|Sheriff John Layton|
In the fight for one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation in...well...since I can remember, the Republicans have now made the Sheriff and how he spends money the central focus of all their talking points. Funny thing was, prior to 2012, it was never an issue. What could have possibly changed?
Now I remember. On January 1, 2012, I attended the swearing-in ceremony for the new City-County Council Democratic caucus. Only one Republican was there, Marilyn Pfisterer. Anyway, it was the first time in four years that the Democrats held the majority.
Now suddenly, even though the Sheriff has exceeded his allotted budget for the last four years, his office is suddenly public enemy number one when it comes to SB621.
As City-County Councillor Pam Hickman points out, the Republicans stopped paying for the medical bills of prisoners out of public safety money and threw all of that on the Sheriff when they had control of the Council. That took effect in FY 2011 (by the way, the first year John Layton was Marion County Sheriff). Yes, the numbers have gone up, but it's to be expected. The Sheriff is spending more. The amount of money the Sheriff received in the budget actually went down by $2.2 million from 2011 to 2012. Thus...you do the math.
Of couse the Mayor and his allies are out trying to besmirch John Layton because he is a threat to them if he decides to run for Mayor in 2015. They want all of this to throw at him to try to take him out of the equation. Plus, they have found something of all the pathetic-ness that is SB621 that actually might stick. They even followed it up with a well-placed John Tuohy Indianapolis Star article on an unrelated state law. I'll give Tuohy the benefit of the doubt, but it sure is funny isn't it...the timing?
Well, here's my challenge. Throw out the rest of the bill and keep the budget part if that's what you want to do. This budget plank of the bill is just one part of the vile manure that is in this bill.
That's right. I said vile manure. It's a purely partisan bill. The Republicans are holding on for dear life in Marion County, and this is the only way to even the playing field. Mess with the people's elected representation, marginalize the threats in the County-wide offices, and make it really easy for a big name to swoop in (if not Ballard again) and live here a year before running to keep the 25th Floor in GOP hands.
It's shortsighted, but it just may work for a couple of years before trying to change things back again when Dems are back in control of everything in 2016.
One More Thing...
Be sure to join me as I go head-to-head with Abdul-Hakim Shabazz tonight on the JohnnyStir Show on IndianaTalks.com. Abdul thinks he's going to win, and he does have the advantage of sit downs with Mayor Ballard and his advisers as well as being an attorney.
That said, I'm a scrappy brawler whose name is on the show. Join us tonight at 9:00 p.m. It will be a good-natured back and forth on SB621.