Friday, July 31, 2015

Carson's 6th Annual Job Fair Scheduled for August 5

Congressman Carson
Indiana recently revealed an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.  Are you one of those looking for a job or maybe even a change of career?

Congressman Andre Carson has announced that his 6th Annual Job Fair will take place on Wednesday, August 5 from 9 am to 3 pm.  The event is free and open to everyone and will take place at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center at 2820 N. Meridian St.

According to the Congressman's Office, a "wide array" of companies will be there ready to hire people.  I'd suggest dressing for success and taking copies of your cover letter, vitae, or resume.

If you want more information, dial Congressman Carson's Office at (317) 283-6516.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lewis Speaks to Perry Township Democratic Club

Maggie Lewis Speaks to Perry Township
Democrats and friends.
City-County Council President Maggie Lewis spoke on the Southside at the Perry Township Democratic Club on Thursday night.

She discussed the City-County Council's successes and the need for the Council to stay blue in the upcoming November election.

One of Lewis' four key components that she addressed in her talk was public safety.  She talked about what the Council had been able to do for IMPD.  "These men and women are putting their lives on the line every day in the name of public safety," said Lewis.

She said the Council has found success in supporting officers by finding money to upgrade equipment, buy new squad cars, and make necessary repairs at the police academy facility.  Lewis also highlighted the 80 additional officers that the Council was able to find the money for to increase the overall safety of Indianapolis.  She also highlighted efforts of the Council to block the Mayor's attempt to pull money from IMPD's budget unilaterally.

Lewis also discussed neighborhoods.  She said that the Council had been able to use some grant money to make things better in some specific Indy neighborhoods.  She touted the Complete Streets ordinance as one of the country's best pieces of municipal legislation.

Education was also on Councillor Lewis' agenda.  She mentioned the compromise the Council was able to reach with Mayor Ballard on expanding Pre-K education across Indianapolis as an example of what happens when both sides can come together and talk things out.

Lewis said that continuing to upgrade mass transit and making IndyGo better is a continuing project on her agenda for the Council.  Reducing the time it takes to travel by mass transit is something she and the Council has been working on and will continue to do so in the future.

The Council President also briefly addressed the often-contentious relationship with Mayor Greg Ballard.  She said that the Ballard Administration's "arrogance" has taken over in this second term and that there are many times that the Mayor has simply ignored the separate and co-equal legislative branch of government.  Lewis said. "We've seen that when we've been able to come together we've been able to do good things for the city."

Unlike the opposition party in Washington, Lewis made it clear that she would still like to see Mayor Ballard have a successful finish to his time in office because he is the Mayor of Indianapolis.  She indicated that the Democratic caucus on the Council will continue to stand up against the Mayor's efforts to run the city without the Council.

In closing, Lewis said that it's critical to get out and vote in November for Democrats and those that care about our city.  She said that no one should take anything for granted and that it was especially important to elect Joe Hogsett and give him a Democratic majority in the Council that he can work with to move Indianapolis forward.

Schellinger Named Head of IEDC by Pence

Jim Schellinger
Wednesday was a very good day for former Democratic candidate for Governor, Jim Schellinger, and some would argue a very bad day for John Gregg and the Indiana Democratic Party.  

Schellinger, an Indianapolis-based architect and successful CEO, was named President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.  He will start in September.

The kicker on all of this was that it wasn't some quirk in state government that allowed a Democrat to appoint Schellinger, it was Republican Governor Mike Pence that named the 2008 gubernatorial candidate to the position at the IEDC.

Schellinger raised a lot of money for the 2008 run against then-Governor Mitch Daniels and was seen for a long time as the shoo-in front runner.  The polls tightened, and, when the votes were counted, Schellinger had lost to former U.S. Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson.  

While Schellinger later endorsed Long Thompson, he did not quickly embrace her as the Democratic nominee after the bitter primary fight.  Long Thompson's campaign never recovered from the battle, and, fighting financial woes, it limped a landslide loss to Daniels despite Barack Obama having won the state by a couple thousand votes over John McCain.

Schellinger returned to his job in the business world at CSO Architects and in 2012 donated some $75K to Gregg's efforts to keep Pence out of the Statehouse.  Schellinger's move, according to the Star, has some Democrats thinking that this will keep him out of the 2016 race between Pence and likely John Gregg for Governor as a fundraiser.  

That's key for Pence.

This likely also ends any future runs for Schellinger for statewide public office.  Democrats will see him as Mike Pence's guy. 

It's a win for Mike Pence, though.  By nominating a prominent Democrat, it means he can argue that he's reached across the aisle to appoint a guy that's spent a ton of money against him to such an important position for the State of Indiana.

We'll see how this all works out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Opposition to Blue Indy Program Not About Idea

Mayor Greg Ballard
The Indy Star's new columnist, Suzette Hackney, penned a column last week about the Council vs. the Mayor over the Blue Indy Program.  Her thesis: let it pass.

Unfortunately, Hackney has little idea of the process (or lack of it) leading to this impasse between Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County Council over his electric car sharing program.  The disagreement culminated in last week's vote to tow Blue Indy's demonstration cars from prime parking spots.

There seems to be some sort of idea out there that the issue is Democrats or others being opposed to the idea of electric car sharing, but the problem is not the idea.  It's Mayor Ballard's plan.  Incidentally, Chuck Brewer released a statement fully supporting Ballard's plan.

At its heart, Blue Indy is a great idea.  Few dispute that, but the lack of details from the Mayor's Office, the high price tag, and the seeming detour around the council and the public process turned this slam dunk into one that has clanged off the backboard.

Before the ink was dry on the Hackney column, the Washington Post wrote about Los Angeles' plan for an electric car share program giving opponents even more ammunition.  Matt Stone, my good friend over at the Indy Student Blog, did an excellent analysis of the Indy electric car share plan vs. the Los Angeles plan.  Turns out the LA plan calls for 400 less cars and comes in tens of millions cheaper.  

Truth is the Council is just doing its job as a separate and co-equal branch of government.  It's asking the questions that need to be answered.  Besides, when the Council and the Mayor have found an impasse, the resulting compromise has usually benefited the city.  We'll see what happens on this program from here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bayh Undergoes Surgery; Carson Announces Death of Grandfather

Bayh Family
Photo from Facebook
News came yesterday afternoon that former Indiana First Lady Susan Bayh had surgery to remove a benign tumor from her brain.

The good news is that she's expected to make a full recovery, according to WTHR.

The wife of former Governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, Susan Bayh is an attorney, and she sits on a number of corporate boards and boards of organizations.  

Evan Bayh lost his mother to cancer many years ago, so it probably goes without saying that he's relieved that his wife's tumor was determined to be benign.

I wish Mrs. Bayh nothing but the best as she recovers from this health scare.  

Sam Carson
Photo from Facebook
Carson Loses Grandfather
Congressman Andre Carson announced yesterday that his grandfather, Sam Carson, had passed away.  

Carson credited his grandfather, a Marine Corps veteran, for mentoring him "with strength, grace, and spirit."

Sam Carson married Julia May Porter shortly after she graduated from Attucks High School.  Of course, the Carson name has become synonymous with politics in Indianapolis over the years as Congresswoman Julia Carson elected to keep her married name even after being divorced.  The union of Sam Carson produced two children, Sam and Tanya.  Sam Carson the son has attempted to run for public office.  Tanya's son Andre grew up to be the current 7th District Congressman.

My thoughts and prayers go out to my friend, Andre Carson and all of the Carson family on the loss of Sam Carson.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Democrats Gather for 8th Annual Picnic at Garfield Park

Ain't No Party Like a Democrat Party!
For the 8th-straight year, Democrats gathered under the Pagoda at Garfield Park for the United Democrats Picnic.

Probably 150 to 200 candidates, officeholders, and rank-and-file Democrats from all walks of life, backgrounds, and sides of town gathered to swap stories, laugh, win door prizes and dine on some delicious food.

It's always interesting for me to people watch.  This year, I was in the eye of the action as a candidate, but I still got a chance to sit back and just watch things develop.  Congressman Andre Carson spoke about what I saw best, "Look around people," Carson said. "Our party looks like the United Nations!"

Mostly the focus was on the upcoming Mayor's race.  Joe Hogsett reminded everyone that, from Sunday, just 99 days remained in the campaign.  It's 98 as you read this.  He talked about working hard and taking nothing for granted as he and his campaign continue to make this campaign a countywide fight.

City-County Council candidates like myself also got a chance to speak up and speak out, and most of the ticket was in attendance.  Candidates from Lawrence and Beech Grove were there.

Also making the rounds were legislative candidates for 2016 and candidate for U.S. Senate, Baron Hill.  Dressed in a dark pink shirt and khakis, Hill worked the crowd and told me that the campaign is "going great" and that he was "encouraged" by the reception he's getting.  It was the first opportunity I had ever had to speak with the former Congressman, and he looked tanned and ready to go take the fight to the Republicans.

Glenda Ritz was the only gubernatorial candidate in attendance.  She spoke briefly and received a warm reception from the crowd.  John Gregg and Karen Tallian both had other commitments that kept them from attending though the efforts to get them on the ballot continued with petition signing.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hogsett Urging Supporters to Reserve Yard Signs

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Hogsett for Mayor campaign with a subject line dealing with yard signs.

Hogsett didn't purchase a sign for the Primary fight and is pretty much relying on his commercials and campaign door knocking to spread the word.

One thing a sage and wise candidate told me one time is that, "Yard signs don't vote."  That's true.  In a neighborhood like mine where it's overwhelmingly Republican, a yard sign of a Democratic candidate can turn some heads...especially if if it's in the yard of a longtime, well-known Republican.

Anyway, the Hogsett campaign is trying something innovative.  It's asking loyal supporters to make sure they get a yard sign by reserving one for a $5 campaign contribution.

You asked and we've answered: Hogsett for Mayor yard signs will be making their debut this fall! 
And we want to give you the first chance to secure one.

Since we know these signs will be in high demand -- and we will be ordering very limited quantities -- we're offering key supporters the chance to reserve a sign with just a $5 donation.
Once signs arrive in the fall, they will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Don't leave it to chance: guarantee your Hogsett for Mayor yard sign today! 
Want to spread your support and help us place additional signs in your part of the city? With a $25 or $50 donation we will make sure you, as well as key locations in your neighborhood, are proudly letting people know: We Need Joe. 
Thanks for all you do,
Thomas Cook
Hogsett for Indianpolis

P.S. -- Know someone who will want a sign? Be sure to share this with them!

I put the idea up on my personal Facebook profile, and opinions seemed split.  As a candidate myself, I offer free yard signs.  In fact, I have about 90 of them in my garage ready to find a yard in District 20.

While some may be turned off by this tactic, I personally think it's an interesting idea.  Hogsett seems to be running a frugal campaign last month having sent out a plea for donated office supplies and even office furniture.  It seems like they want to spend only the dollars they take in for what they really need.

Hopefully, Joe will guard the city's coffers in the same manner.

Lindsey Graham's Epic Response to Trump

Senator Lindsey Graham
South Carolina Senator and GOP Presidential candidate, Lindsey Graham, has struggled to get much traction for his campaign thus far.

Ideologically, Graham, a traditional conservative, comes out too far on the left of this decidedly right wing bunch.

Reacting to GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump's assertion that John McCain is no war hero, Graham called "The Donald" a "jackass".  As you know, Trump is not one to allow anything to go by without a response.  Thus, he stood in front of an audience in Graham's home state and gave out the Senator's personal cell phone number.

Graham, to his credit, has done a wonderful job responding to Trump.  He tweeted out that he was in the market for a new telephone.

On that second tweet, Graham includes this video.  You probably should have seen a disclaimer at the start..."Don't Try This At Home."

Well-played, Senator.  Well-played.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Governor Unbelievably Blames RFRA for Unemployment Rate Fall

Governor Mike Pence
Since peaking at 10.9 percent in February 2010 during the Mitch Daniels administration, the Indiana unemployment rate has been trending downward.

In January of 2013, when Mike Pence took over as Governor, it was at 8.3 percent.  It has continued to fall to its current rate of 4.9 percent.  The federal unemployment rate has fallen in a similar fashion.  It peaked in October of 2009 at 10 percent.  Since then, it has trended downwards to its current rate of 5.3 percent.

Both Governor Pence and the Indiana General Assembly and President Barack Obama and the United States Congress deserve a tremendous amount of credit for enacting economic policies that have improved job prospects for citizens.

The point is that the downward trend has been significant, not limited to Indiana, and has taken place over time.  It's not a new phenomenon.

Almost anything the Indiana General Assembly session this past year accomplished became overshadowed by the fight over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA.  As you remember, the LGBT community and its allies fought back against this legislation.  Eventually, the General Assembly brought in business leaders to help "fix" the legislation.  Many feel that the fix didn't go far enough to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Hoosiers leaving this to be fought over in future General Assembly sessions.  It's something to watch heading forward.

Perplexingly, Governor Pence cited the fixed RFRA legislation as one of the reasons why Indiana's unemployment rate is down.  That ignores the trends, the effects of other legislation, and any input the Obama Administration might have had.  Blaming RFRA for this lower rate sounds more like a personal justification for the legislation rather than something grounded in actual fact.

Honest to goodness, it just sounds more like the Governor is trying to find justification for bad legislation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Honest to Goodness Need More Work to Be Done to Make Indiana Better

Governor Mike Pence
While Mike Pence trumpeted the good news that Indiana's unemployment rate had fallen to 4.9 percent, another report was released that the Governor apparently doesn't want to talk about.

In Indiana, child poverty is getting worse according to a study by the Annie Casey Foundation and the Indiana Youth Institute.

Nationally, Indiana ranks 32nd of the 50 states in overall child well-being.  That's a drop of five slots from last year's report.  Other states are improving their situations for children, but Indiana is either pretty much treading water or getting worse.

Some areas are doing much better, for example, the number of students graduating not on time in Indiana fell 6 percent over a four-year period, but the number of children living in poverty grew from 18 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2013.  

When you couple these numbers with other economic (32nd in per capita income), crime (25th most dangerous state), health (41st), and environmental quality (47th), Indiana consistently comes out as one of the worst states to live in, statistically.  

To be fair, these problems extend back to previous administrations well before Governor Pence took office, but he's the guy who's in charge right now.  As Frank Anderson once said that once he took the oath of office that all the problems of the previous administrations became his problems.  We've seen President Barack Obama try to work his way out of the problems of the George W. Bush Administration with success.

Honest to goodness, it's my hope the Governor does a good job in the remainder of his term to get some better results for Hoosier children and those living in poverty across our state.  I still recommend turning the job over to someone else to set the agenda and make Indiana a better place not only for business but for habitation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Zoeller, Others Looking Toward 9th District Run

Attorney General Greg Zoeller
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has taken on Uncle Sam in the courtroom time quite often.

Just like the hapless Washington Generals or New York Nationals or whatever team has faced the Harlem Globetrotters, Zoeller has battled valiantly only to come up on the short end to the feds time after time.

It's not good to be the Washington Generals of Attorneys General.

Now, he wants to be Indiana's 9th District Congressman replacing Todd Young, who has decided to run for Senate.

The two-term AG and brother of golfer Fuzzy Zoeller came in on the coattails of term-limited Steve Carter and has lived off the spoils of his predecessor.  All the while, he's built up a record of using Indiana tax dollars to fight political fights vs. Barack Obama and the federal government.  From fighting immigration to Obamacare to same sex marriage, he's been the most political Attorney General in my lifetime.

He's not the only one that wants to run.  State Senators Brent Waltz and Erin Houchin are both expected to throw their hats in the ring, according to Abdul-Hakim Shabazz's Indy Politics website.  Also, per Abdul, State Rep. Peggy Mayfield, famous for her ridiculously Republican ads in 2012, and State Sen. Rodric Bray are also considering runs.  This is a lackluster Republican crew for certain.

No Democrats are lining up as of yet.  Democrat Shelli Yoder was the 2012 nominee, and Bill Bailey was the D standard bearer in 2014.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ritz's Alleged Finance Violations More Than Problematic

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz is struggling to put the toothpaste back in the tube in light of the revelation last week by WRTV that her campaign may have inadvertently violated Indiana campaign finance rules in her bid to become the next Governor of Indiana.

Ritz's campaign reported far less in contributions than frontrunner for the Democratic nomination John Gregg, but, buried in the details, were a number of questionable transactions that showed the candidate for Governor's campaign raised money during the 2015 General Assembly session.  This is a legal no-no and is likely going to cost the candidate money in fines and returned contributions.

It's no wonder this came to light.  After all, my good friend Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, a WRTV political insider, has been out to politically destroy Ritz since she defeated his best buddy Tony Bennett in 2012.  The problem is that a lack of attention to detail such as this one only gives folks like Abdul grist for their attack mill.

Her haters in the punditosphere and aside, Ritz is also in a three-way fight for the Democratic nomination, and actions such as this one can and will be used against her by the two more polished and experienced candidates.  Gregg nearly defeated Governor Mike Pence in 2012, and Indiana Senator Karen Tallian is a veteran of legislative campaigns.

In the race for Governor, there is no time for amateur hour or on-the-job training.  While Ritz has supporters and a platform highlighting education, the biggest question is can she run the entire State of Indiana?  This is a pretty big mistake her campaign made, and, ultimately, the candidate is responsible.  It doesn't speak well in answering the question about her qualifications to be Governor.  After all, as I said earlier, everyone in the Statehouse is pretty much out to get her.  I'd think you'd want to go above and beyond and ensure every I was dotted and T was crossed on every report.

To her credit, as I said earlier, Ritz is taking steps to put her campaign in compliance with state law and has agreed correct problems and to return any illegal donations which she claims were unsolicited.  She also has announced changes to her campaign staff to prevent these things from happening again.  It was a strong response to something that shouldn't have happened in the first place.

I will be interested to see how this story plays out and what action the Indiana state government will take against Ritz's campaign.

As far as numbers go, Gregg raised $1.76 million for his run.  Tallian reports $23,875 raised.  Ritz had reported barely more raised at $30,529.  Pence raised $1.63 million.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Trump Embarrasses Country with Presidential Run

Donald Trump
Donald Trump demeans this country and demeans the Office of President of the United States simply because he's running for it.

I came to this conclusion today as the reports come to light that Trump knocked the war service of Senator John McCain in a most flippant and callous manner.

Trump said that McCain is only a war hero because he was captured.  "I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have -- I believe perhaps he is a war hero," Trump said in a forum in Ames, Iowa.  The crowd booed his response loudly.

I am no fan of John McCain's politics.  I think McCain's foreign policy is misguided and wrong for our country.  With that said, having read McCain's account of what he went through as a prisoner of war, I can come to no other conclusion that he is very much a war hero and deserves my deep respect for what he sacrificed.

On his 23rd combat mission, McCain, who had already survived the USS Forrestal disaster, was shot down and captured by North Vietnamese troops.  His injuries left untreated, he was beaten and interrogated for days, spent two years in solitary confinement, and refused to be released when it was offered because all other POWs would not be released with him.

In total, McCain spent nearly six years as a POW.  Senator McCain has been permanently disabled by his experience.  He lives with the inability to raise his arms above shoulder height today because of it.

John McCain as a POW
Donald Trump on the other hand, used his family's wealth to get him out of Vietnam service.  Other politicians have done the same thing, but Trump's war record seems even more galling given his complete lack of respect for McCain's.

This, of course, is not the first time Trump has said something completely outside the realm of decency.  He's accused undocumented immigrants of being rapists, criminals, and disease-spreaders.  He's also exploited the killing of a young woman in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant to the point that even her family is speaking out against him.

Let's hope, for the good of our country, that this is the end of Donald Trump's effort to be President of the United States.  He's been nothing but divisive, abrasive, and embarrassing to the Republican Party, the electoral process, and the United States of America.

He should immediately apologize to Senator McCain, all men and women that have served as Prisoners of War, and to all our heroes that have served, past and present.  It's sad that a man who claims to want to be Chief Executive of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces can be so oblivious as to what his job requires.

Maybe this will signify the end of Mr. Trump's political and business aspirations.  I can't imagine anyone continuing to say he speaks truth now.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Buttigieg Ignores Laughable Anti-LGBT Crusader

Mayor Pete Buttigieg
South Bend
Honest to goodness, people that live in Indiana can be unnerving sometimes.

A few weeks back, Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced in a newspaper op/ed that he was gay.  Initially, he received almost universal praise for his bravery and his decision to reveal his sexuality.  It's not easy to do for someone let alone when you are running one of Indiana's largest cities and in the middle of a reelection run.

A few days later a group identifying itself as the South Bend Leadership Coalition put on its tinfoil hat and started dreaming up conspiracy theories.

I mean...Buttigieg is gay, so he MUST be in cahoots with that gay agenda of "Wall Street and Hollywood" to destroy South Bend.  I'm just joking, right?  Nope.  That's what they think.

The laughable leader of the motley crew, Dr. E. Michael Jones accused the Mayor of many things from corruption to deception to immorality.  Here's Dr. Jones' manifesto if you wish to read it.  There's a pretty comical video at the bottom where Jones loses his mind (Hint: he thinks gay people are "defective").  Dr. Jones believes that Buttigieg's announcement is a sign that he's ...  you know what ... who cares?  Read the link if you want to see it.

Most disrespectfully, in my view, Dr. Jones believes that Buttigieg's sexual orientation somehow affects his ability to run the city.  That being gay somehow makes you unable to do your job.

Listen.  Anyone can get a crowd at a news conference, and the SBLC did.  On Monday night, they took their complaints to the South Bend City Council meeting and got more media.  The good news is that Mayor Buttigieg's supporters came out to back him, too.

To his credit, Buttigieg has never dignified the group with any kind of response.  He knows they are a group on the margin of society.  It's beneath him to even waste his breath responding, and he knows it.  It's still sad that the Mayor of South Bend has to put up with this kind of disrespect, but it comes with the territory I suppose.

What I do know is that Pete Buttigieg conducts himself with intelligence, with class, and with excellence.  He's been a great Mayor of South Bend, and he's going to be reelected whether Dr. Jones likes it or not.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

With Harrison Declining, Stage Now Set for November in Indy Mayor's Race

Who Will Join This Group in November
as the next post-Unigov Mayor of Indianapolis?
As you've probably heard by now, Reverend Charles Harrison has decided to pass up a run for Mayor early yesterday citing family concerns as well as the effect it would have on his church.

I would like to salute him for making that careful decision.  Having been in his shoes as a person encouraged to run for office by others, it is a tough spot.  You don't want to disappoint those that support you, but you also have to do what's right by your family and friends.  Saying no is not easy, but sometimes it's best.  As I noted in my Twitter message to him that when you run for office, your family runs with you.  That includes his extended church family of his congregation at Barnes United Methodist Church.

As far as why Harrison didn't run, there are all sorts of rumors flying around.  The most juicy of which are being reported or repeated by folks like my good friend Abdul-Hakim Shabazz as grist for his Cheat Sheet mill.  Of course, he has to sell subscriptions.  I'm not mad at him.

This, however, was not unanticipated by many.  From hints dropped by Harrison's supporters on Tuesday night, I figured he wasn't going to run.  I also had a chat with a "Democrat in the know" at the end of last week that pretty much anticipated how things would go down.  This individual told me that Harrison was likely telling the truth when he said he didn't know exactly who was trying to draft him.  My source said that in his or her opinion, Harrison would not run.

Whoever the Draft Harrison movement was pretty much made things interesting by getting the signatures and trying to get their guy to run.  When it came time to make a decision, he declined with class and dignity.  Now, he can continue to raise issues and move on as a church pastor and a leader with the Ten Point Coalition.

As far as opposition goes, a source tells me that the Hogsett campaign is caught up in running the campaign it wants to run regardless of who or who is not in the race.  Despite the rumored polling numbers from last week, the Hogsett camp wasn't going to deviate from its gameplan because they are running with the idea they are behind anyway even if they aren't.  From all clues I can gather directly from watching the Hogsett campaign, I would say my source is accurate.

When Hogsett laid the plans for his run and began to raise money, he thought he would likely be facing Greg Ballard.  Those plans changed.  Republican after Republican declined to run against Hogsett, and Chuck Brewer stepped up after a reported six others told Kyle Walker no.  Brewer, so far, has allegedly made the rounds but I have yet to meet him.  That's unusual because it seemed like at this time in 2007, I'd met Greg Ballard a few times at events.

Just 109 days remain until voters head to the polls and elect a new Mayor of Indianapolis.  We know now that the next occupant of that office on the top floor of the City-County Building will be either Joe Hogsett or Chuck Brewer.  With no Libertarian in the race (shockingly), the stage is set for a one-on-one battle.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kokomo GOP Mayoral Candidate Getting Nasty

Greg Goodnight has drawn national accolades for the work he's done in turning Kokomo around as Mayor.  I guess that's why his GOP opponent is grasping for straws in the campaign.

In a recent ad, Martha Lake, the Republican nominee for Mayor of Kokomo, attacked Howard County Democratic Party Chair David Tharp for being on the city payroll and collecting a salary.  As is the case in most counties...maybe all of them...Tharp's position as Democratic Party Chair is voluntary.  He takes no money for being Chair of the party.

That means he has to do something for employment, right?  Tharp took to Facebook to tell his side of the story, and, at the risk of being one of those clickbait Facebook posts you see each day, it's quite an epic response.

If you're going to launch a political attack, make sure your cannon is loaded, Ms. Lake.  Advantage Goodnight.

Jury in Leonard Trial Reaches Verdict

Mark Leonard
There were 53 counts and 53 guilty verdicts.

That's the news of the day in Indianapolis following the unveiling of the verdict in the Mark Leonard trial.  He is guilty on all charges.

After about a month of testimony and months of gathering evidence and building a case, Terry Curry's Marion County Prosecutor's Office led on this case by Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson successfully prosecuted one of the most heinous crimes in Indianapolis history.  If you're a defendant in a big case, you don't want to see Robinson on the other bench.

On November 10, 2012, an explosion in Montserrate Shirley's home on Fieldfare Way in the Richmond Hill neighborhood killed Dion and Jennifer Longworth, the next door neighbors, and damaged or destroyed pretty much every other home in the neighborhood.  Shirley's boyfriend, Mark Leonard, masterminded the scheme to blow up the home to defraud an insurance company of $300,000.  As the Prosecution put it, greed was the motivation.  The result was the death of the Longworths in a horribly excruciating fashion.

Now, the sentencing is next followed by the appeal process.  It's still going to be a long time before we finally know what will happen to Mark Leonard for sure.  It's hard to have sympathy for him.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the Prosecutor's case against Leonard.  Victory will not bring back Dion and Jennifer, but maybe there is a small bit of closure in this.  To the families of the Longworths and the victims of the explosion, my thoughts continue to be with you.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Young Enters U.S. Senate Race

With a campaign video that checked off just about every Republican talking point you can think of, Todd Young announced today that he's running for U.S. Senate.

Congressman Marlin Stutzman is in the race, and he's further to the right than Young is.  Eric Holcomb, a former Mitch Daniels campaign manager and State GOP Chair, was the first to jump in, and he's more of a centrist.

Young is somewhere to the left of Stutzman and to the right of Holcomb.  With over $1 million in his campaign account, he likely should be considered the frontrunner out of the box on the Republican side.

A nasty three-way primary is good news for Mr. Baron Hill, the only Democrat in the race so far.  Hill, who lost his Congressional seat to Young in 2010, would be itching for a rematch.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Swarens Presents Incomplete Democratic Landscape Picture

The Indianapolis Star's Tim Swarens penned a column that published today about the need for the Indiana Democratic Party to deepen its bench.

He uses the recent withdrawal from the Senate race by State Rep. Christina Hale as a jumping off point into the problems Democrats have had in finding different perspectives to run for office in Indiana, but he misses a couple of larger points.

First of all, he's right in one regard.  Democrats do need people to step up and run.  Hale would have been a tremendous candidate for U.S. Senate and a welcome new addition to that level of politics.  By the same token, her voice would have been lost in the Indiana House, and we need it there, too.

Her withdrawal leaves Democrats with former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill in the race.  Now, Hill would not be my first choice to run for the Senate seat, but I think he does bring a unique set of skills to the battle.  Hill has prevailed in close races before in a conservative-leaning district.  He also brings baggage of having been a previous loser in a U.S. Senate campaign and a couple of House races, too.  Yes, he's been around the block a time or two, but he's likely the best chance Democrats have to win that seat this time around.  Plus, I wonder where Swarens was when Indiana Republicans exhumed Dan Coats' legislative career to run for Senate in 2010.

The Governor's race presents a similar situation.  State Senator Karen Tallian is in the race as is Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, but the likely frontrunner for the Democratic nomination is the same guy that ran four years ago, John Gregg.  Now, Gregg again, in a perfect world, would be tossed aside for new blood.  This isn't a perfect world right now.  Gregg came within three percentage points of retiring Mike Pence.  Many blame Gregg's views on critical issues like abortion and gay rights as the reason for his loss in 2012.

Beyond Gregg's campaign, Tallian is a new voice.  She has an excellent resume and a current working relationship with the General Assembly because she's in it!  Five years ago, Glenda Ritz was a school media specialist.  Now, she's running for Governor.

Swarens rips the Democrats for losing big in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  2010, as you might remember was not a good year for Democrats.  Dems lost their majority in the Indiana House and suddenly Pete Visclosky, Joe Donnelly and Andre Carson were the only three Democrats in the Indiana U.S. Congressional Delegation.  Republicans used that advantage after the 2010 census to redraw very favorable districts.  Not coincidentally, we've seen them go from a majority to a supermajority in the General Assembly.  We've also seen the GOP draw out any semblance of competition in the U.S. House races.  Dems did win two statewide races in 2012 as Joe Donnelly went to the Senate and Glenda Ritz went to the Statehouse.  In 2014, Dems just tried to hold on.

For the future, Democrats also have several excellent standard bearers beyond and including Hale that will be heard from in the future.  I would list them all here, but I might forget someone.  There are current General Assembly members, U.S. Congressional Delegation members, Mayors, and others scattered across the state.

The Indiana Democratic Party does have its problems, but I don't think the Swarens piece dives deeply enough into the causes of the current conundrum, the future prospects and possible opportunities that may come the Democrats' way.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Clinton Gives First National Interview of 2016 Campaign

Hillary Clinton gave her first national television interview since she announced she was running for President to CNN on Tuesday night.  

In case you missed it, here it is.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Prediction: Harrison's Hat Will Soon Be In Ring

Reverend Charles Harrison
Rev. Charles Harrison is running for Mayor.

He has yet to reveal anything official, but he sure sounds more and more like a candidate.  If he does enter, it will make the 2015 Mayoral Election a bit more interesting.

Democrat Joe Hogsett will still be the frontrunner, and he should be.  Hogsett has already run circles around Republican candidate Chuck Brewer by attending events all across Marion County.  Joe is always on the go.

Besides that, Hogsett has been very aggressive announcing three major policy planks.  Two thirds of his policy announcements deal with crime reduction and the other one was about transparency in government.

Hogsett also has recently released a third television advertisement centering on his plan to help reduce crime in Indianapolis.  He's running the perfect campaign and is taking absolutely nothing for granted.  Joe is well-liked by almost all Democrats I've talked to, and he would make a great Mayor in every way.

We still don't know Chuck Brewer.  He still remains largely a mystery to even the most hardcore politicos.  He's active on social media and is making the rounds.  It also seems that his campaign is using interns to represent the candidate at events and community meetings.  That's great, but it's also a sign that people aren't getting to know him that well.  He has to work harder than Hogsett, and I just haven't seen that yet.  His most innovative idea: nominating a Republican and a Democrat to the IPS School Board.  Uh...yeah.

That brings us back to our potential third candidate, Charles Harrison.

With the door left wide open by a lack of a Libertarian candidate, Reverend Harrison continues to be bolstered by what I believe to be unrealistic expectations and held down by questions.

I have no doubt that Harrison has solid support from a hardcore group of people that love and follow him, but I don't know if that support expands that far outside that group.  Maybe it will...maybe it won't.

Harrison is well-admired by many including me.  Matt Tully is right.  His entry into the campaign will change the discussion, but will anyone be able to hear what he has to say?  Harrison is GREAT at earning earned media, but he's going to need to be able to craft his own message, too.

Despite slick efforts, Facebook campaign ads, and other attempts, his "Run Rev. Run" campaign page has not gained likes over the past week.  Plus, there are still the questions surrounding who exactly set up the Draft Harrison Facebook page and who is behind the last-minute effort to allegedly hire a right-leaning group to get enough petition signatures to get him on the ballot.

I have reached out to Harrison and offered him an opportunity to explain the effort in an unedited fashion here on this blog.  Repeated efforts on social media are met with silence, empty answers, or tweets like this one in response:

This answer is simple.  It was the Primary Election voters that voted both Brewer and Hogsett into the nomination.  Joe Hogsett won almost 90 percent of the vote, and Brewer got over 75 percent in a five-way battle.  Neither Brewer nor Hogsett faced opposition in slating.

There's no secret behind these two.  The only secret is in Harrison's camp.  It's just hard to believe some group just came up with close to 3,200 signatures without getting at least Harrison's consent.  Something just doesn't feel right about that.  It seems very suspicious.

This is pretty much going down like I predicted though.  On Facebook a few days ago, I predicted that the Draft Harrison campaign would get the signatures and portray it like it was a shock and a surprise.  Then, at the last moment, the Reverend will swoop in and agree to if he has been called to action.

One way or another, in the race to replace Greg Ballard, it's still Joe Hogsett out in front.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lame Duck Lawrence Councillor Flips Parties

Councillor Carl Barnett
It's an election year, so you know how things are in Lawrence!

A City Councillor has decided to switch from Democrat to Republican for his remaining few months on the Lawrence Council.

Councillor Carl Barnett will make the switch.  He lost in the Primary to Tyrrell Gyles gaining only 1/3 of the votes cast.  Lawrence Republicans have not filed an opponent in District 1 for Gyles, so he will be the next Councillor from Lawrence in District 1 come January.  Gyles will face Republican Tracy Ashcraft in the fall for Barnett's District 1 seat.

Republicans, by my count, now hold a 6-3 majority with Barnett's defection.  They held a news conference on Monday with a laundry list of things they disagree with Mayor Dean Jessup over. Jessup has had to make some tough decisions in Lawrence, and you just can't please everyone.  It's the nature of things when you're a Mayor of a City of Lawrence's size these days.

Gone is the stain of corruption that used to follow around that office, and Jessup has played a big part in turning that around.

You can read all about Councillor Barnett's change of heart and change of party sanitized without the Primary Election results here in the Indy Star.  I wish him well.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rush Moves Today

Radio Constantly in Flux
Today marks a big change in Indianapolis radio as Rush Limbaugh exits WIBC's lineup and moves over to 1260 AM WNDE.

Garrison and the Dana Loesh Show will move into Rush's old time slot on WIBC as Indy's big news talker attempts to get younger.

The only thing constant in the radio industry is change, and this is yet another example of it.  Rush's move sent shock waves, but it really shouldn't surprise anyone.  Indy's radio industry is always in flux somewhere.  Recently, for example, we saw the market get turned on its ear by upstart WRWM, 93.9 FM.

The longtime also-ran in the market changed formats from contemporary hit radio to classic hip hop and it flew to the top of the market.  Since then, WRWM has been falling like a rock and is down almost two ratings points and is ninth in the market.

For years, you could almost set your watch by the Indianapolis radio ratings.  Usually, WFMS 95.5 FM or WFBQ Q95 were first in the market, and they remain reliable top performers.  Tastes have changed.  WLHK, HANK-FM, was number one in total listeners this last ratings book followed closely by 104.5 FM, WJJK, a variety station.  Venerable CHR station, WZPL was third.

Of course, the "devil is in the details" many times in radio.  Like television, stations can claim victories in a lot of different categories.  All of the ratings I've quoted have been in total listeners ages 6 and up.

While people will tell you radio is a dying industry, it's still the number one most-utilized mass medium in the United States.  Each week, 223 million people tune in and turn on radio stations across the country according to Nielsen.  That means it reaches 93 percent of the adult population.  Television reaches 87 percent each week.

Friday, July 3, 2015

In Memoriam: "Go Get 'Em" Wayne Townsend (1926-2015)

Wayne Townsend
We've lost a great man.

Former State Representative, State Senator and Democratic candidate for Governor, Wayne Townsend, has passed.

Elected to the Indiana House in 1958, Townsend eventually was elected to the Senate. Famously, Townsend changed his vote to break a 25-25 deadlock that allowed the Equal Rights Amendment to pass the General Assembly.  Townsend also known for his great run in 1984 that nearly unseated incumbent Governor Robert D. Orr.  His campaign featured the infectious slogan, "Go get 'em Wayne!"

In a four-way race and in a state Ronald Reagan carried handily, Townsend lost 52-47 percent to Orr.

Matt Tully writes a great tribute to him here in the Indianapolis Star.  He had done a longer tribute to Townsend in January.

Mr. Townsend was a lifelong farmer who was also long involved with his alma mater, Purdue University, as a trustee.  Before that, he was a trustee at Earlham College.  He was a veteran of the Korean War.

I never had the chance to meet, Mr. Townsend, but I know many that did.  Uniformly, they've talked about a warm man that was easy to talk to and get to know.

Wayne Townsend is gone at the age of 88.

Joe Hogsett responded to Townsend's death by releasing this statement:
“Wayne was a tireless champion for working families across our state, and I am saddened to learn of his passing. His legacy of leadership will live on through the generations who have sought to follow in his footsteps and work to give every Hoosier a shot at the American Dream. My thoughts are with his wife, Helen, and the entire Townsend family.”

John Gregg posted on his Gubernatorial Campaign Faceook page:
"Sad news. Wayne was a forward thinking leader who made a real difference. I will miss him. RIP my friend."

Purdue President Mitch Daniels also responded (to Matt Tully in the Star):
"Indiana just lost a great citizen and one of our greatest Boilermakers.  On behalf of the entire Purdue family, I offer condolences to the Townsend family and sincere thanks for a lifetime of unsurpassed service."

Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody said:
"On behalf of the Indiana Democratic Party, we all mourn the passing of Wayne Townsend. As a longtime state legislator, Sen. Townsend fought for what he knew could be a better state and nation. Whether it was equal rights, education, agriculture or sticking up for working families, Wayne Townsend was a quintessential Hoosier leader through-and-through. And although he was our Party’s standard-bearer for governor in 1984, he led by example during his entire career in politics - and for the rest of his life. He was a legend, and we will all miss him. We send our heartfelt condolences to Helen and all of Wayne’s family and loved ones."
Former Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson said on her Facebook page:
Many memories and many stories of Senator Townsend. Bill and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Mrs. Townsend and Wayne's family members. RIP Wayne.

It's Independence Day Weekend

The Declaration of Independence and some other content I found on YouTube.  Enjoy the weekend with family and friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Run Rev Run May Create Headache for Fledgling Harrison Campaign

Rev. Charles Harrison
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reports on Facebook that Reverend Charles Harrison's supporters are just a few hundred signatures from getting him on the ballot.

It's unclear if he means that the work is continuing to verify signatures or if they ended up a few short.  It certainly has made an otherwise quiet time in the Mayor's race interesting.

As an independent candidate, Harrison's supporters needed to gather a little over 3,000 signatures to get him on the ballot by noon on June 30.  They could not just be signatures of anyone, but they had to be signatures of registered voters in Marion County.  That means if someone registered in Johnson County could not legally be counted as a signature.

I reported Tuesday through a source that Star Petition Group had been hired by someone to gather signatures for Harrison and that it's unclear who is paying the bill.

If Harrison becomes an official candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, all of this mystery will have to stop.  It will have to become clear who footed the bill and who has backed the effort to draft Harrison.  At forums and debates, he won't be able to simply get out of the question or duck it.  He will have to answer.

If it is successful, the way the folks surrounding the Run Rev Run movement have handled the gathering of support for Rev. Harrison may have dealt his campaign its first controversy it must work through.  In politics, it's very unusual for a campaign to just show up on third base.  You have to work at it...gather support, raise money, and it's not easy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ballard Withdraws $6.8 Million from IMPD General Fund Without Authorization

Mayor Greg Ballard
While we were all waiting for the First Church of Cannabis to take its first toke, Mayor Greg Ballard walked out with $6.8 million of IMPD's General Fund.

That's what City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said in a news release yesterday. President Lewis said:

"Very recently I was informed that Mayor Ballard unilaterally authorized a withdraw of $6.8 million dollars out of the IMPD general fund without consultation or approval from the Council. This is not how good municipal government works. The Council recently overrode the Mayor's veto to add appropriations to fund critically needed pursuit rated vehicles and necessary upgrades to IMPD facilities. His decision means many IMPD officers will continue to operate substandard vehicles and train at outdated facilities. We have too few officers on the street to begin with and this action by the administration may put at risk the city's ability to fund this Fall's final recruit class of 2015. I call on the Mayor to immediately reverse course and follow both the letter and spirit of Indiana law by returning the money to IMPD now."

For a Mayor who has always said, "Public safety is job one," he does a good job of showing otherwise.

This is the sort of mess created by 2013's SEA 621 that redefined the Mayor's role in the budget and lessened the Council's role as a watchdog.  I read the statute closely, though, and I don't think it said the Mayor could  just take $6.8 million from IMPD for no reason and without any notification or justification.

Where did the money go, Mr. Mayor?  Are you using IMPD to get back at the Council for overriding your veto?

When questioned, Mayor Ballard always likes to say, "Show some respect!"

Show some respect for the taxpayers and your officers and tell us where did IMPD's money go?  Inquiring minds want to know.