Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pence Stumping in New Hampshire Oct. 24

Former White House staffer and Indiana GOP Spokesperson, Pete Seat, pointed out the following on his Twitter page yesterday afternoon.

Don't you just wish Republicans would come right out and say it?  The truth of the matter is that Mike Pence likely could care little about the New Hampshire Governor's battle.  Pence's motives are clear.  He's considering a run for President, and his campaining for Walt Havenstein is part of that getting to know you process.  Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie, both Governors considering a run for the White House in 2016, have been in the state, too.  Incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan is forecast to win reel.

The Governor is trying hard to throw people off the scent.  Pence told WMUR that he was just focusing on Indiana right now though is "flattered" by the attention.  Yeah, I'm not buying that either.  This man is enjoying the limelight and spotlight.

I just wish he'd be honest about it.  When he on October 24, it won't be JUST to campaign for Havenstein.  There are selfish reasons, too.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ping Confused on House Responsibilities?

Cat Ping seems confused.

From her Twitter account:

First of all, there is no opening on the Supreme Court.  It doesn't appear that, unless there's some unforeseen circumstance, that there will be an immediate opening on the Supreme Court.  Thus, the point the entire situation is irrelevant to reality.

Secondly, Eric Holder would be a really good Supreme Court Justice, but he would be a really stupid nominee.  He has as much of a chance of being confirmed as I do.  Unless President Barack Obama wants a fight, which at this point, he might, I don't see him nominating Eric Holder as a Supreme Court Justice.  There are much safer nominees for the President that won't spark a political tug of war.

Finally, and most importantly, Cat Ping is running against Andre Carson for a seat in the House.  The Senate confirms Supreme Court nominees through its advise and consent responsibilities laid out in the U.S. Constitution.  Thus, Ms. Ping would have nothing to say regarding Mr. Holder's long shot nomination for the Supreme Court.

Of course, she needs to get elected first, and that's the longest shot of all of this.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Leaping Black Helicopters and Tin Foil Hats...Gary Welsh: Off the Deep End

Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Photo from Facebook
Advance Indiana blogger Gary Welsh does some good work.

He can be a great watchdog, and he does excellent work investigating government.  He sometimes raises excellent questions about what's going on and exposes hypocrisy.

Today, he may have stepped off the road and into the abyss.

Welsh penned a blog post about South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  As many of you know, Buttigieg was deployed to Afghanistan as a Naval Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve.  Now, he's back safely in South Bend and back to leading his city.

On his blog, Welsh lays out a case (for the second time mind you) that Buttigieg is a high-level spy for the CIA.  He doesn't provide anything in the way of proof...only speculation.  He also insinuates that Buttigieg's service in Afghanistan might be responsible for the growing drug problems we're seeing in Indiana.

Welsh's off the wall pieces such as this one, his incessant birtherism, and claims such as that Barack Obama is a closet homosexual really undermine the real credibility he has on many local issues.  It's unfortunate.

As for South Bend, you have a great Mayor who, from all official accounts, has apparently served his country with distinction.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bucshon Makes Daily Show

You may have heard about this by now, but Congressman Larry Bucshon was featured for all the wrong reasons on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Bucshon is, for all intents and purposes, one of the least crazy of the Republican contingent from Indiana to the U.S. House, but that's not saying much.  See the video below.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pence Passes By France, UK for "Most Cherished" Ally Status

Governor Mike Pence
On both his campaign and his official Facebook page, Governor Mike Pence is touting his foreign policy credentials and is criticizing President Obama for calling out Israel in front of the United Nations on Wednesday.

I'm not going to sit here and get into that mess, but I did take notice of something else that Pence said.  He called Israel, "Our most cherished ally."  While Israel is, without question, an ally, I would argue that our most cherished ally might be one of two countries.

If you go back to the beginning of the United States, one country was instrumental in pushing the colonies over the top: France.  It was the naval power of the French along with money, ammo, and men that helped General George Washington defeat the Redcoats.  Without France, Hoosiers might be eating bangers and mash and singing God Save the Queen instead of eating tenderloins and butchering the Star Spangled Banner.

Our old nemesis, the United Kingdom, has also become a very important and cherished ally.  The United States usually has been able to count on the Brits to be with us in most campaigns...even when we've been proven to be wrong.  Since the War to End All Wars, World War I, it's hard to identify a better friend than the UK.

So, I think Mike Pence has it wrong.  If he wants to be President, he needs to learn that France and the UK are our two most consistent allies and are the countries history tells us are most likely to be there for us again in the future.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ballard Failing Pre-K, Leadership Test

Mayor Greg Ballard
Mayor Greg Ballard is failing his test.

The Mayor has failed to find common ground (so far) with the City-County Council to get what should be a slam dunk on pre-k accomplished.

It's not that he hasn't tried.  Ballard has opened up his campaign pocketbook and recorded ads on the subject trying to gain support for his plan, so why is he finding a roadblock?  I think it's mistrust.

Democrats are weary of the Mayor bearing gifts, and this is a gift for Democrats.  Pre-k has been an issue pushed mostly by liberals and Democrats for years.  It's just that many in the caucus I believe don't trust the city's chief executive.

He's spent his political and trust quotient on things like sports parks and anti-Democrat legislation at the state legislature.  Senate Enrolled Act 621 from 2012 did a lot of damage between the relationship of the Mayor and the Council.

The City-County Council Majority just simply doesn't buy the Mayor's plan to use the homestead tax credit to help fund the pre-k initiative.  Since the proposal to repeal that tax credit was tabled at a meeting last week, Republicans have been trying to tie the pre-k failure to the Democrats and the Council.

If this was something the Mayor really wanted, he should make it a can't pass up for the Dems.  Ballard's just not one to fight too hard.  He's not one to get his hands dirty.  He's content now to play the political game and to lob nastiness at the opposition.

Pre-k is important, but it's going to take a Mayor Greg Ballard that's ready to meet a Council Democratic Caucus somewhere in the middle.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Facts Hurt: No Pre-K Proposal Before City-County Council

Mayor Greg Ballard
My friend Paul Ogden took Indiana GOP Chairman, Tim Berry, to the woodshed over a recent e-mail to supporters that attacked Democrats for not supporting the Mayor's Pre-K initiative on his blog, yesterday.

Problem is...most Democrats actually support that idea, and that's all it is at this point.  Don't let the Republicans change the narrative on this.

Ogden nails down the exact point that needs to be nailed down.  This is not about Pre-K.  It's about the homestead tax credit that the Ballard Administration has had dreams of getting for years.  That's the "man behind the curtain" in all of this, but Berry can't come straight out and say it.  I'm glad Ogden went after his own party's chair on this.

Here's the thing, though.  It's straight up unfair and dishonest to portray Democrats as anti-pre-k.  That's simply ludicrous, and it's hard to believe.

The real and bottom line is that for the City-County Council...Republicans or Democrats...there's no plan to vote on.  None.  Mayor Ballard doesn't have a plan to expand pre-k.  The only proposal that was on the table was one to raise the homestead tax credit with absolutely no caveats that the money would be used for pre-k or anything for that matter.

Can you honestly blame the Democrats for saying no?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Carney Lacks Plan to Be Sheriff

Emmitt Carney
Photo from Facebook
On Sunday morning, Indianapolis This Week aired on WRTV.

Emmitt Carney, the Republican candidate for Marion County Sheriff, appeared on the program with Rafael Sanchez.  The longtime reporter interviewed Carney about his run for Sheriff, and let's just say it was not much of an interview.  Sanchez at times appeared to have more of a grasp of the issues than Carney.

Carney put forth no ideas except that perhaps we should "maybe" release sick prisoners to home detention to curb health care cost.  He also was vague on details and continued his attack lines about the Sheriff releasing prisoners early by mistake and keeping within budget.

Those are most definitely big concerns, but Carney's lack of ideas and his inability to come up with a simple answer to express his opinion on whether or not the Marion County Sheriff's Office has a role to play in the public safety of our city is really scary.  Carney has demonstrated no ability to show any ideas how he's going to keep within budget while maintaining the five areas of responsibility of the office.

I might also point out that John Layton is not the first Sheriff to have accidental releases under his watch.  It's happened to almost every Marion County Sheriff...probably since the office was created.  I talked to a well-known Republican the other day who has run for elective office in Marion County, and he seemed embarrassed by the Carney effort.

Carney's most definitely a nice guy, but his background is in law enforcement and not running a jail or an office of the size and complexity of the Marion County Sheriff's Office.  Rumor has it that he is the seventh candidate that was approached by Marion County Republicans.

Here's a link to the Indianapolis This Week report.  The Carney interview is right off the top about 1:28 into the show.  Layton will appear next week.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Meet Markell

You are going through things.  We all are.  

Hopefully, Markell's story can help you.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mansfield Responds to Chairman Walker's Claims

Councillor Angela Mansfield
On Tuesday Night, the Administration and Finance Committee tabled the Mayor's proposal to eliminate the local homestead tax credit.  That money, the Mayor claims, would have been used to pay for the expansion of early childhood education.

The Marion County Republican Party was OUTRAGED.  Kyle Walker fired off this news release.
Earlier this evening (Tuesday), dozens of citizens, including many children, attended a three hour meeting of the City-County Council Administration and Finance Committee to voice their opinion on the proposed resolution to support Pre-K funding. Committee Chair Angela Mansfield deliberately pushed discussion of the topic to the end of the agenda, only to quickly table it without taking public comment. The public should always have a voice in the process of local government, but to deny them the right to speak after waiting through a three hour committee meeting is beyond disrespectful. Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of the political games being played by Council Democrats.
The local media ran with Walker's version of the story.  WRTV actually ran video of the outraged (three) citizens arguing with the committee.  Didn't see many children in the video the channel ran, either.

I decided to ask the Chair of the Committee, Angela Mansfield, for comment.  She responded by e-mail.

First of all this was not a pre-k proposal that was tabled. The proposal was to eliminate the homestead credit, period. There was absolutely no guarantee where the money would be spent that if the proposal had passed. In fact several Republicans have stated that they do not want to support pre-k with these funds. Some made such statements during the last council meeting or in interviews later. 
A similar proposal to eliminate the homestead credit was previously heard in the public safety committee with a full hearing and public comment just a few weeks ago. The proposal was amended to remove the language re the elimination of the homestead credit. To have another committee meeting discussion on the same issue was redundant. This was reminiscent of last year when the mayor put the same proposal before us multiple times.

Tuesday, we had a full agenda with six budget hearings. I set the agenda to be respectful of the budget hearing presenters, many who are not part of the administration nor are they city employees. I also told the administration twice that I would not be allowing another presentation on the elimination of the homestead credit. Another reason I had this proposal last on the agenda is because a couple of councillors are notorious for leaving early, if there at all. This had the effect of having all councillors remain for all of the budget hearings.

When the meeting concluded, three of the public members who appeared to be upset that they did not have the opportunity to speak were in fact against the repeal of the homestead credit. Two of them did speak on several of the budget hearings during public comment. Once they learned what tabling the proposal actually did, they were ok.

From my own personal point of view, my constituents experienced a tax increase this year due to the expansion of the special police district. My own taxes went up almost 16% and I have a very modest house. The vast majority of my constituents receive a benefit of the homestead credit substantially greater than the average $22 the mayor continues to tout. Many are $50 - $150.

Again, a proposal to eliminate the homestead credit already received a full hearing and public comment. To do it again would only have been a repeat of the previous meeting.
Hope that clears things up a bit.  Also, (again) check the video.  Not many kids in the room.

Yesterday, Mayor Greg Ballard seemed to have given up for now his neverending quest to get the homestead tax credit money. Instead, he's relying on the Council Dems to come up with a plan to pay for pre-k.

I'm sure they'll get back with you, Mr. Mayor.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Poll" Shows Ballard in Trouble?

Mayor Ballard
My friend and political sparring partner, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, publishes a gossip and innuendo newsletter to go along with his official Mayor Greg Ballard Indy Politics page.  The disclaimer says it all...essentially take what you read with a grain of salt.

So, I took my grain of salt, and I read on page six of a recent offering that "a poll" is out showing Mayor Ballard with an eight-point lead over Joe Hogsett.  There was not anything published in the "Cheat Sheet" to explain the methodology of the poll or who conducted it.  It just said there was a poll out.

If this poll does indeed exist, I'd have to say this is very bad news for Mayor Ballard.  First of all, the campaign hasn't even begun, and he has great advantages in name recognition as well as the power of incumbency.  That only gives him an eight-point lead over Hogsett?  If I were Joe, I'd be dancing down Meridian Street.

For a campaigner that works as hard at it as Joe does, an eight-point deficit to start the race is about as surmountable as a speedbump for a walker.  Frankly, it's not much of a lead at all, and, given that we are months away from the 2015 elections, it means that Ballard is likely below 50 percent.  A two-term Mayor below 50 percent?

If I were the Mayor, I'd take one look at this poll and say that I'm going to take a very long trade mission after January 2016.  I'd walk away.  The only man to win a third term as Indy Mayor in the Unigov era is Bill Hudnut, and Joe Hogsett beat the Hudnut machine to win his own term as Secretary of State in 1990.

Ballard opened the 2011 race with a big lead over his then-opponent Melina Kennedy, and Mayor Bart Peterson was widely considered safe in 2007 with a well over 50 percent approval rating at this time in the race.  No one had heard of Greg Ballard at the time.

Just yesterday, I was approached by a longtime well-known Republican who told me that he would love to host a fundraiser...for JOE HOGSETT.  Yeah, the writing is on the wall here for the Republican Party and for Greg Ballard.  This 2015 race doesn't look so good.

Abdul also writes in the "Cheat Sheet" that Greg Taylor has been approached to run for Mayor.  Sources tell me that Taylor, who is in a safe Indiana Senate seat, is likely supporting Hogsett.

Well, I lost my grain of salt.  I have to say, Abdul does write pretty good rumor and innuendo.  I think I do too, but you don't have to pay for mine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bayh's Out, but Who's In?

Evan Bayh
I've been hard on Evan Bayh these past few months, but I have to give him credit.  He finally made his intentions clear as to his future plans.  He's not running for Governor in 2016.

Now others can move forward.  Just who those others are remains to be seen just yet.

The most persistent names are 2012 nominee John Gregg.  Gregg came close to defeating Mike Pence in November of 2012 after trailing by a wide margin early in the race.  I believe that Gregg has earned the right to try again.  So, we'll see how this time goes should he decide to run.

Another possibility is former State Senator and Gregg's Lt. Governor-nominee from 2012, Vi Simpson.  Simpson has been interested in the job in the past, and she, like Gregg, would have some good name recognition having just run in 2012.  Simpson might be the most popular candidate with the base of the party, but she might have trouble getting to the center.

Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott is also a potential candidate in 2016.  McDermott has said that he might be interested in a run, and he would be an interesting entry into the race.  Unlike Gregg or Simpson, McDermott has less name recognition than the more well-known previous candidates.

There are any number of other possible candidates for the job.  The Democrats bench is deep.  Mayors like Greg Goodnight and Pete Buttigieg could launch credible campaigns.  The Mayors need to be reelected first in 2015.  I haven't heard much about General Assembly members wanting to move to the executive branch, but the Democrats have some rock stars like Christina Hale that could find a strong voice.  Old hats like Baron Hill and Brad Ellsworth are also still out there.

There's also a good chance that the Democrat that runs is not listed above.  I guess we'll see.  Bayh's exit leaves this whole thing wide open.  Now, the question is...what does Bayh do with that campaign treasury?

We'll find out soon!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thoughts on Vaughn...

Ryan Vaughn
Ryan Vaughn sent a political shockwave through Marion County on Friday.  He's leaving Mayor Ballard's Administration after a little over two years on the job.

Vaughn is set to become the President of the Indiana Sports Corporation.  He will replace the outgoing Allison Melangton who will be joining Hulman Corporation as Senior Vice President of Events.  In other words, she'll be helping to plan and execute events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The shuffle won't happen until October 27, but Vaughn leaving the Mayor's Office at this time is pretty interesting.

A Ben Davis High School and Wabash College graduate, Vaughn has climbed quickly from attorney to politician to his new position.  Brought on by the Mayor for, among other things, his acumen at dealing with the City-County Council as its former President, he will be taking that experience with him to ISC at a very critical time for Ballard.

According to news reports, the move over to ISC gives Vaughn a big raise, and he won't have to deal with many of the headaches he did as Ballard's COS.  It's a stressful job, and I can understand why the allure of the chance to do his own thing at the ISC was so tempting for Vaughn.  It might also be building up that resume for something in the future.

His comments about getting out of politics are definitely interesting.  Vaughn was someone many had thought might be interested in running for Mayor of Indianapolis.  That clearly is not going to happen with him taking this new position.  Makes you wonder what Mayor Ballard's thinking.  If he's running for a third term, he won't have one of the people that has been a key adviser on the government side there to turn to.  If this signals the Mayor is not running for a third term, it could mean that Vaughn has seen the future in his crystal ball may be cloudy for the Marion County Republican Party.

In any case, I wish Ryan Vaughn the best.  Even when I've been hard on him in the words of this blog, he's always treated me nicely.  He's a good man who you'll see back in the game someday and somewhere.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Share a Cup of Success!

With all the negativity going on in the world, I'm thankful that there's always Soul Pancake on YouTube to go back to to make you feel good about the world we share.

This video below has strangers get together and share successes with each other.  It's a wonderfully beautiful video.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Watch Those Tax Dollars, Folks

Marion County Taxpayers
The City-County Council voted on Monday to raise our taxes for the stated goal of putting more police on the street.  It's water under the bridge now.  It's up to us to make sure the money is used for that purpose.

As opponents of the tax increase point out, Mayor Greg Ballard has more money than his predecessors for public safety thanks to a 65 percent property tax increase passed under the Peterson Administration.  Also off the table was the pension issue that bedeviled the city's finances for many years.  That means that Mayor Ballard should have had millions to spend on hiring officers and increasing IMPD's ranks.

He hasn't done it.  Not even close.

He has failed to even keep up with attrition, and he now has asked, yet again, for more of our money.  Instead of standing in obstruction, the City-County Council passed the Mayor's request for more income tax dollars for more police.  The IBJ reports it's a 43 percent tax increase.

Most of the blogs in town have their dander up on the issue, and I admit that I'm not thrilled.  No one wants to open their checkbook a little wider at tax time.  This, however, is for public safety.  I've been saying that I'd like to see more police on the street, and the stated goal of this tax increase is to increase the ranks of IMPD.

Somehow, we never got back our tax money that Ballard said he'd return to us in 2007.  Clearly, that money was squandered somewhere.  Now that the Mayor has his new money, he and his predecessors must be held accountable as to where this new public safety dollars go.  We can't count on the local media to do it either, but we, as citizens, have to see the progress and then exercise our voices (and our votes) if it's not made.

If the officers are not hired, the ranks don't grow, and we end up with more pet projects, shame on not only the Mayor, but shame on the Council and shame on us.

I'm not sure this tax increase was the way to address our public safety problems.  We keep asking for more from taxpayers.  More money for schools.  More money for utilities.  While it's fair to ask us for more money for public safety, it just doesn't feel like the right timing to me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Curry Enters Mayor's Race...In a Manner of Speaking

Terry Curry
Terry Curry entered the Mayor’s race on Tuesday.

He endorsed Joe Hogsett.
The Marion County Prosecutor put his support and weight behind Hogsett, and it’s a huge early endorsement for the fledgling campaign of the former U.S. Attorney.
When Hogsett was U.S. Attorney, he and Curry worked together at the local and federal level on strategies to fight violent crime in Indianapolis. With the Mayor controlling what happens at budgeting, the Prosecutor’s endorsement weighs heavily on who he believes has the best chance to win the Democratic nomination as well as the election in November 2015.

In a news release from the Hogsett campaign, Curry is quoted about his time working with Hogsett and the importance of continuing that work in the future, “At this moment, Indianapolis faces enormous challenges. However, I am excited about the possibility of what we can collectively accomplish with Joe leading our great city, and I look forward to working with him in the years to come,” said Curry.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Delaney Speaks to Decatur Township Crowd

Ed Delaney
Last night, Rep. Ed Delaney spoke to Democrats in Decatur Township.

Delaney, who is unopposed for reelection in 2014, spoke for about 20 minutes on a variety of topics.  His message was simple, "I'm here to listen."

That's what he did for the duration of this talk.  He had lost his voice early in the day, so he picked yours truly to act as his mouthpiece for the evening.

Decatur Township residents shared their frustration about a number of issues.  The residents were concerned about the lack of sidewalks, pollution, education, the cost of utilities, the declining revenue from small claims courts, and a variety of other issues.  Delaney had a good grasp of the issues and was eager to provide his idea about what should be done.

Delaney attacked Governor Mike Pence for sitting on his surplus while local governments and residents suffer.  He said that he would do something this session to encourage the Governor to share his surplus with the rest of us in the state.  He also said that he was against eliminating the homestead tax credit for local income taxes saying that it was essentially robbing, "Peter to pay Paul."

Mayor Greg Ballard also was a target of Delaney's political attacks.  Delaney went after Ballard for selling the public water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy for cash he used to repair roads and streets.  He said, "Indianapolis is the only city in the United States where when you flush a toilet...you pave a street."

As far as the Delaney vs. Hogsett race, Delaney explained that he is unopposed for Mayor and is unopposed for reelection in his House District as well.  "There are people 'looking at' running for Mayor, but I'm the only current candidate," said Delaney.  Incidentally, Joe Hogsett had a representative in the room.

Delaney appeared to have a very good grasp of the issues and a strong message carrying forward.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Democrats Come Together for Annual Picnic

Candidates from the next two election cycles were on full display at the Marion County Democratic Party Annual Picnic on Sunday at Garfield Park on the near-Southside.

Congressman Andre Carson, Prosecutor Terry Curry, Sheriff John Layton, and the rest of the 2014 Marion County Democratic Party ticket were on the scene and actively hustling to make sure the base gets out to vote on November 4.  Also present were statewide candidates Beth White, Mike Boland, and Mike Claytor.

People say that folks aren't charged up about this upcoming midterm election, but you could not really tell that from the hundreds in attendance.  It looked like a normal crowd for
the picnic on a perfect weather afternoon.

Ain't No Party like a Democrat Party.
Photo by Josh Peters
Besides the 2014 ticket, several 2015 candidates were there, too.  Joe Hogsett was shaking hands and kissing babies as he continues to try to solidify support for his yet-to-be-announced-but-everyone-knows-about-it run for Mayor of Indianapolis.

While Hogsett did his thing, so did Ed Delaney.  The State Representative running for reelection and who has announced for Mayor also spent time shaking hands and talking to people.  It's way too early to tell who the room preferred.  Many of the people I talked to seemed to agree with me that both are excellent candidates for Mayor.

As always, I enjoyed the picnic.  It's a great way to see and catch up with friends and people from all over Marion County.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Can We Talk? Joan Rivers Gone at 81

Joan Rivers
Photo from Facebook
Can we talk?

Joan Rivers was one royal...well, you know.  I know, it's never right to speak ill of the dead, but in Joan's case, she'd probably laugh and fire an insult right back.

That's the kind of comic Joan Rivers was.  She was her own woman, and she was unapologetic and unrepentant.  She could and would say anything, and she didn't care who she offended.  She didn't ask you to like her, and she didn't care if you did.

Frankly, she offended me a few times, and she said some very hard-to-hear things.  Still, she understood that sometimes comedy at its core is not only about making people laugh but it's about making people talk and think and respond.  She was probably genuinely happy when half the crowd was rolling on the floor and half the crowd wanted to run her off stage.

Rivers was fearless, but she was also timeless.  At 81, her death still seems like a shock.  Just a few months ago, she made a triumphant return to the Tonight Show and was absolutely as hilarious as she was in her first appearance in 1965.  That's hard to do.

What we do know is that there is only one Joan Rivers.  Now, she's gone.  Fearless, tactless, funny, challenging, acerbic, gentle...there was only one.

Can we talk about Joan Rivers?  Love her or hate her, she made you think.

She was a legend.

Same Sex Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional in Indiana, Wisconsin

As was widely expected after hearing the argument and what transpired in the courtroom, a three-judge panel of 7th District Circuit Court judges ruled that Indiana and Wisconsin's same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

It's likely that this is not the last you'll hear of the issue.  Most people expect the Supreme Court of the United States to take up the issue in its upcoming fall session.

While SCOTUS ruled that the United States would recognize same-sex marriages in the landmark Windsor Case last year, I'm told that the current cases percolating through the courts at the state level have different aspects of law involved and may entice the highest court in the land to look at the issue once again.  Windsor stopped short of telling states what they could and could not do.  The cases have advanced past that.

Congratulations to my personal friends Karen Celestino-Horseman and Bill Groth who were both lawyers on the case.  My biggest congratulations to all my fellow Hoosiers who can now marry as well as those plaintiffs that pushed the case this far.

Hopefully, we're just a ruling or two from the finish line.

If Indiana appeals the decision to the SCOTUS, the 7th Circuit is likely to reinstate the stay on same sex marriages...that according to Bill Groth tonight.  Let's hope AG Zoeller sees the writing on the wall and decides to find a new right wing issue to push.

Short Out of Mayor's Race

Frank Short
Frank Short has removed himself from consideration for the Democratic nomination in 2015 for Mayor of Indianapolis.  He has endorsed Joe Hogsett.

Short's run was seen as a long shot to begin with by some, but the Washington Township Trustee showed that he could connect with potential voters and found a good message regarding the city's finances and the city's crime issue.

I think it's also significant that Short stepped out there when no one else was running and carried the torch against the Ballard Administration.  For these reasons, he must be both appreciated and congratulated.  He remains locked in a race with Wayne Township teacher Matt Smith for reelection to the Washington Township Trustee's Office.

His exit means that Democrats are down to two candidates for the moment.  Both Ed Delaney and Joe Hogsett have the financial means to make this a campaign that will go to May, but I have a feeling there will be a meeting of the minds at some point in the near future.  Hogsett is quietly working behind the scenes to shore up support.  Still, Ann and Ed Delaney have powerful friends, too.  This could go on for a while.

Mayor Greg Ballard remains non-committal on a third term attempt.  Clearly, he seems to outwardly like being Mayor at events such as ribbon cuttings and community forums, but you wonder if he really enjoys the heavy lifting of the job at this point.  Indy Star columnist Matt Tully tweeted on the Mayor's possible decision today.

The Mayor, for his part, won't be making many decisions in the near future.  Apparently, he's decided that the budget crunch and the roll out of ads for his education plan is a perfect time for a vacation.

Yeah...probably not a good idea.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mayor's Twitter Feed Belies City's Reality

Greg Ballard is the mayor of a city with few problems.  

That's what you'd think if you looked at the Mayor's official Twitter account's feed.

On his feed are tweets congratulating the Indy Indians for an attendance record.  

There's also a tweet telling Indy residents to wear red today in honor of the Indiana Fever's Eastern Conference Finals home matchup with the Chicago Sky.

There's news about job commitments coming to town.

There are many tweets such as this one below about his plan to bolster pre-k education.

What you don't see are the kinds of tweets that I would expect from a mayor that's waist deep in the middle of a crime wave.  Mayor Ballard, by and large, ignores the reality of what's going on in this city.   It's indicative of the "don't bring me no bad news" mentality, and it has to stop.

Ballard addresses crime on his Twitter feed in broad strokes.  He doesn't do specifics.  It's the specifics that wear us, the residents, down.  We see the horrid stories on the news each night.  We read about them online, and we see them on social media.  We don't see this reflected on our Mayor's social media sites.  

Instead, we're treated to a rather Pollyanna look at our city's good side, and I get that. I know that we want folks to believe they live in a great, safe city.  I get that Mayor Ballard should be its biggest cheerleader. 

Mayor Ballard should also be our city's biggest realist, and I think the Mayor is missing a great opportunity to connect with citizens on social media about what's really going on in the city.  We must peel back the onion and be honest with what's on the inside.  It's addressing our problems head on instead of swiping them out of sight.  

I think that's the kind of Mayor of Indianapolis that will put us in a better position to solve our problems.  That Mayor understands that the job is not just to be at ribbon cuttings and community forums.  It's not just to tweet news when it's positive or when he or she wants something.  That Mayor understands that his or her job to live the job day in and day out and feel what his or her citizens are going through.

I honestly don't know if that's Greg Ballard.  That's one of the many reasons that I've "had enough" and believe Indy can do better.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jackson Elected to City-County Council

Councillor Jackson
Last week, precinct committee people got together in District 11 and elected LaKeisha Jackson to the City-County Council.

Jackson replaces former City-County Councillor Vernon Brown who resigned his office to concentrate on his campaign for Warren Township Trustee.  Brown also was one of the Councillors whose day job prevented him from running for reelection in District 11.

According to published reports, Jackson is a neighborhood advocate and activist with a long history of involvement.  She is the Executive Director for the Pathway Resource Center.  She also was recognized by Mayor Greg Ballard in 2012 with one of his Mayor's Community Service Awards.

Sounds like District 11 is in good hands.  How this will change the balance of the Council and its voting coalitions remains to be seen.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day 2014

Thanks to our brothers and sisters of organized labor, I have today off.  No blog post here.  Thanks to all those who struggled to make this day of respite possible!  Thanks for the 40 hour work week, overtime, and the lunch break.  Thanks for getting children out of the workplace and for making strides towards equal pay for equal work.  Thanks for the minimum wage (and the inevitable rise that will come someday).  Thanks for representing workers and their families.

Thanks organized labor!  Happy Labor Day!