spectrum that have shared the same kinds of issues with me. From public safety to community relations, Mayor Ballard is failing politics 101. He simply doesn't do this kind of thing well.

It's not too much to expect from the Mayor to get the key players in a respected organization like the NAACP correct when asked, and I think the BMA and others in the community have a case here. Mayor Greg Ballard has a problem, and he's going to have to solve it in the next four months or he not only will lose his office, but he will lose it in a big way. Simply being defiant is not going to even get close solving the issue. Maybe the Mayor doesn't want to solve it. He's happy with writing off a significant number of votes, but that doesn't address the larger issue.

Let me be clear. Mayor Greg Ballard is no racist. Any attempts to portray him as such are absolutely out of line. With that being true, further poorly-prepared appearances on key radio shows, accusatory statements and comments to the media, and a seeming lack of empathy or desire to bridge gaps will only open him up to more criticism on this subject.

Ballard's ship is sinking, and many of the holes in the hull are self-inflicted.

New Cigarette Labels Go Too Far

Smoking is a nasty, awful habit, and it has severe health ramifications for those who smoke and for those around them. Smoking without a doubt has been linked to lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, heart disease, and any number of other health concerns.

The federal government, in its effort to curb smoking, passed a law a year or so ago that changed the warning labels for cigarettes to include disturbing images illustrating the kinds of things that might happen to someone if they smoke. It is a brilliant plan, but I think it goes too far. You can see the labels and an article from USA Today here.

First of all, I really doubt that it's going to work. I have lived with smokers, and I am completely amazed that despite all the taxes that have jacked the prices of cigarettes up and up and up, most of my friends still smoke. A picture or two of a diseased lung or a tracheotomy probably won't stop them from smoking. Smokers are well aware by now of the damage they are doing to their bodies.

I suppose that this method could stop new smokers from picking up cigarettes in the first place, and that's not a bad thing. The method though, I still have some sort of problem with. I mean drinking and driving kills people. Do we now put pictures of mangled corpses on beer cans? Perhaps even damaged livers?

Something just feels icky to me about this. I can't explain it, and please don't misunderstand me. If you're smoking, it would be best that you stopped. I just don't know if these warning labels would help me do it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coats Wants Answers from NBC

Dan Coats, who seemingly has mostly slept through his first few months in office as Indiana's Junior Senator, suddenly has decided to take a position on something: NBC's decision to omit the words "Under God, Indivisible" from the Pledge of Allegiance in the intro of Sunday's coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament.

Many people are upset, and, frankly, I am too. I think it was a silly and perplexing decision by NBC to do it. It was extremely unfortunate, but it was the right of NBC to air it that way. In America, we believe in the First Amendment. I defend the right of NBC to air the piece they did, but I certainly wish they would have put the full pledge in.

Coats is demanding an explanation from NBC and, according to WISH-TV's Jim Shella, assurances that it will not happen again in the future.

If I were NBC, I would simply ignore his request. The peacock network issued an apology on the telecast. It should not have to answer to the grandstanding Dan Coats on this one.

As for Senator Coats, if he truly wants to pursue an explanation further, perhaps he should take a look at the First Amendment. It provides all the explanation necessary.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hickman Joins At-Large Ticket

Pam Hickman was chosen by Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy to take Joanne Sanders' place on the November ballot in the At-Large City-County Council race.

Here is the release from from the Marion County Democratic Party:
Small Business Owner Pam Hickman Joins Democratic At-Large Council Ticket

INDIANAPOLIS – At a press conference held today at Marion County Democratic Party Headquarters, Chairman Ed Treacy named small business owner Pam Hickman as the At-Large Council Candidate who will fill the ballot vacancy created by Minority Leader Joanne Sanders’ withdrawal yesterday.

“Pam Hickman is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and an active member of our community,” Chairman Treacy said. “Her success as a local business owner, paired with her commitment to serving others, makes her a great asset to our team as we fight to gain a Democratic majority on the City-County Council and continue to work for the people of Indianapolis.”

Hickman praised Minority Leader Joanne Sanders’ years of service, and spoke to her excitement about joining the Democratic ticket that includes At-Large candidates Zach Adamson, John Barth, and Leroy Robinson.

“I’m deeply committed to this city,” said Hickman. “I’m eager to join this excellent team of At-Large candidates to face the challenges before us, and to ensure Marion county residents have a council that speaks on their behalf.”

So, Hickman is off and running, but nothing is without controversy. I'm hearing a little push back from some inside the party about the lack of a caucus to name Sanders' replacement and some crazy-sounding conspiracy theories from outside the party.

I am sympathetic to the calls for a caucus, completely sympathetic, but I think this was the cleanest way for the party to decide this at this point.

A caucus could have been expensive to run, and it would have potentially set off a circus atmosphere which I'm sure the folks at the Marion County Party did not want. Secondarily, the question remains about whether some of the same voices calling for a caucus would have trusted the process enough to respect the results of the caucus. Things could have gotten nasty some four months short of November. Better to take a couple of lumps now than a bunch of lumps later.

Were there other candidates for the job that Treacy could have picked? Absolutely. You could make a case for Pat Andrews(who finished fifth in the Primary) or Annette Johnson (who ran hard for the job before losing in a tight race at slating) or any number of others as alternate candidates, but Hickman is a previous candidate for office and has run a campaign before (State Rep. against Cindy Noe in Indiana House 87). She is a fine addition to the at-large ticket.

As far as the conspiracy theories surrounding Sanders' abrupt departure from the ticket, aometimes a "cigar is just a cigar." Yes, it was sudden and surprising, but I'm hearing that Sanders' reasons for leaving the race were genuine. I'm hearing from sources familiar with the situation that everyone was shocked by her decision and few knew about it prior to her announcement on Monday.

We'll find out between now and June 30 if Treacy will have another decision to make. District 15 candidate Vop Osili could become Secretary of State if the Indiana Recount Commission decides Charlie White was not eligible to run for that statewide office and tosses him out of office.

Washington Mike Wants Washington Money

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Congressman Mike Pence wants to raise as much as $25 million for a run for Governor in 2012. That's a big chunk of change for a humble Hoosier, but it's chump change for a Washington elite Congressman.

Pence's campaign told the Associated Press that it is in the process of putting together an organization in all 92 counties across the state. The campaign wants to claim a grassroots mantle, but, as the AP points out, can a campaign that is that big dollar really claim to be grassroots?

While $25 million would seem to be an intimidating amount of money, it shouldn't take that much to win the race for Governor. It shouldn't take that much to get your message on Indiana television screens and in Indiana newspapers. It's, frankly, an obscene amount of money to raise and is over two times of what Governor Mitch Daniels raised in his campaign in 2008.

Granted, it's a goal, but I don't know how Hoosiers will react to that. Pence is certainly going to have to call in his big dollar friends from Washington to help fuel that campaign, and that opens him for criticism from Democrats and frontrunner on that side, John Gregg.

Gregg has yet to officially announce his run past the exploratory stage, but he has released two high-production-value campaign videos and is actively raising money for a potential run.

No matter how much money Pence raises, I think Gregg can still make things extremely interesting by running a true grassroots campaign. He is a hard campaigner, and he will need to raise more money than Jill Long Thompson did in 2008. As long as the field stays relatively clear (there is a longshot Democrat in the race from Southern Indiana), he won't have a problem doing that. Gregg also seems to have few enemies in the state though some will find his conservative-leaning views on some issues problematic. I won't put a number on his fundraising needs, but he will need to raise as much as he can. $25 million is really over the top, though, for Pence.

For Democrats, this is really the last line of defense. I hate to be an alarmist, but electing Mike Pence will usher in the kind of government that some of the most Democrats fear. Pence is incapable of separating his religion from his job, and he will push every wedge issue button he can. By the time he's done, Indiana will be the Arizona of the Midwest.

Democrats, we simply can't stand by idle and watch Indiana go the wrong way. If you thought the last eight years were bad, just wait until Mike Pence is your Governor. This is the line in the sand moment, and the GOP takeover must be stopped here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sanders Departure Leaves Uncertainty on Ticket

Councillor Joanne Sanders chose her day job over her part time job, and I cannot fault her for it.

Privately, many insiders had wondered what what up with Sanders. Unlike her three At-Large ballot-mates, Sanders had not been making the rounds much, and it was usually because, according to insiders, she was out of town with her day job as a union representative. As you know, it's been a topsy turvy time for labor unions in this country.

It's going to be hard to replace Joanne Sanders. She has been a wonderful City-County Councillor drawing broad praise from both sides of the aisle for her work ethic. She has never been out to simply cash a check. She takes her job extremely seriously, and that's I think why she's taking this she said in her statement, "For me, it’s an issue of fairness – I cannot do justice to the council, the campaign and my job over the next four years. So I must choose where my efforts will best be spent. After much soul searching, I have decided that my commitment to working people can best be met through my full time work. So, I will serve out this term and rally on a new class of councillors."

Sanders also was a survivor. She bucked the Republican wave of 2007 and became the sole At-Large incumbent to survive the election that year. She was poised to become Council President had she been reelected and the Democrats picked up the seats necessary to be in the majority. Her leadership will be missing next year should the Dems find themselves back on the plus side.

With that said, the door of opportunity opens for another candidate. It looks like Chairman Ed Treacy will be naming a replacement to the ballot. I would assume that it would be a female. I do not know who it will be, but there are many choices out there. Someone like former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis would bring instant stability and name recognition to the ticket. That is PURE speculation. Davis has turned down runs at the Mayor's Office and appears that she won't be running for Governor in 2012, either. Does a former Lieutenant Governor want to serve on the City-County Council? That is a question for more pure speculation.

At this point, it needs to be someone that can raise some campaign money and raise it quickly. That's why I don't think you'll see a new face.

2011 Bombshell: Sanders Withdraws from Council Race

Here's the release from the MCDP:

Council Minority Leader Sanders Withdraws from 2011 Council Ballot
Councillor Sanders’ Service Hailed as “Voice for Those Too Often Voiceless”

INDIANAPOLIS – At a press conference held today at Marion County Democratic Party Headquarters, City-County Council Minority Leader Joanne Sanders announced that she was withdrawing from the 2011 municipal ballot, citing work commitments that make a run at a fourth term impossible.

“Since early this year, the work that I do full time has been impacted by the attack on working people at the federal and state level,” Sanders said. “Initially, I was confident that things would ease up and I would fall into a rhythm where my work, council and campaign commitments would be tended. Sadly, that has not been the case.”

Councillor Sanders was first elected in 1999. Councillor Sanders was re-elected in 2003 and 2007, the only Democrat re-elected countywide that year. She was elected Minority Leader in 2008 and currently sits on the Administration and Finance Committee, Rules and Public Policy Committee, and Committee on Committees.

“It has been my honor to serve the people of Indianapolis for the last twelve years, and I sincerely appreciate the support shown to me by my constituents,” Sanders said. “I have enjoyed serving on the council, having learned from both the accomplishments and the disappointments.”

Councillor Sanders’ announcement followed much thought and reflection on how she could balance her professional responsibilities, her council responsibilities, and her responsibilities as a candidate seeking reelection.

“Councillor Sanders has been a leader on the City-County Council—not just in title, but in action,” Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Treacy said. “Councillor Sanders has been a full throated advocate for the constituencies that needed her; she has been a voice for those too often voiceless.”

Treacy indicated that the ballot vacancy resulting from Councillor Sanders’ withdraw will be filled with all due haste, possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Councillor Sanders’ statement follows in its entirety.

Thank you all for joining us today. I have invited you all here to inform you that I am removing my name from the Democrat ballot for the office of Councillor At-Large in the 2011 General Election. It’s been my honor to serve the people of Indianapolis for the last twelve years, and I sincerely appreciate the support shown to me by my constituents.

This was not an easy decision for me to make. I have enjoyed serving on the council, having learned from both the accomplishments and the disappointments. As you all know, most of us have full time jobs. It becomes a real struggle at times to balance the work of the council with the work of a full time job and an election campaign. Since early this year, the work that I do full time has been impacted by the attack on working people at the federal and state level. Initially, I was confident that things would ease up and I would fall into a rhythm where my work, council and campaign commitments would be tended. Sadly, that has not been the case. For me, it’s an issue of fairness – I cannot do justice to the council, the campaign and my job over the next four years. So I must choose where my efforts will best be spent. After much soul searching, I have decided that my commitment to working people can best be met through my full time work. So, I will serve out this term and rally on a new class of councillors.

I want to thank my family and friends, my colleagues on the Council and the voters of Marion County for their support and commitment to me over the years. I will still be engaged in public service through my work and I trust that it will prove more effective in ensuring that all workers receive the dignity and respect we all crave through our vocations.

I wish the Councillor all the best, but I need to digest this information before I react. This certainly is a "game changer" as we enter the General Election season.

Joanne Sanders Plans "Significant Announcement Regarding Council Future" at 4:00 p.m. Today

This came in just a few minutes ago from the Marion County Democratic Party:

ADVISORY: Council Minority Leader Sanders to Make Significant Announcement Regarding Council Future

INDIANAPOLIS – City-County Council Minority Leader Joanne Sanders has scheduled a 4:00 p.m. press conference today. She will make a significant announcement regarding her council future.

WHEN? 4:00 p.m. TODAY, June 20, 2011

WHAT? Press Conference

WHO? Council Minority Leader Joanne Sanders

WHERE? Marion County Democratic Party Headquarters
(148 E Market Street | Suite 300)

Sanders is the lone Democrat incumbent on the At-Large Council ticket. She also is the likely Democratic leader if she were to be reelected in November.

Charlie White's Case Proves Voter ID Bill Doesn't Work

The Indiana Voter ID law is one of the most restrictive election laws in the United States. It was one of the Republican reforms that went through the legislature in the brief time mid-last-decade that Republicans held the majority.

The law quite specifically exists to only check whether the voter is who they say they are when the show up at the polls. It does not, however, check residency because the address on the ID does not have to match the address in the poll book. If that would have been in the law, then Charlie White, had he updated his driver's license to his new address, would not have been allowed to vote a regular ballot at the polls.

It's another argument against the politically-motivated bill that was instituted, in my belief, not to prevent voter fraud but to slow down the process at the polls and suppress Democratic voter turnout.

Now, proponents of the law will probably scoff at me, but this law, if it were truly designed to root out voter fraud, doesn't go nearly far enough. A voter voting absentee, for example, need not show any kind of ID to get a ballot or have a ballot be counted. Theoretically, you don't even need to have an ID to vote absentee. You only need to be registered to vote (which you can do with the last four digits of your social security number) and fill out an absentee ballot application. When your ballot comes, you vote it and send it back.

The current process does not root out potential shenanigans with absentee ballots NOR the kinds of problems that are brought up in the Charlie White case. White allegedly broke the law by voting outside the precinct where he lived. He is also accused of a host of other crimes related to this mishap.

If the voter ID law does not root out the kinds of alleged voter fraud in the Charlie White case or possible absentee shenanigans, then what good is it?

GOP Registers Wacky URL for Ballard

My good friend over at the Indy Student blog, Matt Stone, penned this blog post that talked about the perils of registering URLs close to one's own name.

He's right. If you are a politician, you should register all the possible URL names that can be used against you. I know, for example, that friends of Andre Carson have registered, and that automatically refers one to Carson's campaign website. The implicit message...there's nobody but Carson for Indy's 7th District, and that's a good thing.

During the 2007 campaign, a blog called popped up. It was an anti-Bart Peterson website that still operates today (with a lot of anti-Greg Ballard content these days).

Well, the Ballard camp clearly thought ahead and someone registered for the Mayor. The thing is that ballardlies refers one to Greg Ballard's campaign website. So, follow my logic here, is that a good thing? Did the Ballard camp really think that through? The seemingly implicit message here? Greg Ballard lies, and here's his website. and I are on the same page for once, here.

Stone says that the Indiana Republican Party is the registrant on the site URLs. Perhaps they should have referred in some other direction.

As Paul Ogden points out below, someone has also registered "" and is forwarding that site to Melina Kennedy's website. My criticism would be the same to the Kennedy campaign as it is to the Ballard campaign, but the Marion County Democratic Party, Indiana Democratic Party, nor the Kennedy campaign are registered as the URL owner, according to Thus, I cannot say with any degree of certainty that anyone in Kennedy's camp knew about this or not. Now, they know.

I cannot for the life of me understand why a campaign would want their official sites to pop up when typing in that particular URL.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Two years ago in February, my father, Henry S. Easter, Jr. passed away in a hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida. I know I wasn't there with him when he was born some 69 years earlier, but I was there in the room with him when he passed.

About an hour before he passed, I said my goodbye to him. I told him that he had raised me and my brother and that we would take care of my mom. I told him that it was ok to go if he was being called. He was so peaceful.

It had not always been that way for my father. He grew up on Somerset just south of 16th Street. As a child, he remembered selling Indianapolis Star papers at the track for extra money. My grandfather was a union man working at International Harvester as a tool designer, and my grandmother was a fine mother. My dad would tell stories of her chasing him off the roof when he tried to jump off it with an umbrella. She loved him.

For my father and my aunt, things weren't so easy. My grandparents provided for them the best they could, and my dad often talked about how he never knew he was poor. For him, a sports scholarship was his ticket to an education. He had been a football and baseball star at Indianapolis Washington High School. Angus Nicoson extended an athletic scholarship for my dad at Indiana Central College. Dad played baseball and football, and he also played golf and wrestled. He was a four sport star, and he was inducted into the Greyhound Hall of Fame in January of 2008. It was just a year before he died, and it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

Somewhere around the time he was at Indiana Central, his father, my grandfather, accidentally stepped on the family dog and broke its jaw. They took the dog, Missy, to the Lafayette Road Animal Hospital where a young receptionist named Marjorie Miller caught my dad's eye. He asked her out on a date, and she said no. So, he settled for asking her out for a Coke. She accepted. A few months later in March, they were married.

Dad was teaching and coaching at Avon High School where he was the first football, wrestling, and golf coach. My brother was born in September of 1962. Then, a series of tragedies hit as my sister, Maria, lived four days before dying in 1964. I also have a brother named Eric that passed four days after birth in 1970. Those were dark days.

Another dark day for my dad was losing his father.  Henry S. Easter, Sr. passed away at the young age of 62 on Feburary 14, 1972.  It was three years before I was born, but my entire family felt the pain of losing Henry Sr. for years afterwards.  Grandpa Easter was an intense family man who literally worked almost until the day he died.  Later, when dad was failing in health, he would often talk about his father visiting him in dreams.  One particularly poignant dream occurred on a golf course when Grandpa convinced Dad that it wasn't his time to go yet.  Dad lived another 17 years.

I came along in 1975, and I know what a challenge and struggle that must have been for my dad. He was, I'm sure, cruising along pretty comfortably at the age of 36 when he found out he would be a father again. Suddenly, the thought of a more comfortable and perhaps early retirement crashed to the ground. He went back into provider mode. By this time, he was done teaching and into counseling and administration. When I was born, he was the Dean of Boys at Howe High School. He got his Masters Degree and his Principal's License around that time from Butler University. In four years, he would move on to Broad Ripple High School as Vice Principal. For 100 days in 1990/1991, my dad was interim Principal of Broad Ripple. He tried for a couple of principalships, but with his health in decline (he suffered a heart attack in 1986 and had open heart surgery later that year and again in 1994), he finally retired in January of 1997. My grandmother had died the month before, and that really shook him.  Grandma Easter was an amazing woman who I really need to write about in another blog post.  I think of her daily.  My dad and my careers overlapped by about a week as I was student teaching at Franklin Central and my dad was finishing up at BR.

For the next 12 years, he was a devoted husband and family man. Where he had sometimes been distant was now replaced with a loving and sometimes surprisingly emotional man that simply loved the people in his life. He spent time playing golf and catching up on his coin collection. They moved to Florida where he became active in the mobile home community association there and made new and great friends. They found out in 2007 that my mother had breast cancer. She needed surgery, and he became her primary caregiver even though his health was declining.

He held on for her until she was cancer free. In the last few weeks of his life, he spent time tying up loose ends. Finally, on the day after the Super Bowl, he went into the hospital with double pneumonia. On February 19, he fell into a coma. He died on February 20 at about 11:20 p.m. Literally, my mom, my aunt, my brother, his wife, and I were surrounding him and watched him take his last breath of this life.

I was tasked with the job of telling the nurse that my father had passed. When I walked out of the room, Aquarius was playing over the public address system at the hospice. It made me smile because it was one of Dad's favorite songs.

My dad was a good man. His family was always first in his life, and he did pretty well for a kid that grew up poor.

Thanks for indulging me. I had to get this story off my chest today, on Father's Day. Enjoy your parents while they are here. Take all the pictures you can, and save the memories.

Finally, Dads...don't be afraid to tell your sons that you love them. I never went a day without knowing that, and I still feel my father's love today. I know he will always be with me. The stories and memories survive. I still hear his voice, and I still find myself thinking about how he might deal with situations.

Happy Father's Day to you all!

Friday, June 17, 2011

John Gregg Releases New Web Video

There's a brand new high quality video from the Gregg for Indiana campaign. It's called, simply, "Indiana", and it looks at what makes the state great. Mike Pence should take notes.

Explain to Me: What's Wrong with Monument Circle?

A big story in the local media over the past few days is a movement to repurpose the area around Monument Circle. That brings up a few questions:

Who wants it repurposed?

Why do we want to repurpose it?

Who is paying for the changes?

Why weren't we really notified about the whole process?

I guess I can take the fourth question first. If I missed a press release or two, I apologize, but the City of Indianapolis seems to me to really have dropped the ball on communicating this to the citizens of the city. I'm heavily involved in a major neighborhood group as well as one of the larger Democratic clubs in the county, and I knew nothing about this movement or that it was even in the works until I saw it on the news.

I found this WTHR story from March 9 about it. It does appear that some effort was made in March to let people know about this, but I guess it never funneled to me. That's my fault.

The Soliders and Sailors Monument needed some attention, and I applaud the city and Indy Downtown for the restoration work on the Victory statue atop the Monument. Sounds like it was long overdue, and it will assure generations to come get to look up at the Monument in wonder...just as I did when I was a child.

I just don't get where this push came from for wholesale changes. If it's been good enough for 110 years, then why isn't it still good now?

Sure, I think there could be some changes. But some of the ones proposed on the Monument Circle Idea website are just too much. I also can't seem to find who's going to be paying for the changes. I'd like that answer, too.

Now that I know, I'm going to try to stay involved in this process. I think that Monument Circle is a beautiful space in the city. For generations, it's been a meeting point for residents of this city in times of celebration and even times of tragedy. Hoosiers have spent time at Monument Circle lighting the "World's Largest Christmas Tree" and protesting military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever is decided, let's not change things too much. I love sitting on the Circle and watching life go by. We don't have many places in town like it. Let's not change it too much.

Instead, let's work on redeveloping and repurposing the old Market Square Arena site. Can we have a competition on that instead? That area is tied more closely to revitalizing that area of the city.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

You Just Have to See This...

Peterson Not to Blame for Ballard's Problems Now

To listen to the Marion County GOP, you would think Indianapolis and Marion County were heading to Hell in a handbasket when Mayor Greg Ballard took office in early 2008.

The city did have its problems, and, in some areas, the sausage-making process was a little bit nasty as things like police and fire mergers were going on countywide and in a few townships, but the fact of the matter was that Mayor Bart Peterson had things pretty much on course for a correction and had drawn praise from both parties as a popular mayor with big ideas for the majority of his eight years in office.

It was something completely in and out of his control that sank his hopes in the 2007 election. In his control was the poor campaign effort run by those around Peterson. Ed Treacy was not in charge of the Marion County Democratic Party at that time, and the entire campaign was slow to respond to public angst over property taxes and the county option income tax increase (which remains in effect today despite the fact that Ballard and others that one seats on the City-County Council ran against it).

In reality, it was really the tax issue that sank Mayor Peterson’s battleship. Most of that was caused by the removal of the inventory tax by the Republican-led General Assembly when they briefly held the majority in the mid 2000's. That pushed the burden on to residential property tax owners. So, it was a state issue, and it wasn't really Peterson's doing. It was less about Greg Ballard who, to his credit, capitalized on the angst and rode his inexperienced behind into the big chair on the 25th Floor of the City-County Building.

Today, the Marion County Republican Party would have you believe that Greg Ballard is the savior of all things Indianapolis after the poor administration of the awful guy in front of them. You have an all time high number of statements from Kyle Walker and the Mayor’s Office that try to repaint history and blame things like the IMPD staffing shortage and other things like it on Bart Peterson and Melina Kennedy (who, by the way, left the administration early to run for Marion County Prosecutor in 2006).

Peterson lost because he was too silent until too late on the tax issue, and his proposal and passage of the COIT (which, as you may recall, was supposed to be dedicated to public safety. Has it Mayor Ballard?) made Ballard look even better. It was less about Greg Ballard and more about the wallets of the people. I'm not whining. Ballard won fair and square with his populist message of not asking for more of our money (he has) and making public safety job one (he hasn't).

The entire truth is that when you make campaign promises; people expect you to live up to them. When you say public safety is “job one” and you have three years on your own to make your changes to public safety, it’s not the guy in front of you’s fault. When among your first acts in office is to bring the entire mantle of public safety back on your shoulders, it’s not the guy in front of you’s fault. When you have control over budgets and claim that they are honestly balanced and then need to seemingly fudge numbers and move things along to make you look better, that's on you. It's not the transparent government we were promised. It's certainly not the fault of Bart Peterson that Greg Ballard can't keep IMPD fully staffed three years into his term. It's not the "paradigm" you inherited at this point.

Even if it was, as Frank Anderson often said in public, he would rather not blame the overcrowded jail on years of Republican mismanagement even though he was well within his rights. Instead, I heard him say countless times when entertaining questions, “On that January day when I raised my hand and put my other hand on the Bible, the problems of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department became Frank Anderson’s problems.”

Frank Anderson went to work, and we have a better jail because he took that job seriously and put people in place to make it happen. He didn't blame the politics or the paradigms of the past. He just did it.

Unfortunately, Greg Ballard is not that kind of leader. He believes the citizens of Indianapolis are stupid. He believes that we don’t remember what happened three years ago or that many of the reforms, the projects, and the good things that have happened while he was Mayor were as a result of the seeds that Mayor Peterson and previous Mayors of Indianapolis planted.

The former moderator of Meet the Press, Tim Russert, had a placard on his desk that said, “Thou shalt not whine.”

It might be a good idea for Greg Ballard and his minions at the Marion County GOP to remember that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Democrats Think Republicans Left Senate More Vulnerable

The Indiana House Republicans did a good job drawing maps that made it very possible to protect their 60-seat majority in the Indiana House. That's bad news for Democrats, but there may be a silver lining.

After running the numbers, Democrats feel that even some of the least competitive Senate districts may now be more reasonable for Dems and that the right candidates may get the D's out of the superminority.

Dems haven't controlled the Indiana Senate since the 1970's. It's been a very long time. Many of the Senators currently in the chamber have never served in a Senate that hasn't been controlled by the GOP.

Unlike the Indiana House, inside sources say the Senate map cartographers decided to try to protect each individual GOP Senator. That leaves things just a bit sloppy. There's simply no way to protect all 37 Republican Senators.

For the first time, Dems seem to be looking at districts like Mike Young's as ones that may be up for a backed challenger. Insiders tell me that Young's new district is one where Barack Obama received 48 percent support in 2008. That means that with a radical like Young it may not take much to draw some independents away with the right Democratic candidate. This is happening in other districts as well.

Picking up on that riff, Senator Vi Simpson spoke at the Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting on Monday night. She said that this past General Assembly session was bad for the middle class, for students, for teachers, for organized labor, for women, for seniors, and for really anyone with any connection to those groups. She said that the angst this General Assembly session generated needs to be remembered and that people need to turn out in droves in 2012 to change what happened in 2010.

Now, I don't think anyone is thinking that 2013 will dawn with a Democratic majority in the Indiana Senate or the Indiana House, but baby steps can be taken to chip away at the Republican majorities at the Statehouse. We could also go a long way to putting a monkey wrench in the wheels by electing a Democrat for Governor.

Simpson was once a potential candidate for that office, and she preached a call for unity to bring all of the constituency groups of the Democratic Party together and into one strong coalition against the R's.

It's not going to be easy work at the state level, but it certainly can slowly get done.

Mourdock Staff Gets Testy at Tea Party Event

The campaign manager of Richard Mourdock "assaulted" (the blogger's words not mine) self-proclaimed citizen journalist The Rebel Pundit at a Tea Party rally. The video's pretty clear.

If you watch the video, it's clear that Mourdock agrees to answer the question the blogger put forth and then was accosted by the clearly overaggressive campaign manager, Jim Holden, who is also Mourdock's Chief Deputy Treasurer.

To call this an assault is pushing it, but this certainly is not the smart way to get people to support you. With Richard Lugar's campaign making testy comments about Republican County Party Chairs supporting Mourdock and now this kind of attitude towards supposed allies from Mourdock's campaign, it kind of makes Joe Donnelly smile, I'm sure.

By the way, I'm not really keen on bloggers hiding behind a pseudonym. Rebel pundit is based in Chicago, according to its website. If you're self-important enough to call yourself that, then you can take a little camera push back.

Mourdock reportedly issued an apology, per Abdul.

Another thing...why do folks like Mourdock rely on folks like Holden to lead a campaign? You would think that he would hire a full time campaign manager rather than his Chief Deputy who you figure would be doing an important job for the state. Am I right?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dems Add Four Candidates to Council Slate

Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy announced on Friday that four more Democrats have joined the slate of candidates running for City-County Council. The Chair, by state statute, has until June 30 to fill vacant spots on the ballot.

The four candidates are Jared Evans in District 13, Maxine King in District 14, Todd Woodmansee in District 21, and Mario Garza in District 25. For details on the candidates, click here.

By my count, that leaves three districts with no Democratic candidate.

District 5 which covers the very northern tip of Lawrence Township from Graham Road east to the Hancock County line and a jagged southern border roughly across the 75th/79th Street line to the Hamilton County line. District 5 is currently represented by Ginny Cain. Cain ran unopposed in 2007 as well.

After that, things move to the "Southern Tier" of Marion County. District 23 and District 24 are both in need of candidates.

District 23 is represented by Republican Jeff Cardwell. It includes probably some of the most Republican areas in Marion County. It captures some of the high priced homes in Perry Township and the very western fringes of Beech Grove. It runs from Troy Avenue on the north to the Johnson County Line on the south and from Railroad Road on the west to State Street/Camden Street/Shelby Street on the East. Democrat Earl Williams did his best in 2007, but Cardwell prevailed easily.

District 24 is interesting because of the dynamic of Ed Coleman, a current At-Large Councillor. Coleman, a Libertarian, elected to try to win reelection in District 24 rather than At-Large. Republican Jack Sandlin has never won election to the Council. He was chosen by Precinct Committeepersons to replace Mike Speedy, who won a seat in the Indiana General Assembly. Coleman has been a popular and sometimes moderate voice on the Council. Sandlin was not the most popular man in Perry Township when he was the Trustee. That might provide an opening for a Democrat. Speedy was unopposed in 2007.

The additions to the ballot by Treacy make things much more interesting especially in Districts 13, 14, and 21. District 25 will be an uphill climb. Party insiders tell me that Treacy intends to have 25 district-level candidates by June 30. Paired with the four at-large candidates, it will definitely give Democrats a reason to go to the polls in November.

If you are interested in running, contact the Marion County Democratic Party at 317-637-3366.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Is Charlie White Losing It?

There's a scene in the movie Forget Paris where Billy Crystal's character, a professional basketball official, is thinking about things going on in his personal life. When challenged on a call, he goes crazy and throws Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out of his farewell game. When other players demonstrate emotion, he starts throwing them out as well. Hilariously, he starts blowing his whistle and indiscriminately throwing person after person out of the game.

The fun starts at 4:23 below. Fast forward to that spot to see the scene I describe.

You get the feeling that Charlie White is doing something similar.

White is now accusing the Special Prosecutor in his case of voting illegally outside his own precinct for the past six years, the Indianapolis Star reports.

White, whose credibility and, perhaps, mental state are in question these days, is seemingly coming more unhinged in front of us. First, there was his rambling press conference a few months ago after his hearing. Now, he's just acting like a caged and crazy animal ready to file lawsuits and legal briefs wherever necessary.

To me, his outlandish behavior certainly doesn't help his case. It seems like he's trying to get retribution to anyone who is not on his side in all of this.

You can also add on to this that White's Communications Director A.J. Feeney-Ruiz just was named by Marion County Republican Chair Kyle Walker to run against White's 2010 Secretary of State opponent Vop Osili for City-County Council. That just seems a bit strange too.

Listen, I don't know the all facts of Sigler's case. I read it on the Advance Indiana blog, but my eyes cross on it. It appears there may be some interesting things there, but it just is funny to hear a man that knowingly, in my opinion, voted outside of his precinct claim someone else did, too. It would also seem to put the spotlight on your own mistake if you're White.

What is also clear is that Charlie White has spent A LOT of time tracking this stuff down. He claims that he didn't file the complaint as Secretary of State but as a citizen of Indiana. That said, there's a lot of information in there about a lot of different people. Makes you wonder how he got it all.

I guess we'll see how this one shakes out.

Three Years and Sunday Still Isn't the Same: Missing Tim Russert

It was three years ago and I was standing at Buffer Park Golf Course working a part-time job as a clubhouse attendant. The sound of the NBC News Chimes followed by John Williams' music drew me directly to the television. Tom Brokaw appeared on the screen and announced that Tim Russert had passed away.

Immediately following the update, I switched the television over to MSNBC, and I watched as political commentators and reporters tried to cover the death of their boss at NBC News. It was a striking day for all the wrong reasons.

Many of you ask why I'm not more of a red meat blogger. The reason is Tim Russert. Most of you know his story, but Tim mastered the art of being a great journalist without being over the top in rhetoric. It's because of guys like Russert that I am able to disagree with people without most of the time being disagreeable.

Well, it's been three years since Russert collapsed and died, and my Sundays are still not the same. Meet the Press has moved on and David Gregory does an admirable job, but Tim Russert's 17 years as the moderator of that program certainly left its mark. David Gregory is trying admirably to run Tim Russert's show. It's just not easy to be Tim Russert.

On this Monday, I offer this video below in tribute to Tim as well as a second video from the opening of an exhibit dedicated to him at the Museum.

Tim, you are missed! GO BILLS!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Advance Indiana Purports Details on Ballard's Indy Pride Experience

I don't often refer you to Gary Welsh's Advance Indiana blog. I have considered pulling the link to it several times, but the elected Republican Precinct Committeeman does just enough to stay linked here. Today, I send you to his write-up on how Mayor Greg Ballard apparently tried to pull IMPD out of the Indy Pride Parade yesterday at the last minute. There's more details, too, on the post.

Melina Kennedy, by the way, rode in the parade.

Click below to go to the blog and read the post.

Advance Indiana: Ballard Has A Less Than Prideful Day: "A series of missteps has further eroded Mayor Greg Ballard's support in Indianapolis' gay community in his re-election campaign. While Balla..."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pence To Announce Again He's Running for Governor, Again

Mike Pence is announcing yet again that he's running for Governor of Indiana today. At least this time, he'll do it in Indiana. Previously, he launched his campaign by video while he was in Washington.

Pence told the Indianapolis Star that he's not going to announce any of his plans until after the May 2012 Primary and that he's not going to resign from his post in Congress. This despite the fact that he isn't running for reelection in that seat.

Pence has been in Washington so long; I think he needs the time to get to know Indiana again.

While Pence has been up in Washington carrying water for the GOP Majority in Congress, John Gregg has been touring Indiana and getting to know its people again after several years out of the political spotlight. Pence's primary opponent Jim Wallace has also been making the rounds here in the Hoosier State. Pence only seems to stop by the Crossroads of America when he can get on television or be interviewed by Greg Garrison.

No matter. I think Hoosiers will see Washington Mike for what he is next year, an opportunistic politician using Indiana's Gubernatorial Race to position himself for a Presidential run in 2016. Well, that's not going to happen.

Saturday Humor: Jon Stewart Gets Cut

This past week, Jon Stewart was doing a comedy bit, and he cut his wrist on a piece of glass. He did a great job playing it off. This was the next day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Looking Back: My Plan to Revitalize Bush Stadium

The city has a plan to redevelop Bush Stadium. This was my plan for revitalizing Bush Stadium back in 2009. Republished from then.


Sad Old Owen G. Bush Stadium Could Lead Redevelopment for Near Westside

Old Bush Stadium sits empty except for a few "Cash for Clunkers" clunkers.

As the Indianapolis Star reported yesterday morning, a salvage company is paying the city $2000 a month to rent the former home of the Indianapolis Indians to store old cars and trucks traded in under the federal government's successful program. I guess the city should be credited for getting something out of the old girl. Still, the aging stadium is still structurally sound and could be utilized for something really really good.

Many people know the story of Bush Stadium, but I'm sure some have forgotten. Built in 1931, Perry Stadium, as it was then known, was the home of the Indianapolis Indians from its opening to its closing in 1996. It was known as Victory Field after World War II and was renamed Owen G. "Donnie" Bush Stadium in 1967 when it was sold to the City of Indianapolis. Not only did the Indianapolis Indians play in its ivy-walled confines, but the Negro League Indianapolis Clowns played there, too.

Instead of watching the place continue to decay, maybe Indianapolis can offer up the facility for something good. I propose that the stadium could perhaps be converted into a museum celebrating the African-American in baseball from before Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier until today.

Now, I know that Cooperstown has the Baseball Hall of Fame and that Kansas City has the Negro League Hall of Fame, but please hear me out. Maybe I'm off base decide.

According to Major League Baseball, only 10 percent of players were black in 2008. That was actually a rise from the 2007 numbers which showed that only a little over eight percent of the players were black. Simply stated, black youths are not playing baseball any longer in the numbers they did even when I was a kid. It's an extremely troubling issue for a sport that still calls itself "America's Pastime." Besides, baseball now has marketable African-American stars like C.C. Sabathia, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard. Major League Baseball is trying to promote itself actively to young African-Americans for the good of the game.

Perhaps Bush Stadium is the right place to bring this all to fruit. What if the stadium is sold to Major League Baseball or to a private non-profit organization that will raise funds to convert the stadium back to its 1940's appearance? After that, youths and parents from all over the country could be invited in to enjoy the beautiful venue and watch baseball teams of all levels play on the field. The museum celebrating blacks in baseball could be the hook with everything dedicated to the purpose of trying to reintroduce baseball to black youths and celebrating the contribution of blacks to America's Pastime.

Whatever happens to the stadium, it deserves better than this. It has served this city and its baseball fans proudly for decades and is on the United States Register of Historic Places. Maybe the place needs an advocate in city government rather than one that just rents it off as a salvage yard and is happy with the rather smallish $2K a month in rent.

I fear we're going to lose the stadium, and, honestly, I don't think that would necessarily a bad thing if it continues to sit. If something isn't done to redevelop the place, I say it should be torn down so that it doesn't suffer anymore. It would be a sad end to an historic stadium, but it would be putting the place out of its misery. Nonetheless, I think the city is missing a big opportunity with such great events like Black Expo and the Circle City Classic to make old Bush Stadium a grand destination again. I think that folks would be all over this type of proposal ready to write checks to help. It can happen. What do you think?

Mourdock Gloats on Chrysler Case

You knew that career politician Richard Mourdock couldn't hold back this one for long.

The current Treasurer of Indiana who wants to be the next Senator from Indiana recently released a video on YouTube touting his expenditure of $2 million taxpayer dollars to fight the federal loans that saved Chrysler. Had he won, it would have forced the company to go under and declare bankruptcy. That would have left thousands of Hoosiers without pensions and a state that is still tied to the company in a big way with empty factories and more unemployment.

Well, Chrysler has become a success story. It has turned around its operation and has paid back the government loans, as reported in this analysis from MSNBC. Chrysler had a big bump in sales and actually is expanding its role in Indiana.

You have to credit the automaker for its efforts. Both Richard Lugar and Joe Donnelly saw the value of Chrysler in Indiana and voted for the government loans that kept the country out of bankruptcy. Mourdock is the only one that fought it.

Here is the video:

In the piece, Mourdock talks about how no one else stepped up to take the case against the loans. He's right. They knew they would lose. Furthermore, he talks about how pension funds were raided to pay for the loans. The loans have been paid back...with interest. In short, I don't think he's telling the truth.

His claim that it went "all the way to the Supreme Court" is a little disingenuous as well. The Supreme Court DECLINED to hear the case. As you all know, the current version of the Supreme Court is not necessarily the most liberal version, either.

Mourdock is touting his failure to win his case as an accomplishment. He spent $2 million of Indiana taxpayer dollars fighting a case no one thought was winnable. He held up the transfer and sale of the company and put the livelihoods of thousands of Indiana workers in peril. Now, he wants to be your Senator.

Just another reason why Richard Mourdock is WRONG FOR INDIANA! Don't let the facts get in the way of the grandstand, Richard.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bennett Bodyslams Ballard in Education Battle Royale

Yesterday was filled with all sorts of chest puffery about Mayor Ballard’s long-awaited plan to save local control for seven Indianapolis Public Schools. After weeks of silence and then public comment to the contrary, Mayor Ballard somehow became active in the discussion finally and came out with a nuanced position based upon state law (that the Ballard Administration claimed responsibility for). Ballard’s seemingly quickly whipped up plan would have turned the seven underperforming schools into charter schools and maintained local control while providing a different pathway towards improvement.

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, essentially slapped down the Mayor’s plan and said that he’s moving forward with the planned takeover if the schools don’t show immediate improvement while telling the Star the Mayor doesn't understand the state law giving Bennett the ability to move forward.

Sadly, a state takeover would mean a loss of millions in funding for the struggling school district and cripple its ability to provide services for the students that would be unlucky enough to remain IPS students.

It’s a city vs. state issue. You get the feeling that this was now either grandstanding by the Mayor or perhaps a plan that wasn’t vetted by the state before it was presented.

One way or another, it’s a black eye and an embarrassment for a Mayor whose supporters yesterday were being snarky about his education plans telling those of us that criticized his reactionary leadership on this issue that we should have read the budget more carefully. Perhaps the Mayor should have read Public Law 221 better.

Melina Kennedy's plan, announced a few weeks ago, would provide a more active role in local schools for the Mayor of Indianapolis as well as putting forth a broad vision that included not some handy dandy and ready made panacea for all the ills of the system, but an open ear and a focus on literacy that are more broad in focus but perhaps more effective in turning things around than handing off our schools to some outside group.

My position on the subject is simple. It's not political, either. Local control and local remedies work best. It should be up to the parents, students, teachers, administrators and community members of IPS in coordination with the City of Indianapolis to improve the schools under the IPS umbrella. If that means more control by the Mayor, then I agree with that. The solution isn’t to bring in some local or out-of-state guru that’s going to wave a magic wand and fix the schools. It’s heavy lifting and hard work, and I hope Tony Bennett’s ready to put his big boy pants on and be ready to deal with where this goes.

As far as Greg Ballard goes, no vision again has the Mayor in trouble. Perhaps his new slogan should be, “Greg Ballard: Reactionary Leadership at Work”.