Friday, June 28, 2013

High School Dems Conference in Indy on Saturday

The Indiana High School Democrats 2013 State Conference is Saturday at the Omni Severin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.  High School Democrats and young Democrats (under 36) are welcome.

Speakers will include Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, Former Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives and 2012 Democratic nominee for Governor John Gregg, Indianapolis City-County Council President Maggie Lewis, 2010 candidate for Indiana Secretary of State and Indianapolis City-County Councillor Vop Osili, 4th Congressional District Chair Jeff Fites, and 6th Congressional District Chair Patricia Yount. 

The theme for this year's conference is "Know what it really feels like to be wanted, valued and needed." Registration opens at 8:15 a.m. and the conference begins at 9:00 a.m. and the event will run into 9:00 p.m. 

For more information or to register, click here.

Anthony Weiner Now Moves Ahead of Christine Quinn in NYC

Anthony Weiner
Given our penchant for comebacks, it’s really not that unbelievable when you think about it.

Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner is now ahead of New York City Council President Christine Quinn in the polls for Mayor of New York.

Weiner, who resigned from Congress after a sexting scandal less than two years ago, leads Quinn 25 to 20 percent. In a potential runoff election, Quinn beats Weiner 44 to 42 percent. Weiner has gained nine points since last month’s poll done by Marist College.

While Weiner has reason to be encouraged, Quinn, who was widely seen as the frontrunner just weeks ago, seems to be losing steam. Her lead over other challengers in the Marist Poll seems to be slipping as well.

It’s hard to explain the turnaround. Quinn seems like a tremendous candidate. Perhaps New Yorkers are associating her with increasingly unpopular Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his war on seemingly silly things like big sodas. Bloomberg’s approval rating hovers just under 50 percent.

It appears that New York voters are buying what Weiner is selling. As the NBC New York piece points out, he’s not ducking the scandal that cost him his job in Congress, but he’s using it as part of his strategy. Whatever the case, it’s working.

Quinn’s camp says they expect the polls to fluctuate, but this has to be a grave concern for her. Weiner’s campaign is no longer something more fit for a punch line. He’s strongly in this race.

The interesting thing will be to see how Quinn responds from here and if any of the other candidates get even more energized or if Weiner continues to consolidate support.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marriage Equality Fight Launches on Homefront

Yesterday, we celebrated.  Today, the next phase of the movement begins in bringing marriage equality to Indiana.

Mike Pence, David Long, and Brian Bosma could barely wait until the ink was dry on the Supreme Court's DOMA decision to announce they would be bringing back up amending the Indiana Constitution to allow only male-female marriage in the state of Indiana.  They believe it's a slam dunk and that it will pass easily to the voters.  I'm not so sure.

2014 will be an election year, so the General Assembly will be watched even more carefully than usual.  The Resolutions that passed the Indiana House and the Indiana Senate in the last General Assembly pretty much outlaws anything resembling marriage unless it's straight marriage.  That includes categories of relationships that many individuals in Indiana enjoy being a part of today.  Domestic partnerships and civil unions between straight couples would be dissolved if this General Assembly passes the legislation and the voters vote to write that discrimination into the Indiana Constitution.  I'm not convinced that the members of the Indiana General Assembly want that kind of heat.  

This process is redundant as well.  Indiana has had its own version of a DOMA-like piece of legislation on the books for years.  This would be like wearing two overcoats on top of your suit to make sure you're extra protected.  I thought we wanted smaller government with less regulation...right?

The Governor is out of this at this point.  While he foolishly released a statement that sounded like it was written in 2004 let alone 2013, the resolutions that will generate the referendum will not cross his desk if they pass.  He could have been content to keep his mouth shut, but he chose to speak.  It's no surprise what he said when he opened his mouth.

At this point, I think Long and Bosma can squeak a resolution through the House and the Senate, but I think you'll see a vigorous fight with a lot of mess along the way.  Stepping right in this wedge issue before an election may be a huge mistake.  If this makes it to the voters on Election Day, it will cause a huge turnout, in my opinion, for an off year election.  With the resolution that this legislature has to pass, I'm not sure that's a positive thing for the Indiana GOP.

If 2014 wasn't interesting enough on its own merit, it just got more interesting with more at stake for marriage equality advocates across the state.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court Orders Federal Government To Recognize Same Sex Marriages

The definition of marriage when it comes to federal law has changed, but the fight is far from over.

Make no mistake. Today is a day for LGBT Americans to celebrate. It’s the first time that the federal government has said, in a very official way, that equal rights do exist for people who are gay. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the Supreme Court, sided with the four liberal justices in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

As you also know by now, the Proposition 8 case was thrown out of court for a lack of standing. This means that same sex marriages in California apparently are cleared for takeoff and it sets a precedent for other states that will deal with similar propositions or ballot issues.

This, of course, comes after a horrible day that was yesterday. A day that saw the same Supreme Court gut the Voter Rights Act that so many fought for in the 60’s, and they did it because they said that times have changed. They said that Congress erred when it overwhelmingly and in a bipartisan manner reauthorized the act in entirety. They left part of the building standing, but they opened the door for so many other things.

This decision today kind of does the same thing. While same sex couples and their unions are now recognized by the federal government, the Supreme Court left regulating marriage up to each individual state. 

The fight is not over, but that is tomorrow’s agenda. Today is a day to celebrate. For now, let’s honor those that have stood for change all these years. Tomorrow we resume the fight for equality for ALL Americans. That includes the rights that potentially were lost in the Supreme Court yesterday and those the Texas legislature seemingly illegally removed early this morning.

I just hope that you will excuse me for this one day, though. I just need a moment. 

I know I won’t soon forget how I felt this morning, and I won’t begin to describe it because it would defy words. In my lifetime, these rights will be bestowed on all Hoosiers, too. I can feel it. In the words of that great old song, “It’s been a long time coming, but I know…a change is gonna come.”

THREE BILLION DOLLARS??? SERIOUSLY???

Indianapolis was highlighted in a New York Post article recently for its wonderful restaurant and entertainment scene.

Discover Fountain Square shared the article on their Facebook page.  It's really a good piece that highlights a lot of the good things going on in Indianapolis.

One thing it also stated was that Indianapolis has spent $3 billion on tourism in four years.  I had to read that figure twice. It comes out sounding like Dr. Evil in my head.  THREE BILLLLLION DOLLARS!

As I read that amount, I was reminded that it's been almost a half decade since Indy has had a police recruiting class.  We've seen the budget go deeper and deeper into debt.  We've also seen how many taxes and fees go up?

Now granted, not all of this money came out of the city's coffers.  Some of the money came from federal grants and other sources.  A lot of that also probably went to preparing our city to host the Super Bowl.  I just can't get the figure out of my brain.

Could we have spent that $3 billion differently and better?  Tourism is great, but we have to live here the rest of the year.  It just sounds like a lot of money for a city that is in the red.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Most Interesting Man on the Supreme Court

He once gutted the Voters Rights Act
with a swing of his gavel.
There's one justice on the United States Supreme Court whose opinions count more than the others.

It's not Antonin Scalia and his dogged determination to put himself under the powdered wigs of the founding fathers over 220 years ago.  It's not Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the now liberal lion of the Supreme Court, with her dogged defense of the voiceless.  Breyer is a good name for ice cream, but Stephen Breyer is pretty predictable.  It's not Elena Kagan or even Sonia Sotomayor.  It's not Sam Alito's headshaking, and, on most things not named Obamacare, it's not John Roberts.  While his confirmation process was interesting, everyone knows how Clarence Thomas will rule.

The most interesting man on the Supreme Court is, of course, Anthony Kennedy.

Anthony Kennedy is the lone swinger on the Supreme Court.  By swinger, I mean that he swings the court in close decisions on cases not named Obamacare.

That means that when the decision is handed down on Prop 8 or DOMA later today, people may talk about what any of the other eight justices write, but it will be Kennedy that likely will swing the direction of the court's decision.

That's why Anthony Kennedy is not only the most interesting man on the Supreme Court but perhaps someone even more powerful than the President or the Speaker of the House or anyone else in government.

That means that when tomorrow's decision is handed down, the matrimonial future of millions of American families may be in one man's hands.  With those futures, mine is included.

No pressure Justice Kennedy.

Ballard Homestead Credit Proposal Given Green Light by Commission

Remember when Mayor Greg Ballard was candidate Greg Ballard?  Well, that guy bears little resemblance to the politician he's grown into today.
Mayor Greg Ballard
Ballard wants to raise your taxes by getting rid of the homestead tax credit, and a bi-partisan commission narrowly is now backing the plan.

The Local Homestead Tax Credit Commission voted 6-4 (with one vote for by proxy) to recommend phasing out the tax over two years, the Indianapolis Star's Jon Murray reports.  This would bring an influx of $8.3 million back into the city coffers but force, according to the Star, 75 percent of residents to pay more in their property tax bills.

Remember that candidate?  Greg Ballard?  Yeah, he said that he could do everything he wanted to do for the city "without asking for more of your money" and attacked Mayor Bart Peterson for raising your taxes.  He even campaigned against Peterson's 0.65 percent income tax rate increase and then has kept that money in the budget since he's been Mayor of Indianapolis. 

Let's be clear.  I'm not necessarily against this move.  I just want someone to be honest.  Candidate Greg Ballard probably didn't think that he would win the race for Mayor of Indianapolis over the incumbent Mayor Peterson.  He jumped on the anti-tax bandwagon and was successful in making Peterson walk the plank.

It's hard not to see similarities in what is happening currently in the Mayor's Office to what happened to Peterson in his run for a third term.  With budget deficits mounting and the city seeing increased crime, Indianapolis residents are crying out for leadership.  Ballard's response seems to be to get another tax or fee raised.  

The man who once said he didn't need more of your money now seems obsessed with taking more of it.  Eventually, people will reach the tipping point on this issue.

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Apology to Mike Hobbs

A couple of weeks ago, I penned a blog post about Russell Brown's decision not to seek reelection as Lawrence Township Trustee.

In that blog post, I mentioned that the previous Lawrence Township Trustee, Mike Hobbs, had resigned from the office "in disgrace."

I didn't honestly give much thought about that part of the post again until today.  I received a very nice e-mail from Mike Hobbs.  He very cordially disagreed with my characterization of his resignation from the office, and he told me that even though he didn't know me that he wanted to set the record straight.

The message here is that what one person considers just words in a blog post can hurt someone else.  It's never my intention to do that on this blog.  Sure, I'm tough on people, but I try not to make things personal and keep everything above board in that regard.

In reviewing the post, I feel I crossed that line.  There was no reason to even mention Mr. Hobbs in the post.  Furthermore, his resignation had nothing to do with Brown's decision to not seek reelection.

Thus, I would like to apologize to Mr. Hobbs for being unfair to him, and I appreciate his e-mail keeping me straight.  I have also removed the reference to him in the original blog post.

Ballard's Most Recent Veto Reveals Priorities

Mayor Greg Ballard
Last week while I was on vacation, Mayor Greg Ballard actually did something that I never thought I'd see a Mayor of Indianapolis do outwardly.  He voted against public safety.

Ballard vetoed a plan to spend Rebuild Indy money to hire police officers.  Admittedly, the program would not have been sustainable after this one-time expense (though the city seems to find money for what it really wants to do all the time even in a budget that has a deficit), but it would have brought some relief to the staffing problem that IMPD is facing right now and allowed the community to find a long term answer to the solution.

Mayor Ballard's answer is coming in July according to the Marion County Republican Party.  They claim that Ballard will release a plan that will transfer a number of officers from "desk jobs" to the beat.  That won't solve anything.  It has administrative backlog written all over it, and it doesn't address the staffing issues.  Part of the announcement also said that Ballard would announce the timing of future recruiting classes at that time.  I will anxiously await this announcement.

It just seems hard to swallow for some citizens of this city that Indianapolis seems to now be putting other priorities ahead of public safety.  That we are putting out one time only expenditures for things like suites at Lucas Oil Stadium and a superfluous upgrade to a city park to bring cricket and Australian Rules Football to Indianapolis.

Ballard points out that the Rebuild Indy funds were from infrastructure improvements to sidewalks, trails, and roads, but what good are those things if people are afraid to use them?  If we don't have enough police to help keep people safe, then the community suffers.

I can't imagine that Ballard's veto will sit well with the rank-and-file IMPD officer.  They will continue to have to work harder with less resources.  Perhaps this is the political payback for the FOP endorsing Melina Kennedy in 2011.

Mayor Ballard's most recent veto revealed a disconnect about what's happening in his city.  He's now officially on record as putting cricket over police officers.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Johnson Considering Run for Recorder

Annette Johnson
Photo from Facebook
Due to term limits, other opportunities, and retirements, three Marion County Offices will be open seats in 2014.

Marion County Clerk Beth White must move on because of the term limits of her office.  Most figure she will run for Secretary of State.  Current Director of Elections, Myla Eldridge has filed to run for Clerk and there's speculation City-County Councillor Leroy Robinson may also run.

Marion County Auditor Billie Breaux is reportedly retiring after a long career of public service.  Marion County Recorder, Julie Voorhies, is looking to move from the Recorder's Office, where she is term limited over to the Auditor's Office.

That leaves an opening for Marion County Recorder.  Did you get all that?

It's an opening that Pike Township Advisory Board Member Annette Johnson is considering filling.  She announced her intentions to potentially run for the office at Wednesday's Washington Township Democratic Club Meeting after testing the water at Tuesday's Southside Democratic Club Luncheon.

Johnson, who has become a fixture at not only Democratic but community events across the county, tells Indy Democrat that she's busy forming a team and making the necessary connections and will likely form an exploratory committee later this year to make things official.

Besides her position on the Pike Township Board, Johnson is the President of the Pike Township Democratic Club and was elected a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  She is a longtime Precinct Committeeperson.  In 2011, she pursued the Democratic Party Slating slot for one of the At-Large Council Seats, but she lost by literally just a few votes to Robinson.  Instead of taking her case the primary as many urged her to do, Johnson withdrew from the race and has been working in a variety of capacities across the community and in the party since.

She has been everywhere.  I frankly don't know how she does it, and it's not just politics.  It's church events, youth events, civic clubs, and community events.  She's recently added journalist to her resume as well as a member of the upstart ICIndymag.com online magazine crew.  Even with all this, she maintains her day job in the Office of Outreach at the Indiana DOE.

Johnson will be a strong candidate in the 2014 cycle.

Mark Brown Challenging John Layton for Sheriff

Mark Brown
John Layton has a challenger from his own party in his reelection bid for Sheriff.

In a simple announcement that seemed to acknowledge his longshot status, Mark Brown announced that he would be seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Marion County Sheriff again in 2014.  Brown, who lost badly in 2010, faces even more of an uphill climb than it was four years ago.  Brown's Facebook status announcing his campaign acknowledged much about the run he's seemingly about to undertake.  Brown wrote on Thursday:

Hello family and friends, 
After a lot of prayer, this morning I filed to seek the Office of Marion County Sheriff. I apologize in advance to anyone who this offends.I expect to loose a few friends, on Facebook, because of your political positions, (Democrat or Republican). I will accept that, however I ask you to please accept that I have a right to seek the office. Others I hope you will pray for me and offer your support.

Sheriff John Layton
The challenges are numerous for Brown.  Most obviously, Layton is the incumbent, and that obviously brings a certain weight to push behind him.  Beyond that, he will have more money than Brown and has built his own bipartisan coalition of support.  Brown, while a good man and someone I consider to be a friend, has not really done the kinds of things necessary to build the kind of organization that will defeat an incumbent in his own party's primary.

I suppose Brown can try to bring up the budget issues (which Layton is good at tamping down on the stump) or perhaps other issues, but I don't think that is the kind of campaign Brown will run.  Mark Brown is a man of integrity, and he will probably try to show that he can do a better job than Layton.

After attending a Layton fundraiser a few months ago, I don't see how Brown can overcome what Layton has put in place.  He has an excellent organization and has a good record to run on no matter what his critics say.

We shall see how this develops from here, but I think it will not end well for Mark Brown's candidacy.  That's a shame because he's a worthy candidate for office.  He just doesn't know how to play politics.  Patience sometimes trumps aggressiveness.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blogger's On Vacation

Unless something pressing or immediate comes up, no daily updates until Monday.  I've flown the coop for a few days.

Thanks for being loyal readers!  There will still be updates as breaking news occurs, though.  Follow me on Twitter @johnnystir to see what I'm up to.

See you Monday.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Butler Running for Judge in Lawrence Township

Jackie Butler
Lawrence Township's ticket for 2014 seems to be starting to firm up on the Democratic side.  A local attorney has decided to throw her hat in the ring for Small Claims Court Judge.

Attorney Jackie Butler has decided to pursue the office and fill the seat currently occupied by Judge Clark G. Rehme.

Butler announced her candidacy last week with a news release.  In the release she said that she was looking forward to the opportunity. "I have enjoyed being a part of Lawrence Township and would now like the opportunity to serve the residents that live around me," said Butler in the release.

Political watchers may remember that Butler was one of the late additions to the 2011 City-County Council ballot in June to run against the staunchly conservative Ginny Cain in District 5.  She was unsuccessful in that race though she gave it a valiant effort.  This should be a much more winnable campaign for her.

Democrats hold most of the major executive and judicial offices in Lawrence and Lawrence Township with the exception of the township Small Claims Court position.  Judge Jim Joven, a Republican, was elected back in 2010.  He resigned when he was appointed to the Marion County Superior Court and is now serving there.  Judge Rehme has never faced the voters.

This should complete the Lawrence Township ticket pending any primary challenges.  Steve Talley, as we reported last week, is expected to run for Trustee.  Terry Burns is likely to pursue a second term as Constable and now Butler will attempt to win the Small Claims Court Judge seat.  That's quite a diverse group of good and capable Democrats!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mayor Ballard Meets a Celebrity (Satire)

I created this in good fun.  Hope you enjoy.

ESPN Article from 2009 Tells Different Story on Indy Cricket Stadium

An ESPN article from 2009 said Indianapolis was very interested in building a cricket stadium to be financed by PRIVATE and not PUBLIC dollars.  

This could be one wicked googly.

The October 4, 2009 article penned by Peter Della Penna details a meeting between Mayor Greg Ballard and his administration with the USA Cricket Association, the same organization now wanting to bring a national cricket tournament to the city.

Much of the article centers on Ballard's plan to build the cricket stadium on the Eastside of Indianapolis, it curiously includes a different line of funding altogether and suggests a significantly higher pricetag than the one detailed to Indy residents.

The article talks about what Indy wishes to build vs. what was built in Broward County, Florida.  From the article:

One major difference between the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida and the proposed plan for Indianapolis is that the latter will be financed by private funding, whereas the US$70 million it cost to build the stadium in south Florida came from taxpayer dollars and bonds. 
While Lowry doesn't know what the total project will cost, the city is looking to get it started sometime in the next six to eight months. How soon things get underway will depend on how long it takes for someone to step up to support the project with the necessary financial backing. "There's been a couple of companies very interested," he said. "I can't give specific names yet but one Fortune 500 company is very interested."
It appears that at one point Mayor Ballard's administration was looking for corporate dollars to help them build the stadium.  What happened Mr. Mayor?  Also, if ESPN knew about this in 2009, why didn't you tell your city?

This is one sticky wicket.  Maybe the Mayor's new "cricket village" will go next to the Litebox plant or maybe even the new Chinatown he advocated during the '07 campaign.

Father's Day Weekend Brings Back Memories

Dad and Me
Some of us never get to appreciate our fathers.  Thankfully, I got to appreciate mine.

I didn't appreciate him enough though as I look back.  My dad was a good man.  A couple of years ago, I wrote his story here on the blog.  If you want to find out more about him, click here.

Like I said, I was fortunate in that I knew my dad, and I got to know him pretty well.  There were, however, things I didn't know about him.  Sometimes, the mysteries even get revealed today in bits and pieces of stories I hear.

I had a great father.  He was loving and devoted to his family.  He adapted to the changes in my life that I threw at him.  I know he agonized over my bad decisions and worried about me even more than I worried about myself.  I didn't always listen, either, but that's what a kid is supposed to do, right?  You don't listen and then later you realize how right your father was.

I don't know where this blog post is going.  It's 3:21 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  All I can do is think about my father.  I hear his voice in my head, and I can feel him here somehow tonight.  I think he's doing what he used to do for me.  When I was sick or when I couldn't sleep when I was little, he would hold me and rock me until I was not scared any more.  He'd wait until I'd fall asleep, and then he'd put me in my bed.

I don't think he could do that any more.  Imagine a 6'4" 350 pound guy sitting on a 6'3" 250 pound guy's lap.  The physics alone could scare any La-Z Boy manufacturer.  Even when I got too big to rock, my dad was still my rock.  I can feel him here tonight.  He's probably wondering why I'm rambling about him on this blog post.

Happy Father's Day Dad.  I love you, and I miss you every day.

If you still have your dad and you are on good terms or you feel comfortable reaching out to him, hug him today.  Call him.  Buy him dinner.  Do something.  Appreciate him while he's here.  The good news is that he will be with you always.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sources Say McQuillen May Run for Auditor

Michael McQuillen
Sources say a member of the City-County Council is wanting to move up to state office.

Sources tell Indy Democrat that Michael McQuillen is interested in running for Indiana Auditor of State, a position currently held by government veteran, Tim Berry. Berry is term-limited as auditor after previously serving eight years as Indiana Treasurer.

There’s nothing in McQuillen’s bio that particularly screams Auditor. He does run a small business that sells and collects political campaign memorabilia and has been a member of the City-County Council since 2008.

The Auditor pays the state's bills among other functions and duties.  As Berry says on his state website, "As Auditor, I serve as the Chief Financial Officer for the State. As CFO my most important obligations involve accounting for all of the State's funds, overseeing and distributing Local Governments tax distributions, paying the State's bills and paying the State's employees. I also serve as administrator to the Indiana Deferred Compensation Plan working to help secure a better retirement future for all State workers."

A local Council race is much different than a statewide race.  It seems McQuillen is lining his campaign war chest for the long haul.  The Councillor has held two high dollar and high-powered fundraisers the last two years on or around his birthday.

McQuillen’s record on the City-County Council could come back and bite him. As the City-County Council’s Minority Leader, he’s been linked with a Republican like Greg Ballard who many Republicans believe to be a liberal or a moderate at best. In Tea Party pockets, that probably won’t play so well.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reported recently in one of his Cheat Sheets that Richard Mourdock was also interested in moving over to the Auditor’s Office. Of course, a run by Mourdock for Auditor would make the race for the down ballot office much more competitive for whatever Democrat might run.

As I’ve explained before, these offices are not determined by primary voters. Instead, the Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State candidates will be chosen at the party’s upcoming 2014 state conventions.

UPDATE:
And look what just popped up in a web search this morning:  www.mikemcquillen.com

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Five Years Have Passed...Still Missing Tim Russert


Five years ago today, the world of journalism lost a legend.

Timothy John Russert passed away at work while preparing for an edition of Meet the Press.  Tim was the best in the business and one of my journalistic heroes.

He is still missed today.  Sunday mornings just haven't been the same without him.

Vetoing More Police Proposal Would Be Big Mistake for Ballard

Mayor Ballard
On Monday Night, the City-County Council passed a proposal to take $6 million from Rebuild Indy funds to address the critical shortages we have in IMPD right now.

Greg Ballard is signaling that he plans to veto it.

That's right.  The Mayor of Indianapolis, who has no problems with using Rebuild Indy funds to build a Cricket Stadium...er...World Sports Park that no one asked for and that he didn't tell anyone about, is thinking about vetoing a proposal to put more police on the streets.  Why?  He says it's unsustainable.

The Ballard Administration claims that Indy will not be able to pay these officers in future budgets, so the $6 million is only a temporary solution.  Apparently, the Mayor has never heard of a temporary solution until you find the permanent solution.  It's a stop-gap measure, if you will.  Perhaps the Mayor doesn't know what these things are.

Politically, this is just not a smart thing to have to explain to Indianapolis citizens who continue to see shootings and crime reports mount.  As my friend Christian Mosburg said on Monday night via Twitter, "What good are sidewalks and infrastructure if people are afraid to use them?"

It's a good question.

With his veto pen, Mayor Ballard will end any chance of his reelection.  He will show his priority is not police on the street.  It's cricket.  It's anything but public safety.  Public safety will no longer be job one, and the door will be wide open for a potential opponent with a skilled campaign to sweep in and grab the high ground on this critical issue that people really care about.

So, what's it going to be Mr. Mayor?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Talley Considering Run for Lawrence Township Trustee

Councillor Steve Talley
There are few things that can draw a consensus in politics, but one of those things that most people in local politics would agree with is that City-County Councillor Steve Talley is a genuinely nice person.

Agree or disagree with him politically, but Talley is a devoted public servant and an excellent City-County Councillor. In 2011, the former City-County Council President came out of political retirement to reclaim a seat on the Council by a wide margin replacing the ethically-challenged Paul Bateman. Bateman would later be sent to prison for his transgressions.

After the mess with Bateman, District 11 needed a councillor with a moral compass, and it got one with Talley. He has brought honor and dignity back to the seat where it was needed so badly. Now, it appears that he’s ready to move on.

Talley announced at a recent Lawrence Township Democratic Club Meeting that he was considering a run for Lawrence Township Trustee. Russell Brown, the current occupant of that office, is not seeking reelection.

The folks in Lawrence Township have been ably served for years by Talley on the Council. Now, it seems that he wants to continue that service in another capacity. I wish him very well.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Did Chairman Joel Miller Tell Democrats to Stop Whining About Senate Bill 621?

Chairman Joel Miller
Well, I have to give credit where credit is due.

I was skeptical when Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reported in a recent tease for one of his cheat sheets that Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Joel Miller told his folks to stop talking (specifically whining) about Senate Bill 621.

Since he has yet to comp me on a subscription for the cheat sheet, I didn't read the piece.  Thus, all this time, I thought Abdul had been making stuff up again.

Well, I was wrong...technically that is.  Last night, at the Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting, Miller took a moment to set the record straight.

Miller said that Democrats should no longer refer to the bill as Senate Bill 621.  Miller said that technically Senate Bill 621 was now a Senate Enrolled Act.  It's law.  He went further, though.

Miller said the new law needs to be referred to in terms of its effects.  Said Miller, "I will say is that our people need to remind people exactly what this law is.  It's Mayor Greg Ballard's Power Grab."

I want to thank Abdul for bringing this to the forefront and what the new corresponding Senate Enrolled Act should be called.  Hopefully he, the news media, and other bloggers will begin referring to SEA621 as "Mayor Greg Ballard's Power Grab."

Please make a note of it.

Given Miller's statements at the meeting, I think we'll hear a lot about Mayor Ballard's Power Grab in the future.  Sorry Abdul.  This one's not going away.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Carson Completes Busy Weekend in 7th District

Congressman Carson in Wanamaker
(Photo from Congressman Andre Carson's Facebook Page)
If you follow Congressman Andre Carson's Facebook page, you know that this man was everywhere this past weekend.

On Saturday, the Congressman was at Indy Pride and several other events in the district like the Center Township FunFest, the West Indianapolis Community Day.  On Sunday, he spent time at the Wanamaker Old Settlers Day in Franklin Township.  Tonight, he'll be on my show on Indiana Talks.  Even as the Congressman makes personal appearances, his staff continues to make the rounds as well.  District Director Chris Worden recently spoke to the Decatur Township Civic Council.

Just remember weekends like this one when the Congressman's opponents try to tell you that he's out of touch or doesn't come home, don't believe it.  This weekend was a great example.

This past week also brought two big announcements.  The Defense Bill for 2014 passed through the House Armed Services Committee including some Carson-added additions to hopefully help curb military suicides.  Mental health for our servicemen and servicewomen in the military has been a big issue the Congressman has pushed since taking office.  Carson also secured $1.6 million in grants to help clean up contaminated sites in the city.  In short, he's working for the 7th District!

Tune in tonight at 9:00 p.m. on www.indianatalks.com to hear more from the Congressman on the JohnnyStir Show.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Seybold Skates Into Treasurer Race

Wayne Seybold
Wayne Seybold, former Olympic figure skater turned Mayor of Marion, announced on Tuesday that he is running for Indiana Treasurer in 2014.  Seybold announced his intention to run for the office from the steps of the Indiana Statehouse surrounded by his family and a group of supporters.

Seybold was elected Mayor of Marion in 2003, and he’s been highly popular among voters in the Indiana city being reelected on two different occasions.  Before serving as Mayor, Seybold was a member of the Marion City Council.  In 2012, he ran for Congress in the 5th District. Eventually, Susan Brooks won the primary nod and later the seat in Congress, but Seybold finished fourth in the crowded race behind the three more well-funded candidates. He cracked 11,000 votes in that race.

Citing his record as Mayor, Seybold says he's looking to bring his "extensive experience" in the public and private sector to state government.

The Mayor's news release touts 50 endorsements from legislators, municipal officeholders, and other leaders. It’s an impressive list of Republicans that includes Bob Grand, Rex Early, Dan Burton, Jim Merritt, Brent Waltz, Mike McDaniel, Kyle Walker, several Indy City-County Councillors and many others.  The Republican nominee will be selected by delegates to the 2014 Indiana Republican Convention.

Incidentally, current Treasurer Richard Mourdock cannot run for reelection due to constitutional restraints.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rep. Castro to Address Indiana Dems on Friday

Rep. Joaquin Castro
Congressman Joaquin Castro is coming to town to speak at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner for the Indiana Democratic Party on Friday night.

Castro, who represents the southern suburbs and parts of western San Antonio in Congress, is one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party. He is a “good get” for the Indiana Democratic Party as it tries to reach out to a rapidly growing Latino population across Indiana.

When I was working with the David Sanders for Congress campaign as a volunteer in 2004, I did some research on some of Indiana’s small towns, and I was really surprised by the number of Latino and Hispanic families that have settled in these areas. Statewide, Indiana’s Latino population grew by 55 percent between 2000 and 2010. Marion County saw a huge jump more than doubling its population in that time.

Castro represents the changing face of the Congress as well. In the 112th Congress, 16 percent of Senators and Congresspersons were people of color. That’s up four percent from 2000 according to the National Journal. Castro is part of an even more diverse 113th Congress that just keeps changing but still, as the National Journal points out, lags well behind what America “looks like.”

It will be interesting to see what Castro has in store for the dinner on Friday. I tried to contact his campaign office to appear on the JohnnyStir Show this past Monday, but no one returned my e-mails.

The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is a huge fundraising event for the Indiana Democratic Party. It features pretty much anyone who’s anyone in the state level Democratic Party in a speaking role. I have attended two dinners in the past, and I always felt fired up and proud to be a Democrat afterwards.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Only Breaking News Posts This Week...

A little blogger break is necessary. I'm going to take a few days off to deal with some stuff here in the real life realm. The real job commands my full attention. Thus, I'm going on hiatus for just a few days.

I'm not going anywhere. Just have to keep my nose to the grindstone. As always, I will come back online if anything breaking happens.

Daily updates will return (God willing and the creek don't rise) on Monday, June 10.  

Follow me on Twitter if you must: @johnnystir.

See ya!