Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Proof that High School Students Can Make a Better Video than ICVB

Thank goodness the Indiana Convention and Visitors Bureau removed the awful "Super Bowl Shuffle" video that was an embarrassment to the city and the community. They should have just called the kids at Decatur Central High School. This is a wonderful, fun, and happy video that portrays our city as a diverse, fun, wonderful place.

Is Bipartisanship Dead Before CCC Reconvenes?

According to some “in-the-know”, the GOP-fueled redistricting plan now being proposed by City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn and constructed by GOP operative David Brooks is a clear slap at bi-partisanship. As presumptive Council President Maggie Lewis said in one of her first public statements after being nominated by the Democratic caucus that she would reach across the aisle and talk to the Mayor about finding common ground, the Mayor’s king makers were apparently preparing to announce a plan to bypass Dems altogether.

I know that because I heard it from a high-ranking Republican at a public meeting on Monday night. Former City-County Council President Bob Cockrum said at the Decatur Township Civic Council meeting that the GOP plan this time around was introduced now while the Republicans held both the legislative and executive branches of city government to avoid potential legal issues and problems that might come up if Democrats tried to put forth their own plan in 2012. In essence, let’s get it done quick to avoid any dissent.

In the process, the Marion County Democratic Party claims that the Republicans ran over a whole slew of barricades and roadblocks that assure that districts aren’t simply drawn willy nilly or for purely political purposes. The Dems say there was no oversight of the process, and there could not have been much.

This is not the kind of start you might have thought might come from a party that was just rejected by City-County Council voters. It’s certainly not the action of a Mayor that has won his office by little more than the electoral equivalent of a whisker, twice.

If this is going to be the tone and tenor of the next four years, the City-County Council’s relationship with the Mayor will make Congress’ squabbles with the President all too local.

Bottom Rung Tourism Video Promotes Indy Hotels

I don't know who thought this was a good idea, but they should be fired...rehired...then fired again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Litebox Still Thorn in Side of Ballard, Daniels

I guess you should know who you call a visionary.

This weekend, the Indianapolis Star published the results of a continued investigation into Litebox, a company claiming to be bringing 1,100 new jobs to Indianapolis.

As you may remember, the deal was announced at what seems to have been a hastily-called news conference just a couple of weeks before the General Election. Mayor Greg Ballard and Governor Mitch Daniels stood beside Litebox CEO Bob Yanagihara and heaped nothing but praise on the man. The Star's report tells quite a different story. It's worth the read.

The city trotted out a "new board chairman and spokesperson" of Yanagihara's company to be interviewed by the press, but that interview seemed to just create more questions. The Star's report on that wild interview is here.

Granted, the city has very little to lose in this deal. They didn't promise Yanagihara anything in return if nothing gets built, but the hastily-called news conference and the heaping praise laid on the company's founder seem little more than a reelection ploy now. It also underscores how desperate this Mayor was to get positive job news in the media prior to doing his due diligence.

Questioned about these things before, Ballard always falls back on the, "This is how it's always been done," excuse. Well, if this is the paradigm he inherited, then it's time for a change. I also get the feeling that Mitch Daniels' face just keeps getting redder and redder over this clear embarrassment.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cockrum Reveals Details on Redistricting

More details about the redistricting controversy were aired in a public meeting tonight from former City-County Council President Bob Cockrum.

The new Council districts, according to Councillor Cockrum, will not be in effect until 2016 when Councillors elected in 2015 are sworn in.

The map is much different. Gone is the logical numbering from northwest to southeast. Some districts are out of numerical order. I still can't reasonably determine what is in or out of some of the districts because the maps provided lack many identifying roads and streets. Attorney and GOP operative David Brooks' work also includes 600 new Marion County precincts from the old 590.

Cockrum also commented publicly about the 2000 fight on redistricting for the Council. He says that when those districts were drawn, there was a split council. Democrat Bart Peterson was in control of the Mayor's Office and Republicans controlled the Council. The Republicans crafted a plan. The Democrats crafted a plan, and neither plan was accepted by the Mayor and Council. The plans went to the courts where the Marion Superior Court Judges ended in a tie. The plan then went to the Indiana Supreme Court which ultimately drew the districts.

Cockrum said that the Council picked up the tab for both sides of the fight costing taxpayers a hefty sum. He said the current plan was brought forth now to avoid a messy conflict resulting in legal fees.

I'll let you decide if you believe that or not. After all, Cockrum said it cost a quarter of a million in legal fees then. Well, it cost taxpayers almost that much to secure David Brooks' services this time around. Did I mention that his wife is on the ballot in 2012?

Oh the humanity!

Dems Fire Back over Redistricting; Claim No Oversight

The incoming Democratic leadership fired back at the GOP and current Council President, Ryan Vaughn on his proposal for redistricting. You'll also notice that Mayor Ballard is also front and center in this argument.

Here is a release from the Democrats:

Incoming Council Leadership Calls for Halt in Redistricting
Democratic Councillors Join Bi-Partisan State Election Agency in Urging Technical Review of Precincts

INDIANAPOLIS -November 28, 2011- Today, the leadership of the newly-elected Democratic majority of the 2012 Indianapolis-Marion County Council called on Council Republicans to abandon their ill-conceived attempts to establish new Council district boundaries before the end of the year. Incoming Democratic Council leaders also called on Mayor Greg Ballard to rescind his recent order establishing new Indianapolis election precincts so that the bi-partisan Indiana Election Commission staff can review those precincts for compliance with state law.

Democratic Councillors Maggie L. Lewis (District 7), Brian Mahern (District 16) and Vern Brown (District 18) demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Republican redistricting proposal filed November 23, 2011. Councillors Lewis, Mahern and Brown cited the lack of bi-partisan technical review of Mayor Ballard’s newly ordered precincts on which that Republican redistricting proposal is based, as well as a complete lack of opportunity for the Council Democratic caucus to participate in redistricting efforts.

“Three weeks ago the voters soundly rejected the current Council’s Republican majority. The lame duck Republican majority’s last minute attempt to ram through an eleventh hour redistricting proposal must stop immediately,” said Councillor Mahern, who the newly-elected Democratic Councillors selected as their nominee for Council Vice President next year.

The Council’s Democratic caucus has not proposed new Council district boundary maps due to:
New precincts for use in 2012 were ordered by Mayor Ballard with less than two hours before the deadline to introduce Council proposals for approval by the end of 2011
Mayor Ballard’s ordered precincts for use in 2012 have not been independently reviewed for compliance with state law by the bi-partisan Election Division of the Indiana Election Commission
The Council’s Republican majority provided itself financial resources to draft its proposed new Council district boundaries. No such resources were provided to the Council's Democratic caucus
Indiana state law requires that new Council district boundaries must be established next year, two years following the 2010 census

"Without the 2012 precinct boundaries soundly established, we believe it would be wasteful and foolhardy to try to establish new Council district boundary maps in the short remainder of this year, only to have to repeat the process all over again next year as required by state law," said Councillor Mahern.

The Council Republicans’ last minute push to establish new Council district boundaries with precincts that lack bi-partisan review risks poisoning the well of cooperation next year.

"Proceeding at this point to attempt to establish new Council district boundaries with not yet reviewed precincts before the end of this year would serve only to declare open war on the possibility of bi-partisanship next year between Mayor Ballard and the incoming Democratic-controlled Council," Councillor Mahern said.

Incoming Democratic Council leaders also called on Mayor Ballard to immediately rescind his November 22, 2011, precinct order. Mayor Ballard’s November 22 order prevents the Election Division of the Indiana State Election Commission from conducting a technical review of those precincts.

The Mayor has the responsibility for periodically establishing precinct boundaries, which are the basic geographic area for elections and the building blocks for constructing district boundaries for elective offices.

The Election Division provides technical reviews for proposed precincts across the state.

Mayor Ballard’s November 22 precinct order is the first time an Indianapolis Mayor has ordered precincts without the benefit of the technical review by the bi-partisan state election agency.

"Prudence and fairness requires an independent bi-partisan technical review of 2012 precincts for state law compliance, particularly before anyone proposes new Council district boundaries based on those new precincts," said Councillor Mahern.

In an email sent November 23, 2011, shortly after receiving Mayor Ballard’s precinct order, the Indiana Election Commission’s Election Division warned the Mayor against ordering those precincts without such a technical review completed.

“Each county that I have worked with has needed some form of assistance or review. I would expect the largest county [Marion] to be the same,” wrote Michelle Misiukiewicz Brzycki of the Election Division. “I have yet to receive a county submission that did not go through various changes during this review stage. It is my strong recommendation that Mayor Ballard rescind that order to allow for [our] review and comment.”

Yet, with apparent foreknowledge of the Mayor’s order finalizing the election boundaries without a bi-partisan technical review, the Council's Republican Caucus proposed new Council maps based on those precincts only a few hours after the Mayor ordered those precincts adopted and minutes before the deadline for Council proposals that can be approved before the end of the year.

"It is disappointing to learn that while we were extending the olive branch of bi-partisan cooperation by requesting a meeting with the Mayor to discuss how we could work together to move the city forward next year, the Mayor was colluding with the Council’s Republican caucus in this power grab to thwart the Democratic caucus from proposing any new Council boundary maps," said Councillor Mahern.

The newly elected Democratic Councillors have selected Councillor Maggie A. Lewis as their nominee for Council President next year. They have also selected Councillor Vern Brown as Majority Leader for next year.

Lame Duck Council Hands Out Cash for Redistricting; Could Have Been Done for Free

The lame duck's quacking, but the only person smiling is David Brooks.

Last week, just before everybody went to eat turkey, City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn unveiled the proposed new City-County Council districts with little fanfare. The districts were drawn by Brooks, who was also given the task of cleaning up precinct lines with the new Congressional District lines (something the Mayor's Office should do). Brooks, a key Republican insider, was given a no-bid $225,000 contract in the budget passed by the Council in October to do the job even though the state of Indiana has the software to do the job...for free.

Regardless, there is no hurry to redraw the districts, even though Vaughn says there is. The only hurry is so that Vaughn can get them through prior to the Democrats taking control of the Council in January.

That means that we will have spent $225,000 to do something we could have done for free that could all be undone by a proposal of the Democratically-led Council in 2012. Way to look out for the taxpayer, GOP.

While Brooks is counting his cash, city workers are hitting the cheese line because Mayor Greg Ballard valued Brooks doing his job over the jobs of city workers.

According to Abdul, the Council plans to hold four quickly-called public hearings on the new district before bringing them up for a vote. I can't attend any of them because of the times they are scheduled:

November 28 6-8 p.m., Wayne Twp. Fire Headquarters, 700 N. High School Rd.
December 1 6-8 p.m., John Boner Center, 2236 E. 10th St.
December 6 6-8 p.m., Sterrett Center, 8950 Otis Ave.
December 8 6-8 p.m., City-County Building Public Assembly Room

Please go and express your opinions on these new districts and your opinions on how they were drawn.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving is here again, and it's time for me to send thanks to all of you for your support and love this past year. Enjoy your time with family and friends.

I'll be back on Monday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

GOP Wishes Unhappy Thanksgiving to Working Class Hoosiers

Unions…it’s your turn. As working Hoosiers get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, they have reason to wonder how big the turkey will be next year.

After teachers “got it” last General Assembly session in the form of revenge disguised as reform from the top down, the Republicans announced Monday that Right to Work (for less) is at the top of their legislative agenda for 2012.

Make no mistake, unions will yell and fight and scream and protest, but Republicans will do everything they can do to pass the bill that would bust unions and union membership. Since they have the seats and the votes, they can likely do it unless the screams and yells and the protest from Democrats can somehow sway them.

It’s become one of the most contentious times in recent Indiana political history. Expect it only to get worse in this short session as the world watches with Indianapolis in the bright shiny lights of the Super Bowl.

Now the fight for the working person’s soul is on here in Indiana. Unions are strong because of their solidarity. “Right to Work” punches a hole right through that solidarity.

Supporters will tell you that “right to work” is a step forward for Indiana and that it frees up employers to hire new employees. I can’t see how it will create one job. Employers aren’t hiring, and it’s not because of unions. Unions protect wages and worker’s rights. All this most recent attempt at “Right to Work” legislation will do is have workers with less representation and fewer dollars in their pockets and will cause more people to become “working poor” instead of “middle class.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beware: The Turkey Fryer

William Shatner's Cautionary Tale...

And a bit more serious...

Be careful!

Let's Review Shall We...

Some of Mike Pence's fans have been calling me out on Twitter, and calling into question my analysis of the Republican race for Governor. I believe my analysis shows "shocking ignorance" according to one Pence fan and that, I should "stick to Democrats" and "do some research." Ok...just remember...the truth hurts.

Websites like Govtrack (at make doing research very easy. A quick search of Mike Pence's Congressional record shows you the following.

In an analysis of his votes, he is rated as a "Far Right Republican Leader". What does that mean? Pence has co-sponsored a lot of bills. It also means that he's co-sponsored a lot of far right Republican bills. Mike Pence is no centrist. He's far right.

Further, in an analysis of bills he has sponsored, Mike Pence has gotten none of them enacted in Congress. These aren't co-sponsorships where someone can throw their name on them...these are his bills. He's 0 for 63. Pence fans will make all sorts of excuses...but there's not anything there for Pence. Furthermore, if you really want to check his position on issues, go to his Project Vote Smart page.

These ratings say that Mike Pence has spent his time in Congress carrying water for the Republican Party. That's my analysis. I don't claim to be an expert, but I do know some...and I think they agree. In short, any objective analysis will tell you that Mike Pence makes Mitch Daniels look like John Kerry...especially on social issues.

Now, as far as the GOP race goes, Pence is, without question, the frontrunner. Wallace is still a longshot, but he can inflict a lot of damage on Pence by pointing out all of these deficiencies in Pence's record if he wishes to go there. Wallace can define Pence before John Gregg ever has to, and Wallace must do that while introducing himself. People know Mike Pence, but they really don't KNOW Mike Pence. The perception is not the reality and this provides opportunity for Wallace.

I hope that clears up my position for you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Expect Indiana's Governor's Race to Be Watched Nationally

The race for the Governor's Mansion has barely begun in Indiana, and there are already signs that it's going to be one to watch for people across the country.

First of all, you have the intrigue of the Republican Primary. Mike Pence is no doubt the frontrunner, but Jim Wallace could pull an upset. Pence is obviously concerned. The Indianapolis Star reported that his campaign is accepting donations from all across the country. Wallace will have to up his pace to keep up. Pence promised not to speak out on any issues until May, but he's already stuck his foot in his mouth a couple of times on taxes. He's appealing to the Tea Party base. Wallace has a different message. Pence is a lightweight with a very disappointing Congressional record. He can easily be portrayed as an outsider, and I wonder if Wallace will try to do it.

On the Democratic side, John Gregg is the big fish. He needs to continue to go about his business and raise his name recognition after having spent the last few years in Southwest Indiana with his boys. Gregg obviously is connected bringing in a big name like Bill Clinton to help him raise some money. The Star also reports that Gregg has received some donations from organized labor. We'll find out where he stands in January, campaign cash-wise.

Then, of course, there's Rupert. Reality TV star Rupert Boneham, even though he won't bring, in all likelihood enough votes to win the race, he will bring a lot of interest to the race. We've already seen this race get national tv coverage when it was announced that he was seeking the nomination.

Pence's national star will draw attention, and Rupert's national profile also will draw attention. It's up to Wallace and Gregg to turn the attention on themselves do what should be quite easy: define Mike Pence as a Washington-insider and an ambitious politician looking for the next stepping stone to the Presidency. I believe Mike Pence wants to be Governor only to be President.

The country will be watching this highly interesting race develop.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dem Caucus Tabs Lewis to Lead Council

The Democratic caucus has selected Maggie Lewis as their nominee to be City-County Council President. If elected by the Council, Lewis will be the first female City-County Council President.

I have known Councillor Lewis for a few years now, and I know that she will be a tremendous Council President. Democrats have made a very wise choice.

Here is the release from the Marion County Democratic Party:

New Council Majority Makes Historic Leadership Choice
Democratic Majority Selects Councillor Maggie A. Lewis as Council President

INDIANAPOLIS—The new Democratic majority on the Indianapolis-Marion County Council today held an organizational meeting to make leadership choices for the Council term beginning in 2012. Councillor Maggie Lewis (District 7) was selected by the Democratic Councillors and Councillors-elect as their nominee to serve as Council President. Beginning on January 1, 2012, Democrats will control the Council 16 – 13. When elected by the Council as a whole, Councillor Lewis will be the first female Council President in Indianapolis history.

Lewis said, “I am honored to be selected by my fellow Democratic Councillors to serve as President. I have already reached out to Mayor Ballard to discuss how we can best work together to move our city forward.”

In addition, the Democratic caucus filled out the rest of the leadership team by selecting Councillor Brian Mahern (District 16) as their nominee for Vice President and Councillor Vernon Brown (District 18) as Majority Leader.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ballard Less Than Truthful About Layoffs...Furloughs 27 Civilian IMPD Employees

Times are tough when it comes to the budget in Indianapolis. We all know that. That's why many people chuckled when Mayor Ballard said he had yet again honestly balanced the Indianapolis budget. Just last month, he promised no layoffs with his balanced budget. Turns was probably a lie. Just a week and two days after the election, Mayor Ballard has announced the layoff of 27 IMPD civilian employees. Well, he just didn't fund their jobs in the budget. I guess that was buried in the details.

Public safety is job one? Hard to believe for the Mayor that has found millions of dollars for road and street improvements and professional sports teams, but he cannot fund the jobs of 27 civilian employees of the city's police department notifying them just before the holiday season. Remember, Ballard campaigned against Melina Kennedy by citing proposed police layoffs that never happened while she was deputy mayor.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Ballard said that 200 city employees would lose their jobs by attrition. This doesn't sound like attrition to me. Sounds like a big fat whopper from a man that waited a week after he was reelected to announce something he could have brought forth before the election.

I feel sorry for the 27 people that have lost their jobs, and I'm sorry your Mayor wasn't more honest with you before now. Now, these individuals will be forced to endure a holiday season knowing that their jobs are done at the start of the year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can We Clear the Air?

In Marion County, more people died from 2000-2010 from lung cancer than any form of cancer. The thing is; we can do something to prevent it.

The lame duck President, Ryan Vaughn, has proposed a smoking ban that would stop huffing and puffing in most places in Marion County with some exceptions for cigar bars, hookah bars, bowling alleys, hotel rooms, veterans and private clubs. He says he wants to pass it now to get it in place for the Super Bowl, but Democrats aren't so sure.

Let's take a look at this a little deeper. Council Minority Leader Joanne Sanders told WTHR that she wondered exactly why the President felt this was something that needed to come before the Council now in this lame duck term. She's right.

The City-County Council has exactly the same makeup as it has since Ed Coleman left the Republican Party and became a Libertarian. Now that the pressure of the election lights are off, Vaughn is trying to slip this through the Council before his party's time of leadership comes to a close.

WTHR reports that Republican Benjamin Hunter and Democrat Angela Mansfield, along with Smoke Free Indy, will unveil their own tougher proposal at a news conference on today. That means that the City-County Council will have dueling proposals.

Let's just hope we take a step towards modern society and much of the rest of the United States and get this city's air more clean.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burning Questions for 2012

As the ink dries on the 2011 Election Season, it's never too early to look ahead to the next cycle for us politicos. There’s a lot on the docket. Here are five hot questions I think we’ll be following on this blog and elsewhere for the upcoming election season.

How strong is Richard Mourdock’s support?
We simply don’t know yet. The 2012 Primary Election will be here before we know it, and it seems hard to believe that any Republican, let alone a guy like Richard Mourdock can beat Richard Lugar. If Mourdock continues to stir the pot and whip up Tea Party support into a frenzy, then you can expect this race to get very interesting. A WISH-TV/Franklin College poll says Lugar is under 50 percent support, and that really has to make him concerned.

I think the Presidential Primary may play into this one as well. If the fight for the Republican nomination is still on, then I think you’ll see this race get even more intriguing.

What will redistricting mean?
I think we’re already seeing some of this. When John Barnes and Mary Ann Sullivan announced they were running for Indiana Senate seats and not Indiana House seats, then I think that tells you things don’t look great for Democrats in the Indiana House…or even the Indiana General Assembly. Yep. It’s not going to be pretty in this Mitch Daniels lame duck/race for the Vice Presidency session of the Indiana General Assembly. If you’re a Democrat, close your eyes tight, grit your teeth, and be glad it’s a short session.

For Congress, I think things have gotten a bit more interesting. I don’t care what the Marion County Democratic Party’s analysis of the 7th Congressional District said, losing much of the Northside and gaining all of the Southside spells a tougher race for AndrĂ© Carson. It makes this race much more competitive, and Carson’s controversial statements on race relations didn’t help him, either.

I’m also interested in the races in the 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 8th Congressional Districts. Should be interesting to see how these free-for-alls shake out. Who will survive the “itchy and scratchy” battle between Andrew Straw and Brendan Mullen in the 2nd? Can Burton survive in the 5th? Who will emerge to replace Mike Pence in CD6, and will the 8th return to “Bloody 8th” status again this year?

How do you handicap the Gubernatorial Grind?
The race for Governor in 2012 is already shaping up to be a very interesting battle. John Gregg almost has clear sailing to the nomination for the Democrats, but things could get very thorny on the Republican side.

Jim Wallace has money and Mike Pence has money and name recognition, but something tells me that Pence is kind of like Mitt Romney. Republicans will support him if he is their nominee, but they would rather support someone else. That man just might be Jim Wallace.

When it gets to a General Election race, can John Gregg make a dent? Yes, I think he can. Of course, then you have the bearded-one, Rupert Boneham in this thing, too. He’s a bona fide celebrity.

Can Barack Obama reclaim Indiana?

Not if the election were held today, but it is still a year away, and a lot can happen between now and then.

Obama has job approval ratings running in the 30’s here in the state, but that doesn’t mean that the economy can’t improve or that the Republicans won’t nominate someone wholly unqualified to be President.

I would say that it’s unlikely the President wins Indiana next year, but I would have told you the same thing at this point in 2007, too.

What will happen within the Marion County Democratic Party?
Ed Treacy is a strong party chairman. He’s done it in two counties. In 2008, he was brought back after the dismal 2007 elections and the death of Congresswoman Julia Carson to return the party to power.

If not for 7,000 votes in the Mayoral race, he would have been successful in completing the task. Marion County Democrats are now in every office in the City-County Building except the Mayor’s Office, and I’m sure that’s a big disappointment for Chairman Treacy.

His future will certainly be something many will continue to talk about. He’s earned the right by his past performance to determine his own fate, and I hope he will be allowed to do so. I don’t sense a coup in the works, but I still think people are trying to let what happened on Election Day sink in.

I know people either love or hate Ed Treacy, but he’s a heck of a Party Chair. The Democrats can do a lot worse.

Well, that’s enough for now. There’s plenty to think about for 2012.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ballard's Next Four Years Figure to Be More Challenging Than First Four

Greg Ballard won reelection last Tuesday because people chose the status quo over a vision of the future, but that status quo was shaken a bit with the Republicans losing control of the City-County Council.

It's just the second time in the city's Unigov history that there has not been harmony between the Mayor and the Council. From 2000-2004, Mayor Bart Peterson served with a Republican Council. Now, starting in 2012, Greg Ballard will see just how tough it can be to govern when simply telling the Council President to make it happen isn't an option. It's going to be tougher sledding, and the challenges are going to be immense.

First of all, Indy's budget problems aren't going anywhere. The Mayor has benefited over the last few years from little scrutiny of his "honestly balanced budget" claim. With a Democratic Council, you can expect that Democrats might have a few different priorities than the Mayor. The Democrats will now scrutinize every page of the Mayor's proposed budget. Perhaps pulling money from TIFs to balance things may not be as easy as it used to be.

The Mayor had a few loyal Democrats that were willing to cross over to the Republican side to get things passed. Mary Moriarty Adams was returned to the Council, but Jackie Nytes is gone. This Democratic Council would seem to be more caucus minded, but you never know. Herding Democrats is like herding cats. Remember, Ballard will need two Democrats to join the Republicans to pass any part of his agenda. He can do it, but, without Nytes, it will be more difficult.

Finally, the Mayor's plan may not be the Council's plan any longer. I touched on this earlier, but the City-County Council can set a different course than the Mayor, and they can portray the Mayor as an obstructionist. Of course, Ballard can do the same thing, but, if the Democrats choose wise leadership, then the Mayor will come out on the losing end of that argument.

Of course, this is all speculation, and I hope that the Council and the Mayor find a way to work together without gridlock. Sometimes the best government can come out of a split in party between the legislative and executive branches. One side needs the other to get things done.

Therefore, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's a good time to be a blogger in Marion County because it's going to get really interesting around here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

2012 Candidates Wasting No Time in Starting Campaigns for Indiana Senate

Former State Rep. John Barnes and current State Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan have both announced, either in public or through news reports, that they are pursuing seats in the Indiana Senate.

Currently, the Indiana Senate is "No Republican Left Behind" territory. It's 37-13 in the Indiana Senate, and Republicans continue to hold such a majority that Democrats aren't even necessary to do business on a given day in the General Assembly. Thus, it's crucial Democrats start to eat into that advantage.

Both Barnes and Sullivan believe that they can start eating into that majority. While the Indiana House Republicans did a pretty nice job drawing themselves into a large majority, Democrats feel as if there are some opportunities in the Senate. Will it mean that Dems will suddenly rise up and split the majority? No. Every little step is a step in the right direction...from a Democratic point of view.

Barnes figures to face veteran Republican lawmaker, Pat Miller, and Sullivan will go up against Brent Waltz. Right now, it would seem to be an uphill battle for these two Democrats, but I've heard that the districts are demographically going to be tougher for Miller and for Sullivan under the new maps. I do know that both Sullivan and Barnes play well to a moderate audience having both been elected to moderate seats before.

I've also heard that Dems may target Mike Young. Perhaps we'll see an announcement for that seat soon as well (it won't be me, I'm running for Decatur Township Board).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Terry Burns' Indianapolis Times Bids Adieu

Word comes from the blogosphere that the Indianapolis Times blog has shut down operation.

Hats off to Terry Burns, an excellent blogger, a gifted writer, and one fine Lawrence Township Constable for all his hard work. I called him "scoop" for a reason because he always had his finger on the pulse of local politics.

I didn't get a chance to see his final post, but his voice will be missed dearly.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Veterans Day

Today, we honor those who have served this country in the cause of freedom, liberty, and the preservation of our rights. Thank you to all that have served and to those that have sacrificed all to make it possible for me to write this blog as a free American citizen.

I know I post this video often here on days like this, but there are men and women that live this song every day. Freedom truly isn't free. So, to all of the men and women that fight and have fought for me...THANK YOU!

Weekend Off

No posts this weekend unless something newsworthy breaks. I'll be back on Monday. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

All Sorts of Crazy in Lawrence

Well, it looks like all Hell's breaking loose in the City of Lawrence as there's some really strange stuff going on.

WRTV reports that the City Council President Donald Poteat is demanding Mayor Paul Ricketts step aside and that there be a protective order issued for a K-9 officer.

It's weird, and it's odd, and perhaps now you have some sort of an idea why Paul Ricketts nearly lost in the Primary and now has lost his job as Mayor. Of course, Ricketts, according to the RTV-6 report, is blaming this one issue for his defeat. I think it's a lot more than this.

The last three Mayors, all three controversial figures (at minimum), have had unceremonious exits. Longtime Mayor Tom Schneider was shown the door by Deb Cantwell. Then, after four years, Deb Cantwell was kicked to the curb by Paul Ricketts. Now, it's Ricketts that's out at the hands of Dean Jessup. It's a volatile atmosphere up there on the northeast side.

Keep your eye on this story.

Where do the Democrats go from here in Marion County?

Tuesday's election results were disappointing and reinvigorating all at once.

On one hand, it was incredibly disappointing to see a great candidate like Melina Kennedy lose, but it’s incredibly exciting to see what might happen these next four years with a three-seat majority on the City-County Council.

First of all, you have to look at what was wrong with the Mayor’s race and campaign. What went wrong for the Democrats?

I think that there was something to the folks saying the campaign became too negative too fast. I still don’t think the campaign was overly negative, but it was relentless. While Kennedy pointed out some spots where the Mayor was vulnerable, I think her campaign resisted getting down too far into the mud and going into other areas such as the Pacers deal, parking deal, and the water deal(this is Paul Ogden’s original idea).

I also don’t believe the campaign was able to answer the charges Ballard leveled at the end of the campaign well on Kennedy’s record. Ballard was relentlessly negative this last week spending a lot of time saying, “We can’t go back to Melina Kennedy.”

Kennedy’s camp decided to turn a little more positive and hit the crime button at the end of the campaign. It didn’t work.

Melina Kennedy was the RIGHT CANDIDATE for the job, and she had a great vision for the city. Hopefully, she will stay involved and be a strong voice for change in this community. I don’t want her to fade away into the ether. Third time is the charm, and I still believe she has a long future in Marion County politics. She’s still young and has a long time to make a contribution and a mark on Indianapolis.

Democrats now will have to work with Mayor Ballard where they can, and oppose him where they need to. Ballard will have to walk that same line. It’s going to be a real test of how “non-political” he is. By his own words, he has said that he will not have a problem in this regard. It’s time to put his words to the test.

As we look ahead to 2015, there is now an incredibly long bench for the Democrats and their future fortunes in Marion County. There are new, dynamic people on the Council. There will also be a number of possible Mayoral candidates stepping to the forefront. The big challenge for the D’s will be to stay together as a caucus. It’s going to take, I think, a skilled and experienced Council President to effectively manage the caucus and all of its needs. There are many potential Presidents on this Council. The caucus needs to find the right one.

It should be a very interesting next few months.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Now This Logo Has Personality!

John Gregg is running for Governor, and his campaign sent out an invitation to his kickoff event for Saturday at the Indiana War Memorial with this logo on it.

Now, I'd say that's a big win for John Gregg. This is a yard sign that I not only want in my yard, but I'm going to hang up in my garage. Perfect sign for John. He's the PERFECT Democrat to run in Indiana.

Now you've seen a campaign logo finally look like the candidate.

Republicans Win Battle, Democrats May Win War

The Marion County GOP should be rightly excited by turning away a well-financed and dynamic challenger in Melina Kennedy for Mayor of Indianapolis as Greg Ballard keeps his office on the 25th Floor of the City-County Building for another four years, but the question is: will the Democrats have the last laugh?

Now, the ink isn't dry on this election, but come January, Ballard will still be Mayor, but he's going to have an entirely different political landscape to deal with.

Right now, Mayor Ballard's agenda has been the City-County Council's agenda for the last four years. He has had either 16 or 15 loyal Republican votes to count on almost every time. Gone are the loyal votes of Susie Day, Barbara Malone, and Angel Rivera. Gone is the wildcard of Ed Coleman.

Filling those seats are Frank Mascari, Zach Adamson, John Barth, Pam Hickman, and Leroy Robinson. Combined with the other Democrats that held their seats or were elected to the Council, there are now 16 Democrats to just 13 Republicans. Things would have been worse had Republican Jeff Miller not upset Dane Mahern in Council District 19. No longer can Mayor Ballard and his Republican handlers control the City-County Council. Ryan Vaughn is once again just a member of the Council and will not be President. You will see some give-and-take on both sides.

Let's also not forget that every elected executive office in Marion County with the exception of Mayor is filled with Democrats. That's not likely to change anytime soon. You an imagine that the blue Council will be a little bit more willing to listen to Democrats like Terry Curry, John Layton, Beth White, Joe O'Connor, Julie Voorhies, Debbie Jenkins, Frank Lloyd, Mike Rodman, or Billie Breaux than the red Council was. The budget could look a lot different in 2012.

Within the Democratic caucus, it will be interesting to see who emerges as the leader. You have, of course, many choices. There are many good choices, but there will also be a lot of, let's face it, egos and aspirations at work. The Democrats will need a Mayoral candidate in 2015, and I know that there are several sitting Democrats that would love to have that chair on the 25th floor in four years. Personally, I'd rather see the Dems nominate a hardworking Council President who is respected across the board. It's a big choice because this person will instantly become a foil for the Mayor. Too bad it's not Joanne Sanders.

On more personal matters, the biggest disappointment to me is that we won't have a true visionary as our Mayor. Melina Kennedy fought hard to get the seat, but the voters just didn't respond. I will probably try to analyze what happened and why voters didn't vote her way when I get a chance to look over things. I am honored to call Melina my friend, and I hope that she stays involved in politics and government.

I am also so excited to watch my friend, Zach Adamson, make the jump from community advocate to City-County Councillor. Zach wanted this job, and he's worked for it. I know the other At-Large Councillors did, too. Zach is one of my best friends, and I absolutely am honored to have been asked to be one of the honorary co-chairs of his campaign. My contribution was very very small to his win in comparison to the countless volunteers and helpers he had, but I'm honored to have been there with him since the start. I can honestly say I knew him before he was famous.

Also, I want to take off my hat to the entire At-Large Democratic team. They worked as a team, and they won as a team. John Barth, Leroy Robinson, Adamson, and Pam Hickman all deserve a big nod for being a constant, consistent, and active voice across Marion County these many months. Their efforts helped swing the Council blue again.

Democrats also took back Mayor's seats in Lawrence and Beech Grove. Congratulations to Dean Jessup and Dennis Buckley who knocked off incumbents to become Mayor of these two Unigov-excluded cities

Finally, I want to heartily congratulate Mayor Ballard. I know that I have disagreed with him, and I have been tough on him here. I will be tough on him again, but I must give credit where credit is due. He did do something very difficult to do, and that's hold on to his seat in a Democratic-leaning county. He should be commended for that.

Ok, I'm not going to go all mushy on Ballard. This is still politics, and the sun definitely is coming up tomorrow. Now, the Mayor has to do his thing, and the Democrats have to do their thing. The voters will be expecting results or else 2015's municipal elections will be another one for the ages. It's going to be a fun four years.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ballard Holds On, D's Looking to Take Council

Get ready for a very interesting four years.

Greg Ballard proved that Republicans can still win elections in Marion County, but his margin was not overwhelming. Now, he will have to deal with what looks to be a Democratic majority on the City-County Council.

While the final vote tallies are not yet in, it appears that Ballard will maintain about a two to four percent margin over Melina Kennedy. It's another tough, close race for Kennedy, who lost by a similar margin in the Prosecutor's race to Carl Brizzi in 2006.

It looks like that the Democrats are going to be taking over the City-County Council. The Dems swept the four At-Large Council seats wiping out one Libertarian and two Republicans. Dems also, as I predicted, picked up a Council seat in District 20 as Frankie Mascari defeated Susie Day. Looks like Christine Scales will also be going down to defeat to Kostas Poulakidas. The Republicans will perhaps pick up a seat in District 19 on the near Southside with Jeff Miller beating Dane Mahern. Looks like about a 17-12 majority for the Democrats.

Democrats also will pick up the Mayor seats in Beech Grove with Dennis Buckley and in Lawrence with Dean Jessup.

More on what all this means tomorrow.

Christine Scales has pulled back in front of Kostas Poulakidas by 41 votes with all precincts reporting. Looks like a 16-13 majority for the Democrats.

GOP Shenanigans Calls Signal Desperation

I don't know what the polling numbers will be tonight, but the Republicans sure sound desperate.

Abdul keeps reporting about the MCDP "Vote Straight Ticket" signs (that are handed out to PC's every year in every election) being placed in the wrong places inside polling sites. He has two examples posted on his page. So, two Democratic PC's screwed up. I can't even determine if the inspector may have screwed up and put a "No Campaigning Past This Point" sign in the wrong place.

I'm just stopping at home after voting, and I can report that...ready for this...there was a GOP slate in my voting booth at Decatur 8. Call in the Election Board! NOT! I'm sure it was a voter that just left it behind. No need to launch an investigation or have Greg Ballard resign.

Now, it seems that the GOP got all into bluster over a SAMPLE BALLOT on the northside. (SEE UPDATE) All of this, over 700 challengers, etc.

Why so nervous?

The Indianapolis Star reports that a pollworker error caused another pollworker's straight-ticket Democratic ballot to be handed to a voter. It was not preprinted. No preprinted ballots were found. Again, all bluster over nothing.

It's Election Day

The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.! Get out and vote (if you haven't already done so)!

Many of these races for the 2011 campaign may come down to a few votes. In a countywide race, your vote could swing the county. You cannot get much more different than the visions the Indianapolis Mayoral candidates have for this city, for example. If you want your voice heard, get out and vote.

I can't wait until the results start pouring in tonight. It's going to be a fun evening.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Election Eve Predictions

Well, here they are. I may tick some people off with these predictions of major offices, but I am affable, according to Jon Elrod, so please, feel free to disagree.

Indianapolis-Too Close to Call
Yes, this race is too close to call. The large number of undecided voters out there makes it difficult to predict. I think Kennedy's turn to more positive TV messages over the last week was smarter than Ballard's continued pushing of negatives. Tells me quite a bit. Libertarian Chris Bowen also is in the running for your vote. Conrad Cortellini also is running as a write-in.

Beech Grove-Dennis Buckley, D
Beech Grove went Republican a few years ago, and it's been very close since then. I think Dennis Buckley takes the office back for the Democrats and starts to undo the mess that Joe Wright and Terry Dilk have created.

Lawrence-Dean Jessup, D
Jessup should win this race. Paul Ricketts simply does not seem to be well-liked by his own party. He nearly lost a primary race.

I think the Democrats will re-take the Council. Best case scenario is, as I see it, 20 seats. Worst case scenario is a bare majority of 15 seats. The races to watch are in District 4, District 6, District 12, District 19, District 20, District 21, and District 24. I believe the Democrats will sweep the At-Large seats.

District 4-Too Close to Call
Democrat Kostas Poulakidas and incumbent Republican Christine Scales have been locked in a neck-and-neck battle. Poulakidas has raised and spent thousands. Scales has gotten some late and, as she says, unwanted help from outside sources. This one is close. Nothing will surprise me.

District 6-Janice McHenry, R
Republican Janice McHenry and Democrat Brett Voorhies are battling here. I talked to Brett a few weeks ago, and he says things look promising for him. McHenry is a great campaigner and a hard worker. Veteran candidate Kevin Fleming is the Libertarian standard bearer. I think the incumbent, McHenry, holds on by a hair.

District 12-Regina Marsh, D
Democrats stayed home in 2007. That allowed a guy like Mike McQuillen to win by a wide majority over Sherron Franklin. That won't happen this year. Regina Marsh has run a tremendous campaign, and I think the competitive race this district has been known for also returns this year. Libertarian Shawn Sullivan could pull votes and swing the race. Regina Marsh defeats the incumbent.

District 19-Dane Mahern, D
Democrat Dane Mahern always seems to hang on by the skin of his teeth. Jeff Miller was not, in my estimation, the best candidate for the Republicans, but they slated him. It was the wrong move. Mahern will hold.

District 20-Frank Mascari, D
Popular Democrat Frank Mascari is battling Republican Susie Day for her Council seat. This one could also come down to a few votes. Both candidates are longtime Beech Grove residents and well-known in the community. I'm going to pick Mascari in a close victory.

District 21-Ben Hunter, R
Democrat Todd Woodmansee challenges Republican incumbent Ben Hunter. Hunter has tried to portray himself as someone who has worked across the lines of the Council. Woodmansee has been out doing the door knocking and the campaigning. I think that ground game will pay off. Libertarian Josh Featherstone is an excellent candidate as well who deserves support. I still think this district leans towards Hunter, but a win for Woodmansee would not surprise me.

District 24-Jack Sandlin, R
Libertarian Ed Coleman, currently an incumbent At-Large Councillor, and incumbent District 24 Councillor Jack Sandlin are locked in a tight battle. Sandlin was booted by Perry Township voters before when he was their Trustee, and he has never been elected to this office. Even with the money the Libertarians have poured in, it's tough to beat a Republican in this district. I think Sandlin stays in office in a tight race.

Please, these predictions are for entertainment purposes only. My crystal ball has been broken before. Get your butt out the door and vote tomorrow. Your vote makes a huge difference!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coxey Signs Endangered

Pictured here is the site of a former Scott Coxey for City-County Council sign. The owner of the yard where this sign was claims that it was stolen.

Perhaps "the most giving man" many people have met (Jeff Cardwell's words, not mine) will see that all the Coxey signs that are disappearing get returned by his supporters? Maybe his "servant's heart" will get the best of him and he will release a plea for his folks to not take other people's signs.

Then again, maybe not.

But, I digress. Yes, signs get stolen all the time, but Coxey's signs seem to be getting targeted. It's kind of weird to happen in a Republican-leaning district.

From Our President...

I'm FIRED UP and ready to go!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Political Science Professor Questions WISH-TV Poll

Longtime IUPUI Political Science Professor and Founder of the IUPUI Survey Research Center Brian Vargus told WIBC that he cannot determine whether he believes the results of the WISH-TV Franklin College Poll released Wednesday night on the station's 11:00 p.m. newscast.

Vargus said that the pollsters have refused to release key details. Vargus told WIBC, "They did not tell you the questions that they asked. They don't say how they established that people were registered voters or not. And, one of the hardest things to find likely people were to vote. They just called them eligible voters. They had a certain percentage they said had already voted."

The poll, as you may remember, showed Mayor Greg Ballard with an 11-point lead in the race over challenger Melina Kennedy. It also showed almost two times that number, 21 percent, were undecided in the race.

The real voting is November 8.

Friday Hodge Podge: Cardwell's Grating Ad, Advance Indiana Takes Shot at Coleman, Coleman vs. Sandlin, Victory Celebrations

Cardwell Gets Cheesy
Jeff Cardwell's hardware stores may be a part of the "Do It Best" franchise, but his political ads need work. For the past few weeks, the District 23 City-County Councillor has been playing these grandiose, self-back-patting radio ads that nearly want to make me throw up.

The ad talks about Cardwell's Christian background, and it explains his community activities. The ad also says that many people call him "the most giving person they know."

That may be true Jeff, but why not put some of those people in your ads saying it rather than handing a script to a radio announcer. It doesn't sound right. In fact, it sounds pretty bad.

As John Wooden said, "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

Hopefully, by an Election Day Miracle, Scott Coxey prevails and provides a little humility for Cardwell's self-described "servant's heart".

Welsh on Coleman
Yesterday, Gary Welsh took a potshot at Ed Coleman for spending over $800 on a suits at Men's Wearhouse.

I must admit; it is somewhat of a strange purchase to show up on a campaign report, but the man did receive $50K in money from the National Libertarian Party. He can afford it.

Speaking of Coleman
Sources are telling me that Coleman is making a possible dent in Jack Sandlin's ego. One source reports to me that through another reliable source Sandlin was so incensed by a negative mailer (not from the Coleman camp) directed at him that he was shaking mad.

Coleman vs. Sandlin may be another race to watch on election night.

This week, the Marion County Democrats and the Marion County GOP released the locations of their after-election parties.

The Republicans will meet up at the Murat Theatre at Old National Center Egyptian Room. They will start at 6:00 p.m. and run through 11:00 p.m.

Dems will take over the Indiana Roof Ballroom starting at 6:30 p.m.

Libertarians will be in a tent at Ed Coleman's house (just kidding). No word yet from the Libertarians on where they will be meeting up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Litebox Deal Raises Daniels Dander

Mary Beth Schneider penned a blog post with some really interesting comments from Governor Mitch Daniels on the Litebox deal announced a few days ago at a news conference. Essentially, it sounds like Mitch the Knife is cutting this one to the bone.

If you read between the lines of the Schneider piece, it sure sounds like the Governor was defensive as he told her and the reporters present that the city and state risk very little if the deal doesn't go through. He also said that it was "their problem" if investors put money into the project based on Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and him standing with Bob Yangihara, the Litebox company owner.

I don't think Daniels gets it. It's not about what the city or state is risking. It's the idea that we are counting job commitments as jobs created. It's simply not a good way to account economic progress...whatever the paradigm is that was inherited.

Matt Tully also wrote this column wondering if Ballard's misstep on Litebox might ultimately help put some meat onto Melina Kennedy's recent and campaign commercials criticizing the Mayor's job creation vs. job commitments over the last four years. He likens Ballard's performance to that of a sports star fumbling a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. These types of things could be contributing to the 21 percent rating of undecided voters in the recent WISH-TV poll.

Privately, I think Daniels is probably embarrassed that he has to answer these questions. I don't have any facts to back that up, but I bet he's at least not pleased that he was trotted out on this occasion for what was probably another hastily-conceived Ballard campaign ploy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WISH Poll Provides Signs of Concern, Opportunity for ALL Candidates

The WISH-TV Franklin College Poll released just moments ago shows Melina Kennedy may still have some work to do in these last six days before the election, but Mayor Greg Ballard is not out of the woods just yet.

The poll puts Ballard with just 44 percent of the 400 likely voters saying they are supporting him. Kennedy has 33 percent support. Libertarian Chris Bowen has two percent, and there's a whopping 21 percent of undecided voters. The poll has a 4.9 percent error margin.

Now, here come the normal questions. Who was polled? Were minorities properly represented? Blah blah blah. The point is that this poll is just one poll, and it's a snapshot of the race and should provide concerns for all candidates in the race.

For Ballard, the poll puts him at a 62 percent approval rating, but that doesn't explain the 18 percent differential between his support level and that number. Fifty-five percent of the respondents said that the city is on the right track. That's also above Ballard's total.

For Kennedy, the top two reasons that people polled say they are voting for her is that she's a Democrat, and she's not Greg Ballard. That translates into her message perhaps is not getting out.

Again, this is just one poll, and that 21 percent of undecided voters is an IMMENSE number of undecideds right now that provides a tremendous opportunity for the challenger.

This is still a race. All voters should show up on November 8 at the polls because your vote could make the difference.

And Now a Message from Your Indicted Secretary of State...

Indiana’s Secretary of State, Republican Charlie White, wants to remind you that you need to bring your state or federally-issued photo identification with you to the polls. It’s a good reminder, but it’s hard not to find the messenger, a man who was indicted for voter fraud, a bit ironic.

White, who has found new ways beyond his indictment to be an embarrassment to the state and to his office, has about as much credibility as I do in telling you to eat healthy, as Abdul does in telling you to stop smoking cigars, and as Pat Bauer does in telling you how to wear your hair.

So, if you’re like me and don’t believe anything Charlie White says, listen to Marion County Clerk Beth White who always reminds folks to bring that state or federally-issued photo ID with them to the polls on Election Day.

Yes. It's that time again to make sure your ID is in order to vote in Indiana. Your voter registration name needs to conform to the name on the ID you wish to bring (For example, Jon for Jonathan is fine, but Michael for Herman might cause you trouble). The ID can be expired, but it would have had to expire after November 2, 2010 (the 2010 General Election). If you go to the BMV, they are supposed to provide you an ID for free if you tell them you need it to vote and cannot afford the fee. Here’s a handy dandy checklist for your ID.

I know I actually had to go home and get my ID. I was buying a car around the time of the election, and I had taken my ID out of my wallet. When I went to vote, I realized this and got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I went home to find it in my pants pocket.

It’s also a good time to remind you that if your license expires sometime in 2012, you can renew it up to a year in advance. Mine expires in July, so I’m going to be doing it soon to avoid the big lines. It’s not as easy as it used to be with the new requirements. Visit here for more information on renewing your license.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bowen Lucky, Thank Goodness

Politics is just a hobby for me. I’ve dabbled in it. I’ve run for office, but it’s my diversion. For some people, it’s their livelihood, and it is how they make a living. For me, I just enjoy the strategy, the game, and the fun of watching it.

Politics takes a back seat when you hear news about the people who participate in it. When bad things happen to good people, it makes you really stop and think. That has apparently happened to Libertarian candidate for Mayor, Chris Bowen.

Bowen has impressed me in this campaign with his breadth of knowledge and his ability to speak on issues of importance to the city. I also know that he seems to be a good father who is concerned about his family. I paused for a moment today when I heard that Bowen had been in a serious car accident.

On his Facebook page, Bowen recounted being cut off by another driver exiting on a freeway ramp. He says he rolled his car twice and was in the hospital Monday night. I was glad to hear that he was able to post this on his web page.

Listen, politics gets nasty, and it’s sometimes like the lions vs. the gladiators out there, but, when something like this happens, it’s important to come together and say, “That was close.”

Last night, Chris Bowen wasn’t the Libertarian nominee for Mayor, he was one of the many people in car accidents every day in our city. He was just like you and just like me, and it reminds us that at any moment…no matter who you are…it can all come crashing down in an instant.

For Chris’ family and friends, I’m glad that it wasn’t his time. He’s been a consistent and strong advocate for better city government, and we need his voice in the game. My best wishes for the speediest of recoveries.

Republicans Pretending to Support Early Voting

After stopping the establishment of satellite early voting centers in Marion County, Mayor Greg Ballard is now embracing the idea. Taking a page out of Melina Kennedy's playbook, he's staging his own rally today from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the City-County Building, and he's bringing out Governor Mitch Daniels.

Governor Daniels certainly has to be reticent to step out with Mayor Ballard. Last time, the Governor's political capital took a hit when he stood up and gave credibility to the LiteBox announcement when it's clear that there are many questions still left to be answered about the 1,100 jobs the company is hoping to provide Indy. Again, he finds himself as a political set piece to a guy he must feel is many rungs below him politically.

Greg Ballard could have made early voting much easier for Marion County residents, but he and his party would not budge on the satellite voting sites. This even after the county has twice successfully (and a third time if you count Beth White's loophole in 2010) run satellite voting sites outside of the Clerk's Office.

Suddenly, seeing the numbers, the Mayor is trying to squeeze a little juice out of the early voting orange himself, and the numbers are pretty staggering.

Yesterday morning, Amos Brown reported that over 4,300 people had cast a vote early. That's more than the 2010 General Election. That has to raise some alarm in the Ballard camp. Studies show that early voting typically favors the Democrat in a race while traditional mail-in absentee votes tend to favor the Republican.

We also know that hundreds of people have participated in the "Get on the Bus" program which has united people and shuttled them to the City-County Building to vote. The program has not been without criticism, but it's perfectly legal to give someone a ride to the polls.

Will the increased early vote mean an increased turnout on Election Day? I don't know. I do know that early voting continues in person at the Clerk's Office until Monday at noon. For more information, visit